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The Home Front Volume I

CHAPTER 5 — Pacifism

page 171


ALTHOUGH pacifism was not a subject on which many New Zealanders thought often or clearly, it had two distinct sources. First, there was a small but sturdy stream of religious thought, stemming from the war of 1914–18 and running strongly through the churches, especially the Methodist Church and especially among their young members. This can be traced back to a Student Christian Movement conference at Woodville in 1913–14, where a travelling Quaker speaker caught the minds of several. One, H. R. Urquhart,1 thereafter set forth in Men and Marbles (1917) and many other pamphlets that war could not be reconciled with Christianity. He was gaoled for a year, lost citizenship rights for 10 years, and came to be known as the father of Christian Pacifism in New Zealand.2 Increasingly at Student Christian Movement conferences during the 1920s and 1930s pacifist discussions roused deep interest, while pacifists came to know and strengthen each other.

Ideas expressed in Britain were the second source of pacifist thought, appealing not only to people of religion but to a broad spectrum of those holding socialist and humane ideals. In Britain during the late 1920s the tide of pacifism ran very strongly, in 1929–30 producing—and being augmented by—books telling of slaughter without achievement in a war run on both sides by fools and knaves: notably Richard Aldington’s Death of a Hero, Ernest Hemingway’s Farewell to Arms, Richard Baker’s Medal without Bar, and, most moving of all, Erich Remarque’s translated All Quiet on the Western Front, from which an American film was made which some found even more haunting than the book. During the 1930s, anti-war writing, both imaginative and documentary, continued, with Beverley Nichols’s expose, Cry Havoc (1933), probably the most widely read. The Depression, which shook faith in the established order and its leaders, while showing how unwanted war heroes could become, swelled the tide. In March 1933 at Oxford more than 250 élite young Englishmen declared that they would not fight for King page 172 and country; in October 1934 Canon Dick Sheppard’s3 Peace Pledge Union began to gather its 150 000 members totally renouncing war. In June 1935 the results of the Peace Ballot taken eight months earlier showed that more than 11 million Britons wanted continued membership of the League of Nations, nearly 10½ million wanted international armament reduction, more than 10 million supported non-military sanctions against an aggressor, while more than 6½ million would if necessary take military action against aggression. The idea of collective security was replacing absolute pacifism, but people were thinking more about negotiation and economic pressure than of international armed forces.4

New Zealand echoes of all this were faint and belated. Perhaps one index of public feeling on war and peace may be found in Anzac Day speeches. These began in 1916, a year after New Zealand troops were first tested in the sacrificial fires of Gallipoli, establishing a reputation and a self-regard which they were to sustain through at least two wars. Later, Anzac Day became a strict Sunday-type holiday, a day for remembering all New Zealanders dead or maimed, for telling children of effort and sacrifice and inspiring them in turn towards unselfish service. Speakers of the early 1920s were certain that the British Empire had fought in a righteous cause, but it was the war to end war, and the sacrifices of the dead imposed social obligations on the living. Thus in 1922, General Richardson5 said that a man did not need a uniform to serve his country.6 We should go forward to our duty, seeking to sweeten life for the community, said an Australian Gallipoli chaplain, ‘Fighting Mac’ (Colonel W. Mackenzie), in 1926, adding that in the day of trial we should acquit ourselves like men.7 Many spoke like the Mayor of Christchurch who in 1924 said, ‘May we all prove worthy of what has been done for us, by placing the interests of the community before those of self, and making the Dominion a sweeter and better place page 173 for those who will come after us.’8 There were, of course, a few like Massey9 who wanted defence maintained so that the British Empire, specially chosen by a Higher Power, might be handed on in growing strength for the benefit of peace and mankind,10 but as early as 1924 a member of Parliament thought that the reign of peace would be helped if all governments prevented the manufacture of munitions by private enterprise.11

About 1930, there was a notable cry against war and for the League of Nations. One lieutenant-colonel in 1931 urged training college students to let their charges know something of the horrors of war—of the world’s 10 million dead, with nearly as many disabled; of the crippled, the unsightly, the mad; of the overwhelming economic disruption—in order to bring them firmly behind the League of Nations.12 A Salvation Army speaker, after saying that war was hell and settled nothing, regretted that the Motherland, while commendably forgiving war debts, had lately been spending £200 a minute on armaments and 2½d on peace.13 Another churchman prayed that hearts would revolt not only against the horrors of war but against the greater horrors that cause wars.14

In the educational field, also, this shift of feeling was recorded by the New Zealand School Journal where, between 1929 and 1933, accounts of Empire glory and sacrifice were succeeded by articles outspoken on the horror and waste of war.15 In 1930 the successors to Massey’s party suspended military training largely as an economy measure, but the Minister of Defence spoke of strong feeling everywhere for world peace and against militarism.

Towards the end of 1935 a writer in Tomorrow remarked on the growth of anti-war sentiment ‘of the most mixed, the most diverse, frequently the most contradictory character.’ Pacifists, supporters of the League of Nations, revolutionary socialists, ultra-left critics of communism, even supporters of Britain’s imperialism, were jostling one another for leadership of the anti-war movement.16 Another gauge of the anti-war climate of the mid-Thirties is provided by Colonel T. W. McDonald, an ardent wartime watch-dog of patriotism. Being page 174 a candidate in the 1935 election, he was asked if he favoured conscription, and replied ‘No, I am dead against conscription. Conscription means lives, and the first thing I say should be conscripted is wealth.’17

A New Zealand section of the League of Nations Union arrived modestly, to enlist support for the League’s policy. Though the League proposed, as a last resort, collective force against aggression, people thought of it primarily as a means of avoiding war through arbitration and economic pressure. In 1922 there were seven local branches of the section and a Dominion body was set up. It was a numerically small, élitist group with a core of about 2500 supporters and its office holders were highly respectable.18 Its methods were dignified, being mainly infrequent meetings addressed by distinguished persons, and it had no continuing widespread appeal. But support of the League was advocated by all the churches and, particularly after 1935, by the government. Given this, the Union’s limited activity and the absence of vigorous concern for or faith in the League itself were perhaps the measure of New Zealanders’ laissez-faire, their sense of impotence in keeping the peace of the world.

Since 1911 a Peace Council, fragile but persistent, had sought to co-ordinate all efforts for peace. As well as the League of Nations Union, the Society of Friends and pacifist churchmen, several peace bodies flickered through the 1930s, with many of the same devoted people belonging to them. The No More War Movement, which grew out of the No Conscription Fellowship in Britain during the 1914–18 war, appeared in 1928, refusing support for any war and striving for the removal of all causes of war. In 1934 its membership was 270.19 At Dunedin in 1935 it had about 50 members, including young men from the churches and university, and but for groundless fears that it had concealed political interests might have had more.20

The political interests of the Movement against War and Fascism were scarcely concealed. It arose overseas soon after Hitler came to power and appeared in New Zealand early in 1934, beginning in Auckland.21 At Wellington on 4–5 August 1934 interested groups conferred, and its first New Zealand-wide congress of 2–3 February 1935 established an elaborate organisation.22 While open to all page 175 opposed to war and Fascism, or to war only, it declared support for the peace policy of the Soviet Union as the world’s clearest, most effective opposition to war. It had support in some unions, and was lively in mid-1935, according to the Workers’ Weekly. Membership was frowned on by the national executive of the Labour party in August of that year,23 and though on Anzac Day 1936 at Auckland it produced a sizeable procession and an anti-war meeting,24 it was too noticeably and confusedly Communist to have any wide support.

The New Zealand Youth Council, inspired by the World Youth Congress, was formed in Wellington in May–July 1937, but though admirably intentioned never came alive and evaporated early in 1939. The New Zealand University Students Association in September 1935 tried to test student opinion on peace and war by a questionnaire. Of all students, 49 per cent replied.25 Of these, 62.26 per cent would resist without question a threatened invasion of New Zealand, 28.66 would not, 9.09 were doubtful. In any war at all, 28.19 per cent would assist Britain, 59.19 would not and 12.62 were doubtful. Against a nation declared aggressor by the League of Nations, 87.99 per cent would take economic sanctions, 6.94 would not, 5.07 were doubtful; 42.01 would resort to war, 40.03 would not, 17.96 per cent were doubtful. Replacement of national armies by an international League police force was favoured by 56.91 per cent with 30.61 against it, and 12.48 doubtful. Nearly 93 per cent wanted all-round international reduction of armaments and nearly 89 per cent opposed armament trading for private profit; only 22.37 per cent wanted reduction of British arms alone, 71.73 per cent did not, and 5.9 were doubtful. The revival of compulsory military training in peace time would be opposed by 64.78 per cent, while 31.1 would accept it, and 4.12 were doubtful. If war occurred next day, 27.23 per cent would enlist or urge their friends to do so, 56.15 would not, 16.62 were doubtful; 58.24 per cent would oppose conscription, 31.29 would not, 10.57 were doubtful. For 75.5 per cent, hopes for permanent peace were offered by development of the League of Nations, for 67.25 by general acceptance of the Sermon on the Mount, and for 20.93 by the overthrow of capitalism.26 This last suggested that voters were not merely or mainly the radical Left. One of the supervisors, Dr C. E. Beeby, while doubting if the government knew the country’s views on war, said that the students’ page 176 attitude would not represent the country; if it did, expensive education would have been wasted.27 The New Zealand Tablet28 found in it definite revulsion against useless and commercialised warfare. The Otago Daily Times29 thought that the public would not seriously ponder this college questionnaire, and other papers,30 beyond remarking a pacifist tendency, reported it briefly and incompletely. Probably most of the people who noticed it thought that it was typical of students, but that students usually grow up.

By 1936–7 faith in pacifism or in the League, never widespread, was wilting and under pressure. ‘Are pacifists a menace to peace?’ queried the Farmers’ Union journal,31 and it concluded: ‘The tragedy is that they are so honest and so sincere about it all. They simply cannot see that the best guarantee for peace is preparedness.’ At a 1937 Anzac service Mr Justice Northcroft32 held that peace and pacifism were falsely valued, were often downright cowardice, and that for a proper defensive cause the nation must subdue its fears and fight. It was common to deplore war, he said, and many aspects were deplorable, but to the soldier it gave adventure, manly living, and relief from artificial conventions; many to whom the narrow life of good citizens was not satisfying found their manhood and won distinction in war; soldiers, as distinct from hate-filled civilians, had fought each other in a dispassionate spirit, almost of goodwill, ‘as profound as it was surprising.’33 Certainly this drew pacifist comment,34 but the ‘Come on, it’s not too bad’ note was probably acceptable to many ex-soldiers at this stage of memory, and heartening to younger men. Almost the same comfort was given by Bishop St Barbe Holland35 at Wellington. Looking back over 22 years, he said, with time as always wiping out the tragic and beastly, a soldier’s life was not so bad–he was carefree, his wife and children were provided for, he was not always in the trenches, there were cheerful things. Soldiers were better men than usual in some ways, unselfish and loyal. He spoke also of the sickening moment before attack, of mud, gas, wounds, and of the dead, quoting ‘Heaven is page 177 crammed with laughing boys’; their sacrifice demanded a world free from war, full of justice and brotherhood, and present dangers required men to open their hearts to God.36 At Auckland there were no speeches, but at Dunedin W. Perry, president of the NZRSA, said that victory in 1918 had ‘saved us from being hewers of wood and drawers of water’ for a foreign power; German colonies had been annexed and mandated and such a fate would surely have befallen New Zealand. Democracy would perish if not prepared to withstand aggressors, but younger men were not making any sacrifices to preserve institutions kept for them by the dead.37

By such public but non-political leadership were New Zealanders guided from official pacifism towards the approaching conflict. In April 1939 the Peace Council, moved by Savage’s well-hammered plea for a world economic peace conference, organised a petition for it. Many of the 890 bodies that signed—labour groups, school committees, friendly societies, churches, women’s organisations, farmers’ union branches—did so before the outbreak of war, and it was presented, faithful but late, in December 1939,38 perhaps exemplifying the straggling, ineffective but persistent nature of peace movements in New Zealand.

