The Evening Star WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 15, 1915.
Thanks to President Wilson, the United States of America is comAmerioa and ing badly out of the prethe War. sent war. How badly it is perhaps premature to say, but for the moment it would seem that nothing short of a miracle can save the nation from the contempt o! mankind. That would bo unjust, fur the great majority of the American people are in warm sympathy with the Allies. They detest the German war party and abhor their sack of Belgium as sincerely as the rest of their fellow-men. It is their misfortune during a time when the fate not alone of nations but of the civilisation on which they rest hangs in the balance that they should have in the presidential chair a gentleman of culture and of pcace-at-any-prics principles, who ! is neither mentally nor morally strong enough to take the right position anci'speak the thoughts that! his countrymen desire. We cannot imagine George Washington or ■ Abraham Lincoln remaining silent had the news come to them that a peace-loving , people, innocent of the shadow of any international crime, had been suddenly attacked by the greatest military Power, their cities destroyed, their sons slaughtered, their sold men butchered, their wives and daughters outraged, and thealand mad© a smoking waste. On the con- ! trary, we can well believe that these ; supreme organisers of victory—the two men who founded and maintained the in- i dependence arid unity of their country— ! would not have hesitated to make them- ! selves the mouthpieces of the indignation <
and scorn that all true men and good women feci when they lot their thoughts rest on that appalling story of human infamy. President Wilson, a former professor of history and jurisprudence, has decided otherwise. He did not regard the onslaught of Germany on Belgium and Franco as an occasion for speech. To him it was a time for silence in thought and passivity in action. The United States, must, he said, “ be neutral in fact “a? well as in name during these days "that are to try men A souls. We must “be impartial in thought as well as in “action, and must put a curb on onr senti- “ merits as well as upon every transaction “ that might he construed as a preference “to one party to the struggle before an- “ other." These words, now nearly five months old, are likely to live in history. They constitute a more scathing and pitiless condemnation of President Wilson and his Administration thaui do the characteristically vigorous denunciations of Mr Roosevelt. What the ex-Prcsident thinks in this relation of his successor ho has taken care that all the world shall know. Mr Roosevelt has not hesitated to brand President Wilson’s policy as acquiescence in crime:
The invasion of Belgium is the gravest kind of wrong-doing. The Wilson Administration are showing selfish indifference to a permanent and righteous peace by refusing to take the action necessary to clear America’s skirts from guilt. Acquiescence therein was a much worse crime. . . . Tho United States, owing to President Wilson’s action, was maintaining an ignoble peace, regarding with indifference tho frightful ravages against an inoffensive country which she had sworn to preserve inviolate. Such a cult of cowardice was utterly contemptible. American politics, like charity, are made to cover a multitude of sins, and are also responsible for the saying of many things that should not have been said. But politics are not tho cause nor the incentive for Mr Roosevelt's utterances in this regard. He is a man who feels and speaks like a man, and tho shameless outrage on Belgium lias called forth the heat and strongest that is in him and in tho hearts of all hia countrymen save those whoso god is the almighty dollar. Contrast tho burning words of the ex-President with tho calculated nicety of President Wilson’s plea that tho United States should not in word, or thought, or deed offend GerI many. "You will not,” said an agitated Imperial Chancellor to a British Ambassador, "go to war for a word—neutrality?” "Yes,” quietly answered the Ambassador, "we shall.” It remained for President Wilson, the official head of tho greatest republic in history, to hasten to intervene, and to assure Dr Von Bethmann Hollweg and his Imperial master that the United States at least knew better, and that Germany might cry “ Havoc and lot slip the dogs of war,” and murder and burn and ravish to her heart’s delight, but there would be no protest from in’s Government. Wes repeat that tho responsibility for tho disgrace now attaching to America rests not with the people but the- Government. The President and bis Advisers have only repeated, on an infinitely vaster scale, tho blunders and scandals of their Mexican policy, the fruits of which , are an anarchy, even worse than that it sought to cure. Nor has any thoughtful Briton desired that America should actively participate in the suppression of pan-Germanism. All that has been urged is that America., through her President, should give publicity in unmistakable terms to her opinion of Germany’s sanguinary attack on those very principles and faiths of which America has long claimed to be the chief exponent wherever the Monroe Doctrine has force and effect. We ask not that your shells should shriek Above tho flaming hill we climb, But speak, O sons of Lincoln, speak ! Silence in such an hour is crime.
