28 MAY 1921, Page 12



Sza,—In your issue of December 25th last you printed a letter of mine concerning disarmament and its necessity to save civilization. Have not events since then rather confirmed my doubts as to whether the majority of the people in civilized nations now really care either for what we call civilization or to preserve it in its present form? That seems to me to be the dreadful and poignant question of the hour. Do the democra- cies of the world care enough, or have they been instructed to care for anything beyond immediate and obvious means to personal well-being, and does this present temper arise merely in a terrible reaction from the wonderful personal self-sacrifices of the Great War? Or is the cause far deeper and less hopeful? The origin of the wreckage of Roman civilization was within, not beyond, its pale, and though analogy is a dangerous play- thing, yet it does suggest the question whether in all these centuries the popular mind has grown broader, wiser, and more self-contained. I feel that we must answer these ques- tions if we are to save a civilization sometimes called material- istic, yet, with all that, infinitely more profound and spiritual than any that has gone before. And I more than ever think that the immediate 'peril is not so much from great armaments as in the uncurbed desires of our " sovereign peoples." Surely this is neither pessimism nor a relapse into Toryism, when the danger is at our very gates, both to you in England and nearing us in America. Probably you have already discussed this aspect, but for the last few months I have been far from my