The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Personal Volume
Lessons from the War
Lessons from the War.
La vraie lumièré
Qui eclaire tout homme
Est venue dans le monde,
A tous ceux qu'il out reçue
Ella a donné pouvoir
De devenir enfants de l'humanitié
Parce qu'ils croient en elle.
Alfred Loisey—La Religion.
There are many glorious pages in the history of our people. They tell us that on many occasions there have been outbursts of joy on the receipt of the news of victorious battles won by our Empire, and of the declarations of Peace. Life, it has been said, is like a chequered or chessboard pavement. It has an equal number of black and white squares. Our race has had many dark days—days of suffering and of grief. It has also had many white, bright days—glorious occasions when the people were full of joy. In no period of our history have there been so many bright and dark days experienced in the same space of time, as during the past live years.
Some of us can remember the Crimean War, and the news coming to the Home land of the battles of Alma. Inkerman, Balaclava, and Sebastopol. And when the news of Peace came, what demonstrations of joy there were; every hill-top had its blazing bonfire. We can also recall the sad news of the massacres in the Indian Mutiny of Cawnpore and others, and also the cheering news of the defence of Lucknow and Delhi. All these reminiscences pale into insignificance before the names of Mons, the Marne, Passchendale, Gallipoli, and many more. These fights, and others, will go ringing down through coming centuries as the records of the work of heroes. It is well for our race, and for our successors, who have to maintain the name and prestige of the Empire, that we should treasure these deeds of renown, so that our descendants may never forget "the brave days of old" and the deeds done by their progenitors in the name of Liberty, Righteousness, and Peace.
Has the war, with all its sad and all its glorious events, any lesson for us here and now? Peace has come; but even if we desired it, the memory of what has so recently happened cannot be forgotten. Can these events be any inspiration for higher ideals and a nobler social life? By reference to the past we may obtain much assistance in dealing with our social problems. Records of the battle of life, in days long past, may help us to fight our present battles. While reading lately a recent notable book. "The Folk Lore of the Old Testament," by Dr. Frazer, the eminent professor of Anthropology at Cambridge, this thought came home to me: What interesting and beautiful stories there are in the Hebrew literature!
Elijah the Prophet.
There is one that, either as a parable or as an allegory, may help to inspire us: it is the story of Elijah the Prophet, in the First Book of Kings, ch. xix. What a telling picture it is! A great Hebrew prophet, a true patriot, appears before us. He is ready to sacrifice his life the people will not listen to him, and he is threatened by the is no one in all Isreal who listens to his message. He has to flee for his life the people will not listen to him and he is threatened by the Government. He has preached what he believes to be a true religion, but all the nation—King, rulers, and people—have abandoned their religion and followed what he believes to be a false God.
"And behold, the Lord passed by and a great and a strong wind rent the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small Voice."
Our translators say that this Hebrew phrase, literally translated, means "a sound of great stillness." What a beautiful phrase! There was Peace! The story continues and tells us of a conversation between the "Voice" and the prophet. Elijah, however, felt that his mission had not entirely been a failure, for were there not in the small and thinly-peopled kingdom seven thousand who thought as he thought, and who had not bowed the knee to Baal? What an uplift was that to a discredited prophet ! His life-work had not been a failure. There were still many left who were upholders of truth and righteousness. If there are any Social Reformers who have lost heart, let them ponder over Elijah's story.
Elijah and our Mission.
We are like Elijah. We also have ascended our Horeb. We have Seen terrible destruction by storm, earthquake, and fire. Never in the history of the world have so many people been slain in war; never have so many cities been laid waste; never has so much capital been destroyed. Millions upon millions of men and women have lost their lives. To Elijah, the destruction worked by storm, earthquake, and fire was not the most important thing; it was the "sound of great stillness"—the "Voice"—that cheered him, enthralled him, and inspired him. It was the "Voice" that gave him his message, that told himpage 7
his duty and his mission. But he was a prophet. We are not prophets. What, then, is a prophet? Carlyle told us that the present-day prophets were our newspaper men; they were the deliverers of messages to humanity. Is not, then, any and everyone a prophet who has a high ideal of life, who has a compelling inspiration to devote his life to the people, and who has utterance? If we can only get an ideal enshrined in the hearts of men and women, we will have, as has been said, an irresistible power in the world greater than fleets or armies. We would have then a live people stirred by enthusiasm, devoted to duty, and whose aim would be to uplift humanity. Did not Elijah impress and inspire Elisha to such an extent that he abandoned his farm and went forth to save his nation? And history's records of martyrs, of missionaries, of humanitarians, of prophets since the time of Israel's Kingdom are long and glorious. They obeyed the "Voice"; they strove to redeem the world. At one stage in human history it was thought that there could be no priests except those who belonged to a special order. Nowadays we realise that anyone, and everyone, may have a duty to perform and a message to deliver. We are living in a Democracy—the people rule.
