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TRAFALGAR DAY., Issue 15630, 22 October 1914
LOCAL CELEBRATIONS. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE ANNIVERSARY. Yesterday being the 109 th anniversary of Trafalgar, the most notable sea fight in history, was an occasion on which every person of British.stock might justifiably take pride. The executive of the Navy League made a public appeal for the observance of the day throughout the Empire, and they were loyally supported by the Dunedin branch. The particular desire of the league is to firing home to tho mind of the British people tho dominating significance of the sea power in out national and Imperial life; to make more completely understood tho clcoo relationship which exists between our Imperial prestige and tho efficiency of our navy ; and to impress the popular imagination with the fact that the Navy is our great and only national insurance, and that upon its. unassailable strength continuance of our industrial vitality and commercial vigor d«is a significant fact that whilst we were celebrating the anniversary of Irafalgar the French, then our common enemy, now our ally, should be fighting side by side with the British troops. It might be said, as was mentioned by one of tho speakers at last nights function in the Garrison Hall, that to commemorate this anniversary smacked of jingoism, and might tend to give offence to our excellent friends, the French. Ihis is an idea, however, that cannot bo supported by those who see in the victory and death of Nei#>n over 100 years ago a touching exampleof self-sacrifice and patriotism, the memory of which should ever bo kept alive and to the forefront as an incentive to those who, by his action. Lord Nelson probably preferred from a foreign bondage. The Navy League’s celebrations, which took place in the Garrison Hall last night, were of a most enthusiastic nature. The building was packed, and the addresses of the various speakers were punctuated with frequent- applause. The platform was appropriately decorated, ami Nelson's famous signal was prominently displayed in large flags round the building. Mr J. A. Johnstone (chairman), in bis introductory address, after apologising for the unavoilablo absence of the Primate, announced that tho collections taken up during the day in connection with the British and Belgian relief fund had totalled £2,320. (Great applause.) Through tho indisposition of His Worship the Mayor, whom, he regretted to say, his medical adviser would not allow- to be present, ho was onco more called upon to take tho chair at the annual commemoration of Nelson's great and glorious victory of Trafalgar. We celebrated this victory in all humility and without any vainglory over the defeat of our then foe. but today our close ally and staunehpfriend, the French nation. (Applause.) Mje were living in the most stirring and probably also the most eventful times tho world had ever known, and the fate of our great Empire was as dependent to-day as it was in Nelson's time upon the.maintenance of our sea supremacy. It was quite unnecessary to recapitulate the events which had culminated in the most- terrible war known to historv. We rejoiced to know, however, (hat our nation had entered upon the conflict with clean hands and a conscience devoid of lust and all ambitious aims. We could well be proud that we had not “sold the truth to serve tho hour, nor paltered with Eternal Gad for power.” (Applause.) Britain had taken part in this tragic war to uphold her honor, and her derision to stand by her treaties in protecting a weaker nation against an ambitious, unscrupulous, and cruel State had raised our nation :u tho esteem of tho whole civilised world. (Applause.) So much was this the case that to-day wo were prouder to be sons and daughters of Old England than ever before in our liisto"v. British citizens 'Tiould be proud that our nation, having had duo warning of the German menace, had been prepared for it, and much ot that preparedness for the long-expected attack had been di:c to the fact that the Navy League had for nearly 20 years pointed out to the British Government the only reason Germany had for the creation of her great fleet—namely, to enable her to attack and conquer England and seize her overseas possessions. (Applause.) As in Nelson’s day. the Navy had proved the bulwark not only of the Mother Land alone, but also of alt her daughter States. Great as the services of the been to ait tlie pixst, they were equally great to-day. But for the Navy we should not have been able to fulfil our obligations to France and Belgium, and hut for the fear of it our foe would never have been content to keep its fleet in hiding and out of the way of our great ships. (Applause.) Not onlv was our Navy numerically vastly superior to that of the enemy, hut we ventured to think that its personnel was just as efficient and was imbued with the same high courage and noble sense of duty as were Nelson, his officers, and seamen. Therefore we said with unbounded confidence that so long as we maintained the traditions of tho hero whose memory we were revering that night our Empire was safe, and so were her peoples and all their possessions. (Applause.) The present war had already demonstrated that there was no deterioration in the qualities of our fighting men on sea and land, and we had no shadow of a doubt that before these hostilities should have ceased our enemies and the enemies of the whole of civilised mankind would have found that nit to their cost. Because wo believed that our armed forces on sea- am! land were invincible we must