[Footnote 1: The Nation, Sept. 19, 1914.]
[Footnote 2: Speech at the Queen’s Hall, London, Sept. 19, 1914.]
It must be admitted, on the other hand, that there is a possibility of a period of reaction and torpor after the strain of the war; the country will be seriously impoverished, and there will be a heavy burden of taxation in spite of some probable relief from the burden of armaments. Still, social evils and injustices will be more obvious than ever. There will be many new national and imperial problems clamouring to be faced. The intellectual ferment which has had its source in the war will remain at work to widen the mental outlook and deepen the social consciousness. On the whole, it will probably be true to say that, though circumstances may postpone it, there will sooner or later arise a great movement pledged to cleanse our national life of those features which bar the way to human freedom and happiness.
It also seems undeniable that the deep interest taken by large numbers of people in the war will rouse them to a sense of the importance of problems of government and of foreign policy. The working men’s committees on foreign affairs of half a century ago, which have left no trace behind them, may be revived in a new form, and the differentiation of economic and social questions from political and foreign problems may be obliterated. The importance of the gradually widening area of vision among the more thoughtful section of the people can hardly be exaggerated. In no respect is the broadening of outlook more discernible than in the sphere of imperial affairs. Hitherto the Empire to the working man has been regarded as almost mythical. In so far as it did exist, it was conceived as a happy hunting ground for the capitalist exploiter. The spontaneous assistance given to the mother country by the colonies and dependencies