The Evening Star MONDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 1914.
Lohd BonERTs. we are advised, in his last message to the nation The Call to used these words: “The Arms. “Belgians arrested the “first onslaught of the “ Germans, and thus gave ua time to ward ‘off the punishment we so richly deserve “for our neglect to prepare to defend our “own interests." To-day, whe„ me n and women the Empire over jvad this message, there should be many burning cheeks and veiled eyee. At this hour no ore dare question the great soldier and patriot's dicta. His was the vision of the seer and the voice of the archangel, and to both there came in response the jeers of the baser sort, the patronising dissent of the peace-at-any-prico humanitarian, and tho disregard of all. But Lord Roberts, though dead, yet speaketh. We. as an Empire, earned the scorn of that noble mind. Wo are not worthy of tho heritage that is ourr., and wo richly deserve to tecl that punishment from Which numencally insignificant but heroically great Belgium delivered us. There has been no finer instance of national devotion in tho whole record of human history than that afforded by the Belgian people when they literally flung themselves across and temporarily stayed the ensanguined path of tho most savagely inhuman horde that was ever launched against the lives and liberties of mankind. Yet, even at this late hour, there are tlioso among ua who fail to appreciate tho momentous nature of the issue. Lord Rosel>ory many months ago said that when the history of cur own day came to be written not the least amaaing feature to tho historian would be that tho advice of the greatest soldier of Lis generation on a subject on which ho spoke with supremo authority was laughed to scorn. The rebut", in a measure, may be applied to ourselves. Nob even tho blotting out of Belgium, tho appallingly lengthy list of authenticated infamies, have tempted tho Presbyterian Assembly to rise superior to their unedifying discussions on “ tithes of anise and mint and cummin,” and unitedly to approv© a denunciation couched in terms of hot and indignant scorn of the bloody onslaught that has been made by Germany against oar common Christian civilisation. Nor have they served to arouse tho young man . hood of this Otago district to a sense of the responsibility and the honor that are theirs. Men talk of Sabbath observance, of tho right of tho clergy to enter the clay schools, of their coming sports and holidays, and of their election prospects rather than hurii with a great and solemn sileneo tho jargon ’of contending tongues, and on their knees dedicate their whole souls to tho Empire’s need and how it can be met; For foolish boast and idle weed, Have mercy on thy jwx>ple, Lord! ’ the Empire first and foremost needs men. And men everywhere—eave in New Zealand and Otago, it is said—are gladly offering to servo in a cause than which there can b© no higher. The reason, we think, is as much the fault of the community as it is that of those who ape qualified to serve, but have not yet come forward. In this connection, the Rev, Mr Fitchett, in tlie course of a patriotic sermon last evening in the Roslyn Anglican Church, had something to say that was timely and to the point. Our young men, he said, do not realise what this war means. They have no number'** carnage loads of wounded passing through their cities; no house after house, in street after street, into which the angel of death has aime; and no daily lists of casualties m which the names of some they know n sf rtam 10 appear. There are nearly 60,000 more men than women in this Dominion, yet so far New Zealand has offered but one out of every thousand for service. Belgium, for our cakes as well as for her own, has given the whole of her youth and manhood to die for tho common cause. Sorely this i a not to be onr last word. With a deal of what His Worship the Mayor eaitl on Saturday we are in sympathy. Wo have previously expressed our opinion of the Government—we cannot criticise individuals and departments in this relation*—for tho absolute ineptitude of their methods. It would not b© going beyond the facts were we to assert that they do not want recruits. They certainly do not know how to get them. Who knows where the recruiting department is? Is there any central room, placarded outside with hugo, attractive posters? Are there any recruiting sergeants, bevies of ■ girls, platform speakers to make plain the
causes of tho war (the most nece«ary of all), and such other incentives as should not be but nr© everywhere necewary, as experience has long shown? .And if not, why not? Is it desirable to wait until a German cruiser drops shells in the Octagon? That is what England did, and sho is now paying the price in a death-roll that four months ago would have blanched tho cheeks of every wife and mother in England. It is also true that the medical test has been in the nature of a tragic farce, Under it Lord Nelson and Lord Roberts would have been turned down with contemptuous scorn. Let us have done with grotesque absurdities of this sort, and awake in real earnest to a knowledge of the fact that the Empire is at war, that its continued existence is threatened, and that every man, whether he has an inverted toe nail, a bad tooth, or a pimple on his neck, is still capable of taking his place in tho line of battle. \V<j cannot, however, agree with His Worship respecting patriotic demonstrations, although wo think we understand what he has in mind. Human nature being what it is, these gatherings are necessary, and they can be made themedium of imparting much serviceable information in an agreeable form. The same papers that contained a report of His Worship’s criticism also contained the cable announcement that the three most prominent men in England to-day—Mr .Asquith, Mr Balfour, and Lord Rceebery —-had signed an appeal on behalf of more and yet more patriotic meetings of the very claes that Mr Shacklock condemns. And if these are necessary at Home, how much more so are Grey here, in a land where all wo have and arc has been made possible by and depends for its continuance upon the men and ships of the Mother Land. To day that Mother is calling on her sons to be strong, and to quit ourselves like men; end to her call there can be but one answer.
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The Evening Star MONDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 1914., Evening Star, Issue 15657, 23 November 1914
The Evening Star MONDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 1914. Evening Star, Issue 15657, 23 November 1914
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