The Imperial Chancellor refers to the dealings of Great Britain with the Boer republics, and suggests that she has been false therein to the cause of freedom. Without going into controversies now happily past, we may recall what Gen. Botha said in the South African Parliament a few days ago when expressing his conviction of the righteousness of Britain’s cause and explaining the firm resolve of the South African Union to aid her in every possible way. “Great Britain had given them a Constitution under which they could create a great nationality, and had ever since regarded them as a free people and as a sister State. Although there might be many who in the past had been hostile toward the British flag, he could vouch for it that they would ten times rather be under the British than under the German flag.”
Loyalty of the Empire.
The German Chancellor is equally unfortunate in his references to the “Colonial Empire.” So far from British policy having been “recklessly egotistic,” it has resulted in a great rally of affection and common interest by all the British dominions and dependencies, among which there is not one which is not aiding Britain by soldiers or other contributions or both in this war.
With regard to the matter of treaty obligations generally, the German Chancellor excuses the breach of Belgian neutrality by military necessity—at the same time making a virtue of having respected the neutrality of Holland and Switzerland, and saying that it does not enter his head to touch the neutrality of the Scandinavian countries. A virtue which admittedly is only practiced in the absence of temptation from self-interest and military advantage does not seem greatly worth vaunting. To the Chancellor’s concluding statement that “to the German sword” is intrusted “the care of freedom for European peoples and States,” the treatment of Belgium is a sufficient answer.
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MR. ASQUITH AT EDINBURGH.
Speech in Usher Hall, Sept. 18.
A fortnight ago today, in the Guildhall of the City of London, I endeavored to present to the nation and to the world the reasons which have compelled us, the people of all others which have the greatest interest in the maintenance of peace, to engage in the hazards and horrors of war. I do not wish to repeat tonight in any detail what I then said.
The war has arisen immediately and ostensibly, as every one knows, out of a dispute between Austria and Servia, in which we in this country had no direct concern. The diplomatic history of those critical weeks—the last fortnight in July and the first few days of August—is now accessible to all the world. It has been supplemented during the last few days by the admirable and exhaustive dispatch of our late Ambassador at Vienna, Sir Maurice de Bunsen, a dispatch which I trust everybody will read, and no one who reads it can doubt that, largely through the efforts of my right honorable friend and colleague Sir Edward Grey [loud cheers] the conditions of a peaceful settlement of the actual controversy were already within sight when, on July 31, Germany [hisses] by her own deliberate act made war a certainty.