30 MARCH 1912, Page 8


LORD HALDANE, speaking at the Fishmongers' Dinner and also in his speech on Friday week to the City Territorials, made it clear that the military ' authorities now regard the National Reserve as an . essential part of the scheme for home defence and as a military asset of no small importance. But though this is a great step forward for the National Reserve, it must not be forgotten that at present the National Reserve is an ideal rather than a fact, or, to put it in another way, it is a lopsided fact. At the pre- sent moment the National Reserve for effective purposes exists only in London and in one or two English and Scottish counties—for example, in Surrey, in Oxfordshire, in Kent, and in Edinburgh. No doubt there are promising beginnings in many other counties, but in by far the greater part of the country the National Reserve at present cannot be said to exist. At the very most there are not at present more than 75,000 men registered. But if the whole of the Territorial Associations in the country were to do their duty in respect of the National Reserve on the same scale as it has been done in London, Surrey, and the other counties we have named, instead of having but 75,000 men in the Reserve, we should have 300,000 or possibly more. Looked at from this point of view it must be confessed that at present the National Reserve, instead of being the great success which people who are not well informed regard it, is an incomplete and truncated institution. The seed may have been thrown broadcast, but the crop is only coming up in about one-fourth of the ground. No doubt there are most flourishing green patches dotted here and there, but the greater part of the field is still brown and barren. Persons claiming that the National Reserve is already a success would in fact be exactly in the position of men who think that the boat has been hauled up out of danger merely because a good tug has been given on the ropes, and she has been stirred a little and the shingle under her keel has begun to shriek. We must not forget that much the hardest part of the task is still to come, and that a great many more heart-breaking strains are required on the rope before the work can. be accomplished and all made safe. This is the reason for our anxiety in regard to the National Reserve. We want to see much more seed sown and next year the whole field covered with grain. The essential thing to get the whole field covered is to make the country at large realize what can be done and what ought to be done in the matter of the National Reserve. There are no doubt many ways of bringing home this fact, but experience has shown that by far the most. effective way is to hold public parades of those portions of the National Reserve which are in being ; to exhibit, in fact, working models of the scheme which. everybody can understand, and which, with special superstition and politics served out to her from Rome, but force, bring home the two essential facts (l ) what the National Reserve is and (2) how it ought to act of incredulity; often it proclaims a greater conception be raised. In the case of the first-formed. National of divinity." Reserve, that of Surrey, comparatively little pro. gress was made till parades of the men were held, first in .London on the Horse Guards' Parade and next at Guildford. ful men once more appeared at Mass, and had Rome These parades proved by far the best recruiting agencies welcomed her prodigal children she might have regained that could ' be devised. When the Surrey National her ascendancy with her eldest daughter, but she wilfully Reserve became visible, literally thousands of men who ignored the things which belonged to her peace. To those who were eligible to join. flocked into the Reserve. As we desired spiritual food " she recommended superstitious devo- believe will always be the case with Englishmen, when 'they saw that something definite and practical and some- tions, pilgrimages, miraculous medals, prayers to the Sacred- thing which called for trouble and self-sacrifice and Heart for the re.establishment of temporal power, the salvation devotion to duty was in the air, they thought it worth of Rome by France, and of France by Rome." while to be up and doing. But naturally the example of Surrey did not carry very far. Fortunately, however, it did hit London, and London has now a numerous and well- monopolizer of patriotism in France, and has ridiculed, cold. organized National Reserve which numbers something watered, and denounced as unpatriotic every idealist and every approaching half the National Reserve already raised in spiritual movement not born within her precincts. "It is not the country. It follows, then, that the best available her credulity, but her incredulity, we complain of," say means of popularizing the National Reserve, and of show- the believers in social reform. But misgovernment and ing the country what it is, is to be found in a public revolt, while they may wreck a system and destroy a parade of the National Reserve in Hyde Park. That is theology, cannot kill religion. Within and without the why we are so intensely anxious to see the parade of the Church, according to M. Sabatier, religion lives—the Christian London National Reserve in Hyde Park on the 8th June, religion—which is to take a new form. The Church has which has been ordered by those officially responsible— given birth to Modernism, and has denounced her own child, that is, the Territorial Associations of the City and County It is none the less hers, and she cannot kill it. One day the of London—made a, success. child will be stronger than the mother. But in the twentieth difficulty is one no longer. As will be seen from the letter times. "One man thinks he has moved heaven and earth, and from Lord Esher, which we publish in another column, a is forgotten before he is dead. Another goes through life most generous and patriotic member of the County of without attracting the notice of such as register the events of London Association, Sir Harry Waechter, has promised the time. But the remembrance of those who loved him to give a sum of £2,000—an amount sufficient to brings him bark to life. A literature grievously wanting in cover the expenses of putting the London National scientific value springs up around his life, and this literature, Reserve on parade in Hyde Park. But though this disposes of the financial problem as far as the London so uncertain, so incomplete, becomes the guide of a great part u. ien are concerned, there is still the necessity of ask- of humanity. The best among the civilized peoples carry it mg for money to entertain the representative con- in their hearts through the ages as the symbol of the ideal." tangents from other counties, which it is hoped will make Our author gives us no definite sketch of a Galilean Church. the parade truly national and help to sow the seed He clings to the universalism implied in the word Catholic. throughout the United Kingdom. The counties concerned He dreams of "a society, cosmic, universal, of which the will no doubt pay the men's fares to London and back, Church lisps the name, science seeks the secret, and but it will be requisite to find them refreshment when in democracy pursues the realization." Yet he incidentally London. We propose, therefore, to devote the Spectator maintains that a religion which will suit the French must Fund to this very important part of the work. Accordingly be in some sort a French religion. He is not offering, we continue our appeal, and would urge it strongly on however, one more scheme to a scornful country. He the attention of our readers, and in spite of the fact that disappoints his readers in refusing to do so. He writes of the time seems so unpropitious for an appeal to their a tendency, not of its goal.