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Title: A Woman and the War
Author: Greville, Frances Evelyn Maynard, Warwick, Countess of
Language: English
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*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Woman and the War" ***

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[Illustration: Frances Evelyn Warwick

_Photo, Sarony & Co., Ltd._]




Author of
"Warwick Castle and Its Earls," "Autobiography of Joseph Arch,"
"An Old English Garden"

New York
George H. Doran Company

Copyright, 1916, by George H. Doran Company

Printed in the United States of America


It is not without serious reflection that I have collected these
thoughts in war time to offer in book form to those who may care to
read and ponder them. They were written for the most part on the spur
of vital moments, when some of the tendencies of the evil times through
which we are living seemed to call for immediate protest. I have felt
more strongly than ever in the past two years that we are in danger
of accepting as something outside the pale of criticism the judgments
of those who lead, and sometimes mislead us. The support or hostility
of the newspaper press--in some aspects the greatest distorting
medium in the world--is still ruled by party considerations. Loyalty
or ill-will to the men in office colours all the views of those who
praise or blame, and it happens often that a good measure is damned
for what is best or lauded for what is worst in it. Again, I have felt
that while much of the fighting spirit of the country is subject to
army discipline, the tendency of government has been to make helpless
puppets of the citizens who remain behind the forces in the field.
In the near future, if we would save what is left of our heritage of
freedom, and would even extend the comparatively narrow boundaries that
existed before the autumn of 1914, we must relieve the press of the
self-conferred duty of thinking for us. We must not give our rulers a
blank cheque; their best efforts tend more to rouse our suspicions than
to compel our confidence.

Judging all the matters dealt with in these pages as fairly and
honestly as I can, I have found myself repeatedly in opposition to the
authorities. The legislation from which we have suffered since war
began, the efforts to relieve difficult situations and prepare for
obvious emergencies have savoured largely of panic and can boast no
more than a small element of statesmanship. So I have protested and
the protests have grown even beyond the limit of these book covers,
while an ever-swelling letter-bag has told me that I have interpreted,
however feebly, the thoughts, wishes, and aspirations of many thinking
men and women. We are on the eve of events that will demand of
evolution that it mend its paces or become revolution without more ado.
The international crisis and the national makeshifts must have proved
to the dullest that the world is out of joint.

I make no claim to traverse the whole ground, modesty forbids, and Mr.
Zangwill has accomplished the task in his "War for the World," the
most brilliant work that has seen the light since August, 1914. I have
sought to point out where and why and how we are moving backwards. I
can command no eloquence to gild my words, I cannot pretend to have
more to say than will have occurred to every man and woman of advanced
views and normal intelligence, but it does not suffice to think; one
must make thought the prelude of action. Strong in this belief I have
not hesitated to attempt something more than mere criticism. I cannot
wave flags, abuse enemies, or extol popular idols; and consequently
those who read will please accept these and other limitations.


_August, 1916_.


CHAPTER                                                  PAGE
    I KING EDWARD AND THE KAISER                            1

   II THE GREATEST FIGHT OF ALL                            15

  III ENGLAND'S DRINK LEGISLATION                          24

   IV WAR AND MARRIAGE                                     33

    V NURSING IN WAR TIME                                  40


  VII CHILD LABOUR ON THE LAND                             56

 VIII COMRADES                                             64

   IX THE CURSE OF AUTOCRACY                               72

    X WOMAN'S WAR WORK ON THE LAND                         85

   XI GERMAN WOMEN AND MILITARISM                         101

  XII YOUTH IN THE SHAMBLES                               114

 XIII THOUGHTS ON COMPULSION                              124

  XIV WOMEN AND WAR                                       133

   XV RACE SUICIDE                                        142


 XVII TRUTH WILL OUT                                      166

XVIII THE CLAIM OF ALL THE CHILDREN                       175

  XIX THE PRUSSIAN IN OUR MIDST                           189

   XX THE GROWN-UP GIRLS OF ENGLAND                       197

  XXI THE SOCIAL HORIZON                                  205


XXIII HOW I WOULD WORK FOR PEACE                          224

 XXIV LORD FRENCH                                         234


 XXVI GROUNDS FOR OPTIMISM                                250





Since the war began I have read numerous extracts from the press of
Germany and from the contributions of German writers to American
papers stating in the most unequivocal terms that the late King Edward
devoted his political sagacity to the task of isolating Germany, that
he promoted alliances to that end, and that he deliberately sought to
compass the destruction of the German Empire.

At first I took these remarks to be no more than the rather unfortunate
outpourings of the uninformed, but I have seen of late that they have
been repeated with great insistence until there is a danger that they
will become an article of faith, not alone in Germany but in other
countries where Germans have a sympathetic following. I do not choose
as a rule to discuss questions of this kind, I prefer to leave popular
error to correct itself, but, having enjoyed the confidence of King
Edward before and after he came to the throne, having heard from his
own lips scores of times his attitude towards Germany and the Germans,
it seems to be a duty to set out the plain truth. I will do so in the
endeavour to sweep away one of the most ridiculous and mischievous
conceptions engendered by the present evil condition of things.

Had I ever imagined that the present crisis, or, for that matter,
any political development of the peaceful kind would have led to the
statements I seek to refute, how easy it would have been to jot down
the purport of conversations in which high policy was discussed!
Fortunately, I have an excellent memory and it is reinforced by letters
to which I have access, and I hope to commit the reports that have been
spread abroad to the oblivion that is their proper place. I can vouch
for the absolute truth of all I have to say, and I am writing with a
full sense of responsibility.

In the first place the intimate relations between the English and
German courts should be remembered; one of my earliest recollections is
of being taken to visit the old Empress Augusta at the German Embassy.
This was when I was a child, and I know I went many times, so her
visits would probably have been frequent. On my writing-table is the
silver and mother-of-pearl ornament that was her wedding present to
me. Everybody respected the old Emperor William, and everybody admired
the Crown Prince Frederick. When he married Queen Victoria's eldest
daughter, the Princess Royal, who became, after the death of Princess
Alice, King Edward's favourite sister, the relations between the two
courts could hardly have been more amicable. Queen Victoria loved
Germany and the Germans, she adored her grandson. In her eyes he could
do no wrong, she even went so far as to hold him up to her eldest son
as a model. On the other hand, the Princess of Wales, being a Dane,
could not forget or forgive the theft of Schleswig Holstein; her sister
the Russian Empress shared her suspicions of German intentions, but I
never heard of one or the other originating or encouraging anti-German

As the Kaiser grew up towards manhood his personality was hardly known;
his father, the Crown Prince Frederick, a far more noble figure,
monopolised attention. Beyond the fact that he was Queen Victoria's
favourite grandson nothing was known about William II. Nobody thought
that he would be called upon to rule before he was middle aged or
elderly; his father's illness was unsuspected. But if there was no ill
feeling at the English court, it is impossible to say the same of the
court at Berlin. The presence of the Princess Royal was resented; many
people believed, or affected to believe, that the marriage had been
designed to make Germany politically subservient to Great Britain. As
everybody knows, these feelings grew apace as soon as the old Emperor
William had breathed his last, and when, a few months later, the
Emperor Frederick passed away, the Anglophobia had spread throughout
the Court circles and the young Kaiser had been tainted with the Court
prejudice against his own mother. He did not treat her well; it is
not too much to say that he treated her badly. She, naturally enough,
complained to her brother, the Prince of Wales,--I have already said
that she was now his best loved sister. He was angry on her account and
spoke his mind. Relations between the young Kaiser and his uncle were
already strained. I must turn back a little to explain why.

In the early days, when King Edward had arrived at man's estate and
married, he sought to take a legitimate interest in state affairs.
He was disposed to study and to learn, and sought, not without ample
justification, to be admitted to the company of the little group
of statesmen who advised the Queen and ruled the Empire. But Queen
Victoria would have none of it. She practically refused her son access
to the Councils of State, she instructed her Ministers to keep all
state papers from him; within the compass of a limited monarchy she was
determined to rule alone.

Her eldest son, finding that he was not to be accepted as a worker,
decided to amuse himself. If he could not direct public policy he would
at least direct fashion, if he could not assist the Foreign Office he
could at least enable English Society to take rank among the smartest
in Europe. So the Marlborough House set came into existence, and with
its rise came the first beginnings of the Kaiser's criticism. There
were two grounds for this.

In the first place King Edward's personal popularity was unbounded;
wherever he went he charmed women and men, and it was quite clear
that he would be a force to be reckoned with in diplomacy, when in
the fullness of time he ascended the throne; on the other hand, the
Kaiser lacked all the qualities that his uncle possessed in abundance.
Hard-working and conscientious, he was petulant, exacting, and
uncertain. Naturally, then, he found matter for grievance against the
uncle who, seemingly without effort, swayed opinion and enjoyed esteem.
Jealousy was the origin of disagreement.

There is another side to the antagonism. The Kaiser was always a very
strict-living, sober-minded man, a model husband and father, honestly
representative of the domestic virtues in the highest degree. King
Edward, largely by force of circumstances, lived a life of gaiety
and pleasure; whatever he did he did thoroughly; as it might not be
work, it was play. He raced, yachted, shot, played cards, entertained,
visited all his friends, and had a wide field of friendships. Though
shrewd, worldly, and quick witted, he made certain mistakes, and these
gave his nephew an opportunity that was quickly taken. Perhaps the
Kaiser would utter a criticism on the spur of the moment, it would be
taken up, magnified, polished, and brought over to King Edward in the
finished and augmented state. By the way, I am referring, unless I
state the contrary, to the years when King Edward was Prince of Wales.
I use his final title to cover all the years with which I am dealing.
King Edward had great gifts, and when the time came to turn them to the
best account, they were invaluable to his country but, as I have said,
he was not infallible. He made mistakes.

Tranby Croft provided one, his friendship for Baron Hirsch provided
another; for the Baron, though he may have been a charming
man-certainly his wife was a charming woman and a dear friend of
mine--was an unscrupulous financier who had accumulated a vast fortune
by curious and unclean methods of which the full story cannot be told,
and yet for all his faults, he was not an ignoble man, but in some
phases of his complex nature an idealist and philanthropist.

Berlin sneered at Baron Hirsch, Vienna was actually shocked, for in the
Dual Empire a man is judged by his quarterings, and even if he should
have made a huge fortune honestly and lacks quarterings he is less than
the penniless, vicious, and brainless person of high descent.

King Edward smiled at the rage and spite of Vienna and Berlin. He
remarked to one of his intimates that he could not allow either capital
to choose his friends for him, and in order that there might be no
mistake about his intentions he accepted an invitation from Baron
Hirsch to shoot with him on his great estates at Eichorn. I don't know
whether Baron Hirsch asked any Austrians or Germans, certainly none
accepted the invitation, and King Edward found, much to his amusement,
that all the other guests were Englishmen. He merely laughed, enjoyed
his visit, and then, after it was over, visited the Baron in Paris,
to the intense annoyance of the Jockey Club there. Perhaps it was not
altogether wise to defy the conventions, but of course English Society
has never been quite as exclusive as that of Berlin or Vienna.

The Kaiser chafed at his uncle's association with a mushroom financier
whose record was only too well known, he chafed too when King Edward
spent long hours at Homburg with the Empress Frederick who had a castle
there in the days of her widowhood. The love between the brother and
sister was very beautiful. She confided all her troubles to him from
the early days, for oddly enough when there were family quarrels
Queen Victoria sided with her grandson against the Princess Royal,
but it is only right and fair to say that the Kaiser reciprocated
her affection, and his grief when she passed away was heartfelt.
The Homburg meetings were gall and wormwood to the Kaiser and they
renewed the old fear of his uncle's popularity. When instead of going
to Homburg in Germany, King Edward went to Marienbad in Austria there
was still more uneasiness in Berlin's governing circles, for King
Edward's extraordinary personal magnetism was known and feared, he was
credited with having the power if he chose to exercise it of seriously
disturbing the foundations of the Triple Alliance. The Kaiser need not
have been uneasy, his uncle did not enter into political conversations.

It will be seen then that the disagreement between uncle and nephew had
been little more than a sort of family quarrel intensified by the high
standing of both parties. I have heard King Edward speak angrily of his
nephew, but only because of the way he treated his mother, the personal
gibes and criticisms did not often sting him, he merely said his nephew
was suffering from megalomania and had not learned to control a rather
unruly tongue. In all the years I have passed mentally in review I do
not remember hearing King Edward utter a single sentence of ill-will to

The Kaiser's visits to England in the earlier days have left no special
impression upon my memory. I remember dancing opposite to him in a
quadrille at a Court Ball in Buckingham Palace and being present at
a dinner-party given for him in a private house. His friends among
the ladies of England were the wives of members of the Royal Yacht
Squadron; among these was Lady Ormonde. She used to stay at Kiel for
the yachting festival, as guest of the Kaiser with her husband who was
then Commodore of the R.Y.S.

In all his criticisms King Edward was scrupulously fair. Even in
discussing his sister's relations with her son he would add that
they were both strong personalities with different sympathies and
view-points, and that sustained agreement between them was probably
impossible. He admired the Kaiserin frankly, as all must who know the
gracious and kindly lady who in her own quiet and unobtrusive fashion
has filled her life with good deeds.

Relations between King Edward and his nephew improved immensely when
Queen Victoria died. Not only did the Kaiser come over to the funeral,
but he seemed on that occasion to have laid aside the brusqueness that
had marked earlier visits. All the Court noticed it, and King Edward
commented upon it to me with very evident pleasure. The process of
improvement in relations started about 1899. Through the Boer War
events had been moving towards a reconciliation.

The Kaiser's correct behaviour during the war, which his frenzied
telegram on the occasion of the Raid had done something to bring about,
placated King Edward, and after Queen Victoria's death relations
between the two men improved sensibly. The Kaiser either limited his
criticisms or saw to it that they were not indiscreetly uttered. The
old friendliness was resumed, and things became as they were after the
attempt on King Edward's life in Denmark when the Kaiser left Berlin
and met the royal train at the frontier station to congratulate his
uncle upon his escape and inquire after his health. King Edward wrote
to me from Sandringham on his return. After thanking me for a letter
and telegram of congratulations, he said that the Kaiser came all
the way from Berlin to meet his train at Altona and inquire after his
health. He thought that was very kind of the Kaiser.

I remember that the Kaiser's later visits to England were quite a
success. King Edward remarked to me, when his nephew was staying at
Highcliffe in Hampshire for his health, how greatly he had improved in
manner, how courteous and considerate he was, and how much of the old
unrest and irritability seemed to have gone. Between King George, Queen
Mary, and the Kaiser, relations could not have been more friendly,
and when King Edward and Queen Alexandra went to Berlin he thoroughly
enjoyed his visit, and told me as much on his return.

How then, it may be asked, shall we account for the Anglo-French
convention of 1904, and for the meeting between King Edward and the
Tsar at Réval when the foundations of friendship between England and
Russia were laid? In Germany it is believed that these arrangements
were aggressive in their intention and demonstrated King Edward's
hostility. In both cases King Edward, absolutely faithful to the
Constitution, followed the advice of his ministers, and did not discuss
his personal predilections at all. After the Réval meeting I asked him
his view of the political situation, and as far as my memory serves
this is what he said: "Germany is our commercial rival, she has a
magnificent business aptitude, she might develop with growing riches
and a few adventurous statesmen a rivalry of another kind. The Réval
meeting, with the French convention, will I hope put an end to the
possibility. But nothing has been done that stands in the way of a good
understanding between London and Berlin. I believe all sensible men
desire peace. We have no quarrel with Germany or any other power."

I may add that King Edward admired Germany almost as much as he loved
France. The thoroughness of the German business method, the rejection
of everything slovenly in thought and action, impressed him greatly,
and he once made a remarkable statement to me. It was in London in the
late winter of 1909-10, a few months before he died. He came to tea
and talked of German administration. "Do you know," he said, "that if
this country could be controlled in the same way, we should be all the
better for it? If we could be ruled by Germans just long enough to
have our house put in order"--he paused, and added with a laugh--"You
know the trouble is that if we once had them we could not get rid of
them." This statement was made during our last conversation; I never
saw King Edward again, but his words should be sufficient to show that
he was not animated by an ill-feeling towards the German Empire. They
are hardly the words of a man who plotted against the land ruled over
by the son of the woman who was at once his favourite sister and most
devoted friend.

Age, and an experience of great affairs not to be excelled by any
of his contemporaries, had made King Edward a sane and philosophic
observer. He possessed very few prejudices, and he never allowed his
feelings as a man to stand between him and his duties as a king. But if
his personal views had affected political issues it would never have
been to Germany's detriment, for every criticism that I heard him utter
over a long period of years has been set out here. He had a real love
for his French and Austrian friends and a quiet respect for his German
acquaintances. I may add that King Edward not only hated war and would
have been most reluctant to take any step that might ensue it, but
he regarded people with bellicose ideas as fit occupants of asylums.
The fine fabric of civilisation impressed him, and he saw in war the
blind force that would destroy it and leave the world laboriously and
painfully to rebuild. His real interests lay in the direction of social
reform, and he even found the trappings of state, in which as a rule
he took delight, a little heavy when he realised that they deprived
him of the right of free speech enjoyed by the humblest citizen of the
realm. He made it his business to know what Germany was doing to solve
the problems of unemployment, housing, and factory management, and
in the last years of his life his intercourse with Liberal statesmen
quickened his interest in plans for the betterment of the class that
does the work. Time out of mind he spoke of what Germany had achieved
in this direction, always with the frank admiration that only a good
sportsman can give under all circumstances. Far from seeking to bring
war about, it is with me an article of faith that had he been living
in July, 1914, there would have been no war. The immense personal
influence he wielded would have been thrown into the scales on the
side of peace, he would have reconciled differences at the eleventh
hour for he was _persona gratissima_ in every court of Europe, and
there is not among the rulers of Europe one who would not have listened
when he spoke. Those who suggest that he helped to build the pyre upon
which the best and bravest of nearly all the nations of the world are
now being consumed, do but slander the dead and testify to their own



In his famous essay on Mr. Montgomery's poems Macaulay speaks of the
degradation to which those must submit who are resolved to write when
there are scarcely any who read.

It seems a little idle to suggest that two years of war have availed to
reduce readers to vanishing point; indeed, editors and publishers of
daily and weekly papers testify to an increase of circulation. Paper is
harder to obtain than readers; the cause of trouble is that the written
word is all of one kind. The love of sensation, strongest amongst those
whose mental equipment is of the slightest, is being sedulously catered
for, the townsman requires tales of the slaughter of his enemies to
give a flavour to his breakfast, his lunch, and his dinner.

Even the countryman, who with no more than one newspaper in twenty-four
hours must spread sensation over a day, seems to insist upon flamboyant
headlines and cheerful tales of slaughter. Mild-mannered folk, who
would turn vegetarians rather than help to kill the meat that is set
upon their tables, may be heard enthusiastically calculating the
enemy's losses in terms of six or seven figures, and discussing the
hairbreadth incidents of flood and field as though they themselves
carried a more dangerous weapon than an umbrella and had faced more
serious troubles in the normal day than an ill-cooked meal, an
appointment lost, or a train missed. In short, people who must stay
at home because they are no longer of fighting age, strength, or
inclination, are being encouraged to act as the audience. Happily,
perhaps, for them, they cannot see the actual performance, but they
can hear about it, and, as a rule, they are told what their minds are
best prepared to receive. Truth has received instructions to remain at
the bottom of her well or risk court-martial. Life is reduced to its
primitive elements; war, while it dignifies many of those who take an
active part in it, does little more than degrade the constant reader
of papers of the baser and most popular kind. It is to be feared that
the sane view of life is never the appealing one, the untrained eye can
see trees but never a wood, and the man in the street is nearest to the
editorial heart because his name is legion, and the advertiser says to
him, as Ruth said to Naomi, "Whither thou goest, I will go."

In the early nineties there was a literary movement of great promise
in London; the Boer War extinguished it; in the last half-dozen years
we have seen a brisk effort towards the development of a national or
even international social programme; this war may set it back for a
generation; War is ever fatal to ideas. Men whose minds were being
turned slowly and reluctantly to questions they had been educated to
ignore are now concerned with two problems--winning the war and making
good the injuries it has entailed. The increased taxation, the business
losses, seemingly irrecoverable, will develop a certain natural
hardness of fibre, and there is a danger that the social movements,
slow in times of prosperity, will halt in the times to come.

The season of trouble for those "resolved to write" is upon the
publicists of the social reform movement. They must be prepared for
hard knocks and for all the arts of misrepresentation and vilification.
The general reader will first denounce, then ignore and finally
listen to the survivors of the common-sense crusade. The people who
start to state facts will be the leaders of a forlorn hope, and our
brave fellow-countrymen did not face as great an odds in the retreat
from Mons. A fight for the universal reduction of armaments and for
the remodelling of the existing system of government will be met by
indignant cries for conscription and less freedom. The ubiquitous hand
of the German will be traced in every line that pleads for toleration,
good will, and the removal of all autocracies under whatever name; any
suggestion of a return to Christian teaching will be denounced as the
highest immorality. There are many who hold that a conscript Army and
a larger Navy would have saved us from this war; they cannot see that
we should have done no more than postpone the evil day until it dawned
upon Europe in a still greater magnitude of evil, if this be possible,
and that our commercial class, impeded by forced service, would have
been unable to provide the means to pay the bill. The ulcer of European
armament has burst at last, and the remedy proposed for the debilitated
body of the Western World will be a still larger ulcer to take the
place of the one that demanded so much labour to feed and so much
life-blood to cleanse it.

In the same way the effort to make democracy articulate, to raise the
standard of the national intelligence, will be fiercely resisted by
those who believe that the way of the world in the past must be the way
of the world in the future. The attempt to improve upon the methods
of our fathers is tolerated in the worlds of science, medicine, and
commerce, the innate conservatism of government is sacrosanct. To
educate millions of able-bodied men, not to the fighting pitch but
beyond and above it, will be denounced as high treason, and will be
opposed by autocracies, bureaucracies, cannon-makers and publicans
alike. A rise to the heights of sanity is, must be, the death of vested
interests, and every force to the hands of authority will be employed
to check the dreaded movement. According to a well-established formula,
the method of attack will be to denounce very bitterly suggestions that
have never been put forward and principles that have no adherents. In
this way issues can be confused and obscured.

To be drunk with victory or dazed by defeat is to be particularly
sensitive to the more brutal cries of war. The victor desires the
full reward of good fortune, as Germany did in 1871; the vanquished
nurses revenge, as France has done ever since the end of the struggle
that found her so ill-prepared. Counsels of moderation are declared
to be inadmissible until the _status quo ante_ has been restored, and
every force that makes for the spoliation of the simple by the worldly
wise takes the field against common sense. The appeal of the dead is
forgotten by all living save the woman whose mission it is to raise
another generation for destruction; the lessons of history cannot be
recalled by those who have never learned them.

Against all the difficulties outlined here, and many another that need
not be set down, a small body of men and women, inspired by a great
ideal, must labour in every country that has seen war or even realised
its significance. They must speak and write in the face of fierce
opposition and contempt, for war has swept away many of the landmarks
they had already set up, together with many of those who had learned
to regard them; they must face the truth that many a genuine altruist,
shocked unutterably by the revelations of the war, is a little ashamed
of his earlier altruism and anxious to forget its existence. They must
be prepared for a certain coarsening of the nation's moral fibre, for
a long-lived return to the more brutal outlook associated with the
Napoleonic era. In some countries revenge will have become an article
of faith, in others suspicion will be a no less dominant factor. The
whole mental currency will have suffered debasement, and it will be
difficult for some vices to be recognised as anything worse than
virtues enforced upon a nation by the hazard of war.

If the truth about the whole conflict that has laid waste so great a
portion of the civilised world could be ascertained and agreed, the
difficulties would tend to disappear, responsibility would be fixed.
Unfortunately, agreement is beyond the generation's reach; we may
remember that there are many who still regard the seizure of Silesia
by Frederick the Great as a genuine expression of Prussia's mission,
and that history is written to suit the country to which it is intended
to appeal. Limitations, whether geographical, political, or social, are
the sworn foes of truth, and in the effort to remove them an appeal to
international common sense affords the best hope of success.

For many of the world's thinkers who stay at home to-day, neither
physically fit to fight nor financially able to succour distress, there
is this great work waiting to be done. They cannot fight soldiers, but
they can fight rancour, malice, and uncharitableness. They cannot fill
hungry bodies, but they may help to feed starved minds. They can bring
a light to those who walk in darkness and make articulate the thoughts
that stir many a heart and brain. They can give courage to those who
fear the sound of their own voices and have not the strength of mind to
say the words that may not be spoken without offence to the unthinking.
When fighting is over--and it will pass, as all tragedies must, though
it seems to fill a lifetime while it lasts--the greatest questions of
strife will clamour for a wise solution. People write glibly about the
war that is to end war, but let us remember that this issue depends
not upon statesmen but upon the democracies of all the combatant and
neutral countries. What we want is a modern Peter the Hermit or two
in every country of Europe, to preach the crusade of Christianity and
to bring home to the world at large the price of war. There is no
material reward for this service, and even recognition is likely to be
posthumous; the courage required is of the fine kind that moves alone
over uncharted ground. But, just as a kingdom at war calls for men to
man the trenches and face annihilation with the smiling cheerfulness
that robs death of half its sting and all its terror, so a return of
peace calls for its heroes of thought to do battle with all the evils
that make it possible for men who have no quarrel to assemble in their
millions for mutual destruction.

The whole system of government that makes these conditions and must be
indicted for them is rotten to the core, but it is enthroned in power,
and will not deal lightly, or even justly, with those who assail it.

Against this hard truth we have to remember that every evil that has
been subdued since the dawn of history has been fought in the first
instance by one man or a handful of men. If we have only a small
proportion of thinkers to-day we have more than there were of old time,
when the simplest education was the advantage of the few. Paganism
was a more terrible force than militarism in the years of the advent
of Christ, and it was overthrown by the labours of one man and his
tiny following. To-day democracy is all powerful, if and when it can
be taught to open eyes and ears. Those who will undertake the perilous
task may make this war, whatever and whenever its termination, a
fruitful thing for the generations to come, while, on the other hand,
if the lessons are not read aright, we may look to pass from tragedy to
tragedy, until all civilisation is submerged.



It is hard to pierce the thick cloud of cant in which, as a nation,
we are all too apt to shroud ourselves. I do not think we are
hypocritical, although that charge is laid to our door by all our
ill-wishers, but I do believe we are hopelessly conventional, and
seldom muster up the courage necessary to call a spade a spade.

I have been re-reading of late, the endless comment upon the drink
legislation, some of it frankly inspired by publicans and sinners--I
mean distillers--some of it the pure outpouring of cranks, most of it
prejudiced, or uninformed, or both. We deplore drunken habits, but
when Sir Cuthbert Quilter tried to persuade Parliament to pass a Pure
Beer Bill he met with no success. The worst crimes against the person,
the common and criminal assaults on women and children, are largely
due to drink, and of this drink raw and crude spirits are the worst
part; but we do nothing to protect our poorer classes from the poison.
To introduce "square face" gin among the black population of some of
our possessions is a deadly offence, the punishment is heavy, swift,
and certain, but to poison the workers of our great manufacturing
centres is business, and many quite worthy people believe that "when
Britain first at Heaven's command arose from out the azure main" it was
to do business, and as much of it as possible. Naturally it follows
that the fight against cant is all the harder because most of us do
not recognise cant when we hear it. I remember how when temperance
legislation was first mooted as a war measure many friends who can
afford to buy pure French wines and spirits of great age and mellowness
solemnly assured me that temperance legislation is mere foolishness,
and that they themselves are living proofs that moderation, good
health, and a wise activity march hand-in-hand.

But of late years a certain number of women of all classes have been
drinking more than is good for them, and since the war broke out the
working women's temptations in this direction and the opportunity to
indulge them have grown side by side.

The majority of working women are as sober as the majority of every
class, but, though there are thousands of temperate women, they
are matched by thousands of intemperate ones, the number has grown
apace, and I feel they should be saved from themselves. The sober
classes cannot resent restriction. It leaves them where they were. The
intemperate classes may resent restriction, but it remains necessary in
their own interests.

I don't suppose many people read Harrison Ainsworth's novels to-day,
but I remember a striking passage in "Jack Sheppard," where Mrs.
Sheppard justifies herself to her friend Wood, the carpenter, who has
told her that Gin-lane is the nearest road to the churchyard. It is
worth quoting--

"It may be; but if it shortens the distance and lightens the journey I
care not," retorted the widow.... "The spirit I drink may be poison--it
may kill me--perhaps it is killing me, but so would hunger, cold,
misery--so would my own thoughts. I should have gone mad without it.
Gin is the poor man's friend--his sole set-off against the rich man's
luxury.... When worse than all, frenzied with want, I have yielded to
horrible temptation and earned a meal the only way I could earn one ...
I have drunk of this drink and forgotten my cares, my poverty, and my

The working women whose husbands are at the war have many excuses.
They are deprived of their husbands, and--though there is no need
to emphasise the point it cannot be overlooked--their lives are a
drab monotony of toil, their surroundings are often of the most
unfavourable description, the only restraint that can reach them is
self-restraint, and their training has done little to provide it. The
public-house offers companionship, a brief surcease of anxiety, light
and warmth. Many are enervated by much child-bearing, worn out by much
house or factory work. They meet temptation and succumb, but let us
remember that in classes removed from the same form of temptation there
is no lack of intemperance. A very small dose of bad spirits is enough
to provide the cheap anodyne some are seeking, and under the influence
of drink they are apt to lose their self-respect. The craving for drink
grows with what it feeds on, and in all too many cases the hold upon
self-respect falters and is lost. We have sent very many men to the
war, but enough and more than enough remain behind to take advantage of
women who have lost all or even a part of their normal control.

In touch with serious workers in many of the fields of endeavour that
make brief oases in the deserts of industrialism, I know that both
drink and prostitution have increased since war began, and I know
that drink is the great support of prostitution, and that thousands
of women of the class we must pity most have a natural sense of shame
that drink destroys. If the demons of ruin--gin and whisky--had not
been busy pouring gold into the national treasury, day by day and year
by year, they would have been exorcised long since. But business is
business, and the gentlemen whose activity corrupts the country can
always talk of freedom and liberty, and declare to thunders of applause
that Britons never shall be slaves. The possibility of being free to
be a slave to drink never occurs to them, or if it does they forget to
mention it.

But while I welcome legislation that will tend to keep women sober,
and believe that our sex stands in need of more sobriety by reason of
its sedentary life, I am far from thinking that the law that is good
for women is necessarily good for man. The conditions are altogether
different. The self-respecting artisan and skilled worker drink less
than ever they did. The men who are doing the country's work to-day
in all the armament manufacturing areas need a stimulant, need it far
more than the prosperous City man, the real toper of our times. He will
drink champagne and whisky with his lunch, and, having had quite enough
of both, will damn the working classes for being given to the use of
intoxicants. I have been through some of those great works in the
north, where labour at and round the furnaces is unremitting, and where
to-day the pace has been increased to the extreme limit of physical
power. To preach temperance to the armament worker is an absurdity; if
he is not to be stimulated according to his needs his hours will need
to be greatly diminished; it is impossible for him to give out unless
he takes in. Why, in the name of all that is sensible, should he not
have that which will help him? Why should he have remained so long at
the mercy of cheap, vile spirits that are a more or less effective
poison? Why should he be at the mercy of the people who, having little
hard work to do, can thrive comfortably upon lemonade and barley water?
The manufacturers spare no pains to obtain the very finest material for
their own work; if it is necessary to spend a few or many thousands of
pounds upon new plant the money is forthcoming without a murmur. Does
it pass the wit of these sapient people to give to humanity a little of
the thought they give to raw material? Can they not see that the best
and purest drink that the new regulations permit is within reach of the
workers, and that the rest is out of reach?

It has long been the custom of the capitalist class in normal times to
give the workman bad drink with one hand and to raise the other hand
with an expression of holy horror against the sin of drunkenness, quite
ignoring the truth that the quality, rather than the quantity, that
people drink is often the deciding factor--that every class drinks,
and that if the vice looks worse in one class than another it is
because the poorer the man or woman, the viler the alcohol supplied to
them. There are so many excellent people who preach temperance and live
on the dividends of drunkenness, there are so many who believe that a
reasonable excess in matters of drink is a form of manly virtue, and
there are yet more who believe honestly in moderation, and do not see
that their good brand of claret, burgundy, or brandy should be denied
to them, seeing they have never abused it.

