4 MAY 1907, Page 12


UNIVERSAL MILITARY TRAINING. f To ran Earros or re. "3racrl1qL"1

Sur,—The National Service League owe you a debt of gratitude, not only for the courage with which you have advocated the great principle which they are striving to bring home to the British people, but also for the admirable lucidity and simplicity with which you have stated their aims, and the main reasons why those aims should commend themselves to every patriot, irrespective of party. We are particularly indebted to you for the way in which you have dealt with the fundamental difference between conscription and universal military training, and for your protest against the way in which the former term is constantly misused by our opponents in order to create prejudice and stifle fair discussion of the . most significant and far-reaching reform which has ever been proposed to the nation. When one sees the way in which the subject is barked by speakers of both parties, and by some newspapers which are generally reasonable and fair in their treatment of controversial matters, one is some- times at a loss to explain such an attitude. Here we have a principle, founded on justice and common-sense, absolutely in consonance with the tendencies of a democratic age, undoubtedly contributing to the physical and moral improve- ment of the people, and so to national efficiency,—the principle, finally, which has been accepted by every European nation in modern times, and by our allies in the Island Empire of the East ; and yet it is studiously ignored, or, worse still, deprecated in misleading language by those who profess to be the nation's leaders. In such circumstances, you, Sir, have given an example of patriotism which is much needed, and which will, we hope, be imitated by some of those who have hitherto held aloof from this most important and far-reaching movement. The recent meeting at the Caxton Hall, in which the principles of the National Service League were supported by a Colonial Labour leader, by a Conserva- tive Tariff Reformer, and by a Liberal Free-trader, coupled with the fact that this principle is receiving the support of all parties in Australia and New Zealand, is of good augury for the ultimate success of our cause. The circumstance that you, Sir, were at one time an opponent, though always the most fair and honourable, lends particular force to your clear advocacy of principles and proposals which have recom- mended themselves to you by the results of the Experi- ment which you promoted with so much public spirit. In conclusion, let me say that while the National Service League will eagerly welcome the support of any political party which first has the courage to put patriotism and self-sacrifice before party and vote-catching, we shall scrupulously maintain our position as a non-party, because a purely national, asso- ciation of men and women who are, before all else, lovers of their country.—I am, Sir, &c., GEORGE F. SHEE, Secretary.

The National Service League (with which is incorporated the Lads' Drill Association), 72 Victoria Street, Westminster, S.W.

[We are sure that the National Service League is right in , determining to welcome members of both parties to its organisation. Any other policy would be most unjust and unwise. Our hearty approval of that course does not, how- ever, prevent us holding that it is the imperative duty of the Unionist leaders to express a definite opinion on a matter of . uch vast importance. It is a question which they cannot afford to pass over in silence or with frigid indifference. If we belonged to the Liberal Party, we should say exactly the same of the Liberal leaders. As we are Unionists, such advice might savour of impertinence. We do not want to make national training a matter of party strife, but we do want to make it a matter of practical politics and of public

concern.—En. Spectator.]