England and the War
By Walter Raleigh

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The Faith of England

An Address to the Union Society of University College, London, March 22,1917 When Professor W.P. Ker asked me to address you on this ceremonial occasion I felt none of the confidence of the man who knows what he wants to say, and is looking for an audience. But Professor Ker is my old friend, and this place is the place where I picked up many of those fragmentary impressions which I suppose must be called my education. So I thought it would be ungrateful to refuse, even though it should prove that I have nothing to express save goodwill and the affections of memory.

When I matriculated in the University of London and became a student in this place, my professors were Professor Goodwin, Professor Church, Professor Henrici, Professor Groom Robertson, and Professor Henry Morley. I remember all these, though, if they were alive, I do not think that any of them would remember me. The indescribable exhilaration, which must be familiar to many of you, of leaving school and entering college, is in great part the exhilaration of making acquaintance with teachers who care much about their subject and little or nothing about their pupils. To escape from the eternal personal judgements which make a school a place of torment is to walk upon air. The schoolmaster looks at you; the college professor looks the way you are looking. The statements made by Euclid, that thoughtful Greek, are no longer encumbered at college with all those preposterous and irrelevant moral considerations which desolate the atmosphere of a school. The question now is not whether you have perfectly acquainted yourself with what Euclid said, but whether what he said is true. In my earliest days at college I heard a complete exposition of the first six books of Euclid, given in four lectures, with masterly ease and freedom, by Professor Henrici, who did not hesitate to employ methods of demonstration which, though they are perfectly legitimate and convincing, were rejected by the daintiness of the Greek. Professor Groom Robertson introduced his pupils to the mysteries of mental and moral philosophy, and incidentally disaffected some of us by what seemed to us his excessive reverence for the works of Alexander Bain. Those works were our favourite theme for satirical verse, which we did not pain our Professor by publishing. Professor Henry Morley lectured hour after hour to successive classes in a room half way down the passage, on the left. Even overwork could not deaden his enormous vitality; but I hope that his immediate successor does not lecture so often. Outside the classrooms I remember the passages, which resembled the cellars of an unsuccessful sculptor, the library, where I first read Romeo and Juliet, and the refectory, where we discussed human life in most, if not in all, of its aspects. In the neighbourhood of the College there was the classic severity of Gower Street, and, for those who preferred the richer variety of romance, there was always the Tottenham Court Road. Beyond all, and throughout all, there was friendship, and there was freedom. The College was founded, I believe, partly in the interests of those who object to subscribe to a conclusion before they are permitted to examine the grounds for it. It has always been a free place; and if I remember it as a place of delight, that is because I found here the delights of freedom.

My thoughts in these days are never very long away from the War, so that I should feel it difficult to speak of anything else. Yet there are so many ways in which it would be unprofitable for me to pretend to speak of it, that the difficulty remains. I have no knowledge of military or naval strategy. I am not intimately acquainted with Germany or with German culture. I could praise our own people, and our own fighting men, from a full heart; but that, I think, is not exactly what you want from me. So I am reduced to attempting what we have all had to attempt during the past two years or more, to try to state, for myself as much as for you, the meaning of this War so far as we can perceive it.

It seems to be a decree of fate that this country shall be compelled every hundred years to fight for her very life. We live in an island that lies across the mouths of the Rhine, and guards the access to all the ports of northern Europe. In this island we have had enough safety and enough leisure to develop for ourselves a system of constitutional and individual liberty which has had an enormous influence on other nations. It has been admired and imitated; it has also been hated and attacked. To the majority of European statesmen and politicians it has been merely unintelligible. Some of them have regarded it with a kind of superstitious reverence; for we have been very successful in the world at large, and how could so foolish and ineffective a system achieve success except by adventitious aid? Others, including all the statesmen and political theorists who prepared Germany for this War, have refused to admire; the power of England, they have taught, is not real power; she has been crafty and lucky; she has kept herself free from the entanglements and strifes of the Continent, and has enriched herself by filching the property of the combatants. If once she were compelled to hold by force what she won by guile, her pretensions would collapse, and she would fall back into her natural position as a small agricultural island, inhabited by a people whose proudest boast would then be that they are poor cousins of the Germans.

It is difficult to discuss this question with German professors and politicians: they have such simple minds, and they talk like angry children. Their opinions concerning England are not original; their views were held with equal fervour and expressed in very similar language by Philip of Spain in the sixteenth century, by Louis XIV of France in the seventeenth century, and by Napoleon at the close of the eighteenth century. ’These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off.’ I will ask you to consider the attack made upon England by each of these three powerful rulers.