Meanwhile, as League-based pacifism withered, two fresh springs of absolute pacifism appeared, the New Zealand Christian Pacifist Society (1936) and the New Zealand Peace Pledge Union (1938), drawing in the veterans of earlier peace organisations.

Inevitably pacifism, both religious and political, became more prominent as recruiting increased. Some pacifists, as individuals within various churches, held simply and passionately that all war was contrary to God’s will. Others believed that the fruitless waste and suffering of war grew from the anguish, hate, greed and faulty settlements of previous wars. Many, in varying degrees, combined both streams of thought. Beyond their rejection of war, pacifists had no common set of beliefs; it was essential to them that each must be guided by his own mind and conscience.

The New Zealand Christian Pacifist Society, begun in Wellington in April 1936, was deeply Christian and inter-denominational, but found many of its supporters in the Methodist Church—in July 1938 about 50 of New Zealand’s 150 Methodist ministers were members; some Baptist and Presbyterian ministers were associated page 178 with it,39 and a few Anglicans. By September 1938 it had 270 members and the secretary, A. C. Barrington,40 wistfully remarked that the Defence League gained as many members in a month as the CPS did in two years. There were small but active groups in Motueka, Wanganui and Palmerston North, and informal branches at Auckland and Christchurch. Christchurch held its first public meeting in May 1938 and began weekly street meetings in conjunction with the Peace Pledge Union. In Wellington, starting in August 1938, Friday night meetings were held near Courtenay Place preceded, after January 1939, for an hour by a three-man sandwich-poster parade, under city council permit.41

The Peace Pledge Union, a branch of Canon Dick Sheppard’s Peace Pledge Union, was established in Christchurch in mid-1938 and later in Wellington.42 Its adherents were often, but not necessarily, Christian. As 1939 advanced these bodies were active,43 distributing literature and holding open-air meetings. Most of the ardent pacifists lived in Wellington and Christchurch but they tried to open branches in smaller towns–thus between March and June 1939 Peace Pledge Union branches were started at New Plymouth, Cambridge, Lower Hutt, and Masterton.44 It could be said that proselytizing pacifists in New Zealand were a very small group of devoted people,45 of very modest means, trying to put their point of view before a public which mainly preferred not to think about the issue while a fair proportion wrote off pacifists as ‘cranks’ or worse.

There were other religious pacifists, mostly from minor sects such as Assemblies of God and Jehovah’s Witnesses. They did not preach pacifism outside their own churches, and their rejection of war was evidenced in military service appeals and defaulters’ camps where they lived quietly, giving no trouble. There were also pacifists convinced on intellectual not religious grounds that war achieved only destruction, and ready to face defaulters’ camps rather than take part in it. There were others who drew their anti-war conviction mainly from distrust of capitalism. They did not, like the pacifists, oppose all war, and many would change their minds after mid-1941, when page 179 Russia was attacked. Till then they opposed the war as part of the capitalist design to enslave the workers, urging instead that the world’s wrongs should be righted by socialist reforms, with Russia as the guiding star. They saw the government of Britain, actively supported by New Zealand, running the war in the interests of imperialism and the exploiting capitalist class, and strongly suspected that it would be ‘switched’ against Russia.

Christian and intellectual pacifists, in claiming that the policies pursued by Britain and France were in part responsible for the war, shared some ground with the Communists. By many, pacifists were regarded not only as cranks, but as dangerous cranks, closely linked with communism, the long-standing enemy of New Zealand’s whole society, and there was little perception of gradations. Actually, the Peace Pledge Union, while co-operating often with the Christian Pacifist Society, had among its adherents socialists of varying degrees and those whose opposition to war was not derived from passionate Christianity. Its chairman was Gordon Mirams,46 journalist and film critic, who incurred no penalties, though its secretary, Michael Young, was imprisoned for a subversive pamphlet. Apart from a few public meetings early in the war, the PPU sustained itself mainly through private meetings and newsletters.

The Christian Pacifist Society, as its name implied, drew its vitality from its intense belief that war was contrary to Christ’s will. Some of its members believed that they must do their share in making a world in arms hear Christ’s call to peace, no matter how sacrificial or futile their witness might appear to the unconvinced. Barrington was its secretary and originally the producer of its Bulletin, a newsletter through which its scattered members were informed and strengthened, although the conscience of each member remained independent. Of the Bulletin, Barrington later said: ‘I kept a stencil in my typewriter. Everything went in, as and when I could, higgledy-piggledy, news flashes, jottings, reports, quotes, propaganda. When dispatch was needed there could be anything from one to ten stencils. And what a pain hand-duplicating was!’47

To reach the non-attached, the passers-by, pacifists depended on open-air meetings sometimes preceded by poster parades; it was no use preaching in a hall to the converted handful. Consequently pacifism was very closely involved with rights of assembly and free speech. When war was declared pacifists did not consider their cause lost, page 180 rather that it had become more urgent. They argued that the last war, won though at a great price, had brought only 20 years of uneasy peace; it had clearly achieved nothing that lasted. Was it not time to try the way of peace? The slow pace of the present war was another factor. Did not this slowness suggest that Germany too really wanted peace? Besides condemning all war and urging having no part in it, they examined the events leading to the present situation; inevitably this meant criticism of the governments of the Allies and was opposed to recruiting.

Prominent in the movement was Ormond Burton, chairman of the Christian Pacifist Society, a Methodist minister remarkable for his social salvage work in a near-slum area of Wellington, a former Labour party official at Auckland, a soldier in 1914–18, promoted from the ranks and twice decorated for bravery, but long convinced that no war could be justified before God. He held that the Christian Church in its first 300 years had refused to countenance war, but had then compromised with the Emperor Constantine for his support and had become a department of state. The so-called glory of war was that men endured hardship and terror believing that they would save or build something worthwhile, but this was a mirage that fled forever because out of the waste and loss, bitterness, poverty and revenge of each war, new fights arose. The present war was only an incident in a vast movement of the world towards conflict and chaos, which could be countered only by the Cross, by turning the cheek when smitten and resisting evil with the power of good. Such a policy would certainly not lead to ease and security, admitted Burton and the other pacifists; it would mean the ‘haves’ sharing with the ‘have-nots’, but they thought it the only means by which war could be overcome. It was not possible to distinguish between wars of righteousness and aggression: both sides believed they were fighting for right, but what the Allies regarded as right was based on the arrangements of Versailles, which thinking men now knew to be immoral.48

For a year before the outbreak, Burton and his colleagues had preached absolute Christian pacifism from their soapboxes at Courtenay Place, Wellington. The day war was declared Burton spoke outside Parliament Buildings and with two others was arrested for obstructing the police. He wrote later, ‘The police were very courteous and from their point of view exceedingly long suffering. They argued and persuaded and tried to get me to stop speaking. They were so decent that I felt rather a pig at not complying, but from my point of view that would have painlessly yielded the whole right page 181 of free speech; so I had to go on.’49 Remanded in court, they were told that they must promise not to address another meeting, refused, and were sent off to gaol,50 whence they were speedily released by the intervention of Peter Fraser. Two days later, a magistrate, J. L. Stout,51 decided that the meeting had been hostile, that trouble had threatened, and that Burton and the others, in refusing to stop when asked, had obstructed the police; they were convicted and ordered to come up for sentence if called within twelve months. Inside a week Burton was arrested again on the same charge, and fined £10 on 18 September. Although the City Council had cancelled the Society’s permit for meetings, Barrington had quietly held a two-hour one on Friday 15 September.52

The charge of obstructing the police was repeated many times in the next few months, Burton and his colleagues claiming the right to speak to quiet meetings, while magistrates found the police entitled to stop any meeting which they thought might turn nasty. From November another charge was sometimes used: obstructing a public street or place. Thus H. G. Lyttle and two others, on 9 December, were fined £5 each for obstructing blind lanes off Cuba Street in Wellington on 17 November 1939,53 and on 19 January 1940 Burton and Lyttle, together answering seven such charges, were convicted and discharged on five of them and fined £5 and £10 respectively on the others; the Attorney-General deplored ‘this stupid desire for self-immolation’.54 On 25 January Barrington wrote that there had already been 14 prosecutions of pacifists in Wellington, and outside Wellington he himself had five convictions, all for obstruction,55 while the Observer of 7 February pointed out that Burton had five different obstruction convictions and fines totalling £28. Clearly the pacifists were an acute minor embarrassment to a government which included several conscientious objectors of 1914–18, and was now responsible for the zealous running of a war. The arguments of Burton and his fellows clearly opposed recruiting and were therefore subversive under the censorship regulations of September 1939, but instead they were attacked obliquely for obstruction under the Police Offences Act, 1927. Certainly there were administrative difficulties in these regulations. There was no power of arrest, of stopping a speaker on the spot; it was necessary to lay page 182 an account before the Attorney-General and obtain his consent to a prosecution which might convict and punish an offender, but meanwhile he ‘could address a meeting for two hours or more and with impunity make one subversive statement after another’.56 The government was resolved to silence the pacifists, without a clash of principles which would make the dock their rostrum; obstruction charges were rather deflating. The Otago Daily Times of 10 January was relieved that the police had ‘been able to secure convictions under a law which applies equally in time of peace and in time of war. It would be unfortunate if the emergency legislation should be employed to check free comment … when the preservation of personal freedom is one of the aims which the Allies have set before themselves.’ The Observer of 7 February, on the other hand, thought that if the Crown deemed Burton’s campaign objectionable, ‘let it tackle him in a direct and forthright way, instead of bringing irrelevant charges against him.’

Public and private persons, however, were very ready to attack the pacifists for their doctrines. Some were impatient at their untimely persistence—for instance, a writer to the Christchurch Press on 20 November demanded, ‘How much more rope is to be allowed to the so-called pacifists? This is no time to make a hobby of pacifism, to harp on the Versailles Treaty, to make odious comparisons, and, in effect to lay on Britain the blame for this war. The Prussian urge for domination is much older than Versailles…. Let us get the war over quickly and surely; and then the pacifists may have their turn.’ Some were indignant that pacifists would not fight for the society that nurtured them: what, they asked, would happen to pacifists in Germany or Russia; and fancy our brave boys going away to fight for such people. Some thought that pacifists should be silenced and all political privileges taken from them during the war.57 Some, including the Minister of Defence, held that the views of sincere pacifists should be respected unless they tried to influence others.58 Also, in the public mind pacifists were confused with Communists, who for their own reasons, between October 1939 and June 1941, opposed the war. Christian Pacifists on principle would speak from any platform, but always from their own point of view, as Christians. They thus spoke at peace and anti-conscription meetings, along with those of leftist views.

