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guttural voice which was known and loved There sat Mr. Asquith, the prime minin many strange parts, "look out! I have ister, with ashen face and hands shaking asked you here on my return from Ger- like a man with palsy. All round the tamany to say to you, look out! A colossus ble were seated the men who had trifled is stretching himself. Every great muscle with their trust. Their teeth were chatof his arms is taut and hard. Every little tering. They were face to face at last cell of his great brain reverberates with ' with the truth which they had dodged and two words only, 'Der Tag.' ... We refused to recognize. live in a false security here.
"Why should we fight?" they stamdemocracy which tolerates a monarch. mered. "We are a peace-loving nation, You, gentlemen, are our autocrats. Each unready for bloodshed. Let the others fly one of you is the king of England. What at one another's throats, and while they are your majesties going to do? Are you kill and devastate we will grow rich. Are going to continue to play Canute and hold we not a nation of shopkeepers ?" up your hands to the
"Listen!" said Mr. Asquith. ‘Back!? Are you going to continue to sit From all parts of Great Britain and within the apparently impregnable walls Ireland-yes, Ireland - there rose an everof your party system? Because, if so, the increasing rumble of passionate protest, security of this kingdom and your little like the breaking of huge waves upon crowns is not marketable.
There are no
rocks. Bugles seemed to ring out, and bidders. I say to you again, look out!" from every town and hamlet there ap
That man was King Edward VII of peared to rise up millions of hands. Near Great Britain and Ireland.
by a bell was tolling. There was only one policeman outside Mr. Asquith looked up and all round, that little, dull, unpretentious house in catching the troubled eyes of his henchDowning Street in which much regrettable history has been made, and from “Oh, my God!” he said, “our servants which one generation after another has have become our masters. They demand been misgoverned and misled by premiers that we shall fight. Gentlemen, the party and their satellites. On his chest were the
system is dead.” ribbons of medals won in India and South The party system! The House of Africa, and in his eyes there was the look Commons is divided into two bodies. On of a man who fears that he is about to one side of it sits the party in the maface unutterable disgrace.
jority, on the other side the party in the He has watched one member after an- minority, and over them both the Irish. other of the British cabinet scamper up
The House of Commons purports to repwith white lips. From where he stands resent a great country whose history he can see the complicated system of wire- gleams with the heroic results of indiless telegraphy on the roof of the Admi- vidual effort. The constitution of all the ralty. He knows well, like every other men under the roof of that House is the man of the nation to which he belongs, same. Whether they call themselves Conthat a message has been framed to be de- servatives or Liberals, they are not there spat, hed from those wires to the great for reasons of patriotism. They have enships that lie waiting off the coast. He tered politics for the same reason that knows also that the hands of the army takes men to the stock-exchange and upon and navy are held by the grip of the party the stage— for money and for advertisesystem, and that the agreements of his ment. On both sides there are men who country with her allies may be broken, to own newspapers, run simply for the purher everlasting shame, by those frightened, pose of grinding their little axes, in which panic-stricken men who have rushed up they may hurl sham invective at their from their country houses to attend the fellow-conspirators and write columns of cabinet meeting within.
self-praise. On both sides there are law
yers who have tacked on politics to their giving places only to those men who have profession so that they may stand in the been most obsequious and most eagerly lime-light, pick up the plums, and ma- dishonest. They juggle with the votes of nipulate commerce to their own benefit. the country, with their tongues in their On both sides there are bankers and pub- cheeks. They are past-masters in cardlicans, journalists and company-promo- sharping and the three-card trick. There ters, city merchants and the poverty- is not one man among them with the stricken relatives of the great political faintest gleam of imagination, patriotism, leaders, who will obey orders, answer the or understanding of the characteristics party whip, and sell their souls for a mess and spirit of the race whom they bluff by of pottage. On both sides there are little inheritance. Yes, there is one, the Mark creatures from the back alleys who have Antony of the House of Commons, the been educated to politics as a means of little Celtic man whose name is Lloydlivelihood, and who are perfectly willing George, who possesses the three gifts that to assert that black is white or vice versa go to the making of a great charlatan-a whenever they can gain by doing so. The pair of wonderful eyes, a sense of impish majority are, ipso facto, the enemy of the humor, and that touch of exaltation which minority, and the Irish hate them both; stirs men to hysteria. He is the Pied Piper but the minority, majority, and Irish are of politics, the man whose little Aute can all working together for their own ends. draw from their dark places the laboring They may call themselves Conservatives, parties of the United Kingdom. He is the Unionists, Radicals, Liberals, National- great democrat who has organized a buists, Fenians, Anti-Vivisectionists, Little reaucracy more autocratic than anything Englanders, or any one of the dozen in Russia. He is the king of charlatans. meaningless names which have grown into England is a free country, a democracy the English language, but they remain which tolerates a monarch, and is govmercenaries and parasites, the manipula- erned by a royal family of hereditary politors of a party system which is a cun- ticians supported by a nation of slaves. ningly built-up conspiracy to mislead the Let a young man enter Parliament big country, misrepresent its voters, and pro- with a desire to get things done, imbued vide places for the incapable sons of peers with honesty of purpose, honest enthusiand yearly incomes for specially chosen asms, honest patriotism, and a great wish men whose integrity has been proved to be to devote his energies, abilities, and all easily bought, and whose eloquence, like his time to the amelioration of one or that of a criminal lawyer, is as ready to other of the evils which have been left be used in defense as in prosecution.
