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The Empire Club © 2019 | All Rights Reserved

Vladimir Putin

Roberts, Rev. Richard

The inner significance of the British Empire as a political fact. The speaker's summary of certain of the elements of the tradition which we have inherited and which constitute the spiritual and moral grounds upon which the British Commonwealth of Nations has come to rest. Putting away from us the cant and humbug of supposing or of pretending that our imperial history is immaculate. Reference to Sir James Seeley's book, "The Expansion of England." Now seeing, with Seeley, that there are passages in the development of Greater Britain that a candid moral scrutiny would condemn, and so we are in a position to assess rightly the moral elements which explain the present stability of the British Commonwealth. Slavery as a case in point. The paradox that England became foremost in the traffic in slaves, yet she was the foremost in reparation also. Great Britain's relationship with China as another instance. Declaring faith in the sanctity of human personality in the Emancipation of Slaves, and in Sir Austin Chamberlain's gesture to China, affirming faith in the rights of nationality: two elements of the British tradition and heritage. A profound faith in freedom, whether of the individual or of the group as a principle around which a coherent public philosophy may gather. Some words on the nature of freedom, and freedom as the first principle of the present unity of the British Commonwealth, with recent illustrative example. The Union of South Africa and its present and future relations to the Empire. Substituting the politics of good will for the politics of force. The British Empire today as the greatest demonstration of the practicability of the politics of good will. The imperial unity threatened in recent years precisely at those points at which the politics of force and coercion have prevailed, as in Ireland, Egypt, and India. How that danger has been averted. The politics of good will working throughout the world, as it does in the Empire. Reference to Edmund Burke's famous speech in which he pleaded that England should in its dealings with India embark on a policy of "hazardous benevolence." A policy of "sporting good-will" which holds the Empire together. The remarkable story of the achievement of toleration in the Empire tradition. A discussion of the differences with regard to freedom and equality as perceived in the United States, and in the Empire. Political and civil freedom in the Empire. Our duty to cherish our freedom of thought and of its expression. The danger of forgetting and therefore of losing some of the strength of the rock from which we were hewn. The British Empire as an object of pride and hope and love; as a repository and trustee of a great tradition of ordered and creative freedom.

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