A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 63

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EXCITEMENT IN LONDON


situation. Almost every man decided in his own mind that it would be not only a disloyal but an absurd thing to doubt the nation's financial stability. He would leave his money in the bank, and go on as usual.

Sunday, August 2, was a day of intense excitement. Weekday daily papers made an unusual Sabbath appearance, and in such London centres as Charing Cross and Piccadilly Circus were literally torn from the hands of shouting newsvendors. A meeting held in Trafalgar Square on Sunday to protest against war, resolved itself into another meeting under the Admiralty Arch, where a resolution to support the authorities in all circumstances was passed with acclamation. And later in the day, inspired in the hour of national danger by a realization of all that the crown stood for, a crowd of several thousands marched to Buckingham Palace singing the British and French national anthems. Out on to the balcony came the King and Queen, to be received with wildly enthusiastic cheers. And yet another symptom of the growing feeling was the letter of Bonar Law, the opposition leader, to the government, which, setting aside the bitter political feuds that had separated the two parties, assured the Liberal ministers of "our unhesitating support of the government in any measure they may consider necessary"—to assist France and Russia at the present juncture.

The world was making holiday when on Monday, August 3, members of parliament gathered at Westminster. With grave, set face, Sir Edward Grey advanced to the table and in slow and deliberate tones reviewed the history of the past few years. He showed how France had become involved in the conflict because of an obligation of honour under a definite alliance with Russia. We were not partners to that alliance, of which we did not even know the terms. Our friendship with France, however, arising out of the Entente Cordiale, had engendered a feeling of security in the republic. So he approached the first issue, which required the approval of the House.

On behalf of the opposition Mr. Bonar Law renewed his written promise to support the government in whatever steps they might think it necessary to take for the honour and security of the country. During the debate Mr. John Redmond made a remarkable declaration of Irish loyalty. On the day after Austria had shown her hand towards Serbia, a collision between Nationalist gun runners and the Dublin police had resulted in bloodshed.

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