coldly alone by the party system, and he In a word, the party system of British goes into a mausoleum of broken lives politics is the one corrupt thing in the over the portals of which is written the constitution of that nation. The House terrible legend, "Give up hope, all ye who of Commons has become the happy hunt- enter here.” The result of his temerity ing-ground of a dozen great families is inevitable. He has either immediately whose members pass into it from time to to sacrifice honesty to selfishness or to rush time by the same right that men pass into back into the world once more to breathe the business firms of their fathers. They uncontaminated air and to hurl invective, are all partners in a great swindle, and unnoticed, uncared-for, at the men who their clerks and henchmen, hired from the year after year deliberately stand in the law, the universities, the factories, and the way of progress and with the utmost cunstreets, vary only as their masters see fit. ning lay stone after stone upon the great Those masters, nearly equally divided on dam which holds back the waters of imboth sides of the House, agree from time provement and incloses in wonderful seto time to take the reins of office, paying curity the confidence-men who live upon themselves large salaries, large pensions, the credulity of the British public.
The party system of Great Britain is Mr. Asquith, his own worst enemy, whose responsible for the degeneracy of a great
famous, "Wait and see," will be forgotten nation. It is responsible for the unem- and forgiven only when the beautiful ployment of its working-classes, for the towns of Belgium shall have risen once tyranny of its trades-unions, for the sense more; Mr. Winston Churchill, the inof injustice which but for Germany would efficient hustler, who breaks, like a bull have seen insurrection in Ireland. Fi- in a china shop, through the work of exnally, it is responsible for the unforgiv- perts, and who will be remembered by able devastation of Belgium and for all the posterity only for his comic hats; Sir Edbloodshed, for all the hideous waste of ward Grey, the imitation sphinx, who has life, money, material, and for the chaos
never yet in all his political life underof civilization under which, in pitiful atti- stood the very rudiments of diplomacy ; tudes, the fathers of the next generation Lord Haldane, whose vanity is like that lie crumpled and dead.
of the toad and whose credulity is no less Every widow, every orphan, every than that of the bumpkin who goes to the maimed man in Europe to-day; all those race-course and falls an instant victim to poor boys from Canada, Australia, and the confidence-man,- these men, and all New Zealand; every Frenchman, Bel- their satellites without one exception, have gian, Indian, Russian, Italian, African; quietly, steadily, and persistently made it every man who has sprung to arms, left possible for German militarism, German his civil work, his little patch, his quiet chemistry, and German effrontery to cause haven where the patter of children's feet England to be the one country on earth has been the music of his life, has to thank whose name can never be mentioned again the English party system for this war. throughout the ages without raising the Countries as crippled as their sons, who bitter ire of her friends. Oh, my God! have crept back like whipped dogs to a to think that the little old man, scarred kind of life, will for ten, twenty, maybe and battered with the wars of his couna hundred, years hence have to thank the try, left alive surely by an all-pitying English party system for this hideous, un- Deity so that his magic voice might sink necessary, preventable war. If there is into the hearts and brains of his countryyet one spark of remorse in the little souls men to prevent the sacrilege of civilizaof the men who have sat so long at West- tion, should have lived in vain! For he minster greedily taking their salaries for has lived in vain. His warnings and his the non-performance of their duties, then appeals, which stirred the English nation the quiet lunatic asylums which stand from coast to coast, were scoffed at or igamong the silent poplars of English coun- nored by the English politicians. The try-sides must soon be full. If not, if monthly reports of the secret services, all their long service to dishonesty has eaten proving the criminal folly of the policy into them, if they see no shame in having of laisser-faire, have been docketed away. permitted their country to slip into un- The facts which have been plain to all the readiness and inefficiency, these little, petty world, and caused France to strengthen harpies, these hypocritical self-advertisers, her army and cut the terrible figures, may have the satisfaction of wallowing in 1870, on every one of her bullets, have a sort of triumphant pool of exaltation; been scorned by the English politicians. may congratulate themselves on having Instead of taking advantage of the anxious achieved an act of incendiarism so fright- readiness of the country to subscribe to a ful that the bloody glow of its flames system of compulsory service, they have lights up every corner of Europe.
