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Home Rule in America
|1. MR. President, Ladies, and Gentlemen: I have first to thank the officers of the Junior Liberal Association for giving me the great privilege of standing before a vast audience of my fellow-countrymen here in the second city of the Empire, in that city which has done more than any other city to draw closer the two branches of the great English-speaking race, my native and my adopted land. The great ships which you are sending forth every year to ply to and fro across the Atlantic are shuttles weaving a glorious web between the two nations. Already we have spelled out in the glorious pattern international arbitration, and there is yet to come, as we draw closer and closer together, eternal friendship and good will.||
international arbitration -
Baha'u'llah declared the coming of the
Most Great Peace. All the nations and peoples will come under the
shadow of the Tent of the
Great Peace and Harmony--that is to say, by general election a Great
Board of Arbitration shall be established, to settle all differences
and quarrels between the Powers; so that disputes shall not end in
war. ('Abdu'l-Bahá in London, page 30)
2. The recent appointment of a commission to settle the fisheries dispute proves once more that never henceforth is a drop of blood of one branch of the race to be shed by the other branch. And, in speaking of that Fisheries Commission, permit me to say that I, for one, and I believe all Liberals and all British people, were rejoiced that a man like Mr. Chamberlain should have found a position in which he can do more good to his country than in any which he could find at home. It is a great work, this upon which he has embarked. I know that the Pall Mall represents him as a Jonah thrown : overboard to the fishes, but I trust that he too, like Jonah,
will return from the excursion wholly uninjured, with increased reputation, and able to boast that he has done something which no other traveler has ever done.
Today the world of humanity is in need of
international unity and conciliation. To establish these great
fundamental principles a propelling power is needed. It is
self-evident that the unity of the human world and the Most Great
Peace cannot be accomplished through material means. They cannot be
established through political power, for the political interests of
nations are various and the policies of peoples are divergent and
conflicting. They cannot be founded through racial or patriotic
power, for these are human powers, selfish and weak. The very nature
of racial differences and patriotic prejudices prevents the
realization of this unity and agreement. Therefore, it is evidenced
that the promotion of the oneness of the kingdom of humanity, which
is the essence of the teachings of all the Manifestations of God, is
impossible except through the divine power and breaths of the Holy
Spirit. Other powers are too weak and are incapable of accomplishing
this. ('Abdu'l-Bahá, Promulgation of Universal Peace, page 12)
3. When I accepted the invitation to deliver a political address before this audience, I stated that it would be unbecoming in me to enter into the quarrels - the temporary and passing quarrels - which, unfortunately, have existed in the Liberal party, but which, I am happy to say, between the date of my acceptance and the date of my appearance, have largely vanished into thin air. The recent elections did not show much of a schism in the Liberal party, and therefore I approach the subject of Home Rule in America to-night, feeling that I in nowise become a party to the dissatisfactions and to the jealousies which have existed among you. For I tell you this: be he Liberal Gladstonian, be he Liberal Unionist, be he Conservative, or be he Tory, --I believe I have described all the variations,-in the soul of every honest and fair and patriotic citizen of this great land there lies like a weight the conviction that, whatever may come, the present condition of affairs in Ireland must cease. You must no longer disgrace the English name, and make us blush in America for the land of our fathers - the land that
has been the pioneer of liberty. The mother of nations must no longer stand before the world confessing that at her own doors, in a part of her own empire, she is unable to found just laws which commend themselves to the public sentiment of the governed. Home Rule is certain, and therefore I enter upon no disputed question when I venture to lay before you the phase of Home Rule which we have in America, hoping that when your bill is prepared, you may find some hints there which may be of use to you in solving this great and pressing question.
We will pray that the ensign of international peace may be
that the oneness of the world of humanity may be realized and
accomplished. All this is made possible and practicable through your
efforts. May this American democracy be the first nation to establish
the foundation of international agreement. May it be the first nation
to proclaim the universality of mankind. May it be the first to
upraise the standard of the Most Great Peace, and through this nation
of democracy may these philanthropic intentions and institutions be
spread broadcast throughout the world. Truly, this is a great and
revered nation. Here liberty has reached its highest degree. The
intentions of its people are most praiseworthy. They are, indeed,
worthy of being the first to build the Tabernacle of the Most Great
Peace and proclaim the oneness of mankind. I will supplicate God for
assistance and confirmation in your behalf. ("The Promulgation of
Universal Peace, pp. 36-37)
The spirit of liberty which in recent decades has swept over the planet with such tempestuous force is a manifestation of the vibrancy of the Revelation brought by Baha'u'llah. His own words confirm it. "The Ancient Beauty", He wrote in a soul-stirring commentary on His sufferings, "hath consented to be bound with chains that mankind may be released from its bondage, and hath accepted to be made a prisoner within this most mighty Stronghold that the whole world may attain unto true liberty." Might it not be reasonably concluded, then, that "true liberty" is His gift of love to the human race? Consider what Baha'u'llah has done: He revealed laws and principles to guide the free, He established an Order to channel the actions of the free, He proclaimed a Covenant to guarantee the unity of the free. Thus, we hold to this ultimate perspective: Baha'u'llah came to set humanity free. (Individual Rights and Freedoms, 219-224)
The time has come for the Baha'i community to become more involved in
the life of the society around it, without in the least supporting
any of the world's moribund and divisive concepts, or slackening its
direct teaching efforts, but rather, by association, exerting its
influence towards unity, demonstrating its ability to settle
differences by consultation rather than by confrontation, violence or
schism, and declaring its faith in the divine purpose of human
existence. (Universal House of Justice, Ridvan1985)
4. Now, gentlemen, it will be necessary for me to say a few words upon the American Constitution. What is it? I will tell you upon what it is founded. It is founded upon your own Constitution, and it is largely the work of a Scotsman. I appeal to any scholar here, to any man who has read the proceedings antecedent to the adoption of the Constitution. I ask you to read the "Federalist," and you will find that the draft of the American Constitution submitted by Alexander Hamilton was adopted, with very few amendments, and is to-day that Constitution. I do not think that will cause it to be less favorably considered before a Glasgow audience. Well, the eulogies of that Constitution have been so great and so many, recently, that I will not trouble you with quotations; but in the works of Matthew Arnold, Froude, Freeman, Dicey, and last, but not least, Mackenzie, a Scotsman who has written a wonderful history of America, --a Dundee man, I believe, - and Sir Henry Mayne,
pages of eulogy which, as an American, my modesty will not permit me to repeat. I will, however, venture to quote from the leaders of your two parties, that you may see how they corroborate the views expressed by these writers.
