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THE GIFT OF A DREADNOUGHT.

(To the Editor.) Sir, —As a member of the Trades and Labour Council, but unable to take part in the above discussion owing to a throat trouble, 1 would like to express my hmuMe- opinion on the question. In the first place, I must congratulate you on the good report given of the debabe in Thursday's issue. It is not my intention to try and defend Sir J. G. Ward's action whether it be constitutional or not, or the giving of a Dreadnought, but rather to discuss the danger of a German attack upon the Mother Country, i will therefore call attention to a few remarks from some high personages in German politics.

First, Prince Buelow (German Chancellor), in a speech in the Reichstag on December 6th, 1807, stated: "The time has gone when Germane? left the earth to one of their neighbours, and the sea to another, retaining for themselves the sky, where pure doctrine reigns."

Second, the German, preface to the Navy Bill of 1900 states that Germany must have a fleet of such strength that a war against the mightiest sea Power would involve risks threatening that Power.

Third, Bebel the Socialist leader, has stated several times in the Reichstag that the German navy is being built in order to attack England; whilst General yon der Goltz appears to have no misgivings with regard' to their power, for in 1900 he states: "The material foundations of our Power are broad enough to -warrant the thought of successful opposition to British supremacy." From such statements as above, which are continually coming forward, there cannot be any doubt as to Germany's Intentions. ! Henry slated that Britain had taken the aggressive, but an examination of the ships laid down by each Power during the past four years would prove the opposite, inasmuch that Germany has been building fast small cruisers and destroyers, with little or no attention to torpedo boats and submarines, whilst Britain has been building for coast defence. In my opinion it is ridiculous to cry out about the legislators and employers in this question. ■ I have yet to learn that the. employers in Germany are different than they are in England or elsewhere. Our friends would be wise if they examined the position as it is from the commercial aspect of to-day instead of the far distant future. Germany's population is increasing rapidly; she has no colonies that are of any use to her. Great Britain has all the "most desirable Germany requires room for expansion. Thirty-five years ago Germany -was a customer of England; she is now her keenest competitor. She has the finest army in the world; she has built a. powerful fleet, and is still increasing it, and not for defence, but atta-ck; and it cannot be for any o.'.her Pow-er but England, because we are the only nation that stands in the way of Germany's ambitious rulers. Our naval and military experts are convinced of the danger of German aggression; therefore, the best ships have been brought from China and the Mediterranean, and a tremendous fleet concentrated in the Home water?. That the colonies should! more handsomely assist to maintain the fleet, to my mind, is unquestionable, for it is by the Mother Country we live and have our beinar under present conditions. To talk of the Socialist party in Germany and' the TJβhour party in England rectifying the matter is ridiculous; they havp no more power in the ordering of this question than our Trades and Labour Council have. That our gift of a Dreadnought, and the efforts put forth by the ether Colonies, will have n moral effect, by showing to the world the unity of the Empire, I have no doubt. —I am, etc.. J. W. RIMMER, Grafton-road, April r>, moo. (To the Editor.) Sir, —As a delegate of the Auckland Trades and Labour Council, I never sat in a hall with a deeper feeling of shame than at last Wednesday evening's meeting; nnd as a true Britisher it was with some pride I read your leading article, criticising the insulting :-tatemcntH made by some of the delegates. 1 could write a whole book on. the subject, but t do not wish to write to any undue length, trespassing on your valuable col-