For myself, I drink a glass of good wine; failing that I am content
with pure water. If we could give our working classes nothing but the
best, and at a price within their means, I should look askance at
legislation, of whatever kind; but I recognise the old truth that the
destruction of the poor is their poverty, and that the working man
and woman have always been penalised, and will continue to be, until
Government recognises its responsibilities, and rides its supporters of
the drink trade with a very tight rein.

Above all I feel that the new legislation that has first restricted
and then diluted the working man's drink must not be regarded as an
isolated instance, but as part of the vast changes that the war will
ensue. The working man will not forego his legitimate refreshment; it
is for the Government to see that it is pure and reasonably harmless.
Good beer in moderation will not hurt anybody; bad spirits are the
foundation of disease and crime, and, in their silent fashion, are
always fighting against the best interests of the State. Sometimes,
when I read that the perpetrator of some ghastly crime has been
sentenced to death or a long term of imprisonment, with all the pomp
and circumstance of our criminal courts, I find myself wondering what
poison was administered to him in some squalid public-house, and who
among those who rejoice that justice has been done, or vengeance
executed, have actually derived financial benefit from the drink that
turned a man into a beast. We punish the poor fool with a diseased
appetite, we confer some honour or reward upon the prime offender. Then
when our enemies say that we are hypocrites we are indignant because of
their injustice, or contemptuous of their ignorance, knowing as we do,
that God is in Heaven, and that business is business.

Finally, and quite apart from the immediate significance of the
drink question, I rejoice in any legislation that will help the
working-classes to the full possession of their faculties. If drink
helps them to forget intolerable surroundings, insufficient pay, the
deprivation of their fair share of the world's beauties, let us be
glad that it is taken from them in its worst forms. They will see with
clear eyes and with wiser heads, they will no longer be at the mercy
of those who pander to their weakness in order to keep them weak. They
will enter upon the great struggle that lies before democracy with
stronger will and stronger armour. They have surrendered much of their
power to the public-house, and the longer its shutters are up the more
leisure they will have to see that there are better things in life, the
greater will be their determination to share them with the fortunate

There is a time of trouble in store; they cannot be too well equipped
to meet it.



The problem that faces a State when it sends its best and most virile
men to kill and to be killed has certain aspects that few have the
courage to handle. For long years, while Europe was an armed camp, the
claims of love were admitted amid the demands of war, but now that
the dreaded era--which each nation was hurrying through the medium
of extravagant armaments and secret diplomacy--has come upon us, we
are without a definite plan for securing the continuity of the best
elements in the race. If I thought that this appalling war were no
more than the prelude to others, I would pray that every woman might
be sterile, but hope, our last and eternal refuge against the ills
of life, suggests that this most terrible cataclysm will strengthen
the hands of democracy and give it the strength to resist further
sacrifices in years to come. While the grass grows the horse starves,
and while we think of the generation to come, thousands, hundreds of
thousands of Europe's best and bravest lie in their hasty graves, and
the cry of Mother Earth is still "they come." What has been done by our
rulers to see that the fittest shall leave behind them some to take a
share of the white man's burden?

Very little. The men of the middle and upper classes who happened to
be engaged have in very many cases been wise and patriotic enough to
marry, and their wives have proved themselves as full of courage as of
love. In order to marry, men have often been obliged to pay the Church
an absurd tax, for the Church has shown itself quite inadequate to the
occasion, and trumpery restrictions, meaningless in times of peace and
a scandal in time of war, have not been relaxed. The poor man cannot
afford a special license, and in many instances has married without
the aid or sanction of the Church. As we know, the State decided to
recognise the unmarried wives of the nation's brave defenders, a
courageous and proper step that evoked the wildest protests from the
narrow-minded, the "unco guid," and the fanatics who believe that man
was made for morality rather than that morality was made for man. They
did not pause to reflect that our absurd and antiquated divorce laws
are the chief cause of illicit unions, and that divorce is hardly less
hard for the poor to obtain than are decent housing, warm clothing,
and nourishing food. Happily, in making this concession to the men
who are offering their lives to their country, the genius of red tape
contrived to assert itself. Hard though it may be to realise, it was
for some time a fact that, if a man home on leave married his unmarried
wife in order that his children might bear his name, his wife's
allowance ceased because he came under the head of those who married
after enlisting! The very quintessence of stupidity could have achieved
nothing finer.

Unfortunately the majority of those at the front are unmarried. It was
considered sufficient to find them physically sound, to vaccinate and
inoculate them and then to send them to take their chance. The question
of the years to come was never considered. There is no department
of War Office or Admiralty that embraces eugenics. I have looked in
vain through the speeches of statesmen for a single recommendation
to our defenders to marry and leave behind them some pledge of their
affection, some asset for the real national treasury that does not
consist of gold, as is popularly supposed, but of vigorous men and
women as anxious to live for their country as they are willing to die
for it. To be sure every wife would have cost the country three pounds
a month for the term of the war, and this thought may have given our
prudent legislators pause; but I venture to suggest that a wife as a
national asset is cheap, even at that price.

The balance has been redressed to some extent, in fashion at once
inevitable and unsatisfactory. The billeting of great masses of
virile young men in various centres throughout the country, and the
opportunities that the new life has afforded resulted in an increase
in the number of illegitimate births. I have heard of this from many
quarters, and have every reason to believe, in spite of denials, that
no district in which large numbers of soldiers have been gathered
together will prove an exception to the general rule. Whatever the
moral aspect of the question, it cannot be overlooked or ignored.
I deplore the promiscuity, though I believe that a wise and daring
statesmanship, ready to meet new conditions with new remedies, would
have avoided it; but I would like to plead for the foolish mothers,
often little more than girls, and for the babes, who in many instances
will never see a father's face.

I am not urging humanity in place of morality, for most people lack the
moral courage to listen to such a plea; it is rather in the interests
of the State that I urge the proper, and even generous, treatment of
all those who, before this year is ended, will have entered the world
unwanted and unwelcomed. They will be the children of men in the first
flush of manhood, of men not lacking in courage and character (or they
would not have joined the colours), of men whose fault was that they
could not resist temptation in its least resistible form. We must think
of the psychology of the soldier who knows that in a few short weeks he
may be among the nameless dead, who has embarked upon the greatest of
all adventures, and says, "Let me rejoice and be merry, for to-morrow
I die." Doubtless in many cases he will return and marry the mother of
his child if fate permits, often he will not return, and a soldier's
death may well clear a soldier's name.

It should not outrage morality to see that the children, whether they
be many or few, born of men gone to the front should be looked after by
the State where the mother is unable adequately to provide for them,
and it should be possible, too, in cases where the father returns and
marries the mother of his child, that such marriage should make the
offspring legitimate. It is not a large concession; in many European
countries, France included, marriage atones for previous indiscretions,
and if this were so in England there would be a much greater tendency
to regularise irregular unions for the children's sake. If nothing is
done hundreds of young mothers who succumbed to exceptional temptation
will be outcasts. Under the most favourable normal conditions, the lot
of the little one will be hard. When this hideous war is over, I would
like the regimental officers to put the facts fairly and squarely to
their men, to ask them to remember the girls they left behind them, and
to be able to assure them, in the name of the Government, that if they
would, on their return, marry the mother of their child, that child
would become _ipso facto_ legitimate.

I am quite sure that many excellent people will find this plea immoral,
that they will say it is condoning irregular sex union, that it is
removing the burden from those who have transgressed. I deny these
suggestions even before they are made. To my mind there is more
immorality, more glaring offence to the Creator in one battlefield full
of dead and mangled humanity, than in all the illegitimate children who
will have come crying into our tear-stricken world before the war draws
to its end. Those who rule over Europe and, being unable to settle
their differences, sent millions of men, who have no quarrel, to deface
the earth and slaughter one another, are morally responsible for every
change in the normal life of mankind. Those who replenish the earth are
better than those who destroy it.

War is a monstrous immorality that seeks to destroy the world; the
illicit unions, to which I refer in the interest of those who pay
the penalty--the mother and the child--are a minor immorality from
which, with a little care, a little loving-kindness, and a little
fore-knowledge, much good, much deep morality may spring.

There is not much time to lose; there will be much opposition to
overcome, and the work of helping the helpless will be widely condemned
by those who, having no feelings, are always able to control them.
But the effort is worth making, and so I plead here, first, for ample
facilities for those who wish to marry before they go abroad; secondly,
for the legitimation of the children whose fathers, now at the war,
come back and marry the mothers, and, lastly, for some special care of
the mother and children themselves.



Abuses cling to a crisis as barnacles to a ship, and every aspect of
war has its own peculiar abuses. While millions do their duty with
quiet heroism, there is always a minority that takes advantage, that
corrupts others--or itself. Some believe that fraud and foolishness
stay at home, that they cannot approach the field of arms, but this is
far from being the case.

My thoughts turn back to the South African war, when certain scandals
were supposed to have reached their zenith; I look around me to-day,
listen to the well-authenticated stories brought to me by relatives and
friends, and know that South Africa did not tithe the possibilities
of folly and excess. For once I am not pleading for my own sex, I
plead for one part of it against the other, for a majority against a
minority, for those who are doing what they are paid to do, against
those who are voluntary workers. The position comes a little strangely
to me when I look at it in this light, but the highly trained,
conscientious, painstaking hospital nurse, whose patient heroism
proclaims her a true follower of Florence Nightingale, has been exposed
to scandalous annoyance for no good purpose and to no useful end, and
I feel that I must plead her cause, since she is in the last degree
unlikely to plead it for herself.

Society women of a certain class made themselves so notorious in the
military hospitals and elsewhere during the South African war that at
least one General threatened to send them home and another refused to
allow any more to come out. As soon as the greatest struggle of our
history started in August, 1914, certain women of means and position
proceeded as silently and unostentatiously as was possible under the
circumstances to equip hospitals and to set about their self-appointed
work. They laboured conscientiously and sought no more publicity than
was necessary to enable them to collect money from philanthropists and
friends. They did their best, some were already qualified by previous
experience, others acquired their knowledge under the most trying
conditions possible. They have worked since war began, well content to
"scorn delights and live laborious days," some who are near and dear to
me have said that they have well-nigh forgotten the old life and the
comforts they deemed indispensable only a little while ago. I think it
may be claimed for them that they have played a good part, and that in
helping others they have not sought to draw attention to themselves or
minimise the credit due to the trained sisterhood of love and pity that
cheers the wounded and comforts the dying as "The Lady with the Lamp"
taught them to do in the far-off days of the great Crimean struggle.
They have made many friends and no enemies; the hero of the trenches
and the assaulting party has not given more to his country, for both
have given their all, the man his strength, the woman her practical
sympathy, and both a high degree of physical and moral courage.

Unfortunately there is in London to-day a very large company of young
women to whom war was little more than a new sensation. They are not
old enough to understand or young enough to be restrained. In normal
times they must be "in the movement," however foolish that movement may
be, and a war that staggers the old world and the new leaves them very
much where they were before. Under the rose they have not diminished
their aforetime gaiety, dances and dinner-parties have been the order
of the hour. They have not been trumpeted by the section of the Press
that delights in recording vain things, but those who view the currents
of London's social life know that I am writing the simple truth. There
is nothing to be said; let those laugh who may and can at such a
season, their laughter proclaims them what they are.

Unfortunately the people I have in mind have not been content to devote
themselves to brainless frivolity because they must sample every
sensation that the seasons provide, they invaded the sanctuary of the
hospital nurse. Scores found their way to the great London hospitals
in town to face what they were pleased to regard as training; I have
known some who have danced till 3 a.m. and have presented themselves
at the hospital at 8 o'clock! Everybody knows that the training of
a real hospital nurse is a very serious matter, that it makes full
demand upon physical and mental capacity, and that a long period is
required to bring the seed of efficiency to flower or fruit. The
social butterflies made no such sacrifices; they acquired a trifling
and superficial knowledge of a nurse's work, and then set their social
influence to work in order to reach some one of the base hospitals
where they might sample fresh experience. If they were really useful
there it would be unkind to offer a protest, but the general opinion is
that they did more harm than good. They subverted discipline, they were
a law to themselves, they were too highly placed or protected to be
called to order promptly, they showed neither the inclination nor the
capacity for sustained usefulness. To sit at the end of a bed and smoke
cigarettes with a wounded officer does not develop the efficiency of a

One heard repeatedly in the early months of the war that this girl or
that had gone to the front, and one imagined devotion, self-sacrifice,
self-restraint, and a dozen kindred virtues. Unfortunately it is
chiefly in the realm of imagination that these virtues existed. For the
rest the interlopers wanted limelight, and plenty of it, their pictures
flooded the illustrated papers, and to read what was written of them
the inexperienced person might imagine that they were bearing the heat
and burden of the day, the solitude and anxiety of the night, while in
very truth they did no more than search for fresh sensation in an area
that should be sacred.

The type of mind that can seek refuge from self and boredom in such
surroundings cannot be stricken into seriousness; tragedy cannot reach
it. To do a very minimum of work, to attach themselves to the most
"attractive" cases, to carry small talk, gabble and gossip into places
where so many come to die, these were the main efforts of the young
society nurses, and all these outrages were carried on for months on
end. The real nurses and sisters were, I am told, bitterly indignant.
They asked no more than to be left alone to do their best; but they
knew how hard it is to make an effective protest, and they had little
or no time to do so. They recognised by reason of their training, the
full motive of the excursion into the region of suffering; that craving
for excitement, or, in bad cases, erotomania was the motive power. They
found their work impeded by the sisterhood of impostors that responds
so readily to a fashion of its own making, and their chief hope was
that this sensation might pass as so many others have passed, and that
the brainless, chattering, thoughtless, empty company, tired of blood
and wounds, would find some paramount attraction nearer home.

If there are any who are prepared to think I have overstated the case
or have traduced the young women who were lately "somewhere in France,"
let them find out from their particular heroine how much time she gave
to training, how she received her appointment, and how much real hard
work she did day by day. That a few have striven hard and nobly I
would be the last to deny, but these are not enough either to leaven
or purify the mass or to elevate the action of a class that might have
been better employed. Let us remember, too, that suffering is always
with us, and that even when war is over there will be far too much in
all the great centres of our own country. Are these butterfly nurses
prepared to remember in the future the profession they invaded? Will
they respond to the calls that are made to help, not young, attractive
and valiant men, but men, women, and children in every phase of
helplessness and hopelessness? I do not think so. There is neither
notoriety nor limelight in the sober, serious life of the hospital
nurse and sister. Above all there is a hard and necessary discipline
that calls for much moral courage to render it tolerable. Physical
courage is seldom lacking either in men or women who are well-bred, and
it may be freely granted that a certain measure was demanded even of
the butterfly nurses; but there is no redemption in this. To savour the
full sense of life without courage is impossible. One might as readily
make an omelette without breaking eggs. In this case it is courage
misdirected, energy misspent.

I feel very strongly about this scandal--so strongly that I have not
hesitated to write what is bound to offend some of my own friends; but
there are times when it is impossible to be silent if one would live
on tolerable terms with one's self. I feel that in these days woman is
called upon to make supreme sacrifices, that what she is giving even
now is less than will be required of her later on, that her war record
and her record when peace is about to return will be scanned closely
and critically by generations of really free women yet unborn. To know
of a blot upon woman's war-time service record and to make no attempt
to erase it is impossible. The record of the real nursing sisterhood is
brilliant in the extreme. Why should it be obscured for the sake of a
few highly placed and foolish young women who sought with the minimum
of labour to make the maximum of effect? It is unjust, ungenerous, and
altogether unworthy of the representatives of families that in many
cases have earned their ample honours legitimately enough.

Great Britain owes more than it can ever repay to the nursing
sisterhood; and it is intolerable that while their silent heroism
passes with so little recognition, any girl of good family who assumes
a uniform she has not won the right to wear should pose as the
representative of a sisterhood she is not worthy to associate with, of
whose tradition she is ignorant, of whose high discipline and complete
restraint she is intolerant. There are three classes of women in our
midst. The first earns reward and claims it, the second earns reward
and does not claim it, the last claims reward and does not earn it. Of
these classes the real nurse belongs to the second, and the butterfly
sisterhood to the third. At such a season as this there is no room in
our midst for the last, and it would be well for us all if authority
could spare a moment from manifold activities firmly and ruthlessly to
suppress its future activities. The hardship involved would be of the
slightest and the benefit serious and lasting.



The long-drawn-out agony of strife is now two years old and, as each
day adds its tale of slaughter to the incalculable total, we women may
pause in our war work for a moment and endeavour to estimate our own
position. We are no longer as we were, "like Niobe, all tears." Niobe,
if I remember rightly, taunted the gods, and for this offence all her
children were taken from her. We women did nothing to cause our own
misfortune; on the contrary, we strove in our little way to promote
peace, and to that end, above many others, we sought a hearing in the
councils of the nations.

But it was not to be. Our claims were ridiculed or ignored, and now
man-made war has swept over Europe like a blight, and we are left to
aid our country through the day and to mourn, when the long day's
work is done, for our fathers and brothers, our husbands and sons.
Yet perhaps the worst is not with those who mourn. The Immortals can
sport with them no longer. When the last of Niobe's twelve children had
passed, the limits of Latona's vengeance were reached. To have killed
the mother too had been a kindness.

The woman whose son or husband has been snatched from her knows the
fullness of sorrow, but anxiety for their fate must pass her by, while
those of us whose loved ones are on the battlefield would hardly hope
for a moment's peace of mind if it were not for the duties that engage
our working hours and sometimes earn dreamless sleep. In a wonderful
procession that tramped through muddy London under the rain a year ago
I saw a great petition by women for the means not only to serve, but to

After all, this claim to national service is no more than was advanced
in the old days when access to the heads of the Government was barred
and the hooligans of a great city were allowed to give full rein to
their impulses. Then our rulers thought they could dispense with women,
to-day we are recognised as indispensable. That is all, but it is very
much, and it sets me the question that is the title of this brief
paper--What has woman lost and what has woman gained?

She has lost much that was dearest to her, much that life is powerless
to replace. All the springs of her being have nourished the love that
she has given to her dear ones, to the man who was her choice, to
the son who fed upon her life. In many cases she has lived almost
entirely in her children, for the ties that bind her to the active
pleasures of life grow weak in conflict with the powers of maternity.
She has forgotten the brief years in which she lived for herself and
savoured all the sweets of existence, she has lived in her children,
happy chiefly in their happiness, ambitious only for their future and
concerned with the struggle for the freedom of her sex less on account
of her own generation than on account of that which is to follow. It
is woman's _rôle_ to give, it is man's _rôle_ to take, and custom has
staled for him the infinite variety of his taking. And now he has taken
so much that made life worth living that she seeks an anodyne for her
grief in giving him all that is left to give, the labour of her hands.

This is not only true of the women of England, it applies equally to
the women of every belligerent country, friend and foe alike, and it
may be said that between the women of the world there is a common
sacrifice and a common sympathy. All have suffered, all must continue
to suffer, on a scale that this old world of ours, with all its crimes
and tragedies beyond number and beyond belief, cannot parallel. It is
this truth that steadies our nerves and strengthens our hearts and sets
us looking, past the ultimate sacrifice, to what may lie beyond, not
for ourselves but for others.

All that we have has been taken or is being demanded of us. Is there in
all the world something to which we may look forward with confidence,
something that may justify hope? I think there is. Without any sense
of pride we may claim that woman has at least vindicated the claims
she advanced in those peaceful days that seemingly lie so far behind
us. She claimed that she was worthy to play her part in the conduct
of national life, that she was in very truth indispensable to it; she
was told, by brutal word or brutal deed, that her ambitions outran her
capacities. One year of war has given the lie to this assertion. Woman,
even before the coming of compulsion, encouraged her dearest to go,
if needs be, to their death, in a war for which she has no shadow of
responsibility before God or man. Conventions, agreements, treaties,
alliances, in all these things she has no share, but as soon as they
materialise in war she must pay the heaviest price.

The excitement and glory of a struggle in which the fighter feels that
he has surrendered his life to high causes is not for her, she must be
content with the pale reflex or with the tragedy. In her heart she may
know that man incurs the penalties of his ambitions or bad diplomacy or
unpreparedness for upheaval; but those penalties press heavier on women
than on men, for, even granting that the love of husband for wife and
wife for husband be equal, yet the passion of a mother for her child
and her grief when he is snatched from life in the hours when life is
unfolding all its possibilities, is something beyond the strength of
man to grasp.

But woman has not failed on account of her griefs, she has strangled
them--or she has tried to with all the strength that has been given to
her--and she has gone out into the market-place and said, "What more
do you require of me? Ask and I will give, direct and I will obey."
Hers has been the supreme sacrifice, and now at the moment when all
that seemed worth striving for had passed, she sees suddenly a fresh
horizon, the Pisgah view of the Promised Land.

She realises that man is at last beginning to understand and even to
acknowledge her place in the world, that the future cannot repeat the
errors of the past, that the day-dawn of her emancipation is visible.
This war, reconciling so many differences, rebuking so much pride and
bringing so many men and women face to face for the first time in their
life with life's actualities, has united all workers, irrespective
of class or sex. It is seen now that woman has a part to play in the
conduct of the State, and that there are spheres of activity in which
women might and must work for the common good. She and man together
must build up a new civilisation out of the wrecks of the old one,
not only here but throughout the strife-stricken world. Old barriers,
time-worn prejudices, a blind conservatism--what part have these in the
mental attitude of nations freed from overwhelming peril?

The soul of my sex would be as desolate to-day as the ruined cities of
Belgium, Poland, and Servia, were it not for the certain knowledge that
our sacrifice has not been made in vain. We have the right to hope that
our share in the work of the world is to be acknowledged at last, and
that the spheres of our activity are to be widened. In this way, and
only thus, we shall be able, in years that have yet to be, to influence
thought and to influence action, to bring a humanizing note into the
great chord of life. We shall strive through the sisterhood of women
towards the brotherhood of man, and we shall be working among those who
will be able to see for themselves what one-sided rule and one-sided
domination have done for progress and civilisation after their slow
ascent to a position that at best left so much to be desired.

The women of my generation will sow where they may not hope to reap,
but there is nothing new for woman in this experience. It is her
mission in this world to sacrifice herself, from the hour when she
accepts motherhood until the end. Her happiness is derived from the
contemplation of the happiness of others, she lives in the new lives
with which she renews the world. She will leave contentedly to others
the prizes for which she laboured in years of peace and suffered
through the season of war. It will be sufficient for her dimly to
foresee the time when those who have replaced her will give birth
to sons with no more pangs than Nature demands, and give birth to
daughters in the belief that they will not be widowed or fatherless or
childless through catastrophes of man's own making.

So it seems to me, looking back at the cruel record of two years,
that woman, for all her losses, has gained, that what she has lost is
matter for her private sorrow, and what she has gained is matter for
universal joy. She has found the uses of adversity, she has accepted
self-sacrifice for the sake of those who will be the better able to
enjoy the rich fruits of life. In this knowledge she will labour, for
the sake of this truth she will persevere with a confidence in the
future that no shifting tides of chance can shake. And her watchword in
the coming year is, Hope.



It is a commonplace that war brings in its train evils without number,
but there are certain ills that are added to the inevitable ones either
by greed of gain, indifference to progress or a determination to make
profit at the expense of the State. We have in our midst at all times
certain people who are concerned only with their own ends, and who
regard all the means to those ends as legitimate. War time reduces the
measure of restraint that the common sense of the community imposes
upon its greedier members. They find and seize their hour when normal
conditions are upset. It would be easy to multiply instances, but in
writing this paper I am concerned with one only--the employment of
children on farms.

To the average man who does not know a swede from a turnip or the
difference between sainfoin and clover this is a small matter; to those
of us who know the land and its problems, who administer estates large
or small, who are morally if not legally responsible for the happiness
and well-being of village communities, it is a tragedy.

I can remember hearing my elders talk of the bad old days when the
gang system prevailed all over England. The ganger was a contractor of
irregular labour. He would enter a district in charge of his wretched
company of men, women, and children, and would supply their labour at
fixed rates to the farmer who needed it. He charged so much a day for
each hand; he saw to it that one and all did their full day's work.
They were fed abominably, housed in barns and out-houses, and lived in
a promiscuity that would revolt a gipsy. At last even the thick-skinned
countryside could endure the abomination no longer, and the "ganger"
disappeared. It took years for the Legislature to discover that, apart
from the cruelty involved in the custom, it was creating fresh material
for gaols and asylums, that children needed education rather than field
labour, that the mothers could not combine maternity with hard work in
the fields, that if you deprive people of the means of living decently
they will revert to the state of savagery.

The agricultural labourer's struggle has not been limited to the land.
He has been fighting for years to raise his miserable wage. When I
was a girl it was about a shilling a day with "small beer" of the
farmer's brewing thrown in. It is about 3_s._ 6_d._ a day now; but
against this the price of necessities has gone up between 50 and 100
per cent. Saving is impossible, and even the old age pension that
lightens the evening of his long day hardly avails to keep him from
the workhouse--unless he has a wife of equal age or children who, out
of their tiny means, will render a little assistance. He lives in a
cottage that, if often picturesque, is nearly always overcrowded;
his food and clothing are of the roughest, and for holidays he has
Christmas Day and the wet weather, when he may sit at home--at his own
expense--for when there is no work there is no pay. But he lives in
hope; and sometimes he goes on strike, to the disgust and indignation
of his employer, and his children have been getting a better chance in
life than he had. They are supposed to be kept at school until they are
fourteen. He was rook scaring at the ripe age of ten for a penny a day.

Rural education is a poor thing enough. Children may have to walk
two miles or more, in all weathers, to the village school. Their
father cannot afford to buy them good boots or a water-proof coat; it
is beyond his means to give them nourishing food, and so help them
to fight the diseases of childhood; but he feels that something is
being done for them, and, as a rule, he does nothing to make them
wage-earners before their time. Now they are taken from school two
years before an age that the trade unions hold to be insufficient;
they are sent on the land to work for a wage of eighteen pence a
day, in any weather, on any soil, without the proper clothing and
with insufficient food. There they will undersell the rural labour
market, they will be robbed of their childhood, they will go without
supervision at a time when they need it most. And the Bumbles of our
Education Councils have nodded thick, approving heads.

It is hard to write patiently of such retrograde devices, put forward,
as all such proposals are, in the name of the country's needs. If
these needs be genuine, which I doubt, if there be no adequate supply
of female labour to be obtained for a fair price, why should the
children of our poorest, the little ones whose physique has never been
strengthened by sufficient nourishing food and by the hygiene of the
home, be called upon to bear the burden single-handed? Why should not
Eton and Harrow, Rugby, Marlborough, Winchester, and other schools
without number, serve the national need? The lads at these expensive
establishments can at least complete their education after the war,
they can carry health and strength to the fields, they can acquaint
themselves at first hand with the realities of labour, a knowledge
that, with the changing times ahead, will be valuable to many of
them who will inherit land in days to come. Will the farmers who
are sending to the fields the half-grown children of their ill-paid
labourers contribute their own to work by their side? I am sure that
the mere suggestion will rouse the wildest indignation; but all the
children, whatever their advantage or disadvantage, are British
citizens, and it is not too much to suggest that those who have a stake
in the country should at least do as much as those for whom fortune
provided no birthright. Let us be democratic in deeds as well as words.
I am quite sure that, if the doubtful privilege extended to the rural
labourer's children were conferred at the same time upon the children
of all patriots, the councils would expunge their fatuous resolutions
from their minute books; they would make all possible haste to forget

But it may be urged that, in pleading for the children, I have
overlooked the crying needs of the countryside, that I am ignorant of
the real need for labour to deal with the increased area of the corn
and for the late-sown spring crops, for it is clear that, as soon as
the proposal for universal child labour is made, the scheme falls to
the ground.

I am well aware of the existing conditions--what landlord is not?--and
I have a remedy for them. It is not a popular one, but I am not
searching for popularity. In spite of the genuine sacrifices that have
been made by many classes of the community, much more remains to be
done. We have all over the country racing stables full of lads who
cannot go to the war and of men who have passed serviceable age. Hard
work in the fields from April to the time the last corn is under the
stack thatch would do them all the good in the world, and, with some
knowledge of all classes of horses, I believe that horses would survive
and the superiority of the British sires would not be lost.

Having depleted the racing stables, even at the cost of reducing the
number of race meetings, I would turn my attention to the golf clubs:
their name is legion. What an army of "ineligible" caddies might be
recruited for the fields and given the chance of earning a living
intelligently! I go so far as to hint that thousands of the elderly
gentlemen who still pursue the golf ball might find more useful
occupation in ministering to the country's genuine needs.

Let me pass from one monstrous suggestion to another. I would enroll
the gamekeepers and the gillies; for once I would leave the wild
pheasants to breed as they will and the grouse to work out their own
salvation. A desperate remedy, but then our disease is dangerous. We
need corn even more than pheasants, and other game birds can look after
themselves. There might be an epidemic of poaching, in which case I
would sentence every poacher to three months' hard labour--on the
land. We have in this country to-day hundreds, I might say thousands,
of sturdy middle-aged men who are now following occupations that, while
they are perfectly reasonable in times of peace, are superfluous, even
derogatory, to-day.

There is yet another class that can be mobilised to serve the country's
need. I would like to see the last remaining footmen and the valets of
middle age allowed to enjoy a summer of useful activity. They, too,
may be in their right place at normal times; now their country needs
them more than their masters do. A little hardship would be involved,
but I do not believe there are many employers of superfluous or
ornamental labour who would, if the matter were put before them fairly
and temperately, place their own petty comforts before the country's
need for food. We hope and believe that we may rely upon our Fleet to
feed us, but why should we run risks? No war is won until it is lost,
and if by ill-fortune we experienced a shortage, I do not think that
the owners of racing stables, the renters of shooting and fishing, the
members of golf clubs and the employers of men servants could acquit
themselves of a serious responsibility. If all these sources of supply
are tapped, and it is still found that the supply of labour in the
fields is inadequate to the nation's needs, let us proclaim a national
holiday in all the schools of the country, and let the high and the low
born, the rich and the poor, seek the fields together. But until all
sources of adult labour have been exhausted let us spare the little
ones, and in any case let us see that those whose share of the good
things of life is smallest are not called upon to endure trials and
make sacrifices that we would shrink from demanding of our own children.



In times when national emotion is deeply stirred it is possible for
the close observer to get a glimpse of the main trend of thought.
Just as a feather will show the direction of the wind, a word may
show the direction of a man's mind. It is on this account that I was
deeply moved and greatly stimulated of late by hearing that as the
gallant Frenchmen attack the enemy their rallying cry is "Camarades,
Camarades!" This is one of the most beautiful words in any language,
it is the one by which a nation may rise to the height of its greatest
achievement, whether in clearing its beloved land of a hated enemy or
clearing its administration of the abuses from which no administration
is free. One hardly dares to think of what the world might be like
to-day if war had not been needed to establish the wonderful unity the
word bespeaks.

There is not on all the earth a more democratic army than that of
France, and to-day it is a perfect union, a veritable brotherhood. From
the highest General to the humblest "piou-piou" there is but one aim,
one ideal, prince and peasant pursue it to the end. One and all know
that if success is to be achieved against heavy odds, it is by the
help of the real brotherhood, the feeling that the accidents of birth
and fortune do not count any longer, that "a man's a man for a' that."
Other countries have caught a glimpse of the truth, our own among the
number, but it needed French clarity of vision to recognise the truth
and crystallise it in a word--a simple word with the mystic number of
letters and so powerful that, when it becomes the rallying cry in times
of peace for all civilised nations, the evils under which men and women
labour will be swept away like chaff before wind.

For many years past I have been convinced that the enemies of mankind
are not men. Ignorance, poverty, greed, vice, disease, these are the
foes that prey upon all communities, and while those who foster them
are of no brotherhood, those who would combat them need no more than
brotherhood in order to overcome. War, in which a man makes the supreme
surrender, in which he discounts the terror of death and makes purposes
splendid by his devotion, reveals the truth even to those who have
never thought before. Will brotherhood survive war, or does it need the
exaltation born of the greatest of world tragedies to open a nation's
eyes--and keep them open?

The history of our civilisation depends upon the answer to this
question. Nothing less than brotherhood will enable the nation to face
the widespread poverty that already exists, but will not be recognised
until peace is restored. There will be very little money left in the
countries of combatant nations, and there will be very many needs. The
care of the wounded, the maimed and the helpless, provision for the
widows and the children of war will come first. Then there are the
schools; nothing is more vital to the future generation than education,
and few great claims are more in danger of a grudging treatment.

