A BERNARD SHAW BOINTSG THEwAY TO PEACE
reached in 1914, when I appealed through the press to President I’
THE poet martyrs 'of’Ireland achieved more for home rule in
three days than all the politicians of Ireland in three centuries.
The poet often points the way where the statesman blunders. Thus
Bernard Shaw, the greatest dramatic poet in the world today, in his
remarkable study of Sir Edward Grey published in the New York
Timu of July 9th, reveals more constructive statesmansliip than the
entire cabinet of-Great Britain. Again, it is an Irishman, not an
Anglo-Saxon, who shows England how she can extricate herself
from the mesh of intrigue and hypocrisy spun by her statesmen.
To Bernard Shaw the crux of the war is Belgium. With one stroke
of his brilliant pen he sweeps aside Sir Edward Grey's myth of the
“violation" of Belgium. )Vith the splendid liardiliood of a great
and fearless man, he points an accusing finger at the violation of
Greece. He condemns, however, neither Germany nor his own
country for the steps taken under the spur of military necessity.
“Sir Edward and his colleagues secured popular support at the
beginning of the war by holding up the neutraltiy of Belgium as
something so sacred that only the very vilest of Huns would raise a
weapon against it or march a regiment across a Belgian field. I
ventured to differ with Sir Edward to the extent of saying that if
our own military success were at stake we would violate the neu-
trality of heaven itself rather than give a German soldier half a
chance of setting his foot in a Kentish lane; and what has happened
in Greece has shown'that I, was precisely right, even to the very
instance I gave of the landlocked country (Serbia) which might
Put us to the test.”
Having purified the air of cant, Shaw succinctly states the prob-
lem of‘Belgium from the point of view of the Central Powers and
from the point of view of the Allies.
‘“Our position is that until the present military basis of interna-
tional relations is underpinned by a basis of supernational law, Bel-
gium must be independent of Germany. The German position is
that Belgium-must be independent of France and Britain. What
both belligerents really mean is that Belgium, though nominally in-
dependent of them, and indeed really so in peace, must in war side
with one or the other of them; and naturally each desires the power
of compelling her to side with it against the other. Now if this dif-
fcrerice is to be settled by the belligerents only, it must be settled
Y blood and iron and not by Christmas cards and governesses'
lectures. Germany being in possession of Bel ‘um, and therefore,
"1 21 position to say, with Wagner's dragon, ‘Ic -liege und besitze,',
Britain must drive Germany out by fighting her or starving her.
And Germany must hold Belgium tooth and nail against us to the
utmost effort short of suicide she is capableof."
S0 lucid a statement of the Belgian dilemma is in itself an achieve-
rnent. Bernard Shaw, however, offers a way out of the difticulty.
‘There is," he remarks, “a possible alternative." .
"If the so-called neutral countries were to step in for ‘the sake
“ Putting an end to the intolerable situation that will arise (if it
his not already arisen) from the establishment of a deadlock on the
Western front in which, though both sides may keep feeding in fresh
drafts of men to be slaughtered every year, neither can shift the
Other, and were to make Belgium really independent both of Britain,
F’3,“C'=. and Germany b themselves combining to guarantee he!‘ 5011
against invasion, the be ligerents would eagerly accept the guarantee
"9 moment the became convinced that they were engaged in a
Killcenny cat fig t; for both sides could claim to have achieved the
"ldsbendence of Belgium by a chivalrous feat of arms. .
" c initiative in such an intervention should come from Anierica.