Once the Parliament of Man is established and its
organized, the governments of the world having entered into a
covenant of eternal friendship will have no need of keeping large
standing armies and navies. A few battalions to preserve internal
order, and an International Police to keep the highways of the seas
clear, are all that will be necessary. Then these huge sums will be
diverted to other more useful channels, pauperism will disappear,
knowledge will increase, the victories of Peace will be sung by poets
and bards, knowledge will improve the conditions and mankind will be
rocked in the cradle of felicity and bliss. Then, whether a
government is constitutional or republican, hereditary monarchy or
democratic, the rulers will devote their time to the prosperity of
their nations, the
legislation of just and sane laws and the fostering of closer and
more amicable relations with their neighbours--thus will the world of
humanity become a mirror reflecting the virtues and attributes of the
Kingdom of God. (Peace, pages 17 & 18)
5. My lord Salisbury has said: "The Americans have a Supreme Court which gives a stability to their institutions, for which we look here in vain; the Americans have a Senate wonderful in its power and efficiency; would that we could have such a second chamber here!" I will tell Lord Salisbury how he can have it. There is no patent for its exclusive use - and there is only one way of getting anything good in a nation. The United States Senate springs from the people. There is not the poison of hereditary privilege in its veins, and that is what makes it so powerful and wonderful in its strength and efficiency; and if my friend Lord Rosebery, when he brings in his bill to reform the House of Lords, which he has promised, can only persuade Lord Salisbury to agree to exclude the hereditary poison, why, then you can get a Senate chamber equal to the American in strength and efficiency. You cannot get it any other way, and unless this is conceded, Lord Rosebery will find that his only safety lies in taking the advice Hamlet gave to the players: "Reform it altogether." Well, now, a greater man than Lord Salisbury - do not cheer; I am not going to give the name, but when I mentioned the name in Edinburgh, all the audience jumped to their feet and cheered, and I enjoyed it very much. As I said, a greater authority than Lord Salisbury, and one who has done a great deal more in improving constitutions, has pronounced the American Constitution the most wonderful work ever struck off at one time by the brain and purpose of man. I do not know whether Mr. Gladstone, being a Scotsman, may not be a little partial to the work of a Scotsman like Alexander Hamilton, but these are his
words. The day after to-morrow there will assemble in the city of Philadelphia representatives from all parts of the United States, with the judges of the Supreme Court and the President at their head, to celebrate the centenary of the adoption of the Constitution.
The virtues of humanity are many, but science is the
most noble of them all. The distinction which man enjoys above and
beyond the station of the animal is due to this paramount virtue. It
is a bestowal of God; it is not material; it is divine. Science is an
effulgence of the Sun of Reality, the power of investigating and
discovering the verities of the universe, the means by which man
finds a pathway to God. All the powers and attributes of man are
human and hereditary in origin--outcomes of nature's
processes--except the intellect, which is supernatural. Through
intellectual and intelligent inquiry science is the discoverer of all
things. It unites present and past, reveals the history of bygone
nations and events, and confers upon man today the essence of all
human knowledge and attainment throughout the ages. By intellectual
processes and logical deductions of reason this superpower in man can
penetrate the mysteries of the future and anticipate its happenings.
('Abdu'l-Bahá, Promulgation of Universal Peace, page 7)
6. Let me now describe that Constitution to you. The government of the United States, under the Constitution, is divided into three departments - the legislative, the executive, and the judicial. The Legislature consists of two houses -a House of Representatives, elected for two years by a direct vote of the people; and a Senate, composed of two senators from each of the thirty-eight States, elected for six years by the State Legislature, but so elected that every -two years one third of the entire body retires to the people to seek reelection and have the chance of being displaced by worthier servants. These representatives receive as a compensation for their services one thousand pounds each, per annum. They sit from ten o'clock in the morning till four o'clock in the afternoon, and having paid for the services of these gentlemen, the nation exacts regular attendance. it 'exacts their abilities and attention when these are fresh, and it would not tolerate for a moment one hundred and sixty-eight barristers, as in your present Parliament, who do all their work in the daytime and come to you to muddle your
business at night. I have sat a great deal in your House of Commons. It is largely a debating club for the display of vanity, and it is no longer a sober, thoughtful legislative chamber. It never will be, as long as its members consider that they give you a gentlemanly class that condescends to serve you in Parliament. Your legislators are always your masters here, but in America they are our paid servants.
... This is the day whereon all peoples should shed the
light of unity and concord. In brief, the pride and vanity of certain
of the peoples of the world have made havoc of true understanding,
and laid waste the home of justice and of equit
(Bahá'u'lláh, Expistle to Son of the Wolf, page 76)
7. You know that celebrated story of a gentleman who lost a great deal of money by a false play at whist on the part of his partner. He scolded him, and the matter was referred to the leading expert of the whist club. The question was this: Could a man make such a stupid play as that which was described? And the decision of the referee was that he thought he might-after dinner. That is one point not embraced in Home Rule-but I mention it incidentally.
8. Well, then, the power of the two houses of Parliament is very much akin to your own in one respect. As far as the House of Representatives is concerned, they have the power of the purse, but the Senate of the United States is of equal power with the House. No act becomes an act without its approval. No treaty can be signed by the President, no appointment made of a petty postmaster, no appointment of an ambassador or minister or agent, without the consent and vote and approval of the most august legislative assembly in this world - the American Senate. There is where we hold our chief ruler. The President must carry with him that body of senators. We have our executive in the President. We make our king every four years, and we pay him a tremendous salary. I suppose all you people would grudge it for a crowned head. We pay him ten thousand pounds per annum, and we have nothing to do with his brothers and his sisters and his cousins and his aunts. And at the end of four years, if we do not like him, we put him down and elect another one. My fellow-countrymen, I would like you to cast your eye over the list of American Presidents and compare them for the last hundred years with certain indi-
viduals that you have been cursed with on your throne. Compare them, man for man, and see where you will land. This President nominates his Cabinet; but, mark you, not a man is a member of his Cabinet until the Senate says, "Approved." He may dismiss them, but when he nominates others, every new man must go through that ordeal before be becomes a member of the Cabinet.
Concerning the proceedings for this world gathering,
Abdu'l-Baha, the son of Baha'u'llah and authorized interpreter of his
teachings, offered these insights: "They must make the Cause of Peace
the object of general consultation, and seek by every means in their
power to establish a Union of the nations of the world. They must
conclude a binding treaty and establish a covenant, the provisions of
which shall be sound, inviolable and definite. They must proclaim it
to all the world and obtain for it the sanction of all the human
race. This supreme and noble undertaking--the real source of the
peace and well-being of all the world--should be regarded as sacred
by all that dwell on earth. All the forces of humanity must be
mobilized to ensure the stability and permanence of this Most Great
Covenant. In this all-embracing Pact the
limits and frontiers of each and every nation should be clearly
fixed, the principles underlying the relations of governments towards
one another definitely laid down, and all international agreements
and obligations ascertained. In like manner, the size of the
armaments of every government should be strictly limited, for if the
preparations for war and the military forces of any nation should be
allowed to increase, they will arouse the suspicion of others. The
underlying this solemn Pact should be so fixed that if any government
later violate any one of its provisions, all the governments on earth
should arise to reduce it to utter submission, nay the human race as
a whole should resolve, with every power at its disposal, to destroy
that government. Should this greatest of all remedies be applied to
the sick body of the world, it will assuredly recover from its ills
remain eternally safe and secure."
