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finished work. No one has written of Leech better than Dr. John Brown in “Horae Subsecivae,” third series. All his friends testify to the sweetness of his nature and the purity of his character, while each of his two great novelist friends, writing of his work— Dickens of his “Rising Generation” and Thackeray of the “Pictures of Life and Character”—used independently the phrase that he came to his task like “a gentleman.” In those days, gentlemen, at any rate, in public places, were less uncommon than now; but even then Leech was conspicuous. It is perhaps with Dickens and Thackeray that Leech will be most closely associated by posterity. He stands between them as a fellow Victorian colossus. All three were doing, in different ways, the same work; that is to say, they were selecting and fixing, for all time, their time; and all three were distinguished for that remarkable abundance which makes the middle years of the last century so astonishing to us. Dickens, Thackeray, Carlyle, Macaulay, Ruskin, Trollope, Leech, in England; Dumas, Balzac, Hugo, Doré, in France. What rivulets today compared with those floods! Leech died prematurely (in his
father's arms, while a children's party The Times.
was in progress in his house) on October 29, 1864, at the age of fortyseven, less than a year after Thackeray. “How happy,” said Lady Ritchie (then Miss Thackeray), “my father will be to meet him!” The funeral was on November 4 at Kensal-green, and great crowds of people assembled. The artist lies not far from Tom Hood, with whom he had close affinities of temperament, and next but one to Thackeray. His death was lamented not only in the English but in the foreign Press. The Kladderadatsch of Berlin had a picture of Mr. Punch and Toby disconsolate at the grave, and a valedictory eulogy entitled “A Cypress Branch for the Tomb of John Leech' —“Farewell, merry John, thou boy of endless good humor.” Punch's own tribute contained such phrases as “to know him well was to love him dearly . . . not another more refined or more generous nature. . . . Society whose every phrase he has illustrated with a truth or grace and a tenderness heretofore unknown in satiric art, gladly and proudly takes charge of his fame.” That was written in 1864. No words today, fifty-three years after, can improve on it; nor has in the interim any greater social delineator or humaner genius arisen.
THE CASE AGAINST PERSECUTION.
A country which is fighting for freedom abroad should be very careful to maintain freedom at home. The test of freedom is the treatment of those who differ from us. We can all be free easily enough as long as we are all of one mind. But how does a nation treat those who refuse to conform to its requirements? That is the test. There are two forms of such refusal. One is the refusal of the criminal who disobeys the law for his
own advantage. The philosophical Anarchists would not even coerce the criminal, but no society has yet existed which has seen a way of reconciling liberty in this relation with the needs of order. The other kind of refusal is the nonconformity of conscience, and the measure of freedom in society is to be found in the methods of dealing with those who disobey on this ground. The two things, of course, may be confused with one another. Men may plead conscience insincerely, and what is called conscience may be only a name for some form of egoism, priggishness, cantankerousness. But where conscientious refusal is known to be sincere, how does society deal with it? That is the true test of freedom. It cannot be said universally that society is bound to let the conscientious objector go his own way. The nation is not bound to allow plans which it deems essential to its well-being to be wrecked by the refusal of a few objectors, however admirable their motive may be. None the less, a nation impregnated with the spirit of freedom will do its utmost to find a way of accommodation. It will take pains to discriminate the genuine from the false objector. It will seek methods of conciliation, and in the last resort it will apply coercion, if it sees no way out of it, with the utmost leniency compatible with the circumstances of the case. How does this country come out of the test in regard to the conscientious objectors to military service? Their case was a strong one for two reasons. In the first place, the adoption of military service in this country was a sudden breach with a long-standing, cherished tradition. Successive generations had grown up under a system of voluntary service. People had come to England from Continental lands to escape military service. Those who opposed conscription were therefore conservatives, holding to the oldestablished customs of the country, and could hardly be expected to change their views in a moment along with the majority. That brings us to the second reason for a liberal and compassionate view. There were religious bodies—one great congregation universally respected and of ancient date, others smaller but not less sincere —well known for their resolute op
position to war as war. Less known but equally real was the opposition based on secular grounds. The existence of such bodies was proof that there would be a certain number of individuals who could not accept military service without doing violence to a perfectly incere conviction. Was there not any possibility of meeting this conviction without wrecking the whole scheme of compulsion? The late Government and Parliament thought that there was, and the two Military Service Acts accordingly contained conscience clauses. Unfortunately these clauses were ill-drawn, and no adequate provision was made for the administration of an exceedingly delicate and difficult point. In place of laying down tests of sincerity, such as the evidence of a certain number of independent and respectable witnesses, everything was left to the arbitrary decision of the tribunals. Provision was made, not without success, for those whose conscientious objection applies to the actual work of slaughter but who do not object to indirect participation in war. In general, though there have been some almost unintelligible exceptions, this particular form of conscientious objection has been met. But the out-and-out objector, to whom the whole business of war stands on one footing and who demands only one form of exemption —namely, absolute exemption,-has fared less well. According to the figures collected by Mrs. Hobhouse,” absolute exemption has been granted to some 400 men and refused to others whose number is not exactly known but is between 800 and 1,000. In refusing this exemption the tribunals have, as has been proved by the events, sinned against the Act which they were administering, because these *I Appeal Unto Caeser. By Mrs. Henry Hobhouse. ith Introduction by Professor Gilbert
Murray. London: George Allen and Unwin. Pp. 83-84. 1s. net.
