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The Evening Star MONDAY, NOVEMBER 9,1914., Issue 15645, 9 November 1914
The Evening Star MONDAY, NOVEMBER 9,1914.
It was Lord Rosebery, we believe, who
once stated in his deMr and Mrs Jightfully bantering way Snowdon. that no member of Parlia-
ment should he id lowed to take office in the Government who had not previously made a tour through the Oversea. Dominions of the Empire. The counsel of the Imperial orator may'perhaps be one of perfection, but of its desirability there can be no question. But what Ministers and possible Ministers have not yet dared to make an in dispensable condition precedent to office the rank and file have from time to time undertaken. There are many members of the British .Parliament who know from personal observation that New Zealand is not reached every half-hour by mean;' of a ferry steamer from Tasmania; that tiie majority of its citizens vary in no marked degree from the kindly rare of men of older civilisations; ami that all colonists do not near sloueb bats and leggings, or carry stockwhips. From the British Babur party, who have in their ranks some of the keenest intcllct-s and most earnest reformers of ;!*.<■ New Zealand has had th* pleasure of greeting their most typical representatives. Mr J. Ramsay Macdonald, Mr Keir Bardie, Mr Will Crooks, and Mr Philip Snowden rue men of Imperial repute. They stand for that which is highest and best in the Labor movement, and nothing but good can come from thcii visits/
In •savin;: this it should not bn necessary to add that our pleasure in extending a welcome to these public men dues nut imply an eiutuisemeiii of :■ I! their aims. nor of the methods by which they propose to attain them. On tlu supreme question of Imperiid Defcneo the Labor leaders, including Mr Snowden, have, in our jndtrmcnt, liven hopelessly in the wrung. The Empire is at this, the gravest hour in her history, unprepared to meet, as she should the diabolical attack that has been made, upon her peace, honor, and integrity partly as the result of the attitude of the Jlritish Labor and I’adleal parties to wards military training and naval and military expenditure. This apart, we repeat that the presence among ns ot such a. man as Mr Snowden and <■: such a woman as his gifted wife can only be for the common good of visitor and visited. Loth are speakers of exceptionally high calibre, being clear, Jogicalj temperate in expression, and obviously sincere. This journal never liar supported National Prohibition as either a just or a satisfactory solution of the problem of the excessive indulgence in alcoholic liquors by the comparatively few, nor do wo propose to depart from Impolicy. Hut we can, without contradiction, ioiprove of nearly every word spoken by Mr and -Mrs Snowden last evening. We may be wrong in onr con elusion, but wo imam no that their temperate statements, alike in matter anti manner, wore not altogether what the extreme Prohibitionist expected to hear. It was pleasant to learn from such a platform, and under such auspices, that there tire tens of thousands of men and women who are worthy of respect ami honor who are not total abstainers; that tho abuse of alcoholic liquors is often the effect rather than the cause of the horrors of poverty; and that Mr Snowden never had told, and never could tell, his fellowcountrymen that human misery and crime and destitution would cease to be with the passing of tho traffic in drink. There is nothing new in these propositions, but it is not usual to hear them so emphatically set forth from a Prohibition platfonn. We unite in tho civic and popular welcome that has been extended to our distinguished visitors, and wish them many years of continued service on behalf of the great moral causes to which they have devoted their talents.
Christian De Wet, a man who, during tha Beer War, gained a What DOOS world-wide reputation Germany for tho daring, audacity, Offer? and success of his many raido upon the unsuspecting British, and who subsequently took the oath qf allegiance as a British subject and accepted ofllco under the Crown, has broken his oath, forsworn Ids fealty, and raised the standard of revolt. We must assume that Do Wet Ims convince'.! himself that ho has grounds for his treason, though they are not apparent. Nor is it clear that his motive and object tiro to enter into an offensive and defensive alliance with tho Gormans in South-west Africa. 110 has proclaimed a little Republic of his own, and has ordered and permitted the wanton destruction of bridges ami railway lince. These latter, in a young and borrowing country, are of a peculiarly odious and wicked character, and will bo regarded by the community as a whole with the same detestation that tho individual regards tho horse and sheep stealer. But whatever tho ultimate intentions of Dc Wot may be, it is certain that he has done an evil thing for South Africa. He will be compelled, if he dees not come to terms with the deputation that lias been sent to him, to surrender or to place himself under the protection of Germany. Of tho two his choice probably will ba that which will for ever place him beyond the pale. 'Tho question arises : What has Germany to offer l)e Wet that' England lias not? Tho answer is "Nothing!” There is no material or moral advantage tor the Boor as the price of .De Wet’s treason. Everything that makes for personal profit, for a more enlightened social environment, for a distinct advance on the crude and primitive ways % of Boer life in South Africa, is to be had under tho British flag. The individual Boer, from the British and loyal African standpoint, must lose .should he follow Do Wet and his standard of revolt. Tho marvel is that a man of De Wet’s character docs not know this, or, knowing it, as wo suspect lie must, that he. should fling restraint and reason to tho winds and embark upon a campaign that is already marked for ignonynious disaster. Some days ago flic 4 Westminster Gazette’ asked what Da Wei. could hope to gain, not for bur. for Ids deluded followers and for .gnuth Africa, by proclaiming himself a traitor. What hope of profit is there for his people? All that these can hope for is material loss, social ostracism. possibly exile or death. We can, wo trur f , appreciate the ideals and faith of a- man or a nation that flings aside prudence and risks ail for those things that are infinitely dearer than tho mere preservation of physical existence. This is what Belgium is doing, and Belgium to-day is receiving tho respect and reverence of mankind, while her persecutor is cither cowering abjectly under or brutally defying its execrations. But Germany, says General Smuts, himself an educated Boer, can give the Beer nothing—not even the material husks on which some men set so much store. De Wet lias called upon his neighbors and admirers to throw off and destroy that free constitution which he helped to make, and in il.s place he would substitute the heel of Prussian militarism. Quo is tempted to think that the fruits of German culture arc not yet familiar to the benighted settlers in the uonh-woM corner of Orangia, :uul that ' Iho erics of its myriad victims have failed to Teach theiv deaf cars and unresponsive hearts. At an hour when all tho world has risen cither in active or passive, protest against Germany’s at tempt to dethrone the God of Christian civilisation and to establish in His place Thor, with his giant’s hammer, the. man who might have b m <>f service, wcj will not say to tho Empire, tint to his own people, ox his own initialivo prefers dishonor rather thin honor, and treason rather then loyalty. Of the. final ...itconn* of De Wet’s revolt there is no shadow of doubt. South Af'-ica, has marie fur choice. She, too. is on the side >•[ ike angels, and, having taken it, there, she v.-ill- steadfastly abide.
The Evening Star MONDAY, NOVEMBER 9,1914., Issue 15645, 9 November 1914
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