The holding of this mighty convocation is long overdue. (Promise of World Peace, page 12)
The Baha'i Cause covers all economic and social
questions under the
heading and ruling of its laws. The essence of the Baha'i spirit is
that, in order to establish a better social order and economic
condition, there must be allegiance to the laws and principles of
government. Under the laws which are to govern the world, the
socialists may justly demand human rights but without resort to force
and violence. The governments will enact these laws, establishing
just legislation and
economics in order that all humanity may enjoy a full measure of
welfare and privilege; but this will always be according to legal
protection and procedure. Without legislative administration, rights
and demands fail, and the welfare of the common-wealth cannot be
realized. Today the method of demand is the strike and resort to
force, which is manifestly wrong and destructive of human
foundations. Rightful privilege and demand must be set forth in laws
and regulations. ('Abdu'l-Bahá, Promulgation of Universal Peace,
9. The President is not only the first civil magistrate: he is the first military magistrate. We bring the civil power right where we want the civil power to be - at the head; and we put the military power where the military power ought always to be-at the foot. The President of the United States is the commander-in-chief of the army and of the navy, and of the military forces of the States when he chooses to call them into service. This is no shadowy power. When General Grant was at the top of his fame, it was rumored that he was about to conclude a convention with General Lee which touched upon the policy to be pursued; and I saw the telegram which President Lincoln wrote with his own hand: "TO MAJOR-GENERAL GRANT, near Richmond, Virginia: You will hold no conventions with General Lee except for the capitulation of his army. You will not confer, nor discuss, nor conclude any question of any political import whatever. The President holds these questions in his own hands, and he will not submit them to any military conference whatever." That is the kind of power we give our President, and we hold him responsible for the exercise of that power, and at the end of four years he gives us an account of his stewardship. At his call to-day seven millions of men capable of bearing arms, accustomed to bear arms, and only too ready to bear arms in defense of the Union, would stand forth. But two years from now that President would be one of the seven millions shouldering his musket in his ranks.
10. Now, then, our Cabinet does not appear in our House of Congress. They make written communications. They answer
all questions which either House requires, but they do not deliberate with the House, because the American people are most jealous of any interference between the legislative and the executive. Now, to regulate all the rights of these people, the Supreme Court, the object of Lord Salisbury's admiration, has been created. It consists of nine judges. They receive two thousand pounds a year each for their services, and the Chief Justice of the United States receives one hundred pounds more than his fellows. He passed through your country the year before last, the head of the American government in one sense, because the court is above the President, as it interprets the acts of Congress, and is the arbiter of the community. He passed along unnoticed. The aristocracy and the court paid no attention to the Chief Judge of the United States. That is very much to be wondered at, because Buffalo Bill had not then arrived. But when your Chief Justice visited America, he was received as became a man in his position. The President of the United States received him, the cities received him, and he was everywhere entertained in a manner which, I trust, some future day, the Chief Justice of the United States may experience when he visits this country when the democrats are in power.
Similarly, the quality of aristocracy (rule by the
best) as it appears in the Faith is in sharp contrast to what is
generally understood by this term. Free from electioneering or such
external pressures as those coming from economic power or
manipulation of the press, the believers seek to elect for membership
on their governing institutions those persons whom they regard as
best qualified for such office. The elected members are then
responsible to God and to their consciences, rather than to those who
elect them. You are undoubtedly familiar with Shoghi Effendi's words
in Baha'i Administration on the attitude and responsibility of
members of Assemblies:
The duties of those whom the friends have freely and conscientiously elected as their representatives are no less vital and binding than the obligations of those who have chosen them. Their function is not to dictate, but to consult, and consult not only among themselves, but as much as possible with the friends whom they represent. They must regard themselves in no other light but that of chosen instruments for a more efficient and dignified presentation of the Cause of God. They should never be led to suppose that they are the central ornaments of the body of the Cause, intrinsically superior to others in capacity or merit, and sole promoters of its teachings and principles. They should approach their task with extreme humility, and endeavour, by their open-mindedness, their high sense of justice and duty, their candour, their modesty, their entire devotion to the welfare and interests of the friends, the Cause, and humanity, to win, not only the confidence and the genuine support and respect of those whom they serve, but also their esteem and real affection. They must, at all times, avoid the spirit of exclusiveness, the atmosphere of secrecy, free themselves from a domineering attitude, and banish all forms of prejudice and passion from their deliberations. They should, within the limits of wise discretion, take the friends into their confidence, acquaint them with their plans, share with them their problems and anxieties, and seek their advice and counsel. And, when they are called upon to arrive at a certain decision, they should, after dispassionate, anxious and cordial consultation, turn to God in prayer, and with earnestness and conviction and courage record their vote and abide by the voice of the majority, which we are told by our Master to be the voice of truth, never to be challenged, and always to be whole-heartedly enforced. To this voice the friends must heartily respond, and regard it as the only means that can ensure the protection and advancement of the Cause. (Universal House of Justice, Administrative Order, page 2)
11. This Supreme Court has a veto on all laws passed by the House, the Senate, and the President. It does not make a particle of difference if the House of Representatives pass a law, and if the Senate pass it, and if the President approve it, any man can make an issue and appeal to the Supreme Court, "Is that law constitutional?" If it is decided to be unconstitutional it is waste paper. But great as are the powers which our Supreme Court possesses, remember the Supreme Court can start no issue. It can only decide issues which are brought before it, so that it is only when the law would work injustice or create popular discontent that the Supreme Court is appealed to at all. Now, then, having briefly described to you the three departments of the American govern-
ment, allow me to say that the Supreme Judges remain for life, subject to removal by the President and the Cabinet for misbehavior or inability to serve.
12. Now, then, we come to the great question, How is it possible that not only one nation but thirty-eight nations -- thirty-eight States covering a continent almost as big as Europe - how are their legislative and political matters managed? In no way is that possible but by Home Rule. Let me show you how deep down the principle of Home Rule goes and how far it extends, how wide-spread it is under this American system. The land of America is divided by government surveyors - and you will understand that I speak now not of the small Atlantic States which were divided before the Constitution was adopted, but of the great West and Northwest in which the majority of the American people dwell. It was divided into six mile-squares. These are called townships, and a few settlers make up a township. By and by they feel the want of roads, they feel the want of everything, and they decide to have a meeting. Now, here is a record of a meeting of a similar character to that which has created thousands and thousands and thousands of councils. You will see it is most interesting. Just listen to where Home Rule begins; see its beginnings - its roots. It always reminds me of that beautiful poem of Ballantine's about the brook when|
Upon a messy stone.
