SEPTEMBER 1, 1950
HYDE PARK, Thursday—I went to New York City on Monday evening because I had some personal engagements which had to be filled on Tuesday and Wednesday, but I must say New York City has no attraction for me in the month of August. It was hot and muggy and, in spite of the storm in the afternoon which drenched everything, it did not seem to make it much cooler.
At four-thirty in the afternoon on Tuesday I attended a short meeting of the New York City Committee for United Nations Day. Mr. John Golden, the chairman, Mr. Grover Whalen, Mrs. O'Dwyer and Mrs. Impellitteri, co-workers, gave a very good account of the preparations they are making. I am particularly glad that the Federal government will cooperate by dedicating Castle Garden which is to become a permanent memorial in New York City. It was the building through which many of our ancestors passed when they first came to America.
I am, of course, particularly interested in the play which Mr. John Golden has been writing in collaboration with an historian who knew the story he wanted to tell, but needed some help in telling it. The story is about the first man who began the fight for religious freedom in this country, and who lived in Flushing, Long Island. His house is still standing and, because of the interest of Judge Charles S. Golden, of Suffolk County, it has been preserved. It is in excellent condition and so should stand up to the influx of visitors who will want to see it after the play has been produced.
Mr. John Golden wrote the play primarily so that it could be put on in schools, colleges, and universities during United Nations Week, to make us conscious of the fact that the city of New York was the cradle of religious tolerance. John Bowne went to jail and was exiled from his city, but, thanks to a Dutch court, was returned to New Amsterdam. The governor was admonished for having treated him so badly.
I feel sure with his sense of the dramatic Mr. John Golden will make us all see the importance of this fight for freedom which was begun so long ago.
Some people think that in the modern world, democracy and freedom, as we have known it in this country, cannot continue to exist. That doctrine is a challenge to all of us in the democracies. It is obvious that given certain conditions the economic life of a nation undergoes changes, but I cannot believe that it is not possible to preserve the fundamental freedom of the individual.
In spite of the fact that a great many people have been worried by the economic socialism which has grown up in Great Britain, and by some of their plans of nationalization, any one who visits the country must still feel a strong sense of the individual Britisher's independence.
We have preserved our capitalistic system of free enterprise. We do not need to take such drastic actions as have been attempted in Great Britain, but, I think when the changes do come, that we too must make every effort to preserve our independence and individual freedom. We will not consent to subordinate the individual to the state except in cases of emergency.