Any one who reads the history of these three great wars will feel a sense of illusion, as if he were reading the history of to-day. The points of resemblance in all four wars are so many and so great that it seems as if the four wars were all one war, repeated every century. The cause of the war is always an ambitious ruler who covets supremacy on the European Continent. England is always opposed to him–inevitably and instinctively. It took the Germans twenty years to prepare their people for this War. It took us two days to prepare ours. Our instinct is quick and sound; for the resources and wealth of the Continent, if once they were controlled by a single autocratic power, would make it impossible for England to follow her fortunes upon the sea. But we never stand quite alone. The smaller peoples of the Continent, who desire self-government, or have achieved it, always give the conqueror trouble, and rebel against him or resist him. England always sends help to them, the help of an expeditionary force, or, failing that, the help of irregular volunteers. Sir Philip Sidney dies at Zutphen; Sir John Moore at Corunna. There is always desperate fighting in the Low Countries; and the names of Mons, Liège, Namur, and Lille recur again and again. England always succeeds in maintaining herself, though not without some reverses, on the sea. In the end the power of the master of legions, Philip, Louis, Napoleon, and shall we say William, crumbles and melts; his ambitions are too costly to endure, his people chafe under his lash, and his kingdom falls into insignificance or is transformed by internal revolution.

In all these wars there is one other resemblance which it is good to remember to-day. The position of England, at one time or another in the course of the war, always seems desperate. When Philip of Spain invaded England with the greatest navy of the world, he was met on the seas by a fleet made up chiefly of volunteers. When Louis overshadowed Europe and threatened England, our king was in his pay and had made a secret treaty with him; our statesmen, moreover, had destroyed our alliance with the maritime powers of Sweden and Holland, we had war with the Dutch, and our fleet was beaten by them. During the war against Napoleon we were in an even worse plight; the plausible political doctrines of the Revolution found many sympathizers in this country; our sailors mutinied at the Nore; Ireland was aflame with discontent; and we were involved in the Mahratta War in India, not to mention the naval war with America. Even after Trafalgar, our European allies failed us, Napoleon disposed of Austria and Prussia, and concluded a separate treaty with Russia. It was then that Wordsworth wrote–

  ’’Tis well! from this day forward we shall know
  That in ourselves our safety must be sought;
  That by our own right hands it must be wrought;
  That we must stand unpropped, or be laid low.
  O dastard whom such foretaste doth not cheer!
  We shall exult, if they who rule the land
  Be men who hold its many blessings dear,
  Wise, upright, valiant; not a servile band,
  Who are to judge of dangers which they fear,
  And honour which they do not understand.’

Always in the same cause, we have suffered worse things than we are suffering to-day, and if there is worse to come we hope that we are ready. The youngest and best of us, who carry on and go through with it, though many of them are dead and many more will not live to see the day of victory, have been easily the happiest and most confident among us. They have believed that, at a price, they can save decency and civilization in Europe, and, if they are wrong, they have known, as we know, that the day when decency and civilization are trampled under the foot of the brute is a day when it is good to die.

When I speak of the German nation as the brute I am not speaking controversially or rhetorically; the whole German nation has given its hearty assent to a brutal doctrine of war and politics; no facts need be disputed between us: what to us is their shame, to them is their glory. This is a grave difference; yet it would be wrong to suppose that we can treat it adequately by condemning the whole German nation as a nation of confessed criminals. It is the paradox of war that there is always right on both sides. When a man is ready and willing to sacrifice his life, you cannot deny him the right to choose what he will die for. The most beautiful virtues, faith and courage and devotion, grow like weeds upon the battle-field. The fighters recognize these virtues in each other, and the front lines, for all their mud and slaughter, are breathed on by the airs of heaven. Hate and pusillanimity have little there to nourish them. To find the meaner passions you must seek further back. Johnson, speaking in the Idler of the calamities produced by war, admits that he does not know ’whether more is to be dreaded from streets filled with soldiers accustomed to plunder, or from garrets filled with scribblers accustomed to lie’. Now that our army is the nation in arms, the danger from a lawless soldiery has become less, or has vanished; but the other danger has increased. Journalists are not the only offenders. It is a strange, squalid background for the nobility of the soldier that is made by the deceits and boasts of diplomatists and statesmen. In one of the prison camps of England, some weeks ago, I saw a Saxon boy who had fought bravely for his country. Simplicity and openness and loyalty were written on his face. There are hundreds like him, and I would not mention him if it were not that that same day I read with a new and heightened sense of disgust a speech by the German Chancellor, writhing with timidity and dishonesty and uneasy braggadocio. Those who feel this contrast as I did may be excused, I think, if they come to the conclusion that to talk about war is an accursed trade, and that to fight well, whether on the one side or the other, is the only noble part.