men have given every possible proof of their sincerity. Some have heard sentence of death pronounced upon them unshaken; some have been, as is now admitted, subjected to illegal forms of torture; all are in prison and many have been subjected to repeated terms of imprisonment. Mrs. Hobhouse's little pamphlet consists of a brief statement of the nature of the law, its administration and general application to this little band of peace advocates, to which is added a brief account of the character and suffering of a number of individuals. Most of these individuals were men devoted to public work, many are Quakers, whose attitude to war was no new thing but perfectly well known. Take the case of Mr. Maurice Rowntree. He is a Quaker, a son of a man universally loved and respected in the North of England. He was at work at a settlement in Leeds, one of the band engaged in the attempt to solve the acuter problems of poverty.
But the local tribunal refused to
consider his work of national importance, and the Appeal Tribunal dismissed his case in spite of protest from two of its members, who testified to the value of his work. He served 112 days of hard labor in Wormwood Scrubs, and is now serving a second sentence of two years' hard labor. His statement at the police court does not show any kind of self-will or spiritual pride:
He thought that he was called upon, with what effort and strength he had, to work with a view to a different order of life, and a different way of settling disputes altogether. In doing that he felt it became of international importance, affecting every nation, and first of all his own. It seemed to him tremendously tragic that the great heroism, which he honored with all his heart, was devoted to work for destruction. He felt it was the
logical outcome of a system of life which had been prevalent in every nation. He held in detestation the infamous actions of Germany. He wished them to be quite clear about that. But he thought that really war would never bring peace, except the peace of death.
What is the treatment to which Mr. Rowntree and others like him are subjected? Two years' hard labor is one of the severest sentences known to the law. For the first twenty-eight days the prisoner is kept in solitude, seeing no one but the warder and (occasionally) the chaplain. For the first fourteen days he has to sleep without a mattress, unless the medical officer orders otherwise. After this he has some association with others, but, according to Mrs. Hobhouse, the whole time, including exercise and chapel as well as work in association, often does not exceed two hours daily. Conversation with other prisoners is forbidden, except that long-sentence prisoners may earn the privilege of talking for a limited time on certain days. A prisoner may not write or receive any letters, or receive a visit, for two months. After this letters or visits may occur monthly. The visits take place in the presence of a warder, the visitors being separated by a thick grille. The prisoner is not allowed pencil or paper. If his relatives are seriously ill he cannot see them; even if his wife is dying he is not allowed to visit her. Some prisoners are refusing work in prison on conscientious grounds, and then may be ordered close confinement, which involves deprivation of the mattress; in fact, usually the stripping of all articles, including the printed regulations and the prisoner's stool. Mr. Clifford Allen writes:
One hundred and ninety days of
stitching, each of twenty-three hours' and fifty minutes' silence. I think
the greatest torture of enforced and perpetual silence is the never ceasing consciousness of thinking in which it results. You cannot stop thinking for an instant. ...I think of the very knots in the boards each time I scrub them, until I could scratch them out of the floor to rid myself of their arrogant insistence upon themselves.