To the efforts and accomplishments of those who, aware of
of Baha'u'llah, are now laboring in that continent, to their present
and future course of activity, I have, in the foregoing pages
sufficiently referred. A word, if the destiny of the American people,
in its entirety, is to be correctly apprehended, should now be said
regarding the orientation of that nation as a whole, and the trend of
the affairs of its people. For no matter how ignorant of the Source
from which those directing energies proceed, and however slow and
laborious the process, it is becoming increasingly evident that the
nation as a whole, whether through the agency of its government or
otherwise, is gravitating, under the influence of forces that it can
neither comprehend nor control, towards such associations and
policies, wherein, as indicated by Abdu'l-Baha, her true destiny must
lie. Both the community of the American believers, who are aware of
that Source, and the great mass of their countrymen, who have not as
yet recognized the Hand that directs their destiny, are contributing,
each in its own way, to the realization of the hopes, and the
fulfillment of the promises, voiced in the above-quoted words of
Abdu'l-Baha. (Shoghi Effendi: The Advent of Divine Justice, pages
Then, and only then, will the American nation, molded and purified in the crucible of a common war, inured to its rigors, and disciplined by its lessons, be in a position to raise its voice in the councils of the nations, itself lay the cornerstone of a universal and enduring peace, proclaim the solidarity, the unity, and maturity of mankind, and assist in the establishment of the promised reign of righteousness on earth. Then, and only then, will the American nation, while the community of the American believers within its heart is consummating its divinely appointed mission, be able to fulfill the unspeakably glorious destiny ordained for it by the Almighty, and immortally enshrined in the writings of Abdu'l-Baha. Then, and only then, will the American nation accomplish "that which will adorn the pages of history," "become the envy of the world and be blest in both the East and the West." (Shoghi Effendi: The Advent of Divine Justice, pages 90-91)
America. "Established six road districts; voted one hundred dollars to build a bridge across the St. Joseph River and fifty dollars for bridging Nottawa Creek; voted fifty dollars for common schools." Ah, gentlemen, that is a vote! Fifty dollars! The first meeting of a few stragglers in the Western wilderness, and the first thing they do is to vote fifty dollars for common schools to educate all their children free of price. Now you are getting at the roots of democracy, gentlemen. But that meeting did another thing. It voted five dollars for wolf-scalps. That throws a great light upon the situation when the wolves were so numerous that they gave a pound premium for every scalp that was brought in. Well, now, that is a beautiful picture of Home Rule. There was no superior officer there. They made themselves and created themselves into a political community. It was universal suffrage - there was no privilege. I do not find anything about who Leon Haughtailing was, or where or when he was born, or who was his grandfather; he was elected, not because he was the richest man, but because his fellow-citizens thought him the best man at their command. That is the first meeting of the little township of six miles. By and by other settlers come into the neighborhood and form other squares; and they hold similar meetings, and they vote for common schools. In the course of time fifteen or twenty communities have been created, and they combine. They find that they have not good enough school accommodation for each township, and that they cannot have a court-house and all the provisions for government upon so small an area; and they say, Let fifteen or twenty of us townships combine and send representatives elected by universal suffrage in proportion to our population. A convention is created for the county, and they go forward and elect county officers in the manner in which they elected their township officers, and they elect their judges. And I have sufficient faith in the democracy to say, Give me the judge elected by the people. No community in America that has ever tried the experi-
The institutions of society will succeed in eliciting
and directing the
potentialities latent in the consciousness of the world's peoples to
the extent that the exercise of authority is governed by principles
that are in harmony with the evolving interests of a rapidly maturing
human race. Such principles include the obligation of those in
authority to win the confidence, respect, and genuine support of
those whose actions they seek to govern; to consult openly and to the
fullest extent possible with all whose interests are affected by
decisions being arrived at; to assess in an objective manner both the
real needs and the aspirations of the communities they serve; to
benefit from scientific and moral advancement in order to make
appropriate use of the community's resources, including the energies
of its members. No single principle of effective authority is so
important as giving priority to building and maintaining unity among
the members of a society and the members of its administrative
institutions. Reference has already been made to the intimately
associated issue of commitment to the search for justice in all
Clearly, such principles can operate only within a culture that is essentially democratic in spirit and method. To say this, however, is not to endorse the ideology of partisanship that has everywhere boldly assumed democracy's name and which, despite impressive contributions to human progress in the past, today finds itself mired in the cynicism, apathy, and corruption to which it has given rise. In selecting those who are to take collective decisions on its behalf, society does not need and is not well served by the political theater of nominations, candidature, electioneering, and solicitation. It lies within the capacity of all people, as they become progressively educated and convinced that their real development interests are being served by programs proposed to them, to adopt electoral procedures that will gradually refine the selection of their decision-making bodies.
As the integration of humanity gains momentum, those who are thus selected will increasingly have to see all their efforts in a global perspective. Not only at the national, but also at the local level, the elected governors of human affairs should, in Baha'u'llah's view, consider themselves responsible for the welfare of all of humankind. (Prosperity of Humankind, pages 14 & 15)
ment has regretted it. I tell you the democracy is most interested in the purity of its judges. It is the poor man, the working-man, who is interested in his judges. And as all humanity has its bias, I tell you frankly that your gentlemen have the prejudices of the gentleman class, and your newly made baronets have the prejudices of the aristocracy worse than any old baronets, and your newly made lords are a disgrace to Mr. Gladstone. Well, the county goes forward - the second and larger circle of Home Rule. Observe, now, there is not what we might call a foreign element. There is no outside element, but all an outgrowth from the democracy itself. There is no divine right about it. It is a healthy, grand, glorious growth of the body politic itself. Very well, then; the county gets a little too small for their growing life. They want railroads, churches, halls. They want everything that a civilized people wants. They want everything that is good, and they get everything that is good, so far as human nature can get perfection. Twenty or thirty of these counties conclude that they will make a State, and they elect officers by a convention as in the case of townships and counties, and they meet and establish a capital, about the center of the proposed State generally. They elect a governor and a House of Representatives, and the State Legislature is composed of two houses, one called the House of Representatives, and the other called the State Senate. The word "Congress" is never used except when the national meeting at Washington is meant. The word "Congress" is sacred to the great central power, as I trust that in the great Home Rule Bill the word "Parliament" will be sacred to that great body which will meet at Westminster and attend to international affairs. Well, now, gentlemen, the State is born in that way. Every State has its own governor; it has its own militia, its own courts, and its own judges, and it manages its own taxation. It does everything that a State can do, everything that pertains to the State itself. That is a very, very broad platform of Home Rule; but the broader
you make the Home Rule principle, always provided that it is subordinate to the national or federal principle, the better for the rulers, and the better for the people themselves.
The Universal Races Congress was good, for it was intended for the
furtherance and progress of unity among all nations and a better
international understanding. The purpose was good. The causes of
dispute among different nations are always due to one of the
following classes of prejudice: racial, lingual, theological,
personal, and prejudices of custom and tradition. It requires a
universal active force to overcome these differences. A small disease
needs a small remedy, but a disease which pervades the whole body
needs a very strong remedy. A small lamp
may light a room, a larger would light a house, a larger still might
shine through the city, but the sun is needed to light the whole
The differences in language cause disunion between nations. There must be one universal language. The diversity in Faiths is also a cause of separation. The true foundation of all faiths must be established, the outer differences abolished. There must be a Oneness of Faith. To end all these differences is a very hard task. The whole world is sick, and needs the power of the Great Healer.
These meetings teach us that Unity is good, and that suppression (slavery under the yoke of tradition and prejudice) is the cause of disunion. To know this is not enough. All knowledge is good, but it can bear no fruit except by action. It is well to know that riches are good, but that knowledge will not make a man rich; he must work, he must put his knowledge into practice. We hope the people realize and know that unity is good, and we also hope that they will not be content to stand still in that knowledge. Do not only say that Unity, Love and Brotherhood are good; you must work for their realization. ('Abdu'l-Bahá in London, pages 59 & 60)
13. Well, then, the several States, as you are aware, banded together and formed the nation. There were thirteen of them originally. The States being, as you know, before the general government, the people of America gave the general government certain delegated powers, and a comprehensive clause of the Constitution says that all powers not expressly delegated are retained by the States themselves. That is the principle of Home Rule in America. The national government is the sun of our system, and round the government the States revolve, each one on its own axis, some at one angle, some at another, ah State communities governing their own affairs in the way that seems best to them. And therefore it is impossible you can ever have a State revolution in America, any more than it is possible for a man to turn and rend himself. The State Constitution is part and parcel of its people. It is their own work; they made it, and if they do not like it they can mend it.
Among the responsibilities assigned to Baha'i
institutions which have a direct bearing on these aspects of
individual freedom and development is one which is thus described in
the Constitution of the "to safeguard the personal rights, freedom
and initiative of individuals".
A corollary is: "to give attention to the preservation of human honour".