In January 1940, just as the First Echelon departed, Barrington and Lyttle toured the North Island, speaking in the open at Palmerston North, Wanganui, Hawera, Stratford, New Plymouth, Te page 183 Kuiti, Hamilton, Auckland, Tauranga, Gisborne and Napier, meeting various forms of hostility and some support.59 Being a novelty in most of these places, they excited much attention—thus the Wanganui Herald of 3 and 4 January gave them four and a half columns, including a seemingly full report of Barrington’s speech, with questions and answers. The magistrate there, fining Barrington £3 for obstructing the street, said that he was not concerned with the nature of the speech but with the likelihood of an accident. At Hawera ‘it was well for the speakers that the police were there for several … returned soldiers were anxious to go through and deal with the men in their own way’; the police moved the speakers to an open place where they would not impede traffic, and when the Mayor, reminding the crowd that they had lately farewelled 50 young men, asked them not to listen, he was cheered and the crowd ‘speedily dispersed’.60 At Stratford a woman threw tomatoes, ‘although they cost 10d a pound’; one speaker was pushed off the box by returned soldiers, and both were jostled by an angry crowd of 200; police took them to a side street and let them go.61 At New Plymouth eggs were thrown, the second speaker was silenced by the National Anthem, a rush toppled him off his box, and ‘the meeting dispersed as the central figures, with their box, made an inconspicuous exit’. There was no direct physical violence here although, in a desultory barrage of rotten eggs, one or two found their mark, not necessarily on the speakers. The spectators were mostly tolerant and good-humoured except for a few truculent spirits whose challenges to the pacifists to fight were not accepted. The crowd did not disperse immediately, ‘thoughts on the subject of pacifism apparently being divided, although unequally’.62 Te Kuiti’s RSA had been forewarned by New Plymouth and feeling ran high in a large crowd that hustled the pacifists out of town with threats of the river, although a local clergyman and an unknown person pleaded for a fair hearing.63 At Hamilton, where they spoke before several Army officers, there was ‘a certain amount of dissention [sic]’ before police led the speakers away.64 Barrington said that he spoke for 25 minutes at Tauranga, then closed the meeting because of the action of a small irresponsible section of the crowd.65 At Gisborne on 11 January he was again fined £3 for obstructing the police. Both the Gisborne Herald66 and page 184 Barrington himself reported that interest in the meeting was mild and sluggish. Of the Napier meeting, one paper67 said that it lasted about two hours with many and various interjections from a good-humoured audience of more than 100; another68 remarked that the visitors’ earnestness contrasted oddly with the derisive reception of their views by some 75 people, but there was no real hostility to the men themselves and a very good time was had by all except perhaps the speakers; Barrington called it a ‘good lively meeting’.69

It seems worth quoting two letters that appeared in the Gisborne Herald, one raucous in tone, one milder, as direct examples of how some New Zealanders thought about pacifists; in particular showing how, at different levels, pacifists were linked with Communism, then as now the label of extreme discredit. The first letter said:

… I would like to express my disgust that such doctrines should be voiced in Gisborne.

We are engaged in a struggle against the forces of tyranny and injustice and the spectacle of an able-bodied man mouthing such weak-kneed drivel is pitiful. When he brings in the name of Christ to bolster up his specious arguments, then he becomes nauseating.

If these half-baked intellectuals had their way Nazism would be on the ascendant in New Zealand and the standard of living of which we are so justly proud would very soon be nothing but a memory. The sooner the Government takes action against the sob-sisters, Communists and their ilk, the better for us all.70

The other writer took a longer, less rugged path to the same conclusions: pacifism had gained ground in England and New Zealand because people loved peace and abhored war. Pacifist leaders had intensified their propaganda, directed largely towards the young, leading to the shocking New Year resolution of the Methodist Bible Class convention which by 44 votes to 3 had rejected even non-combatant military service. The British Empire, although many things in it needed righting, was making progress, leading the world in justice and freedom; yet a short while ago Gisborne people, invited to a film on Soviet Russia shown in a local theatre, had been treated to a ‘tirade against Britain’.

Similar abuse is to be heard from pacifist leaders. They make light of the persecution, concentration camps, godlessness, etc., in Germany, and expect us to believe that we are probably no better off under our leaders than the German people are under theirs. page 185 I have no doubt they are sincere, but I would suggest that years of following the communistic doctrine has blinded them to the main facts and has made them intellectually dishonest.

The two pacifists who have been touring the North Island have perhaps gained a certain amount of sympathy, so I feel that their true motives for trying to secure support should be made known, that is, not merely because they profess to be Christian but because they hold the same opinions as the Communists regarding the British Empire.71

It is interesting that this writer thought that Barrington and Lyttle might have gained some sympathy; the newspapers spoke almost wholly of hostility. The same page that carried the first letter had a report from the New York Times saying that freedom of expression in Britain after four months of war was amazing compared with that in France at the same time or in the United States during the last war; recently published articles blamed Chamberlain’s appeasement policy for the outbreak of war, and letters in newspapers dwelt more on Britain’s faults than Germany’s, while left-wing publications even debated whether the war merited support.

Peace Pledge Union speakers met varying receptions at a few West Coast towns in March. At Greymouth a Friday evening street speaker was pushed off his box in a crowd of about 200, including soldiers on leave, but good-humoured argument continued for nearly an hour, when a ‘mere handful of people remained out of idle curiosity despite a drizzling rain…. No police intervention was necessary.’72 The use of the town hall had been refused by the Council.73 In the miners hall, Runanga, 200 heard the national organiser, Michael Young, and a local man, speak on the uselessness of war and the need to face past economic mistakes, offering the German people a better deal than they had in 1919. The Mayor, as chairman, spoke proudly of the tolerance and democracy of Runanga.74 At Blackball on a wet night the same speakers had a small but enthusiastic audience which formed a Peace and Anti-Conscription Council on the spot.75

At Rangiora, where a branch of the Peace Pledge Union had been formed in July 1939, a public meeting of about 50 people on 8 April 1940 drew many hostile interjections, and subsequent criticism caused the Union to announce that it would hold no more meetings there.76 The Rangiora County Council told the North Canterbury page 186 Power Board that one of its staff was the PPU’s local secretary and asked what disciplinary action the Power Board was taking. The Board said that the man had been severely reprimanded, and drew attention to the loyalty evidenced by its staff’s contributions to patriotic funds.77

Natural opponents to pacifist meetings were soldiers on leave, returned soldiers and recruiting agents. For groups of soldiers, some drunk and all looking for a bit of excitement, it was good sport to ruffle up the ‘conchies’ or ‘commos’ as the pacifists were loosely termed. Interjections, singing, counting out and shoving were the usual methods. The police preferred to arrest the pacifists rather than the disorder-makers, reasoning that it was the provocation of the speakers that made breaches of the peace likely to happen. Realising that the government was embarrassed and reluctant, those hostile to pacifists pressed for action from city councils, which usually contained some persons willing to give the government a lead. Pacifist meetings were part of the rights of freedom of speech and assembly which were tested by different bodies in several places. In Wellington, where pacifists and the Peace and Anti-Conscription Council were strong, with the Communist party much weaker, the two former clashed with authority; in Christchurch, again it was the pacifists who tried the issue. At Auckland, stronghold of the Communist party, the battle was shared. At Dunedin neither body was strong enough to hold meetings regularly. The varying attitudes of mayors and city councils in these places were important factors.

In Christchurch, changing attitudes towards the rights of free speech were neatly exemplified. On 2 October 1939 the City Council had resolved to continue issuing permits for street meetings, deciding each case on its merits; it thereupon gave a permit to a combined pacifist committee, while refusing the Communist party and the Christchurch Anti-Conscription League—though the latter, as the Press of 4 October pointed out, was in line with current government policy, while the pacifists were not. There was sturdy advocacy of free speech from some of the councillors, though some others held that small groups should not be allowed to thwart the government and subvert impressionable people.

During January the Christchurch RSA, possibly chagrined by poor response to the recruiting campaign,78 moved, both at their meetings and before the City Council, against the pacifists, who included a page 187 strong core of Anglican clergy. After several noisy meetings, on 12, 19 and 26 January, when pacifist speakers had been heckled, pushed off boxes, and escorted away by police, the Council debated the cancellation of their permit. A police deputation was heard in private, several free speech champions changed their minds, and one, Mabel Howard,79 was absent. The Mayor, Labour member R. M. Macfarlane,80 fervent to preserve law and order, questioned whether the pacifists were a law-abiding body, held that their propaganda was not genuine pacifism but showed an obvious bias towards the enemy, and stated that in Auckland pacifists and Communists had spoken from the same platform. ‘Hands had been laid on soldiers and the soldiers were going to resent that. When that happened there was a prospect of trouble.’ The Council decided to ban pacifist street meetings.81

Both the Press82 and the right-wing New Zealand Freedom Association83 disapproved of local authorities taking away a basic constitutional liberty from one section while leaving it to others, though the Press preferred that all political street meetings should be prohibited in war time. A later Council meeting maintained the ban, although Mabel Howard vigorously championed free speech, declaring that the Council had been panicked by a little RSA group, and reproached Labour members for scrapping the principles for which party pioneers had fought and suffered: ‘They should remember that the Labour movement was built out of suppression.’84

In Wellington, the pacifists’ permit for meetings had been cancelled in September but they continued their Friday night speaking, although frequently arrested. To the argument that they should use halls, not the street, they could answer that open witness was their policy and also that halls were not available to opponents of the war. Thus the Peace and Anti-Conscription Council’s booking of the Concert Chamber for 18 January was cancelled by the Mayor, and various other halls, though booked, were denied them at the last moment.85 On 6 February, opening a recruiting rally, Hislop86 made page 188 a fighting speech, attacking subversive propaganda at the so-called pacifist meetings of a group containing several ‘gravely deluded’ reverend gentlemen who should rather concern themselves with atrocities in Poland. ‘I believe these people talk of holding a meeting on a piece of Corporation land by the Royal Oak Hotel87 on Friday. I am going to do my best to see that that meeting is not held. I don’t mind what they do in other parts of New Zealand, but if they want a fight in Wellington they can have it.’88 The local Post approved: pacifism could be ruled out as not subversive only if it were completely futile and ineffective, but when sincere misguided idealism was joined to cunning Communism one could not afford to believe it would have no effect. Though freedom of speech should be preserved as far as possible in war, it was time that the State stopped this propaganda; if not, local authorities must act.89

Later Hislop said that he received appreciative letters from all over the country.90 The Post also received a large batch, of which it published a representative selection.91 Several approved the Mayor’s forceful and courageous speech, one found it a ‘violent and undignified outburst’, one (W. J. Scott92) explained that if the Mayor and those who agreed with him excercised their power to silence dissident views ‘they prove rather conclusively that they do not believe in some of the fundamental principles of the democracy they are asking others to fight for. The true test of our belief in democracy comes only when we are asked to allow others to express views with which we passionately disagree.’93

Not surprisingly, instead of the usual hundred or so, there was a crowd of several thousand when Burton arrived at the Dixon– Manners Street Reserve on Friday, 9 February. There were also many police: they asked him to be silent, he refused, and was arrested. He wrote later: ‘I barely managed to say, “Ladies and gentlemen” when the blue wave broke over me. I went down with a mass of them on top of me. It was quite the same homely feeling that a half-back has when he goes down under the feet of half a dozen page 189 big forwards.’94 Two other pacifists, Barrington and J. Doherty tried to speak but were rushed away by the police and released.95 A Communist, W. D. O’Reilly, independently began to speak on freedom of speech and was also arrested. The crowd remained for an hour or so but apart from a few arguments and incipient fights nothing happened. Mayor Hislop arrived, was greeted with cheers and boos, and his brief speech could not be heard for the noise. A witness in a later case, Gordon Mirams, referring to this incident said that there was a lot of opposition when the Mayor spoke, but no hostility earlier.96 A party of young soldiers enlivened proceedings throughout, several persons fainted in the crush, and the crowd was generally good humoured.97 In court, the police explained that when they arrested Burton there had been no breach of the peace but had he spoken there would have been: J. L. Stout SM, declaring that the police, if they had reasonable anticipation of violence, could stop a meeting at its outset, had the painful duty of sentencing both Button and O’Reilly to a month’s hard labour.98