umns; but owing to the remarks I have heard from fellow workers, both at work and in the streets,, and as nn admirer of everything British, and a lover of the grand old (lag, I express my feeling on the matter. There were a lot of items brought up at the meeting I should like to discuss, but i will confine myself to two of them. First, the panic-stricken patriotism of the British public during the late war. Well, thank God, I was one of them, and proud I was, too. Mr. Henry, when I left Southampton with other {-omrades to fight for the dear old flag. Several of them left wife, home and everything dear to them, and found an unknown grave on the veldt—a hero every one of them ,who died for their country. Did any one of them think about right-to-work bills being passed? Not much. Does any man not feel a thrill of pride when he sees the memorial statue placed in the park here, facing the City? When our flag, which hail never surrendered before, and was so near ' falling at Ladysmith, \va«s saved, i shout J of gladness went up all over th,? British Empire. Were those who sneer at pvtri,otism and insult the flag silent then? Again, when our guns were, taken on the banks of the Tugela, two gunners, rather than desert them, stood to attention till they fell riddled with bullets. The Dublin Fusiliers, our hoys in blue of the Powerful and Terrible, and scores of otlier <ises — Inst, but not least, the loyalty of the colonies. That is why I love everything British, and the flag because of her dead and past heroes, and her patience and nobleness, and the taunts she endures rather than be drawn into a war by one wrong-spoken word. A day may come yet when her enemies, who liave so long bated her, may find that her mills grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly small. The other item is the statement that we would he as well under Gorman rule as British. The pity of it that a man was not stone deaf for some seconds that he could not have heard such a statement! Why don't Mr. Henry s :- > to Germany then, for I guarantee to worknight and day to collect his passage. I , have been in Germany, and know of the workers' conditions, and their high-priced pay. In.conclusion my own humble opinion of Sir Joseph Ward's action is that he has done what he knew would be approved of by even' loyal colonial, ami the colonies are very loyal. Further, that he did more in five minutes than those who are shrieking loudest would have thought out if they lived to the age of Methuselah.— I am. etc., A. KIDGERS. Xewton-road, April 5, 1909. (To the Editor.) Sir, —For the leading article which, appeared in your issue of the 2nd inst. your able writer deserves much . praise. As a rule, I am not found advocating schemes whereby human life and much

property may be wantonly sacrificed; but any student of sociology and political economy who gives serious thought to the great possibilities of not merely a German invasion, but a European war, must surely acknowledge that England to-day is beset by far graver difficulties than at any time during the past decade. Nation upon nation is seething with warlike movements, and the navy is Great Britain's chief defence. For many years past Germany has been preparing to attack England—nothing is surer—yet in the face of these alarming certainties we find our own flesh and blood decrying the efforts of wise men who are earnestly seeking to maintain England's supremacy. What would war between, say, England and Germany mean? Do we realise the carnage and butchery which must inevitably ensue if war be declared? Both nations are squandering hundreds of millions on armaments in order to one day overthrow the supremacy of their rival competitors. Here in New Zealand we sons and daughters of British parents are dependent upon England safeguarding our abiding place, and for this purpose England needs a double standard power to maintain the Home and colonial dependencies, so that it is worse than useless to cavil at the spirit which prompted Sir Joseph Ward's offer of material assistance. As a matter of fact, it is the unpreparedness for war which creates in a warring community a passion for war. Germany does not love England. One has only to pass through Berlin, Munich, Saxony and other parts to ascertain Germany's real hatred for England. And after all have we not the moral right to subscribe towards England's impregnableness? Why should our brethren be taxed to maintain Kewj Zealand in comparative safety? At the present moment the poorer classes in Great Britain find things difficult enough; in fact, it is the survival of the fittest who manage to jog along at all. Taxation and necessary evils fall most harshly unon the breadwinner, who. after all is said and done, is virtually the arbiter of the country's destiny. Today prompt actions are essentially necessary, and Sir Joseph Ward would have been an impotent statesman had he lacked the spirit of humaneness characterising his generous offer to render timely aid. To allow Germany to oust us from the commercial markets of the world would mean intolerable slavery. We have been so safeguarded that we have become apathetic and listless to our national responsibilities in the interest of humanity. \\> Britishers owe our prosperity to Old England's Standard. Wherever her flag floats there is a freedom unsurpassed and rarely equalled. Socialists. Mr Editor, may or may not agree fundamentally that war should be waged, albeit I am of opinion that when the. sad hour comes when So cialists are needed for colonial or Home defence their services will be as freely and as generously proffered as will the service of any anti-Socialist British subject. 1 quite agree Chat there are thousands who profess themselves Socialists that do not know its primary meaning; but the real Socialist's business is to cultivate a finer taste and endeavour to develop those social ideals nrcessary for bringing into force the harmonising of human natures. Until the weapons of war hnve perished it will be the duty of all loyal-hearted Britishers for the. time beinc to forget Ireland's wrongs nnd stand firm, ready for the enemy. —T am, pte, EDWARD GOULDIXG BODEN. (To the Editor.) Sir, —We have been hearing much of late of Britain's defences, but as yet, I have seen no mention in the "Star" of one line of her defence- - in which she is very weak. 1 allude to "Britain's food supply in wartime," and the decay oi her agriculture. A writer of a dozen years ago wrote that "the enemy we have most to fear is Famine," and further he asserted that Britain can be starved into submission within six weeks of a declaration of war, by any of the first-class Powers. Robert Blatchford, in "Britain for the British," also tells us that nearly four-lifths of our bread comes from America and Russia, and that in the event of r. big European war we should be half-beaten before we could strike a blow, and even if we were victorious in a dozen lights, we must starve or make peace. Prince Kropotkin, in "Fields, Factories, and Workshops." has told us that—(l) "It the soil of the United Kingdom were cultivated only as it was thirty-five years ago, 24,000.000 of people could live on home-grown food"; and that (2) "If the cultivatable soil of the United Kingdom were cultivated as the soil is cultivated on the average in Belgium, the United Kingdom would have food for at least 37,000,000 inhabitants"; and (3) "If the population of this country came to be doubled, all that would be required for producing food for 80,000,01X1 inhabitants would be to cultivate the soil as it is now cultivated on the best farms of this country, in Lombardy, and in Flanders."