There are two ways of handling a nation's affairs, one is to make the
rich richer at the expense of the poor, the other is to make the poor
less poor at the expense of the rich. The peaceful solution of the
whole problem is found in the battle call of our gallant Allies. If we
are "camarades, bons camarades!" we can endure our national privations
and scarcely feel them, for we shall all be in the same boat, and it
is not poverty that galls but the contrast between poverty and wealth.
Down to the time when war began this contrast was ever present, it was
becoming one of the great dangers of our time; it has not disappeared
to-day, but it is far less noticeable, and as we continue to spend
between thirty and forty million pounds a week on war, the cases of
contrast will tend to grow less and less. I look for the time when men
and women will find it as distressing to flaunt riches as the poor find
it to display the outward and indisputable signs of poverty. One does
not envy even now the state of mind that enables a man to say that he
is "doing very well out of this war."

Among "comrades" such a thing would be impossible, the only excuse for
making money out of national misfortune is to be found in its wise
distribution to alleviate the suffering that war renders inevitable. To
amass wealth from the country's needs, to spend it on purely personal
ends, to allow an orgie more terrible than the Black Death to fill
private coffers, this surely is the negation of brotherhood, and those
who do it are the outcasts of civilisation, even though they purchase
palaces and peerages and every honour that unscrupulous Governments
vend in semi-privacy. How will the men who have thrown their lives into
the scale tolerate the men who trafficked in the necessities of life,
or the implements of death, and demand the high places as a reward for
successful huckstering? They will not lightly reckon them in the ranks
of the "comrades"; in a world founded on brotherhood there will be no
place for them. If there be a place in the near future perhaps it will
be the nearest lamp-post. Stranger things have happened.

Sometimes I think we could afford to lose this war, or, at least, not
to win it, if the Frenchman's battle call could become the rallying
cry of all parties and all grades in this country. Much as I loathe
war and all it stands for, I feel that an instant victory would have
been very bad for us, while a success won by waiting must at least
purge our national life of the grosser elements. The mingling of high
and low, of rich and poor, the price of strife demanded of each and
all, the community wrought by suffering and by heavy loss, all these
things are salutary for a nation grown plethoric by prosperity. It will
not greatly matter if we lose half the world and gain our own souls,
for the simple reason that an England wide-eyed, clean-limbed, and
efficient could yet achieve and retrieve, while an England besotted
by sloth and bemused by riches can only endure until the advent of a
stronger and more determined race.

Whatever our destiny, whatever the future holds in store, we shall
be happy indeed if we can face difficulties, dangers, privation, or
supreme victory with the cry of "Comrades!" When war came, this country
was fast sinking towards civil strife, drifting for lack of the spirit
of good fellowship. A few masters, innumerable men, industry organised
into limited liability companies that the human touch, the community
between employer and employed, might cease, the wealth of the country
divided on lines that gave 90 per cent. to a tenth of the population
and divided the remaining one-tenth of the wealth between 90 per cent.
of the people who create it,--these conditions were making for a social
upheaval of bloodiest kind. Education starved, an infant mortality
greater than the present waste of war, discontent, ill-feeling, class
hatred, all these things were, all these things may be again, but not
if the cry of "Comrades!" is taken up.

Whether we win or lose, I see civil unrest inevitable, for this war has
sounded the death-knell of the old industrial, social, and political
conditions. Nothing within the range of possibility can leave us just
where we are, and worse than the struggle with an enemy is the struggle
with a friend. Though I hold all war to be fratricidal, yet civil war
must ever remain the worst form of it. As soon as the old problems
force their way again to the fore the danger of civil strife becomes
imminent, and let us remember that the working classes that come back
from war will have forgotten what fear means. It seems to me that
salvation lies in the Frenchman's fighting cry, that in giving his
brothers a lead he has offered a lead to civilisation. He has shown us
how to make the inevitable changes peacefully.

Idealism is out of fashion to-day because--let us not burke the
truth--our idealists were deceived about Germany's intentions, and
those in high places unconsciously misled the people. Yet let us cling
to our ideals, for they may prove our best possession, and let us
realise that the cry of "Comrades!" may, as years pass and the old
bitterness dies away, extend across frontiers and bind in a common
brotherhood the sons of the men who sought to destroy one another. Such
is the potency of a word that revivifies life, laughs at wounds and
disarms death. It sums up the aspirations of the greatest reformers
and social workers of old time, of the men, from John Ball to William
Morris, who strove for England. Only the French people, with their
innate sense of selection, could have picked upon a word that can sum
up the best of the ideals of the human race. We are their debtors for
it, and there is no nobler way of paying the debt than by developing
the cry until it resounds from one end to the other of our Empire. It
will renew our youth, it will destroy many of the old evils that were
even worse than war, it will realise the ambitions of men who lived and
died for England in times of peace, when there is no reward for social
heroism other than the consciousness of a supreme effort made on behalf
of people one may never see, people who will never understand.

If the future of the world is with sane, wide-eyed democracies; if man
is to be free to do the world's work and develop human destiny without
turning aside at the bidding of kings and rulers; if humanity, with its
common lot and destiny, is to develop the spirit of brotherhood that
makes life beautiful,--we could have no finer rallying cry than France
has offered. I do not believe that the country capable of originating
and responding to it can be beaten by sheer weight of numbers; I
feel that it is one of the world's assets, and that somewhere in the
background the Great Force we strive to comprehend, and, comprehending,
to worship, will guard it against ultimate defeat. To doubt this
were to believe that the race is to the swift and the battle to the
strong, and that the man who can invent the most efficient machinery
can dominate God's world. Such a belief is to me the most unpardonable
form of atheism. This world was not made, was not populated, was not
instructed, that soulless machinery might hold it in thrall at last.
The French know this, hence the battle cry that thrills me as I write.



In the great gale that sweeps over Europe the few rags that hide the
nakedness of monarchy flutter like scarecrows; I find myself watching
for the gust that will reveal to the gaze of the least discerning what
a dangerous and ridiculous thing the bare bones of kingship have become.

England has filed the teeth of the serpent, it can bite no more--the
phrase is Swinburne's not mine. We keep our kings as we keep the
Regalia in the Tower, well housed and well looked after, and
between the ruler and the ruled there is a pleasant, but indefinite
relationship. Kingship for us is the focus of patriotism and loyalty,
but we should not go to war because the house of Guelph were jealous of
the house of Hapsburg, or on bad terms with the house of Hohenzollern.

Those German pundits who believe that King Edward made the Anglo-German
war have never grasped our national attitude toward monarchy, or King
Edward's ungrudging recognition of the merits of the German people.

With us monarchy is an abstraction, very little more.

There was a time when it was supposed to be the fountain of honour, but
politicians have fouled the waters so much and have bought and sold
honours so unblushingly that modern royalty would be a little ashamed
to father so large an illegitimate progeny. A business nation, we have
a fixed price for everything. We pay our kings so much a year, and if
they exceeded their allowance the State would hesitate to make up the
deficit. Baronies, baronetcies, knighthoods and the rest have their
fixed price, generally, though not invariably, payable to the party
whips who consider themselves morally bound to deliver the goods.

When we were on the brink of war in 1914, M. Poincaré wrote a touching
letter to King George, such as an old-time king might have sent
to a brother sovereign. King George signed a reply that has been
published--one would wager that nothing save the signature involved his
heart or his pen. It was no more than the letter of a greatly harassed
minister who was trying to think while he balanced himself on a high
and unstable fence. Here was ample evidence that all who run might read
of the final surrender of the monarchy, and incidentally, of the desire
of England to maintain peace.

Nobody wants more than the shadow of kingship in this country.
Everybody with more than the most perfunctory knowledge of history
has realised that half the wars of the world have been fought for
the gratification of kings, and most of the others have been waged
in the name of religion, i.e. to demonstrate the superiority of one
orthodoxy over another. Slowly, and at such a sacrifice as the world
may well shudder to contemplate, we have come within sight of the end
of religious strife. There remain wars of kingship, the present one is
little more than that.

Down to a few years ago the old gates were still standing at Temple Bar
to divide the City from Westminster. At Warwick Castle the drawbridge
is still raised every night. In some of the cities of Southern Spain
watchmen, armed with spears and oil lamps, still proclaim the time of
night and the state of the weather. The "Miracle" of the Sacred Fire
remains an annual spectacle at Eastertide in the Church of the Holy
Sepulchre that is in Jerusalem.

The world, as though conscious of the ugliness of so much that is
modern, still clings to old customs and institutions even when they are
absurd. That is why autocratic kingship survives.

The house of Hapsburg has been ruling in Europe since the thirteenth
century; in Germany as well as Austria for part of the time; the
rule of the Hohenzollerns dates from 1871. A German, Count Berthold,
is said to have originated in the eleventh century the house of Savoy
that governs Italy. In Spain we find the ubiquitous Hapsburgs and the
Bourbons sharing rule. A Hohenzollern is in Rumania, and on the distaff
side in Greece. A Princess of the Hohenzollern house was the mother of
King Albert of Belgium; Ferdinand of Bulgaria has Coburg and Bourbon

A system of inter-marriage has retained power in the hands of a few
houses, but nature is ill-disposed toward inbreeding and has scourged
the cunning of kings with insanity and disease. While democracy has
grown in stature and in vision, while it has been claiming its own
place in the sun, the small privileged class has diminished physically,
mentally, morally, but still clings desperately to place. There are a
few brilliant exceptions, Albert of Belgium for example, but Hapsburgs,
Hohenzollerns, Coburgs, and Bourbons are, generally speaking, no longer
qualified from any standpoint to rule the destinies of free peoples.
They are a little better than well-connected anachronisms, avid of the
power that is passing from them and ready to offer any sacrifice that
their subjects are capable of making in order that their time-tarnished
prestige may shine again.

The wishes of their people are the last thing to be considered
by autocratic monarchs. They will not stand in the scale against
the interests of their relatives, and in the courts of Europe it
is hard to find a ruler who is not a cousin of some sort to all
his fellow-sovereigns. Jealousy, ambition, ill report, dyspepsia,
disease, dementia, any one of these evils if it be backed by greed,
may avail to plunge innocent nations into the hell of war. Forces
that sway a republic are powerless in an absolute monarchy or in one
where servility and orthodoxy strive hand in hand. There are few
European rulers who have half the sagacity of the chief advisers
whom they may override at will. They are not as a rule men and women
of great culture, few if any have ideas that belong of right to the
twentieth century, their function has outgrown them, and the reverence
they demand and receive is founded very largely upon ignorance and

To plunge Europe into war for purely personal ends has always seemed
in the eyes of kings a reasonable action. Frederick the Great admitted
that he started the Seven Years' War by stealing Silesia from Austria
for "glory," and the records of Spain and Austria are full of similar

Now that Europe has been shaken from base to summit, will the sober
manhood of the twentieth century allow the present system to endure?

On the other hand, I see a great movement toward giving kingship
a fresh lease of life, toward perpetuating secret diplomacy and
developing clericalism. But men who have stood face to face with the
living God should decide to worship henceforth after the inclination
of their own hearts. Elderly gentlemen of conservative tendencies are
already writing to warn the public that, however awful the chaos now
prevailing, democratic rule would have made it worse. I welcome such
warnings, for they are a proof that the upholders of tradition are at
last aware of the slippery places over which they must so shortly tread.

If the democracy can see the truth, if its eyes refuse to be dazzled
by flags, medals, and uniforms and its ears will convey each plausible
speech to the brain for sober analysis, this war will not have been
waged in vain.

I hold in all seriousness that it is a strife of kings. Gladstone
once asked anybody to tell him how the Austrian Empire had been of
any service to humanity. The aggregation of uncongenial nationalities
has been kept together for the greater glory of the effete house of
Hapsburg, a house whose true history, even since Kaiser Franz Josef
came to the throne, could not be printed. The genius of the German
people, their magnificent education, stern discipline, tireless
industry and full nurseries were conquering both hemispheres, but that
was not sufficient. Unless the German could pay tribute to the house of
Hohenzollern and increase the Imperial prestige, progress was an egg
without salt to the palate of the Potsdam hierarchy.

The fruits of forty years of labour and a generation of child-bearing
were flung into the scale that the Hohenzollerns might stand more
directly in the limelight.

The people whose blood was to be spilt, whose wives were to be widowed,
whose wealth was to be squandered, were wilfully deceived and were
driven to war as the Pharaohs drove their warrior-slaves.

Their awakening must come, and with it let us hope a further accession
of strength to the Social Democracy that is the best hope of Germany.

We know that neither England nor France desired war, that Russia,
whatever her interest in the great Slav-Teuton controversy, was not
ready for it, and the worst to be said of the Allied Powers is that,
conscious of an enormous menace, they united to destroy it. But every
thinking man knows that without the ambitions of a few soldiers,
statesmen (so-called), and officials this war had never come about.

I have often compared the position of republics with that of
monarchies and have cited the American Republics. The United States
live in peace, even the South American States, with their mixed
population, their Spanish, Portuguese, German and Italian blood, are
seldom found long at strife.

Royalists have spoken to me glibly about the corruption that is said
to be inherent in republics. It is about the only charge they can
formulate, and the reply is obvious. In republics corruption is hard
to hide, it comes to the surface and is visible to all. In monarchies
corruption, no less rife, is hard to expose; all the avenues to light
and free speech are closed.

Your republic brings character and brains to the top; your monarchy
makes statesmen of courtiers and sycophants, men who will bow the knee
to the Baal of the hour.

A republic is open to the air of heaven. A monarchy is a garden
enclosed, richer in rank weeds than flowers. If Germany had been a
republic, the Social Democrats could have learned the truth and acted
upon it; had Austria been a republic, giving equal voice to all the
interests it affects to represent, sympathy with the Slavs would have
kept the rulers from their disastrous attempt to reduce Serbia to the
status of a vassal kingdom.

Kings have served their time. The ruler who rode to war at the head of
his troops, who could handle the heaviest sword or battle-axe, who was
both the ruler and judge of his people, belongs to a bygone era. His
last _raison d'être_ passed with the era of industry and rapid transit.
He became an anachronism when people began to realise that life is a
gift to be wisely used, and that racial antagonisms may be cured or
dispersed by close relationship. It is for kings and for kings alone
that millions of men who have no real quarrel have slaughtered one
another under conditions of horror that make description inadequate.
Until we understand that simple truth that the natural inclination
of civilised man is to live on friendly terms with his neighbour in
spite of all divisions of boundaries, whether of place, blood, or
religion, civilisation will be rendered null. Kings have ceased to
represent their people; the time has come when the people can represent

Unhappily they do not yet recognise their own power, and nothing is
farther from the wishes of Europe's tottering dynasties than that they
should do so. Education, their first aid to emancipation, has been
grudgingly conceded. Representation is in its infancy and is hedged
round with so many safeguards to royalty that in many countries it is
still struggling for effective existence. For all our brave talk Europe
is still in its first youth, but the tragedy through which we are
passing may yet serve to stimulate its growth as surely as the blood
shed on its fields will yield return in the fruits of the earth.

Will democracy rise from the conflict not only strong but determined?
Will it carry destruction to the source of destruction? Will it assert
its inalienable right to the fruits of peace, progress, and utility?
I pray that it may, but I do not disguise from myself the enormous
difficulty of the task. Demos is yet so unskilled, so easily flattered,
so readily deceived, he will be met by men who have all the traditions
of humbug at their finger tips; indeed, these traditions are almost
their sole inheritance and equipment.

Yet, "all that a man hath will he give for his life," and the democrat
will not only be fighting for his own but for his children's lives and
for the well being of the human race. He will have faced death, and
will have realised that though man may die but once, the condition
of rule that makes war possible makes the doom recurrent with every
generation. He should know that the old traditions of rule are in the
melting pot, and though all the forces of reaction will labour to shape
them again as of old, it is in his power, if it is in his will, to
frustrate their action.

The United States looks to have a voice in the making of peace.
Doubtless it will do useful work, but I cannot conceive of any better
task for the great republicans of to-day than to give the western
world the lead that may help it most of all. Most of them have seen
monarchies at their best and worst; all of them are patriots; they
know what republicanism has done for their own fair land. Will they
stand silent now while the western world is faced by the danger of the
perpetuation of a _régime_ that has little or nothing to justify it?
If they do, they have missed the finest possible chance of spreading
the light that shone upon them when the Declaration of Independence was
signed one hundred and forty years ago.

With the end of the war, if it does not result in the hegemony of
Germany, in which case liberty will be no more than a name, all manner
of schemes for the regeneration of Europe will be afoot. Few, if any,
will go to the root of the evils that have devastated Belgium, Poland,
and a part of France. It is safe to say that the disposition to bring
about sweeping reforms will not find ready expression. We are all too
close to events over here, the blessing of a clear, serene outlook is
denied us. The United States has stood far above the turmoil, it has
seen more of the truth than has been visible to any combatant nation,
it can survey the whole situation sanely.

It seems to me in these circumstances that the greatest republic of
the world has a serious duty, a grave responsibility. It has thriven
on a gigantic scale without patronage or privileged classes, without
titles, without such honours as are merely honours in name. Freed by
the Atlantic from the domination of Europe, it has grown in power and
given its citizens a life removed from the worst anxieties that beset
the Continent. It knows what kingship in its absolute aspect has cost
Europe, and it embraces within its wide domain the children of every
European nation; they dwell side by side in peace and amity. The
freedom enjoyed by the republic would not be bartered for the wealth
of the world, for that freedom is the secret of its eternal youth, its
boundless energy, its untrammelled progress.

There are men in the States to-day, men I am proud to number among my
friends, who might speak in due season the words that would encourage
Europe in the only fight that can rightly engage all nations, the
fight against the curse of kingship. We who know how much this fight
is needed, who have seen in the great republic how it welds together
the most diverse faiths and nationalities, believe that nothing but
kingship divides man from man in Europe and fills every frontier line
with the instruments of death.

All the sympathy of the best elements in the United States is with
suffering Europe to-day, but it cannot be expressed without the use of
words that will sound harsh to some, impertinent to others, startling
to all. Yet these words will not fall upon deaf ears. They will bring
hope to many for whom the future is utterly dark, who believe that the
forces of reaction will strive desperately to overcome democracy and
that democracy needs prompt help if it is to survive.

Granting that America has the right to be heard when the time comes for
the re-establishment of peace, she has the right to deliver the message
of her own hundred years of freedom. Is it too much to hope that she
will rise to the height of this supreme occasion?

If she will not shrink from this duty, she will ensure a victory
beside which the ultimate conquest in this war will appear well-nigh



The cry for woman's service on the land is one I endeavoured nearly
twenty years ago to anticipate. It was at a time when the anxiety of
girls to earn their own living was making itself manifest in every
class, and when the wages paid to those who had broken away from the
conventions of purely domestic life were miserably inadequate. I had
heard how, in the Dominions overseas, English women had been forced to
learn open-air duties as best they could, I had realised the natural
instinct of many women for gardening, and I had no doubt that there
would be some whose courage would not flinch from an experiment.
Looking back to that season, I marvel at the progress feminism has
wrought in the world. Then every development that was sought for men
was in the case of woman taboo. The only thing that a girl might do
in the garden without defying the conventions was the light job that
could be accomplished without any fatigue. She might pluck roses; I
have grave doubts as to whether she might plant or prune them. She
might eat celery, but the digging of a trench or the earthing-up of
the plants would have been considered a most "unladylike" occupation.
In fact, we suffered, as a sex, under the spell of that horrible word;
life for women has not been nearly so futile since it was abolished.

In the years when I began first to find that the urgency of social
problems was a bar to the further serenity of life, I, like other
inexperienced people with reform at their hearts, dreamed dreams and
saw visions. I had seen at Easton and Warwick the women of the working
classes enjoying the hard work of the garden and the fields; I, too,
had tried my hand, always to find that I was rewarded with a quickly
renewed sense of the joy of life. Even when weather conditions were
unfavourable, the rest after labour was in itself atonement for the
toil--it was so unlike other rest. Then I began to see an England in
which girls and young women, ceasing to be merely "ladylike," would be
healthier, happier, and more useful than they had been in the years of
which I could take count. I could not help realising that the desire
for active physical exercise could not be limited to one sex, save in
obedience to a convention that ignored human needs. It seemed to me as
though the truth would be apparent to everybody, that nobody who could
lend a helping hand would withhold it. Naturally I was soon undeceived.

I was assured that only the children of working farmers and labourers
could possibly milk the dairy herd, that gardening work in many of
its aspects would be beyond the limits of the capacity of the gently
nurtured. The girl market gardener was voted an impossibility; as
landscape gardener, I was assured, she could never compete with a
man. Poultry-farming and stock-breeding were even voted indelicate!
Household management, to enable girls to take posts as housekeepers in
public institutions or large private houses, was regarded as something
to be acquired without training, and even the commercial side of farm
management was vetoed as a study for girls, as though a well-managed
farm would be the worse for a competent book-keeper because that
book-keeper chanced to be a daughter instead of a son of the house. I
could prolong the list of vetoes and taboos that were presented to me,
but no useful service would be served in doing so. I am only concerned
to remember now--after nearly twenty years--that I was regarded as an
unpractical dreamer, and that, as I write, there are letters on my desk
asking me if I cannot recommend lady gardeners and agriculturists of
all descriptions. I cannot: they are all fully occupied. Many are at
work in England, not a few are busy thousands of miles oversea--in
Canada, Australia, and the United States. Think of the freedom and the
fullness of their lives, never a taboo to stand between them and any
sane development!

To-day I see a great expansion of woman's labours under the sun. The
trouble is that the demand outstrips the supply. The public, whose
apathy has given only a minimum of stimulus to the progress of the girl
agriculturist, has become suddenly clamant. It demands the impossible.
The girls' agricultural colleges are to improvise the highly trained,
skilled article. It is as though they should demand the finished
fruits of the orchard before the budding and flowering time of the
trees has been fulfilled. I am hoping that this will not lead to a
reaction, and that those whose demand for ready-made service brings
inevitably unsatisfactory results will not regard woman's work in the
light that their own thoughtlessness must shed upon it. Only those
of us who understand the curriculum, and the time required to follow
it to the appointed end, know that you must be thorough if you would
be successful. All the ordinary problems of the open-air life must
be faced in training before they can be overcome in the practice of
daily life in farm and garden. To us this is a commonplace; to those
who do not know the land and its labor it comes as a surprise and an

I established the Hostel at Reading, near the great Agricultural
College, in the year 1898, and it remained there for nearly four years,
when the Reading premises began to prove inadequate to the purposes
I had in view. Even when the ridicule ceased, the girls had not been
popular at Reading, where the college students thought that they
were intruders if they ventured beyond the dairy. There were certain
advantages. For example, the heads of the house of Sutton opened their
gardens at stated times, and the girls could see the most skilled
work in operation. But I could not help thinking that, if the idea
was to grow, it must have room and a congenial atmosphere for its
development, and so it happened that the change was made. We moved
to Studley Castle, in Warwickshire, sixteen miles from Birmingham, a
rather modern place, with forty acres of gardens and pleasure grounds,
wonderful out-buildings--built originally for racing stables--and
nearly two hundred and fifty acres of farm land, with woodlands and
water in addition. In many respects this was the ideal place for the
work in hand. There are other institutions of similar kind in England
to-day, and I am not claiming any special superiority for Studley. If I
write of what is done there, it is merely because I know exactly what
work is being carried on, and the full measure of success that attends
it. Studley is now run by a limited liability company, in which I
have no interest whatever. It differs from other agricultural colleges
chiefly in the atmosphere, which is that of Girton or Newnham, and is
deliberately preserved on grounds of economic policy.

If our victory in the world-war is to have in it the elements of
permanence, it can only be by the thorough equipment of those who go
out into the world to contend with the most highly trained nation under
the sun, and, as far as woman's education is concerned, in whatever
aspect, it has the advantage denied to the education of boys--of being
free from old and paralysing conventions. There is nothing that must
be done merely because it has been done from time immemorial, and the
agricultural colleges have been modern from their inception.

The first thing to be considered is so to train the students that they
are able gradually to develop a measure of physical strength, and at
the same time to teach them how to obtain a maximum of result from a
minimum of effort. Many an untrained man could only accomplish with
great exertion what a trained woman can do without difficulty. In a
little while not only do the spade and the wheelbarrow lose all their
terrors, but the comparatively light modern plough can be handled, even
on fairly heavy land, without excessive fatigue. Then the balance must
be preserved between practice and theory. You will remember that the
method of combining the two is not new. Mr. Wackford Squeers taught it
at Dotheboys Hall. "W-I-N-D-E-R, a casement. Now go and clean them."
Perhaps this was the germ of the idea--who knows? The lecturer in the
college is supplemented by the expert in the field, dairy, and garden,
and the student is not limited to the grounds of the institution, ample
though they be. On outlying farms, in private gardens, market gardens,
at country flower shows and exhibitions, the pupils of this and other
colleges are expected to demonstrate their efficiency, thereby learning
how the familiar problems may vary in their incidents and application.
There is no element of secrecy. All that is taught and all that is
learned is open to the inspection of the section of the public that
is interested. The college has terms similar to those of school and
university--thirty-nine weeks of work and thirteen of holiday--and
while girls are admitted as soon as their school education is finished,
at the age of sixteen or thereabouts, women can join at any age. If
they have the energy and determination, they are never too late to
learn. For school-girls over twelve years of age who intend to take
up agricultural or garden work when school days are over, there are
holiday classes at which the 'prentice work may be studied under the
most pleasant conditions possible. Most of the school-girls who take
this course regard it as an ideal holiday.

For the benefit of adults who desire a special study, short courses
can be arranged at all times, but it is, of course, well understood
that such courses do not make the student truly representative of the
college tuition. It has long been recognised that you cannot make
agriculturists or horticulturists in a hurry. The minimum period of
complete study is two years, but the complete course that turns out
the finished student is a full three years. It is in view of this hard
truth that I have eyed askance the suggestion that a course that is
to be practical can be crowded into three months. Such a term would
hardly avail a genius. As far as I have been able to see, the not
very considerable percentage of failures associated with agricultural
colleges is due to the inability of students to distinguish between
enthusiasm and staying power. They have not realised that work must
be done at every season and in nearly all weather, that the sun is
not always shining, and that the novelty of association with Nature
will wear away from all who are not Nature-lovers at heart and by
instinct. That is why I am afraid of short-term training. Two or three
years develop not only aptitude, but character; enthusiasms have time
to take a fresh and long lease of life. Training brings confidence
too. Girls who wish to be gardeners, agriculturists, poultry-farmers,
estate managers, and the rest, will do well to remember that the new
or the modern methods they are taught in an up-to-date institution
are not necessarily followed in the place where they get their first
engagement. If they have to control men, they must expect to find a
certain intolerance of change, a certain resentment of direction.
Unless they are thoroughly sure of themselves they cannot supervise the
work of others.

What the student has to remember is that most of the methods she will
find outside her training college are wasteful, obsolete, or second
rate. Scientific training is unknown to the average gardener, market
gardener, dairy-farmer, and poultry-keeper. Our old countryside is
run on amasingly inept lines. Foolishness of any kind that has behind
it the sanction of a single generation is sacrosanct. If a father has
farmed or gardened foolishly, that special manner of foolishness is
sacred to his son. We have always relied upon "the foreigner." He sends
us fruit, eggs, honey, vegetables, corn, cattle food; while the seas
are open, we need never go hungry. I do not pretend that we can do
without him for everything, but we can certainly do very much more in
the future than we have done in the past, and we have been warned by
our Government to do it. That is why I have so much hope for the future
of the woman on the land. I feel that her work is no longer concerned
with hobbies and private profit; henceforward it is, in effect, a kind
of public service. The Government is avowedly anxious for the future of
the land, frankly concerned to check the annual outlay of millions of
pounds for foodstuffs that we are well able to raise at home.

Why, for example, should we spend forty thousand pounds a year upon
honey, to name what our American friends would call "a side line," when
we have a wealth of flowers and fruit blossom that would not only yield
all that is required, but would even enable us to substitute honey for
much of the sugar that is only sold to us when it has been chemically
treated to improve appearance at the expense of quality? Why must we
gather eggs from the far ends of the earth, and bacon from countries
where pigs are fed as they are said to be fed in China? When I think
of the thousands of women who are ready, willing, and, if properly
trained, able to take a hand in the great task of feeding the people,
it seems to me that the seed I sowed in 1898, to the accompaniment of
much amusement, derision, and hostile criticism, has grown into a very
sturdy and healthy tree. I even venture to think that the fruits will
be more refreshing than those of the Insurance Act itself. As far
as the records I have been able to examine teach me, there have been
very few failures to achieve success among the women who have taken
resolutely and completely to this comparatively new walk in life. The
students have done more than merely earn a comfortable living. They
have been the disseminators of the new ideas, the modern theories of
agriculture, horticulture, and apiculture, the introducers of order
and method into realms where chaos ruled amiably and ineffectively. In
many cases they have even succeeded so far as to disarm prejudice and
to persuade omniscient man that a method is not good merely because it
is customary or easy to follow. And what they have done is small by the
side of what they may hope to do.

What is needed just now, when the Government is really awake to
the importance of woman's work on the land, is an extension of the
agricultural colleges and a series of State grants. At present the
work is costly. The upkeep of a big institution is expensive, because
you cannot treat the land precisely as you would for utility farming.
It is there to teach pupils, to carry out demonstrations. So it is
with the glass, that is so costly to build and to heat. Then, again,
professors--the best in the country--must be asked to lecture; and
while agricultural colleges are in the heart of the country, the
professors are probably living in distant university towns, so that
their lectures are bound to be costly. Let us remember, too, quite
frankly, that there is not much money for the girl who is not able to
start a little establishment of her own or to go into partnership.
There is a happy, healthy, useful life, there is valuable service,
quite unrecorded, to the public at large, but the monetary reward is of
the slightest and the training is long.

It is necessary, then, in view of the growing demand for the work
of woman's hands, that the Government should make grants to the
established colleges as they make grants to other educational bodies,
and it would be well if every County Council that does not conduct an
agricultural college of its own would give a few scholarships annually
in the college nearest to its county town. These steps are needed to
give an impetus to the work that is now being done. Had they been taken
when first I pleaded for them, we should have been in quite a different
position to-day. There would, at least, have been enough capable
workers to meet the most pressing demands. At present they tell me
that at Studley every post brings applications for gardeners and dairy
workers, for women competent to train others, but there is not a single
disengaged pupil. Doubtless a similar state of things obtains at the
other colleges in Kent, Worcestershire, Sussex, and elsewhere.

It has been seen that properly trained women can do all the work of
farm and garden. Even ploughing is not beyond them, save on very stiff
clay soils. They are entirely successful in handling animals; horses,
cows, bullocks, sheep, pigs, and goats are all tractable when cared
for by women. They are taught at all well-conducted institutions to
substitute knack for force, and they have, as is admitted on all
hands, the right temperament for tasks that demand not only time,
but patience. As beekeepers they do very well, the gift of delicate
handling standing them in good stead, and in the glasshouses they
are easily first. Dr. Hamilton, the energetic and gifted Warden of
Studley, tells me that she finds that the health of girls engaged upon
the land, whether in the garden or on the farm, is good, and that many
who arrive at the College in a delicate state of health grow very much
stronger. She finds that the work makes women not only healthy, but
happy--presumably because happiness is largely a product of good health.

Perhaps the needs of the country will be the determining factor in
sending women to the land in the summer-times before us; but we may
take it for granted that one of the results of war will be the large
extension of the realm of the woman-worker of the field and garden. We
cannot shut our eyes to the sad truth that there will be war widows in
their thousands, and countless girls whose chances of married happiness
have been destroyed. To many of these the land will supply the only
anodyne that life has to offer. In hard work and the open air they will
learn to forget; in the development of garden, or farm, or orchard they
will find something to interest them. With their advent we may look to
find a great addition to the national food supply, a great saving of
money that has gone hitherto across the Channel or the Atlantic Ocean.

I am inclined to think that women are more likely than men to take
advantage of the homeland opportunities. Men who have lived strenuously
and dangerously may not be found content with a handful of acres and
a cartload of restrictions at home, when the far-flung Dominions
overseas have so much more with which to tempt them. I see that Sir
Harry Verney's Committee, appointed to consider the question of land
settlement for soldiers and sailors, suggested holdings of twenty-five
acres for dairy-farming, and four-acre holdings for pigs, poultry,
fruit, etc. These last are to cost £24 per annum. Consider as against
this the one hundred and sixty acre grant of the Canadian Government,
the additions made by the Canadian Pacific Railway and, perhaps, other
great corporations, whereby a settler finds a house, farm buildings,
fifty acres broken up and planted with wheat. There the rent is part
payment of the purchase price. I do not think the Government is going
to hold soldiers and sailors with anything Sir Harry Verney and his
committee-men propose to offer, but I do think that if the Government
will make a like offer to the women of England, and will arrange to
do for them what it proposes to do for the men, this latest scheme of
small holdings might well be a success. Women could and would make an
agricultural colony. They delight in doing small things well; they are
frugal and temperate; they can make much out of very little. Whatever
their war experiences and suffering, it will not have developed in them
the spirit of unrest. Their ambitions do not seek the particular kind
of achievement that appeals most to men; they find happiness where
a man might find boredom. They love the sense of independence, the
freedom and simplicity that country life affords and enjoins.

