Page:Britain's Deadly Peril.djvu/173

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167
THE PERIL OF STIFLING THE TRUTH
full measure all, and more than all, she has sacrificed; until France is adequately secure against the menace of aggression; until the rights of the smaller nationalities of Europe are placed on an unassailable foundation; and until the military domination of Prussia is wholly and finally destroyed."

Those noble words, in which the great soul of Britain is expressed in half a dozen lines, should be driven into the heart and brain of the Empire. For they are, indeed, a great and eloquent call to Britain to be up and doing. Four months later, Mr. Asquith repeated them in the House of Commons, adding:

"I hear sometimes whispers—they are hardly more than whispers—of possible terms of peace. Peace is the greatest of all blessings, but this is not the time to talk of peace. Those who do so, however excellent their intentions, are, in my judgment, the victims, I will not say of a wanton but a grievous self-delusion. The time to talk of peace is when the great purposes for which we and our Allies embarked upon this long and stormy voyage are within sight of accomplishment."

Every thinking man must realise the truth and force of what the Premier said. The question inevitably follows—are we acting with such swiftness and decision that we shall be in a position, before the opportunity has passed, to make those words good?

There is a steadily growing volume of opinion among men who are in a position to form a cool judgment that, partly for financial and partly for physical reasons, a second winter campaign cannot possibly be undertaken by any of the combatants