At Auckland circumstances closely linked the pacifists with Communists and free speech supporters. The Communists, who regularly held Sunday afternoon meetings at Quay Street, on 8 January gave the touring Wellington team, Barrington and Lyttle, use of their site before their own meeting. The police were courteous and there was applause from the 500–strong crowd, which presumably was at least partly made up of communist supporters, opposed to the war. Immediately after this they went to speak at the Domain, where a centennial service crowd was dispersing. The police here rapidly and rudely interrupted, wrote Barrington;99 the crowd was hostile, said the police. A woman was stopped from striking Barrington with her umbrella; she was not arrested, but the pacifists were fined for obstructing the police.100 On 26 January at Newmarket Reserve, from a crowd of about 70, there were many interjections but no suggestion of serious disturbance, and when Burton and C. R. Howell were led away but not arrested by the police, a man from the crowd mounted the soapbox, shouting, ‘As a private citizen I have just seen an example of what we are fighting against in Germany— Hitlerism—and as a believer in free speech I protest.’101

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On 28 January, before the start of the communist meeting at Quay Street, Burton was speaking ‘in deprecatory terms of Mr Chamberlain and disparagingly of the very causes for which men were going to war’ when a group of soldiers, who had already been asked by the police not to make disturbances, surged round him, knocking him off his box, and one scuffled briefly with a civilian. Burton was warned to stop, arrested, and later fined £13 on two obstruction charges. The soldiers, said the magistrate, probably came to disturb the meeting, some were affected by liquor but not drunk. ‘The stage was all set for a nasty bit of trouble. The police had a bounden duty to perform and they adopted the best course by arresting the accused.’102

The press and various other bodies called for government action against the subversion of both pacifists and Communists. Thus in the Evening Post on 10 February the National party caucus called the government’s attention to the subversive activities of certain persons and organisations, and the National Council of the Federated Saddlers, Bagmakers, Canvas Workers, Umbrella Workers, Sailmakers, Riggers and Related Trades Union, declaring itself steadfastly behind Parliament and the war, concluded trenchantly: ‘Take warning. Be ye not misled by pacifists, be they termed Christian or otherwise, nor fooled by the babble of anti-conscription opportunists. Quit ye yourselves like men in this war. The battle is one for the welfare of mankind the world over.’103

The Government was moving. On 25 January 1940 the Attorney-General had broadcast that while the government had not expected everyone instantaneously to realise that loyal men must all stand together to defend the Commonwealth, there had been ample time for reasonable and loyal minds to accept the new realities. The government would remain tolerant of legitimate comment or criticism on public affairs, but it would not tolerate utterances ‘designed to distract, divide or disturb’ people in their war effort. He went on to give examples104 of statements subversive under the Censorship and Publicity Regulations of September 1939 that pointed clearly to Communists but applied also to pacifists. Pacifists also had criticised Chamberlain, and denied that the cause of the Allies was any more righteous than that of the Germans, and they certainly intended page 191 to ‘prejudice the recruiting’ of the forces; yet they were not prosecuted under these Regulations.

The Labour Statement on War Policy of 21 February declared for freedom of speech and opinion, but added: ‘Freedom of speech does not mean freedom to disorganise traffic by holding open-air meetings in busy streets or to wilfully court disorder, but facilities should be provided for meetings in suitable selected places approved by the recognised authorities to enable the expression of opinion by those who are willing to abide by the laws of the country.’ Next week new Public Safety Emergency Regulations (1940/26) (which must have been shaped before this Statement was issued) appeared. As before, prosecutions for subversive statements had to be authorised by the Attorney-General, but such statements now included, besides those against recruiting, those promoting resistance to any law relating to military service (which could, of course, mean conscription, still five months away). Further, the police could now prohibit or stop any procession or any meeting in a public place or elsewhere if they thought the procession or meeting likely to be injurious to the public safety, and arrest without warrant any person involved. Fraser, introducing these regulations, clearly referred to recent pacifist meetings but subtly linked them with ‘persons, some openly agents of a foreign Power’.105

That same day H. G. Lyttle was charged with obstructing the police at the Manners Street Reserve. It was, said Stout, sentencing him to three months in prison, time to deal with such offenders without kid gloves. People were getting restive because of this antirecruiting campaign under the guise of Christian pacifism, and the police knew that if these meetings continued there would probably be disorder as different sections of the crowd were likely to come to blows. The police claimed that during the past three or four weeks a decidedly hostile attitude had been taken towards the pacifists.106

In the appeal from this verdict a witness, R. I. M. Burnett,107 said that the crowd was so orderly he had carried a dozen eggs through it, and he thought that it had been the action of the police which had caused the crowd to surge forward. Mr Justice Johnston108 upheld the sentence: the police should not only quell riots but prevent them; he did not for a moment believe that the police were page 192 concerned with Lyttle’s opinions but it would be sheer lunacy for them not to take cognisance of the fierce resentment his views would now arouse in soldiers or their friends; Lyttle was honest and courageous but obtuse; he and his society should express their opinions in a retired place, remote from people likely to resent them.109

On 29 March Burton, coming to the same Reserve, was told that he could not speak because the police anticipated trouble. He said to the small crowd, ‘The words of our Lord Jesus Christ call us to peace’, and was arrested for obstructing the police. In court the police said that for more than two months whenever the pacifists spoke it was necessary to have extra men on duty, and they had been warned that this evening there would be organised opposition from the Army and Navy; they admitted that there were no soldiers present, nor any formed body of returned soldiers, when Burton was arrested. Several defence witnesses said that the meeting was very quiet—‘as orderly as a Salvation Army prayer meeting’. Stout, complaining that it was very hard to know what to do with a man who should know better, and that as the war progressed the likelihood of trouble would increase, sentenced him to three months in prison.110

On appeal before the Chief Justice, Sir Michael Myers,111 to test the whole matter Burton said, first, that beginning very gradually about Christmas there had been increasing interference from soldiers, whom the police allowed almost any latitude, while they warned, removed and arrested speakers; he thought that this would have been checked if the military authorities had been consulted. Secondly, he thought that the police were in a difficult position under conflicting orders and with an unfamiliar problem: they wished that the meeting would be hostile, for then their course would be plain, and this wishing coloured their perception. Finally, if the police were to close any political meeting because they thought that a violent group might attend, there would be a very grave abuse of free speech.

Myers held that police apprehensions were reasonable in view of the situation and the Christian Pacifist Society’s total rejection of war and even non-combatant war service. He was very sorry to see a person of Burton’s attainments, education and culture in this position, through his persistent refusal to look things in the face and see for himself that his doctrines were likely to offend and insult soldiers and their friends. The penalty was not excessive.112

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This case113 had persisting importance for New Zealand civil liberties. Had Burton and other pacifists been gaoled for subversive statements under emergency regulations, their cases would have had no legal significance after the war. But by applying a-section of the Police Offences Act, under wartime tensions, and establishing the right of the police to stop any action, however orderly in itself, because the action might produce hostility, a wartime expedient was built into civil law. Burton v. Power remains, like an erratic boulder dropped by a retreating glacier, in the peacetime legal landscape.

The pacifists gave up street speaking for a while, withdrawing to private study groups. It is hard to guess how far the public conscience was troubled by their prosecutions—always remembering that in New Zealand, as elsewhere, the public conscience is housed in very few persons. But those who knew Burton in particular—his fine record and personality, his devotion to his God and to his needy unsuccessful people—were uneasy that such a man was sent to prison, and on the issue of free speech. Obviously newspapers would be unlikely to publish protesting letters, but in the provinces a few appeared—for example, one in the Hawke’s Bay Daily Mail, 6 April, quoting Savage’s statement that it would be terrible if those overthrowing Nazism themselves went Nazi, sacrificing liberty on the altar of efficiency; Burton and the men of HMS Achilles both thought that they were doing their duty to God and the right, but one was dishonoured and prosecuted, while the sailors were feted. A few other letters warned that Nazi-like authority could appear outside Germany, and one quoted Sir Herbert Samuel,114 Home Secretary in 1916, as saying that there might be cases when the most patriotic service in time of war would be to arouse public opinion to demand speedy peace.115

It is clear, however, that on the issue of free speech the majority of New Zealanders accepted without much demur the doctrine that freedom must be curtailed to be preserved. Others again, though most loth to accept war, were perplexed and defeated by the inadequacy of the pacifist argument in the face of Nazi barbarism, reports of which steadily stippled the newspapers. ‘Pacifism,’ pronounced magistrate W. R McKean116 at the end of April, ‘at the present time page 194 cannot lead to a peaceful examination of differences. It can lead only to abject surrender to Nazi aggression.’117 Though regretfully, many had to agree. No doubt many echoed the Bay of Islands farmer who declared robustly, ‘Pacifists who maintain their ideals at the present time are cranks’; all people were probably pacifists at heart, but there were times when all had to scrap their ideals.118 Pacifism and free speech, linked ideas, were luxuries which should be sacrificed willingly to the war effort.

Pacifists were silent for a few months after the Supreme Court119 in April 1940 upheld the three-month sentences on Burton and Lyttle.120 It was difficult for them to have public meetings elsewhere, as newspapers would not print advertisements and only the trades halls would now receive them. In several towns besides Wellington, however, Christian Pacifists, often loosely associated with the Peace Pledge Union, maintained fellowship and purpose by meetings in private homes, notably in Christchurch and Auckland, but also at Hamilton, Wanganui, Palmerston North, the Hutt Valley, and Motueka.121

Since 1938 the Wellington City Council had permitted three CPS members on Friday evenings to walk the streets wearing sandwich-board posters, paying a fee of 1s per person per hour. These parades were banned in October 1939, but persisted intermittently and were continued fortnightly during May and June 1940, often by girls. The slogans on the posters were carefully chosen; sometimes a traditional statement such as ‘War is a sin against God and a crime against humanity’, sometimes taken from the words of Christ or St Paul, sometimes from Robert Semple in 1916.122 It must be remembered that placard-bearing was not then common, and for three people to walk the streets bearing their message on sandwich-boards, ‘being conspicuous’ and objects of derision to many, demanded devotion and resolve unknown to many demonstrators 40 years later. There was also the risk of being tackled by irate citizens or the police. Repeatedly boards were seized and torn by citizens, actions
Conscientious objectors in a detention camp

Conscientious objectors in a detention camp

Conscientious objectors

Conscientious objectors

Liberty Loan poster

Liberty Loan poster

Sheep droving in the Wairarapa

Sheep droving in the Wairarapa

Draught horses in Awatere Valley, Marlborough, 1945

Draught horses in Awatere Valley, Marlborough, 1945

Parliament grounds dug up for air raid shelters, 1941

Parliament grounds dug up for air raid shelters, 1941

Entrance to an air raid shelter in Parliament grounds

Entrance to an air raid shelter in Parliament grounds

Hutt Road, showing headlight restriction notices, 1943

Hutt Road, showing headlight restriction notices, 1943

Installing blackout curtains

Installing blackout curtains

Race meeting at Trentham, March 1943

Race meeting at Trentham, March 1943

Soldiers working on the waterfront at Auckland

Soldiers working on the waterfront at Auckland

The Somes Battalion, Home Guard, on a route march from Petone to Eastbourne, 1943

The Somes Battalion, Home Guard, on a route march from Petone to Eastbourne, 1943

page 195 not always approved by others present, and at the end of June the police, anticipating breaches of the peace, threatened arrest.123

When Burton emerged from prison in July 1940, the mild phase of the war, when the idea of peace negotiations was not quite fantastic, had ended; fighting was on and conscription was in. During August the more militant pacifists still urged that fighting should cease and a world peace conference be called. In advance, Britain should offer concessions, such as immediate freedom for India and aid in reconstructing Europe; there should be self-determination for all colonial people, including those of mandated territories, open trade, open diplomacy, and disarmament. It was admitted that such offers were harder to make than earlier, but it was never too late.124 A planned series of public meetings in the Wellington Trades Hall was prohibited by the police, whereon the CPS wrote to the Prime Minister that if the ban were sustained they must again take to the streets.125 But even within the Society opinion was much divided, pacifists unlike Communists being strongly individual in thought and action. ‘Many thought that we had done all that was possible’, wrote Burton in his autobiography,126 ‘and all that we could do now was to remain quiet, help the conscientious objectors, where possible put in a quiet word, and meet needs arising from the war wherever there was opportunity. Others of us thought that irrespective of consequences we should go ahead.’ All, however, felt that they should help in any way possible with the war’s massive suffering.