Above all else that concerns woman's career on the land, it has clearly
been shown now that in times of crisis the men who work on the land may
be called away, and our home food supplies may be jeopardised by their
absence. In these circumstances the movement must spread. The flower
and market garden, the field, the conservatory, and the outhouse must
be recognised as providing a pleasant sphere of activity for girls and
women, and there is more than enough land in these islands to provide
small holdings for many years to come for all who have the will and the
capacity to develop them. In conclusion, let me utter a warning that
demands the attention of all who love their country. At the present
time we only produce about twenty per cent. of the food we eat. For
the rest we depend upon our mercantile marine and our power to hold,
not only the seas, but the skies above and the depths beneath. Without
any comment, it seems to me that this simple and undeniable statement
should suffice to settle the career of many a sturdy country-loving
English girl.



Reading the record of Germany's war methods, even those of us who are
endeavouring to think sanely through these evil days must be impressed
by the overwhelming evidence of their complete ruthlessness.

We who have travelled in Germany not once, but many times, know full
well that harshness and cruelty are not associated with the majority.
There are countless Germans who could only be cruel in obedience to
orders, and, of course, every German will do what he is told, just as
the Children of Israel did when Joshua, who appears to have invented
"frightfulness," was carrying out his merciless campaign. If we admit
that the simple German of the south is not cruel at heart, that he is
rather a dreamer and a sentimentalist with strong love for domestic
pleasures, we find that the policy of "frightfulness" must be ascribed
to the military party, consisting for the most part of Prussians, with
headquarters in Berlin.

These men are the organisers of war, and speak through the mouths
of writers like Treitschke, Bernhardi, and the rest. It is they who
have torn up the treaties and conventions that were, humanity hoped,
to decide the conduct of war. They are responsible for the curious
outburst of national hatred against this country that is at once so
startling and so silly, a revelation of the sad truth that Germany is
suffering from neurosis.

I have been trying to trace "frightfulness" to its source, not through
the medium of books or papers, but in the light of my own knowledge
of the country and my past acquaintance with some of its leading men,
and I think that the philosophic historian of the times to come,
whose vision is not obscured by the smoke of battle or the fury of
combatants, will not hesitate to declare that the worst and saddest
features of war as waged by the Germans are due to the fact that in
their country women are kept more in the background than in the country
of any other great Power.

The fault, as I will point out later on, is not that of the women,
but of the leaders of German faction who have deliberately suppressed
woman, and of nearly all the leaders of German thought who, being
dependent on Government favour, have subscribed to their policy of
deliberate suppression. Here and there an independent thinker has
arisen nearly always from the ranks of Social Democracy. Bebel's book
on women, for example, is a standard work, but the few lights do no
more than emphasise the surrounding darkness.

Look round Europe for a moment. Russia is a backward empire and the
spirit of progress moves over it with slow feet, but Russia is making
vast strides, and the plough that will trace deep furrows in the virgin
soil of its social life is drawn by man and woman together. All the
professions are open to women, even those in which women are not found
here. The Russian engineer who planned the newest bridge over the
Neva was a woman. Men and women students work side by side on terms
of absolute equality, and compete for honours that often fall to the
gentler sex.

Russian women of the educated classes are more than merely well
informed, they are brilliant. Linguists, women of affairs, they have
a grip of actualities of the empire of which they form a significant
part. In spite of autocratic rule and limited freedom there is such a
full life for the Russian woman as her German sister has never known,
except in dreams of emancipation. In Finland, be it remembered, women
sit in Parliament.

Turn to France, and it may be declared emphatically that woman rules.
Women are doctors, barristers, and scientists; they are members of the
Goncourt Academy; they are the heads of some of the most important
business institutions; they give the most exclusive _salons_ their
distinction. Public opinion is moulded by them; their influence makes
and breaks Cabinets. Feminism is one of the strongest forces in France.
Quiescent to-day or working in quietness, this force will dominate a
France released from war.

Even in Belgium, of whose progress we hear little, women have been
largely responsible for the organisation of the middle and working
classes, an organisation that was well-nigh complete before war broke
out, and in the slow rebuilding that is to come we may look with
confidence to the Belgian woman to play a leading _rôle_. Turn to
a group of neutral countries--Denmark, Norway, Sweden--and it will
be seen that feminism is moving with vast strides along the path
of national progress. Woman is asserting herself in all of them,
contributing her thought to her country's problems, taking an ever
important place in its councils.

Alone of the great Powers Germany has elected to forget or to disregard
as a negligible quantity the opinion of woman, and the reason is not
far to seek. For years past the German has forgotten the respect and
reverence he owes to his own womenfolk. _Küche, Kinder, Kirche_--he
calls alliteration to his aid to express a growing contempt for the sex
and the narrowest possible view of its world function. Intoxicated
with the vision of imperial domination, he has regarded his own sex as
the one motive force in the universe.

He has not watched the slow awakening of women in the countries around
him; he has not noted how bonds of sympathy, light as gossamer, yet
strong as steel, have stretched from country to country, binding
our sex in a large and ever widening sisterhood, inarticulate now,
or at least hardly coherent, but only waiting for their appointed
hour to assume a fuller share of the glories, the burdens and the
responsibilities of life. Woman's influence, silent, world-wide,
pervasive, has been treated by the evangels of Kultur as though it
were nonexistent, and in the hour of crisis woman as a united force
has avenged herself for years of neglect, scorn and brutality. She is
everywhere a belligerent.

I do not know the country in Europe where women are treated as they are
in Germany. Not many countries can vie with the United States in the
attention bestowed upon the gentler sex, but as I have endeavoured to
show, they are respected more in every belligerent country than they
are in the one that sought to rest supreme in Europe. Even in Italy,
Spain, and Portugal, where women must often work as hard as men, they
stand upon a secure footing of affection and respect. The smaller
courtesies, the greater services of life are theirs. In some definite
measure they complete the home. But you cannot bring an indictment
against a whole nation, and I do not seek to do so.

In tens of thousands of German homes the wife and daughters are loved
and honoured, but in the rank and file of military circles, even among
the men who hold official positions and boast a certain standing, woman
has been dethroned--she is regarded as an incumbrance necessary for the
production of further generations of supermen, who shall inherit the
earth. This attitude of mind reveals itself in the action that speaks
louder than words. The toleration and the contempt to which I refer are
everywhere apparent. No good-looking woman is safe in Germany from the
ill-bred stares and comments of the men with whom she must travel in
train or tram.

If women enter a theatre or restaurant their own friends and relatives
do not rise to receive them. They are liable to be elbowed into the
road if men walking abreast can occupy the whole of the pavement.
The politeness of the few cultured Germans (pardon the discredited
adjective) merely emphasises the boorishness of the vast majority.
It might be that the German is waiting for women to be officially
recognised as human beings to whom some measure of courtesy or even
decency is due. Only when rudeness is "_verboten_" will rudeness cease.

The country is governed by men for men and women, but according to the
marriage rubric woman is actually man's servant. The effect of these
conditions upon the morals of the country is deplorable. They give a
cachet to vices, even the most odious, and the rate of illegitimacy,
about 10 per cent. for the whole empire, is about doubled in Berlin,
where the military caste is supreme. The morals of the army are
the morals of Berlin, and account not only for the hideous stories
published about what took place in Belgium and northern France, but for
the recitals not less appalling that one gathers from officers home on
leave who have seen sights in the area of German occupation that cannot
be set down in print.

Undoubtedly these recitals, if they could reach the heart of Germany,
would thrill tens of thousands of honest men with indignation and
disgust. I do not believe for a moment that they represent the
inclinations of the whole nation. They are rather the action of that
section of the nation which, while war endures, must have the upper
hand, and during all the years of war-like preparations has reigned
supreme. Against this aspect of German national life the women of
belligerent and neutral countries alike are arrayed. Whatever their
resources or their influence in the councils of their husbands, sons,
and brothers, it will be devoted without cease to the destruction of a
militarism that degrades and shames womankind. The German woman knows
in her heart that her men have in countless instances become perverts,
but she is dumb because she is forbidden to speak. In Prussia no woman
may organise a union that has political aims; she may not even join one.

It is the purpose of the dominant caste to keep woman in subjection,
to restrict her activities to the kitchen, the cradle and the Church,
even to deny her the mental and the physical development that might
tend to lead her to revolt. Woman may find a limited salvation in the
conduct of a business; throughout the German Empire not far short of a
million women conduct commercial enterprises of one kind or another,
and collectively they strive with some success to better the physical
and moral conditions under which their sisters live. No effort of which
they have yet been capable has accomplished more than this, their
condition of tutelage remains complete.

I do not pretend to be satisfied with the position of women in England:
far from it; but here, as in the countries already enumerated, it
is better far than in Germany. Women mould public opinion to an
appreciable extent; they are able to modify the life of their sex in
many important particulars, the best of them exercise sane influence,
and all are sufficiently well treated to establish a definite attitude
of mind in men. We know that no British or French troops would behave
in Germany as Germans behaved in Belgium; we know that the honour of
honourable women and of helpless children would be safe in the keeping
of the French and British officer, and that he would not be called upon
to restrain his men from acts of lust and savagery.

We know that there is a public opinion the wide world over among free
women and women struggling to be free that will not submit to the
domination of any race that does not hold woman in respect. It is on
this account, in my opinion, that the unbridled and tolerated savagery
of the worst class of German conscript in Belgium and France has cost
Germany more than the loss of half a dozen pitched battles. Whatever
the irritation caused by the incidents of the war, the Allies know
that women the world over are and will remain on their side, for the
hegemony of a nation that treats women in peace with contempt and in
war with "frightfulness" cannot be contemplated by our sex. We know
that in fighting for the cause of the Allies we are fighting for the
most downtrodden of the highly civilised women in Europe. At present
they would resent our aid--they are patriotic--they have suffered
terribly, and in the hour of their trials they mourn and forgive those
who treated them ill.

Later on, when peace returns, when the world is purged of violence and
its wounds begin their slow and painful process of healing, the German
women will recognise that we have been fighting for a larger cause than
our own; that we helped to force the doors that have remained barred so
long and to break the chains that bound the women of a great but erring
nation. Only the ultimate triumph of the Allies can free the women of
Germany, and in time they will realise the truth.

The views of the wisest men are narrow, and few among them will realise
or admit even now the truth that woman is now a factor in the world's
affairs. When this war is over we shall tell in no uncertain words what
is in our hearts. At present we must needs be silent. If those dreamers
of world empire had but remembered that women, too, have minds and are
learning to use them, the story of the great world tragedy, even if it
had to be set down, would have been widely different in many of its

It was Germany's fatal mistake that, not content with dominating its
own womankind and suppressing them whenever and wherever possible, it
believed that the rest of the world was equally indifferent to the
treatment of its mothers, wives, and daughters.

Every known outrage has raised fresh fighters, has strengthened the
Allies with the sure force of moral sympathy and encouragement, has
thinned the ranks of those whose sympathies were with a country whose
marvellous progress provides so much material for admiration. Who can
measure the responsibility of those guides and teachers who taught the
German to develop along material lines and to forget that woman is the
proper spiritual guide, and that as man loves and reverences her he
sees farther and deeper into the heart of things--sees life sanely and
sees it whole?

Whatever the limitations of our knowledge we know that the one sex
completes the other; that man enlarges the vision of woman and woman
enlarges the vision of man, and that it is the peculiar gift of our sex
to control man's passions, to stimulate his humanity, to direct his
ambitions away from dangerous paths. We do not all strive as we might;
we do not always succeed as we deserve, but man is woefully incomplete
without us, and the spectacle of a nation that has despised womanhood
waging war shows that this contempt corrodes his moral fibre, leaves
him at the mercy of his worst instincts and raises up against him all
the spiritual forces against which none may strive victoriously.

We women who have never handled weapons, whose only place in the area
of strife is among the maimed and helpless, know even better than men
that the race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong.
When history has recorded the story of the world war that darkens our
lives to-day, future generations will ask how it was that Germany
could find no friends among the neutral nations. Her Ambassadors,
official and unofficial, her publicists and those of neutral countries
who were not ashamed to accept her subsidies, worked with true
German thoroughness. Truth was never allowed to stand in the way of
propaganda. No lie that might serve a useful purpose went unsanctioned,
for the great end was to sanctify all means, however vile, and yet in
the hour when even moral support and silent sympathy would have been of
the greatest value, Germany looked for it in vain.

It was easy to declare that the whole world was jealous and
misinformed; such an excuse could hardly deceive the responsible people
who fathered it. My own view is that the women of Europe and the United
States turned against Germany when the manner in which she waged war
was first revealed to a disgusted world. Their hostility was not
merely sentimental--it was psychological. The German attitude toward
women, already questioned, was revealed as in the glare of searchlight,
and womanhood from London to Petrograd and from Copenhagen to New York
was completely, irrevocably antagonised.



It becomes increasingly difficult to speak one's mind in England
to-day, even though one has no peace scheme to propound and no
efficient public servant to criticise.

Liberty has vacated her throne, or as much of it as Privilege would
ever allow her to occupy, and the Defence of the Realm Act has taken
her place.

Consequently it is very hard to express opinions unless they are
sufficiently platitudinous to gain universal and immediate acceptance.
Roughly speaking we are all of one mind about the conduct of this war;
the minority in opposition is so small that it can be disregarded, but
we are all at variance as to method, and on the Ship of State that
steers such an erratic course through the hurricane of strife there is
hardly a passenger who is not convinced that he could reach the goal
much more rapidly than the man at the wheel is likely to.

Those who criticise the steering are suspect, for the national temper
is a little upset, our situation is without precedent, and an
Englishman dislikes novelty. I cannot help my belief that it is the
novelty rather than the tragedy of the hour that troubles him most. He
is giving, to the best of his capacity, blood, labour, treasure, but he
is not thinking as deeply as he should, perhaps because he understands
that when you begin to think and believe you see a great truth clearly,
you are morally bound to communicate that truth to others. Then the
Defence of the Realm comes in and you are likely to be hailed a
traitor to all good causes by the first person who--with or without
understanding your views--disagrees with them!

Yet for all the prejudices with which the expression of opinion is
beset, it is hard to keep silent when something presents itself to the
mind in the guise of a vital truth, and now, after more than two years
of war have forced reflection and taught us to see the world tragedy as
a whole, there are things that must needs be said, protests that must
needs be made.

Of all the iniquities that are associated with war, war as distinct
from murder I would add, there is nothing quite so horrible as the
sacrifice of young life. It is common to all the nations at war. We
read of boys of fifteen fighting in the ranks of our enemies, and,
at home, of boys who have added a year or two to their proper age to
deceive a not too inquisitive recruiting sergeant. To raw lads in
their utter ignorance, war is a great joy and adventure; they are proud
to help their country and to be redeemed from the charge of being
"slackers." So when the cup of life is hardly at their lips they go,
some to die, some to be maimed, some to return prematurely old and
broken down.

While the plots and counter plots that made for war were being hatched,
these young warriors were in the nursery, or at school. Even now they
have reached no perception of the real forces for which men strive;
until war broke out their lives were still supposed to be under the
protection of their parents.

But as soon as the State is beset it calls for aid, not alone upon
matured men, who understand and have a sense of responsibility, but
upon the lads whom it ought to be protecting as the one irreplaceable
asset of the next generation.

Wise old gentlemen with a very tolerable imitation of the spirit of
prophecy in their hearts, pens in their hands, and bees in their
bonnets, wrote indignant articles in the best read organs of the press
that our downfall, if we did not introduce conscription, is merely a
matter of months. Sometimes it was weeks. The time given to us varied
according to the measure of the writers' chronic dyspepsia.

Yet if these people would only think, they would have little
difficulty in admitting that the lads who have been well educated, well
trained and prepared with infinite labour for life are just those who
should not be surrendered to death under any normal conditions until
they have fulfilled their primary function toward the State.

I will go farther and suggest that their elders have no right to rob
them of the few years in which they taste the joys of life. I was told
recently by a man who knew what he was talking about that under the
Mosaic Code the Jews did not allow their married men to go to war until
they had spent one year with their wives. A man who was betrothed was
instructed to marry, and even if a man married a second time he had to
remain for one year at home. In this way the continuity of the race
was assured and the Jews, eminently a fighting nation, preserved their

There was no question of sentiment involved--it was hard, common sense
applied to war. And, horrible irony, the British Government recognises
the simple truth, but has only learned down to the present to apply
it to farm stock. I saw last year a printed notice in the country
post-offices issued to farmers by the Board of Agriculture, telling
them not to kill lamb and veal because whatever the price offered the
removal of immature stock is dangerous wastefulness which the country
cannot afford.

Here is a copy of the notice:


                       SPECIAL NOTICE TO FARMERS

                    PRESERVE OUR FLOCKS AND HERDS!

                       MAINTAIN OUR MEAT SUPPLY!

     The Board of Agriculture and Fisheries strongly urge all Farmers
     to RAISE AS MUCH STOCK AS POSSIBLE during the war.

     Their advice to you is:

     DO NOT send breeding and immature stock to the BUTCHER simply
     because prices are attractive now.

     DO NOT MARKET half-finished animals; it is wasteful of the
     country's resources and is against your own interests.

     DO NOT KILL CALVES--rear them; it is well worth it.

     DO NOT REDUCE your stock; when you cannot buy stores, buy calves.

     MAINTAIN your flocks and breed your sows; it will pay you to do so.

     The Board of Agriculture and Fisheries make the above
     recommendations not only for the NATIONAL WELFARE but because they
     believe them to be for the ultimate benefit of BRITISH AGRICULTURE.

It seems almost too ridiculous to be true that the Government has more
concern for lambs or calves than for boys on the threshold of manhood,
but the facts convict them.

For myself I would rather see a thousand of the bloodthirsty old
gentlemen who preached conscription sent to the front from their club
smoke-rooms and editorial chairs, than five hundred lads from whom
their country has something to expect!

I do not think I am a sentimentalist, certainly I do not plead for
the exemption of mere boys from the battlefield in order that they
may have what is called a good time, though I hold that they should
not be deprived deliberately of the few halcyon years that are in one
fashion or another the reward of one and all. I would work them to the
last ounce of their capacity in seasons like these. They should have
long hours, Spartan fare, and spells of physical drill, they should
put in eight hours of labour for the Government in the factory, in the
munition works, wherever their services could be best employed.

They might be under military rule, amenable to the same discipline as
the soldier, but they should not go into the firing line, because they
belong to the next generation.

They are to sire it; no nation can afford to leave that responsibility
to the physically unfit, and to those who have passed fighting age.

This duty done, they would be free to join the fighting forces for
which their drill, their labour and their self-denial would have
prepared them. My soldier relatives and friends tell me that the lad in
his teens is of little value in a prolonged campaign. He may have all
the necessary courage, but he lacks the essential stamina. He is fitter
to march and endure when he is twenty-five than when he is nineteen,
fitter still at thirty.

But, asks my critic, where will you recruit your fighting men? I look
round at my men friends, and I find them, up to the age of fifty,
taking their chance in the forefront of things. The outcry against the
married man as combatant is valid only in so far as his family depends
upon him for support. My friends chance for the greater part to belong
to the comfortable classes. They have enjoyed the best that England
has to offer; they are prepared to pay the price, with their lives if
need be. Above all they are articulate, they have the franchise, they
can speak their mind. Collectively they support in one form and another
the conditions that make war possible. They are conscious of a certain

Where, for example, on the other hand, is the responsibility of the
midshipman on the torpedoed battleship? I take his bravery for granted.
I am quite convinced that could he read my plea he would disavow any
shadow of sympathy with it, but I am concerned for the country and not
for him. He has a duty toward civilisation, he is well-bred, highly
trained, efficient. I say that the State owes him at least a few
years of manhood and should see that he is allowed to reach maturity,
although he is neither veal nor lamb!

It is false economy that raises the outcry against married men as
soldiers. They alone in the community can be spared, they have
fulfilled, or partly fulfilled, the function upon which civilisation
depends. Potentially, if not always actually, they are fathers.
Economists insist that pensions and allowances are an extravagance
that the nation cannot afford. I reply that war is a still greater
extravagance, the wickedest form of indulgence known to mankind,
and that worse than war is the destruction of the fairest hopes of
the future, the race to come. Again, if those who light the fire
were compelled to feed the flames I believe there would be fewer

I feel that I do but set down facts that are known to thinkers, who,
as a rule, prefer to keep silence at times like these lest their
patriotism be suspect. After the war they will deplore the ruin;
trustees for the generation to come, they will see that they have
failed in their trust. They will shift the responsibility on to the
nature of things, they will declare that war was inevitable and that
destruction of all we hold most dear must follow in its wake.

Here I join issue with them. The world is for all practical purposes
ruled by mankind. Nothing but the catastrophes like the tidal wave and
the earthquake escape man's control. Famine, disease, and mortality he
can arrest; he can increase his stature morally, mentally, physically.
If he elect to play the prodigal he does so at his own risk, but he has
no right to tamper with the vital resources of the generations that
must follow. War is delirium, or he would bear this fundamental truth
in mind. I think it has escaped him. He is immersed in the pursuit of
the end, and no means are spared. Thus we hear the outcries because the
fat money bags are growing thin, but nothing is said of the great asset
that no trading, however successful, can restore.

We can find in some barbarous land wealth only comparable to that
which Sindbad discovered in the Valley of Diamonds, but what will that
profit a race that must depend upon old and exhausted stock to renew
its vitality? The desire for wealth is at least one of the contributory
causes of war, the thought of wealth wasted makes men forget they are
wasting what no wealth can replace.

I am sure that women feel this eternal truth in their hearts, but all
too many fear to be thought afraid. They fear their own mankind, those
for whom they would gladly sacrifice all that life holds for them of
good. They fear to be thought jealous for their own boys, while if the
truth be told their fear is all for the young sons of all women quite
irrespective of nationality. At least this is how the situation appeals
to me, and I dare not keep silent if there be any medium of appeal to
those who think with me that will set my thoughts down. There is a
slumbering conscience of humanity only waiting the call that will break
through its dreams. I am not so bold as to believe that I can utter it,
but I may perchance stimulate some more gifted pen.

In any case, I cannot hide my thoughts merely because they may meet no
response, for after all there is not in all the world a single great
belief that was not once the unregarded possession of a single mind.



While I am firmly opposed to conscription in any form that does not
embrace national wealth and resources as well as men, or that singles
out one class of men to the exclusion of others, while I believe that,
even subject to this view of national obligation, conscription should
be treated as a war measure and blotted out of the statute book in the
month that sees the restoration of peace, I am not writing to protest
or to complain. We are told that every cloud has its silver lining, and
when the Government decided to demand the services of those unmarried
men who, far more by reason of apathy than cowardice, had remained to
be taken, I could not help thinking that much good might come of it.
Against the hideous doctrine that the end justifies the means we may
set the equally old saying that necessity knows no law, and against the
compulsory making of soldiers which is an evil, I set the waking of the
national consciousness, and that is a gain.

For centuries England led the vanguard of the workers for freedom.
Against the will of the people the power of the great barons and
of their Kings bent and broke. There were generations in which the
people as a people were articulate, they stood up for their rights
and privileges and were a force that few dared defy. The discovery of
steam, the growth of factories, the increase of population and the
struggle for life combined to make a large section of the working
classes helpless. The hideous poverty and ugliness of life in the
great centres of wealth drove men, and women too, to shut out the
ugliness of their lives with the aid of brief spells of dissipation.
Strong drink became alike a source of revenue to the country, a source
of "honours"--generally paid for in hard cash--to the prosperous
brewer and distiller, and the source of brief forgetfulness, misery,
disease, crime and savage punishment to those who sought its dangerous
solace. National expenditure and party funds alike clamoured for
the maintenance of the evil, and those who are most concerned with
what is euphemistically called "keeping the working classes in their
places" turned a deaf ear to schemes that sought to make the places of
leisure for the worker more attractive and less dangerous. Pure Beer
Bills and legislation to restrict the sale of spirits to such spirit
as is matured, met with no effective support. Give the worker the
nineteenth and twentieth century substitutes for his old time _panem
et circenses_ and he would continue until strength failed him to sow
that others might reap and to earn the opprobrium and contempt of those
he enriched.

Parliament, immersed in politics to the exclusion of government,
cared little for the real welfare of the people. It contrived by
skilful electioneering to stimulate their interests in things that
do not matter, and when they were not wanted at the polls their
representatives--save the mark--left them severely alone. So it
happened, as time passed, that the old interest in vital questions
was passing from a large section of the proletariat. Powerful through
the medium of their Unions they supported these great organisations
for little better than the right to live. It was so hard to improve
the conditions of a trade or a group of allied industries that the
effort to this end left them with no energies to enter into larger
fields. Those leaders of the people who have the gift of clear vision
could meet with no adequate response, they alone could see the wood,
their followers had their gaze riveted on one particular tree. England
tended more and more to become the paradise of the capitalist and the
purgatory of the working man, and because he was always protesting
against conditions that will fill future generations with wonder and
shame, conditions improved beyond recognition by the country with
which we are now engaged in a life-and-death struggle, it became the
practice of the comfortable classes to denounce the workman and all
his ambitions. He was, in their view, sent into this world to create
wealth, not to enjoy what it creates; that was the privilege of his
betters. The Englishman's natural sense of fair play has been obscured
by the newspapers that pander to him and give him all his thoughts
ready made; if anybody thinks this is an extreme statement, let him
turn to the files of the reactionary press from the time when John
Burns led the Dockers' Strike down to the outbreak of war (and since)
and see whether he can find anywhere a solitary favourable verdict for
the worker as against the employer. He will search in vain.

There is a certain psychological aspect of the labour question that
has, I think, been overlooked. A generation or two of oppressive
conditions tends to produce a race that loses national consciousness.
The worker learns to take the view that he is no longer a part of Great
Britain, that his interests are exclusively personal, like those of his
employers, that he has no status in the country and that his business
is to get the most tolerable conditions of life that he can secure
by combination and agitation, and to ignore the trend of politics,
religion, social progress, and the rest of the life forces of
civilisation. He knows himself for one who hews wood and draws water,
it suffices him to carry a minimum of logs to the pile and buckets from
the spring. He knows that there is for him no glimpse of the larger
life and that because he is collectively a multitude there will be
keen competition to batten on his small savings or surpluses. He has
the feeling that if he loses his job he will take his place in the
ranks of a submerged tenth, ranks easy to slip into, almost impossible
to rise from. My long intercourse with those who fast that others may
feast has revealed this attitude to me in a hundred shapes, all tragic,
some dangerous. It has been the despair of those who are working for
the people and know that if they would but combine to grasp the sorry
state of things environing them they could "shatter it to pieces and
remould it nearer to the heart's desire." Unhappily it is impossible to
fight what is called _vis inertiæ_, you cannot bruise a feather pillow
or hurt a sack of sand by striking it, and while long hours, scanty
holidays, mean pleasures and continual anxiety dogged the footsteps
of the working classes, it seemed impossible to secure the unity of
action, the collective wisdom that would not only enable labour to find
its place in the sun, but would destroy the parasites that thrive upon
it. I think that the careful observer who noted the social condition of
England down to the late summer of 1914 will be disposed to agree that
I have not overstated the case or put the ugly lighting unfairly on the
foreground of the picture.

Then came war with its strange, unmistakable revelation to the working
man and working woman. In the blinding light born of battle they saw
their country assaulted by an enemy completely trained and organised.
Women saw that their own rulers had been too immersed in the great
games of party politics and business development to give proper thought
for the safety of the country. They saw, too, that the limitations
of capitalism and capitalist were visible in the eyes of the world.
They could help, they could leaven the dough of profit-making with the
yeast of personal sacrifice, some have done so, but for the salvation
of the country they appealed to the working man. Government adopted
some of his own panaceas, they accepted schemes of pure socialism
as props for the pillars of the State, they taxed riches and laid
sacrilegious hands upon the Dagon of wealth to the infinite rage of
certain Philistines who are still grieving for the god's lost hands
and feet, but it was to the working classes Government turned in the
hour of their distress, and Labour responded nobly. Those into whose
souls the iron of corruption, disappointment and indifference had not
entered, set themselves to labour seven days a week for long hours in
evil atmosphere, or left their sweethearts and wives to strike a blow
for the country that had displayed to them more of the qualities of a
step-mother than a mother. Many have laid down their lives, and in the
hearts of those who survive national consciousness has been re-born.

The democratic comradeship of the battlefield, embracing all classes,
has taught the working man that his foe in times of peace is not so
much the class whose representatives are of his own blood brotherhood,
but the system that dominates those who serve and those who accept
service. This lesson learned exclusively on the fields of war will
permeate the factories when war is over. One stumbling-block to
progress remained. It was, I venture to say, the presence in our midst
of hundreds of thousands of men who have been rendered listless and
apathetic by life conditions too easy or too hard. Now compulsion has
reached this class it will give them in return for unsought risks and
labour a sense of their place in the body politic. It will teach them
that whether they will or no they have a part to play in shaping the
destinies of Great Britain and that the reward will be in proportion
to the sacrifice. We must not forget that a new Britain, a new Empire,
a new Imperial outlook is being shaped over the far-flung area of war.
It will not be only to the British Empire that change will come, but
to all belligerent nations. The upheaval, sure as the succession of
day and night, is one we dare hardly contemplate, not by reason of
fear, but by reason of hope. To take advantage of the change as it
will affect our nation, all classes of the community must prepare,
and nothing could have clogged the wheels of progress in the near
future than the presence in our midst of so many thousands of men
whose inactivity would have been bitterly resented by those who have
borne the heat and burden of the day. Unity of action is a condition
precedent to the close and merciless revision of existing conditions,
the ending of privilege, the widening of the powers of democracy, the
whole peaceful solution of a question that two years ago promised to
develop into a war worse than this we are waging, a war of brother
against brother.

I repeat that I am opposed to conscription, particularly to a
conscription that picks and chooses, and does not demand capital as
freely as it demands life; equally am I opposed to the action of
the young and unattached men who shrink from assuming their proper
responsibilities. That they would have held back if the conditions
of their life, whether favourable or unfavourable, had been the true
conditions of an enlightened citizenship, I sincerely doubt, that they
should have been forced to undertake as a duty what they should have
embraced as a privilege is matter for regret. Happily they will not go
unrewarded, they will see their errors, and they will come back to a
country they have helped to save with the keenest determination to make
it worth living in as well as worth fighting for.



"Why is it," wrote an editor, criticising a view of women that I had
put forward, "why is it that woman is actually a war lover at heart, an
inciter to and encourager of war? Can you explain why, while some women
condemn fighting, the great majority do not shrink from it, and even
regard the fighting man as the proper object of their admiration?" It
was a challenge, that I will answer to the best of my ability.

In the first place, I must admit that the statement is true about
countless women. Only yesterday I had a letter from a friend to whom
I had written my sympathy; her only son was killed in the British
advance. "I need no more consolation," she wrote. "Harry's colonel has
sent me a letter telling me of my poor boy's bravery. I am proud to
think that he has lived up to our tradition--ours has always been a
fighting family, you know."

I would not criticise a bereaved mother; I can never forget that my
eldest son has been in the fighting line, that my other boy gave up
Cambridge for the aviation school, and is now flying in France,
that my son-in-law is a soldier, and that of many friends and a few
relatives only the memory remains. But I feel, from the bottom of my
heart, that the death and glory idea is wrong; that the attraction of
medals, ribbons, stars, orders, titles and uniforms and brass buttons
is false, and that an ever-increasing number of women are conscious of
the truth, not only here but in France, Germany, Austria, Russia and

That consciousness cannot become fully articulate until the war is
over. For each belligerent nation the duty at this moment is clear--it
must fight for what it holds to be right, must struggle for victory
until the end. When that end comes I believe that the reign of the old
ideas will end with it, and that all women will recognise the truth
that is already clear as daylight to the minority.

Why is woman actually a war lover at heart? The question stings me. I
am almost reluctant to answer. Yet though the fault is woman's, the
responsibility is man's. Down to only a few years ago woman was no
more than man's toy. She existed for his pleasure and convenience. If
he covered her with pretty dresses and radiant jewels it was because
she was his chattel. It seems only yesterday that a married woman's
property became her husband's when he married her; that she could not
bring an action at law. It needed the celebrated Jackson case, familiar
to students of the feminist movement, to decide that a man might not
lock his wife up in his house.