How noteworthy that in the Order of Baha'u'llah, while the individual willis subordinated to that of society, the individual is not lost in the mass but becomes the focus of primary development, so that he may find his own place in the flow of progress, and society as a whole may benefit from the accumulated talents and abilities of the individuals composing it.
Such an individual finds fulfillment of his potential not merely in satisfying his own wants but in realizing his completeness in being at one with humanity and with the divinely ordained purpose of creation.
The quality of freedom and of its expression -- indeed, the very capacity to maintain freedom in a society -- undoubtedly depends on the knowledge and training of individuals and on their ability to cope with the challenges of life with equanimity.
As the beloved Master has written: "And the honour and distinction of the individual consist in this, that he among all the world's multitudes should become a source of social good.
Is any larger bounty conceivable than this, that an individual, looking within himself, should find that by the confirming grace of God he has become the cause of peace and well-being, of happiness and advantage to his fellow men?
No, by the one true God, there is no greater bliss, no more complete delight." (Individual Rights and Freedoms, Articles 211-218)
14. Now, then, will you permit me, having sketched the American Constitution to you, to apply its provisions to the case of Home Rule at home? And in doing so you will all clearly understand that I do not represent anybody but myself. I bind nobody. The Liberal party -Gladstonian- is not responsible for what I describe as the operations of the American Constitution; and the Unionist is not responsible; and no Tory or Conservative may be alarmed upon the head of his responsibility for anything which I say. Now, then, if we were to deal with the Home Rule question, - taking this great Constitution for our guide,-I will mention in rotation four points, and just tell you how we would settle them - and we would settle them. When the democracy of America puts its foot down it stays there. The first condition is the supremacy of the national Parliament. I do not like the word "imperial." You may have an empire soon|
enough. You have very nearly an Empress now, and when you get an Emperor you can use "imperial," but I prefer "national." Well, it goes without saying that when two men ride a horse one must ride behind. There must be no mistake about the powers in the general government. I will not say whether the recent bill introduced was faulty or not in its expression of that power. Unionists may contend that it was, and they have the highest possible authority for thinking the words were unfortunately vague. But of this I have not the slightest doubt, that it never entered into the brain of any man that any assembly given to Ireland or Scotland would not have to bow before the national assembly -- the Parliament. The American Constitution provides this: "This Constitution, and the acts under it passed by the national government, as interpreted by the Supreme Court, are the supreme laws of the land, anything in the State laws or State constitutions to the contrary notwithstanding." And if I were called on to settle the Home Rule question, that is the language I would put into the new bill. Mind you, that power being there, it has never to be exercised. It has only been exercised once in a hundred years upon an important issue, and that issue was one which no human constitution, nor all the human powers on earth, could have averted. The man or nation that tries to bind together in harmonious development freedom and human slavery has attempted the impossible, and when the great democratic forces came face to face, in the development of that country, with the slave power, which disputed its rights, one or the other had to fall; and you know which one fell. You might as well try to bind democracy and privilege. The two are antagonistic forces; and I believe the "Scotsman" newspaper of the 16th of August, in an editorial on the Northwich election, used the most significant words I have heard since I took up my residence among you. "Democracy means" -- I quote the "Scotsman" - "Democracy means, and rightly means, that privilege shall cease."
Firstly: He lays stress on the search for Truth. This
is most important,
because the people are too easily led by tradition. It is because of
this that they are often antagonistic to each other, and dispute with
But the manifesting of Truth discovers the darkness and becomes the cause of Oneness of faith and belief: because Truth cannot be two! That is not possible.
Secondly: Baha'u'llah taught the Oneness of humanity; that is to say, all the children of men are under the mercy of the Great God. They are the sons of one God; they are trained by God. He has placed the crown of humanity on the head of every one of the servants of God. Therefore all nations and peoples must consider themselves brethren. They are all descendants from Adam. They are the branches, leaves, flowers and fruits of One Tree. They are pearls from one shell. But the children of men are in need of education and civilization, and they require to be polished, till they become bright and shining.
Man and woman both should be educated equally and equally regarded.
It is racial, patriotic, religious and class prejudice, that has been the cause of the destruction of Humanity. ('Abdu'l-Bahá in London, pages 27 & 28)
15. Well, now, after what had been said about the supremacy of the national government, I ask any Unionist here to consider in his mind to-night whether he has the shadow of a fear that that will not be provided for in the new bill. Has not Mr. Gladstone said, "All parliaments, all assemblies, with statutory powers, are necessarily subordinate to their creator, and I have no objection to name the delegated powers." Now, then, when he names the delegated powers, he will follow the American Constitution.
The virtues and attributes pertaining unto God are all
manifest, and have been mentioned and described in all the heavenly
Books. Among them are trustworthiness, truthfulness, purity of heart
while communing with God, forbearance, resignation to whatever the
Almighty hath decreed, contentment with the things His Will hath
provided, patience, nay, thankfulness in the midst of tribulation,
and complete reliance, in all circumstances, upon Him. These rank,
according to the estimate of God, among the highest and most laudable
of all acts. All other acts are, and will ever remain, secondary and
subordinate unto them.... (Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings, page 290)
16. The other point on which great stress is laid, and laid rightly, in my opinion and in the opinion of the American Constitution, is the question of the continued representation of Ireland in the national assembly. Well, gentlemen, a great deal has been said in this controversy about American opinion. I have asked hundreds of Americans-and you have got some intelligent Americans, no doubt, in Glasgow; ask their opinion yourselves. There is not an American living that will not answer this question as every one has answered to me: "Would you agree that the State of Virginia should have a Legislature of its own, and be absolved from the duty of sending representatives to the national Congress at Washington to deliberate equally with all other representatives, and hence be bound equally with the others for all its acts?" And the reply is, "Never." And with the new bill I would say to any Unionists, - because I am most anxious to restore the harmony of the Liberal party, - "Gentlemen, you have a hard enough fight before you; you have many measures, the adoption of which lies deep at your heart; you need every vote and every influence at your command for this campaign." Very well, I ask any Unionist to-night to consider whether he has the slightest doubt but that the representatives of Ireland and Scotland will continue to be sent to the imperial Parliament at Westminster. I do not see how he can have a doubt. I had my doubts when the bill was cabled across the Atlantic. I could see that point clearly myself, and I took prompt measures to point out to
friends here what I thought was the weak point in that bill. But, gentlemen, I thought I could do most good within the party. I have known what Mr. Gladstone has already done. There is no man living can carry reforms as he can, and if his life be spared, he will, I am satisfied, - I will not say I am satisfied; I know, because he has said it, that he will, -- deal with this question without touching the question of Irish representation.
What Baha'u'llah is calling for is a consultative process
in which the
individual participants strive to transcend their respective points
of view, in order to function as members of a body with its own
interests and goals. In such an atmosphere, characterized by both
candor and courtesy, ideas belong not to the individual to whom they
occur during the discussion but to the group as a whole, to take up,
discard, or revise as seems to best serve the goal pursued.