To explore possibilities in this direction and to make their attitudes plain, in November 1940 a deputation met the Prime Minister and the heads of National Service, Censorship, and Police. Burton explained that their opposition to war was absolute and they must bear witness to it, but they would be frank and open with the authorities. They would do anything they could, without military control, towards healing the wounds of war and helping the community, such as working with nerve cases or venereal disease patients. He also explained that some of their young men, believing that they should not shelter behind church resolutions, would not appeal against military service, but take the path of defaulters. They expected gaol, but hoped when they came out to attempt community farming, and hoped also that the government would not obstruct their efforts page 196 thus to build a unit which might be of real service to the community.127

The Prime Minister was ‘at his very finest—courteous, controlled, and with a touch of real greatness’, wrote Burton.

He showed sympathy and understanding but said he had to be practical. An individual conscientious objector who was willing could be given alternative service but when a person believed it his job to convince people that the war was wrong a conflict inevitably arose. The State was representing the general consensus of opinion of the people, and was compelled to uphold these views. They could not permit anything which was subversive of the country’s war effort…. The salvation of the country depended upon winning the war, and it was necessary for the Government to prevent the expounding of doctrines which would strike at the foundations of the State. In their view it was better to suffer a temporary handicap in regard to expression of opinion rather than a permanent extinction of freedom of opinion.128

It was made clear that indoor meetings would not be permitted.

The activists decided that they must resume sacrificial witness against the war, speaking at the Methodist memorial in Manners Street, Wellington, on Friday nights, and volunteers were invited from all over the country. ‘You do not need to be a good speaker as there will not be time for many words. You will be arrested and sentenced…. This may break your career and lose you your job but it will help to keep a light burning.’129 In court they would not use counsel, but would again bear witness, stating their principles and hoping to be reported in newspapers.

The NZCPS secretary, Barrington, wrote a cyclostyled notice ‘Defend Peace and Freedom at Home’ which urged that evil should be met not by war but in ‘the Christian way of unremitting friendliness, co-operation and goodwill, at whatever risk or cost’. He declared the Society’s right and determination to speak out, despite ‘the totalitarian usurping of power by the State acting in the fear and frenzy inseparable from those who wage war’. As free men preserve their freedom only by exercising it, Friday meetings in Wellington would resume on 7 March 1941 at the Trades Hall. If locked out, pacifists would speak in the streets and continue each week while there was a volunteer to face arrest and imprisonment. page 197 Copies were circulated modestly, and one was sent to the Wellington police.130

On 7 March, in Manners Street, isolated cries of ‘Give him a fair go’, ‘Where’s our freedom of speech’, greeted the arrest of Arthur Carman,131 well-known citizen, Methodist lay preacher and bookseller.132 Two months later in the Supreme Court he was charged with holding a prohibited meeting133 and with publishing a subversive statement. He had enclosed about a dozen copies of ‘Defend Peace and Freedom at Home’ with his accounts, and eight were intercepted in the post. The jury held that his single statement ‘We have been prohibited from the Trades Hall’ did not amount to holding a meeting, whatever his expressed intentions may have been, but he was convicted on the second charge and received the maximum sentence of a year in prison.134

Meanwhile on 14 March, a 21-year-old school teacher, J. H. Woodley, had uttered his few words and on 9 May was sentenced to six months for attempting to hold a prohibited meeting.135 On 21 March Barrington took the stand, was arrested, and in due course he was awarded a year’s imprisonment both for holding a prohibited meeting and for publishing a subversive document, his cyclostyled notice.136 After D. Silvester on 28 March made his brief witness, he was first sentenced in the Magistrate’s Court to three months on the familiar charge of obstructing the police, then sent to the Supreme Court for holding a prohibited meeting, as were the speakers for the next four Fridays—J. R. Hamerton, J. Doherty, O. E. Burton and J. W. Boal. At Silvester’s first trial on 2 April, J. H. Luxford SM137 remarked that the law seemed inadequate. Christian pacifists had become an asocial body because of their obsessions and their honest but, to the normal person, erroneous interpretation of Scripture; prison was not the place for them, but authority would be justified in putting them out of the way for the duration. It was, he said, almost Gilbertian that they should defy the law and get crowds out week after week while each time only one person was page 198 arrested. He had been told that there were 500 CPS members; if they all volunteered the process could continue for 10 years.138

No doubt trying to get at the root of the problem the police, when they charged John Hamerton with obstructing a policeman on 4 April, also charged Burton with aiding the offence. For this Burton was on 23 April sentenced to three months’ gaol. On a further charge of obstruction, when he himself spoke on 18 April, he was sentenced to an additional three months.139

On 5 and 9 May these five speakers were convicted on the Supreme Court charge of holding prohibited meetings.140 As they refused to be represented by counsel, and as a phrase in the Emergency Regulations Act 1939 stated that no person should be punished twice for the same offence,141 the Chief Justice required that the Court of Appeal should decide whether this offence was substantially the same as that for which they had each already been sentenced by the magistrate. On 10 and 11 June, with counsel E. S. Parry, instructed by the Crown, appearing for the prisoners, five judges—Myers, Blair,142 Callan,143 Kennedy144 and Northcroft—considered the legal problems. The pacifists could not follow the intricacies, but they enjoyed the spectacle: ‘Everything was very homely and jolly…. The old gentlemen were very much like so many puppies with a good smelly bone’, wrote the irreverent Burton. ‘Strings and strings of precedents were quoted on both sides…. No attempt was made to get down to the real inwardness of it all as to what was just and fair and right.’145 The double conviction was finally deemed proper; accordingly Burton, the ‘head and forefront’ of the movement, was sentenced to 11 months in prison and the others to five and six months, concurrent with the terms they were already serving.146

Meanwhile on 9 May, to counter the jibe that the attempted speeches and resulting sentences were a ‘funk-hole’ for men liable to be called in the ballot,147 a young woman, Connie Jones, had spoken. She was charged only with obstruction because, said the page 199 police, they were being as considerate to her as possible.148 The next three speakers, H. R. Bray, B. C. Dowling149 and R. J. Scarlett, were treated likewise, as the prohibited meeting charge was then being referred to the Court of Appeal.150

On every Friday, except two, from 7 March to 6 June 1941 a Christian Pacifist demonstrated in Wellington and was arrested, sometimes before crowds of two or three hundred. In June, with 12 speakers under sentences ranging from three to twelve months, the Wellington meetings paused. They were renewed for a few weeks in October–November. John Doherty, just out of prison, told the police on 24 October that he would speak that evening, carrying on from where he had been interrupted six months earlier. He did so and was returned to prison for three months for obstructing, being followed on succeeding Fridays by J. Willets, D. Silvester again and A. Shearer, all duly arrested.151

Public witness was again taken up at Auckland, with speeches in the Domain on five Sundays of November and December 1941. No disorder occurred, for speakers were not allowed to get past their Bible-reading preliminaries. All five were sentenced to three months gaol for obstructing the police.152 On the further charge of holding prohibited meetings Mr Justice Fair,153 speaking of their intellectual and religious arrogance and taking into account their previous sentences for similar offences, sent Boal and Bray to prison for 10 months, concurrent with their lower court sentences.154 To C. R. Howell, who had also published a pamphlet155 and who made a 90-minute speech from the dock, Mr Justice Callan gave 12 months for the pamphlet, cumulative on the three he was already serving, and 10 for the prohibited meeting charge, concurrent with the other sentences. He remarked that Howell had considerable facility of expression, both in speech and writing, and it was the plain duty of the Court to keep such a person quiet in war time. The other two speakers, J. Riddell and Hamerton, were not charged twice.156

At the Wellington trial of Silvester on 10 November 1941, the magistrate, J. L. Stout, remarked that if the leaders of the movement page 200 had been interned for the duration at the start of the war, much trouble might have been saved. Burton himself wrote later:

I think the Government from its own point of view was wrong. Immediately after my first meeting and without trial, I should have been removed—with Barry [Barrington] and our families— to the smallest of the inhabited islands of say the Cook group. We should have been given shelter and rations. If I was willing to teach the local school I should have been paid. Occasionally small notices should have appeared in the Press saying what good work I was doing with the children—but every line of communication with the outside world should have been cut.157

Short of such decisiveness, the police and armed forces appeal boards did what they could piecemeal. Michael Young, secretary of the Peace Pledge Union, whose conscience appeal had been dismissed and who served three months for failing to report,158 was in May 1942 given two years’ hard labour for subversive publishing (including Laval-like statements about Britain leaving France in the lurch). The Chief Justice said that the appropriate penalty would be incarceration for the duration and deprivation of civil rights for a lengthy period.159

Barrington, emerging from prison in February 1942, was immediately charged again with subversive publishing in the first Bulletin after his release, No 38. This Bulletin was throughout fairly mild, the identity of its editor confused: it was compiled by the Auckland group which had run the publication while Barrington was in prison; as the Society’s national secretary, his home address was reinstated on the heading of Bulletin W38 and he was asked to write on how he then felt about things. His article, after remarking on the imprisonment of Howell, who had lately been CPS secretary, and on Howell’s current trial for a document headed ‘Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men’,160 was chiefly concerned with the attitudes of pacifists both in their inner lives and towards Emergency Precautions activities, which lately had been made compulsory.