Yet there is no escape for us; if we are to avoid chaos, if the daily life of the world is to be re-established and carried on, there must be an understanding between nations, and there is no possible way to come to an understanding save by the action and words of representative men on the one side and the other. Such representative men there are; there is no reason to doubt that they do in the main truly express the aspirations and wishes of their people, and on both sides they have either explicitly or virtually made offers. The offer of the Allied Powers is on record. What does Germany offer? She has refused to make a definite statement, but her rulers have talked a great deal, and what she intends is not really in doubt; only she is not sure whether she can get it, and still clings to the hope that a favourable turn of events may relieve her of the duty of making proposals, and put her in a position to dictate a settlement. We all know what that settlement would be.

The German offer for a solution of the problem of world-government is German sentiments, German racial pride, German manners and customs, an immense increase of German territory and German influence, and above all an acknowledged supremacy for the German race among the nations of the world. She thinks she has not stated these aims in so many words; but she has. When it was suggested that the future peace of the world might be assured by the formation of a League to Enforce Peace, Germany, through her official spokesmen, expressed her sympathy with that idea, and stated that she would very gladly put herself at the head of such a League. I can hardly help loving the Germans when their rustic simplicity and rustic cunning lead them all unconsciously into self-revelation. The very idea of a League to Enforce Peace implies equality among the contracting parties; and Germany does not understand equality. ’By all means’, she says,’let us sit at a round table, and I will sit at the top of it.’ Her panacea for human ills is Germanism. She has nothing to offer but a purely national sentiment, which some, greatly privileged, may share, and the rest must revere and bow to. In the Book of Genesis we are told how Joseph was thrown into a pit by his elder brothers for talking just like this; but he meant it quite innocently, and so do the Germans. They do not intend irreverence to God when they call Him the good German God. On the contrary, they choose for His praise a word that to them stands for all goodness and all greatness. Their worship expresses itself naturally in the tribal ritual and the tribal creed. This tribal creed, there can be no doubt, is what they offer us for a talisman to ensure the right ordering of the world.

Patriotism and loyalty to hearth and home are passions so strong in humanity that a creed like this, when men are under its influence, is not easily seen to be absurd. The Saxon boy, whom I saw in his prison camp, probably would not quarrel with it. And even in the wider world of thought the illusions of nationalism are all-pervading. I once heard Professor Henry Sidgwick remark that it is not easy for us to understand how the troops of Portugal are stirred to heroic effort when their commanders call on them to remember that they are Portuguese. He would no doubt have been the first to admit, for he had an alert and sceptical mind, that it is only our stupidity which finds anything comic in such an appeal. But it is stupidity of this kind which unfits men to deal with other races, and it is stupidity of this kind which has been exalted by the Germans as a primal duty, and has, indeed, been advanced by them as their principal claim to undertake the government of the world.

This extreme nationalism, this unwillingness to feel any sympathy for other peoples, or to show them any consideration, has stupefied and blinded the Germans. One of the heaviest charges that can be brought against them is that they have seen no virtue in France, I do not ask that they shall interrupt the War to express admiration for their enemies: I am speaking of the time before the War. France is the chief modern inheritor of that great Roman civilization which found us painted savages, and made us into citizens of the world. The French mind, it is admitted, and admitted most readily by the most intelligent men, is quick and delicate and perceptive, surer and clearer in its operation than the average European mind. Yet the Germans, infatuated with a belief in their own numbers and their own brute strength, have dared to express contempt for the genius of France. A contempt for foreigners is common enough among the vulgar and unthinking of all nations, but I do not believe that you will find anywhere but in Germany a large number of men trained in the learned professions who are so besotted by vanity as to deny to France her place in the vanguard of civilization. These louts cannot be informed or argued with; they are interested in no one but themselves, and naked self-assertion is their only idea of political argument. Treitschke, who was for twenty years Professor of History at Berlin, and who did perhaps more than any other man to build up the modern German creed, has crystallized German politics in a single sentence. ’War’, he says, ’is politics par excellence,’ that is to say, politics at their purest and highest. Our political doctrine, if it must be put in as brief a form, would be better expressed in the sentence, ’War is the failure of politics’.