So far as I know, nothing has yet been done towards the establishing of national granaries, nor very little towards the fostering of British agriculture, but instead by statistics we. learn that 100,000 acres of land annually go out of cultivation, and that "a bold peasantry—their country's prid.= - ' —are still trek'ing into the to<'ns to swell the armies of the unemployed. The population o.f the agricultural parish wherein I was born has decreased by one-half in twenty-five years. -11] fnros (he lanrl. to hnstening ill a prpy, Where wealth accumulates and men decay." We read that of the overcrowded population of London every fourth person decays (dies) in a hospital, workhouse, gaol,»or lunatic asylum, and that last year, a record year of unemployment and misery to Britain's wealthproducers, was consequently a record harvest year to the money-lenders of JjOndon; they loaned £ 102,000,000 — £70,000.000 more .than in the previous year—and except about £11,000.000 of it. was all loaned abroad. £70.000,000 was loaned to foreign Government's and companies, which shows that, the patriotic capitalist it= just as impartial in business now as lie was when he supplied the Somali and Afridis with the rifles they used to shoot our Tommies down, or when he stole the biscuits and tinned bepf in the Boer War. Jn conclusion. Sir, I would not have written, but that I consider that every Dreadnought saved (from the necessity of convoying Britain's food-ships in war-time) is a Dreadnought earned, I am, etc.. C. H. PARKER. (To the Editor.) -Sir, —I would not have it understood that 1 was opposed to this gift to the Imperial but (connected: with this subject) several matters havo apparently claimed so little, if any, attention that I now desire to bring forward. Previous to the Russo-Jap. War —aye, for many yeara—'Britain's arch enemy was Russia. In prose and eong, the Bear was ever ready to pounce down on us, and to such an extent 'was he our own recognised enemg that $t the