Yet it. was President. Wilson and his Government who some week or so since had the temerity, if not audacity, on behalf of American dollar-hunters and in response to the pro-Gorman, anthßriush section of their countrymen, to send a peremptory Note to the British Government respecting contraband of war and the searching of American ships—skips that would not have risked crossing the aeaa hod it not been for the protection afforded by British cruisers and British seamen. One’s feelings at the time were mainly those of irritation and impatience, but, happily, the American Press and the common senso of tho people again made it clear that it was the Wilson Administration and not the British Government who wore predestined to cry small over the episode. Sir Edward Grey’s reply contains everything that was to be desired. It is courteous but firm, and covers tho whole ground. Stated in brief, the. British answer is that so long as American traders deliberately ship contraband of war for tho use of belligerents for so long will Great Britain continue to examine suspected vessels. It rests with President Wilson to make the next move.
It Je a well-worn aphorism that history
repeats itself. Illustrations A Martyred of this abound. Wc have Nation. a strikingly impressive one in the case of Belgium. No one who knows anything of the story of Israel can fail to have noticed a singular parallel between the experiences of these two nations. It may be- worth while considering it. We may begin by recalling how little size has to do with greatness. On a map of the world you may cover Athens with your finger tip, yet tie genius of that little city controls the thought of to-day. Palestine is a. very small country compared with Asia or Africa or Europe, yet it has in a very real sense made tho wholo modern world. Wo sit safely in our homes because of the moral Imre which it has given us. It has created the conditions that have made al! progress'possible. Its geographical position was peculiar. It lay between two great rivor valleys, which have been the homes of groat successive empires—empires that dominated for centuries that a-nc'ent world. North-east of it was tho district lying between tho Euphrates and the Tigris, about 500 miles broad and of extraordinary fertility. This district was the coveted possession of tribe after tribe that swarmed down upon it out of tho heart of Asia. Here rose the great world monarchies, Nineveh, Assyria-, Babylonia, with each of which, except Nineveh, Israel was brought into successive contact. Directly in tho opposite direction, away on the south-west, lay tho other great rival Power—Egypt. The equally splendid fertility of the Nile Valley was constantly drawing migrations towards it. The history of tho world of that time lies mainly in the rivalry of those kingdoms that grew up on tho banks of these two rivers—the Nile and the Euphrates. Now, between these two places Palestine stood as a -sort of bridge. The great trade xouto from Egypt to the East passed across it. It ran right through the plain of Esdraolon, and by way of the Sea of Galilee on to Damascus, and theuco eastward to Assyria- ami Babylon. With those great empires constantly jealous and frequently at war with pach other, aud between them like a buffer 1
or bridge the country of the Jews, it was inevitable that the latter should be involved in their disputes. Egypt was a veritable Eldorado to the hungry tribes continually swarming forth out of the heart of the mysterious East. The Assyrian, the Chaldean, the Persian, the Greek, the Roman, and tho Turk successively coveted tho Nile Valley. To gain poseession of it most of them haul to pass through Palestine, and thus this small people wero brought into contact with, almost evevy nationality of that ancient world. Their own country also had its attraction for them. It was tho ona fertile spot that broke the desert monotony between the regions of the Euphrates and the Nile. Moreover, like our own Dominion, it had a singular variety of products. It held a sort of summary of all the zones. Thus geographical position, climate, and physical features combined to give a unique importance to this little country which was to exercise such a unique influence upon tho destinies of the world. Now, the later history of its politics and its prophets is for the most part tho history of its relationship to these mighty empires. Its kings and statesmen were in constant negotiations now with Egypt and now with one or another of these engineering treaties and providing for national existence. Thera was a. party that advocated neutrality. To this party for tho most part belonged the prophets. They warned tho nation timo and again that no treaties and alliances would save them if they were false to Jehovah and immoral in their lives. On tho other hand, if they held firm to the faith of their fathers—tho faith of Moses and Joshua and David and the rest —they would bo invincible. But it was mighty difficult to do this. Think of the world in which they found themselves. It was a. world of constant warfare—of warfare unrelieved by any of the softening influences of our timo. The annals of these ancient empires which the spade has dug up are all full of talk about trampling clown enemies, “ chariots with scythes, and “wheels clogged with blood, and great “ baskets stuffed with tho salted head.'} “of their foes.” And their gods were made in their own image—as cruel and savage as themselves. What a world it was ! What politics 1 What gods 1 It was a world of potty clans with no idea of a common humanity, and no motive for union except fear and war. Religion—the worship of local gods without a moral character; politics without a noble thought or long purpose in them—the politics of peoples at bay, the last flicker of dying
