Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. WEDNESDAY, APRIL 23, 1919. ENGLAND'S DAY.
To-day, being- St. George's Day, is usually regarded as England's Day, but Respite the propaganda of some national enthusiasts, «the festival is not regarded very seriously by the average Englishman. 'He knows little—and perhaps cares ' less— about, St. George, and, true to his traditions, he declines to foster artificial enthusiasm. The date is also regarded as the anniversary of Shakespeare's birth, but only a comparatively few Englishmen will become excited over this. What will most stir the English nation, to-day,. will be the memory of that which occurred at Zeebrugge, a year ago, when the Vindictive, and other vessels-^added a glorious chapter to naval annals. Tyrwhitt and Carpenter will be acclaimed today by many who : ignore St. George and Shakespeare, and although such attitude can be justly criticised, it is characteristically English. It would be easy to excuse the lukewarm feelings - towards St. George, whose claims to be the national patron saint are somewhat meagre. St. Alban or St. Edmund ,for instance, are regarded by many scholars as more entitled to the honour, the stories of their respective deaths being more appealing to the English mind. Nobody-1 can defend .the indifference to Shakespeare's glory, which,, fortunately, is not dimmed because appreciation of it is not shouted from English roof-tops. The English; as a race, take their great men as a matter of course. The nation has almost an embarrassment of riches in notabilities, arid would find it 'difficult' to honour sufficiently all the deserving. Other countries have produced great men, and these other countries make no secret of the ■ respective nation's pride in them, but the average Englishman remains calm where his mighty men are concerned, especially if they have been dead a long time. Rightly or wrongly, he^ believes that there is no he.cd for demonstration of appreciation of his countrymen's gifts or virtues, and he is inclined to be amused when sister nations act otherwise concerning their own heroes. It is an English trait to keep comparatively silent regarding personal and national achievements, boasting in any shape not being considered quite the thing. This attitude is not unadulterated modesty: possibly it is the acme of conceit, springing from an inward conviction that no other race is on the same high level of the English. England's Day, therefore, seems doomed to be a half-hearted affair among the English, but will have served a purpose if those descended from the other nations of the Homeland, will study England's record of great accomplishments, from Alfred to the present day. There is a tendency in some of the overseas Dominions to depreciate England and the English, a tendency which, although now really humour, might, if allowed to go unchecked,'be transformed to tragedy in. years to come. History shows that no nation in the world has less cause to shun comparison with others, than Ms the English.