20 MAY 1905, Page 12


[TO Talc EDITOR OP TIIH " SPECTATOR...1 SIR,—With regard to the Prime Minister's statement that England is safe from invasion, you will no doubt in your comments call attention to the fact that for many years (as your late correspondent " Vigilans sad Aequus" put on record) the Germans have not only thought the invasion of England possible, but have elaborated their schemes for carrying it out. We give them all the aid in our power. Disembarkations and steps to protect harbours are announced long enough ahead to enable interested investigators to be present ; and in case they cannot be there, our papers obligingly furnish descriptions, diagrams, and pictures. That is complaisant enough, and is quite in keeping with the happy-go-lucky way in which we manage affairs. But since no descriptions, however full, are quite so valuable as actual experience, we go further, and allow foreigners to learn the exact ways of entrance into our rivers. This is the "open door" with a vengeance. Attention has constantly been called to the danger to our national safety constituted by foreign pilots in the Thames and Humber—certificated by our authorities even—and the Committee of Defence patiently ignore it. And if they ignore anything so obvious, who shall persuade himself that their eyes are more open to equally real, but less striking, perils P And meanwhile the powers of the Committee of the Nation, the Houses of Parliament, are largely directed to the output of factious vituperation on less important subjects. It is unnecessary to invoke a plague on them both, with destruction in view for us all. A strong man armed, I understand, keeps his goods in peace; but when his strength is not fully trained, and his arming is doubtful, and he leaves his door wide open, then, in spite of optimistic speeches and assurances, he takes risks that History tells us cannot be taken with impunity.—I am, Sir, &c.,