nationalities, stamp of firebrands, ns Isaiah graphically describes some of them. Justice has not yet been done to tho magnificent work .which the Hebrew prophets did for tho nation and for the world. In this blind welter of wars -and clash of physical forces they lifted high tho idea of a supreme moral Ruler of the World, who loved righteousness and would one day make it rule throughout tho universe. Hut the nation did not heed them. And the disaster which they predicted fell upon it. It wan carried away into exile. Tho Assyrian and Babylonian conquerors ravished tho land after tho manner of that age, and the people knew once more tho horrors of tho slavery and the savagery which their forefathers experienced in Egypt. Now, it is impossible not to bo impressed by the many common points between Belgium and Palestine. Both countries are about the same size and something of the same fertility. Both lie In tho direct pathway between mightier empires. Both offer tempting advantages to these empires to strike at one another. Both have felt time and again the tread of vast armies marching through them. Both have been the centres of fierce contests. Belgium has been called the “ cockpit of Europe,” just as Bneotia was called “ the dancing grounds of Alars.” The same terms might be as fitly' applied to Palestine. Israel experienced tho outcome of the doctrine that Might is Right, and had to stand, up in opposition to it. Belgium to-day is faced with the same creed of Hell. Assyria, Babylon, Nineveh, and all the rest go into extinction, but the spirit which animated them never dies. We see its reincarnation to-day in the German invasion of Belgium and in her atrocious methods of warfare. One other thing is to be remembered in tho case of tho Hebrew debacle. It was in its sorrows and its exile that it learned its greatness and gave to the -world a deathless literature.. Tho greatest prophets—men like die second Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel—flourished in tho years of Israel’s woes. And ills greatest songs of the nation’s exile have become the. confessional of tho world. Her remorse passed from the conscience of the felon to that of the martyr of God. And so, as Matthew Arnold truly says: “As long as the “ world lasts all who want to make pro- “ gross in righteousness will coma to “ Israel for inspiration, and to a people “ who had the sens© for righteousness “most glowing and strong." They reveal to us the triumph of the moral ideal over brute force. Where now are Nineveh and Assyria and Babylon and all tho rest of these “ Might-is-Right ” nations of the past? Lo, there to-day the skulking wild fox “ scratches in a little heap of dust.” But tho handful of people who held high the moral ideal sit in our seats of Empire and rule from their sceptred urns. May we not hope that the parallel between Belgium and Palestine will extend to this also, and that out of tho wars which this gallant little nation has been called to undergo there may be born, as in the, case of Israel, a life and literature that shall be a priceless legacy to the new world.
The vacancy for Dunedin Central will be inserted in the ‘ Gazette ’ issued to-morrow. This will bo followed by the immediate issue of tho writ for a fresh election, the date, of the polling being inserted in the writ. The writ is returnable within 28 da vs, and the date of the polling has to be fixed so as to enable the returning oflicer to give 12 days’ notice thereof. The Defence Department dors not renuire any further volunteers for Samoa." ft was noticeable to-day that (here were one or two of tho “Samoan age” round about the recruiting office, but, iikn those who wanted to enrol after the train went on Monday, they have made their decision too late—for present requirements, at any rate.
Tha establishment by the Railway Department of a, ticket and booking office in the centre of Wellington city proved a great boon to travellers during the holiday season, as the figures show. During the four weeks ended January 2 over £4.700 was taken over the counter, an average of nearly £1,200 a week. In addition to the bureau being a great convenience to the public, the ticket offices at the railway stations have been relieved of the congestion that occurs at times during tho festive season, and at the same Duma travellers are given facilities for acquiring all information about trips at their leisure. A visitor recently commented upon the shortness of tho tima over which a monthly £6 or £lO tourist ticket is available over the railways. The answer to that complaint is that these tourist tickets arc used fairly extensively by the commercial community, and to extend the time over the month would moan a serious difference in tho revenue for the year.
Mr Paulin's forecast:—S.W. to S.E. winds, and heavy rain showers. A correspondent, “ Fair Play,” in Saturday’s issue asked the committee in charge of tho relief funds why the 35 men employed on tho relief works at Ocean Beach had been put off from December 24 to January 4, and “ why a wealthy local contractor" is at present engaged doing work which • might in justice lie reserved for those men for whose assistance the relief fund was subscribed? The Mayor, when approached this morning, answered these queries. Tho men were put off because it was OhristmastidS, ami because it is desirable to spread the works over as long a period as possible, since distress may be deeper and work more urgently needed in winter. The contractor was engaged because horses and carls are needed, and be cause, when quotations wero received from all carting contractors doing the class of work, this contractor furnished the lowest quotation. A Wellington message, states that the Government have appointed a board, consisting of Messrs Tripgs, Hislop, and Morris, to arrange for the distribution of wheat imported into New Zealand. Railway matters were discussed at the West Harbor Council meeting yesterday evening. Tho council resolved to thank tho Railway Traffic Manager for tho extra forenoon train on Dunedin-Porfc line. But there were other little matters that required amendment also. It was stated that the 5,25 p.m. train from Dunedin should stop at Ravensbourne. It was urged that no parcel that could be placed on the rack should be charged for. At present, it was stated, a charge of a shilling had to bo paid on some such parcels. A deputation was appointed to bring these matters before the railway authorities.
