The rest of mankind would be the poorer if it were cut off for ever from some of the things which Germany has given and might again give to the world in the realm of thought—in science and literature—and in music; things which have added and may again add to the knowledge and to the beauty of life. But let there be no mistake. Such a future is possible only if the powers which are dominant in Germany are utterly destroyed; but that is not enough, there must be a regeneration of the German people. The alternative for Germany must be either exclusion from intercourse with the rest of mankind save those who desire to share in her crimes, and who will also share in her outlawry, or a change of spirit and of purpose in the nation. If such a change comes, we “dare be known to think” that the renewal of friendly relations with the German people is an object we desire to attain.
For us, too, comes the double warning. Strange voices are already heard among us; some seem like echoes of the German spirit we are fighting to exorcise, others of that anarchic spirit still more fatal that makes a lawless democracy the most deadly foe of liberty and ordered progress. If we in our turn make self-interest, regardless of the rights of others, our guide, find in hatred, envy and jealousy our stimulus to action, victory will confer no lasting blessing and the end of this War will bring no real peace. The recognition of dangers threatened must be for us the incentive to greater effort, with plans more carefully thought out and clearer understanding of the true goal we are striving to reach. Keeping our highest ideals always before us, labouring steadily day by day, moving forward step by step, though the way may be long, we may look with confidence to their attainment.
The earth moves onward, revolving in its course, bearing with it our older generation towards the inevitable night; it may be to the utter darkness where “there is no work nor device nor knowledge nor wisdom,” or, “as the holy sages once did sing,” when that night comes, “Creation” may “be widen’d in man’s view,” revealing the infinite depths and innumerable bright Existences which the light of common day has hidden. But whatever our destiny may be, let us trust, as we leave the sunshine of life behind, that those gleams of hope for mankind, “faint beams that gild the west” as our stormy day closes, are to the younger race which is following on, the rising of a glorious dawn.
[Footnote 11: Perhaps a volume on Education, supplementary to the present work, may be issued at some future time.]