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that we can look forward with equanimity to a three years' war. The statement is unwise if limited to ourselves; it is absolutely untrue if we consider our allies, and the last thing we should do is to speak or act as if we did not consider them. On every account, we must strive to finish the job as quickly and as completely as we can, and remember that only numbers can annihilate.'
The Government have done well to institute a houseto-house enquiry, with a view to ascertaining what number of able-bodied men may still be relied on to come forward if required; though the implication, that they may not be required for some time, if at all, is, if the foregoing considerations are correct, likely to create an unfortunate impression. But this is not enough. In view of the efforts that are being made, both by individuals and by organisations like the Central Committee, to bring home to the backward portions of the community a sense of their duty to the country, it is very desirable that information should be accessible-not necessarily for publication-as to what districts, towns or villages, and what sections of the people have hitherto failed to produce their proper quota of volunteers. The withholding of such information seems to be part of the secrecy which has enshrouded so much that might well be known. As things are, the efforts referred to are often wasted or misdirected. Meetings are held and stirring addresses delivered in places from which practically every available man has volunteered; others, in which there has been little or no response to the call, are neglected. Civilian assistance in the work of recruiting, as in other matters, seems to be disregarded or even snubbed by the War Office; although, as has been frequently pointed out in the 'Spectator' and elsewhere, it is or may be, if properly informed and directed, of the greatest use. So long as the voluntary system is maintained, and recruits, in large numbers, have to be persuaded to come in, civilian assistance, through the spoken or written word, is in fact indispensable. The military authorities can bring no such pressure to bear.
In some respects the military authorities themselves are, it would appear, to blame for the falling-off in the number of recruits. At one time men were coming in, no doubt,
faster than they could be handled, housed, or equipped. Having never foreseen, or rather having deliberately refused to provide for, the possibility of a war requiring millions rather than thousands of men, the War Office found itself naturally unable to cope with the sudden demand for all that appertains to the training and equipment of large numbers. They were in risk of being 'snowed under,' so to speak, by recruits; they therefore raised the standard and otherwise checked the supply. But military enthusiasm is like a syphon; so long as you let it run, it runs; once checked, it may be difficult to restore the flow. We do not presume to judge of military details, but surely the importance attached to height is, in these days, mistaken. A short man may perhaps be at some disadvantage in a bayonet charge; he is, on the other hand, less likely to be hit by bullets. Girth and depth of chest-to speak of physical qualities only-would seem to be far more important than height; and to insist on a standard which would exclude Goorkhas and Japanese from a fighting force appears absurd. However, by this and other means the supply of recruits was checked; and the result has been unfortunate. The impression was given that men were not wanted; and such an impression is not easy to eradicate. It is hard to see why the War Office should not have adoptedshould not even now adopt-some such plan as that ably advocated in the 'Spectator,' by which all fit men who offer should be accepted at once, but should return to their homes and work, with a retaining fee, till arrangements can be made for them, when they should be summoned to join the force, civilian aid being called in to assist, and what training is possible being given before they join the camps. But, even under Lord Kitchener, the War Office seems slow in adapting itself to novel circumstances.
The attitude of the business community in the grave difficulties that have come upon them is worthy of high praise. They are making, and are evidently ready to make in future, great sacrifices for the common weal. They have, in general, done their best to encourage their employees to enlist and to facilitate such action; and the straits to which they must have been put can only be guessed, but not fully appreciated, by the outsider.
At the same time it may be doubted whether the motto 'Business as usual' has not been too widely advertised, or pressed too far. Business must be carried on, for the sinews of war depend upon it, and unemployment on a large scale would exhaust our resources. So long as we retain command of the sea, we may and should take full advantage of it and, for the welfare of the whole, carry on our affairs. But business cannot, in the circumstances, go on 'as usual'; and the emphasis so widely laid on the maxim tends to obscure the fact that our first business now is not to trade but to beat the enemy. It is not business first and war afterwards,' but the other way about. In this connexion far too much, in our opinion, has been made of the 'War upon German Trade.' However justifiable it may be to push our wares in markets from which German goods are temporarily excluded, that is not the object for which we went to war; and the world-wide publicity that has been given to this aim, the energy with which it has been advertised in certain newspapers, will inevitably lend credence to the reproach constantly levelled against us by German writers, that the chief motive of our action has been jealousy of their commercial success. Regarded, moreover, from the economical point of view, the cry rests upon a very unsound basis. Trade captured in this accidental way, and not resting on real superiority or greater cheapness of the goods concerned, will not long outlast the war; and the advantage hitherto enjoyed by Germany, if it is due to higher skill, better advertising methods, or any other permanent cause, will speedily be recovered, with the result of serious dislocation and loss to businesses whose energies will have been wrongly directed into lines in which they were unable to compete on equal terms. The worst of it is, however, that, while we are thus wasting our energies on a delusive aim, the enemy is straining every nerve to win a victory in the field which, as a secondary result, would shatter our trade for ever. The whole agitation has and must have a most detrimental result upon recruiting. The ordinary man engaged in industry, manual labour, or business of any kind, is misled into thinking that his first duty is to keep the works going or the shop open. If he is hesitating whether to go or not, this motive will turn
the scale; if he is inclined to shirk, he will have a pretext for shirking. Let us do what business is necessary; but the less these cries are heard, the better.
