Page:Great Speeches of the War.djvu/312

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Rt. Hon. Lewis Harcourt

they might have been right if we had mistrusted our Indian fellow-subjects, for I have been told there would have been a mutiny if we had not permitted our Indian troops to fight with us in the trenches. [Laughter and cheers.]

Nobody surely could have read without emotion that noble and touching despatch from the Viceroy, in which he described how the Rajahs and Rulers of the native States placed at our disposal their treasure and their trust. Men, horses, guns, motors, ambulances: all the paraphernalia of modern war had for months crossed the Indian Ocean in a steady stream, without mishap and in perfect security under the convoy of our Navy, and to-day our Indian troops are making for themselves an imperishable record on the battlefields of France and Flanders. [Cheers.]

Then look at the great efforts of our self-governing Dominions. Two days before war was declared Canada offered an expeditionary force, and two days after the declaration of war I accepted it on behalf of the Government and the nation. [Hear, hear.] It is with us to-day, manned, equipped, paid by the Dominion itself, and with reinforcements ready to follow, as and when they are required. It is an open secret that some of the Canadian troops are already at the front; it is no secret that the rest of them are straining at the leash to get there—and if I might venture a prophecy, their period of probation will not be much further prolonged. [Hear, hear.] They have not had a comfortable time—[hear, hear, and laughter]— the transition has not been pleasant from "Our Lady of the Snows" to "Our Mother of the Mud "—[laughter]—but coming events cast their quagmires before. Not even an English winter—almost the wettest on record—has broken their spirit, and no one who knows them can doubt that they will do credit to the name and the fame of the Maple Leaf. [Cheers.] They were accompanied by a military contingent from Newfoundland, which has supplied also a large number of Naval Reservists and volunteers drawn from their intrepid and enduring fishermen. [Hear, hear.]

From the Antipodes have come to our aid equally great forces. The day before the war I received a telegram putting the Australian Navy at our disposal and under our orders, and at the same time offering a contingent of 20,000 men for European service, with equipment and constant reinforcements, which I accepted three days later. The New Zealand battleship is already with our Fleet—[cheers]—and the rest