time of the Tarawera eruption, was it not reported that it was the Russian battleships off the Manukau? Now, only a few years since, this awful bogy was dispelled by the little Jap. Now, however, since we must have an enemy, it is Germany that has been chosen, and since this enemy 'has been found to be gaining strength. New Zealand has thought it advisable to donate to the Imperial Government a Dreadnought, and possibly a second. Now, a most important matter kept right in the background is the fact that in the last session of our Parliament we increased onr naval subsidy to the Imperial Government by an additional £60,000 (interest on the cost of a battleship), thus donating a warship every year indefinitely. This is a "present-giving age," and, by all means, the individual,- as the nation. should be encouraged to give; but twelve months, or even less, when all the excitement is gone, and we have to pay out this additional 30/- or more per head, I am just wondering whether we will be able to afford it.—l am, etc., ENOSS PEGLER, (To the lidltor.) Sir, —"At the time of the crisis," said Sir Joseph Ward, "the Government offered to the Old Country a gift of the cost of a battleship." Permit mc, Sir, to ask what crisis? date of occurrence? when ended? As regards paying for the battleship, the Premier has stated "that the repayment of principal, sinking fund and interest on the money proposed to be borrowed is not for the generation and generations to follow, but to be paid by ourselves in our own time." Well, there are more ways of killing a cat than one, and it may be possible for our Financial Magician to raise money, as the Indian juggler does a mango tree, apparently out of nothing; all the same, I fail to see how, though the revenue necessary may be raised in the Dominion, the bill can be paid in London without going to the English money lenders. To offer a battleship not in the making at the time of, what the Premier calls, a crisis, is about as wise as to grant a man a free pardon, who has already been hanged by the neck.

Bis dat quit cito dat is surely applicable in this case. Therefore, why should not the Commonwealth and this Dominion oppti subscriptions for the purchase of the three battleships presumed to be building for Brazil, and now nearly completed in British dockyards? In Brazil there are close on a million inhabitants of German nationality. May it not then be possible that once at sea these ships may be steered for the coast of Germany. .Should rumours of war be in the air bpfore these Brazilians are launched, let it be understood that the people of Australasia will put up the pr>p required for their transference to the Home Government. Personally, I shall be ] lfased to send you, for so laudable a project, my cheque for a fiver, and, if others donate in equal projportion to their capital and' income, far more than the cost of one up-to-date ship should be forthcoming. The trouble would be meeting the bill in London.—l am. etc., H.J. [In another letter H..T. inquires whether the proposed cutting down of the Civil Service is intended to provide for the cost of Dreadnoughts.]

(To the Editor.) Sir,— T read your leading article of April 2 with pleasure, and thoroughly agree, with every sentence therein contained. I had rend in your previous issue the report of the discussion at the Trades and Labour Council, and had laid down tilt" paper with a feeling of disgust and contempt for some of the speakers at that meeting. That any individuals could stand up and talk such unmitigated nonsense, could ignore and disregard the plain teachings of history, and particularly the warnings given by recent European events, is to my mind amazing; but worse still was the want of patriotism shown and the ignoring of any sense of duty or responsibility to the flag, under whoso protection they have assured freedom, both of speech and action. As one who claims to be well acquainted with the characteristics of the British workers, I say emphatically that the average intelligent Englishman would repudiate with scorn and contempt such sentiments as were voiced at that meeting; and it may also be remembered that the two greatest advocates of legitimate Socialism in England—Messrs. Blntchford and Hymlman—have, both uttered emphatic warnings to the British people regarding the danger of the present German menace, and urged them to strain every nerve to place their country in a position of safety. The contention that England is better able to afford many Dreadnoughts than Xciv Zealand is one that was a mean attempt to shirk our fair share of the cost, and leave the whole burden to be carried principally on the backs of the British workers, whose earnings per head are not more than half of what is received by the workers of New Zealand. At the meeting the action of ONlr. T. E. Taylor, M.P., was gloried in. and there were wishes for many more of his sort! Yes; the individual who a few years sinc-e so virulently attacked the late Premier. Mr. Seddon. who was the greatest friend the workers of Xew Zealand ever had! Sir, when those who are supposed to voice the opinions of a large section of our workers make such a despicable exhibition of themselves, and show that they are unworthy of the privilege of living under the protection of the British flag, need it be wondered at that large numbers of our people are antagonistic to the various labour organisations'; As one who for more than 40 years has advocated the legitimate claims of labour, and who has a horror of war and blood shed—which I think should not be necessary in connection with our present civilisation—l look forward to a time

When tlie romtnon-sense nf most Shall hold ji fretful renlni in awe, And the kindly earth shall slumber

hapt in universal law. But that time Is nol yet. and so we must deal with things as they are. and strive by till honourable means to bring about a letter state of things, which will eventually come, and which will be hastened by our being prepared to defend our right*, and to say. as did' our immortal Nelson with 'his last words, ''Thank God I have done my duty."—l am, etc., WALTER OEISP. Fencourt, April 3. 1909. (To the Editor.)

