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í THE PEACE CRUSADED .', lb-…

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í THE PEACE CRUSADED lb- — f AFTER THE CONVENTION Aim-. WHAT HAS BEEN DONE. BY W. T. STEAD. 'l. The National Convention and the huge culmina- ting meeting at the Queen's Hall are over, and are already but a memory-though a memory which 'most of those who were present will retain to the end of their lives. Never before has there been held a gathering similar to that in St. Martin's Town Hall, where congregated the delegates from two hundred town's meetings held throughout England, Scotland, and Wales. They were no more than some seven hundred strong-far fewer than at the initiation of this Crusade we had hoped they would be. "To carve thy fullest thought, what though Time was not granted ? Thy great design shall stand." The words of Lowell come so aptly and pointedly that they might have been written purposely for the encouragement of the workers of the Crusade, who have spent themselves without thought of their own convenience, and who at the end see unaccom- plished the aims with which they set forth on their three months of ceaseless toil. Pessimism has temporarily seized some of those jwho have striven hard during many weeks, and now .see so little tangible result. Yet neither pessimism nor disappointment wa3 the dominant note of the Convention, but rather a feeling of splendid hope- fulness. Perhaps that was, in some measure, due to the fact that the larger proportion of those present were from the provinces, where from the beginning the appreciation of what the Czar's Rescript may accomplish has been keener than in the metropolis, and where the enthusiasm for peace is far more real and earnest, and goes far deeper. From the opening to its close the Convention went with a swing. There was rather an embarrass-; jment of riches in the way of speakers, and had it not been for the splendid tact and genial coirtesy, jof the Earl of Aberdeen the Convention might! ihave been prolonged to the evening. As it was. the! I Convent-ion lasted erectly for the two hours and :ten minutes which was fixed beforehand ns it3 inatural limit, and in that time the whole of the [resolutions were enthusiastically agreed to. After leaving the arrangements for the presenta- tion of the national and international memorials in the hands of the General Committee of the Crusade, the most important resolution come to by the Con- vention was that proposed by Canon Rawnsley, in a speech poetical and fervid, as are all his public 'utterances. The motion was not on the programme as drafted. Here are its terms: "That the local committees formed in various parts of the country; in connection with this Crusade be urged to keep their organisation in existence, and that before the International Crusade of Peace is finally dissolved a special meeting of the General Committee should be convened to consider Mr. Stead's proposal for an extended and permanent organisation." hati motion is the basis for a fresh start. When acted upon, it will ensure thai no tittle of the effort which has been made during three strenuous months will be wasted. In whatever the General Committee may decide to do for the future, there must be no interference with the existing peace and arbitration societies, which have from the beginning thrown themselves into the task of forwarding the Czar's efforts with commendable zeal and self-denial. Through many dark years, when the horizon has been unstreaked by one ray of light heralding the coming dawn, earnest and devoted men have laboured on, hoping against hope that sooner or later they will jrin the world to their views. They have been the evangelists of the Peace movement. By indomitable perseverance, they have smoothed the way over which the nations must eventually travel. It would be a thousand pities if anything which was now done should ignore the workers in the past, or should deprive them of one iota of the credit to which they are entitled. jvnicn may on acnievea witnout trespassing on the ground already covered. God knows there is sufficient of the barren, arid, and sun-dried desert; to cultivate without our venturing into the few [patches of green which cot, the landscape. We must strive to gradually enlarge the area of the ;tilled ground. For that purpose, we have in our hands the strings of a rough-and-ready organifa' ion. I In almost every town where a meeting has been held a committee has been formed. That com- mittee, in each case, contains earnest believers in the new gospel of the Czar. About this nucleus may grow up a strong society, doing all in its power to spread the doctrine of itittriiational friendliness and the brotherhood of man. In this way, the existing organisations may be reinforced and aided without being interfered with. The General Committee has other work before it. The National Convention left to the members of that body the arrangements for the presentation of the two memorials. Even with that task out of the wpy, much remains to be done. The International Conference at The Hague does not assemble until May 18th. Between then and now, there must be the gathering of the harvest. We have, so far, accomplished little but the sowing of the seed. It remains to garner the abundant crop springing from the corn which fell upon fertile ground. A small deputation gathering at The Hague during the sittings of the Peace Congress might be able to accomplish much by judicious advice wisely tendered. The possibility of sending such a delegation of Peace experts will have to be con- sidered by the committee. Obviously, with so much work lying ready to its hand, the General Committee cannot think of dis- solving at the present time. The organisation of the opinion of this country may be complete, but much more than this is wanted. The committee will not disperse until after the Powers have assembled through their representatives and come to some decision, good or evil, upon the Czar's pro- posals. Before the final separation, the accounts of the Crusade will be carefully audited by profes- sional accountants, and every man or woman who has contributed so much as one penny to the Crusade will receive a full account of the expendi- ture of the whole of the money. The amount is not so great as it should have been. Probably never before has so much been accomplished with resources so inadequate. Most of the newspapers spoke of the fine demon- stration at the Queen's Hall as the culminating gathering of the Crusade. I have myself adopted the phrase in this letter. Nevertheless the Crusade is not at an end. Several meetings have been held this week. Others are arranged for. These, how- ever, have not been organised by the General Committee. They are running independently of the Committee. They are running independently of the central organisation, and are in themselves an: evidence of the depth to which the feeling in favouri of Peace has penetrated, apart altogether from any exertions made by the Crusade itself. With the present week the organ of the Crusade comes to an end. War Against War has been an absolutely unique publication. Other movements have had their news-sheets, but in no previous instance has a fully organised weekly paper been started for so shoit a period. The contributors have been brilliant men in literature and art, and the whole series of twelve numbers formic a unique the whole series of twelve numbers formic a unique and complete record of what will be an historic effort. Now that the time has come to drop my pen it -is well to ask, What has the Crusade accomplished ? All that we dreamt has not been realised. Even, on the Continent, however, we have demonstrated that in every country where there is a public opinion at all voices raised in protest against the huge burden of militarism rouse a wide responsive echo. In England we have proved that wherever men and women can be got together to discuss the great issues which-1 lie at the bottom of the Czar's Rescript they speak with one voice in behalf of a Peace between nations and a drawing closer of the bonds which unite all peoples, whatever their differences of tongue, of colour, or of blood. It may be that the movement thus inaugurated will have its set-backs and its halts. At times its pnlse may almost cease to beat; but sooner or later its principles will be the chief determining cause in the policy of nations.

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