Consultation succeeds to the extent that all participants support the
decisions arrived at, regardless of the individual opinions with
which they entered the discussion. Under such circumstances an
earlier decision can be readily reconsidered if experience exposes
Viewed in such a light, consultation is the operating expression of justice in human affairs. So vital is it to the success of collective endeavor that it must constitute a basic feature of a viable strategy of social and economic development. Indeed, the participation of the people on whose commitment and efforts the success of such a strategy depends becomes effective only as consultation is made the organizing principle of every project. "No man can attain his true station", is Baha'u'llah's counsel, "except through his justice. No power can exist except through unity. No welfare and no well-being can be attained except through consultation." (Prosperity of Humankind, page 8)
17. We come to the third point - Ulster. Now I am going to apply the American Constitution to Ulster, and I tell you it is not without force in Ulster or in any part of Ireland. They will not seek anything beyond what the Americans give their States. If they do, every son of an Irishman in America -- and there are a million of such - and every American will denounce the demand as something which upon no consideration they themselves would ask, and which every well-wisher of Great Britain prays she never will give. As to Ulster, speaking as an American Home Ruler, that is too trifling a subject to talk about among statesmen. The province of Ulster is very nearly Nationalist, and divided by the aggregate of the poll, it is Nationalist to-day. I reject with contempt and indignation the attempt, in this nineteenth century, to stir up sectarian jealousy. You know, and I know, what Scotland has done for civil and religious liberty. If there be any body of Protestant Irishmen who wish to keep themselves apart and nurse those bitter hatreds, those feuds that give rise to disturbance of the peace - if they want to do that, I am against them; and if there be any body of Catholics that wish to nurture such feuds, and keep themselves apart from their Protestant fellow-citizens, I am against them also. There is no difficulty about Ulster. Whenever you give Ireland Home Rule you will stir up a patriotic flame. And they will all be Irishmen first, and Ulster men and Tipperary men afterward, and the presence of Catholics and Protestants meeting in an assembly laboring for the national good will soften all asperities and make them under-
stand each other better than they have hitherto done. The question of Ulster will settle itself. Left to a plebiscite of the Ulster people, you will hardly find a man that will not say, "Let us go with our country"; and I would not respect the man that did not say so, were he a hundred times a Protestant of the Protestants. That is not the Protestant religion. It is founded on private judgment and free thought, and the Irish Protestants have much to learn yet as to the fundamental principles of the faith of which they would boldly stand forth as the main adherents.
EXTRACTS FROM THE WRITINGS OF SHOGHI EFFENDI:
Dearly-beloved friends! Humanity, whether viewed in the light of man's individual conduct or in the existing relationships between organized communities and nations, has, alas, strayed too far and suffered too great a decline to be redeemed through the unaided efforts of the best among its recognized rulers and statesmen--however disinterested their motives, however concerted their action, however unsparing in their zeal and devotion to its cause. No scheme which the calculations of the highest statesmanship may yet devise, no doctrine which the most distinguished exponents of economic theory may hope to advance, no principle which the most ardent of moralists may strive to inculcate, can provide, in the last resort, adequate foundations upon which the future of a distracted world can be built. No appeal for mutual tolerance which the worldly-wise might raise, however compelling and insistent, can calm its passions or help restore its vigour. Nor would any general scheme of mere organized international co-operation, in whatever sphere of human activity, however ingenious in conception or extensive in scope, succeed in removing the root cause of the evil that has so rudely upset the equilibrium of present day society. Not even, I venture to assert, would the very act of devising the machinery required for the political and economic unification of the world--a principle that has been increasingly advocated in recent times--provide in itself the antidote against the poison that is steadily undermining the vigour of organized peoples and nations. What else, might we not confidently affirm, but the unreserved acceptance of the Divine Programme enunciated, with such simplicity and force as far back as sixty years ago, by Baha'u'llah, embodying in its essentials God's divinely-appointed scheme for the unification of mankind in this age, coupled with an indomitable conviction in the unfailing efficacy of each and all of its provisions, is eventually capable of withstanding the forces of internal disintegration which, if unchecked, must needs continue to eat into the vitals of a despairing society. It is towards this goal--the goal of a new World Order, Divine in origin, all-embracing in scope, equitable in principle, challenging in its features--that a harrassed humanity must strive.
To claim to have grasped all the implications of Bahá'u'lláh's prodigious scheme for world-wide human solidarity, or to have fathomed its import, would be presumptuous on the part of even the declared supporters of His Faith. To attempt to visualize it in all its possibilities, to estimate its future benefits, to picture its glory, would be premature at even so advanced a stage in the evolution of mankind.
All we can reasonably venture to attempt is to strive to obtain a glimpse of the first streaks of the promised Dawn that must, in the fullness of time, chase away the gloom that has encircled humanity. All we can do is to point out, in their broadest outline, to what appear to us to be the guiding principles underlying the World Order of Baha'u'llah, as amplified and enunciated by 'Abdu'l-Baha, the Centre of His Covenant with all mankind and the appointed Interpreter and Expounder of His Word. (PEACE, page 20)
18. I now come to the fourth point. You will notice I am following the four contentions of the Unionists. Do not laugh at the Unionists. Let me tell you there were reasons for their contentions, much as I differ with them as to the mode which they took to enforce them. I think the Unionists within the councils of the Liberal party would have been much more powerful-I know the representatives of the Unionists in Parliament would have been more powerful if they had labored within the lines of the party under the banner of the only possible chief; but the Unionists whom I have met and wrestled with have always told me, "Mr. Gladstone is all wrong." I will tell you a story in point. Henry Clay was the most popular man America had. Well, he voted against his constituents upon the slavery question, which was the only burning question of the time, and he offered himself for reelection. There was not a ghost of a chance of his being returned to Washington, any more than there is of any Unionist being returned to the next Parliament. Well, Henry Clay saw that there was no use in conducting his canvass if he stood up to defend what he had done, so he went before the farmers of Kentucky and made one speech all over the State, "Now, boys," he said, "you have all got good, trusty rifles. Think of the game your rifle has brought down. Did your rifle ever miss fire? I have shot a good deal, and my rifle missed now and then. Did you on that account throw it away, or did you pick it up and try it again?" There
Consider the animosity and hatred existing today between
nations of the world. What disagreements and hostilities arise, what
warfare and contention, how much bloodshed, what injustice and
tyranny! Just now there is war in eastern Turkey, also war between
Turkey and Italy. Nations are devoted to conquest and bloodshed,
filled with the animus of religious hatred, seeking the good-pleasure
of God by killing and destroying those whom they consider enemies in
their blindness. How ignorant they are! That which is forbidden by
God they consider acceptable to Him. God is love; God seeketh
fellowship, purity, sanctity and long-suffering; these are the
attributes of divinity. Therefore these warring, raging nations have
arisen against divinity, imagining they are serving God. What gross
ignorance this is! What injustice, blindness and lack of realization!