A great deal has been said about the playing, or rather the watching, of games, especially football, as a hindrance to recruiting. Vast crowds of lads and young men, estimated at 350,000 on a single afternoon, troop to these spectacles, and not only during the time of play but from one week to another are absorbed either in watching or in thinking about the performances of their favourite champions, to the detriment of national interests. Appeals to the spectators, recently made upon the football grounds, have produced, in most cases, little or no result. In estimating the truth and force of the complaints, it must be remembered that the football crowds consist, for the most part, of men engaged in more or less exhausting labour during the rest of the week. Sundays and Saturday afternoons are their only time for recreation. For many it would no doubt be better that they should play themselves, rather than look on; but a very large proportion do not require physical exercise. Amusement and relaxation are what they want, and they get little enough of it in their lives. If the motto 'Business as usual' is to be observed, if our great industries are to be carried on in war-time-as indeed they must be-it is difficult to see that many of these hand-workers can be spared. In those industrial centres where arms and ammunition, uniforms, etc., are manufactured, it is obvious that the men cannot enter the army; and in some such places it is understood that appeals for recruits have actually been discouraged by superior authority. Of the mining districts much the same may be said; the coal must be won, and the men must work to win it.
After making all these allowances, however, it is probable that there are a good many men in the football crowds who are not really required for necessary industries; and on them the moral effect of these gladiatorial shows must, from the point of view of national interest, undoubtedly be bad. But the question arises, what would they do if the matches were stopped? It is surely absurd to suppose that for want of amusement they would flock into the army. If they were men
of the volunteering type, it is not football which would have kept them away; and, if there were no football, they would mostly take to something worse. Upon men like these we must bring other means of persuasion to bear. On the whole, therefore, we cannot help regarding the outcry against football matches as mistaken or at least excessive. At all events, if the matches are stopped, the results are likely to be disappointing. Moreover, it would be obviously unfair to stop football, while allowing golf, racing and other pastimes to go on just as usual.
A much more serious hindrance to recruiting is the ignorance and consequent apathy still prevailing in many places, especially in some rural districts, in villages and small towns. In such places meetings and addresses of the ordinary type seem to be of little use. All appears to depend on the presence of one or two active residents who bring their energies to bear on individuals. In a certain Yorkshire village, last September, the doctor (R.A.M.C. retired) was drilling between twenty and thirty men; from the upper part of the dale, beyond the range of his activities, one man only had volunteered. In a southern county, a series of eloquent addresses, delivered at largely-attended meetings, produced next to no results. Facts of this kind must be within the experience of every one who has interested himself in the matter. As to the feeling of the country at large, we may take it that, where the nature of the struggle is understood, there is no lack of readiness to enlist. Such replies as are occasionally given-'We don't care whether the Germans come or not; we couldn't be worse off than we are now'; or 'King or Kaiser, it's all one to the likes of us-may be regarded as eccentricities, not to be taken too literally. But the fact is that, to a vast number of inhabitants of these isles, war is not a serious national business, and one war is very like another. Between the South African war and that of to-day they make no distinction. It is something going on in 'furrin parts,'
* Of pure ignorance the following story (first-hand) may serve as an example. A wounded but convalescent private in a Hertfordshire village was discussing the war with his friends. One of them—not a rustic but an artisan-asked him, What sort o' barracks have you got out there?' 'Barracks?' he replied, 'what do you mean?' 'Well, after a day's fightin', you goes back to barracks, I suppose, don't you?'