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NOTES OF THE DAY

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NOTES OF THE DAY From our London Correspondent. PRIME MINISTER'S HOMECOMING. THE Prime Minister received a tre- mendous welcome from the people of London on his return from the Peace Conference last Sunday evening; and on the following Monday he was the object of an enthusiastic ovation unprecedented in the history of the House of Commons. He bore himself very modestly on both occasions. After his Herculean labours in a momentous conference charged with the solemn and terrible duty of shaping the future destinies of the world, he de- serves the gratitude of his country. He ha.s laboured hard, has spent himself without stint, and has devoted himself body and soul to the promotion of the interests, as he conceived them, of the United Kingdom and of the British Em- pire. The peace negotiations made heavy drafts on his physical strength and his nervous energy. 1 When he faced the House of Commons on Monday he looked ? shattered man. Like Gladstone he has marvellous recuperative power and when he re-appeared on Thursday to deliver his eagerly-anticipated speech on the Peace Treaty he looked sprightlier and more vigorous; but nearly all the old. buoyancy is gene. He has aged percep- tibly in the past seven months. The hair i • whiter and scantier; the eyes have lost much of their former lustre; the face is gaunt, careworn, deeply furrowed; the poise and carriage of the body are no longer alert and elastic. Lloyd George in a word is past his physical prime. A DEXTEROUS SPEECH. HIS speech on the Peace treaty with •* Germany was dexterous, but it was not big in conception, or noble in tem- per. Not once did he rise to the moun- tain-top surveying with calm wisdom the past and the present, and looking with the eye of a prophet to the future. Throughout he kept on the low-lands; the vision was narrow and contracted; the tone, thoroughly materialistic. It struck me as the speech of a politician not that of a statesman. That spiritual essence which used to be a distinctive quality of Lloyd George oratory had vanished. Nor was there in it a trace of idealism. Paris, with its very secular temper, its hardness and coldness, has almost paganized him. FRENCH FEARS. I BOTH President Wilson and Mr. Lloyd George have been profoundly affected by the atmosphere of the French capital. It is a great misfortune that the feace Conference should have met in Paris. France has suffered so grievously ili the war; the German menace is so ever-present to her vision that she is un able to take a cool and rational view of the situation. Her sufferings and her fears for the future have deeply in- fluenced Wilson and Lloyd George. The result is that France has imposed her will on the peace conference; and that the peace is one of violence. It is a peace dictated by hatred and fear;—a peace that gives France a precarious military hedgemony in Europe and sows with un- sparing hand the seeds of future trouble. The generous hope that the League of Nations would inaugurate a new world- Order in which the nations would dwell in amity, has not been realized. League ()f Nations ? "Yes," says France, "a beautiful dream; but meanwhile Ger- many has nearly 70,000,000 people, and we have only 40,000,000; we subscribe to the League, but we insist as a condition- precedent that Britain and America must guarantee to come to our assist- ance if Germany makes a wanton attack upon us." "THE TERRIBLE TERMS." I THAT attitude reveals in a flash the spirit in which the Peace treaty was made. It is a totally wrong spirit. No one advocated that Germany should "go scot-free, after her appalling crimes. Heavy penalties ought to be imposed on lier. Misguided by her militarists she became the enemy of the human race and the author of the most horrible catas- trophe in the records of history. But some avenue of hope should have been left open to her, some chance to bring forth fruits meet for repentance. Alas, the "terrible terms," as Lloyd George .called them, will only leave her to brood over her injuries and breed the spirit of -"revenge. A Germany that had cast off her despot and become a real democracy deserved better treatment. Was it not Mr. Lloyd George who said that we were 1- warring with that accursed gang the ex- Kaiser and bis military cabal not with the German people ? Was it not Presi- dent Wilson who said that the Allies had no quarrel with the German people, but only with a despotic and militarized autocracy incapable of honour or of covenanted faith ? | WAR'S BITTER FRUIT. I I WELL, the peace is now made, and we must abide by it. Its authors evidently don't believe in its permanence, otherwise France would not make such frantic appeals for British and American guarantees of help to her for the future. It is a peace that will not relieve Europe frcm the menace of war. Germany has been demilitarized. Thank God for it. But France and Italy remain armed to the teeth, though neither is able to bear the financial strain of conscription; civil war is raging in Russia; and Great Britain is burdened with the weight of i gigantic military establishments. Such is the bitter fruit of the war that was to end war. Is it any wonder that Labour is restive and half-rebellious ? The old governing classes made the war; they had a precious opportunity at the Peace Conference of noble atonement by mak- ing a peace of reconciliation. They failed to take it. The failure will cost them dear. An angry and disillusioned democracy is already hammering at the door.

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