If England were given over to nationalism as Germany is given over, then a war between these two Powers, though it would still be a great dramatic spectacle, would have as little meaning as a duel between two rival gamebirds in a cockpit. We know, and it will some day dawn on the Germans, that this War has a deeper meaning than that. We are not nationalist; we are too deeply experienced in politics to stumble into that trap. We have had a better and longer political education than has come to Germany in her short and feverish national life. It is often said that the Germans are better educated than we are, and in a sense that is true; they are better furnished with schools and colleges and the public means of education. The best boy in a school is the boy who best minds his book, and even if he dutifully believes all that it tells him, that will not lose him the prize. When he leaves school and graduates in a wider world, where men must depend on their own judgement and their own energy, he is often a little disconcerted to find that some of his less bookish fellows easily outgo him in quickness of understanding and resource. German education is too elaborate; it attempts to do for its pupils much that they had better be left to do for themselves. The pupils are docile and obedient, not troubled with unruly doubts and questionings, so that the German system of public education is a system of public mesmerism, and, now that we see it in its effects, may be truly described as a national disease.

I have said that England is not nationalist. If the English believed in England as the Germans believe in Germany, there would be nothing for it but a duel to the death, the extinction of one people or the other, and darkness as the burier of the dead. Peace would be attained by a great simplification and impoverishment of the world. But the English do not believe in themselves in that mad-bull fashion. They come of mixed blood, and have been accustomed for many long centuries to settle their differences by compromise and mutual accommodation. They do not inquire too curiously into a man’s descent if he shares their ideas. They have shown again and again that they prefer a tolerant and intelligent foreigner to rule over them rather than an obstinate and wrong-headed man of native origin. The earliest strong union of the various parts of England was achieved by William the Norman, a man of French and Scandinavian descent. Our native-born king, Charles the First, was put to death by his people; his son, James the Second, was banished, and the Dutchman, William the Third, who had proved himself a statesman and soldier of genius in his opposition to Louis the Fourteenth, was elected to the throne of England. The fierce struggles of the seventeenth century, between Royalists and Parliamentarians, between Cavaliers and Puritans, were settled at last, not by the destruction of either party, but by the stereotyping of the dispute in the milder and more tolerable shape of the party system. The only people we have ever shown ourselves unwilling to tolerate are the people who will tolerate no one but their own kind. We hate all Acts of Uniformity with a deadly hatred. We are careful for the rights of minorities. We think life should be made possible, and we do not object to its being made happy, for dissenters. Voltaire, the acutest French mind of his age, remarked on this when he visited England in 1726. ’England’, he says, ’is the country of sects. “In my father’s house are many mansions”.... Although the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians are the two dominant sects in Great Britain, all the others are welcomed there, and live together very fairly, whilst most of the preachers hate one another almost as cordially as a Jansenist damns a Jesuit. Enter the London Exchange, a place much more worthy of respect than most Courts, and you see assembled for the benefit of mankind representatives of all nations. There the Jew, the Mohammedan, and the Christian deal with each other as if they were of the same religion, and call infidels only those who become bankrupt. There the Presbyterian trusts the Anabaptist, and the Anabaptist relies on the promise of the Quaker. On leaving these free and peaceful assemblies, some proceed to the synagogue, others to the tavern.... If in England there were only one religion, its despotism would be to be dreaded; if there were only two, their followers would cut each other’s throats; but there are thirty of them, and they live in peace and happiness.’

