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dure permanently half slave and half free" defined in a phrase the reason why the Civil War was inevitable.
Lloyd George, in his many admirable speeches, has shown a like genius for phrase-making and his words have been of inestimable value in meeting immediate crises in the present war.
The nobility and justice of France's position: was epitomized in a single phrase by Viviani, when at the outbreak of the war, he said, “We have been without reproach, we shall be without fear.” Time has given that noble statement full proof.
President Wilson's phrase that America should fight “to make the world safe for democracy” had also potent force and reconciled more than one discordant element in America to the inevitability of its participation in the world quarrel.
The phrase, which the author has written on the title-page of this book as its dominant note, "Écrasez l'Infâme" is one that lingers in the minds of men, irrespective of the occasions and reasons that called it forth. It can be likened to the more famous phrase of Cato, when he summed up the whole destiny of Rome in the famous words: Carthago delenda est.
Voltaire's famous phrase, with which for many years he ended books, pamphlets, addresses, letters, and even conversations, had far more than a
theological or ecclesiastical significance. By it he proclaimed unending war upon every form of tyranny over the mind of man. Whatever its primary purpose may have been, its ultimate aim was not an attack upon Christianity. Voltaire's real purpose was to attack any and every institution which, in his judgment, strangled thought and crushed the human soul.
It may be well to remember the historic need that called forth this famous challenge to arbitrary power.
The year 1759 was a fateful one. It represented a great crisis in human history, and in it can be found the root of the present war and if that crisis had been met with more perseverance and greater fidelity to the cause of justice and freedom, it is quite possible that the present world war would never have been.
Let me briefly recall the facts. In the year 1740, Frederick, falsely called the Great, ascended the throne of Prussia. A few months later Charles VI., the last descendant of the male line of the house of Austria, died. In anticipation of his death without a male heir, Charles had devoted the latter part of his life to the perpetuation of the house of Hapsburg through the female line. For this purpose he had promulgated a new law of succession known as the "Pragmatic Sanction.” For many years prior to his death he had been working to this end and had obtained from every European power express renunciation of any rights which they might have which would conflict with the succession to his throne of his daughter, Maria Theresa. England, France, Spain, Russia, Poland, Prussia, Sweden, and Denmark had all solemnly bound themselves by treaty, to maintain the Pragmatic Sanction, even as some of these powers had in a later century solemnly covenanted to preserve inviolable the neutrality of Belgium.
As Macaulay well said, “that instrument was placed under the protection of the public faith of the whole civilized world.” Then as now that public faith was brought to shame by Prussia.
When the beautiful and accomplished Maria Theresa ascended the throne, she was in her twenty-fourth year, and while so solemn and deliberate a covenant should not have required a further guaranty, she at once proceeded to secure a direct reaffirmation of her rights as the heir of the house of Hapsburg.
All nations reaffirmed the solemn guaranty given to her father, and from none did any stronger assurance of support come than from Frederick the Base, King of Prussia.
At the very time that he gave these assurances, he was planning to rob Maria Theresa of a part of her inheritance, the province of Silesia.
While he publicly defended his breach of faith, yet privately he avoided any hypocritical justification of it, for to quote his Memoirs, “Ambition, interest, the desire of making people talk about me, carried the day and I decided for war."
The frank avowal that an insensate craving for notoriety had led him into an indefensible betrayal of a solemn promise, indicates that his descendant, who now occupies his throne, is not the first of the Hohenzollerns who would betray a trusting world for a little cheap notoriety.
Suffice it to say that like a thief in the night, Frederick the Base entered Silesia and tore it from Austria.
It must be said to the credit of the civilized world, that it sprang to arms in defence of the public faith of nations. The last world war before this one was precipitated, and, as Macaulay again says:
On the head of Frederick is all the blood which was shed in a war which raged during many years and in every quarter of the globe, the blood of the column of Fontenoy, the blood of the brave mountaineers who were slaughtered at Culloden. The evils produced by this wickedness were felt in lands where the name of Prussia was unknown, and in order that he might rob a neighbour whom he had promised to defend, black men fought on the coast of Coromandel and red men scalped each other by the Great Lakes of North America.
Once the coalition failed, only to be reunited by the dauntless courage and untiring efforts of the noble Empress of Austria.
A second coalition was formed in 1756, and as the people of the allied nations numbered a hundred millions and those of Prussia barely five, it seemed wholly probable that the great wrong done to Silesia would be avenged and that the Hohenzollern dynasty would be destroyed as the archrobber of modern history.
For a time Frederick the Base, by military skill which was as great as his motives were iniquitous, triumphed against his enemies, but in 1759 he had apparently reached the end of his strength. The Austrians had entered Saxony and menaced Berlin; the Russians had defeated the Prussians on the Oder, and threatened Silesia. At Kunersdorf a great battle was fought and Frederick the Base suffered what seemingly was, and what should have been, an overwhelming defeat. He himself thus announced it in a message to Berlin. The