Barrington wrote that the war makers, who had enlarged their operations tremendously, talked in terms of tanks and planes, not of human misery. Pacifists needed a ‘deepening sense of identification’ with the world’s suffering, in two ways. They should imaginatively think of, ‘feel’, the individual suffering of individual families page 201 like their own, Belgian, German, British, Russian or Japanese, or of a town caught in the blast of war. They should also identify

with the war makers themselves, the Hitlers, Stalins, Churchills and the others, and the millions of lesser lights, the soldiers who honestly feel they are fighting for noble ends and the greater number who fight because they are driven. We cannot share their war making in any way, we must continue to win them and all the world to peace, but we must always remember that our own sin and insufficiency, our own failures in charity, our own frequent violence of mind or of spirit, our own selfishness and compromise, our poor showing forth of the Christian life have helped to make the war and the war makers what they are. A big part of our work for peace must always be the bold showing forth of life as it should be in ‘the good society’. ‘Sensitiveness’ is the key to the core of the matter. It is necessary continually to test ours in relation to those nearest to us, to prepare to love Hitler by practising nearer home.

As for fire-watching and EPS work, Barrington wrote that both were part of the organisation of the whole people for the more effectual prosecution of the war, making it less and less possible for the people to ask for peace, and as such he could not share in these activities. But pacifists could put out fires, tend the wounded, or rescue people from bombed buildings. They could work in separate units without becoming part of the general mobilisation and agitation. Such independent units had worked well in England, and had helped to lessen hostility towards pacifists and conscientious objectors generally.161 Elsewhere, the Bulletin contained reference to a new editor taking over,162 there were branch notes including discussion of EPS service, comment on the Auckland witnessing, a long section of ‘Fruit plucked from books’, and a request for the names of all members who had appeared before armed forces appeal boards.

Four copies, postmarked 10 March 1942, were picked up by censorship, and Barrington was charged with publishing, or attempting to publish, a subversive document.163 In the Supreme Court, on 13 May, a jury could not agree; another, on 18 May, convicted him on the second charge.164 Chief Justice Myers, always punctilious in matters of law, said that certain points should be decided by the page 202 Court of Appeal, which heard the case on 10 June and on 28 July quashed the conviction.165

Meanwhile Burton166 had become editor of the Bulletin, and he too was charged with subversive publishing, in No 41 of 6 June 1942, written while Barrington’s Court of Appeal hearing was pending. The charge rested on some rather Sassoon-like poetry by a young Waikato girl, and a strong-toned editorial. This stated that Barrington’s two trials were very significant. The war had never been popular: the British government was very vague about its purpose; all the things being said about freedom, democracy and a new world had been said in the last war and everyone knew the troubles that had followed. Ordinary men had no clear idea what they were fighting for: they had been ‘bluffed, cajoled, or bullied’ into taking part; but without belief men could not continue great suffering indefinitely. Lest Barrington’s ideas—that love was stronger than hate and that a man crucified for love’s sake was stronger than his executioner—should infect crowds of ordinary people, he had to be put in prison. The time would come when ‘like the Russians in 1917, ordinary folk will just go home, and then the slaughter will come to an end…. The first sign of this movement towards sanity may well be that juries of the common folk will refuse to convict on subversion charges men, whose whole wish is for peace and universal brotherhood.’ If the first jury had actually acquitted Barrington, or if the second one had also disagreed, ‘it would have been a major disaster for a Government that is leading us along the brimstone track to confusion and chaos. Sooner or later there will be acquittals and then the end of the bloodshed will be near…. The time is coming when men will refuse to continue with the useless, senseless, slaughter.’

Burton wrote out of burning conviction. G. H. Scholefield,167 who was not a pacifist, noting in his diary on 13 May 1942 that the jury could not agree to convict Barrington, continued: ‘I would not be surprised to find that there is a growing feel of uneasiness on the part of the public against these prosecutions. What people are openly calling the gestapo has been prominent in various prosecutions lately and is said to have insisted on some cases being brought against the advice of the government’s counsel.’

page 203

But for Burton, on 23 October 1942, there was no acquittal. The jury convicted him, with a strong recommendation to mercy, generous in an anxious time.168 Mr Justice Blair, who was kindly and courteous throughout the trial, acknowledged Burton’s honesty—‘a lot of mad people are honest’—but said that ordinary people believed it the plain duty of everyone to repel the attacker. There were too many conscientious objectors already, and these statements were intended to attract others. He stressed the duty of rendering unto Caesar what was Caesar’s, and explained that although the statutory penalty was a year in prison he could also impose reformative detention of up to 10 years; he would, however, impose only two and a half years in all, this being his—very accurate—estimate of the length of the war.169

The sentence attracted attention in British pacifist circles, and a few notable war resisters took up their pens for Burton. In July 1943, writing to the New Zealand government, three members of the House of Lords, and 14 of the Commons, expressed grave concern at Burton’s sentence ‘which appears to us to savour of persecution’, especially as his statements were made in a duplicated news-sheet for private circulation among people holding similar views. As in Britain there was still a reasonable and tolerant attitude to the expression of opinion, even of opposition to the war, surely New Zealand need not fear allowing the practice of the principles for which the Allies were said to be fighting.170

Not having received a reply by 1 December, they cabled a series of reminders to Fraser, Nash and others. Meanwhile the answer of the Minister of Justice, dated 12 October 1943, which reached England in January, assured Lord Ponsonby171 and his friends that Burton’s case had received careful thought; his character and record made this a ‘most painful case’ but he had been most persistent despite repeated convictions. New Zealand cherished freedom and justice, but this did not mean licence to incite others to action that would play into the hands of its enemies.172 From America some 18 senior ministers in Protestant churches, including several bishops, page 204 wrote on lines similar to those of the peace-men of England.173 With the normal remissions for good conduct, Burton actually served only 20 months, emerging at dawn on 2 June 1944.

This was the last major incident on the pacifist front. Already many of the sacrificial witnesses had gone into defaulters’ detention, whence several graduated to prison for non-co-operation. Even with these the armed forces appeal boards displayed their well-known variations: thus the appeal of 40-year-old Arthur Carman, who had a very long and well attested record as a conscientious objector, was dismissed on 4 March 1943 but that of Barrington, several years younger, was allowed by the same board, with the comment that if there were two genuine conscientious objectors in New Zealand, they were Burton and Barrington.174

Despite the numerous prosecutions and stiff sentences, the Christian Pacifists’ candour made their relations with the police oddly amicable. In all the investigations which the police were required to make in respect of this movement it was found that in essential things the organisation adhered to the principles indicated to the Prime Minister,175 and on the numerous occasions when the law was infringed they displayed a total frankness, both in the commission of the offences and towards the investigating authority.176 It was quite usual, especially during the period of the Manners Street meetings, for the police to telephone inquiring whether there would be a speaker that Friday, adjusting the number of men on duty according to the answer.177 Police who visited Barrington to examine his typewriter and carry off miscellaneous papers etc were the ‘height of courtesy and geniality’, and they were served with tea and matching courtesy,178 though, as Barrington explained later, he did not show them the stencils behind his father’s portrait, the files hurriedly shoved into his daughter’s cot or the pamphlets under a heap of sand in the basement.179

Pacifists had no organised line of conduct or belief, each thinking out his own position, deciding for himself what was God’s and what page 205 Caesar’s. Thus the total number was never actively behind any one form of protest. There were many, indeed, who for the sake of their jobs and their families remained quiet, though they gave sympathy and money to those convinced that they must oppose the war at whatever cost. Hopes that the government would be embarrassed by widespread, steady, respectable opposition were therefore disappointed. It was a lonely few who lost their jobs or went to prison, and inevitably these felt some bitterness towards those who did not stand shoulder to shoulder at the outer ditches of war resistance. For instance, Bulletin W33 remarked on the success of the State’s ‘divide and conquer’ policy over the order, on 7 June 1941, that married men should at once register for service: all who obeyed assisted conscription to work smoothly, yet only a few refused, so that authority, instead of having to gaol more than a hundred men, some in prominent positions, had to deal with a mere handful. Again, some when their appeals against military service were dismissed accepted non-combatant service, some disappeared quietly into defaulters’ camps, while others found it necessary to resist all the way, courting imprisonment and hardship. Probably those who had strong religious faith, passionate belief in the crucified Christ, could fight the anti-war battle most stoutly, for fight they did. This strong faith, plus the vital personalities and steady work of a devoted core, were perhaps why in police estimation the Christian Pacifist Society was more formidable than the Peace Pledge Union, which was described as ‘a rather futile movement of little organisation’ which met in private homes in most of the larger centres, issuing fairly regular newsheets mainly about these discussions and quoting pacifist propaganda from other journals.180

A fair proportion of Christian Pacifist Society members were clergymen and many other clergy were pacifistic, but the churches with increasing firmness took the view that the war was necessary to preserve conditions in which Christianity could survive, and that church unity must not be endangered by unreasonable preaching. Even the most forthright few were silenced by these pressures. Burton provided a formidable warning. The 1940 Methodist Manifesto on War insisted that neither recuiting propaganda nor pacifism should be preached from pulpits but Burton, claiming that so long as he did not speak against Church doctrines he must be free to speak his mind, refused to accept this limitation, and in February 1942 was dismissed from the ministry.181 Other peace-minded clergy, page 206 while making no secret of their views, forebore to press them too strongly. The majority, knowing that otherwise they would create schism and lose their congregations, remained patiently silent, with how much unhappiness it is impossible to guess; presumably for them as for so many other people, as time passed the war moved out of the sensitive reaches of the mind, was deplored and accepted. Active pacifists stranded by the withdrawal lamented:

‘God!’ Shake the church wide awake! Here are men in your own midst gaoled because they dare to be Christian in the face of a Godless State. Some day when someone writes a supplement to Baxter’s book entitled, say ‘We Did Not Cease’ people will read the history of these times and with eyes hot with tears will ask whether these things really happened. But they are happening and the Churches are still more concerned with their tiddly winking problems and their endless discussions on trivialities than they are with the sweep of world trends as evidenced on a small scale by the gaoling of Christian men for being Christian…. No church has raised an official voice about the treatment of C.O.s—and it seems hardly likely they will. No Church has raised a voice about the very dangerous curtailment of liberty of assembly and speech as shown recently in the high hand action of the Auck. City Council with regard to meetings of the Rationalists and the Aid to Russia Committee. The Church will pay heavily for its present unholy alliance with the State.182

Young men in detention camps bleakly watched those who in Bible classes had helped to mould their ideas now take an apologetic attitude towards them,183 realising that one after another of these mentors had proved amenable to non-pacifist suggestion, at least to the extent of silence. For some the cup overflowed with the expulsion of Burton. ‘It was the influence of his writing and speaking and the selfless pattern of his living that to more than a handful brought the profound conviction that if men would go all the way with Christ they … and society itself could be saved in a very practical as well as a mystical sense, and brought the knowledge that for them the choice had narrowed to that of giving Christianity over or going the limit. And yet when the showdown came O.E.B. had to go and go alone.’184

Various social pressures beset pacifists. There was of course the distress of parents or friends who could not understand or respect their views. In the first year or so, until manpower needs were sharp, page 207 an outspoken pacifist was likely to lose his job, and mere anticipation of this, amid rising prices and Depression-bred fears, made for silence. So too did several subtle but strong influences described in the Bulletin of March 1944:

While rationally we know that all the alleged arguments to prove us heretics, traitors, cowards and members of a despicable sect are false, are often purely emotional, too often, by our actions and lack of action we show that the propaganda has been effective. Against our convictions we are being forced into silences and whisperings; into keeping our talk on pacifism and all related things among the initiated only.

We get new jobs and keep quiet so that we shall not be thought abnormal people. It was so uncomfortable in our last job where we and our views were so well known. Some of our friends are in Detention Camp. Since there is a stigma attached to C.O.s it is so easy never to discuss them, never to speak of corresponding with them, but to keep it a simple secret. And we can always be sure to post the letters ourselves so that no one shall see the addresses….

