Page:Great Speeches of the War.djvu/318

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[Speech at a great meeting organized by the Constitutional Club and the National Liberal Club, and held in the London Opera House, September 11, 1914.]

My Lords and Gentlemen:— The resolution which I have been asked to move is written on the papers in your hands, but I think it worth while to read it to you.

That this meeting of the citizens of London, profoundly believing that we are fighting in a just cause, for the vindication of the rights of small States and the public law of Europe, pledges itself unswervingly to support the Prime Minister's appeal to the nation, and all measures necessary for the prosecution of the war to a victorious conclusion, whereby alone the lasting peace of Europe can be assured.

These are serious times, and though we meet here in an abode which is one of diversion and of pleasure in times of peace, and although we wish and mean to arouse and encourage each other in every way, yet we are not here for the purpose of merriment or jollification, and I am quite sure I associate my two friends who are here to-night, and who will speak after me, and my noble friend your chairman, with me when I say that we regard the cheers with which you have received us as being offered to us only because they are meant for our soldiers in the field and our sailors on the sea. It is in that sense that we accept them, and thank you for them. We meet here together in serious times, but I come to you to-night in good heart and with good confidence for the future and for the task upon which we are engaged. [Cheers.] It is too soon to speculate upon the results of the great battle which is waging in France. Everything that we have heard during four long days of anxiety seems to point to a marked and substantial turning of the tide. [Cheers.]

We have seen the forces of the French and British Armies strong enough not only to contain and check the devastating