I believe that the law enabling a man to administer "moderate
chastisement" to his wife has never been repealed. A woman cannot
divorce her drunken, dissolute husband unless he ill-uses her
physically; the law, unable to deny that woman has a body, will not
grant her the possession of a soul. Trashy novels, trivial amusement,
unending decoration, freedom from the development of mentality and
personality--these are the things that have been held to suffice women,
and though there have always been a few great women in the world, the
vast majority has been compelled to accept the conditions offered.

I cannot help thinking that if there had not been a surplus of women
over men in countries where monogamy rules, change would have been
longer still in coming; but there have always been tens of thousands
of women for whom there is neither mate, domestic inactivity nor
child-bearing, and the educational progress, though leaden footed, has

From the Garden of Eden to Ibsen's "Dolls' House" is a far cry, but it
was left to the great Scandinavian dramatist to open woman's eyes.
That is, I think, why he was greeted by male critics with such howls
of execration--they saw the foundation of the old order being sapped.
Man had appealed to woman's vanity, and had consequently developed it
enormously; but the motive was little higher than that which inspires
the male baboon when he goes courting. Ibsen showed woman the result of
her submission.

Only the historian, looking at our social history when the youngest
of us "has lain for a century dead," will realise the strength and
progress of the feminist movement in the last decade or two; the
barriers it has surmounted or swept away; the barbed wire entanglements
of prejudice and convention against which it has flung itself. Yet
I am bold enough to declare that had universal war been mooted in
1934 instead of 1914 woman throughout all the countries of potential
combatants would have combined instantly to prevent it.

At present the ranks of the thinkers are too thin; woman is divided
against herself. The worst foes of feminism are women; it is the
anti-feminists who parade the streets in khaki, who band themselves
into wholly unnecessary and sometimes disreputable anti-German leagues,
who labour as though war were a glory rather than a curse. You will
not find militarists or anti-feminists among the glorious sisterhood
of the hospitals, for they almost alone among women know what war
really is. If the propaganda of feminism could have spread, if it could
have invaded Germany, where the Church, the nursery and the kitchen
are expected to fill every woman's life, what a very different answer
would have been given to the ambitions of rulers and the blundering of
politicians! In how many million homes, where sadness reigns supreme,
would there have been the simple, harmless happiness that is the
birthright of us all?

Is it the irony of fate that man must pay the terrible price for
having made woman what she is; for having stifled or sought to stifle
her common sense; for robbing her of the rights that she possesses
by reason of being a human being; for distracting her with gawds and
frivolities, and seeking to keep her merely as a minister to his
pleasures and a mother to his children? He has paid for the supreme
folly of generations with the price of the lives of millions of his
best and bravest, with the ruin of flourishing cities and fair country,
with the poverty of the generation to come, and with many another
bitter offering of which he is not yet fully aware.

Doubtless there are still in our midst countless women who accept all
that is happening as inevitable; who look upon it without realising
that had the sex responded to the ideals of feminism and become
one sisterhood without boundaries and without a limited patriotism
conditioned by the accident of birth, these things could not have been.
I say, without hesitation, that the future of the world demands the
elimination of some existing types of women, the education of others,
and, in the end, the union of all.

Man was not born merely for glorious death, he was born for glorious
life, and in the systematic and universally condoned slaughter of
man by man there is neither honour nor glory. The world, properly
administered, can produce enough food and clothing for all; it has work
and a measure of happiness for all. Our enemies are not Englishmen or
Germans, Frenchmen or Turks; they are ignorance and poverty, disease
and vice. Woman recognises the truth--that is to say, thinking and
emancipated woman recognises it--and she knows that all the strife that
tears the older world asunder is fratricidal, that a million times
Cain strikes down a million times Abel, and in so doing deliberately
obscures the Divine Event toward which all creation moves.

Woman falters, she is young in mental growth and still very weak,
though growing stronger hour by hour. She sees nothing of war, but she
hears of moving incidents by flood and field and hairbreadth 'scapes
in the imminent deadly breach, and her sense of romance so largely
fostered by pernicious or trivial literature is stirred to its depths.
She wants for her son or her husband or her lover some of the dust of
praise, some of the ribbons and medals, some of the glory in which she
will discern some pale reflection of herself.

She falls in love with war because she has not the least inkling of
its realities; her mourning garments are edged with pride. It has been
left to this terrible struggle to tear some of the bandages from her
eyes and to rob her of an unworthy ideal. What a supreme misfortune
that world tragedy has supervened while she is growing up, before she
has learned to grasp the power that lies to hand! In instances beyond
numbering she has passed the feminist movement by, quite content to hug
her chains as long as they are heavily gilded. She does not realise and
does not believe in her own powers, and in Central Europe, at least,
she has been kept under surveillance all the time.

England, France, and America are the great Powers that have given
feminism a chance. Russia was beginning to follow suit, but the oak
that will in years to come defy so many storms and shelter so many
lives is as yet a sapling. We must face the bitter truth that had all
our sisters accepted feminism we would have saved man from his worst
enemy, we could have saved him from himself.

We could have said--

"_We brought you into the world, we fed you at the breast, we guarded
your tender years. When you grew older we gave you inspiration and
the love that is the romance of life. We bore you children through
agonies of which you know nothing; we loved you with the love that
is woman's whole existence. You shall not destroy yourself, for you
are ours and we are yours, and we are placed on this earth to lift it
nearer to heaven, not to drag it down into hell. Your bits of shining
metal or ribbons, your uniforms, your personal bravery are as nothing
to us, if to earn the one or prove the other you are to kill and maim
our husbands and sons, our fathers and brothers. There are greater
fights to be fought, nobler victories to be won, and in the only war
worth waging we can move by your side. Love and not hate must rule the

The time will come when woman will speak to man in this wise, and he
will listen because he must, even though in listening he remove the
strange, obscene gods of strife from his Pantheon. That the truth is
known already to noble-minded women throughout the world is to me the
most vitalising comfort that these days can yield. That so many women
still pass it by, that they praise war and magnify personal courage
and "martial glory," that they still foster and encourage the meanest
hatreds born of war, is I think worse than many a disaster. But the
lesson it enforces is plain. The time is not ripe; before she can
handle the power to which she lays claim woman must abjure her idols,
she must follow the path of pain and suffering a little longer, she
must learn for herself through bitter experience how great a curse war
is. I believe she is learning her lesson; I believe that the hosts of
the unthinking are melting, and that as the real meaning of glory,
heroism and the rest is brought home to her she will understand.

Even men in the lands of death and desolation have been vouchsafed a
glimpse of the truth. There is nothing quite so pathetic in modern
history as that mingling of foes on Christmas Day, 1914, in a brief
truce of God. Truly the light was brief and soon withdrawn, not to be
rekindled a year later, but it was strong enough to testify to the
brotherhood of man obscured so long by kings and statesmen.

Women can rekindle the light so that it will not be suddenly put out;
they have no nobler purpose under heaven. And in the days when they are
come to their full stature the memory of those who applauded strife
and were dazzled by some of its exterior aspects will be utterly and
happily forgotten.



I was visiting the north of England in connection with an Industrial
Congress, and I called upon a woman whose husband worked in a mine.
Her small house was scrupulously clean, she was young, vigorous, swift
in thought and movement, and gave me the impression that nothing came
into her life in the form of obstacle and surprise without finding
her ready to deal with it effectively. She showed me with a certain
pride the small collection of books on social subjects bought in
second-hand shops by her and her husband. I remember seeing John
Stuart Mill, Ruskin, William Morris, Rowntree, Henry George, and many
another familiar name. "We have read them together," she told me,
"we have educated one another since the time we first met at evening
classes." I remarked that her married life seemed to lack one thing
only, and that was a family, and I quoted the Eastern aphorism that
a house without children is a garden without flowers. She smiled a
little sadly, and then I noted how some faint lines about her mouth
tightened and hardened, robbing her of a certain charm. "Lady Warwick,"
she said, "we earn between us by hard work from day to day between four
and five pounds a week. It has taken many years to reach that figure,
and there is no chance of passing beyond it. What we have endured on
the road to this comparative comfort we alone know, and we don't talk
about it. But we both believe that the game is not worth the candle.
The conditions of life in England are not worth perpetuating, and
neither of us would willingly bring children into the world to take
their chance and run their horrible risks as we did." She stopped for
a moment in order to be sure of her self-control, and then she told me
that in her view, though all her heart cried out for little children,
sterility was the only protest that could be made against the cruel
conditions of modern life under capitalism. "I know that my husband and
I are desirables from the employer's standpoint. We earn far more than
we receive, we are temperate, hard-working, punctual, reliable. But
when we have settled our rent and rates, clubs, and insurances, dressed
ourselves, paid tram fares and bought a few books, there is nothing
left but a slender margin that a few months' illness would sweep away.
For a week or ten days a year we may learn that England is not all as
hideous as this corner of it, but we shall die without a glimpse of
the world beyond and of its treasures that our books tell us about. If
we stop to think, our life is full of unsatisfied longings, and though
we don't give them free play we can't ignore them altogether. So we
will not produce any more slaves for the capitalist, _and I can tell
you that there is not one decently educated, young married woman of my
acquaintance who is not of the same mind_. You could go into a score of
houses known to me in this town alone and find strong, vigorous women
whose childlessness is their one possible protest against the existing
wage slavery."

Years have passed since, in that gloomy little northern town with its
congeries of mean streets looking meaner than ever under the rain,
I met the speaker whose name has passed from me. She may well be
approaching the time when Nature will confirm her resolve irrevocably,
but the memory of that conversation has haunted me with the vision of
thousands of lost souls and unhappy lives.

I know now, if I did not know it then, that the music of little
voices and the patter of little feet would have brought into that
poor worker's life many of the joys for which she sighed in vain. She
did not know, nor at that time did I, that obedience to natural law
ensures a happiness that is independent of external circumstances,
while disobedience brings in its train an ever-growing mental discord
and sows the seeds of disease and decay. Statistics can be fascinating
friends even though they be formidable acquaintances; they have a rough
eloquence of their own that is more effective than honeyed speech.

The birth-rate of England, France, and the United States, associated
as it is in all these countries with the death-rate of the newly born,
is to me one of the most depressing signs of the times. I cannot help
realising that in many cases sterility is not the deliberate protest
of the wage slave, it is the selfish protest of the pleasure seeker,
and in a small minority of cases the genuine, yet narrow, fear of the
eugenist and his following whose enthusiasms have outrun both knowledge
and faith. Tolstoy went so far as to say that the man who enjoys
association with his wife for any purpose save procreation is guilty of
a crime. While many childless women live celibate lives, particularly
in America, the great majority do not. In Milton's stately words they
"of love and love's delight take freely," as though the power that
rules and guides the world could in the long run be outwitted by what
it has created.

To-day the civilised world is at the parting of the ways. War has riven
asunder the ranks of the best and bravest, and has left in the hearts
of the survivors so vivid a sense of the horrors of life that many a
man will hesitate to become a father lest his sons have to take their
place in time to come on the fields of war and his daughters chance
to be among the dwellers in a conquered city. All classes have been
gathered to battle, one and all will feel the responsibility attending
the failure of our civilisation. While many will believe they are
responding to a high instinct when they elect to follow the line of
least resistance and leave the world a little poorer, the cumulative
effect of such a decision is positively terrible to contemplate.

There are some lines in _Coriolanus_ that might have been addressed not
to those who banished him from Rome, but to the women of the world's
most highly civilised countries:--

            "Have the power still
     To banish your defenders; till at length
     Your ignorance, which finds not till it feels,
     Making not reservation of yourselves,
     Still your own foes, deliver you as most
     Abated captives to some nation
     That won you without blows."

If these lines are really as appropriate as they seem to me, it is
because the women of the civilised world and the more leisured section
of it are on their trial. There is going to be an unimagined shortage
among the best elements of the most highly civilised population, a
shortage due in part to the fashion in which responsible women have
neglected their duties hitherto. If the pleasure lovers decline their
share of child-bearing on the ground that it robs them of long periods
of amusement, and if the finest type of women workers refuse on the
other grounds raised earlier in this paper, what will be the result?
There will be a sharp social cleavage, the few clever exploiters will
enchain the unfit who are produced so rapidly, we shall develop a small
class that governs and a large class that is ruled, all progress will
come to an end, while the conditions obtaining when the industrial
era was opened by steam power will be revived with all the attendant
horrors in some new and unsuspected guise.

It is well to remember how, following the first trumpet call of war,
our hard-won liberties were stripped from us. Some of my American
friends say it is because our free institutions were not very deeply
rooted, but I am well convinced that if the United States were
involved, the results would be much the same. War always dethrones
Liberty, and the nation that can set her up again when peace is
restored may be congratulated. As a rule the struggle has to begin
all over again, for the State advances claims that are incompatible
with any kind of freedom that is worth having. Only the will of the
people can gain liberty, and to make that will sufficiently strong and
effective it must be expressed by the best human material, the children
of the best types. So it seems to me that race suicide, evil at all
times, becomes in seasons like this an act of treason, not only to the
nation but to civilisation and all those ideals upon which civilisation

In the town to which I referred on the first page of this paper, the
women who deliberately discarded motherhood might between them have
raised a strong company to fight for the rights of the next generation.
They were shocked to consider the travail that brought them beyond the
reach of want, had they lost sympathy with those who succumbed by the
way? Is not the fate of these last the more tragic?

The faults and failures of life are not a divine dispensation.
Providence has placed us in a marvellous world, capable of raising far
more than is needed to supply the reasonable wants of one and all. That
there are misery, injustice, want and inequality must not be charged to
the account of Providence, but to the foolishness and immortal greed
of man, who cannot deal equitably with the resources of which he is
the trustee. The world waxes richer year by year, for we are gathering
the power to increase production and to distribute the surplus of
one region to supply the deficiency of another. It is a very fair and
beautiful world, and we need no more than that all should be permitted
to share what is produced. To enforce this distribution, to see that
it is enjoyed in peace and tranquillity is the appointed task of a
strong and vigorous democracy. The primal duty of women is to give this
democracy to the world and keep its strength renewed.

Some may fear that women "condemned to fertility" as one phrased it in
my hearing recently, may be unable to take their part in the struggle
for emancipation. But surely motherhood enforces the qualifications of
women, justifies their claims and provides them with the material to
train for future triumphs. Olive Schreiner, in her magnificent book
"Woman and Labour," in which, however, she wrote of the birth-rate and
its incidents without visualising the possibilities of world war, says
that some birds have raised the union of the sexes to a far higher
level than humanity has reached. The male and the female share the
nest building, the incubation and the feeding of the young, and it was
impossible for that fine observer to note any difference in the task of
the sexes. So it should be with us and will be when we have developed
to that standard. The labours and responsibilities of the home, and
the daily work will be a part of the common contract and bond of men
and women, and no woman will be disqualified by the fulfilment of her
duties in the home more than the man is disqualified by reason of his
labours beyond it. We are all conscious of evils that throng the world,
we all strive to better them in a degree, few of the most careless
fail altogether to be kind in some fashion, however haphazard, but if
the women who take life seriously will not only fulfil the commandment
to be fruitful and multiply, but will do their best to urge their
reluctant sisters, a single generation may avail to restore the balance
of sanity, equity and progress throughout civilisation.

This social disease of race suicide has not been long established. It
came into France, I believe, as a result of the law that divides the
inheritance of the parents among the children equally, it has crept
into England and America chiefly as a product of overmuch luxury and
wealth. Apart from such a reason as calculated protest against social
inequalities, it is due to the methods of life that soften women and
make child-bearing a terror. I have been told by my travelled friends,
the men and women who have been to the far ends of the earth, that
in the lands where women are hardy, healthy, and vigorous, there is
no trouble for the mother at these critical times. She recovers her
full strength in a few days. At Easton, in Essex, where I was born
and brought up, and at Warwick, where I have lived so much since my
marriage, I have seen that the workers' wives who live frugally and
actively are able to rear large families and retain not only their
health, but their good looks. Casting my memory back I can recall the
time when great families were the rule, and not the exception, among
the leisured classes. The women who entertained in great houses that
they administered in every detail, brought their six, eight, or ten
children into the world and lived long, healthy, happy lives. The
modern fashion is of recent date, and now that the war has stirred the
heights and depths of human consciousness the old bad custom should
pass, for the sake of a world that the madmen of mankind have made
desolate. At no period in the history of Western civilisation, has
it been more necessary for the women who count as factors in world
progress to consider their duty and fulfil it to the extreme limit of
their power.

I think that the need of the United States is not less than our own,
for it sees the influx day by day of the most diverse elements, and
knows well enough that the genius of rule belongs to the Anglo-Saxon.
The negroid element does not forget its duty, and the honest class
of immigrant that seeks to share the benefit of an enlightened
civilisation is hardly less prolific. Against all the problems that my
American friends, and they are many, have set out, there is no surer
safeguard than an ever increasing birth-rate of the best elements.

I have never felt disposed to join in the cry of the Yellow Peril, nor
to think well of those who raise it wantonly, but certain facts stand
out in a very bright light shed upon them by the war. In the first
place the Allied powers of the Entente have sought the services of both
yellow and black races, and have by so doing proclaimed the dawn of
a new era in which all questions of equality must come to the front.
Japan is very wide awake, and China is still a slumbering giant. Given
sanitary science and a great gift of organisation, she might rule all
Asia. The Berbers, Arabs, and negroid races of Africa have lined our
trenches and taken part in our attacks; one and all, to say nothing of
the Indian soldiers, have learned more of war in the past year or so
than they had ever known before. They have seen the weakness as well as
the strength of the white man.

Black and yellow races alike are extraordinarily prolific; there is
among their women no shirking of duty in that regard. Very soon the
white man will realise that he cannot maintain his old position unless
he is fully prepared to accept responsibilities far greater than those
of his forebears. If the rate of his progression falls while that of
the other races rises, there can only be one solution in the end,
such a solution as "Coriolanus" speaks of in the scathing lines I have
quoted. In short, if the white man's burden is to be borne there must
be sufficient white men to bear it. Statesmen will labour in vain and
the friends of progress will strive to no end if the start that the
other races have gained is to be increased, and the white women of the
world must decide whether or no they are content that not only their
own nation but the whole standard of life for which they stand is to
be submerged, or whether by a generous interpretation of the duties of
motherhood they will enable their people to remain in the future as
they have been in the past. We cannot tell what the final harvest of
war will amount to, but with the dead, the diseased and the disabled,
it will probably run into ten figures, more than five times the measure
of human sacrifice demanded by all the great wars that shook the world
from Blenheim to Omdurman. Even these monstrous figures do not tell the
whole tale, for there will be among the dead, thousands of men whose
talent might have developed into genius, and there will be hundreds of
thousands of widows left in the full flush of womanhood, with all their
possibilities unfulfilled, and, in countless cases, beyond the reach of
fulfilment. To put it brutally, our civilisation that stands in bitter
need of its best breeding stock has deliberately slaughtered a very
large percentage of it.

This, indeed, is race suicide in its worst form, and just as woman
hopes by her emancipation to dam the tide of war, so she must step into
the breach and dam the tide of loss. Emancipation will do very little
for women if when they have obtained it they find the best elements
of the white races increasingly unable to stand the strain imposed by
war. They will not forget that the black man's women are bought to tend
his land and enable him to live in ease or that the Mohammedan in the
enforced seclusion of the harem may share his favours among four lawful
wives and as many concubines as his purse can furnish. As the standard
of civilisation declines, woman, by reason of her physical weakness,
must pay an ever increasing penalty; only when it has risen to heights
unreached before the war may she hope to come into her own and to
realise ambitions that, dormant or active, have been with her through
the centuries. The whole question of her future has been brought by the
war outside the domain of personal or even national interests, suddenly
it has become racial.

Down to a little while ago the solution was not in woman's hands,
to-day it belongs to her, she has to decide not only for herself, but
for all white mankind. It is not too much to say that civilisation, as
we know it, will soon be waiting upon her verdict. If this statement
seems too far reaching, if it seems to challenge probability, let
those who think so turn to any good history of the world and see for
themselves how each civilisation has been overwhelmed as soon as it
reached the limits of its efficiency and endurance. In the history of
this planet, changes no less sweeping than that which I have indicated
have been recorded, the Providence that has one race or colour in
its special keeping is but the offspring of our own conceit. The
real Providence that dominates the universe treats all the races on
their merits. If, and only if, the best types of women will embrace
motherhood ardently, bravely content to endure the discomforts and
discover for themselves the infinite pleasure, can the earth, as we
know it, survive the terrible shock it has received. Even then the
recovery will be slow, and the price to be paid will be bitter beyond
imagining, but we shall in the end win through, though I who write and
you who read may well have settled our account with mortality before
the season of full recovery dawns upon a wasted world. Should we fail
in our duty then we must pass as Babylon and Egypt and Rome passed
before us, to become no more than mere shadows of a name.

The least among us may dream dreams and see visions. My own dream and
my own vision are of woman as the saviour of the race. I see her
fruitful womb replenish the wasted ranks, I hear her wise counsels
making irresistibly attractive the flower-strewn ways of peace. I see
the few women who encourage war turning from the error of their ways,
and those who have spurned motherhood realising before it is too late
the glory of their neglected burden. And I believe with a faith that
nothing can shake that with these two changes and a wise recognition
that the fruits of the earth were given to us all not in accordance
with our gifts, but in the measure of our needs, a new season may come
to this distracted world. Should all the high hopes of our noblest
suffer eclipse, should all the travail of the Christian era be brought
to nothingness? I have too much faith in my sex to believe it will
let the world perish if the real meaning and significance of its duty
can be brought home to it. We have been ill educated, we have been
spoilt, we have been corrupted, but for all that there is a certain
soundness at the heart of woman. She has not shrunk from the duties she
understands, even the lapse from grace that recent years have revealed
will not outlive this understanding.

The responsibility for spreading the truth rests upon all who recognise
it. There are countless women throughout the world who by sheer force
of character can influence their women friends and have learned that
the vital problem of sex is not rightly to be treated as though it
were not fit for discussion. They are scattered over all the cities of
the world; the cumulative effect of their labours would be immense,
irresistible. I am sure that the perils I have outlined are known
and feared in the Old World and the New, that they are mentioned in
the highest quarters of London, Paris, and Washington, and that the
transitional period separating words from deeds must needs be brief
because the problem does not brook delay. Many women will respond
without questioning to the call of duty. Some, whose life struggle can
be understood only by those who share it, may ask first that their
offspring shall be treated as what they are, State assets, and not
abandoned to all the evils of poverty. Others will want to know that
they are not raising sons to become the "cannon fodder" of kings and
statesmen. In the light of the needs of the white man's world, and the
weight of the white man's burden, are even these assurances too much to



It came upon me with a sudden sense of revelation, for when I went into
the theatre my thoughts were heavy with the weight of war. The friend
with whom I had dined had insisted, and though at first I had refused,
she had compromised with my objections. "Come and see some pictures,
if you cannot face a three-act play," she had said. "I can promise you
something quite remarkable, and when you have had enough, just rise and
I will follow." But in the end it was my friend who suggested leaving,
because she had a long day's work before her and knew that I too had
an engagement nearly two hundred miles from town. And when I told her
that she had shown me more than she herself had seen, and that I would
not have missed that couple of hours' illumination on any account, she
merely said she would not attempt to understand, but was very glad.

I have been greatly concerned with problems of peace and war from
the woman's view-point. So many women have written to me about the
question, some from far-away corners of the States, others from
remote English country-sides. I feel the ferment in the blood of every
thinking woman; I know how surely and inevitably the time is coming
when men and women must face the problem of world control side by side.
It has seemed to me that only one force can avail to end war, and that
is the force of education supplementing the efforts and strengthening
the bands of brotherhood. But how should one make the dry bones of
education live for those to whom education is now no more than dry
bones? We can reach the children whose imagination is yet immature, how
reach the grown up, immersed in the struggle for life and bringing even
to their leisure the harassed mind and tired brain? How make the path
clear, how stir to the depths their slumbering sense of the world that
lies beyond their working day? When I went into the Scala Theatre in
London the problem was a baffling one, when I had seen "The Birth of
a Nation" I realised the truth that such pictures in the hands of men
with insight and vision may yet move the world.

We of England may well forget the follies of our forebears, and the
American with Anglo-Saxon blood in his veins may well forgive them,
while both tingle with pride at the accomplishment of those "Mayflower"
Pilgrims who paved the way for the coming of a nation destined I think
in the near future to become the wealthiest, most powerful, and, one
hopes, the most progressive on the face of the earth. But who realised,
save in a vague and uncertain fashion, the true glory of America's
brief history? Who could visualise the scenes to which statesmen and
orators recur from time to time? Of the general public few indeed if
any, to the rank and file the experience of seeing the past flower into
life before them must have been such a one as Keats describes--

     "Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
     When a new planet swims into his ken,
     Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
     He star'd at the Pacific--and all his men
     Look'd at each other with a wild surmise
       Silent, upon a peak in Darien."

A few deep thinkers, men with vivid minds, must of course have seen
beyond the limited vision of the multitude, or nothing so sweepingly
comprehensive, so splendidly realistic, so artistically complete as
"The Birth of a Nation" could have been devised. It is poetry almost
in the sense that Hardy's "Dynasts" is poetry, while its educational
value, appealing as it can to young and old, learned and illiterate
alike, is very real. Whatever the commercial value, and this I am glad
to think must be great, the value of the spectacle as a force for the
promotion of the highest order of patriotism is greater still. I can
only feel delighted to think that such a task could be so carefully
undertaken and so satisfactorily achieved.

A picture play may not seem at first sight a very great medium for
presenting the truth about history or even a single facet of the great
diamond of life; at least if I am honest with myself this would have
been my own opinion down to the date of my visit to "The Birth of a
Nation." I had misjudged the scope of the picture play in the light
of the hoardings, vulgar, fantastic, or silly, that make the streets
of even the small provincial towns more than necessarily offensive.
I did not understand that in the hands of capable and imaginative
artists, not only the present can be put before us, but the past can
be reconstructed, and the future suggested. How it would help us to
understand not only ourselves, but others of the great group of nations
if we could see the history of all countries presented with something
of the skill and sincerity that have gone to these graphic outlines of
America's past! Often in Warwick Castle, as I have pondered some of the
records of bygone time and half-forgotten history, I have marvelled at
the pageant that is suggested, but never realised by the pages before
me. If we could bring our history before ourselves would it not teach
us more of our triumphs and mistakes than any book? And if the history
of the struggles and endeavours of other nations could be faithfully
presented, would there not be in the vision something to make us more
sympathetic, more ready to realise that we are all passing along the
same road, a narrow bridge of consciousness spanning the river of life
that flows through eternity, with dreamless sleep or life beyond our
ken on either hand? Would it not help to teach us that for the people
of every race that brief spell of consciousness is associated with so
many self-made troubles that the hell of the obsolete theologians is
rendered quite superfluous? We cannot in normal times hate the men,
women, and children of another race merely because they are not of our
own. The same virtues, the same strivings, the same uprising towards
the elusive light are shared in common. So, too, are the prejudices and
errors with which we strive. Presented with sympathy, and, above all,
with humility, the history of the birth and subsequent struggle of all
the nations would be a potent force for peace, because it would be the
first aid to understanding.

I think that the men and women who have paid their vows to peace,
those who, while realising that the present war must go on to the end,
will make any sacrifice to deprive it of a successor, may find in
the picture play, carefully conditioned to the needs of our fateful
times, the fulcrum that will enable them to move the world. I can
see it passing from the domain of the theatre to the lecture hall. I
can see the best features of the enterprise enlarged and developed
until at last the benefits of travel and a knowledge of history are
put before those who under normal conditions--or rather the conditions
that the Moloch of commercialism has made normal--would never be able
to enjoy either. I hold and shall always hold, that the ultimate
power of directing their lives is in the hands of the people, it is
not rightly in the gift of Kings or Kaisers, diplomats, statesmen, or
soldiers. The sunrise of peace waits upon the dawn of knowledge, of
knowledge that can be acquired by men, women and grown-up children of
the working classes, the classes that accomplish all that is worth
accomplishing, and pay the fullest penalty of the greed and vanity of
those who live upon their labours. But, as I have so often insisted,
the workers are inarticulate, particularly in the southern counties
and round the metropolis of England; they do not breathe the fresh air
of the north, and it is notorious that London ruins the breed of the
workers. The greater the city, the greater the unemployment, the keener
the competition, the readier the acceptance of conditions that make
men the slaves instead of the masters of their task, the smaller the
leisure to think or to study the curious and manifold complexities of
existing conditions. Only by making that study easy and by giving it
the form of relaxation, by stimulating the tired brain, can the worker
be roused. It is a matter of fact rather than of conjecture, that the
picture "palace" is beginning to claim his scanty leisure, and his tiny
surplus over the paramount demands of a minimum of food and clothing.
Democratic in its essence and secure in its appeal, it seems to me
that the picture theatre can be developed to the most instructive and
useful ends. It can teach the working man the history of his own career
and long struggle towards fairer conditions of life and labour, it
can show the world's workers all aiming to reach the same legitimate
goal and it can enforce the lesson that a unity of ideals, and a stern
rejection of the counsels of those who would make mankind his enemies
rather than his friends will make war impossible. It may be that in
America, that great melting-pot, as Mr. Zangwill calls it, of all
jarring nationalities, the lesson is more obvious and more quickly
mastered, but there is a work well-nigh as great to be done in England,
where if the mixing of the nationalities is less noticeable, the need
for knowledge is still greater. The States, wealthy beyond the dreams
of avarice, entirely self-supporting, and utterly unchallenged by any
Power within striking distance, may well laugh in the face of those
who would impose upon them the extravagant horrors of militarism.

We shall have to face militarism over here; it has had its advocates
for many years, and--why deny it?--their position will be immensely
strengthened by the war. We know by now that our rulers cannot save us,
that if we would be saved it must be by ourselves, and we know too that
salvation will be born of knowledge and of knowledge alone. I regard
the picture theatre as the finest medium for the spread of knowledge
now before the public, and I am confident that if the great engineers
of enterprise will devote their energies to the sane peace propaganda
that consists in showing not only the history but the aims of the great
majority of civilised people, the lesson will travel far and sink
deep. "The Birth of a Nation" reveals the infinite capacity of the
master film makers, their resource and resources, the measure of skill
they can command. It also shows by reason of its success the immense
public interest, the desire to learn, and to make use of knowledge.
It is not often that a venture avowedly commercial in its aims can
perform a world-wide service, and I am optimistic enough to believe
that those in charge of such a work as that which is responsible for
my own conversion and enthusiasm will be quick to see that in serving
themselves they can serve humanity.



It seems only a few years since Truth, if not precisely popular,
enjoyed a certain reputation, a little definite vogue. To tell the
truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth was not only a nominal
obligation in the courts of law, but a tradition among a certain
class, small but not negligible, of English men and women. Truth was
found in all sorts of places, you met it sometimes in Parliament,
generally on the back benches, now and again it was seen or suspected
in the Press; it frequented the Pulpit, and was not unknown upon
the public platform if the gathering was not one of the political
rallies that it resolutely ignored. To be sure when intended for the
appreciation or admiration of sensitive folk, it was always dressed up
in garments that hid a part of its native ugliness, and over the hard,
unrelenting features a certain veil, enforcing a decent obscurity, was
scrupulously drawn. The higher Truth climbed in the social scale, the
more the trappings, the thicker the veil, while on the lowest rungs
of the social ladder there were none to supply dress or wrappings,
and Truth stood revealed in such an ugly guise that only the strong
minded dared to look. When they told what they had seen, all those
who lived on any of the rungs above them deplored at the top of their
voices the indecency of the revelation and devised thicker veils and
heavier drapery. And yet for all men and all women, according to their
capacity for looking courageously before them, Truth existed. Among
most of those who live in comfort there was a tradition that Truth had
borrowed the head of Medusa the Gorgon lady who incontinently turned
to stone all those who looked upon her, and was ultimately tricked
out of life and activity by Perseus; on the other hand, the people of
the underworld, the world that does the rough work, had looked upon
Truth and found the cold implacable eyes had in them more of stimulus
than death. They even went so far as to hope that in times yet to come
the robing and veiling of Truth would be regarded as an offence and
the duty of looking Truth straight in the face, would be obligatory
upon kings, statesmen, clergymen, county and district councillors,
journalists and lawyers alike. Against the gross indelicacy of this
democratic suggestion there was not unnaturally a revolt, as many
of those people just mentioned had every reason to fear that such
a decision would rob them of occupations that, if not actually
profitable to their fellow-men, were at least sometimes dignified and
very often lucrative.

