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An Open Letter to the Attested…

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An Open Letter to the Attested Married Man. By THOMAS THOMAS Friend,—I am obliged to confess to a feeling of keen disappointment over your conduct of late. If you keep up your preeertt role of the aggrieved person much longer, I shall be forced to the conclusion that your parade of patriot- ism is a sham—that you attested not because you desired to help your country, but because you believed that there would be no necessity for you to fulfil your obligations. You know that Mr. Asquith's pledge has been fulfilled — more than fulfilled, for since the Tribunals have been established all sorts and conditions of single men are enforced into the army. Why, then, this loud display of virtuous indignation against being called upon to fulfil your own pledge? You have lately developed an inordin- ate solicitude for your wife and children- such solicitude that you cannot sleep at night for fear the Germans will offer them violence. Is this solicitude real? You yourself have dozens of times inflicted upon them unnecessary suf- fering. You have taken your wages to the public-house and leit your home bereft of the bare essentials of life. Your children wear thread-bare clothes, and are pinched with hun" ger simply because of your bestial cravings. You have often laid violent hands on your wife for the only crime of asking yow for the money necessary to provide the children with food. Before the war you displayed a callous indiffer- ence to the needs of those who looked to you for protection and love; but now. you seem to! have changed. Judging from your vociferous complaints against the single man, you appear to be much perturbed about the sanctity of the home. But the very louckiess of your pro- tests is suggestive of dissimluation and it is to be feared that all your parade of patriot- ism and love for your wife and children is nothing short of a vile subterfuge to hide a craven fear. Everything was alright after your attesta- tion when, with your armlet, you swaggered along the street like an embryo Napoleon, but now the married groups are being called up you try to find excuses to evade your res- ponsibilities. You attend meetings of attested married men, and you pass resolutions protest- ing against the iniquity of the military au- thorities in calling you up before every single negligible man is first enforced into the ser- vice. You go further than that: you even threaten to disobey the authorities unless they accede to your demands. Surely, you don't call that patriotism? You attested of your own free will, and you should be man enough to stick to your guns. You may say that you attested on the strength of Mr. Asquith's pledge, and your only request is to see that pledge fulfilled before you obey your country's call. It does not speak highly of your sense of honour that yo* attested on such conditions, but when you stoop to subeir- fuges in olpør to try and escape from the results of your own pledge, you are doing a very discreditable thing. You insist that every single man must be compelled to serve, in the army before you are called up. Though you be only 26 years of age, and strong in the bargain, whilst the single man may be 40 with his strength wasted in past labourious toil, still you demand that he should go first. The fact that the single man has all his life maintained, or assisted to maintain a home for a widowed mother or di- seased father matters not to you; you stand by the- inexorable law of the single man first, and you will have your pound of flesh though lioliaotih-, decency and justice be easf to the f.)iir winds of heaven. You volunteered of your own free will, but you are not prepared to grant the same immu- nity from force to other men. It is you who made the Military Service Act possible. It is you who stand in the way of the repeal of the Act. Your patriotism out-ran your judgment, and finding things turning. out differently to what you expeated, you display a tendency to emulnte the despicable and tyrannical Hun whom you are called upon to destroy. Do you know that when anyone suffers violence or tyr- rany, the pain is not less if the tyrant be a Britisher. When you, in your drunken orgies, laid violent hands on your wife, the agony to her was as much as if inflicted by a German. This lesson you should take to heart. I cannot, sav that I appreciate your tyranni- cal tactics against the single man. In the name of heaven, why should a single man be called upon to defend your wife while you shirk at home ? The husband is the rightful protector; of, his wife. not anyone else; yet you demand others to do what is rightfully your work. Married men are treated alike with the single in Conscript countries. Why, then, do you demand pireferental treatment in this country? On. what grounds do you insist that the single man should stand between you and the Ger- If you really believe the Germans to be a menace to your wife and children, is it not your duty to defend them, and then call the unmarried to aid you if necessary F I tell you honestly that your attitude is more despi- cable than anything I can imagine. The single man you have so persistently dubbed shirs; ei has, at least, the redeeming virtue of the mo- ral courage of his convictions, and has re- mained firm to his beliefs, however erroneoua those beliefs might be; but you-, believing the war to be right, and having attested as a, public proof of your belief, now, when called upon to give a practical exhibition of your be- lief, you evince anything but enthusiasm for. the cause you espouse. That is not, strictly speaking, a very est nimble course to adopt .1 The man who believes a cause to be right, and who is not prepared to sacrifice for s?ch a cause, has a curve in his moral spine; but you are even worse, for you want to compel those who differ from you regarding the justice of a cause to bear the burden of your own shirking as well as the penalties of their own convictions. I regret having, thus to speak harshly to you, but, honestly, your conduct merits ttw» utmost censure. Do unto others as you would others do to you is still a. golden rule by which to govern your conduct. Of course, I can understand your reluctance in going out to the trenches out there it is anything but, pleasant, but for heaven's sake don't pretend to a virtue you don't possess, and don't snarl at every single eligible man Tn mufti.

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At Random. I

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I.1915=1950.

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