not. however, assume that we could continue to maintain on- supremacy without further and increased effort. The road to success in the higher, as in the lower, spheres of life was the same —it was the road of con--cientious, industrious, and persistent effort. and those that followed it could not fail to leave n name behind them that was better than riches or any other possession. As one of our great poets had said, the way to glory was the path of duty and self-sacrifice, and He that walks it, only thirsting For the right, and learns to deaden .Love of self, before his journey closes. Shall find the toppling crags of Dutv scaled. Are close upon the shining table lands To which our God himself is Moon and Sun. They would have the inward satisfaction of knowing that they had done their duty, which should be the ambition of everyone. (Loud and continued applause.) THE DISCIPLINE OF WAR. The first address was delivered by Dean Fitchctt. He said : ” For the first time we are celebrating the victory that gave n- supremacy at sea in face of an eneniy who lias challenged it. Tbs anniversary of Trafalgar (the 109 th) finds us deep in a war greater than any that Nelson knew —greater, perhaps, than any war in human history. But it finds the British Navy still predominant, the enemy’s fleet in hiding, his ports sealed up, his commerce swept from the seas. We owe this in part to the Navy League and its con-stantly-repeated warning—printed on the programme for this evening: Principalities and Powers, Mustering their unseen array. Wait for thy unguarded hours ; Watch and Pray. They have waited for our unguarded hours, but, misreading the signs, they blundered, and by the mercy of Heaven we were found not unready. There could be no occasion more fitting than this for preaching the Navy League and its claims ; out there are other speakers, and the subject against ray name is ‘ The Discipline of War.’ Occasionally I have seen the British i ecru Ring sergeant at work among the farm laborers who, in some provincial English towns, stand in the marketplace for their yearly hiring When one of these English peasants ‘takes the shilling,’ and lets the red, white, and blue streamers be twisted round his hat, there may be seen the raw material of the British Army beside the finished pioduct—the laborer, .slouching, cumbrous, heavyfooted; and the sergeant, flat-backed, sqnare-shouldered, erect, alert, master of •very muscle and limb. What the laborer
is the sergeant may hj; re been; what the sergeant is the laborer may become. Disciphno, the discipline of war, will do as much for a nation.' We entered upon the present conflict at the call of honor and duty, in defence of smaller nationalities and their right to live; in vindication of the wholesome doctrine that a nation’s word is its bond, prepared for sacrifice and differing and the buffets of inconetant' fortune; resolute not to be daunted by checks and reverses, but to put into the struggle our whole strength, to the last ounce; resolved to fight the good fight and fight it out to the end. (Loud applause.) Win we must and shall. The certainty of winning is an inspiration to every soldier of ours in the field, and to every sailor keeping vigil on the North Sea. Victory will bring the ending of some giant evils. Never again will an irresponsible autocrat and his military parasites be able to kindle such another conflagration amongst the nations of the West. But on ourselves, also, the effect of the war will be seen, and ie seen already. It was a serious hour when first the appeal of honor was heard and recognised—an hour of high emotion, but an heroic hour. Instantly the nation .was lifted out of itself. In the House of Comrnans the great party divisions were obliterated, contentions hushed, Government and Opposition a unity. One did not need to be an Irishman to thrill at the patriotism of Mr John Redmond—- ‘ Send your regiments to the front. Break up the camp at the Curragh. Irishmen, north and south—Ulster and Tipperary together—will guard Ireland 1’ (Cheers.) Throughout the country, through all the dominions and dependencies ot the Empire, the same spirit ruled. For patriotic purposes, not only were vast sums of money contributed, but men and women of every station in life combined to work; the recruiting agencies were thronged; Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India sent their contingents; and now Lord Kitchener announces that, besides the army in the field, he has at command 1,200.000 lighting men as good as any in Europe. Is this the wealth-pursuing, pleasure-lov-ing, ease-seeking nation of three months back? The discipline of war has wrought the change. The Germans ate also under this discipline. The humiliations and losses which await them will be chastisement for consenting to bad government, for allowing the irresponsible braggart at their head to fashion an intelligent people into a mere war machine, and use it at his will. The British arc no war machine. The military movement thioughout the Empire to-day is the spontaneous uprising of a free people to resist and bring to an end the dominance in human affairs of brute force. Of the Belgians and their special crown of martyrdom we cannot think without pain. The wrongs of the Belgians can never be compensated ; butin honor thsv have rivalled the Spartans at Thermopylae, and it is permitted us to hope that their sufferings will prove cleansing fires. (Applause.) In our own case, the experiences of the last three months interpret an utterance of Mr Raskin's which has perplexed his admirers. Lecturing to young soldiers at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, Mr Buskin affirmed war to be the foundation of all high virtues and faculties of men ’ll is very strange to me to discover this,’ lie said, ‘and very dreadful; but I saw it to be quite an undeniable fact. The common notion that peace a.nd the virtues of civil life flourish together I found to be wholly untenable. Peace ard the vices of civil life flourish together. Mo talk of peace and learning, of peace and plenty, of peace and civilisation; but I found that those were net the words which the Muse of History coupled together : that on her lips the words were peace and sensuality, pence and selfishness, peace and death. 