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The Evening Star. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 1914.

The annual banquet given in tho historic

Guildhall by the inWordS Of Chaer. coming Lord Mayor

of London has for more than a century been utilised by the leading members of His Majesty's Government as the most fit occasion for summarising the international situation and the relations of the Empire with the world at large. -All the great crise;; in our Imperial history from and including the Napoleonic and the Crimean Wars, tha Indian Mutiny, the Uusso-Tuvkish, and other wars, have in turn been reviewed bv famous statesmen from tho same renowned assembly hall. Rarely, however, has it fallen, to the lot of a Prime Minister, not even excepting Pitt, when the crisisi confronting the Empire and the nature of tho issues at stake were so tremendous or fraught with such consequences as those with which Mr Asquith and Jiis colleagues are called upon to deal. Happily for Ministers and happily for the Empire on whose behalf they act and speak there is behind them an absolutely united people. The clamor and discord of party faction have ceased. Alike from the men and women of that old grey Mother Land in tho North Sea, and from thoso of every race and clime over which tho Flag flies, there comes hot one full volume of sound : "The "sword must not be sheathed until the "liberties of mankind are assured." It was words such as these that formed the diapason of British policy, as proclaimed on Monday evening last by its honored and trusted exponents. Lord Kitchener, Mr Balfour, Mr Churchill, and Mr Asquith spoke in similar tones of quiet confidence and clear vision. " The Empire," said Lord Kitchener, "is fighting for her existence." The statement is not a superfluous platitude. Thero are foolish and superficial observers everywhere who have not yet grasped their meaning. Tho horrors oi" war have passed them by. They havo given no son'; they have mourned no dead; they move and pass their daily bein£ in wonted comfort ; therefore they do not know. It is to such as these that Lord Kitchener is speaking -when he says, in effect: '"I want every citizen to understand this cardinal fact, for without -t " there can come no great national moral "impulse." The emphasis, it will be noted, is placed not upon tho material, but upon the moral aspect of the conflict, and this for tho simple reason that unless the latent moral forces of the nation are awakened to life and action there can be no adequate material response. We have no fear that the appeal will be in vain. There is something in tho British nature that is slow to move. It lias to bo first convinced that tho cause for which it is asked to mako the last sacrifice of all is worth making before it rises to the full measure of its possibilities. And what in this relation the average Briton means by " worth " is not financial gain nor material profit. That was where tho German War Lords made their supreme blunder. They did not believe that England would go to war for "a scrap of paper, - ' and the measure of their confusion and amazement that England and the Empire have done so may be gathered from tho intensity and savagery of the hatred with which Britishers are now regarded from Kaiser and Crown Prince to gutter journals.

" The unparalleled insolence of Germany," said Mr Balfour, "has been "answered by Japan in dramatic fashion.'' "The blockade of the German fleet," said Mr Churchill, "is exerting an economic *' pressure that heralds Germany's inevi- " table doom." " The subservience of "the. Porte to German intiigue and Ger"man gold," Mr Asquith fuither said, " has sounded the death-knell of "Tuikoy both in E.irupe and These are tho tones and sentiments of the men in whose hands rest the honor and integrity of the Empire. One may look in vain for the shadow of an indication that will contirai tho fears of the timid, ihe Empire has pledged herself to see this thing through, and until her task, gigantic though it be, is accomplished there will be no drawing back. The time to talk of peace ib not yet, but the time is always here when the absolutely indispensable conditions to peace may be named. These were stated by }ir Asquith with lis customary lucidity : " The sword," he declared, "will not be sheathed until Bel-

"gium ha« been given back all that has "been foully ravaged fiomher, until Franco '• has been permanently secured from the "possibility oE m-jnace. and aggression, "until the independence of smaller nationalities is put beyond question, and until "Prussian militarism ha 3 been destroyed." This, then, is the task that the Empiro and her Allies have entered upon v

Surely never did knight, or prophet, or monarch of old proclaim a more inspiring cvansrel, and never did medieval priest preach a move glorious crusade. And the' cry ant! tho appeal come not alono to tho man and women of the Old World, but to thore who have come from there, and who have built up new democracies across the sea?. Nor will the call fall upon deaf ears and cold hearts. What tho Oversea Dominions have done, what Dunedin in particular has done, wo know, though in part only. The etory of the rally of her daughter States to that august Mother of Empires will bo one to conjure, with when those who made it have long since ceased to be. They have, as Mrs S. M. Park finely said when returning thanks for the kind things that were spoken of the Olago ladies in tho Council Chamber on Monday afternoon, " feeling into action." None can measure its iniluence upon the future raca ; but we do know that the character of the race is determined by our women, and that their ln?neflcent actions ooiictituto the surest guarantee of tho continued unity and permanence of the Empire which gave them birth.

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Permanent link to this item

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Bibliographic details

The Evening Star. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 1914., Issue 15648, 12 November 1914

Word Count
999

The Evening Star. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 1914. Issue 15648, 12 November 1914

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