Then came War, and the people of all combatant countries formed
amid and despite their bitter antagonisms an unwritten, unsigned
compact to the effect that whatever the divergence of their aims and
policies, they would at least conduct one part of their campaign in
common, against a common foe. Agreements having lost their validity,
it was impossible to reduce this one to writing, and they knew, too,
that actions speak louder than words. So with unanimity that forgot
all causes of dispute, the fighting powers found time and means and
occasion in the midst of their awful traffic to wage war against Truth.
In this country the naked Truth may no longer find a resting place,
if the well in which Truth is said to dwell could be located it would
incontinently be filled up and no material would be regarded as too
poisonous for the purpose. As the well cannot be located, the Defence
of the Realm Act has, in these islands instituted sumptuary laws so
strict that Truth is now robed, veiled, and manacled past recognition.
The delight of those who have suffered from the constant fear of
the apparition, who have found their enjoyment of the feast of life
constantly menaced by the report that Truth was in the neighbourhood,
is unbounded. It is admitted by every government that Truth is one of
the greatest obstacles to the proper progress of universal destruction
and all Governments have substituted in the interests of public
digestion Fiction, a far more popular creation and more palatable too.
They call it by the title of Official Report. If one Report contradicts
and is contradicted by all the others, you can at least pay your money
and take your choice and the task of selection is eased by the certain
knowledge that Truth is not admitted to any.

In the Parliaments of the world responsible speakers have but to
declare that the irresponsible ones are endeavouring to bring back
Truth to the high assembly, and every one of Fiction's countless
adherents will rise in his place to protest. In the pulpit, to which
Truth still seeks admittance, the veil has become a mask, and the
garments have a double thickness, but in the Courts of whatever kind
and in Fleet Street it has been found that the precautions in vogue
before the war are sufficiently adequate.

To any mortal such persecution had been fatal, but Truth is immortal
and persists. Not even the Jews whose sufferings are eternal, or the
Belgians, Poles, Armenians, Servians, and others whose persecution
though intolerable is temporary, strive to recover their vanished
freedom as resolutely as Truth. The harder you use it, the greater
its persistence. Drive it out at the door it returns by the window, an
indefatigable, untiring immortal, seemingly unconscious of the loss
of popularity, convinced that it has a place in the great scheme of
things. It whispers to kings on their thrones, and to chancellors in
their studies, to statesmen on Government and opposition benches, to
clergymen in their pulpits, lawyers in their consulting rooms; passing
by janitor, secretary, and a sub-editorial array, it even invades the
editor's desk, persistent though ignored. Trampled upon, cast aside,
ignored, eviscerated, turned inside out, confuted, obscured, denied,
perverted, misunderstood and damned, it still labours, powerful as in
the days when old Thomas Carlyle watched its progress through the world
and hailed it alone immortal. With a striking disregard of the laws of
emergency and confusion, it declines to be regarded as an enemy alien.
With an utter contempt for a Fiction entrenched behind all the barbed
wires of popularity, it whispers the most disconcerting statements to
those who hoped or believed that it was dead. None can say what form
the instructions, warnings, and admonitions take, but all may guess
them, and the temptation so to do is ever present.

I think that the one outstanding fact upon which Truth insists is that
until it is allowed to prevail there can be no peace in the world,
that even victories must be unavailing while the hard-won lessons
they bring are taught in terms of fiction. Truth tells us that the
fog of war is hardly more horrible than the fog of falsehood; product
of a poison gas that is manufactured by every country alike. To the
Prussians who are in our midst striving to fasten upon us the fetters
fashioned by our enemies for the control of all liberty, comes the
secret warning that such fetters will not fit the Anglo-Saxon people,
that the rivets will not hold, that they will be torn asunder and even
used as weapons against all forgers. Truth will tell those who seek to
effect economies at the expense of education that only sound training
and diligent application to every form of activity can enable us to
hold our own against Germany, whether the defeat of that country be
whole or partial. Truth says the will of the people is being forged as
of wrought iron upon the fields of war, and that the days of privilege
are numbered. Truth whispers that the burdens imposed upon those yet
unborn, not only in Great Britain, but in every belligerent country can
only be met if they are shared by one and all, not with any sense of
precedence or class distinction but in a brotherhood that embraces all
who labour whether with hand or brain to the common end. Truth will
whisper to those who shrink before strong, whole-hearted and courageous
methods necessary to bring all classes into line that the needs of
the time are paramount and that those who will not steer the ship of
State to a safe harbour because of the adverse winds and storming
waves that lie ahead, must yield to other pilots cast in sterner
mould. It will point out that the old days of political trifling and
dalliance are numbered, that right and wrong, bravery and cowardice,
energy and inaction, whatever their future, can no longer be weighed
in the unjust balances of the party system. Truth will say that our
empire needs the best service, not only of every man, but of every
woman, and in consequence, that both must be rendered fit to serve and
allowed to express themselves to the State's best advantage without
reference to pedigree or sex. It will declare that an England in which
the labours of six men out of seven are valued at three pounds a week
or under, cannot endure for the simple reason that under the present
social system, hundreds of thousands of really capable people who could
deserve well of their country are doomed by poverty to ineffectiveness.
Truth will say bluntly that the future demands statesmen rather than
politicians, men in their prime rather than men in their decline. It
will whisper of the vigorous democracies that the genius of empire
has brought into being, the democracies that have striven so nobly to
save the empire and must--not for reasons of sentiment alone--play
their part in administering it. There will not be wanting the reminder
that the season in which crises, military, social, political, can be
smothered in platitudes is past, not in our time to return.

If Truth were to proclaim these facts duly pointed and applied,
together with many another of like weight and significance from the
house-tops, the Defence of the Realm Act would intervene promptly,
strongly and passionately on behalf of Fiction; but the Act has
limitations. The Still Small Voice evades the Act every time, it speaks
less from the lips than to the hearts of men. There is no humbug so
highly placed as to be able to shut it out, there is no man or woman so
befogged or bewildered by the horror of the hour that he cannot hear
the silences made audible. For Truth is not cast out of life, it is
but despised and rejected by the world's rulers and even they cannot
shut out the voice that whispers through all their waking hours, for
while many men can deceive others, few, if any, are permitted entirely
to deceive themselves in times like these. So many soft conventions
have fallen by the way, so many of life's excuses and subterfuges
have fallen into everlasting nothingness. Before the horror-stricken
eyes of authority the world over, Truth, muzzled, bedraped, masked,
and shrouded appears again like the skeleton at the feast, like the
grinning skull that accompanied the Roman Emperors on their Triumphs
to remind them that they too were mortal. Slowly yet with deliberation
Truth is beginning to shed the coverings that officialdom had heaped in
such designed profusion. The day is not far distant when the fetters
will fall from the limbs, the shroud from the dread face, and in that
hour not all the Acts and Proscriptions will avail to frame a covering.
Europe, bleeding, sore, wounded, poverty-stricken, shattered beyond
recognition, will see Truth face to face. And then----?



I have been trying to look through the clouds of war to what lies
behind. Quite resolutely I have closed my ears to certain empty
cries about the commercial conquest of Germany, about the coming of
Protection, about all the panaceas of political and other quacks.
Most of us who take the trouble to think can trace these cries to
their source. I have endeavoured to look to the time when this old
country of ours will be faced by a new set of conditions, by forces yet
incalculable that war has brought into being. People have talked and
written glibly about changes of heart, of the fraternising of capital
and labour, of sin and crime and disease exorcised by some supreme
spirit of good will, but I have my doubts. "Cœlum non animum mutant,"
wrote Horace, two thousand years ago.

Men have always made good resolutions in times of stress; they range
from the nation's ideals voiced by its spokesmen down to the promise
of candles for the shrine of some saint. The mind can follow the road
that connects our English House of Commons or the Russian home of the
Duma with the church of Notre Dame de la Garde whereto the men who
traffic in the mighty waters of the Gulf of Lyons pay with knick-knacks
for their real or imaginary protection. I have no faith in the power
of good intentions to act automatically. When this war is over and
we are faced with a victory, an indecisive result, or a defeat, the
tendency of our insularity will be to interfere as little as may be
with pre-existing conditions. Men who serve in high places will be
overwrought; you do not carry a part of the burden of the British
Empire upon your shoulders without a maximum of strain. The tendency
will, I fear, be to declare that the evil of the day is sufficient,
that the nation must be kept secure from new ideas. There will be few
to make excursion in search of trouble. Yet there can be very few
students of social progress who will not admit that the only way in
which we can make good the losses of war, is by turning to the best
possible account the assets left to us at its conclusion. And the
supreme asset of a State is its children.

Let us leave aside for the moment all the other burning social
questions of the time. They are not the less poignant because a great
patriotic impulse has kept so much suffering silent. The question of
the future of our great Empire is one that must be decided in a large
measure by those who are children to-day. We have to ask ourselves
what we are doing to prepare them for their labours, and how far such
preparation can bear comparison with that made by the nations which
will be our competitors. We are the trustees of the British Empire,
Unlimited. What manner of estate are we going to bequeath to our

Down to the summer of 1914, we had every means of doing well for
the generation that must grasp the reins when at Time's bidding we
relinquish them. That we had misused those means goes without saying.
As far as education goes it was said years ago of our richest schools
that a vast sum of money was expended on education, and that a beggarly
account of empty brains was the result. That indictment holds good
to-day. The education of the children of the wealthy is both costly
and ineffective. Much that is taught bears no relation to the needs
of twentieth-century life. Middle class education is better without
being good, while the State education that, as far as the poor is
concerned, is both obligatory and free, is worth what it costs.
Secondary Education is pursued if at all under conditions of the
greatest difficulty. Boys and girls too under our present evil economic
conditions are turned into wage-earners at the earliest possible
moment. County Council classes, often capably conducted and well within
the reach of the great majority, cannot find adequate support for
many reasons. One is that the primary education of the poor does not
encourage the habit of study. The ill-fed children of the slums look
upon school as a necessary evil, redeemed to a small extent by the gift
of free meals, over which, we, the richest nation of the earth, haggled
so long. When the children of the poor have reached the standard or
the age that sets them free, the struggle for life begins and finds
them too jaded at the end of the normal day's work to seek fresh
instruction, even if they have an inclination or ambition to improve
their minds. Untrained, undisciplined, condemned in many instances to
blind-alley employment, what better is to be expected? Again we are
face to face with the demand for cheap labour, the labour that enriches
the employer and even gives an illusory benefit to the State. Save in
the direction of making laws, most of them foolish, and raising money,
much of it ill spent, the State follows a policy of _laissez faire_.
The effort to make primary education compulsory has seemingly left it
without the energy to see that it should also be sound and effective.
The latter-day squabbles between Church and State in the schoolroom
have always been regarded as more interesting than education itself.
Legislators by the score have shown in Parliament that the question of
feeding hungry children so that they may be physically fit to learn,
is the only side of education over which they are prepared to spend any
thought, and that in order to oppose action. So these things were down
to the time when England went to war, so they will be after England
returns to peace unless the great body of public opinion in the country
will realise that no victory can be enduring if countries anxious
to compete with us in the future give a genuine education to their
children while we remain content with a spurious one for ours. The
issue cannot be evaded; the responsibility cannot be shirked. French
education, German, Dutch, Danish, and Swiss are better than ours. They
take into account the needs of the times. They are not founded upon old
and obsolete prejudices. The technical side of educational needs is
fairly and fully met. The State equipment is better. The teachers know
that there are people in the world who do not speak English, and that
several European languages not only have a claim to consideration, but
must be taught by competent masters; that is to say, by men and women
with a liberal education born in the land whose language they teach.
Travelling scholarships should be the first reward of those who excel
at school. The incentive would be immense, and the contribution to the
forces of peace immeasurable.

Even our cousins across the Atlantic, who have made their educational
system a living thing, have failed to teach us. Andrew Carnegie,
remembering the land of his birth, has liberally endowed Scottish
University Education with the gold of Pittsburg. Harvard, Yale,
Princeton, and other American colleges are an example to the world, in
Canada the lesson has been learned, in Toronto, Montreal and elsewhere,
and will soon be fully applied. But here in England those who cannot
go to Oxford or Cambridge will find that, for the most part, they must
be external students in pursuit of the higher education, with little
of the joyous intercourse that kindles ambitions and ideals. We look
a little askance at education. For the man in the street the really
great representatives of Cam and Isis are those who can row from
Putney to Mortlake in the early spring, and those who can shine at the
cricket ground in Marylebone about midsummer. Scholarship is something
in the nature of a harmless eccentricity, calling less for rebuke
than for derision. For this view-point our hopeless system of primary
education is responsible. To be effective in this country education
must be revised to meet the times we live in, made popular and finally
democratised. As I write we are waging war at the price of some four or
five million pounds a day. We must wage peace with as fine a disregard
for inevitable expenditure. The cost of one week's war will maintain
an entirely different system of national education for a year. I would
like to deal in brief broad outline with what might be attempted.

It is only necessary to concede in the first instance that a sane
Government recognises the paramount claims of the children, the
terrible loss of much of the country's best blood, and the consequent
need of bringing what is left to us to the highest pitch of public
utility. These premises should surely stand beyond controversy. Why
should not every slum child have its share of public-school life free
of all charge? If we have come to the conclusion that this is the best
thing for the future of the country, why should the majority of the
little ones be left out? Does anybody hold that we do not require the
best that all the children can do for England? To those who suggest
that such a simple matter is revolutionary, or that it will cost too
much, one reply is that our children are our greatest national asset.
Upon our capacity to rear them well and wisely and to educate them to
the needs of the time, the whole future of the British Empire depends.
There is really nothing revolutionary about the proposal, for, if you
come to think of it, we give free education and even free meals, and
the most hardened Conservative will acknowledge freely enough that
the slum is not a good training ground for the rising generation. You
cannot clear slums away in a hurry. The owners of such places are
regarded if not with affection, at least with respect by the law and
the law makers, but you can run up boarding establishments that will
be infinitely superior to slums, and you can gather within them the
outcasts of the capitalistic system for proper feeding, clothing,
education, and training. If children go wrong they are sent to special
schools. All that is necessary is that instead of the children going
wrong, the grown-ups shall go right, that they shall recognise how
little their politics, prejudices and preconceptions matter by the
side of one child's welfare. I go as far as to declare that it is the
bounden duty of the State to make its gift of education effective, that
in making education compulsory it recognised certain paramount duties
that remain fulfilled only in the letter, and not in the spirit. One
does not advocate change, however beneficial, for the mere sake of a
nobler and wider life, such pleas do not gain prompt acceptance. Rather
let it be stated quite frankly that, unless we turn the best aptitudes
and capacities of the rising generation to the fullest account, we
cannot hope to maintain our position in the face of competition. As a
nation we handicap ourselves lamentably when we endeavour to hold our
own in the world with no more than a small part of our national assets
realised or realisable. Children are our assets, and between the infant
mortality on the one hand, blind product of ignorance, poverty, and
apathy, and indifferent education on the other hand, we stand a very
bad chance in the battle for supremacy. If we would increase, preserve,
and train child life we could look to the future without misgiving.

Edmund Burke, who will not be found to have given many hostages to
socialism, declared that the citizens of a State are a partnership,
that every member of such partnership has a right to a fair portion of
all that society with all its combinations of skill and force can do in
his favour, and that he has a right to the fruits of his own industry
and the improvement of his own offspring. Let us be content to leave
the case as Burke stated it in the time of George III., it will be seen
that we have not yet gained for the average man the minima that the
most eloquent statesman of his time prescribed. It is also clear that
this claim for a full and free education is not the claim for charity,
but the claim for a right that should be deemed inalienable. The grant
of this right enriches while appearing to impoverish the State, and
a step that some will deem socialistic and others revolutionary is
fairly defined as common-sense procedure. We have at last reached the
stage of agreeing that child life must be increased, preserved, and
cultivated to the best ends, but there is a fatal inclination in this
country to regard the theoretical acceptance of a principle as the
equivalent of its complete practical development. When you discuss the
whole vital question with sensible people they prove, almost without
exception, in accord, but as soon as you say, "_therefore let us endow
maternity, pass Pure Milk Bills, protect the mother from wrongful
labour before and after confinement, and the child from mal-nutrition,
educate the child when it is old enough to be educated, submit it to
reasonable discipline and prepare it physically, morally, and mentally
to fill the place for which it is best fitted in the workshop of the
world_," the theorists are unable to follow. Some constitutional
timidity holds them. They will not gallop across country to reach
their goal, fences and ditches frighten them, and all gates must be
unfastened. It is well for those of us whose ambitions for England
are inexhaustible, and who watch the shadow on Life's Dial moving
inexorably towards the sunset that we dare not despair of humanity. The
pen, however ill we may wield it, gives us courage. We know that when
our views are issued broadcast they resemble the seed in the Parable of
the Sower, and that some worker who in days yet unborn will lead the
children of the poor to their safe harbour out of the troubled waters
on which their helpless lives are tossed, will have gathered a part
of his inspiration and force from the thoughts of those who have gone

What is it that taints our physical bravery as a nation with so much
moral cowardice? Why is it that countless thousands will face shot and
shell and wounds horrible beyond imagining with quiet heroism, and
will yet shrink from the display of moral courage required to tell
their rulers that, until the poorest child of England has its rights
and its chance, they have failed in their duty, and that they must put
the national house in order? I would wager that a majority, a large
majority of both Houses of Parliament would be prepared to admit in
private conversation all the claims I have put forward on behalf of
the little ones, and that they would in public find a score of excuses
for not pressing them. The most frequent excuse will of course be that
after this war we shall lack the means. But I protest that whatever
the date of peace, if it be a peace that meets our hopes, we shall be
in a state in which we could find the means for at least another year
of war if need be. Who will deny that it is better to create, cherish,
and equip life than to devote our vast resources to its destruction?
Equality, liberty, and fraternity are the first-fruits of liberal
education, the fine flower of progress. The war found our wealth
accumulating and our people deteriorating, so slowly to be sure that
they were able to pull themselves together and appeal with certainty to
the favourable verdict of world history, but yet deteriorating. Slums,
prostitution, crime, insanity, drink, irresponsible wealth, all these
evils were beginning to fester in the body politic, and war has applied
the surgeon's knife to the open sore. Is peace to see it extirpated
or allowed to grow again? I think in all honesty and sincerity that
our treatment of the children will decide. If we will learn from our
neighbours on the continent and our kinsmen across the Atlantic we may
renew our strength. We may even justify the sacrifice of those who by
reason of their love of England will never return to us.

There is another and a sacred ground for this appeal. Let us remember
the nameless dead, those whose heroism is expressed in part of a
crowded line of small print, who had nothing but their lives to offer
to their country, who had no chance in life and who when the bands
of the body were breaking gave their last anxious thoughts to little
ones doomed under our harsh system of social life to drift where and
how they can. Who among those they died to leave in security and a
sufficiency of the world's goods would come forward and say, "In
spite of all these dead men did for me I will oppose a measure that
will give their children useful and honourable lives, because what is
left to me of life will be passed without some luxuries I have enjoyed
hitherto?" I venture to say there are none who would put this sentiment
in words. Yet there are thousands, tens of thousands whose deeds will
say it for them, not because they are utterly selfish, callous, or
hard-hearted, but because they lack the saving grace of imagination.
The most of the evil that disfigures the earth is due to this inability
to see beyond our own needs. In the labour, the upheaval, the expense
of a movement needed to equip the generation that will so soon succeed
our own, we overlook the salient truth that it is no more than the
fulfilment of a solemn duty, a pledge that binds us to the dead though
it was never given. For who will suggest that the poor men, the bulk
of those who fought and died for England, faced their fate to maintain
the slum and the gin palace and the labour of the poor prostitute who
sells her body that she may eat to live, or drink to forget how she
is living? Surely they died for the faith that was in them, with some
dim fore-knowledge of happier days for those they left behind. We are
the executors of their unwritten testament. If, as so many believe,
there is some form of consciousness in the unknown world of which they
are the sudden denizens, will they not be looking even now to see if
we whose debt is so great have determined to pay it? And what better
faith can we keep than by giving to the lives they have left behind the
simple rights that were denied to them? Every rich man, every member of
the comfortable classes claims these benefits for his children, and if
the war has given birth to a true spirit of brotherhood, the children
of the poor cannot be forgotten. They lack the means, we have them.
From this simple truth and the consequent, inexorable duty there is no
escape with a clean conscience.



War throws a blinding light upon the strength and the weakness of
nations, and in England we may claim that we have faced the light
without any revelations of which we need feel ashamed. Our mistakes
have been rather of temperament than character, and whether in
mustering our millions on the voluntary system or surrendering our
hard-won liberties to an authority that has shown no sign of suffering
from wisdom in excess, or giving fully and freely of our resources
to the national cause, we may claim to have shown in our collective
capacity a generous response to the most varied and unexpected
demands. Incidentally we have discovered in our midst a body of men,
happily small in number, and not too significant in position, who
would fain embody in our national life the worst vices that we are
said to be fighting in the one foe that counts. These men, whose
political sagacity exists in inverse ratio to their prejudices, are
ever prompting the worst elements in our rulers and threatening and
intriguing against the others.

To them war is no frightful necessity imposed upon a free and peaceful
people, but a providential opportunity for taking occasion by the hand;
the voice is the voice of Prussia, but the hands are English hands.

Our Prussians have always been in evidence, but, while the government
of the empire was trusted to their friends, they were content to be
quietly active. It is now nearly ten years since a Liberal Government
came into power, and with the advent of Radical legislation our
Prussians--they call them Tories over here--became active.

When taxation threatened their superfluous wealth, they called heaven
and earth to witness that such an outrage had no sanction. When the
House of Lords, long the supreme force of obstruction, was threatened
they grew frantic, and at many a well-spread board declared themselves
ready to dine--I mean die--in the last ditch before submitting to the
indignity of democratic government.

When Home Rule was on the tapis they declared for revolution and civil
war, and it needed Armageddon to burst the bladder of Sir Edward
Carson's threats. In justice be it said that when the tocsin sounded
the Tories responded to the nation's need, and forgot for a time their
ineffective selves.

But as soon as the gravity of the task was revealed they decided
that the authorities were useless without their judgment in aid.
Cabal succeeded criticism, plots of exquisite silliness were hatched,
matched, and dispatched. Then came the call for more soldiers, and our
Prussians turned Conscriptionists.

The suggestion that conscription of men should be associated with
conscription of wealth was dismissed as an impertinence, it sufficed if
all that others possess were sacrificed for the State. Our Prussians
talked incessantly of men and duty, but where finance was concerned
they were content to warn the worker not to squander his extra wages
earned by unremitting labour during a week seven days long. They saw
with clear vision the iniquity of depriving the capitalist of half the
wealth he is amassing as a result of the bloodiest war in history,
and have protested almost in unison against the decree. They forgot
with amazing ease that conscription is the force that has set the
Prussian Jack-boot above all law human and divine; they clamoured for
it here, doubtless with an eye upon the possibilities of coercing in
days to come a proletariat of toilers forced to live under military
law in time of peace. Disguised as patriots they thundered from a
hundred platforms, they thumped a thousand tubs, while their hirelings
in the Press wrote stodgily in admiration and support, pointing out
that certain hard-jawed, soulless politicians would alone avail to
save England from itself. As though England would endure to-day the
undiluted political opinions of a Carson, a Milner, a Halsbury, or a
Walter Long. Excellent men, no doubt, but never in their lives less
than half a century behind the times.

Politicians and papers were aided by the truth that even the voluntary
system has its flaws and hardships, its inequalities and petty
tyrannies, and the Prussian remedy for the whip of voluntary service is
the scorpion of conscription.

Those who do not agree with our Prussians are traitors to the height,
although if our Prussians are patriots Dr. Johnson's definition of
patriotism becomes dangerously true.

The question of peace discussion has been the latest consideration of
these gentry. Personally I have no use for peace until we have won our
victory or suffered our defeat. I believe we shall win, and that our
first duties as victors will be to take whatever steps are needed to
give peace permanence.

But I cannot follow our Prussians over one yard of their mile-long way.
They would impose the methods of Berlin and Vienna upon all who dare
to have opinions of their own, they would repress individuality, they
would out Herod the Herods of the censorship who daily murder so much
childishness, they would in fact reduce free men to the level of the
citizens who serve their rulers for "cannon fodder."

In one of the reactionary dailies written by Tories for Tories I have
been reading with infinite disgust a tribute of admiration to the
"Stern Methods" of the Central Empires in dealing with "War Cranks,"
_i.e._ with people whose sense of what they, rightly or wrongly,
believe to be truth is so strong that they will sacrifice position,
even life, to tell the truth when they see it. "Hungarians," writes our
Prussian, "who were only suspected of not approving of the war were
interned or publicly shot." Such a policy has more to justify it "than
have the liberties which are accorded to certain sects who with their
ideas form an insignificant, and almost negligible minority." These
sentiments are even worse than the English used to express them. One
Hungarian publicist, M. Pazmaudy, aged sixty-nine, went to prison for
three months for writing an unpublished letter to a newspaper in which
he denounced the war as wholesale murder. A teacher who pointed out to
his class that war is the fruit of rulers' jealousy rather than of the
people's animosities, a statement that is probably true of nine-tenths
of the war recorded by history, was condemned to three years' hard
labour. Our anonymous Prussian rejoices in these barbarities, and a
paper supposed to represent the educated classes of England is not
ashamed to print this revelation of an unsound or distorted mind.

In the early days of the war, Bernard Shaw reminded us that we, too,
have our Junkers, and his statement has been proved up to the hilt.
Our soldiers and sailors are fighting the Prussians abroad, and it is
the duty of those of us who cannot help beyond England's boundaries,
to fight the Prussians at home, for it is abundantly clear that we
have them in our midst, those who are working night and day to give
us Militarism, Absolutism, and every form of Central European slavery
under another name. They desire an England of conscript workmen, they
seek the destruction of Trade Unionism, and the abolition of socialism,
though it is only by adopting that dread creed that the Government
contrived to save our credit and to feed us. They wish to destroy the
German militarism, and what it stands for, but only to take over the
whole business, lock, stock, and barrel as a going concern. The truth
is that the Tories can no more change their skin than the leopard his

It is to them the ideal, merely the ideal, in the wrong hands. They
see beyond the horizon of war the dawning of a democratic era that
shall destroy privilege, and make our national freedom greater than it
has ever been, and the prospect is more bitter to them than defeat.
So while our men, so recently civilians, are proving the strength and
resources of comparative freedom--what has been done is as little with
what still remains to be done--our Prussians are putting forward all
manner of chains for unfettered limbs, and are declaring that without
them nothing can save the Empire. It is pleasant to reflect that
after this war comes to its appointed close the vigorous democracies
of Canada and Australia that have followed the United States along
the road of political freedom will be finding representatives at the
Council Board of Empire, and that they will be alert and vigorous to
put an end to the machinations of our Prussians whose attack upon
liberty will not readily be forgotten. When we attempt to measure the
sacrifices that have been made in freedom's name since August, 1914,
when we remember the spirit that has led men contentedly into the
jaws of death, when we understand what our fighters have fought for,
there is an indescribable sense of loathing for the men who, secure in
England, are plotting to transfer Prussian principles across the North
Sea. Their failure to achieve anything commensurate with the villainy
of the attempt is neither palliation nor excuse.

Every one who has studied social conditions knows that our national
ability to pit the unprepared British Empire against Germany armed to
the teeth, has been due to the fact that our Empire holds millions who
believe from the bottom of their hearts that it is worth living in and
dying for. What would the Prussians make of our Empire if they were
allowed to direct it? A happy hunting-ground for Junkers and a hell
upon Earth for free men is the very best that they could accomplish.

Political insight, democratic foresight, prevision of the inevitable
march of events, all these gifts are denied them. They have no sympathy
with any freedom that could exist beyond the realms of the privileged
classes, they are too blind to see the writing on the wall that tells
them they have been found wanting.

This war has witnessed plenty of mistakes, some trivial, some serious;
it has witnessed the birth of a certain number of oppressive and
retrograde measures, and the death of national liberties of which we
look with hope, even with certainty for the joyful resurrection.

Whatever has been bad, retrograde, or dangerous to democracy has won
the unstinted approval of our Prussians; every other act of our rulers
they have condemned.



Before the war, I heard some shrewd feminists say that the frivolity
associated with the life of women at the time when they have ceased
to be girls and have "come out," is a matter of environment rather
than choice. They went so far as to assert that if a worthier goal
were offered, a majority would seek it without a moment's hesitation.
For all my sympathy with feminism, despite my heartfelt conviction
that man needs woman's help in the task of administering the world
that lies beyond the home, I had doubts, grave doubts. I thought
that those who said these things had gone a little beyond their
brief, and I remembered the French aphorism, "_la jeunesse n'a qu'un
jour_." It seemed to me that an innate knowledge of the time-limit was
the foundation of frivolity, and here, perhaps, I was looking back
thirty years or more to the radiant season of my own _début_, and was
remembering how the girls who became matrons were expected to play the
rest of their part in the life symphony on muted strings. True it is
that I helped to post-date the passing of the girl and the coming of
the matron, but in those feverish times we all thought that the race
was to the swift.

It may be that this conviction coloured my views; I believed that
for the vast majority of young girls with prospects of a good time,
there would be no pleasure in serious endeavour of any kind: that a
sense of responsibility could not precede the State recognition of
women and a sweeping measure of educational reform. As recently as the
summer season of 1914, I found the new players feverishly excited by
the old, old game, and pleasure instead of losing its savour seemed
to have widened its boundaries and assumed shapes more fantastic than
ever. I heard girls who were standing on the threshold of their career
prattling of the joys to come as though life did not compass within its
horizon one solitary sorrow or disappointment. Women of experience are,
I think, stirred by these enthusiasms in their sisters or daughters, or
young friends: they have learned a part of life's lesson, and know glad
memories for an inalienable possession. It follows that they rejoice
to see those who are near and dear to them treading the primrose path
in the spring of their years, realising that when they look over the
old road in the autumn days, their memory will help to gladden it
with even fairer blossoms. If we know youth for the season of mental
intoxication, we are not the less grateful to the gods who grant it to
one and all, and if we are quite honest with ourselves we have been
rather a little sorry for the girls who are serious before their time.
But, while so many happy children, for after all they were little more,
were bringing their healthy appetite to the banquet of life, "dawn was
at hand to strike the loud feast dumb."

The effect of the upheaval upon the girls who had been presented
in 1914, or would in the ordinary course of events have made their
_début_ since, has been startling, and it has taught me that not only
are the working classes sound at the core--I never doubted this--but
the leisured classes are in no whit inferior. Only an insignificant
minority pursue pleasure at any price, and find in the horrors of our
time a medium for publicity or dissipation. Over the not inconsiderable
circle that I have the opportunity of observing there came, in the vast
majority of cases, a startling change. The opportunities for frivolity
under the rose were accepted only by a few who are constitutionally and
irretrievably decadent, or actually vicious. The others passed pleasure
by, sought duty wherever it was to be found, and became supremely happy
in its pursuit. They taught me to realise that my feminist friends were
right, and that environment which could have moulded their plastic
natures in one mould, had no trouble in moulding them in another.

To do full justice to the fortunately circumstanced girls of England,
for I take it that what is true of London and many country homes will
apply elsewhere, it is necessary to remember that they have known less
of the horrors of war than their sisters of almost all belligerent
countries. Some, very few, have heard one or two bombs dropped from
air-ships, the rest have seen no more than the wounded men who are
sufficiently well to be brought over to England. They cannot even have
visualised the full tragedy of the struggle as French and Belgian
girls must have done, and, above all, they are seldom imaginative, but
just as they were prepared less than two years ago to enjoy as good a
time as life could afford, they are now committed to the hardest tasks
within their competence. What they have lost in pleasure, they have
gained in self-respect, and a sense of true citizenship; above all,
they realise that they are of signal use to the State in the hour of
its exceeding great need. Part of the _rôle_ so long denied to them
they have assumed, not only without challenge, but with acclamation.

They have one additional advantage in their new sphere: they have never
known the pursuits of normal times. While the doors of the ball-room
and all that lies beyond were still shut, the doors of the Temple of
Janus were torn asunder. They have no regrets, they do not miss the
flavour of what they have never tasted. Life is so full for them that
if pleasure were within their grasp they would lack the leisure as
well as the inclination to grasp it. The example of fathers, brothers,
boy friends, is an unending stimulus; all those they love best are
looking to them with a gratitude or admiration that no pursuit of
pleasure could have evoked. They have realised the high tension of the
hour, they have risen silently and unostentatiously to the heights.
Such tragedy as has come into their lives--and the mourning that so
many wear is eloquent beyond all speech--has increased rather than
diminished their labours; it has brought them nearer to the actuality
of things. Where one hoped that all would gather roses many have
gathered rue, but they have learned to know it by the older name,
herb-of-grace. They wear it as they work, and it has become one of the
symbols of the bond that binds those who serve with those who suffer.