1 found, in brief that all great nations learned their truth of word and strength of thought in war ; that they were nourished in war. and wasted by peace; taught by war, and deceived by peace; trained by war, and betrayed by peace; in a word, that they were born in war and expired in peace.’ These seem dark sayings in a man who was an intellectual force in his dav, and who really cared for the best things. But we are beginning to understand them. The discipline of war is making better citizens; it is making better soldiers. (Cheers.) Knowing that we went into the war with motives pure and hands clean, our men at the battle front accept self-sacrifice cheerfully, as all in the day’s work. I have seen a letter from a 'Dunedin lad in the North Idea fleet'. ‘MV are all as happy ns larks,’ he writes. ‘Never a murmur when the work 15 Stremioos, 1 am wrr«» tve ©Viail do v-11 on the day.' Tlv? soldier—full of strange oaths, jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel—is gross and open in his vices. We would not speak lightly of them. Bub we all need God’s mercy, and the open vices, of the soldier seem less odious than the narrow hardness, the sordid selfishness, of men who sometimes make broad their phylacteries and are familiar with Jong prayers, kirk elders, it mav be, or parish vestrymen. The other man off-ivs his life, and whether it be in the death-strewn trenches or on the deck of a sinking ciuiser, or in the rushing cavalry charge, that he dies for his country, he may be God’s true soldier.” (Loud applause)
Mr W. J. Morrell deliverer! a very in-tcre.-tiug address on ‘Germany and the War,’ in the course of which he gave a brief account of the causes which led up to the present great conflict, 1 wenty years ago. said Sir Morrell, nothing was further from the thoughts of the British nation than war with Germany, with which country, indeed, we were in sympathy in many of their ambitions. What, then, was the cause of the war? Xot commercial rivalry, as the Germans claimed; not national hostility: not envv of German greatness ; but. in a word, the unyielding ambition of the Prussian caste for unchallenged dominion over Europe and unbridled world power. Seeking this, they had not considered the righteousness of the came. They desired to dominate all provinces and countries whose people thev claim to be of German blood or origin—Austria, Holland, the Flemish provinces of Belgium, part of Switzerland, and many more pieces of Europe. They claim the right to the coast of Holland, to Antwerp, to the mouths of the German rivers, and - they think that world power must and will become theirs. Were it possible for Germany to hold and enslave Belgium and Holland, said the speaker, the life of England as an independent Power would hang by a thread. The Prussians have an entirely different idea of war to that of the British, believing Nietzsche's doctrine that ‘’war and courage have done far more good in the world than has love for our neighbors.” Mr Morrell, with the aid of some excellent lantern slides of men conspicuous in the history of Great Britain and of Germany, went ‘on to trace the war history of the latter country, and concluded by stating, amid applause, that Britain had unbounded confidence in her leaders, in her men, and in the moral law—-the law of God, which Germany had violated —Germany, who had cold her soul for a price ; a price, however, that would never bo paid. The lesson ‘Tight is might” had always to be learned, and sometimes it was learned very quickly. (Applause.) The Rev. A. Arthur Hay ‘ The Moral Aspects of Imperialism.’ He believed in the British Navy as the preserver of the peace, hot only of the British nation, but of the whole world. Our fathers came into their own amidst a tempest and darkness more terrible than anything we had been called upon to face. The old Hebrew heroes had Armageddon all the time, under circumstances that would blench our cheeks, and would have blenched their but for their unbounded faith. There was a true Imperialism and a false, the latter being ” Empire by Grab,” such as that " made in Germany,” while real Imperialism was that dominated by the highest and sweetest moral power. True Imperialism, in its moral aspect, must always be accompanied by splendid magnanimity. We must practise that. To see a helpless people and pot oppress them, to see great wealth and not confiscate it, to raise a native race to your level instead of sinking to theirs—these were the supreme trial? of a nation’s spirit. It has been a revelation to the whole world that Great Britain was prepared rather to suffer affliction with the people who are suffering than to enjoy the pleasures of siu for a season* Co the
