Lord HALSBtritY is an ex-Lord Chancellor of England, a man, well Some Plain on in his ninetieth year, Speaking. and one who throughout the greater portion of his long life has been called upon to test the value of words. He is not, therefore, a man to speak wantonly, being long past the age when men seek for or take pleasure in even temporary notoriety. Nor was he, on the occasion to which we refer, in an atmosphere that is congenial to or sympathetic with passionate invective and partisan declamation. If the House of Lords prides itself upon one thing more than another, it is that its proceedings aro conducted with a decorum that has been variously called passionless, reserved, and oven frigid. Yet it is by such a man and in such a plaeo that the German Emperor has been denounced without remonstrance as " a dirty thief, who ought to be hanged." Nothing perhaps more strikingly illustrates the long way the Mother Land has travelled during these last terrible months than Lord Halsbury's words. These aro not the commonplaces of debate. The British have a pardonable pride in the freedom of their parliamentary discussions from vulgar personalities and in the courteous terms with which political opponents for the most part refer to one another. Words such as those ascribed to Lord Halsbnry are born of the feelings of the hour—not, however, those alone of the person who gives them expression, but of the great majority of his fellows. During periods of grave national crisis, there seems to come a time when the emotions that agitate the multitude must find voice in some brief but comprehensive phrase. Such was that of 14 years ago, when the famous minister of the City Temple, Re Joseph Parker, momentarily shocked his congregation by saying, without warning, "God, damn the Sultan." It was fdlt that the infamies of the Sultan of that day, whom the poet Watson had stigmatised as "Abdul the Damned," a.nd whose atrocities and butcheries in Armenia had shamed mankind, merited the world's scorn, and that that scorn could not have been better epitomised than it was by the great preacher. The present is not a time for smooth speech and refined epithets. The Empire looks to its leaders, whether in Church or -State, to denotmoe the arch-criminals who have reduced Belgium to a graveyard in words that will sting and burn and bo remembered. Surely it is to carry the amenities and decencies of life too far when they are to be extended to the men who have made Belgium ■ what it is. How can one speak save in terms of bitterest detestation of the man who enters his neighbor's house, murders its owner, outrages its women, plunders its contents, razes the buildings to the ground, and. in doing so, turns with blasphemous lip.i to say "' This is God's will working through mk"? And one has but to multiply similar acta by the huiv'red to in y • what Germany has made of Belgium, and what she would havo made of France today if the fortunes of war had favored her.
There ie happily no lack of plain speech. It comes aliko from the Pulpit and the Platform. Nor is it confined to one section of tho people—to those who in season and out of season have bean warning their country to prepare for the great day of wrath that was surely lowering upon them. On the contrary, it is from the lips of men who havo Always hitherto opposed war, who have been prominent in peace councils, and who have frowned and protested against compulsory military train in.£. It ie from thene that there now ccme tho most scathing ar.d sternest of denunciations, the most inflexible of demands for justice and retribution. The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr Lloyd George), who, as he t-ays, ha.i all his life opposed militarism, has coined some of tho apt est and most tellingrycxprcsßivephra.se; against Geimany and her War Lords. There are no qualifications or reservations to his judgment on the Belgian abomination of desolation. In hot and indicnant and not soon forgotten words ho haft told hi* fellow-countrymen not omly what he th : nks of Germany, but what ho things of them as well should »hey so far foiyet themselves and the land of their birth no-. to vow as one man never to quit the fight and never to sheathe the sword until the hideous monster that threatens all that they havo learned to revere and levo is sn itton to the dust. If this wanton deed of premeditated treachery against humanity is to pass vnchallonged by the nations of the world, then let' lis admit that civilisation is a failure, that the sceptre of rijfht is broken, and that force, brute force, ir. once more enthroned, amongst the nations Unless the mnn and" v.-oni":' of this country are propaied to tender all they pofsess and all they can command to 'help their land in this nio--t fateful hour of its destiny, then Britain is ind?ed doomed, for ehe will stand alone in tlu world as the only land whns? children arc not prepared to sacrifice themselves for her honor. The Chancellor has also referred lo the intervention of Turkey, " whote blond-stained "sandals tcorch«d and withered up ovory " gi«*n blade they trod," as " a fit ally "of Germany. The ravagers of Armenia " were fitting comrades for the ravages, " of Belgium." It is w-cll for the Empire that in its hou: of peril it has men who can so speak. We <need cheering, but we need strengthening even more. Such is the common frailty, that we have to be continually kept in remembrance—even though death and heartbreak are our daily lot—of tho greatness and tho reality of tho conflict in which we as an Empire aro now engaged. Morning and evening our firstl and last thought must bo: "Ae the " Lord liveth t:nd as our soul liveth, w<j " will not cease from war until tho Christ " himself shall receive back His own "
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Evening Star, Evening Star, Issue 15678, 17 December 1914
Evening Star Evening Star, Issue 15678, 17 December 1914
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