Since we have had so much practice in tolerating one another, and in living together even when our ideas on life and the conduct of life seem absolutely incompatible, it is no wonder that we approach the treatment of international affairs in a temper very unlike the solemn and dogmatic ferocity of the German. We do not expect or desire that other peoples shall resemble us. The world is wide; and the world-drama is enriched by multiplicity and diversity of character. We like bad men, if there is salt and spirit in their badness. We even admire a brute, if he is a whole-hearted brute. I have often thought that if the Germans had been true to their principles and their programme–if, after proclaiming that they meant to win by sheer strength and that they recognized no other right, they had continued as they began, and had battered and hacked, burned and killed, without fear or pity, a certain reluctant admiration for them might have been felt in this country. There is no chance of that now, since they took to whining about humanity. Yet it is very difficult wholly to alienate the sympathies of the English people. It is perhaps in some ways a weakness, as it is certainly in other ways a strength, that we are fanciers of other peoples. Our soldiers have a tendency to make pets of their prisoners, to cherish them as curiosities and souvenirs. The fancy becomes a passion when we find a little fellow struggling valiantly against odds. I suppose we should be at war with Germany to-day, even if the Germans had respected the neutrality of Belgium. But the unprovoked assault upon a little people that asked only to be let alone united all opinions in this country and brought us in with a rush. I believe there is one German, at least (I hope he is alive), who understands this. Early in July, 1914, a German student at Oxford, who was a friend and pupil of mine, came to say good-bye to me. I have since wondered whether he was under orders to join his regiment. Anyhow, we talked very freely of many things, and he told me of an adventure that had befallen him in an Oxford picture-palace. Portraits of notabilities were being thrown on the screen. When a portrait of the German Emperor appeared, a youth, sitting just behind my friend, shouted out an insulting and scurrilous remark. So my friend stood up and turned round and, catching him a cuff on the head, said,’That’s my emperor’. The house was full of undergraduates, and he expected to be seized and thrown into the street. To his great surprise the undergraduates, many of whom have now fallen on the fields of France, broke into rounds of cheering. ’I should like to think’, my friend said, ’that a thing like that could possibly happen in a German city, but I am afraid that the feeling there would always be against the foreigner. I admire the English; they are so just.’ I have heard nothing of him since, except a rumour that he is with the German army of occupation in Belgium. If so, I like to think of him at a regimental mess, suggesting doubts, or, if that is an impossible breach of military discipline, keeping silence, when the loud-voiced major explains that the sympathy of the English for Belgium is all pretence and cant.

Ideal and disinterested motives are always to be reckoned with in human nature. What the Germans call ’real politics’, that is to say, politics which treat disinterested motives as negligible, have led them into a morass and have bogged them there. How easy it is to explain that the British Empire depends on trade, that we are a nation of traders, that all our policy is shaped by trade, that therefore it can only be hypocrisy in us to pretend to any of the finer feelings. This is not, as you might suppose, the harmless sally of a one-eyed wit; it is the carefully reasoned belief of Germany’s profoundest political thinkers. They do not understand a cavalier, so they confidently assert that there is no such thing in nature. That is a bad mistake to make about any nation, but perhaps worst when it is made about the English, for the cavalier temper in England runs through all classes. You can find it in the schoolmaster, the small trader, the clerk, and the labourer, as readily as in the officer of dragoons, or the Arctic explorer. The Roundheads won the Civil War, and bequeathed to us their political achievements. From the Cavaliers we have a more intimate bequest: it is from them, not from the Puritans, that the fighting forces of the British Empire inherit their outlook on the world, their freedom from pedantry, and that gaiety and lightness of courage which makes them carry their lives like a feather in the cap.

I am not saying that our qualities, good or bad, commend us very readily to strangers. The people of England, on the whole, are respected more than they are liked. When I call them fanciers of other nations, I feel it only fair to add that some of those other nations express the same truth in different language. I have often heard the complaint made that Englishmen cannot speak of foreigners without an air of patronage. It is impossible to deny this charge, for, in a question of manners, the impressions you produce are your manners; and there is no doubt about this impression. There is a certain coldness about the upright and humane Englishman which repels and intimidates any trivial human being who approaches him. Most men would forgo their claim to justice for the chance of being liked. They would rather have their heads broken, or accept a bribe, than be the objects of a dispassionate judgement, however kindly. They feel this so strongly that they experience a dull discomfort in any relationship that is not tinctured with passion. As there are many such relationships, not to be avoided even by the most emotional natures, they escape from them by simulating lively feeling, and are sometimes exaggerated and insincere in manner. They issue a very large paper currency on a very small gold reserve. This, which is commonly known as the Irish Question, is an insoluble problem, for it is a clash not of interests but of temperaments. The English, it must in fairness be admitted, do as they would be done by. No Englishman pure and simple is incommoded by the coldness of strangers. He prefers it, for there are many stupid little businesses in the world, which are falsified when they are made much of; and even when important facts are to be told, he would rather have them told in a dreary manner. He hates a fuss.

The Germans, who are a highly emotional and excitable people, have concentrated all their energy on a few simple ideas. Their moral outlook is as narrow as their geographical outlook is wide. Will their faith prevail by its intensity, narrow and false though it be? I cannot prove that it will not, but I have a suspicion, which I think has already occurred to some of them, that the world is too large and wilful and strong to be mastered by them. We have seen what their hatchets and explosives can do, and they are nearing the end of their resources. They can still repeat some of their old exploits, but they make no headway, and time is not their friend.

