Page:Great Speeches of the War.djvu/344

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Philip Snowden

the Premier at Dublin, all democrats will welcome and support such a settlement. Mr. Asquith's speech was a condemnation of the whole foreign policy of the other European countries during the last fifteen years, for he repudiated the policy of alliances, compacts, understandings, and balances. If they could have such a change in foreign policy they might hope for a considerable reduction of armaments, for armaments were determined by policy. We shall not be ready for disarmament when the war is over, but if the democracies of Europe will rise to the occasion there may be such an understanding as will reduce armies and navies to the requirements of defensive purposes only.

It is yet too early for us to see what great changes this war will bring about. But of this we may now be certain—that when it is over and our minds are free to look around, we shall find that all things have assumed a new form, as though some great earthquake had changed the face of the land. We shall have new estimates of the real value of things. Many of the things we have treasured will appear as dross, and the stones which we have rejected will become the corner stones of the new temple we shall build. This is a time when principles whose foundations rest on sand cannot endure, but those which are built upon the eternal rock of justice and liberty stand, though the earth shake and hurricanes of blood and fire beat upon them. It is the faith that somehow good will be the final goal of ill which sustains us in these days when the powers of Darkness seem to be triumphant. The strange incident on Christmas morn, when the soldiers left their trenches and fraternized together, was the promise of the Universal Brotherhood which will yet be realized. In that incident was symbolized the rebirth of the Prince of Peace, and the great facts that love is stronger than hate, that the peoples of the nations have no quarrels, that it is to the prophets and seers who have foretold the coming of the reign of peace, and not to the powerful and mighty of the earth, that the true vision of the future has been disclosed. I shall not live to see the day when all wars shall cease and ancient strife shall end, but in this dark hour I am sustained by the unshaken conviction that peace will ultimately reign from pole to pole, and I pray that you and I may work to hasten that day—for Peace is the only sure foundation upon which we can secure the liberty and the happiness of humanity, and upon which the lasting glory and greatness of a nation can be built.