I have seen the girls of whom I write labouring with deft yet
unaccustomed hands in the canteens, undertaking in the hospitals the
menial work that falls to those who are yet untrained, giving to pain
longer hours than they would have given to pleasure in happy times.
They bring to their tasks the subtle indefinite charm that is the gift
of their hour and was intended for a setting so different. Is it a part
of their reward that their lives should not lack a generous gift of
high romance? I cannot recall in any season over which my memory has
control so many engagements and marriages as there have been of late.
The old huckstering conditions would seem to have passed, the girls are
no longer weighing chances, the men are no longer calculating coldly.
Each sees the other at best. The girl knows that the lad who has given
all and risked all for his country must be sound at heart, and that
his scars are honourable; the young man knows that he cannot go wrong
in choosing a girl who has left pleasure for duty, who has found high
ideals and pursues them. These unions coming about in hours of deepest
uncertainty, when the bride of one month may be the widow of the next,
are calculated to bring out what is best in both, for the natural
affection is leavened by mutual respect. I have heard worldly minded
parents grieve, some have brought their tales of woe to my utterly
unsympathetic ear; I rejoice in these marriages, and believe they are
of happiest augury for the State. Surely those who wed under these
conditions may hope to live on the high plane of idealism longer than
those whose unions have been dictated by what is mis-called prudence,
while the fruits of unions consummated in such solemn hours when the
future of Europe trembles in the balances of God, will be a source
of strength in the years to come. They will surely not be like the
offspring of exaggerated comfort or monstrous luxury.

It seems to me, reviewing the accomplishment of so many girls I know
best, that war, for all its tragedy, may well leave the poor remains
of our civilisation better than it was in the season of our opulence.
Without regard to money or to good looks some of the best elements
of the race have mated, each partner to the union understanding in
fashion hitherto unimaginable not only that the Empire is worth the
best we have to offer, but that one and all, regardless of the world's
favours, are bringing their sacrifice. The minorities, noisy or silent,
with which we must hereafter deal, the residue of profit-hunters and
pleasure-seekers, pass almost out of mind as one sees the extraordinary
transformation that war has wrought in a class that was supposed to be
utterly deaf to any call save the call of amusement. That there have
been larger tributes to the national cause is a commonplace, that there
has been a more striking one I, at least, deny.

Who was the cynic who said that woman was the last animal that man
would civilise? I hope and believe he has not lived as long as his
libel, and yet I could wish that somewhere in the realms reserved for
liars he could be permitted to see a few at least of the sights that
have gladdened and stimulated me in the past twelve months, ever since
the women workers in the Empire's cause became fully representative of
every class in the realm.



Very early in the war, almost before the Expeditionary Force was under
arms, the Government was forced by the grave urgency of the national
case to apply the principles of socialism to certain outstanding
problems. To name only one instance, we may mention the work of the
railways. Socialists have always urged that the railroads should be
taken over by Government in the national interest, and countless
reams of paper have been wasted by individualists to demonstrate
the impossibility. But needs grew paramount, and the Government, by
a stroke of the pen, took the railroads into its inexpert keeping.
Nothing has happened to make the country regret the change. The fashion
in which our railways (with a few notable exceptions) are conducted
is so utterly bad and so profoundly inefficient, that Government, in
giving precedence to Government business, made them very little worse.
Fares are a trifle higher, trains rather less frequent, carriages
dirtier than heretofore, but Government's proper needs and unpractised
handling could do little or nothing to depress the normal standard. As
the war progressed, and various common-sense measures were required
to deal with war profits, war contracts, and war crises generally, it
was recognised with something akin to dismay by the hierarchy that
lives behind the times that in many instances socialism had anticipated
common-sense. Then a strange thing happened. In a very unguarded
moment, Mr. Runciman, that bright young man whose statesmanlike
qualities and keen sympathy with our poor shipowners have endeared him
to a small minority at least of English-speaking people, was heard
to declare before a pained and startled House of Commons that where
Socialism was practical and met the needs of the hour, he was prepared
to adopt it. In other words, he would not discard a useful measure
because it was socialistic in origin or tendencies! What magnanimity;
what a sterling recognition of a nation's needs!

Nobody perhaps quite knows what measure of concession to hard truth
was here intended, but as a statement made by a President of the Board
of Trade, the utterance deserved more attention than it received.
Perhaps the Press Bureau asked newspapers to take no marked notice of a
hard-worked "statesman's" slip of the tongue. One would wager that it
did not pass altogether unrebuked by those descendants of the wise men
of Gotham, who would rather see the Empire lost by party politicians
than saved by Socialists or Socialism.

It is a curious fact, and one that the historian of the future will
surely acknowledge, that Individualism has been discredited by the war,
and that the appeal of both our leaders and misleaders, whatever the
colour of their party-political opinions, has been to the principles
underlying Socialism. Even in Russia, an autocracy, a land in which
the Tsar comes in the popular mind very near to God, the appeal to
the nation has been an appeal, however unconsciously, to Socialism.
The root principle of Socialism lies in a great National Act. The
nation must work together for the national good. So far has this idea
developed that in the last days of February, a reputed reactionary, M.
Markoff, rose in the Duma to implore the Government "to withdraw its
shield from the old gang of officials who look upon their country's
adversities merely as a favourable opportunity for increasing their
perquisites" (_Daily Telegraph_, Feb. 28th). Here, under the pressure
of giant circumstance, we find an appeal made for the united action
and the national act. In Germany, as all our responsible, and not a
little of the irresponsible, Press has frankly admitted, the Socialist
party is the only one that has kept its head, and endeavoured in very
difficult circumstances to preserve ideals. The _Vorwarts_, leading
organ of German Socialism, though it regards the war as an evil for
which Germany was not responsible, has courageously opposed all the
actions of the governing class that have tended to lower the character
of the German people, and I have heard some of the best informed
students of European politics declare that, had Social Democracy been
allowed another ten years of peaceful development throughout the German
Empire, no German ruler would have dared provoke a war for the hegemony
of Europe. They cannot deny that Socialism, in its International
aspect, was making for the brotherhood of man. No other force in
national life was working with any approach to equal strength and
sincerity along the same road and in pursuit of the same goal.

Unfortunately, under the conditions that beset and damn all Europe, the
people have no voice in the supreme decision of war. Their privilege
is to fight those with whom they have no quarrel. Theirs, too, to
sacrifice in appalling numbers their fathers, husbands, brothers,
and sons, to give up their homes and savings, to acquiesce blindly
in every evil that marches in the wake of strife. Just as the men
ordered from the trenches to be mown down by shot and shell are given
or offered some form of raw spirit to stimulate and even intoxicate
them, so before war is declared, Governments, through the medium of a
docile Press, circulate the lies best calculated to make the imminent
enormity appear inevitable and just. As soon as the declaration of
war is made, the common patriotism of nations obscures every other
issue. Men must fight for hearth and home, for fatherland and all
that it implies. Primal necessity is speaking, and on every banner of
every nation the ominous words "Væ victis" are inscribed. The people
who make war and, somewhere out of Death's ample range direct it,
understand the psychology of nations; their skill in all the arts of
deception is unrivalled. Yet of all the lessons enforced by the war
there is none that has come with greater force to all whose minds are
not hermetically sealed than the lesson that Individualism has failed
completely in the hour of the world's extremist need. The price we have
paid for it within the compass of two brief years is the total loss
of millions of lives, the future ineffectiveness of still more, the
sheer, brutal waste of wealth more than sufficient to have solved all
the economic troubles of Europe. Countless thinkers in all belligerent
countries have been forced to the conclusion that Socialism is the only
force capable of rendering what is left of Europe capable and adequate
to the demands upon it. Great Britain, insular by act of God and the
general tendency of the population, is fully prepared to accept
Socialism as long as it is not called by that name, for such is the
state of our mental development that we judge all political goods by
their labels. In other countries, where social, political, and economic
conditions are not merely discussed, but understood, where the people's
representatives are required to have some minimum of knowledge in
addition to birth, money, and influence, these concessions to popular
ignorance and prejudice have been swept aside. The recognition of the
necessity for sweeping changes is made without fear. Even in Germany,
when Dr. Frank, the eminent Socialist, was reported killed, a statement
was published to the effect that the Kaiser had expressed his regrets
at the death of a man whose gifts would have helped the country in the
days when schemes of reconstruction are under consideration.

This may have been no more than a sop to the social Democrats, of whom
upwards of two millions have been called to the colours, but even if
this be so, the sop is a significant one, and could not have been
lightly given.

In stricken Belgium, the man who comes next to King Albert in sheer
patriotic endeavour and in the gift of inspiring the nation to hold up
its head under conditions hard for any of us to realise, is the famous
Socialist leader, Emile Vandervelde. He is not only at the head of the
Belgian Ministry of War, but is King Albert's most trusted adviser; his
gifts overshadow those of his equally devoted and patriotic colleagues.
The thrill of horror and shame that ran through France when Jean Jaurés
fell to the assassin's bullet in the opening days of war, was felt far
beyond the French borders. Even in the tense excitement of that unhappy
season, the French Government, after voting the murdered patriot a
public funeral, posted in every Commune throughout the country its
expression of horror and regret. To-day, a Socialist Prime Minister
directs with rare skill and courage the fortunes of the Republic;
the French National Council has not hesitated to summon to its ranks
such an uncompromising foe of Individualism in whatever form as Jules
Guesde. None, having eyes to see, ears to hear with, and even a modest
gift of comprehension, can fail to gather from this the tendency of
the great Power with which we are now so closely allied. Of all the
European nations there is none in which the gift of political sagacity
is so strongly marked as it is in France, none to which the gifts of
political foresight and courage have been granted in equal measure.
What Paris thinks to-day, London must be at least prepared to discuss
in the very near future.

There is no secret about the cause of the action that France and
Belgium have taken of set purpose. The whole essence of a successful
struggle is unity--unity of purpose, of feeling and of thought. The
working classes, now as ever, are bearing in every country the bulk of
the burden of war. Sane Governments must needs endeavour to secure for
labour an adequate representation in their midst. Knowing that their
proper interests are being subordinated, if at all, to the national
cause, and not for private profit or exploitation, labour feels that
it is secure, and will give all it has to give with a generosity
that may be rivalled, but can never be excelled. The white flame of
patriotism is only kept glowing if it is fed by the efforts of a whole
community. This result will never be quite realised here in England
until all interests are united in a Cabinet that stands just now for
very little more than the propertied classes. I admit, Mr. Henderson,
Mr. Brace, and Mr. Wardle, have all been given some office to placate
the great Trade Unions from which so much is demanded to-day. But this
is not enough. Our Cabinet of aged ostriches still hides its head
in the bushes of precedent and prejudice, content to believe that
what it does not wish to see can have no existence, and fortified
in this strange method, that would be comic if it were not tragic,
by all sections of the capitalistic Press. International Socialism
is gathering its forces throughout Europe, and in the United States
as well, to impose permanent peace on kings and other anachronisms.
Thinking people in all the centres of civilisation agree that this war
is sounding the knell of privilege. But England remains content to be
ruled by lawyers, professional politicians, mid-Victorian relics, and
doctrinaires. Socialism, the master force of the immediate future, is
deliberately ignored. Well might Father Adderley (Canon the Honourable
James Adderley, so beloved in the slums of Plaistow and Birmingham)
deplore in his recently published memoirs, the absence from Parliament
or from the Government itself, of H. M. Hyndman, the Nestor of English
Socialism. The astonishing part of our national attitude towards this
crisis is that the men who really guide and influence our public
opinion, the live men of letters, are for the most part Socialists,
and make no secret of their principles, nor have they ever hesitated
to voice their suspicion of what Matthew Arnold called "the unelastic
pedantry of theorising Liberalism." Does this Government think that all
this teaching has fallen or is falling on deaf ears? Does it forget
that it was the French Encyclopædists who made the French Revolution?
They taught a discontented and unhappy people to think and the people
did the rest. Our rulers have always moved respectfully behind the
times, but, to do them what justice we may, be it remembered that they
never expected to live through seasons that impel the times to move
with giant and sudden strides.

Now, even in the latter days, all these things have come upon them.
Will they, can they, rise to the height of the occasion?



It is not without a certain significance that, while French and German
soldiery were sacrificing themselves by their thousands to the Gods of
War in and around the blood-stained village street of Douaumont, while
our soldiers were holding on to the line of the Tigris, near whose
source Russian forces were marching southward to the rescue, the Royal
Commission appointed to investigate what is euphemistically called
"Social Disease," issued its report. The coincidence from certain
view-points is startling.

The report, definitely limited as to its scope, sober in its statement,
and appalling in its revelation, is a solemn reminder to the world of
civilised men that there are enemies equally deadly and more insidious
than those with whom any belligerent is concerned. The victims of the
diseases discussed probably outnumber, in Great Britain alone, all her
defenders on sea and land. Four millions of our population, with power
to add to their number, are at grips with a deadly enemy in various
stages of its virulence; an enemy who will "visit the sins of the
fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation." Nay
more, the Commissioners whose trained minds lend solid value to their
every utterance, assure us that after a war an excessive incidence
of disease is certain to occur, even in districts previously free.
There are other significant comments. "Our evidence," they tell us,
"tends to show that the communication of disease is frequently due
to intoxicants, and there is no doubt that the growth of temperance
among the population would help to bring about an amelioration. We are
also conscious of the fact that overcrowded and insanitary dwellings
contribute to the spread of disease, and from improvements in this
direction we should expect some diminution of its prevalence."

Let us consider the full meaning of these vivid comments. When war is
over, we shall celebrate the coming of peace throughout the length and
breadth of these islands. Countless offerings will be laid before the
altar of the brewer and the distiller; it will be almost dangerous to
be an abstainer. For a time, at least, the barriers of restraint will
be torn down. Something known as "good fellowship" will at once dictate
and excuse an orgie. The discipline that weak minds require will be
honoured in the breach rather than the observance, and "an excessive
incidence of disease is certain to occur, even in districts previously

When a town is successfully invaded, and a soldiery, grown reckless
after lying cheek by jowl with death flings his self-discipline,
mercy, and restraint to the winds, the world that has not lost its
reason is sick at heart. When peace is proclaimed, and the return to
civil life is associated with a licence that outrages the living and
damns the unborn, there is apparently no authority that can intervene,
no public opinion capable of making itself felt. The living, and
those upon whom the heaviest burden of life is to be imposed, are
alike unprotected. Not only is this so, but the conditions that must
make for their undoing are cultivated in the interests of those who
flood the land with spirits and malt liquors. What if our slums help
infection to spread? Are not slum-owners often men of repute, some
of whom sit in the high seats of judgment and help to administer a
world they are willing to degrade still further in the sacred name
of rent? Do we not make a man a Peer if he can brew sufficient beer?
The Commissioners know better than to plead for an England sober
or an England adequately housed. Theirs not to presume to attack
vested interests. They have dared greatly in pointing out what the
slum and the gin palaces contribute to the spread of most loathsome
diseases under heaven. There they must stop. They know their public.
"Improvement in the social conditions and in the moral standard may be
slow." They have realised what our modern political conditions stand
for throughout Great Britain. They even admit that there may be no
money for improvement; European civilisation, however inadequate to
human needs, however imperfect and incomplete, can only be destroyed
at heavy expense. The destruction demands the best life-blood of every
belligerent nation and all available financial resources. What can be
left to combat "social disease," cancer, consumption, drink, slums,
and the other evils that destroy even more than war, but have nothing
arresting or spectacular in their methods? The Commissioners plead, it
would seem, with more of earnestness than hope.

Perhaps the most appalling side of "social disease" is due to its
utter absence of respect for persons. We could wish in the interests
of humanity as at present constituted that the germs could themselves
be inoculated with genuine English snobbery, so that they would
refrain from attacking "high personages." Apparently, germs are
untutored things. They ignore class distinctions. They attack with
equal impartiality the drunken soldier of a garrison town, the sailor
set free, after a long voyage, in an evil seaport with money burning
holes in his pocket, and the crowned head who, in the days of his
indiscretion, lived as lewdly as the soldier or sailor without the
excuse of either. The wages of sin is death. "Social disease" affects
the ordered function of the brain, and when that brain is in the skull
of one who controls the destinies of Empire, the dread death-wages
must be paid by the rank and file of his subjects. Nobody has dared
yet to write fully and freely of the influence of social disease upon
the decrees of European rulers. Though the hideous facts are known
well enough in certain circles, they are hardly discussed. Perhaps the
scandal is one from which the sharpest pen shrinks appalled. Consider
the _cercle privé_ from which Europe's dynasts spring, the tendencies
of upbringing, the intermarriage, the temptation, the effect upon
narrow minds and exhausted stocks. The light is beginning to shine
upon thrones. The world is beginning to ask why so much of madness is
manifest in the ranks of rulers, and whether in the wide interests of
humanity the breed is not of more importance than the blood. At present
the question is asked _sotto voce_, the time is surely coming when it
will ring through Europe. But for the moment there is a still larger
question at stake.

The publication of the Royal Commission's Report is a warning and a
challenge to the democracy, not only of Great Britain, but of the
world. It tells them that the real, the enduring enemy, is not the
German, the Briton, the Frenchman, or the Russian. The enemy is not
on the battlefield, but in the homeland, in the street, perhaps in
the house. He has invaded every country in Europe without exception.
Battleships, heavy ordnance, elaborate trenches, are of no avail.
Treaties of peace cannot be made effective until they are signed
between a vigilant and victorious democracy on the one hand and a
defeated, privileged class on the other.

The national resources required to meet a foul disease are taken from
us to-day in measure beyond precedent to meet an expenditure for which
the demand was created by kings and statesmen. There was no reference
to the will of the people; until such time as that will could be
neither logical nor effective. The world's working men, decimated
to satisfy the ambitions of their misrulers, must return in greatly
diminished numbers and with lives crippled and wasted by the million,
to find the old enemies at their gate and the worst and ugliest of
these enemies prepared to take advantage of peace by waging more deadly
war. And those who will administer their shattered dynasties will
include members of families that are notoriously tainted by "social
disease." Surely viler prospect were hard to find.

Yet there is not under heaven an evil for which there is no remedy.
If the people sacrificed to armament makers, diplomats, and dynasts
will join hands across the world they can overcome the enemies without
and within. Their strength, if they will but put it forward, is
irresistible, far greater than they know. They should have no more
illusions. They are many; those who exploit them are few. Before
the war the great international movement was growing. A series of
ultimatums, of frenzied calls to patriotism, racial prejudice and fear,
frosted the ripening blossoms, but could not reach the root that lies
deep down in the heart of suffering humanity. Internationalism will
rise again. Those who have a finger upon the pulse of the workers the
world over, know that the life forces, depressed for a time, are giving
a growing vigour to the beat. Already they see the rulers of the world
deploring the catastrophe that they brought about, becoming conscious
that their hands drip blood. Already they see that normal evils are
not merely remaining unabated but are actually growing, that a world
returned to sanity and humility will find more vileness to combat and
fewer means to its aid. It will look for a lead.

That is why there is so much reason to hope that the United States
will not be drawn into war. There, the workers of Europe are already
beginning to look for guidance, direction, help, and actual
co-operation in the ultimate struggle for freedom, that when war is
over they may combat the yet worse evils around them. Our thoughts turn
to the New World, redeemed from kings and popes and the tragic remains
of feudalism, and, largely on that account, at peace. Consider the
vile, naked truth that we in England may lack the means adequately to
conquer the "social disease," the white scourge, the slum problem, and
other shames of man's own making because our national resources are
being sacrificed to such destruction as sun, moon, and stars have never
looked upon since first they lit the earth.

Our rulers, our statesmen, our parliaments, our laws alike, have
failed us. Judge them by their fruits, as hereafter surely they
must be judged. There is nothing left between Europe and the abyss
but the solidarity of the working classes, the spread of democracy,
the overthrow of every effete institution that exists for no better
reason than that it has been allowed to exist so long. We, the
Internationalists, look to the United States, that island of sanity
set in a raging sea of madness. We look to it for light and leading,
for encouragement and support. It is the only great power left to read
the lessons of world-war without prejudice. I would like the terrible
indictment penned against our modern civilisation by the Royal
Commission to be read by every thinking American of whose political
faith democracy is the vital essence.[1]

     "This is that Blossom on our human tree
     Which opens once in many myriad years
     But opened, fills the world with Wisdom's scent
           And Love's dropped honey."


[1] I would like it studied in the red light of war, that our cousins
oversea with their generous instincts, quick judgment and resourceful
minds may be stimulated to assist the workers of all nations when once
this terrible chapter of our life is closed. United action will make
impossible in the future all wars save that which is waged against
disease, privilege, and ineffectiveness.



For a long time past, ever since it was realised that the countless
campaigns to which we are committed would be long in following their
appointed course, costly in progress and revolting in detail, all
manner of people have come forward to explain that they have mastered
the causes and the cure of war. Belligerent and neutral countries
alike have put forward their panaceas, and Great Britain has held some
particularly active groups, perhaps because, while strife fills her
horizon, only Zeppelins have succeeded in bringing the actualities home
to those who are not serving. Then, too, we have always had in the
country a number of men and women who believe honestly that war is a
madness and crime, that their contention can be proved by argument, and
that because they imagine war does not really benefit anybody, nobody
really wants war.

There are others who do not go quite so far as this, being content
to saddle policies or individuals with the responsibility. Secret
diplomacy is, we are assured, a fruitful source of wars, and we are
invited to place our cards on the table, and instruct our diplomats
to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Out
of these theories are born societies like the Union of Democratic
Control, and many unnecessary speeches by people who are apt to confuse
martyrdom and unpopularity.

War gives rise to optimists, like Mr. Henry Ford, who, quite oblivious
to gibes and sneers, charters a steamer and proceeds to Europe, that he
may call upon belligerents to cease their quarrels, because even from
the distant city of Detroit, he can see how foolishly they are behaving.

It may be easy to laugh or to sneer at these manifestations. I find it
impossible to do either. In every one of these efforts, great or small,
notable or ludicrous, something of the spirit that is helping the
world to progress is made manifest. If men and women who have little
in life except the respect of their circle, deliberately sacrifice
that precious asset for the sake of saying what they believe to be the
truth, they are worthy of regard, and let us remember that most of us
are amongst those who would rather be stoned than laughed at.

If I have criticism for panaceas that are to rid the nation of war as
patent medicine-vendors offer to rid the individual of disease, if I
look a little askance at all schemes of international betterment by
will of the people, it is because all equality of reasoning power, all
movement towards higher things, is conditioned by education.

We are very much like our fruit-trees. If you plant one hundred trees
of equally good appearance and quality on a good soil, and you attend
to fifty, and leave the other fifty to look after themselves, what is
going to happen? The trees that have clean soil round the roots, that
are pruned and washed and shaped in the way they should go will yield
abundantly, look well, and live long; the others will be uncertain in
their growth, unattractive in aspect, and liable to fail or become

In England we pay scant heed to the prosperity of the race, we are
far more concerned with the prosperity of the race-course. We have
been taught to care less for the well-being of the public than of the

I do not write in any bitterness of spirit, but I remember how long,
and successfully the race-course struggled against the war, how
definitely Mr. Lloyd George's attempt to end the drink traffic was
defeated by the "trade," and how, on the other hand, certain alleged
economies in our schools, designed to save a few pounds at the cost of
efficiency, have been accepted with hardly a protest.

If we wish to raise another generation that may benefit by the lessons
we have learned and paid so dearly for, we must educate it, and
education must be recognised as a necessity, something as necessary
to us as the bread we eat, and more important than professional
politicians, public-houses, race-courses, theatres, and motor-cars;
more vital to our welfare than all the amusements of the rich and the
poor put together.

Without education, the best ideas, the highest ideals must be lost
and, as things are here, so they are elsewhere. In Europe the only
belligerent countries that have developed education all over their
territory are France and Germany. In some of the other countries,
the schoolmaster does not cover a tithe of the domain, and rulers do
not wish to see the area of activity enlarged, partly because they
understand it is easier to deceive, divide, and rule the ignorant, and
partly because they know that the rank and file will not be able to
keep pace with the enlightened intelligences to which the most restless
elements in the State will be attracted. Autocratic rule cannot endure
indefinitely in countries where the proletariat has been to school,
even military domination might in time be questioned.

But what bearing has this upon world war? you may ask, and I reply that
it has a considerable bearing upon the whole question, because the
great majority of those who ensue peace are preaching just now to the

Those who make the next war may be despotic or unconstitutional rulers,
if Europe is of a mind to endure such people after this, but they will
depend largely upon the uneducated classes, or upon an iron discipline
that makes every man a slave of him who represents the State. Education
is the one reliable antidote to absolute monarchy, and despite its
complete failure in July and August, 1914, I am still inclined to
have faith in the International. It failed then, for each belligerent
country called out that it was in danger, and in that hour when the
social democracy might have saved Europe from the loss of millions of
promising lives, the savings of one generation and the progress of two,
it failed. But nobody will recognise more completely than the social
democrat the price of failure; he will see that democracy must be in
future as independent of boundaries as is art or science.

I believe that scores of men and women have the right peace methods,
that there are many plans by which peace might be assured to the world,
but no one of these can possibly become effective unless it can appeal
to the men who constitute the rank and file of the world's armies, and
to their wives and sweethearts.

The only other way out of the tangle is for victory to fall upon the
side of those who are really concerned to keep the peace, and there
is more than a little danger in this, for those who are concerned only
with peace are apt to forget war altogether--to neglect necessary
precautions, cut down reasonable expenditure, and in short, to give the
war-loving, but weaker races, a chance of challenging peace afresh. A
union of the world's democracies is the cure for war, and this union is
not possible until a certain standard of education has been reached by
one and all. Only then will the man to whom fighting is the breath of
life understand that he must control his murderous instincts or perish
by them.

This war cost many years of preparation, part of it secret, and it is
hard to see that peace can be more than a state of neutrality enforced
by poverty and exhaustion. To make it abiding will need something more
than the skill and cunning of diplomats, it will require the consent
of the people themselves, and this they will give when they have
knowledge, and not before.

Educate! Use all the modern developments of our civilisation to that
end. Let every child in Europe be taught to read and be supplied with
books; let every new railway line be hailed as an ambassador of peace.
Let interchange of visits be arranged between the workers of all
countries, so that they may learn that antagonisms belong to their
rulers and not to them.[2] It would be a fine thing to have a panacea
that acted as quickly as quack medicines claim to act, but we all know
that such cures do not exist. You cannot accomplish in a few months the
work that thousands of years have left unfinished. After all that has
been said, let us remember that war has been allowed to be the rule of
life for countless generations. We in England have hardly suffered,
the United States have kept free from actual invasion, but nearly all
the other great Powers have known its horrors within the comparatively
brief period of our lifetime.

On the Continent, war is one of the incidents of normal life. Men
are trained to take part in it as a completion of their education,
women are encouraged to applaud it as the source of all honours and
distinction. England and America, the two least threatened countries,
would hardly appear in a good light as peace propagandists on the
Continent, for war is received in a certain false perspective there.
Thousands glory in the thoughts of a campaign, proud to have taken part
in one as our grandfathers were to empty two or three bottles at a
sitting. This false perspective is the greatest danger we have to face
in educating the people: it must be destroyed before war will be seen
as the thing it is.

Human nature being hard to move, the work must progress slowly, but
it is not the less worth undertaking on that account. Sane peace
propaganda, accompanied by encouragement of physical fitness and
explanation of the significance of life, need offend none, and will
benefit all.

The real facts of war must be within reach of everybody, the camera
should preserve the records of trench, battlefield, and sacked town.
Every city should engrave its list of dead where all may read, and in
the cities that have suffered from invasion the full details of the
horror should be preserved. The taxation that will grip Europe for many
a year to come should always be associated with its prime cause, and
every device should be sought to impress upon the children who will now
be growing up into an impoverished world, the folly and helplessness of
their parents who were unable to keep what they had inherited, whether
of freedom or worldly wealth.

We who are middle-aged will be hardly called upon to see war again, the
generation captured in its prime between the summers of 1914 and 1916,
will have been ruined, the rule of the world will wait upon those who
are just leaving school.

Here the propagandists must work, and as there is hardly a big family
in belligerent Europe that has not contributed life or fortune in some
degree, the foundation for the work will stand prepared.

If I were asked how to develop sane peace propaganda, I would call
upon those who have gone through the war to tell the full story to
those who have remained behind. All should unite to this end when war
is over. Not only should the Englishman tell of frozen trenches and
waterless deserts, but Germans and Austrians should tell of the retreat
in Galicia and the advance to the marshes of Poland and Russia. The
Servian retreat to Albania and the nameless horrors of Armenia should
be recorded by survivors, women for choice, and men of all belligerent
countries should speak of the horrors of the man-of-war that sinks
blazing into the depths.

The camera has a tale to tell of devastated country-side and ruined
city, of all the havoc and waste of war. Let that tale be told.

Let the maimed, the crippled, the blind, the physically useless, come
forward--our eyes will learn their lesson.

Let the Churches speak, not at the bidding of authority, but in
response to the plea of humanity.

Let War, divorced from the physical training incumbent upon men and
women alike, take its place by the side of cancer, cholera, and plague.

Let the authorities tell us the loss of all communities in material
wealth, and the eugenist speak of the blow to civilisation.

Let all the accumulated facts be on record in every public library in
the world, and let them be available even to the illiterate.

Here, then, when the greatest of world-tragedies draws to its appointed
close, is the means I would choose to render its repetition impossible,
believing as I do that ignorance is the root from which all evil


[2] A schoolmaster in Austria for saying as much as this was sentenced
to several years' hard labour.



My first meeting with Field-Marshal Viscount French, so long
Commander-in-Chief of the "contemptible little army" that has made
history, dates back to the South African War. My latest meeting with
him before he returned from France, was in August, 1914. On each
occasion he was on the point of leaving for the front.

In the wide space that separates the Boer War from the great
international conflict, we met very often; he was frequently our guest,
and we visited him at Government House, Aldershot. I have had many
opportunities of hearing his views of the world problem that confronts
us now, for he had seen it coming nearer and nearer, and had laboured
night and day to meet it. Other men had doubts; he found no room for

It was at Claridge's Hotel in town that we met during the Boer War.
My eldest son, Guy, had then arrived at the ripe age of seventeen,
and still at Eton, had sold all his personal effects, including his
fur coat and jewellery given him by family and friends, to provide
himself with the means of getting to the front and equipping himself
when there. We only learned his intentions when it was too late to stop
them, and I do not think that either my husband or myself was really
anxious to keep him from serving his country. The only difficulty was
to find him something useful to do, and Sir John French offered to take
him on his staff as galloper.

I recall Lord French as I saw him at Claridge's--firm-mouthed, curt in
manner, briefly incisive in speech, saying no more than was absolutely
necessary, and looking at me with the curious glance that bespeaks the
man of action who dreams and sees visions. A strong, resolute figure,
with an iron will behind it, a human war machine in perfect order--that
was my first impression.

Many of my soldier friends were with him in South Africa, where his
gifts as a cavalry leader roused enthusiasm. Writing home from the
front, they told me he had but one fault as a commanding officer--he
could not realise that horses do not respond as readily as soldiers to
human emotions. He could overdrive his men, and they did their utmost
for him, as they did for another martinet, the late General Gatacre,
because in each case they had implicit belief in their leader's
direction and unbounded faith in his skill, but he over-worked his
horses, and kept the remount department in despair.

He came back to England wearing all the laurels of a successful
general, and I met him several times in town. "The dust of praise that
is blown everywhere" was no more to John French than any other dust.
He brushed it sharply away, and devoted all his leisure to considering
the problems of the inevitable struggle with Germany. He believed then,
with that curious gift of divination, that it must come, and he came
near to fixing the date, for many years have passed since he assured me
that it would not be later than 1915.

When the Entente Cordiale was in the air and there was a chance that
Great Britain and France would work side by side, he was delighted.
Such an arrangement was for him an ideal one, and he was, I may say,
one of the first, if not the very first, of our leading military men
who showed a full appreciation of its value. Unfortunately, though a
well-educated and, in a strictly professional sense, a deeply read man,
he had no knowledge of the French language, and he could not rest until
that defect was remedied. So in the Summer of 1906--I think this was
the year--he settled in the little village of La Boulé, near Rouen, and
lived for three months in absolute retirement, mastering the language.
He would not claim to have acquired the Parisian accent, but he can at
least speak fluently.

