Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 5.djvu/283

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CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN

result of such overwhelming sacrifices of money, of men, of ideals, and of civil dignity the sense of security has indeed been attained? Is it not evident that a process of simultaneous and pro- gressive arming defeats its own purpose ? Scare answers to scare, and force begets force, until at length it comes to be seen that we are racing one against another after a phantom security which continually vanishes as we approach. If we hold with the late Mr. Hay that war is the most futile and ferocious of human follies, what are we to say of the surpassing futility of ex- pending the strength and substance of nations on preparations for war, possessing no finality, amenable to no alliances that statesmanship can devise, and for ever consuming the reserves on which a State must ultimately rely when the time of trial comes, if come it must — I mean the well-being and vitality of its people?

Do not imagine that I wish to discourage you by contrasting the hard facts of the situation with the aspirations which we all share. That is the last thing that I have in my mind. I am not despondent about the future.

In the first place, it is only a few short years since peace was a wanderer on the face of the earth, liable at any moment to be trampled upon and despitefully used ; and if wars and prepara- tions for wars have not ceased since she found a rest for the sole of her foot at The Hague, remember that time is needed for the growth of confidence in the new order of things, and that 243

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