Sir, —Your able editorial on patriotism ought to be widely rend. I am sure those members of the. Trades Council who gave utterance to unpatriotic expressions deserved the rebuke so smartly administered. An an Irishman. I felt pained at even nil allusion to my country under German rule. We have indeed to admit that England's government has not been a vrise and prudent one to Ireland in the past, but of late years both Parliament and people have shown a desire to make amends. Churlish and unforgiving -would be the Celt who failed to recognise this olive branch of peace.

Our attachment to the throne was proved in the days of persecution; shall we waver now when the long night of sorrow is passing away? No; we will, with God's help, be true to the King and Constitution, and so merit the goodwill and esteem of that great country to which we are indissolubly linked.—l am, etc., GAELIC. (To the Editor.) Sir.—l have read Messrs. Waite and Torrens' letters, and disagree with their views. Xo matter what "bright move the Government may make, there is, and always will be, a certain section of the community who will find fault, simply because they have been intercepted, probably due to their dull perceptions, and the only thing to liven them up would be a bombshell. This sort of enlivenment they are welcome to, but I am not. We ought to rally round men like Sir Joseph Ward, who has not been dull to our interests at this critical juncture, and I feel sure the commercial community are delighted with Sir Joseph Ward's keen perception, which has set an example to the world. Xew Zealand is a large shipper to London of mutton, wool, butter, cheese, flax, and gum, and we are in duty bound to assist England to protect our trade and keep the Dominion alive, so the donation of a battleship from a commercial view is a mere fleabite. If we were to be blind to our interests, and not assist England without being forced to do so, what other power would protect our Dominion and trade free of cost? And what kind of liberty would we have under a foreign flag? The Scotch believe in getting a roof over their heads while it is fine, and not to wait till it rains in torrents; so let us assist England with another battleship, if required, and not wait till we have torrents of bombshells poured in upon us, when it will be too late to ask for succour.—l am, etc., COMMERCE. (To the Editor.) •Sir,—-The thanks of all loyal Xew Zealanders are due to you for the wellmerited dressing down that you administered to Messrs. Henry, Long, and Co. in your very able leader last Friday. I cant understand why Mr. Henry doesn't try one of the German colonies if he thinks he would be just as well off. When he decided to leave Queensland, why didn't he try German Xew Guinea? —it was close handy. But not he! Xice as the Germans are. he would rather be in a British colony, where he enjoys freedom of speech (rather too much freedom for his kind of speech). He has resided in Queensland, Xew South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, and now in Xew Zealand, and from my knowledge of Mr. Henry, he always seems as if he haa been a-ble to get plenty of work under the good old British flag. However, he is welcome to eat all the saver-kraut and German sausage he likes, but I'm sure we shall all find ourselves better off by sticking to the good old British beef and mutton.—l am, etc., AX -ENGLISHMAN".

" Working Man " suggests that the admirers of Germany in the Trade and Labour Council should turn their talent to the production of a comedy on the lines of " How Bill Adams Won "the Battl e of Waterloo." He thinks a suitable title would be, " The Cause that Lacks Assistance, or the Wrong that We Can Do." He thinks that " Herr Cur Hardy-Hum-bug " might he asked to engage suitable talent in Germany, and that Herr Tommy from Christchureh should be invited to undertake management.

"Dominionite" considers that "We should provide ourselves with an up-to-date fighting outfit, wherewith we may be enabled to defend ourselves when the enemy comos along. The present system, however, would be inadequate, besides unfair, so some other means would be necessary for the defence of this land. 1 consider that every healthy man should be compelled to learn the use of the rifle, etc., and when an invader appeared every such individual would be liable to serve in the defence forcej the cost of the whole business to be borne by everyone according to the property he or she possessed."

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THE GIFT OF A DREADNOUGHT. Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 83, 7 April 1909

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