Briefly; we must strive with heart and soul in order that this
darkness of the contingent world may be dispelled, that the lights of
the Kingdom shall shine upon all the horizons, the world of humanity
become illumined, the image of God become apparent in human mirrors,
the law of God be well established and that all regions of the world
shall enjoy peace, comfort and composure beneath the equitable
protection of God. My admonition and exhortation to you is this: Be
kind to all people, love humanity, consider all mankind as your
relations and servants of the most high God. Strive day and night
that animosity and contention may pass away from the hearts of men,
that all religions shall become reconciled and the nations love each
other, so that no racial, religious or political prejudice may remain
and the world of humanity behold God as the beginning and end of all
existence. God has created all and all return to God. Therefore love
humanity with all your heart and soul. If you meet a poor man, assist
him; if you see the sick, heal him; reassure the affrighted one,
render the cowardly noble and courageous, educate the ignorant,
associate with the stranger. Emulate God. Consider how kindly, how
lovingly He deals with all and follow His example. You must treat
people in accordance with the divine precepts; in other words, treat
them as kindly as God treats them, for this is the greatest
attainment possible for the world of humanity. ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
Foundations of World Unity, page 73)
was no resisting such an appeal, and Clay was reelected by the greatest majority he ever received. Now, admitting all that the most conscientious or contentious Unionist has to say, I think if he has much of human nature in him, much of gratitude for past services, much of admiration for the noblest political career, he will pick up that old rifle -- Gladstone. Just let the old man have another shot.
retained. It is not likely a good judge would be dismissed. Therefore I think the Irish executive would take over the Irish judges. It is a prima facie case that a judge is a good judge unless he can be proved bad. It will be for the Irish executive to reappoint or choose their own judges. What I want to point out to you is that if you pay regard to the lesson of Home Rule in America, you will allow the Irish Assembly to appoint Irish judges and to determine Irish affairs; and you will hold, of course, through the delegated powers, the right, in any issues of an international character, to appeal from these courts to the imperial power, such an appeal as every Scotchman has now to the judicial lords of the House of Lords. Now, that would settle the judicial question; but if you are going to give Ireland Home Rule, and withhold from her or from Scotland, when she gets Home Rule, as I trust she soon will, the control of the highest function, and the very essential of all government, - namely, the right to execute justice and administer the laws among her own citizens, - you are going to give them a mockery; you are going to play "Hamlet" with Hamlet left out, and you will have the Irish question upon you again and again in worse forms than it is now.
America has arisen to spread the teachings of peace, to
increase the illumination of humankind and bestow happiness and
prosperity upon the children of men. These are the principles and
evidences of divine civilization. America is a noble nation, the
standard-bearer of peace throughout the world, shedding light to all
regions. Foreign nations are not untrammeled and free from intrigues
and complications like the United States; therefore, they are not
able to bring about universal harmony. But America-- praise be to
God!--is at peace with all the world and is worthy of raising the
flag of brotherhood and international agreement. When this is done,
the rest of the world will accept. All nations will join in adopting
the teachings of Baha'u'llah revealed more than fifty years ago. In
His Epistles He asked the parliaments of the world to send their
wisest and best men to an international world conference which should
decide all questions between the peoples and establish universal
peace. This would be the highest court of appeal, and the parliament
of man so long dreamed of by poets and idealists would be realized.
Its accomplishment would be more far-reaching than the Hague tribunal.
I am most grateful to President Taft for having extended his influence toward the establishment of universal peace. What he has accomplished in making treaties with various nations is very good, but when we have the interparliamentary body composed of delegates from all the nations of the world and devoted to the maintenance of agreement and goodwill, the utopian dream of sages and poets, the parliament of man, will be realized. ('Abdu'l-Bahá, Promulgation of Universal Peace, pages 388 & 389)
19. You must make the judicial power in Ireland respected in Ireland, and you cannot do that unless it derives its powers from the Irish government. I do not profess that the Liberal party has quite clearly sounded this note, but I trust the democracy will watch with clear eye the clause giving judiciary powers to Ireland. You cannot give Home Rule to Ireland if you take from the government the power to enforce its decrees; you may as well bind the government,
political functions - the administration of law and the maintenance of peace and order. So says the American Constitution.
The purpose is to emphasize the statement that
consultation must have
for its object the investigation of truth. He who expresses an
opinion should not voice it as correct and right but set it forth as
a contribution to the consensus of opinion, for the light of reality
becomes apparent when two opinions coincide. A spark is produced when
flint and steel come together. Man should weigh his opinions with the
utmost serenity, calmness and composure. Before expressing his own
views he should carefully consider the views already advanced by
others. If he finds that a previously expressed opinion is more true
and worthy, he should accept it immediately and not willfully hold to
an opinion of his own. By this excellent method he endeavors to
arrive at unity and truth. Opposition and division are deplorable.
It is better then to have the opinion of a wise, sagacious man;
otherwise, contradiction and altercation, in which varied and
divergent views are presented, will make it necessary for a judicial
body to render decision upon the question. Even a majority opinion
or consensus may be incorrect. A thousand people may hold to one view
and be mistaken, whereas one sagacious person may be right.
Therefore, true consultation is spiritual conference in the attitude
and atmosphere of love. Members must love each other in the spirit of
fellowship in order that good results may be forthcoming. Love and
fellowship are the foundation. ('Abdu'l-Bahá, Promulgation of
Universal Peace, page 72 & 73)
20. Now, I will touch upon one point - the land question. Every State of the American Union has a right to make a kirk or a mill of its land if it pleases. It is its own. If the soil of a nation is not the property of that nation, and if you are not going to allow Ireland to manage its own land, what are you going to allow it to manage? The land question is at the foundation of everything in the State, and you find that the Land Bill
It's rarely richt adjusted.
Parliament are interested in land, and there is that tone in society which seems to say that property in land is different from property in everything else, because for hundreds of years the land has been held up by infamous laws to maintain a class of people who, if left to the free competition of economic forces, would go down in the struggle for existence.
Since the body of humankind is one and indivisible, each
member of the
race is born into the world as a trust of the whole. This trusteeship
constitutes the moral foundation of most of the other rights --
principally economic and social -- which the instruments of the
United Nations are attempting similarly to define. The security of
the family and the home, the ownership of property, and the right to
privacy are all implied in such a trusteeship. The obligations on the
part of the community extend to the provision of employment, mental
and physical health care, social security, fair wages, rest and
recreation, and a host of other reasonable expectations on the part
of the individual members of society. (Prosperity of Humankind, page
21. Well, what is the solution to the land question? It is a very easy one. Let it alone; let the Irish executive settle with the Irish landlords. The democracy has never been anything but generous in its acts, and it will be generous to the Irish landlords when upon their executive is placed the responsibility of settling with them - if it decides to buy the land at all. I am not in favor of the executive of Ireland touching the land of Ireland, or of the executive of Great Britain touching the land of Great Britain. Let me give a hint to the democracy. You are past the days of unearned increment, and upon the days of earned decrement, and any man foolish enough to counsel the people of Great Britain to take over the land to-day in a falling market may have his own interest at heart, but he cannot have yours. It is said that the people of Ireland will not do justice to the landlords. No, I hope not. In my wildest and most vindictive moments I have never yet gone so far as to wish that the Irish landlords had justice. No; let us remember that mercy should in that case season justice. But they will get generous treatment, and the democracy of Great Britain can be absolved from all trouble with the land of Ireland if they strengthen Mr. Gladstone's hands, and tell him in unmistakable tones that there are a great many things the democracy of this country will do, and a great many things they will suffer, but, as the Lord helps them, they will never be found on the side of Irish landlords as against Irish, tenants, or pay one penny toward buying their land.
The earth is one native land, one home; and all mankind are
the children of one Father. God has created them, and they are the
recipients of His compassion. Therefore, if anyone offends another,
he offends God. It is the wish of our heavenly Father that every
heart should rejoice and be filled with happiness, that we should
live together in felicity and joy. The obstacle to human happiness
is racial or religious prejudice, the competitive struggle for
existence and inhumanity toward each other. ('Abdu'l-Bahá,
Promulgation of Universal Peace, page 468)
22. There may be some exceedingly patriotic men here who have been saying in their hearts, "We do not want to Americanize our institutions." Why not? The Americans have taken from you everything they could lay their hands upon. They have taken your Constitution and bettered it; they have
We must find a way of spreading love among the sons of humanity.