The New Zealand Problems.
"We live in order to finish an as yet unfinished universe—unfinished so far as the human—that is, the highest—part of it is concerned. We live in order to develop the superior qualities of man, which are, as yet, for the most part latent. . . We are to go out as teachers among the people, discarding the limitations imposed by the theologies of the past, and holding up the moral idea, pure and simple, as the human ideal for all men, embracing all men, binding on all men—the ideal of a perfect society, of a society in which no men or class of men shall be mere hewers of wood and drawers of water for others; in which no man or woman, or class of men or class of women shall be used as tools for the lust of others, or for the greed of others; in which every human life, the life of every man, women, and child, shall be esteemed a sacred utterance of the Infinite."
This is ever the true prophet's message whenever and wherever delivered—three thousand years ago, or three years ago, in Palestine, or in New Zealand.
Have we heard the voice? The burden rests on us individually, and the message must be delivered by one and by all. There can be no substitute and no delegates. The duty is not to be performed by associations, or teachers. Each one who hears the voice must obey it. Let us also realise that regarding the many problems we have to consider we cannot remain neutral. There can be no neutrality on a moral issue. If you find anyone who desires to act as a leader of men, or to perform a prophet's function, saying that on a moral question—on an issue of life—he is neutral, or if we see a politicalpage 9
party, or a church, or a social organisation declaring that it is neutral on such an issue, we must conclude "the voice" has not been heard.
What, then, is the first equipment of the Prophet or the Social reformer? It is, what surely this war has taught us, and 'of which we have had so many and sucli notable examples, self-sacrifice. Without it we can deliver no message. Our flag must bear the motto, "Live for Others." It is that message the world needs. And why should we not listen to it? We have many weak people who are shirkers, whose world outlook is narrow; but shirking is not confined merely to abstaining from enlistment, or not responding to a Defence Officer's call. Every man or woman in our social life who is not dominated by high ideals of life must bear that dyslogistic name. If all our people were inspired with the ideal of social service, with the feeling that they must live for others, our social evils would vanish like a morning mist before the rising sun.
There are many practical and pressing problems that can only be solved by the self-sacrifice of our citizens. Many portions of our earth have been ruined so far as suitability for human life is concerned. Wo have had terrible losses of property. Our savings have been depleted; vast storehouses of capital have been left bare. We have incurred vast liabilities. Civilisation has never advanced without savings and the husbanding of resources. How are the empty garners to be refilled? There are only two means we can employ. We must work hard and save, so that want and poverty, which have generally—I might say always—followed every war, may not injure our people. We ought at the very commencement of the war to have taken as our motto the words, "Waste not, want not." We did not do so, and the waste and extravagance that we have witnessed since the war have been a disgrace to us. Instead of saving we have gone en spending. In our eating and drinking, in our clothing, in our pleasures there has been no sign of frugality, nor of thrift. Our waste has been unpardonable. It has to be recognised that the human being requires change of scene, perhaps, and change of occupation, that amusement and pleasure should not be denied. No one desires to enforce asceticism, but we have been extravagant in our pleasures. In rushing out of our houses for amusements we have acted as if we could get no pleasure, and had not any pleasure in our homes. We have wasted our money on that which profitetli not.
There is another problem that is looming large in the social life of almost every State: it is what is called "Labour Unrest." Here, again, let us consider how this question must be dealt with. Last winter on many occasions in New' Zealand coal was difficult to obtain, and many people and their children suffered. The coal-miners would not work. Strikes were resorted to in the struggle between Labour and Capital. Now, strikes are civil war. Is it not strange that while we are acclaiming the League of Peace between nations we should not be insisting on social peace? International peace is to be maintained by providing a judicial tribunal to which disagreeing nations must leave the determination of their disputes, and if they do not agree to arcuptpage 11
the decision of the tribunal all the other nations will enforce its decision. Why should we not, then, insist on social peace by referring all labour disputes to our labour tribunals? It may mean the giving up by employers of their right to fix wages, hours, and other conditions of labour, and it may mean a like surrender by workmen; but are these two classes to exercise no self-sacrifice for the sake of industrial peace? Has the "sound of the great stillness" not pierced their ears?
The Needs of Workers.
