Page:Britain's Deadly Peril.djvu/35

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
29
THE PERIL OF "MUDDLING THROUGH"

demonstration of the essential solidarity of the British Empire. We all know that the German writers have preached the doctrine that the British Empire was as ramshackle a concern as that of Austria-Hungary; that it must fall to pieces at the first shock of war. To-day the British Empire stands before the world linked together, literally, by a bond of steel. From Canada, from Australia, from India, even—despite a jarring note struck by German money—from South Africa, "the well-forged link rings true." Germany to-day is very literally face to face with the British Empire in arms, with resources in men and money to which her own swaggering Empire are relatively puny, and with, I hope and believe, a stern determination no less strong and enduring than her own. The lesson assuredly will not be lost upon her: shall we make sure that it is not lost upon us?

For some years past there has been a steadily growing opinion—stronger in the Overseas Dominions, perhaps, than here at home—that the British Empire should, in business affairs, be much more of a "family concern" than it is. Either at home, or overseas, our Empire produces practically everything which the complexity of our modern social and industrial system demands. Commerce is the very life-blood of our modern world: is it not time we took up in earnest the question of doing our international business upon terms which should place our own people, for the first time, in a position of definite advantage over the stranger? Is it not time we undertook the task of welding the Empire into a single system linked as closely by business ties as by the ties of flesh and blood and sentiment? That, I believe, will be one of the great questions which this war will leave us for solution.