steadily weakened the army and would Mr. Balfour, the theorist, the gentle, have scuttled the navy had not their rudigentlemanlike university professor, upon mentary knowledge of the nation's temper whose gravestone will be carved the told them that such an act would have words, "Nothing have I ever achieved"; brought about a revolution. They knew
of Germany's settled intention of declar- and ask one another the meaning of it all. ing war when armed to the teeth. They The maimed and broken of all sides will knew that the day was drawing ever look to see, in compensation for their lost nearer when the peace of Europe would limbs, the improving hand of the Master be broken by the roar of artillery. Every upon the churned-up earth. Out of her conceivable piece of evidence that daily ruins France will rise with prayer upon accumulated on their desks made that fact her lips; Belgium, with her arms bared plain and unanswerable. How, then, did for the rebuilding of her smashed cities; they intend to act when overtaken by the and Russia with tears in her heart and inevitable? Take one look at the jour- brotherhood in her hands. In what mannals subsidized by them and find the an- ner Germany will be touched who can swer. Not caring for or appreciating the say? As for England, she, like a creature country's sense of honor and pride, they miraculously
miraculously risen from the operatingintended to break their treaties and stand table, will look out on the future with aside. They were going to say: “Let humbler eyes and a thankful heart. The them fight who care to; we are unready, cancer of the party system will have been unwarlike. We will provide the loans at cut out forever. a high rate of interest and the ammuni- Looking through the smoke, I can see tion at a price.” Therefore I cry out the House of Commons occupied by a aloud the sentiments of all true English- small committee of unpaid men-business men when I say that the English party men, honest men. They would shudder system is responsible for the war; because, to be called politicians. Their ambition is had we been able to place a great army in to earn the title of patriots. They belong Belgium to resist the German assault, to no party. They are the servants of the there would have been no war.
nation. They will not govern the counonly because Germany knew of England's try; they will guide it. They will pursue unreadiness, and was in the counsels of the same principles and methods for the England's politicians, that she sprang at restoration of her commercial strength as Belgium's throat.
are employed by a committee of liquidaThe mills of God grind slowly, yet they
tion appointed by the court of bankruptcy
to a broken business concern. They will grind exceeding small.
run Great Britain in the simple way in The germ of suicide would grow and which a great railway company is run, grow in the brain of the thinking man and their shareholders, the nation, will be did he not passionately believe that God content to read their statements of progdoes not intend this war to be just a hide- ress and receive their dividends. Phænixous fracas, a blood-drunken orgy. The like from the ruins there will have risen day will come when the warring countries, honest men, and there will be no comAlung at one another by the leading vil- fortable corner on this earth for those outlains of greed and selfishness and dishon- casts who once gambled with a nation's esty, will Aick the blood out of their eyes
soul for money.
As an attaché at the American Embassy in Paris, during September, October, and November, 1914, Mr. Wood made four trips to the front. He saw parts of the battles of the Marne and the Aisne and the struggle for Calais. Later, for two months, he was a bearer of despatches between the American embassies in France, England, Switzerland, Holland, Germany, and Austria. He saw French, British, Belgian, and German troops in action, and he has seen French, Swiss, Dutch, German, Austrian, and Hungarian troops in maneuvers. – THE EDITOR.
TO civilian, be he editor, college presi- After committing myself to the verdict
dent, politician, author, or legislator, that no civilian is competent to give deis qualified to formulate plans for our na- cisions in military matters, it becomes tional defense or to hold any high military necessary to explain why I, a civilian, am office. Officers who fill staff positions in a hereby delivering myself of pronounced modern army have a rôle to play that re- opinions on these same military subjects. quires more training, experience, and skill In giving reasons for the immediate need than that needed to make an astronomer, of preparedness to defeat any attack upon a surgeon, or a lawyer. The profession of our country, I stand on my own recent arms is to-day one of the most intricate and experiences in Europe, and need no outside technical in existence. Moreover, its er- prompting. In my mind are scenes-terrors are far more costly than those of any rible scenes which constantly pass across other profession. A surgeon who performs my mental vision-crying out their warnunskilfully and unsuccessfully a major ings for America. When, however, we operation has only one victim, while a
a discussion of the means by brigade-commander who through lack of which such preparation can best be accomtraining makes a serious mistake sacrifices plished, or by what method we may soonthe lives of a thousand men and places his est protect ourselves, I am absolutely commanding general at a tactical disad- depending upon expert military opinion. vantage that is likely to prove even more While in Europe, during the first seven costly. The incompetent politician who months of the great war, I diligently gathwithout any training attempts to plan out ered in every country I visited, from every the details of a mobilization or to pass battle-field I studied, and from every upon the efficiency of a naval unit jeopard- army-officer I interviewed, all data or in-. izes the lives and prosperity of millions formation which might bear upon the of people. Politicians are just as incom- situation and needs of my own country. petent in military science as they would The conclusions I drew from these obserbe without technical education in one of vations, and the plans I am now outlining, the learned professions. Only the high were formulated only after I had subprofession of politics seems to require nei- mitted the material which I had gathered ther training nor experience.
to the judgment of the army and navy 1 See Mr. Wood's article, “The Writing on the Wall,” in The CENTURY for November.