Looking out of the window is a punishable offense. In some cases there are details of squalor and filth to be added to these sufferings. One prisoner declares that he never had rice without finding some disagreeable evidence of its having had mice in it.
hod mico in it In some cases there has been severe suffering from cold. It is not surprising that there have been instances of mental breakdown. Of her own son Mrs. Hobhouse writes:
As a mother of sons in France who are daily risking their lives, subjected to the horrors and discomforts of the trenches, I feel less distress at their fate, fighting as they are their country's battles, with the approval of their fellows, than I do for that other son undergoing for his faith a disgraceful sentence in a felon's cell, truly "rejected and despised" of men. She adds: “It is just because our cause is a good one, because our sons are fighting against an evil domination, that we as a nation should be free from tyranny and oppression."
the confidence and will of the country. Professor Murray, one of the stoutest and most valued literary supporters of the war, writes, in his eloquent introduction:
The worst point of the whole miserable business is not the addition of a little more unnecessary suffering and a little more meaningless injustice to the oceans of suffering and injustice already caused by the war. It is that the great majority of ordinary decent people who have come into personal contact with the treatment of objectors by the tribunals and the War Office find themselves angered and embittered against the Government of their country at a time when it needs all their support. However wrongheaded, conceited, self-righteous, and unpatriotic, and all the rest of it the objectors may originally have seemed to us, the long and fruitless and illegal persecution of these men leaves on the coldest observer an impression of some moral heroism on the side of the culprits and some moral and intellectual vileness on the side of their oppressors.
This is a moderate and considered statement which anticipates the inevitable condemnation of posterity. Whatever the issue of the war, this persecution, violating the spirit of Parliament itself, of an arbitrarily selected number of upright men will remain an indelible blot of infamy on the tribunals which condemn them, the War Office which has persecuted them, the Government that sanctions the persecution, and the nation which allows the Government to wreak its foolish will upon them.
There is no logic in all this persecution. There is no social gain from it. All put together it does not help us to win a single trench from the Germans or to save one English soldier a day of suffering. On the contrary, it weakens
The Manchester Guardian.
PRESIDENT WILSON'S ANSWER.
Our first feeling on reading President Wilson's fine and eloquent answer to the Vatican Peace proposals was
that this was what the Pope should have written. It is easy to understand, and up to a point to appreciate, the
motives which caused the Pope to balancé his arguments in an attempt to make them attractive to both sides. He felt himself to be in the position of an arbitrator who is trying to coax the parties into court by hinting to both sides that they have a good chance of a favorable judgment. But that is not Mr. Wilson's way, and we could wish it had not been the Pope's. Mr. Wilson's manifesto to the world, for such it is, is inspired by a splendid scorn of the brutality, the guile, and the domineering spirit of those who would make themselves the superlords of the world. He cannot stoop to impartiality towards crime. He flagellates meanness, trickery, bad faith, and inhumanity, and he does it all the more powerfully because he never strains his language, but clothes facts in phrases of a simple austerity, though of extreme appropriateness. He has something of the righteous, yet salutary and reformative, anger of some of the Hebrew prophets—not those who pronounced nothing but woe, but those who saw salvation shining at the end of long vistas of suffering. But this is only another way of saying that Mr. Wilson's Note is in the direct succession of the pronouncements of American policy made by Lincoln. We are delighted to have Mr. Wilson's invaluable support for the argument that what the Germans are playing for is an armistice during which they could recover their strength and make ready to spring again. For this—an armistice—is the exact prospect in Mr. Wilson's mind, though he does not in precise language attribute what may be called “the policy of the armistice” to the German Government. M. Chéradame, the well-known French writer who has devoted his life to studying Germany, warned us early in the war that if Germany found herself in a fix she
would try to coax the Allies into an armistice by fair and flattering language, and would then declare negotiations off as soon as the occasion served her. That the Central Powers would be able to make much better use of an armistice than the Allies is obvious. However detestable a complete central control may be for ordinary purposes of life and government, it has a very distinct value for the direction of a war. Our own Alliance, composed of much more various elements, would not be able to concentrate its purpose again so quickly, particularly after negotiations which had been designed to divide our thoughts as to our essential aims in the War. Mr. Wilson foresees that if negotiations with Germany on the Vatican conditions ended in a recuperation of German strength and a renewal of German policy, it would be necessary to create a permanent hostile combination of the nations against the German people. We take this to mean that Mr. Wilson is not in favor of creating any League of Nations till Germany can be included in it. We should prefer ourselves to state the matter rather differently. It seems to us that the Allies at present form a League of Nations whose one object is the peace of the world. All the schemes for a League of Nations postulate authority for the League to use force against a nation which tries to disturb the peace. The Allies are in practice exerting that authority now, and if ever the Central Powers showed a thorough change of heart and a desire for a quiet development of civilization—a desire equal to that which certainly inspires the Allies—nothing would be more agreeable than that Germany should be welcomed into the League. The path along which circumstances are compelling us to travel seems to offer a more promising journey than is