Often we are ashamed. The battle of the emotions has gone against us. The constant attacks have created a situation which we by our silences and artificial conversations admit to be real while denying it strongly with our wills. Not that we advocate constant profession of this one article of our faith…. Whatever be the subject, some of us always get round to pacifism and defeat our cause by sheer monotony. The fault, however, is more often to be found in the silence of shame.185

Further, a pacifist’s adversities were fully shared by his family, which also had to face the disapproval of the community. A woman whose husband was away in the Army had the sympathy of everyone in her loneliness, but it was another matter for one with a husband in detention. Fortunately defaulters were mainly single or childless, but other pacifists had children and were vulnerable through them. Mothers grieved over children returning from school in tears or with shut faces, having been jeered at or avoided. There were of course some ‘saints’ who did not join in playground teasing, which teachers did not always combat, and a few even stood up for the oppressed. A few pacifist offspring managed to overcome prejudice by excelling in sport.186

page 208

The Christian Pacifists found themselves at odds with most other professed Christians: as the Chief Justice pointed out, either the vast majority had renounced Christianity or there was conceit and vanity in those protesting.187 Some pacifists were themselves aware that they risked smugness. ‘It would be foolish and snobbish’, wrote one, ‘for the pacifist to think of himself as the only person with a conscience towards war’; among the soldiers, multitudes had thought their way though the war situation, hated it, but took part in it as an ugly necessity, suffering discipline, heat, danger, wounds and death for consciences’ sake.188 Early in 1943, the Bulletin referred to ‘mutual commiseration gatherings of pacifists’ protesting about their own wrongs, not those of suffering humanity, and gave a parable. A soldier and a pacifist went to a church to pray. The pacifist was righteous, thankful he was not as other men; he had lost his job but saved his soul. The soldier was humble, saying ‘I know it’s all wrong Lord, but in honesty I can see no other way. Yet I love thee Lord.’189 In April 1944 a front page article by a Presbyterian minister, A. A. Brash,190 speaking of soldiers who were far better Christians than himself, warned pacifists against intolerance, against blundering outspokenness which hardened prejudice against them, and against conceit—‘almost every pacifist I know is guilty of spiritual pride, and the pacifist I know best is myself.’191

A handful turned towards communal living on farms, pooling resources and joining in work, fellowship and prayer, in hopes of building centres of Christian living and of refuge for jobless pacifists. By August 1940, a tiny fruit-growing community was under way at Moutere,192 and about April 1942 another was started on a dairy farm at Otorohanga.193 The latter barely survived the war, but Riverside Community at Moutere was able to grow both in its acres and its people,194 remaining prosperous and vital 40 years later.

1 Urquhart, Henry Ritchie (1879–1963)

2 Shocked by the khaki election in 1918, I surrendered to Henry Urquhart while still in uniform’, wrote Ormond Burton to author, 31 May 1968

3 Sheppard, Very Rev Hugh Richard Lawrie (1880–1937): Hon Chaplain to HM 1912–29, Chaplain in France 1914; Dean Canterbury 1912–29, Canon and Precentor St Paul’s Cathedral from 1934

4 Other indications of this shifting mood were such books as Robert and Barbara Donington’s The Citizen Faces War (1936), and articles like C. E. M. Joad’s ‘Pacifism is not enough’ in News Chronicle, 3 Apr 36, and Ritchie Calder’s ‘Peace or pacifism?’ in London Herald, 30 Jul 36.

5 Richardson, Major-General Sir George, KBE(’26), CB(’17), CMG(’15), Legion d’Honneur, Belgian Croix de Guerre (1869–1938): b England; into Royal Artillery 1887; instructor and Dir Artillery NZ Military Forces 1891–1911; NZ rep IGS at UK War Office 1914, QMG Naval Div Gallipoli; GOC Admin, GOC NZ forces in England 1917; GOC Admin in NZ 1919–23; Administrator Western Samoa 1923–8; on return to NZ member Auck City Council

6 Evening Post, 26 Apr 22, p. 8

7 Ibid., 26 Apr, 26, p. 10

8 Press, 26 Apr 24, p. 9

9 Massey, Rt Hon William Ferguson, PC (1856–1925): b Ireland, to NZ 1870; MP (Cons) Franklin, from 1893; PM, Min Lands, Agriculture, Labour 1912–25 (inc Nat govt 1915–19)

10 Press, 26 Apr 23, pp. 13–14

11 T. M. (later Sir Thomas) Wilford, Evening Post, 26 Apr 24, p. 13

12 Lt-Col W. T. Austin, Evening Post, 27 Apr 31, p. 5

13 Brigadier C. Walls, MC, ibid., 26 Apr 32, p. 5

14 Canon P. James, Dominion, 26 Apr 35, p. 12

15 Jenkins, D. & S., Social Attitudes in the School Journal, p.24

16 Tomorrow, vol II, 6 Nov 35, p. 5

17 Evening Post, 12 Nov 35, p. 7

18 Attwood, B. M., ‘Apostles of Peace: the New Zealand League of Nations Union’, research essay in history

19 Peace Record, Feb 34

20 Otago Daily Times, 11 May 35, p. 5

21 Workers’ Weekly, 16 Jan 34

23 Ibid., 17 Aug 35

24 NZ Herald, 27 Apr 36, pp. 8 (photo), 11

25 32 per cent of Auckland’s 800 students, 37 of Otago’s 1139, 53 of Canterbury’s 980, 73 of Victoria’s 720, and 100 per cent of Massey’s 54 students.

26 Evening Post, 17 Dec 35, p. 12

27 Ibid., 14 Sep 35, p. 27

28 NZ Tablet, 1 Jan 36, p. 1

30 Press, 18 Dec 35, p. 14; NZ Herald, 19 Dec 35, p. 14

31 Point Blank, 15 Aug 36, p. 53

32 Northcroft, Hon Sir Erima Harvey, Kt(’49) (1884–1953): INZEF 1916–19; Judge Advocate Gen NZ Military Forces 1933–5; Judge Supreme Court 1935–; Dir Artillery S Mil Cmd 1940; NZ Judge at International Military Tribunal Tokyo 1946–8

33 Press, 26 Apr 37, p. 8

34 Ibid., 27, 28, 29 Apr 37, pp. 13, 4, 4; NZ Methodist Times, 8 May, reprinted in Standard, 20 May 37, p. 2

35 Holland, Rt Rev Herbert St Barbe (1882–1966): b UK, to NZ 1936; Temporary Chaplain Forces, France 1918–19; Bishop Wgtn 1936–46, Norwich (UK) 1946–52

36 Evening Post, 26 Apr 37, p. 5

37 Otago Daily Times, 26 Apr 37, p. 6

38 Press, 7 Dec 39, p. 10

39 Peace Record, Jul 38

40 Barrington, Archibald Charles, FCIS (1906–): Hon Nat Sec NZ Meth Young Men’s Bible Class Movement 1933–6, Nat Sec, Pres NZCPS 1936–61; Sec WEA Wgtn 1937–47, Nat Sec 1938–47; Vice-Pres NZ Meth Church

41 NZ Christian Pacifist Society Bulletin (hereinafter NZCPS Bulletin), 1938 report; Peace Record, May, Jun 38

42 Peace Record, Apr, Jul, Dec 38

43 Ibid., May 39

44 Tomorrow, vol V, 26 Apr, 10 May, 21 Jun 39, pp. 413, 447, 525

45 By 3 September 1939 there were 375 Christian Pacifists, and about 200 other pacifists in the Peace Pledge Union. By November 1939 the Christian Pacifists total was not quite 450. NZCPS Bulletin W8, p. 4

46 Mirams, Gordon Holden (1909–66): journalist, NZ Listener, on secretariat UNESCO 1948–9, 1959; chmn educ & publicity cmte CORSO; chmn NZ Peace Pledge Union; Censor & Registrar Films, NZ, from 1949

47 Trials of a Pacifist’, script of broadcast talks by A. C. Barrington, Oct 69 (hereinafter Barrington broadcast)

48 Press, 17, 18 Nov 39, pp. 2 & 10, 8; Otago Daily Times, 17 Nov 39, p. 8

49 Burton, O. E., In Prison, p. 10

50 Evening Post, 5 Sep 39, p. 4

51 Stout, John Logan (1879–1952): SM 1918–47, from 1938 Wgtn

52 Tomorrow, 27 Sep 39, vol V, pp. 763–4

53 Evening Post, 9 Dec 39, p. 8; Tomorrow, 20 Dec 39, vol VI, p. 125

54 Truth, 24 Jan 40, p. 9

55 Tomorrow, 7 Feb 40, vol VI, p. 207

56 WHN, ‘Police Department’, p. 215

57 eg, letter in NZ Herald, 31 Jan 40, p. 12

58 Otago Daily Times, 18 Apr 40, p. 6

59 NZCPS Bulletin W10, Report of tour, Jan 40

60 Wanganui Herald, 5 Jan 40, p. 6

61 Ibid., 6 Jan 40, p. 6; NZ Herald, 6 Jan 40, p. 8

62 Taranaki Daily News, 6 Jan 40, p. 6

63 King Country Chronide, 8 Jan 40

64 NZ Herald, 6 Jan 40, p. 8

65 Gisborne Herald, 12 Jan 40, p. 5

66 Ibid., p. 11

67 NapierDaily Telegraph, 13 Jan 40, p. 8

68 Hawke’s Bay Herald–Tribune, 13 Jan 40

69 NZCPS Bulletin W10, Report of tour, p. 6

70 Gisborne Herald, 15 Jan 40, p. 9

71 Ibid., 16 Jan 40, p. 10

72 Press, 16 Mar 40, p. 12

74 Ibid., 19 Mar 40

75 Ibid., 25 Mar 40

76 Ibid., 16 Apr 40

77 Press, 13, 17 Apr 40, pp. 9, 8

78 S. G. Holland complained that when recruiting meetings started ‘bottles were thrown on the stage, pennies were thrown at the speakers, and they were counted out. That actually happened in my beloved Christchurch, in my own Cathedral Square.’ Ibid., 1 Feb 40, p. 15

79 Howard, Hon Mabel Bowden (1893–1972); b Aust, to NZ 1903; MP (Lab) Chch East 1943, Sydenham 1946–69; 1st woman Cabinet member, Min Health, Child Welfare 1947–9, Social Security, Child Welfare & in charge Welfare, Women and Children 1957–60; chmn WWSA Chch

80 Macfarlane, Hon Sir Robert, KCMG(’74), CMG(’54) (1901–82): MP (Lab) Chch South 1939–46, Chch Central 1946–9; Speaker HoR 1957–60; Mayor Chch 1938–41, 1950–8, Dep Mayor 1971–4; 2½ years 2NZEF

81 Press, 30 Jan 40, p. 6; Star-Sun, 30 Jan 40, p. 9

82 Press, 31 Jan 40

83 NZ Herald, 30 Jan 40, p. 9

84 Press, 20 Feb 40, p. 8

85 NZCPS Bulletin W12, p. 3

86 Hislop, Thomas Charles Atkinson, CMG(’35) (1888–1965): Mayor Wgtn 1931–44; HC Canada 1950–2

87 The Dixon–Manners Street Reserve, at the head of Courteney Place, site of a Methodist Memorial, and the Christian Pacifists’ regular place of witness from the end of September 1939 onwards.