One service, perhaps, they have done to civilization. There is a growing number of people who hold that when this War is over international relations must not be permitted to slip back into the unstable condition which tempted the Germans to their crime. A good many pacific theorists, no doubt, have not the experience and the imagination which would enable them to pass a useful judgement, or to make a valuable suggestion, on the affairs of nations. The abolition of war would be easily obtained if it were generally agreed that war is the worst thing that can befall a people. But this is not generally agreed; and, further, it is not true. While men are men they cannot be sure that they will never be challenged on a point of deep and intimate concern, where they would rather die than yield. But something can perhaps be done to discourage gamblers’ wars, though even here any stockbroker will tell you how difficult it is to suppress gambling without injuring the spirit of enterprise. The only real check on war is an understanding between nations. For the strengthening of such an understanding the Allies have a great opportunity, and admirable instruments. I do not think that we shall call on Germany to preside at our conferences. But we shall have the help of all those qualities of heart and mind which are possessed by France, by Russia, by Italy, and by America, who, for all her caution, hates cruelty even more than she loves peace. There has never been an alliance of greater promise for the government and peace of the world.

What is the contribution of the British Empire, and of England, towards this settlement? Many of our domestic problems, as I have said, bear a curious resemblance to international problems. We have not solved them all. We have had many stumblings and many backslidings. But we have shown again and again that we believe in toleration on the widest possible basis, and that we are capable of generosity, which is a virtue much more commonly shown by private persons than by communities. We abolished the slave trade. We granted self-government to South Africa just after our war with her. Only a few days ago we gave India her will, and allowed her to impose a duty on our manufactures. Ireland could have self-government to-morrow if she did not value her feuds more than anything else in the world. All these are peoples to whom we have been bound by ties of kinship or trusteeship. A wider and greater opportunity is on its way to us. We are to see whether we are capable of generosity and trust towards peoples who are neither our kin nor our wards. Our understanding with France and Russia will call for great goodwill on both sides, not so much in the drafting of formal treaties as in indulging one another in our national habits. Families who fail to live together in unity commonly fail not because they quarrel about large interests, but because they do not like each other’s little ways. The French are not a dull people; and the Russians are not a tedious people (what they do they do suddenly, without explanation); so that if we fail to take pleasure in them we have ourselves to blame. If we are not equal to our opportunities, if we do not learn to feel any affection for them, then not all the pacts and congresses in the world can make peace secure.

Of Germany it is too early to speak. We have not yet defeated her. If we do defeat her, no one who is acquainted with our temper and our record believes that we shall impose cruel or vindictive terms. If it were only the engineers of this war who were in question, we would destroy them gladly as common pests. But the thing is not so easy. A single home is in many ways a greater and more appealing thing than a nation; we should find ourselves thinking of the miseries of simple and ignorant people who have given their all for the country of their birth; and our hearts would fail us.

The Germans would certainly despise this address of mine, for I have talked only of morality, while they talk and think chiefly of machines. Zeppelins are a sad disappointment; but if any address on the War is being delivered to-night by a German professor, there can be no doubt that it deals with submarines, and treats them as the saviours of the Fatherland. Well, I know very little about submarines, but I notice that they have not had much success against ships of war. We are so easy-going that we expected to carry on our commerce in war very much as we did in peace. We have to change all that, and it will cost us not a little inconvenience, or even great hardships. But I cannot believe that a scheme of privy attacks on the traders of all nations, devised as a last resort, in lieu of naval victory, can be successful when it is no longer a surprise. And when I read history, I am strengthened in my belief that morality is all-important. I do not find that any war between great nations was ever won by a machine. The Trojan horse will be trotted out against me, but that was a municipal affair. Wars are won by the temper of a people. Serbia is not yet defeated. It is a frenzied and desperate quest that the Germans undertook when they began to seek for some mechanical trick or dodge, some monstrous engine, which should enable the less resolved and more excited people to defeat the more resolved and less excited. If we are to be defeated, it must be by them, not by their bogey-men. We got their measure on the Somme, and we found that when their guns failed to protect them, many of them threw up their hands. These men will never be our masters until we deserve to be their slaves.

So I am glad to be able to end on a note of agreement with the German military party. If they defeat us, it will be no more than we deserve. Till then, or till they throw up their hands, we shall fight them, and God will defend the right.


England and the War  •  Preface  •  Might Is Right  •  The War of Ideas  •  The Faith of England  •  Some Gains of the War  •  The War and the Press  •  Shakespeare and England

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