Since the war commenced 87 aliens of hostile nationality have been sent to Somes Islands from Wellington district. Of course this docs not represent tho whole colony on the island. Numbers have been sent from other districts. Nor are all the 87 on the island at present. Some were able to get respectable citizens to vouch for them, and were released on parole. These were thus placed on the same footing as hostile aliens who had never been interned, being required to report to the police at stated intervals, and travel only under permit. Ttaro are many such aliens at liberty, a-s it has not been deemed necessary, except in the case of young men at service age and others deemed dangerous, to do more than keep thorn under surveillance. Speaking at a luncheon tendered him yesterday at Christchurch by the members of the New Zealand Club, the Right Hon. A. Fisher, Prime Minister of tho Commonwealth, said that nothing was nearer his heart in his public capacity than to see established reciprocal trade relations between New Zealand and Australia. It would take time and great patience and much trouble before they arrived at any advance on the present position, but with patience and with a sot policy and purpose, and if tho public men of both Dominions got together, he was sure they would be able to initiate something that would grow into something like trade unity, and allow of tho. interchange of certain products. His wish was that this, his first visit to New Zealand, should lead to further and more frequent visits of New Zealand representative men in their official capacity to Australia.
The ‘ Evening Post,’ the first, daily paper in Wellington, wjJI complete its fiftieth anniversary on the Bt'u or next month. A special edition of tho paper will bo issued on that date, illustrating the groat contrast between the years 1865 and 1916.
Tho Electric Power and Lighting Committee yesterday decided to recommend the City Council to appoint Mr M C. Henderson to tlm position of city electrical engineer as from the 31st of March next, at a salary of £650 per annum, with two annual increments of £26 each. Mr Henderson has been acting in the position since the retirement of Mr Stark.
Mr E. W. Burton, S.AI., presided in the Police Court this morning. Alexander Al’Lcnnan, a prohibited person, was charged with procuring liquor, and also with being found on licensed premises. He pleaded guilty to both charges The Senior-sergeant said that in December last tho defendant was let out on iioenso by the Prison Board on condition that he behaved himself and took out a, prohibition order against himself. Now they had two charges against him. The, defendant asked for a chance, and said ho would leave the town to-morrow morning. His Worship tilled him LI, with costs, -on each, charge, in default three days’ imprisonment. John Hussey was, charged with failing to provide for the support, of his child, an inmate of the Industrial School. Mr Scurr, for the defendant, consented to an order or 3s 6d a- week, and an order was made accordingly. For keeping an unregistered dog William !S< olficld was fined 15s and costs (7s).
At a meeting of railway employees at Piilmejv.icu North the Tallowing resolution was curried : —" That this meeting of the Palmerston North, branch, of the Anialga.matwl hoc inly of Railway Servants strongly condemn the action of merchants and distributors in tho system of exploitation adopted, unnecessarily increasing the prices of foodstuffs, and they- deplore the inactivity ox t’ne Oov.-o-roi.xoV- in, allovrinst such exploitation to take place.”
Tho Minister of Education in 3C«w South Wales made a statement recently showing tho efforts made by his department to reach children living away from school centres, by means of travelling school;,. Teachers in caravans, making regular rounds, visit these remote homes regularly, and good work in this direction is being accomplished, Mr Carmichael stated that a few weeks ago he received a report upon the travelling school at Ivanhoe. Ha has now received a. similar report of the third travelling school, which was recently established at invcicll. This school on wheels has made live circuits since it was started, the total distance travelled being 1.279 miles, and 47 children have received instruction from*this perambulating .school, tho pupils ranging in ag« from five to 16 years. The teacher in charge, Mr S. M. Bisley, reports that he had a very strenuous time, owing to the bad weather and the Mato of the roads. Many of tho children did not even know tho letters of the alphabet when tho teacher took charge, but arc now reading from the ordinary school renders. The teacher notes that during the intermission between visits much more attention is paid to English than to arithmetic. Generally speaking, ho says, tho children are bright, diligent in their studies, and making satisfactory progress. Ho gives one instance where two girls have to go out in the paddocks and do men's work. They carry their midday meal with them, said (ho teacher, and during tiro mid-day rest they learned to spell words previously copied down on scraps of paper. Tho attitude of the parents towards the work is very pleasing. Heading matter is naturally scarce in these outlying districts, and no doubt, story becks or magazines would be appreciated. A magic lantern, with educational slides, has proved highly popular and instructive. Spiritual tilings find a very small space in the lives of many of the people, says tho teacher, though morally they are beyond reproach. In A number of cases, however, tho language- of some of the young women is careless, not I rom ca r<-;es>nes?,alone, but rather from ignorance. The, teacher has endeavored to break down this and oth»r bad habits with noticeable improvement.”
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Permanent link to this item
The Evening Star WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 15, 1915., Evening Star, Issue 15699, 13 January 1915