We were motoring through France that summer and stayed in the little
hotel he had chosen for his headquarters. He was extremely anxious to
take me on a motor tour over the scene of Napoleon's last campaign,
an ambition of long standing only now possible of fulfilment. We came
very near to going with him, but unfortunately, something intervened.
Even Lord French cannot make war anything but unspeakably horrible to
me, but I am yet free to confess that his vast knowledge and soul-deep
convictions make it fearfully interesting.

We could not manage the motor tour, which would have covered Waterloo,
but later, when in Paris, I was able to put his views before the
then Premier, M. Clemenceau, whom I knew well. I had a very long and
intimate conversation about the Entente with the "Tiger," as they
called him in France, and I remember how he wheeled round in his chair
and said to me in the frank, outspoken way that his opponents hate and
fear, "Lady Warwick, the Entente is of no use to us unless your country
can put 400,000 soldiers into France in the hour of need." I may remark
that the French army was not then in its present state of efficiency.

I pointed out that I was not in the confidence of our War Office, and
that his application should be made to other quarters, and went on to
ask him to meet General French to talk over the matters in question.
"I'll do that with pleasure," said M. Clemenceau. "I regard your
General French as one of the few soldiers who understand military
problems from their roots upwards." So the two men met, and I think
they liked and respected one another.

I remember reporting the gist of their conversation in a long letter to
King Edward, who in his reply told me his interest in the military side
of the Entente had been greatly strengthened. In the following year
several of the leading generals of France were invited over to attend
the military manœuvres and were the guests of Sir John and Lady French
at Government House, Aldershot. I was asked to meet them, and heard at
first hand the discussion of many difficulties that are staring us in
the face as I write. I do not think I have ever had more occasion to be
glad that I was taught some foreign languages properly.

On his return to England Sir John French divided his work into
sections. First and foremost came the German question, for he knew
perfectly well, in the light of the ample information that came to him,
how, sooner or later, Germany would fling down the gauntlet, perhaps
before Europe, certainly before Great Britain. His other task was
concerned with the possible invasion of India by Russia. In early days
he had seen service in India, and I have by me now a copy of his own
plans for the defence of our great empire there.

King Edward took Lord French with him when he went to meet the Czar
at Réval, and this visit, at which the foundation of Anglo-Russian
good-fellowship was laid, had a most reassuring effect upon his mind.
Thereafter he devoted himself whole heartedly to the study of the
Anglo-German danger.

Taking for his motto the well-known maxim that it is allowable to learn
even from an enemy--he adapted what he thought was best from the German
methods, and it is well known that he and his close and trusted friend,
Sir Douglas Haig, in making the British Army the perfect machine that
it is, bore well in mind the lessons to be gathered from the German

He objected strongly to the German close formation, holding it
wasteful and unwise. He had grafted South African experience on his
stock of tactical knowledge, and if the drilling of our men was
terribly hard, he and Sir Douglas found the ripe fruits of it in that
wonderful retreat from Mons and in the battles round Ypres. For German
thoroughness he had a generous and unstinted admiration. Prejudice can
find no place in his mind.

His prevision of the course of the present campaign startles me as I
recall it now. He told me years ago much that has happened since the
greatest world struggle of history began.

A born soldier, he is merciless to the inefficient. He broke a high
officer, who was also a personal friend, because that officer made a
bad blunder. Private considerations were swept aside, as they always
are with him. He spares nobody, least of all himself, but his men love
him almost as much as they trust him, and he watches over their proper
comforts with a jealous eye. They are the component parts of the war
machine, and must be at their best.

Lord French has not much in common with his gifted sister, Mrs.
Despard, who was prominently before the public when the suffrage
question came near to rivalling Home Rule in its claim on public
attention, for Mrs. Despard's life is one of self-sacrifice to lighten
the sorrows of others. But to one well acquainted with brother and
sister, there are the qualities of calm resolution in the face of
danger and of commanding will to be associated with each.

I do not think he reads much, save books dealing with military
questions. He does not hunt or shoot, or play polo or, indeed,
acknowledge any form of sport. He stands professionally as far apart
from the ordinary mundane interests of life as any professor in the
cloistered peace of an old university town, and yet he is full to the
brim of vitalising enthusiasms not to be overlooked by his friends
because they are controlled.

He lives in his profession and breathes the very air of it; soldiering
claims his every thought, and yet he is in no aspect the "beau sabreur"
of the Ouida novels. If you were to drive with him through the most
exquisite landscape, his mind's eye would at once select the salient
points of attack and defence, he would grasp every military possibility
of what lay before him, but the surrounding beauty would pass him by.
Sometimes we have talked of war. "I hate war as much as you do," he has
said to me more than once, "but----" There it ends, and he is looking
with far-seeing eyes at encounters yet to be.

In the conventional sense he has no religion, and yet I regard him
as one of the most religious men I know. His views of the hereafter
are clear; he is confidently assured of the soul's survival, its
reincarnation, the fulfilment of its ambitions. He is an idealist, an
enthusiast, a man who could not act dishonestly if he tried, faithful
to the bitter end to those in whom he trusts.

Much of the recent gossip in London has endeavoured to suggest that
he has been a party to the intrigues of others. I venture to say that
nobody who understands Lord French could make such a foolish mistake.
The personal interests and trickery of small natures have no meaning
for him. First and last and all the time he is a soldier, probably the
one soldier who could have overcome the enormous difficulties by which
he has been faced. He is the type of the leader of men, an example of
the power of concentration driving a single purpose to its end. I think
Frederick the Great would have made much of him and that his chief hero
in a military sense, the first Napoleon, would have kept him by his

He has been sorely tried. It is to be hoped that Sir Douglas Haig, who
in a military sense is his creation, will realise his teacher's dreams
and ambitions.



In the library this morning I came by chance upon a book that should
not have been there--a "Life of Lassalle" that Lord Haldane lent me
some years ago, and which I had forgotten to return. It chanced that
within the hour I had thrown aside in disgust the Tory daily paper that
held a vulgar and rancorous attack upon the Ex-War Minister. Perhaps it
was the coincidence that set me thinking.

My mind travelled back to the day not so many years ago--King Edward
had lately ascended the throne--when I met Lord Haldane for the first
time. It was at Dalmeny, Lord Rosebery's home on the Firth of Forth.
I forget who was of the party, at least I can remember only Winston
Churchill, then coming under our host's political influence. My first
recollection of Mr. Haldane as he was in those days was meeting him in
the Library. He was busy arranging his host's treasures to the best
advantage and was very little concerned with the house party's social
side. He would appear at table, create an immediate impression by
reason of his illuminating conversation, and, the meal taken, would
slip back again to his beloved books. I carried away from Dalmeny the
impression of one of the most interesting men I had ever met--a man
with massive head, twinkling eye and witty speech that stimulated
all and hurt none. He was that _rara avis_ a lawyer without guile, a
philosopher untainted by the Courts. We met again, and again I was
immensely attracted by his personality. In the world we met in, men
and women were seeking success of some sort all the time. Wealth,
prestige, political power, social influence, whatever our weakness it
rose to the surface like a cork. Of all these things Mr. Haldane seemed
supremely unconscious, he swam through the social waters like a kindly
triton among minnows. Even in those days he had long been a devout
student and an ardent admirer of what was best in Germany, and I think
it was because I too was interested in the marvellous progress of that
Empire that we found something in common. And he lent me the "Life of
Lassalle," the book that lies before me as I write.

I have sincere belief in the intuitive perception of women. I believe
that their instinct is stronger than their reasoning faculty, and
that in the great majority of cases they are justified in their
belief, even if they call it a prejudice. From the beginning of our
acquaintance it seemed to me that Lord Haldane would in any large
affairs of life be misjudged by his countrymen. In the first place he
is a great intellect, and as a nation we hold all knowledge suspect.
Secondly, he lacked the proper qualifications of the parliamentarian:
he had nothing of the divine gift of push. He did not enjoy the
limelight, and as for advertising himself, I think he would not have
known how to begin. I do not believe he ever wished to enter the
political arena, he never was a politician in the party sense, but he
succumbed to the influence of Lord Rosebery and Mr. Asquith who saw
that so great an intelligence would be of infinite value to the Liberal
party. To me it always seemed a pity to drag the kindly philosopher
from his study and to bring him upon the shabby stage whereon the
tragi-comedy of party politics is played for the bemusement of the
general public. Perhaps Lord Haldane's long and intimate study of
the best side of German life led the Liberal leaders to believe that
he would be _persona grata_ in circles that could curb the worst.
Perhaps they too were fascinated by the breadth of his views, the
range of his knowledge, the serenity of his outlook, and the clarity
of his judgments. There is no doubt that he used all his powers to
come to such a friendly arrangement with Germany as could be reached
without detriment to any of the interests of our friends and allies in
Europe. There is no doubt that he was face to face for years with the
conditions that reached their climax in July, 1914, and that he did all
that was possible to preserve peace while preparing for the defence of
the country.

Our Tories demanded a scapegoat; the Lilliputians of Westminster and
Fleet Street have flung a thousand venomed darts at Gulliver. I am
grateful to think that I know the real man whose aspect they have
succeeded for a little while in distorting. Quite steadfastly he
opposed German militarism, quite hopefully he clung to the belief
that he would succeed in his great quest of peace. Perhaps he was too
confident. Perhaps he underrated the forces that were opposed to him
not only abroad but at home.

We are too near the history of our own time to tell, but I remember
one incident that revealed to me the seriousness of the struggle in
which he was engaged. There was a meeting to develop the Territorial
movement in the county town, and I found myself sitting by his side at
the luncheon. Following it he made one of the most stimulating speeches
I have ever listened to, appealing to territorials to come forward and
prepare themselves to help their country. For simple direct eloquence,
for a call to the highest and noblest feelings without one vulgar
thought or unworthy expression, I have never heard a speech to equal
it. Only a great statesman and a man full of the loftiest patriotism
could have spoken as he spoke. Those who are well informed know what we
owe to the system of training devised by this lawyer-philosopher and
how wonderfully it has borne expansion to meet the sudden needs. His
critics have never paused to remember that he was a loyal member of a
Cabinet that imposed its collective will upon the people; they have not
realised how largely the decisions of the Foreign Office would have
availed to control his own views. It is so easy to say that, rather
than submit to any reduction of our forces he should have resigned.
Those who know Lord Haldane are well aware that pride of place would
never have kept him in an office that absorbed all his leisure.
Thoughtful people will realise that one of the tenets held by a loyal
Cabinet minister is subordination of personal views to the collective
views of the ministry. If every man who could not follow his chief
along a given road were to resign he would not only lose all chance
of giving effect to his purposes but he would make Cabinet rule an

While preparing the country for defence, Lord Haldane had to fight the
militarism that has at last run wild through Europe; while providing
for the worst, he had, in the highest interests of his countrymen, to
seek the best and, if possible, to ensue it. His Territorial scheme
was countered from first to last by the conscriptionists, they sought
by every overt and covert act to render all his efforts nugatory.
I venture to say, not without sound knowledge, that he occupied a
position of hideous responsibility with a measure of courage, fortitude
and altruism to which those who are best qualified to judge will always
pay tribute. One thing he would not do. He would not descend into the
arena of sordid controversy to gladden the hearts and stimulate the
conceit of petty politicians. If he failed, he was a glorious failure;
but I venture to say that when the impartial historian, depending on
knowledge to which the general public cannot yet gain access, surveys
the years that led to destruction, he will rescue Lord Haldane's name
and fame from the accumulation of dirt and rubbish that have been
heaped upon it by men whom none will desire to remember.

I regard it as a great privilege to know the real man and to lay my
little tribute before him, though to one so amply dowered with the hate
and scorn of scorn, defenders against such imputations as have been
levelled at him may well be superfluous. But I owe a great debt to his
master mind. Of all the distinguished men I have been privileged to
meet none has had higher qualities of heart and brain, and it seems to
me that this is the season in which such a debt should be acknowledged.



Those of us who find in the stress and storm through which the world
is passing an irresistible appeal for strenuous action and clear
thought, must realise the dangerous tendencies of the time, but it is
not right to look upon them as the sum-total of the present upheaval.
The present has its tragedies that pierce to the heart of our normal
self-restraint; we have to think of the future as well and see whether
there is at our door any indication of the unity and brotherhood for
which millions have waged a war from which many of the best and bravest
will never return. Is there any indication that in the times lying
before us, all classes of the community will unite to share the burdens
of the State? I think there is.

In many directions the lessons of life and death are not yet learned,
but there is one feature of our social life that is truly encouraging.
To sum it up in a phrase I would say that people whose example is
a considerable force in the national life, have decided that it is
neither a vice nor a crime to be poor. A modest establishment in
England to-day is more fashionable than an extravagant one; those of
us who are burdened by very large places are the objects of sympathy
rather than envy.

The flunkey has been redeemed from base servitude, never again I
hope and believe, to return. The descendant of Jeames de la Pluche,
immortalised by Thackeray, is with the British Expeditionary Force or
qualifying to go there. He has discovered that he too is a man. The
butler, where he still lingers, is too old for service, the footmen,
if any, have been rejected by the army doctor, or have played a part
and returned home wounded and unfit as yet for a more strenuous life.
They do not propose to remain in a discredited service. Even the
maid-servants are reduced to the minimum that is compatible with a
fair day's necessary work. The lady's-maid, that last infirmity of
conscientious minds, is allowed ample time for helping the nation.
The cook gives the benefit of her skill not only to the home but the
hospital. The sons of the house are at the front if they are old enough
and not too old to be of use, the daughters have found something better
than they had imagined possible to do with their time. They have flung
themselves as far in the pursuit of duty as they travelled formerly in
the pursuit of pleasure.

If one entertains nowadays, it is the working party or the committee
of which one is a member that is received. Simplicity is the order
of the hour among friends and one does not entertain acquaintances.
The young men have gone from stables and garage, from woods and
garden. I think the expensive dressmakers, jewellers, restaurateurs,
hairdressers, and the rest of those who catered for the days of our
vanity, are having a bad time. I think they will see a worse one. There
are still thoughtless women in our midst. I recognise them at once,
for they clothe themselves in the furs of harmless animals and wear
hats decked with the bodies or nuptial plumage of innocent birds, as if
pride of power, vanity, and lust of slaughter had not brought enough
injury to the world and vanity must still take toll of life. But these
women are a minority and belong to the class that nothing short of
ostracism can reach. I think it will reach them, and soon. There has
been such an orgie of cruelty in the world of late that the period to
be put upon it must be a full one.

The special interest in the changes briefly outlined above, and the
list might be continued indefinitely, lies in the approximation at home
to the conditions in the field of war. There the struggle for mastery
is tending, on every front, to the obliteration of class distinctions.
Many of these that in the days before August, 1914, were rigid as
Hindu caste are now dead as well as damned. Mankind has recognised
something of its essential brotherhood out there, and now womankind's
sisterhood is recognised too. This is almost the more important change,
because so many men who remain in England waging the money war that
is ever with us are far too immersed in the pursuit of pelf to care
about anything else. Against them even our defenders might fail in
times of peace if they were left unaided by the other sex. Women have
always been the creators and supporters of extravagance, though the
fault rests with the men who have until quite recent times refused
to allow them any interests that will vie with money-spending and
aimless pleasure-seeking. I do not think that even this war could have
brought about the change I recognise so gladly and record with so much
pleasure, had it not been for the feminist movement. This taught tens
of thousands of women to think and thousands to make their thoughts
articulate. War faced them with a sense of the value of the work they
had undertaken, the urgent need of its pursuit in the interests of the
world at large. I feel it is in no small part due to their influence
that so much that is unworthy in the life of the modern woman has been
voluntarily laid aside and that so much of infinite value has been
chosen to replace it.

Just as men have mingled on the battlefield, women have mingled at
home, understanding perhaps for the first time in our social history
the view-point of classes other than their own, seeing the best in each
other's lives and sharing anxieties and burdens as perhaps only women
can. But if the good understanding was to be permanent it was essential
that privilege should be laid aside. People can enjoy riches without
a thought and suffer poverty without a murmur, but contrasts build
barriers. It is the sense of sharp contrast that is the undoing of so
many girls, that makes for so much bitterness among women. All too
often the rich do not understand, the poor are painfully suspicious or
self-conscious. There could not be any common meeting ground until all
were rich or all were poor. It is not possible under existing social
conditions--soon one hopes to be amended--for all to live in comfort.
Thank God, it is at least possible for all to be poor.

Not by what we have, but by what we are, let us be judged, and for
those who had great possessions there will be a certain satisfaction in
the new conditions that money could not purchase.

Flattery, adulation, jealousy, envy, malice and all uncharitableness
could be provoked by wealth even though it was wisely dispensed;
gratitude was always hard to gain in the genuine form. Love, affection,
simple unaffected candour, these were rarely vouchsafed to those
whose material prosperity was considerable. It is intolerable that one
should patronise or endure patronage, frank and simple relations cannot
endure in an atmosphere of inequalities. In England the infection of
snobbery was eating into our national life. A considerable section of
the press caters for snobs and thrives in the catering. In the United
States and in the British Dominions Overseas the state of the public
mind is far healthier. It may be that our plight had come about through
our insularity, by reason of our super-abundant national riches, by
the force of our habit of despising the creator of national wealth and
honouring only those who squander it. Whatever the cause the effect was
ugly. War has taken drastic steps to abate the evil by depriving of
their _locus standi_ those who stood for great possessions. They are
poorer and better. We shall have a certain number of plutocrats in our
midst; out of a war expenditure of four or five millions a day somebody
must make money. But the money spinners will find that while the hand
of the State will weigh heavily upon them, any lavish expenditure will
be eyed askance by the moderate-minded men and women of all classes.
The eyes of the majority are opened. Above all, English women of the
leisured classes have deliberately laid aside many of the habits and
indulgences to which their practice gave a sanction. This tendency
is still in its infancy, but the tragedy of war has enforced and will
continue to enforce it. All, or at least the greater part of Europe,
after this war will be a house of mourning. Death leads the van of
a procession in which Poverty brings up the rear. As in a flash the
world that lived almost without a serious care two years ago sees its
own real needs and duties and the terrible inadequacy of the means to
fulfil and perform them.

We find to-day that our national needs are greater than we knew, our
resources less than they have been for many years. The only true
satisfaction to be gathered from the prospect is that we recognise
it. For once in our history it is not left to a few courageous men
to preach an unpopular gospel in the ears of indifferent wealth
and vanity-stricken fashion. The people who are alive to the truth
of our national state are not devoting anxious hours to keeping up
appearances. Shams that our life seemed full of so recently, are known
for what they are. For the first time in the social history of our
generation it suffices to be an Englishman or an Englishwoman and to
have filled the _rôle_, however modest, that the fates have assigned
in this world crisis. Shall we miss the old luxuries of life? Will
those of us who accepted them without thought or comment as part of
the natural order of things, forego them without a qualm? I think we
shall, because we shall all have a serious and definite occupation.
The landowner must develop a good business faculty or go under, the
mistress of a large establishment must learn all the domestic arts that
her grandmothers practised to perfection or she will not be able to
keep it together. The younger sons will not be brought up to look upon
loafing as a career, and the girls will be trained to take a part in
the world's work, fortified by the knowledge that the State no longer
regards them as a negligible quantity. In the near future the British
Empire will be demanding more of its sons and daughters and giving
them less reward for it, but such a condition encourages the national
virtues. We are rather a flint-like people. If we are properly struck
we emit light.

Decidedly the world is out of joint, and it is possible to survey
the situation and find ample material for pessimism. But we who have
made the mistakes or inherited them can set the crooked straight if
we recognise the nature of the task. And I see on all sides of me men
and women who do. They are preparing the ground on which the virtues
engendered by a struggle for national existence may blossom and bear



The Anglo-Saxon race is on its trial just now, and, however strenuous
the times, they do not deny us a measure of leisure in which to
estimate the forces upon which we may rely. With battleships and
regiments woman has nothing to do, she does but bring painfully into
the world those who serve both. It is her mission to shield them with
her love and devotion in the season of their helplessness and wait,
watch, and pray while the battles join. Hers too it is to do what may
be done to heal the wounds of battle, to comfort and to minister,
to know the anxiety without the excitement of conflict, to see much
of the horror and little of the glory. Yet, far outside the area of
strife, woman plays no negligible part in controlling the destinies of
nations, for there is a field of social diplomacy in which she labours
persistently and the measure of Anglo-Saxon unity that obtains to-day
is in no small measure the fruit of her effort.

It will be remembered that before there was an Anglo-American social
life, relations between the mother country and the United States
were the reverse of cordial. Many people in the States regarded this
country with suspicion, many in this country looked upon the States
with the contempt born of ignorance. Emerson, James Russell Lowell,
Oliver Wendell Holmes, and others helped Englishmen to understand
Americans, but perhaps the best work was done by women. As soon as they
began to understand one another the divergent standpoints were brought
into line, old prejudices were seen to lie no deeper than the surface
of things. The freshness and vigour of American manhood, the honest,
unconventional outlook of the country's womanhood were instantly
recognised when social intercourse had been established and visitors
from the States began to realise that in coming to England they were
but returning to the land of their fathers. Mistakes are not immortal.
The worst blunderer of a hundred years ago and the people who suffered
most by the blunders have long been one in the dust to which all that
is mortal of us must return. Latent and underlying sympathies have
declared themselves. For thirty years I have watched the slow conquest
of prejudice, the steady discovery of points of sympathy, the dismissal
of the old stereotyped ideas that made for antagonism. To-day, when we
are fighting for our life against a Power that has sworn to dominate
civilisation or perish in the attempt, we find ourselves rich in the
sympathy and moral support of all the North American continent, not
only the British born of Canada are with us, but in the United States,
despite the multitude of foreign influences and the great admixture
of interests the general tone is manifestly sympathetic. The German
menace has stirred Anglo-Saxon blood throughout the whole world. The
observance of a strict and proper neutrality is no bar to American
goodwill, our cousins know that this struggle has been forced upon us
and that we would have avoided it had not honour forbade.

In the brief intervals of the work of organising the woman's service
in my native county of Essex I have been trying to estimate the forces
that have brought the changed conditions about, and I think I can see
most of them. I have met most if not all the leading men and women of
America, both in their own country and here, and no subject has been
more completely canvassed in our conversations than the future that the
Anglo-Saxon race may hope to share. My views, right or wrong, are my
own, and I ask nobody to accept any responsibility for them; if they
are correct they should help to explain the present and to indicate
lines that the future may follow.

First and foremost among the forces that have improved Anglo-American
relations I place the Anglo-American marriages that should go far to
improve not only the finances but the breed of our English aristocracy.
Byron writes of mixed marriages that they "ruin the blood but much
improve the breed." I accept only the latter proposition. I think the
young generation born of these marriages will be powerful, mentally
and physically, that it may even be in time to stand in the breach and
save the class to which it will belong from submersion. Certainly our
aristocracy, enfeebled by intermarriage and circumscribed financially
by modern taxation and the depreciation in agricultural values,
degraded by the sale of "honours," would be bound to go under in the
struggle with democracy, and if it is possible to predicate any of the
results of the present cataclysm I should say that the democracy will
issue from it as the dominating force in Europe. Another section of a
royalty that tends ever to diminish has been weighed in the balances of
war and will, I imagine, be found wanting.

Anglo-American marriages have given our cousins of the New World an
interest in the old firm's business, have made them, even if in a
limited sense, partners in the British Empire unlimited. I said as much
at the dinner-table the other night and was promptly challenged until
I reminded my critic that an ex-First Lord of the Admiralty, to whose
genius all, including Lord Charles Beresford, now pay tribute, is as
much American as English. Miss Jerome, Lady Randolph Churchill, was one
of the first recruits to the ranks of the British aristocracy and has
played no small part in English social life. Winston Churchill has had
time to grow up, there are dozens of Anglo-American lads to whom in the
course of time opportunity will be given. Who shall say that they too
will not prove worthy?

The American girl, married into the wide circle of Britain's
comfortable classes, finds many interests that unite the country of her
adoption with the land of her birth. Visited by her family and friends,
giving introductions for use in the United States to her husband's
relatives, she has been powerful in spreading social intercourse and
in establishing the vital truth that, in face of many of the great
world problems, England and America see eye to eye and may work hand
in hand. Philanthropy and social service are the finest solvents of
prejudice between people speaking one language and, when that prejudice
is not founded on fundamental disagreement, and is dependent for its
maintenance upon ignorance, suspicion and the absence of intercourse,
it cannot long survive under modern conditions. Every Atlantic Liner
is a missionary of Anglo-American good-will. London and New York can
exchange their thoughts in a few moments, the great sundering force of
the Atlantic grows ever less, and the American girl has played a part
in unifying Anglo-Saxon thought and sympathy that makes her social
reward seem but a small payment for a great service.

Perhaps the great antagonising force in America has been the Irishman.
Our administration of the Sister Island has left scars that had been
past healing but for Mr. Gladstone and his successors in the office of
Liberalism. Happily to-day we stand upon the brink of wiser times, a
sane policy has promised to realise the national ambitions of Ireland
and a grave danger has united in resistance to foreign aggression the
two antagonistic camps. They will meet in the service of a common
cause, they will face danger side by side, happily they may learn
the full lesson of toleration and mutual respect. It is better I
think, much as I hate war, that a thousand Home Rulers and Ulstermen
should fall side by side resisting foreign aggression than that fifty
should fall in civil strife each by the other's hands. The effect in
America of Home Rule, and a union of hearts and hands in the national
defence, cannot but be significant. The powerful Irish contingent,
as generous as it is quick to anger, almost as prompt to forgive an
injury for which atonement has been made as to resent one that is
not repaired, will cease to be a hostile factor. Conscious that the
old country has done its best to right a grave and lasting wrong, it
will forget, as the American born citizen is forgetting, the days of
Lords North and Castlereagh. All these quarrels, however serious, have
been family quarrels, in the face of foreign aggression the old wounds
are healed. I was struck by the splendid action of all parties to the
labour disputes when war broke out. In twenty-four hours there were no

To-day the Anglo-American influences at which I have hinted find no
opposing factors in their path. Good will is well-nigh universal,
moral support and encouragement are freely ours at this grave moment
when we stand so much in need of them. I have always thought, when
I have been in America and when I have been entertained by or have
entertained Americans at home, that there is a little feeling of pride
in the old country. If our short-sighted policy of the third Georgian
era turned friends to foes we have paid the price in full and to-day
the Anglo-American marriages are giving our trans-Atlantic cousins the
material for a noble revenge. They are coming to the relief of the
class that persecuted them of old time, renewing its blood, refilling
its coffers and preparing through it to administer the world's
greatest Empire. It is no unworthy ambition that animates the American
girl to-day when she quits the land of her fathers for the land of
her grandparents and their forebears, and she has shown herself well
able to fulfil it. The pages of Debrett bear witness to what she has
done, while those who have been brought into constant and intimate
association with her realise that she has shown exceptional capacity
in adapting herself to the new environment, in mastering the rather
formidable etiquette, in modifying old points of view, and in fitting
herself to fill the rather exacting _rôle_ she has undertaken.

When I look round social London and see the many-sided work of the
American women I feel that they will cover the whole ground. Their
energy and resource are admirable and many of their houses are centres
of philanthropic as well as social life. Think of the reflex action
of all this energy in the States, think of the tens of thousands of
American visitors to London in the course of the year and of the
hundreds who see English social life as it is and partake of it, and
the sympathy and understanding that are ours to-day can be accounted
for and understood.

I have long been cognisant of the two great forces that were working,
side by side though independently, to destroy Anglo-American
friendship. The first was Irish-American resentment, a perfectly
natural expression of feeling. Home Rule for Ireland was the only
possible permanent cure, and the time for palliatives has long passed.
With the coming of the cure we may look for the end of the complaint.
The other force was more subtle, and was founded upon the presence in
the States of tens of thousands of the Kaiser's subjects. They have
carried across the Atlantic their old mischievous motto, "Deutschland
über Alles," and have lost no opportunity of giving it effect. A
powerful press, a great financial group, direct encouragement from the
Kaiser, whose policy--a relic of Bismarck's day--was to sow ill-will
between Great Britain and the United States under all circumstances,
have been their weapons. To conciliate the States, to flatter them, to
suggest that they needed German help against British intrigue, to show
their leading representatives every courtesy, even to affect a sympathy
with democracy, all this was the part of a settled programme. It lacked
nothing but success.

This is not the time to go into details of deliberate attempts made
to undermine Anglo-American good will. On a more fitting occasion I
may reveal some. At the moment it does not seem right to increase the
prevailing bitterness, but I may say that many social intrigues have
come to my own notice and have left me wondering at Teuton pertinacity,
at the persistence with which large and small matters alike are
pursued, and at the curious psychological failing that nearly always
loses count of the human element. Theoretically, logically perhaps, the
German advances should have been entirely successful. Unhappily for
the Kaiser's ambitions, it was always fairly obvious that behind every
courtesy, however extravagant, behind every diplomatic action, however
grave or trivial, there lay an Anglophobe bias. It was not perhaps
always conscious to its originators; the state of mind towards Great
Britain in Germany is largely inherited, and I sometimes think it is
well-nigh sub-conscious. Indeed, I would venture the proposition that
it is more obvious to an American than it is to the German possessors
of it. The United States is of course the world's melting pot; happily
for us, and I think for the world at large, the Anglo-Saxon element
is dominant. In such an environment Anglophobia cannot thrive, and
I think the Kaiser's representatives have mistaken the actualities
of the situation. Anglo-American squabbles are the little family
quarrels with which we are all familiar; if one were to come from the
outside and seek to take part in them, he would soon learn that such
an intrusion was unwarranted and unwelcome. Instead of extending the
area of the original quarrel it would reduce it to vanishing point.
In Anglo-American relations the Kaiser must remain an "outsider,"
accepted while he behaves himself, but known all the time for the
representative of a proud, powerful nation that is avid of world power
and will shrink from no effort to obtain it, a nation that, if it is
to be judged by its rulers, holds that the result justifies the cause,
and that kindness, deceit, generosity, cajolery, persuasion, threats,
candour, and deceit are all weapons that find a proper place in the
armoury of a subtle diplomacy and may be called upon in turn. There
is a world in which this standard of things passes current, the world
of the company promoter, the international financier, the Jesuit who
holds that the end justifies if it cannot sanctify. On the other hand,
all these mental processes are abhorrent to the Anglo-Saxon. He is
by nature plain and blunt, subtleties are foreign to him. It is his
ambition to play the game, and he requires the game to be clean that
it may be worth the playing. He likes to place his cards on the table,
you will not find them in his sleeve or his boot. We know that the
sowing of mistrust between the United States and Great Britain has
been one of the chief pre-occupations of German diplomacy, we know too
that it has failed as signally as the early and vital attacks upon
the Liége forts failed. To accomplish its destiny the Anglo-Saxon race
must stand together. We need not interfere in each other's quarrels,
we need not model our lives to a pattern that is not sanctified by use
and custom, but we will not allow any other nation to come between us
and our friendship, or to interfere with that slow, sure growth of
understanding and good feeling that may bring to generations unborn the
blessing of universal good-fellowship and peace.

In all human probability the Teuton has postponed his own day for
generations. The triumphs of more than forty years of peaceful
progress have been bartered and have been used as gambling counters,
and I believe that a double menace is now in slow course of removal,
first from this little island whose sons and great grandsons in their
millions are looking, anxious to see how we acquit ourselves, and from
those South American Republics that purpose by grace of Providence
to work out their own salvation without either the help or the
permission of the Kaiser and his legions. When we have succeeded in
our present struggle--I do not admit the possibility of a doubt about
the issue--the way will be open for the triumphs of peace and for the
passing of armaments and tyrannies. Surely in these great changes so
long looked for, so eagerly anticipated on both sides of the Atlantic,
the whole voice of the United Anglo-Saxon Race will speak in unison. I
believe we shall play no small part in the re-shaping and rebuilding
of a shattered and exhausted world, and that the genuine friendliness
of our relations will make the task as pleasant as it is responsible.
Side by side we have sought peace and ensued it, the overwhelming
tragedy may have shown that "man is one and the Fates are three," but
it will not alter our national and racial belief that we must develop
the tranquillity of the world, that we must develop the arts of peace
and arm for defence rather than defiance. Through the gloom and murk
of the present hour I find myself looking with assured confidence to
the world's future, and whatever the Vision I see the whole Anglo-Saxon
race massing irresistible forces for the service of the world.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Woman and the War" ***

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