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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 70


page 7


Richard Cobden and John Bright proved it when they moved England to repeal the corn laws; Mr. Gladstone, in his Midlothian campaign, almost single-handed winning victory for the Liberal party, proved it; Sepoy leaders proved it when they inflamed the native mind about greased cartridges, and caused the great mutiny; Garibaldi proved it when he stirred the hearts of nations, and won Italian unity. Yes; people may "pooh-pooh" sentiment, but it sways the world to-day. It may be used for the weal or woe of nations; it may prove to be like the beneficence of heaven or the malevolence of hell.

Despise sentiment? The flag of Old England, which has "braved a thousand years the battle and the breeze," is only a bit of rag, but the proudest nations salute and respect it, and brave troops glory to die for it.

The outburst of loyalty when the Earl of Onslow left New Zealand was only sentiment, but it proclaimed to the world our devotion to the Crown and Throne of England. Such sentiment is a greater defence of our shores than our forts and armed leviathans. A nation without a national sentiment is united with a rope of sand; with it the nation's bulwarks are the bared breasts of its bravest manhood. Sentiment inspired a little band of Spartans to defend the Pass at Thermopylae against a host; it nerved Jewish patriots to defend their temple and country against Titus and his legions; it nerved Wallace at Stirling, and Bruce at Bannockburn; it inspired the Light Brigade at Balaklava, and the heroes at Rorke's Drift; and it has nerved soldiers for the forlorn hope. It was but sentiment that induced universal tokens of grief throughout the Empire when the Duke of Clarence died, but it did more than doubling the army and navy would have done to establish the English Throne.