27 JANUARY 1900, Page 29


[TO THE EDITOR OF THE "SPECTATOR."] Sia,—Without entering into the theological aspects of the question, may one not be allowed to protest against the lopsided rhetoric on the virtues of war quoted by Spectator

correspondents ? There are, it is true, worse evils than war; but is not war a more or less preventible evil in the sense of its being an offence against the common-sense of mankind ? I venture to submit that war is not the only or even the best school of heroism or of duty, and that much of the talk as to its virtues is analogous to saying that it is better to feed recklessly and take a regular supply of pills than to be careful in diet and as far as possible to avoid medicine. Let us admit that it is a necessary evil, and has the qualities of its defects, but let us never forget that it is a clumsy and wasteful method of settling disputes. Patriots would be better employed in trying to preserve the best diplomatic traditions of the country and a certain sense of political morality than in seeking to persuade themselves and others that intermittent slaughter is essential to the soundness of the national organism. Some of the clerical proposals in this connec- tion recall the old story of the woman praying for Welling- ton's success just before Waterloo, who, when reminded that French women might be praying on the other side, inquired, "And how's the Almighty to understand their lingo ? "—I