Besides and beyond leaving labour disputes to a judicial tribunal, we must recognise the needs of those who labour. These have been summarised by various writers. May I make a summary?
|1.||The workers must have a living wage.|
|2.||Work must be performed in healthy working conditions; over-fatigue must be prevented and every care taken of the lives and health of the workers.|
|3.||There ought to be continuous employment. Unemployment is a curse.|
|4.||The self-respect of the workmen must be encouraged and maintained. If fault has to be found with them, let it be done courteously and quietly.|
|5.||Loyalty to industrial needs should be encouraged.|
|6.||Collective bargaining—the trade union agreement—should be fully recognised. It is about 41 years since I prepared and introduced into Parliament the first Trade Union Act, which is still law.|
|7.||A happy home-life for the worker should be the aim of the employers.|
|8.||True idealism of life should be encouraged so that work could be looked upon as a social service—in fact, as worship—"Laborare est orare" : work is worship.|
|9.||The mental development of the worker should be attended to by adult education, by proper amusements, and by encouraging an interest in social life.|
It has been well said that human life—and that is the worker's life—is a harp of many strings. We should not, therefore, expect the worker to thrum on one string only: he must pray on all the strings.
Perhaps in all our concern about the reconstruction of the nations no one subject is occupying the mind of our people more than education. A Special Commission has been sitting in England dealing with the education of the adult, and we have special organisations helping our soldiers to obtain a higher and better knowledge. Why this sudden outburst of educational fervour? Is it not that the people have realised that without education civilisation cannot go forward? It is the road to efficiency. The old proverb is true: Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it. The young must be trained to civic life and to have a civic conscience, so that there may be civic peace and efficient citizens. Would it notpage 13
make for both these aims if all our youths were trained in one school? Differences of creed, of points of view, will arise, but should not the children all meet together in one school so that they may thoroughly realise that they are members of one family? If their parents desire to teach them their theology, give them every opportunity to do so—that is required where freedom reigns. But why could not this special teaching be given in special classrooms by teachers of religion? All the children—whatever wealth their parents possess and whatever work their parents may do—should meet together and attend the one school. There are many things that make for division amongst us, but surely we may train and teach our children without the aid of denominational schools. These do not, surely, make for either civic peace or brotherhood.
The Dominance of Truth.
"Think truly, and thy thoughts
Shall the world's famine feed;
Speak truly, and each word of thine
Shall be a fruitful seed.
Live truly, and thy life shall be
A great and noble creed."
If Truth alone were worshipped by us, the bitterness of theological and political discussion would be much modified.
The Future Race.
Have we spent any time in thinking what the future race is to be? We know from history that many distinct races have ceased to exist. Many of the races of the stone age have apparently left no successors. If we go to our nearest colonial neighbour—Tasmania—we find that there are now no Tasmanian aboriginals. They have a11 passed away. There are many and powerful peoples in the world not closely related to our race. The yellow race is, perhaps, the mostpage 15
numerous of all races. The members of that race are industrious and generally peaceable. In late years, in some of its branches, education and general development have advanced rapidly. It promises to be an industrial rival of the white race. Are we preparing for such rivalry and struggle?
Will Our Race Last?
"Of all the scenes familiar to the men of yore in the Land of Tara, nought remains unchanged save the contour of the great hills and the rippling waters of the great Harbour of Tara. No more are seen the hamlets that girt the Red Lake round, the cultivations that fringed the Awa-a-Taia, the paddling of many canoes to the fishing-grounds. No longer are the fortresses of Motu-kairangi crowded with fierce fighting men as of old, ready, at the sign of signal fires on the Ranga-a-Hiwi, to grasp spear and dub in defence of their homes. Never again shall the chief tain's war canoe swing across the waters of Tawhiti-nui, and never more shall the hills of Tara re-echo the roaring chorus of the war-song.
"And the children of Awa, where are they? Of a verity are their numbers few in the land. Of all these stalwart, war-seasoned migrants who welcomed our fathers, none are left. Anon, you may see a brown-skin descendant in our streets, a lone figure from the age of the Neolithic—a descendant of Sea Kings who ranged the great ocean when our forebears were hugging coastlines, a lone figure gazed at curiously by passers-by. He is not one of us or of our time; in the words of a survivor of the days of the levelled spear, 'Me te mea te wairua tangata a haere ana'—'like a human spirit moving abroad.' "
Are the Maoris to pass away as the Tasmanians have passed? If they cease to exist it will be because they have fallen before diseases we have introduced, because of social habits to which we have accustomed them, and because they have not remained industrially efficient. And our race may fail from the same causes. Disease, drugs, and inefficiency will destroy any people. We have greatly improved our industrial machinery, but we have still much inefficiency in our midst. Many examples are apparent to us if we keep our eyes open. Is it a sign of efficiency that it now takes five men to do the same work that was done by three some years ago? And do you think it makes for skill or efficiency that men when engaged in arduous work are smoking pipes or cigarettes? We have had in our midst two evils during the war—"going slow" and "exploitation." Neither makes for efficiency. It is this clamant need for efficiency, that has led thepage 17
Imperial Government, to constitute Commissions of Inquiry to investigate the need of new industries, and of small agricultural settlements, and also the needs of our industrial workers.
An English Commission's Report.