88 Evening Post, 6 Feb 40, p. 10

89 Ibid., 7 Feb 40

90 Ibid., 5 Mar 40, p. 8

91 Scott, Walter James, CBE(’74) (1902–): teacher, educationist, lecturer English, Wgtn Teachers’ College 1936–48, Vice-Principal & Principal 1949–65; chmn NZ Council Civil Liberties 1952–72, Pres from 1972; Pro-Chancellor VUW from 1975; member NZ Council Educational Research 1965–73

92 Evening Post, 8, 10 Feb 40, pp. 12, 10

93 Ibid., 8 Feb 40, p. 12

94 Burton, In Prison, p. 11

95 NZCPS Bulletin W13, p. 3

96 Evening Post, 11 Apr 40, p. 13

97 NZ Herald, 10 Feb 40, p. 10

98 Evening Post, 12 Feb 40, p. 9

99 NZCPS Bulletin W10, Report of January tour 1940; Barrington broadcast

100 NZ Herald, 9 Jan 40, p. 9

101 Ibid., 27 Jan 40, p. 12

102 Ibid., 31 Jan, 1 Feb 40, pp. 11, 11

103 Evening Post, 10 Feb 40, p. 12

104 eg, calling the war a capitalist struggle, with nothing to choose between the Allies and Germany; criticising Chamberlain for embarking on war for inadequate reasons or for sectional interests; advocating the fight on two fronts, against Hitlerism and against New Zealand’s economic system.

105 Evening Post, 26 Feb 40, p. 6; see p. 212

106 Evening Post, 26 Feb 40, p. 9

107 Burnett, Robert Ian McKenzie (1915–): 4 years with 2NZEF; Sec NZ Historic Places Trust 1964–70; Senior Research Officer Dept Int Aff 1971–6; Research Fellow Institute of Criminology VUW 1976–81

108 Johnston, Hon Harold Leatherstone, KC (1875–1959): Judge Supreme Court & Court of Appeal 1934–45, Court of Review 1935

109 Evening Post, 11 Apr 40, p. 13

110 Ibid., 1 Apr 40, p. 9

111 to test Myers, Rt Hon Sir Michael, PC, GCMG(’37), KC (1873–1950): Chief Justice NZ 1929–46

112 Evening Post, 12, 16 Apr 40, pp. 9, 15

113 Burton v. Power, New Zealand Law Reports 1940, pp. 305–8. Power was the police officer leading the prosecution

114 Samuel, Rt Hon Sir Herbert, 1st Viscount of Toxteth, Liverpool (’37), PC, GCB(’26) OM(’58) GBE(’20) (1870–1963): Chancellor Duchy Lancaster with seat in Cab 1909–10, 1915–16; PMG 1910–14, 1915–16; Home Sec 1916, 1931–2; Leader Lib party 1931–5

115 Hauke’s Bay Daily Mail, 20 Apr, 2 May 40, pp. 8, 6; Otago Daily Times, 4 Mar 40, p. 9

116 McKean, William Roy (d 1958): appointed Bench 1919

117 Quoted in editorial, Evening Post, 22 Apr 40

118 Auckland Star, 30 May 40, p. 14

119 From 1 April 1980 the Supreme Court became the High Court, Magistrates’ Courts became District Courts and magistrates were given new status as District Court judges. The work of both courts and the Court of Appeal was reorganised. Yearbook 1980, p. 228

120 See pp. 1912

121 NZCPS Bulletin W19, p. 7 (Jul 40), W20, p. 6 (Aug 40), W27, pp 2, 5 (Mar 41), W35, p. 2 (Oct 41), W43, pp. 4–5 (Aug 42)

122 Ibid., W15, p. 10

123 Ibid., W14, p. 1, W15, pp. 7, 10, W17, p. 1, W19, p. 1; Report of national conference. Labour weekend 1939, NZCPS papers

124 Ibid., W20, p. 4

125 Ibid., p. 8; Barrington to PM, 14 Sep 40, MS Papers 238, ATL

126 O. E. Burton, typescript ‘Autobiography’ (hereinafter ‘Autobiography’), p. 420, ATL

127 Notes of deputation from NZCPS to PM, 18 Nov 40, War History File, ‘Defaulters and Conscientious Objectors’ (hereinafter WHF, ‘Defaulters’)

128 Ibid.; Burton, ‘Autobiography’, p. 421

129 Burton, ‘Autobiography’, p. 422, quoting letter written to NZCPS members at the time

130 Barrington broadcast; Evening Post, 7 May 41, p. 11

131 Carman, Arthur Herbert (1902–82): bookseller, author, Quaker, Wgtn Hospital Board member 1935–41, 1944-, chmn 1960–2, and other civic posts

132 Dominion, 8 Mar 41, p. 13

133 This charge, laid under the emergency regulations, was the first of its kind.

134 Evening Post, 27 Mar, 7, 8, 10 May 41, pp. 11, 11, 11, 7

135 Ibid., 27 Mar, 10 May 41, pp. 11, 7

136 Ibid., 26 Mar, 6, 7, 10 May 41, pp. 11, 8, 11, 7. The terms were concurrent and with normal remission he actually served 10 months.

137 Luxford, John Hector, CMG(’52) (1890–): SM from 1928; Chief Judge Wn Samoa 1929–35; principal SM Auck 1953–6

138 Dominion, 3 Apr 41, p. 11

139 Evening Post, 10, 23 Apr 41, pp. 9, 10

140 Ibid., 6, 10, 16 May 41, pp. 11, 7, 9

141 Clause 9 (2). ‘Nothing in this Act or in any emergency regulations shall be so construed or shall so operate as to take away or restrict the liability of any person for any offence punishable independently of this Act, but no person shall be punished twice for the same offence.’

142 Blair, Hon Sir Archibald, Kt(’46) (1875–1952): Judge Supreme Court 1928–48

143 Callan, Hon John Bartholomew, KC (1882–1951): Judge Supreme Court 1935–49

144 Kennedy, Hon Sir Robert, Kt(’49) (1887–1974): Judge Supreme Court 1929–50

145 Burton, ‘Autobiography’, pp. 436–7

146 Evening Post 10, 11, 27 Jun, 1 Jul 41, pp. 9, 9, 8, 8

147 Ibid., 30 Apr 41, p. 11, at trial of J. W. Boal

148 Ibid., 12 May 41, p. 8; NZCPS Bulletin W29, p. 10

149 Dowling, Basil Cairns (1910–): author; Presbyterian min 1939–41; librarian 1947–51, chmn Otago Branch NZLA 1948–9; since teaching English in London

150 Evening Post, 19 May, 3, 9 Jun 41, pp. 8, 9, 9

151 Ibid., 29 Oct, 1, 10, 17 Nov 41, pp. 9, 10, 9, 9

152 NZ Herald, 28 Nov, 9, 12, 17, 23 Dec 41, pp. 9, 6, 8, 9, 4

153 Fair, Hon Sir Arthur, KC(’25) (1885–1970): Solicitor-General 1925; Judge Supreme Court, Court of Appeal 1934–55

154 NZ Herald, 6, 7, 13 Feb 42, pp. 7, 8, 2

155 Ibid., 27 Jan, 6, 7, 14 Feb 42, pp. 4, 7, 8, 4

156 Ibid., 17, 23 Dec 41, pp. 9, 4; NZCPS Bulletin W38, p. 5

157 Burton, ‘Autobiography’, p. 389

158 Dominion, 11 Dec 41, p. 3. Stout SM remarked that considering his subversive activities it would be foolish to send him to make trouble in a defaulters’ camp.

159 Ibid., 26 Feb, 8, 15 May 42, pp. 8, 6, 3

161 NZCPS Bulletin W38, Mar 42, p. 2

162 In NZCPS Bulletin W41, Jun 42, p. 2, Burton explained that the editor of W38 was Rev R. W. Mayson who, when Barrington was charged, wrote to the Registrar of the Supreme Court claiming full responsibility.

163 Evening Post, 23 Apr 42, p. 9

164 Ibid., 14, 20 May 42, pp. 6, 6

165 Ibid., 10 Jun, 28 Jul 42, pp. 6, 3; New Zealand Law Reports1942, pp. 502–22

166 He had been dismissed from the Methodist ministry in February (Dominion, 28 Feb 42, p. 6) and was stacking fruit boxes and making ice-cream. Burton, ‘Autobiography’, p. 451

167 Scholefield, Guy Hardy, CMG(’48), OBE(’19), JP (1877–1963): journalist, London correspondent NZ Associated Press 1908–19; Parly Librarian & Dom Archivist 1926–48; foreign aff broadcaster

168 These were the worrying days before the breakthrough at El Alamein and before the American hold on Guadalcanal was certain.

169 Dominion, 24, 28 Oct 42, pp. 10, 6

170 Quoted in NZCPS Bulletin W61, May 44, p. 1

171 Ponsonby, Lord Arthur Augustus William Harry, 1st Baron of Shulbrede (’30) (1871– 1946): diplomatic service 1894–1902; MP (Lib) 1908–18; Under-Sec State Foreign Aff 1924; Parly Under-Sec Doms 1929, Sec Min Transport 1929–31; Leader Oppos HoL 1931–5

172 NZCPS Bulletin W61, May 44, pp. 1–2

173 Ibid., p. 2. These overseas protests of 1943 could be seen as forerunners of the name-bearing advertisements (eg. NZ Listener, 7 Jun 68) that appeared in support of Dr Spock and others who 25 years later faced possible terms of 5 years in prison for inciting young Americans against service in Vietnam

174 Barrington broadcast

175 By the deputation of 18 Nov 40. See p. 195

176 WHN, ‘Police Department’, p. 209

177 Mrs Burton to author, 28 Jan 68. NZCPS Bulletin W29, p. 9, records such a conversation, on 24 Apr 41, the day before Good Friday. ‘Detective Brown: Is your meeting tonight or tomorrow night? A.C.B.: Tomorrow night. That will save you coming out in force tonight. Detective Brown: Right. Thanks very much.’

178 Ibid., p. 5

179 Barrington broadcast

180 WHN, ‘Police Department’, p. 210

181 ‘For myself and Helen and the children it was the worst of all the things that happened.’ Burton, ‘Autobiography’, p. 449

182 Bulletin W32, p 8 [c. Jun 41]

183 Ibid., W68, p. 8

184 Copy of unidentified letter from Hautu Camp, dated ‘Feb. 1943’, in Barrington MS Papers 439/81

185 NZCPS Bulletin W59, p. 1, Mar 44

186 ‘I had to play football very hard’, the son of A. C. Barrington told the author in 1967; one of his teachers said to his father ‘Your son won’t be a pacifist, Archie, he’s too good at rugby.’

187 Evening Post, 8 May 41, p. 11

188 NZCPS Bulletin W34, p. 7, Sep 41

189 Ibid., W49, p. 3, Feb 43

190 Brash, Alan Anderson, OBE(’62) (1913–): Presbyterian minister Wanganui 1938–46, Chch 1952–6; Gen Sec Nat Cl Churches 1947–52, 1957–64; Sec E Asia Christian Conf 1964–7; Dir Christian Aid 1968–70; Dir World Cl Churches Cmssn on Inter-Church Aid, Refugee and World Service 1970–3, later Dep Gen Sec World Cl Churches

191 NZCPS Bulletin W60, p. 1, Apr 44

192 Ibid., W20, p. 5, Aug 40

193 Ibid., W39, p. 5, Apr 42

194 Ibid., W58, p. 2, Jan 44, W67, p.8, Nov 44