Love is unlimited, boundless, infinite! Material things are limited, circumscribed, finite. You cannot adequately express infinite love by limited means.
The perfect love needs an unselfish instrument, absolutely freed from fetters of every kind. The love of family is limited; the tie of blood relationship is not the strongest bond. Frequently members of the same family disagree, and even hate each other.
Patriotic love is finite; the love of one's country causing hatred of all others, is not perfect love! Compatriots also are not free from quarrels amongst themselves.
The love of race is limited; there is some union here, but that is insufficient. Love must be free from boundaries!
To love our own race may mean hatred of all others, and even people of the same race often dislike each other.
Political love also is much bound up with hatred of one party for another; this love is very limited and uncertain.
The love of community of interest in service is likewise fluctuating; frequently competitions arise, which lead to jealousy, and at length hatred replaces love. ('Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, page 36)
The attainment of any object is conditioned upon knowledge, volition and action. Unless these three conditions are forthcoming there is no execution or accomplish-ment. In the erection of a house it is first necessary to know the ground and design the house suitable for it; second, to obtain the means or funds necessary for the construction; third, to actually build it. Therefore a power is needed to carry out and execute what is known and admitted to be the remedy for human conditions; namely, the unification of mankind. Furthermore, it is evident that this cannot be realized through material process and means. The accomplishment of this unification cannot be through racial power, for races are different and diverse in tendencies. It cannot be through patriotic power, for nationalities are unlike. Nor can it be effected through political power since the policies of governments and nations are various. That is to say, any effort toward unification through these material means would benefit one and injure another because of unequal and individual interests. Some may believe this great remedy can be found in dogmatic insistence upon imitations and inter-pretations. This would likewise be without foundation and result. Therefore it is evident that no means but an ideal means, a spiritual power, divine bestowals and the breaths of the Holy Spirit will heal this world sickness of war, dissension and discord. Nothing else is possible; nothing can be conceived of. But through spiritual means and the divine power it is possible and practicable. (Foundations of World Unity, Page 101)
taken your literature, your laws; they have taken your language, and if you would take from America everything that America has to give you, or everything that America ever will have to give you, there would remain a huge, incalculable balance yet left in favor of the parent land. Why should you not take things from your child if you know they are for your good? But your own colony of Canada has practically the same Constitution, as far as Home Rule is concerned. If there be any man who forgets that America is your own child, let him look to Canada - she is practically the same. Do you think that the English-speaking race throughout the world, with the same language, the same traditions, - because all Americans claim your traditions, with the same literature, with the same religion - do you think that it is in the power of man to prevent all English speaking people ultimately from having the same political institutions? I will not venture to say what the political institutions of the English race may be in the future. It may be that the "Scotsman" is right, and that democracy means that privilege shall die, and it may be that all English-speaking people will range themselves together upon a platform which develops the extremest rights of man, and the political equality of the citizen. That is possible. It may be possible, on the other hand, you may say, that the majority of the English-speaking race will turn its back upon this advanced political development, and, seeking out some prince, will go back and make him a perpetual king, and make his children kings hereafter, whether they be fools or idiots or not, and spend hundreds of thousands of their hard-won earnings every year to support the entire brood in vulgar riot and ostentation; and it may be that we will create another aristocracy, and that I shall so far forget myself and my lineage, as the direct descendant of weavers and shoemakers - glorious Radicals some of them have been, who have gone to jail just for attending such a meeting as was interrupted in Ireland the other day! - it may be that I will forget that and parade before you as a baronet. Then you will say, “We
political institutions -
The Baha'i Commonwealth of the future, of
which this vast Administrative Order is the sole framework, is, both
in theory and practice, not only
unique in the entire history of political institutions, but can find
no parallel in the annals of any of the world's recognized religious
systems. No form of democratic government; no system of autocracy or
of dictatorship, whether monarchical or republican; no intermediary
scheme of a purely aristocratic order; nor even any of the recognized
types of theocracy, whether it be the Hebrew Commonwealth, or the
various Christian ecclesiastical organizations, or the Imamate or the
Caliphate in Islam--none of these can be identified or be said to
conform with the Administrative Order which the master-hand of its
perfect Architect has fashioned....
Let no one, while this System is still in its infancy, misconceive its character, belittle its significance or misrepresent its purpose. The bedrock on which this Administrative Order is founded is God's immutable Purpose for mankind in this day. The Source from which it derives its inspiration is no one less than Baha'u'llah Himself. ... The central, the underlying aim which animates it is the establishment of the New World Order as adumbrated by Baha'u'llah. The methods it employs, the standard it inculcates, incline it to neither East nor West, neither Jew nor Gentile, neither rich nor poor, neither white nor colored. Its watchword is the unification of the human race; its standard the "Most Great Peace."... February 8, 1934.
The contrast between the accumulating evidences of steady consolidation that accompany the rise of the Administrative Order of the Faith of God, and the forces of disintegration which batter at the fabric of a travailing society, is as clear as it is arresting. Both within and outside the Baha'i world the signs and tokens which, in a mysterious manner, are heralding the birth of that World Order, the establishment of which must signalize the Golden Age of the Cause of God, are growing and multiplying day by day....
"Soon," Baha'u'llah's own words proclaim it, "will the present day Order be rolled up, and a new one spread out in its stead."... (Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era, pages 278-279)
don't know how we will treat Mr. Carnegie coming to visit us; he is not a nobleman, and he has ceased to be a gentleman." But whatever be the system of political institutions adopted in the future, - you may have it either way, - one point I venture to stand by, and that is that the English-speaking race throughout the world is to have the same institutions. If you can adopt some of the provisions of the American Constitution for this emergency, you will have hastened by so much the day when your institutions shall be the same as the institutions of the English-speaking race. How long will it take after that assimilation is perfected before we have a federal council that will forever render it impossible that the blood of the English-speaking man can be shed by English-speaking man? Where lies your greatest hope that your own race, the dominant power of the world, shall coalesce and form a union against which nothing on earth shall stand? In the assimilation of your institutions. There lies the point. And where is the hope of that great day which the poet sings of
In the Parliament of Man, the Federation of the World?
For Baha'u'llah, we should readily recognize, has not
mankind with a new and regenerating Spirit. He has not merely enunciated
certain universal principles, or propounded a particular philosophy,
however potent, sound and universal these may be. In addition to
these He, as well as Abdu'l-Baha after Him, has, unlike the
Dispensations of the past, clearly and specifically laid down a set
of Laws, established definite institutions, and provided for the
essentials of a Divine Economy. These are destined to be a pattern
for future society, a supreme instrument for the establishment of the
Most Great Peace, and the one agency for the unification of the
world, and the proclamation of the reign of righteousness and justice
upon the earth. Not only have they revealed all the directions
required for the practical realization of those ideals which the
Prophets of God have visualized, and which from time immemorial have
inflamed the imagination of seers and poets in every age. They have
also, in unequivocal and emphatic language, appointed those twin
institutions of the House of Justice and of the Guardianship as their
chosen Successors, destined to apply the principles, promulgate the
laws, protect the institutions, adapt loyally and intelligently the
Faith to the requirements of progressive society, and consummate the
incorruptible inheritance which the Founders of the Faith have
bequeathed to the world. (World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, pages 19 & 20)
Carnegie Text Goes Here