What is more precious than all the rest, besides the vast amount of treasure that she has lavished upon the war, besides the rich mansions in all parts of the land that she has devoted to the uses of the sick and the wounded, she has given thousands, tens and hundreds of thousands of her choicest youth, who have willingly surrendered their lives for the great cause; young men of the noblest pedigree, without number, by their lives and deaths have attested their right to be regarded as the flower of the British youth; the professional classes and the universities have emptied their halls so that the men of Oxford and Cambridge might take their places with the rest, and offer up their lives as willing sacrifices, and all the men of England of every degree have joined with them and been welcomed as brothers in the ranks for the great sacrifice. The rank and file, who are fighting and dying for England, are fighting in the same spirit as their leaders and falling by the hundred thousand for the nation’s salvation. How exactly Emerson’s noble verse fits them:
“So nigh is grandeur
to our dust,
So near is God to man,
When Duty whispers low, ‘Thou must,’
The youth replies, ‘I can!’”
No one who reads this book can doubt for a moment, I think, that England has done all she could, has put forth efforts worthy of her history and of her great traditions, that her national spirit is invincible, her national resources inexhaustible, and that her irresistible will to conquer and to rescue freedom and civilization for all the world from this terrible contest, is absolutely sure to win.
All America is vastly indebted to Mrs. Ward for her triumphant success in proving that England has done her best and for making this great story so clear.
In this introduction, too hastily prepared for want of time, which is really little better than a synopsis of the book itself, I have not hesitated to use her own language from beginning to end, as the clearest by which to express and condense her narrative, and with occasional indications by quotation marks.
I still believe absolutely that nine-tenths of my countrymen are in earnest sympathy with the Allies and are confident of their final and complete success.
Joseph H. Choate.
New York, May 19th, 1916.
This little book was the outcome of an urgent call from America sent by various friends whose whole sympathy is with the Allies. I have done my best to meet it, in four strenuous months, during which the British Government has given me every possible facility. But such work has to be done rapidly, and despatched rapidly. I beg my friends, and England’s friends, beyond the Atlantic, to excuse its defects. I can honestly say, however, that I have done my best to get at the facts, and that everything which is here put forward rests upon independent enquiry, so far as the limit of time allowed.