"For no one can doubt that we are at a turning-point in our national history. A new era has come upon us. We cannot stand still. We cannot return to the old ways, the old abuses, the old stupidities. As with our international relations, so with the relations of classes and individuals inside our own nation, if they do not henceforth get better they must needs get worse, and that means moving towards an abyss. It is in our power to make the new era one of such progress as to repay us even for the immeasurable cost, the price in lives lost, in manhood crippled, and in homes desolated.
"Only by rising to the height of our enlarged vision of social duty can we do justice to the spirit generated in our people by the long effort of common aspiration and common suffering. To allow this spirit to die away unused would be a waste compared to which the material waste of the war would be a little thing; it would be a national sin, unpardonable in the eyes of our posterity. We stand at the bar of history for judgment, and we shall be judged by the use we make of this unique opportunity. It is unique in many ways, most of all in the fact that the public not only has its conscience aroused and its heart stirred, but also has its mind open and receptive to new ideas to an unprecedented degree.
"It is not the lack of goodwill that is to be feared. But goodwill without mental effort, without intelligent provision, is worse than ineffectual: it is a moral opiate. The real lack in our national history has been the lack of bold and clear thinking. We have been well-meaning, we have had good principles; where we have failed is in the courage and the foresight to carry out our principles into corporate life.
"This corporate life itself has only been made visible and real to us (as on a fiery background) by the glow and illumination of the war. We have been made conscious that we are heirs to a majestic inheritance, and that we have corresponding obligations We have awakened to the splendid qualities that were latent in our people, the rank and file of the common people who before this war were often adjudged to be decadent, to have lost their patriotism, their religious faith, and their response to leadership; we were even told they were physically degenerate. Now we see what potentialities lie in this people, and what a charge lies upon us to give to these powers free play. There is stirring through the whole country a sense of the duty we owe to our children and to our grandchildren to save them not only from the repetition
of such a world-war and from the burdens of a crushing militarism, but to save them also from the obvious peril of civil dissension at home.
"We owe it also to our own dead that they shall not have died in vain, but that their sacrifice shall prove to have created a better England for the future generation."
These burning words are like the utterances of a Hebrew prophet.
And now, may I ask, de we hear "the still small voice," and are we prepared to obey it? Has the mantle of Elijah fallen on our shoulders? Are we prepared to struggle for a higher life, for truth, for righteousness, for the uplifting of humanity? If we are, let us put on our armour and march forward.
"Forward! the day is breaking;
Earth shall bo dark no more;
Millions of men are waiting
On every sea and shore.
With trumpets and with banners
The world is marching on,
The air rings with hosannas,
The field is fought and won.
"Forward! the world before us
Listens to hear our tread,
And the calm heavens o'er us
Smile blessings on our head;
Hope, like an eagle, hovers
Above the way we go;
The shield of patience covers
Our hearts from every toe.
"Forward' as nearer and nearer
Draw we unto our rest—
Joyous, the light shines clearer
In every faithful breast.
The past has ceased to bind us,
Its chains are hurled away,
The deepest gloom behind us
Melts in the dawn of day."
Saturday, 19th July, Sports At Newtown Park
Peace Celebration Committee.
- President: J. P Luke, C.M.G., Mayor of Wellington.
- Sports Committee: A. Marryatt (Chairman), R. W. Shallcrass (Hon. Secretary).
- Organiser and Secretary: J. Lewis.
- Starter: T. W. Leslie.
- Referee: R. W. McVilly.
- Stewards: A. Marryatt, W. F. Larkin.
- Judges: R. A. Guise, C. E. Bridge, M. Burnett.
- Field Events: J. Doyle, T. S.Ronaldson, H. Murray, W. H. Jones, L. McKay.
- Marshall: J. C. Cusack.
- Timekeepers: W. N. Tucker, W. H. Ludwig, W. H Pollock.
- Call Stewards: C. Turnbull, F. Hodson.
- Press Stewards: H. McKeowen, W. Auld.
- Handicapper: A. C. Kitto.
- Number Steward: J. Lundon.
- Ground Committee: W. Auld, G. Frost, A. E. Wells, N. A. Grant.
- Directors in Hairdressing and Millinery Competitions: A. J. Bloxam, A. Hogg.
|2.||Stone. H. B.|
|3.||Barker, N. A.|
|4.||Tracy, L. A.|
|6.||Thomson, H. G.|
|11.||Cotterill, E. E.|
|15.||Dickson, C. B.|
|19.||Whyte, H. S.|
|21.||Wilson, A. B.|
|24.||Futter, J. C.|
|25.||Christie, R. A.|
|26.||Burk, W. J.|
|27.||Wiren, S. A.|
|29.||Todd, L. C.|
|30.||Harlen. F. G.|
|32.||Sutherland. E. G.|
|36.||Kay, R. J.|
All Events run under N.Z.A.A.A. Rules.