Owing to the remonstrance of the officer, however, and the anxiety to get volunteers, the noble Earl, actuated by a patriotism which did him honour, especially when contrasted with the sectarian bigotry of the Royal Artillery authorities, thought the Crisis of a Great War was not the moment for discussing such differences as these, and he reserved to himself the right of bringing this matter forward at a later period, and at the same time took the precaution that if his men volunteered into the Royal Artillery they should be kept together and treated in such a way that their religion would not be greatly interfered with by the rules of the army.
My claim for the Government has been that it successfully conducted this country through the Crisis of a Great War to a victorious peace, and that since that war it has acted in foreign affairs as a steadying and moderating influence, without which the condition of the world at the present time would have been infinitely worse than it is; and that in home affairs we have piloted the country peacefully through dangers and troubles such as, if contemplated beforehand, no man would have been bold enough, or rash enough, to claim that any Government would get through with so little disturbance.
The people did not believe these were bonâ fide reductions, and they resented the attempt which was undoubtedly made to take advantage of the Crisis of a Great War to push a particular piece of fanaticism.
Even in an extreme Socialist state, I do not believe that you would be able to get as effective compulsion, though you would try to get it, as you can get even in an individualist state in the Crisis of a War, when the great majority of the population are willing to accept every form of control and every form of discipline.
I could not, in the Crisis of a Great War, when so much uncertainty enshrouds our financial future, lightly forgo a claim to many millions of pounds - a claim which is in every respect legitimate and reasonable.