contrary, Germany will be called upon to meet mat ternoie, swut power of retribution. (Applause.) We pray that the day may come when she who enslaves people will be laid in the dust. The jesponsibility of the burden of Empire was a great one. Never has it been heavier than it is to-day, and never has Britain borne it more buoyantly. Deep-seated in the heart of the British people is a desire not to have Uod on our side, but to find ourselves on God’s side. We should remain under His shadow, and then, very humbly and reverently, we may say: 0 God, our Help in ages past, Our Hope for years to come, Our Shelter from the stormy blast, And our eternal Home. THE NAVY OF OLD ENGLAND. Mr C. Darling, hon. secretary of the local branch of the Navy League, took for his subject ‘The Navy of Old England.' Tho address was a most interesting one, and, like that of Mr Morrell, was illustrated by a fine series of limelight views. Mr Darling eulogised Lord Hawke and his magnificent seamanship. He then referred to Nelson and Napoleon. The present crisis was something of a parallel with that of the time of these two men. When Napoleon formed his great plan it was Nelson who blocked the way. Nelson's old wooden ships had to give way to tho progress of science and the exigenies of iron, steam, and steel. In due course came the battleships of to-day, the Dreadnoughts, super-Dreadnoughts, and cruisers—great instruments of destruction. On these we relied to-day, and on these our Enmire had a supremacy which the boasted Germans could not pluck up courage to face. (Cheers.) The speaker then went on to refer to submarines, a number of views of which were thrown on the screen, and referred to their usefulness as engines of destruction. Aeroplanes and hydroplanes were likewise dealt with, and the speaker dealt most interestingly with the development of aircraft as it applied to warfare. He maintained that the German Zeppelin would in time be met in tho right place by British aircraft, and the result need cause no apprehension to Britishers. (Applause.) The 4th Regimental Band rendered several stirring selections during the evening. The Lyric (Male Quartet also contributed musical items, while Mr W. IV. Crawford recited * My Boys, My Boys!’ the recitation being’ illustrated by lantern slides. Mr Simpson had charge of the lantern throughout the evening, and successfully manipulated the slides. The proceedings terminated with tho singing of the National Anthem. THE GALLANT NORTH SEA FLEET THE MEETING SENDS A MESSAGE. Mr J. A. Johnstone read the following letter from the Hon. James Allen, Minister of Defence, addressed to Mr C. Darling, secretary of the Navy League: 1 very much regret that it will not be possible for me to be. present on October 21 to commemorate the 109 th anniversary of the battle of Trafalgar. I am sure the meeting will feel very mmli what I feel—how much the Empire owes to our Navy, and what a tremendous strain is put upon officers and men in this epoch in our history. It is impossible for us, I think, to realise what the strain of constant watching for an enemy’s attack and the dread of submarines must be. May 1 suggest it would be a fitting opportunity for Dunedin to send a sympathetic message to those sailors of ours in the North Sea
who are going through this trying ordeah Nor do I think many of us realise how those officers and men of the Empire's fleet who find themselves m the Baeific seas must long to be with their mates in tho more dangerous situation at Home. In my.opinion they have a great purpose to perform m our waters, and I can well understand how joyful they would be if they were in a position to carry out one of the prime purposes of tho Navy—to seek, out and destroy the enemy’s cruisers. lam certain every New Zealander would rejoico should the glorious news come to us that the Australia had met and dealt with the two larger German cruisers which have been a menace to us. I cannot end this letter without also asking the league to' recognise the splendid work that has been done by the Commonwealth unit of the Imperial Navy in assisting to keep our sea routes clear, in convoying our soldiers to Samoa and 1 aiding them in their landing there, and, in planting our Flag upon the lands of New Guinea and other possessions in the Pacific, where an enemy’s flag ought never to have flown. Please convey to the members of the league my earnest hope that their efforts in the future will be successful, and ask them to join with me in an earnest wish that our Empire may come out of this campaign with colors flying and with assured peace for many years before us.—Yours faithfully, J. Allen. —The Message.— Later, Mr John Roberts, C.M.G., in accordance with the suggestion contained in Mr Allen’s letter, moved that the following message lie sent to the and men of the British fleet in the North Sea : To the Officers and Men of the Grand Fleet, tho North Sea, —Your fellowcitizens of the British Empire, assembled in mass meeting in Dunedin, New Zealand, on the 109 th anniversary of Trafalgar and Nelson of glorious memory, send this message as a slight token of their grateful appreciation of all you have done and are doing for the Empire. and to maintain those traditions whose glories we share with you. Believe us that you are never absent from our thoughts and our prayers. Wo are confident that the honor and supremacy of the Flag will be maintained by you. —-J. A. Johnstone, Chairman of the Meeting. Upon the North Sea fleet, Mr Roberts said, must the final issue lie. When the German land forces had done their utmost and had failed, he was sure that the German navy would come out in an attempt to save the German nation. When it di.i come out there must be no half-measures; the fleet must act as in the good old days, and there must be an end of the German power.
TRAFALGAR DAY., Issue 15630, 22 October 1914
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