The second annual dinner of the East Asiatic Society of Boston was held last evening at the Algonquin Club. About ninety members and guests were present to honor Baron Takahira, the Japanese ambassador, who was the guest of honor.
Just before the dinner, at the house of Mr. C. S. Hamlin '83, President Eliot received the Order of the Rising Sun from Baron Takahira. The presentation of the decoration was made privately, only a few friends being present. As the President entered the room, the Japanese envoy made the following speech, which President Eliot read at the dinner: "The Emperor, my august sovereign, fully appreciative of the great services you have rendered for the welfare of human life as one of the foremost educators of the age, and for the making of many useful men of Japan who have come here to study at Harvard University during the forty years of your presidency over that institution, thus largely contributing to the advancement of our country, has been graciously pleased to confer upon you the Grand Cordon of the Imperial Order of the Rising Sun, as a mark of His Majesty's good will toward you.
"I am commanded to deliver to you the insignia of this high distinction, and it is my most pleasant duty to carry out the imperial wishes."
Mr. Thomas R. Wheelock, the President of the East Asiatic Association, and now Honorary Japanese Consul, acted as toastmaster and, after proposing the health of the President of the United States, introduced the first speaker, Mr. George A. Lyman.
Mr. Lyman commenced by thanking the ambassador for the honor which he had just conferred on President Eliot, "one who is in himself the embodiment, in the western hemisphere, of high ideals and righteousness." He then spoke of President Taft, "better equipped for his position than any president, who always speaks for himself, broad-minded as a statesman, and one who offers his right hand to every honest man." In conclusion he started that he saw no reason for any undermining of the friendship which now exists between Japan and America.
The Japanese ambassador was the next speaker whom Mr. Wheelock called upon. Baron Takahira, as he rose, was greeted by his countrymen with the national "Banzai." After apologizing for his poor command of English and explaining his position as ambassador, he spoke of the happy relations between the two countries. The recent "warscare" with Japan, he said, was due entirely to the reports which the press had circulated on insufficient authority. "Journalism would be more appreciated if it were possible for it to work in harmony with diplomacy." The recent visit of the feet to Japan was thought by many, due to the false newspaper reports, to be a demonstration; on the contrary, the visit was made on the invitation of the Mikado received through Baron Takahira himself. This visit has strengthened materially the traditional friendship which Japan holds towards this country. He dwelt, at some length, on the imperial decree which was issued last year to aid in gaining unison throughout Japan not only in the matters of foreign relations but also in the foreign policy which is now in force. The work of Americans in the Far East, especially that of Mr. H. F. Merrill '74, former Chinese commissioner, has been extremely beneficial to the relations of China, Korea, and Japan toward foreign nations. With a compliment to the work of the East Aslatic Society and to Boston the ended his address.
President Wheelock next proposed a toast to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and his excellency Governor Draper. Governor Draper spoke of his pleasure at being asked to convey the greetings of the Commonwealth to so illustrious a statesman as Baron Takahira, and complimented him on his speech. He mentioned the debt which the community owes to President Taft for sending the ambassador to Boston. There is no reason for any clash between the countries and he expressed his intention to further the friendship as far as was right and proper, concluding by extending the best wishes of the Commonwealth to the noted visitor.
Hon. Richard Olney L.'58 was next called upon to say a few words. Mr. Olney spoke of the treaties which Great Britain and the United States passed during the second Cleveland administration, though at the time much criticized, introducing Japan on an equality with all other countries. The one grievance which he found with Japan was that its military prowess, both on land and sea, is used as a reason, whether true or false, for the United States keeping up large war expenditures. "Japan," he said, "lies in the East and does not interfere with America. Both are island powers, in the military sense, and as Burke says, 'should make use of the cheap defence of nations.' The competition of the Dreadnought sort cannot go on forever." The two nations should stand together and work for the disarmament of the powers.
Consul general Mizumo of New York spoke next of Japan and the relations of that country to ours for, he said, "The water which separates also joins them."
Mr. Wheelock rose and introduced the last speaker as follows: "Now a toast to one whom we all love and respect, and one whose name has become a household name the world over. President Eliot rose to speak, wearing the decoration which had just been conferred upon him, and corresponding to that which Baron Takahira wore. The President's speech ran in part as follows: "Since I have listened to the speeches I have wondered what fundamental forces there may be which will bring an end to war." Here he branched off to speak of the honor which had been done him and read the speech quoted above. There is one service which he mentioned that Harvard has done for Japan, who have been educated in Harvard College, who use not only the applied science which they learned, but also the knowledge of character which they acquired from their association with many kinds of people in the University. Then he mentioned the Cosmopolltan Club, "the beginning of an intellectual and moral force which will in time make war impossible." Though most people believe that Japan and America are very different, the President stated that there were certain fundamentals alike. He mentioned but one "human nature." He spoke of the feudal tendencies of Japanese society in contrast to ours in which there is no birth distinction of any sort. The resemblance comes in "loyalty," for the same feelings inspire the Japanese in war and business to give them the greatest happiness, that inspire us. Our loyalty is more impersonal than theirs, yet it brings about the same happiness, and "happiness is what counts." "The motive power of men who work at Harvard is loyalty. The motives which lead to human happiness are the same for all mankind, at least for all civilized mankind who have reached a highly organized state of civilization. That is what Japan had, a highly organized state of civilization, long before we had. It is wrong to hope that all nations oughtto be alike, that is not the real democratic ideal; the real democratic ideal is immense diversity.