A. month ago Britain had bright hopes of'America coming in on her
side. Those hopes have been shot away by General Maxivell m
Inland for the present; and in spite of the powerful war interests
“I lcli exist in America, and which were revealed to.London b)’ Wen‘
Wilson to come to the rescue of Belgium, and incidentally of the
peace and order of Europe, by interfering on her behalf in the name
of outraged humanity, without waiting for any specifically American
grievance or leaning to either the British or the German side. Now
that the Lusitania case is settled, the United States is again in the
strong moral position of having no axe of her own to grind nor
wrongs of her own to avenge. And I still believe that she must
settle the Belgium question by moral force if neither the British nor
the German can settle it by force of arms. Indeed, she ought to
settle it anyhow in the interests of civilization; but as things are I
must not pretend that the belligerents would unanimously welcome
her interference if either saw its way to a victory that it could
afford. The Imperial Chancellor is right when he says that there can
be no status quo ante; but the substitution of a guarantee of Bel-
gium by the comparatively disinterested powers for the present ’
guarantee bytpowers who guarantee her only to have a grip on her
throat would not be the status quo ante; and an acceptance of it
would be a concession to the public opinion of theicivilized world
and not to the threats of a foe in arms. Sir Edward Grey’s reply to
the Chancellor that without the status quo ante ‘Belgium's independ-
ence is gone, as Serbia's and Montene ro’s is gone, unless the Allies
can get them up again,’ will not stan half an hour's consideration.
The world, let us hope, is not yet so completely bankrupt that noth- ’
ing good can be done unless the Allies do it." p
There is, however, one obstacle to peace. That obstacle is Sir
Edward Grey, the executor of the foul conspiracy ‘conceived by
Edward the Seventh. Prof. F. C. Conybeare discovered the guilt
of Sir Edward Grey early in the war. In an article widely quoted
at the time, he averred that Sir Edward Grey deserves to be hanged.
Subsequently intimidated by the reign of terror proclaimed in Great ,
Britain since the war, the gentle scholar repudiated his statement, no
doubt with the mental reservation that hanging was too kind a fate
for the criminal who put back the clock of civilization for more than
one hundred years. ' ,
Sir Edward Grey reveals throughout the least amiable characteris-
tics of the Englishman. He lacks suavity. His manners are those of
a poltroon. In one of his speeches he refers to the Turks as “de-
generate,” and speaks of a statement by the German Chancellor as a
“downright lie.” This is the billingsgate of a fish-wife.
the language of diplomacy. Bernard Shaw's indictment of Sir
Edward Grey is less picturesque than Prof. Conybeare's, but it is no
less crushing. “Sir Edward Grey,” remarks Mr. Shaw, “has thrown
in the Chancellor's face a personal insult for which, according to the
Continental code, he ought to offer satisfaction (with pistols). We
may have an extra month of war because Sir Edward Grey has lost
his temper.” , V
"As long ago as 1906, in referring to a very horrible episode in
the history of our occupation of Egypt, I expressed myppinion that
Sir Edward Grey was unlitted by his character and the limitations of
his capacity for the highly specialized work of a. Secretary of State
for Foreign Affairs. Nothing that has happened since has shaken
that opinion of mine for a moment. I wonder whether I am alone
in believing that his self-transfer to a more suitable department
would be the greatest service it is in his power to render to his much
perplexed country." 1
Bernard Shaw cannot be intimidated like poor Prof. Conybeare,
but even he would not be able toraise his voice in accents so definite,
.if he was not the mouth-piece of a substantial majority of right-
thinking men in Great Britain. Where there's a will, there's a way.‘
If the peoples now at war desire peace, they will have peace. They
will not permit a few obstinate or corrupt politicians to thwart their
It is not '
circulated reports of the action of Mr. Tavenner in Congress 135$
Ccember, London and Washington are now
HERE the North Sea breaks through
the broken sluice,
Where the Meusc stream eddies wide,
Cfc Vosges rocks frown through beech
and spruce, ' V
The strong battalions bide, .
Mid whistle of bullet and shriek pi shell
With steady eye and hand,
Valting patiently, watching WC“.
T0 guard their native land.
back at the point - deliberate judgment.
By w. H. Kirk
, iXVhere the deep Atlantic waters roll
By Caithness and Ari-an and Skye.
Where waves flash white on the Goodwin
' Where black the Scillies lie.
In the small grey hull of steel men go
Past hostile cape and strand,
Ranging the sea that is ruled by “"5 ‘O'-
To guardrtheir native land.
Where the cloud-banks shift and the winds
In the spaces of impel‘ ail’:
Where the thunders roll and the lightriings ‘
Two together they fare,
One to keep outlook and, one to steer '
0'er the fees‘ embattled band, '
Ever. in peril and never in fear,
To guard their native land.