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Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/223

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Anglo-French Dinner Speech

We are devoting to the cause of peace that faculty of foresight which, until to-day, man has reserved exclusively for the service of war.

I lately found in our National Library a little anonymous work, published by Johnson, near St. Paul's Church, in 1792, in which the author cries: "The time has come when the silent majesty of misery must be heard," The majesty of suffering labour is no longer dumb: it speaks now with a million tongues, and it asks the nations not to increase the ills which crush down the workers by an added burden of mistrust and hate, by wars and the expectation of wars.

Gentlemen, you may ask how and when and in what form this longing for international concord will express itself to some purpose. I will not hazard a guess this evening. Experience has taught me that one must be prudent when one speaks on these questions before one Parliament, and reason suggests that this prudence should be doubled when speaking before two.

Moreover, if we lack modesty and patience, we need only remember that in 1790 an Englishman who (before M. Mill) represented the town of Calais—the famous Conventionnel, Thomas Paine—wrote in a book, which had a great success in France, that England, France, and the United States ought to agree to cut down their naval expenses by half, and devote the money thus economised to old-age pensions for workmen; but the memory of this plea is already distant, so distant