I wrote last week that the outlook was dark; now it is worse. As a nation we are taking part in the European war that has been expected for years; and what the result will be no one can tell. With many others, I had an idea that the war would be staved off on account of what is called the Great Powers being much afraid of each other to fight; but a simple matter – from our point of view – has caused the conflagration – as it has been called – and now that the country is in it, the sooner it is over the better, and let us hope that we come out of it alright.
As I said last week, it seems cruel that this country should be drawn into a war such as this because two foreign countries have quarrelled. As a nation we had no quarrel; but now we are in the thick of it. There are people who say we ought to have kept out of the business; but it isn’t easy – at least to me – to see how that could have been done under all the circumstances; and had England kept clear of the war, what would happen in the future? Or, at any rate, what would be likely to happen in the future? Had we been attacked, as it is almost certain we would be – it was a very near thing three years ago – we wouldn’t have had a friend.
I am not in favour of war – I am against it as strongly as anyone – but considering all the circumstances, and looking to the future, I can’t help thinking that the Government have done the right thing. They tried all means to bring about a settlement, but without success, and how they could have kept out of it with safety and honour is difficult to see. It may be – I am only guessing – that the trouble in Ireland encouraged Germany to “seek trouble” as it has been put. If that is so, the Germans have “backed a loser.”
Those were fine speeches in The House of Commons on Monday night, especially Mr. Redmond’s, where he said the Volunteers - Catholic and Protestant alike - would guard Ireland in place of the regular soldiers. If that was the stick Germany was depending upon, they will probably get a nasty fall. One pleasing thing in the whole sorry business is that as a country, despite differences of opinion on internal matters, we are practically united. And that is probably where some of our present enemies made a mistake.