Tory, Henry Marshall
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[Address to the Empire Club of Canada at Exhibition Park, Toronto. A thousand men in training for the Canadian Contingent were also present.]
The difficulty of realising the significance of what is happening in these very special times. Three or four similar periods in the long history of the development of human liberty. A series of events which occurred at the very dawn of European civilisation during which the light of liberty was threatened with extinction before it was fairly lighted. Reference to the effort to establish the tyranny of Persia upon the free soil of Greece. A similar period in the days of the Old Roman Republic when it was Africa versus Europe. Another series of events just as the Christian civilisation of Europe was beginning to emerge out of the barbarism of earlier times; this time the united forces of Asia and Africa expressing themselves in the tyranny of Mohammedanism. These instances mentioned to show the conflict of Europe with external enemies. An outstanding example of modern times, recalling an instance when the conflict was from within: the history of Napoleon Bonaparte. The unique nature of these events in that the whole future of civilisation depended upon the outcome. Now living in an age and witnessing events equal in importance to those already mentioned, and how that is so. The causes leading to this war not superficial and insignificant, but rather deep-seated and far-reaching. A few facts which show how essentially different Europe is from America. The development of the military spirit in Europe. Calling our attention to a few things that are at stake in this war and that vitally concern us as Canadians: the right of small nations to exist; the sacredness of international treaties; the whole body of international law by which the nations are governed in relation to one another. The great sacred principle of liberty. Nothing more clear today than that the designs of the German Empire have been against the British Empire rather than against France and Belgium. Only now becoming familiar with the military literature which for the last 20 years Germany has been producing. The men in the audience, taking upon themselves the great responsibility of protecting these ancient liberties dearly bought. An awful war, but a holy war.