THE FIGHT FOR RIGHT MOVEMENT.
ITo TEE ED1TOE 08 THII " BP8CTAT08.1
lira,—The first series of public meetings held under the auspices of the Fight for Right Movement having been brought to a successful conclusion, this enterprise may now be regarded as fully launched. We think, therefore, that a short account of its aims, and the opportunity of work which lies before it, may be of interest to the readers of the Spectator.
The meetings have been held on Sunday afternoons at the Aeolian Hall, our founder, Sir Francis Younghusband, being in the chair. In accordance with the principles of the movement, fine music, as well as the power of the living voice, have been used in the effort to bring home to the audience the great spiritual issues of the war and the deep personal responsibility of every citizen, combatant and non-combatant alike. Ad- dresses full of inspiration and encouragement have been given by Sir Henry Newbolt, Mr. Maurice Hewlett, Mr. Vivian-Rees, Miss Caroline Spurgeon, Mr. Wilfrid Ward, and Mr. John Buchan. Miss Muriel Foster and other artists of the first rank have sung for us. As a result we have now a nucleus of members, and can begin to organize the larger aspects of our work. The objects of this work, in the words of our first prospectus, are :—
" (I) To confirm and deepen the conviction most men now have that we are fighting for something more than our own defence, and aro battling for all humanity in order to preserve common human rights for the generations to come.
(2) To help in rousing men and women for enthusiastic service in this high cause ; and to aid each in finding the particular form of service best suited to him or her.
(3) To sustain the spirit of those men and women who are already serving."
The chief methods employed are meetings of a special type, adapted to the locality and class in which they are held ; the personal influence and example of our members ; and the distribution of appropriate literature. We have already a powerful list of supporters, who agree with the founder as to the real need of such a movement, if the spirit of the whole nation is so to be stiffened that it shall (a) refuse all temptations, however insidious, to the conclusion of a premature peace, and (b) accept with cheerfulness the great sacrifices which every citizen must face if the war is to be carried through to a decisive victory. Our President is Lord 13xyce ; among our Vice-Presidents are the Poet Laureate and Mr. Thomas Hardy, Sir Edward Eiger and Sir Hubert Parry, the Speaker, Professor Gilbert Murray, and Dr. G. W. Prothero. We need, however, a large increase of subscribing members, pledged to the prin- ciples of the movement, if we are to undertake even a tithe of the work already offered to us, and fight—as we hope to do—against ignorance, indifference, pessimism, and disaffection. For such members we now make an earnest appeal. A minimum subscription of bs. annually carries with it the usual privileges of membership. Members are pledged to " Fight for Right till Right be won " by every means in their power. They are expected to place national interests before their private prefer- ences, to encourage steadfastness and hope in themselves and their neighbours, to deny themselves the pleasure of spreading idle rumours and discreditable tales, to practise thrift, and especially to avoid the purchase of unnecessary luxuries. They are called upon, in fact, to express ha action the patriotic ideals which neatly all profess in speech.
In launching this movement we have had in view three groups of persons :- (1) Non-combatants who are thoroughly convinced of •the righteousness of our cause, and who ardently desire to serve their country in the best possible way. To these we offer practical advice and opportunities of service as active workers in our ranks. We can employ as speakers and organizers of local centres those able to undertake such duties ' • but beyond this, we need in every town and village of the British Isles workers who will spread knowledge of our principles, and persuade their neighbours of all classes to join us as Members or Associates and put these principles into practice.
(2) There is next the large body of persons whose views upon the war are sound, but who need support and encouragement if they are to accept with enthusiasm—even, perhaps, with fostitude- the great sacrifices which it will involve, and face without dejection the dark hours which confront us. We believe that formal enrohnent in our ranks will have a bracing effect on people of this type, and may confer on them that double sense of personal responsibility and corporate strength which enlistment confers on the recruit. It may make easier to them the discretion, thrift, and self-denial now obligatory on every patriot—dreary, iirtues when practised in solitude and without passion, but full of romance when regarded as military acts, concrete expressions of a national ideal.
(8) Finally, there are those who have not yet realized theia responsibility in this matter ; whose heedlessness, extravagance, selfishness, and lack of self-control are a source of danger to the country. The busy chatterers who embarrass the Government, depress their neighbours, and delight the enemy ; the lavish spenders of high wages ; the maintainers of a peace standard of luxury. We want our propaganda to reach all those; by means of appropriate meetings which we have already begun to organize in all parts of the country and the distribution of our literature, and also by personal work undertaken by members of the first class, through whom it is hoped that our principles will be spread.
Therefore we appeal first to the enthusiastic, who .agree with us and would like to help us : and next to those who also agree with us and would like the support which we all gain from incorporation in a social group. From these we hope to form and officer a spiritual army, dedicated to the purposes of national service in the widest sense : an army which " will not cease from mental fight, nor let its sword sleep in its hand" until the great and holy objects for which England fights in this war are fully achieved, and which will, by its steadfastness and enthusiasm, its willing sacrifices, encourage and support the armies in the field.—We are, Sir, &o.,
Chairman of Executive Committee, GERVASN ELWES.
PAGET J. M. BOWMAN, Hon. Treasurer.
ARTHUR ROBINSON Sierra, Hon. Secretary.
Trafalgar. House, Waterloo Place, S.W.
[It is with groat satisfaction that we publish this sane and far-sighted appeal To win the war a spiritual combat and vic- tory is as essential as a physical. Therefore we must bring into the field all our spiritual forces, and these can best be mobilized by demanding sacrifice and encouraging the spirit of self-sacrifice. No cause was ever won on the basis of " self-indulgence as usual." Those who dread the effect of demanding a sacrifice, and shirk the duty of making that demand, not only know little of human nature, but are themselves the worst of shirkers. We wish the movement all possible success, and shall watch it with close attention.—ED. Spectator.]