Sir,—With the preparation for the Christmas Festival before our eyes, and the sound of the Christmas bells almost in our hearing, your readers will not think it out of place if one urges specially at this time that they should determine, as far as in them lies, to think with more peace and goodwill of that great kindred nation whose Teutonic blood runs in our veins. Our satisfaction as a people in the past year has been the friendlier relation which, thanks to the King’s initiative, has been established between ourselves and France. Why should not the satisfaction of the New Year b ethe birth of an “entente cordiale” between ourselves and Germany?
We have ourselves to thank for the feeling of unfriendliness that exists largely on paper and in an irresponsible Press. We will not put ourselves in the Germans’ place, and see her natural as matters are, it is, that Germany in her isolation should feel it a sine qua non that her Army should be strong and her Fleet great. But, worse than this, we do not see how this continual bickering and criticism is acting as an incentive to her to build a larger fleet, and thereby to directly increase our burden. Our military expenditure has gone up by leaps and bounds. In 1894 it stood at £58,4000,000; in 1904 it had risen to £94,000,000. It is calculated that we expended thus in 1894 a sum amounting to £7 11s. 9d. for each family of five persons, in 1904 a sum of £11 1s. 6d. In the last ten years the population has increased 10 per cent.—the military expenditure has increased 100 per cent.
Now, as one who believes that if only we could obtain a United States of Europe a very large portion of this expenditure could be saved and utilised for other national needs—for education, for better housing of the poor, for old-age pensions, and the like, I am obliged to come to the conclusion that it is my bounden duty to do what I can to encourage such feelings of friendship towards the Continental nations as shall make the vision of a United States of Europe a practical reality….
It is because we owe such debts to Germany in the domain of Thought and Science, of Medicine, of Literature, of Archaeology, and of Biblical Research, as well as in the world of Chemistry, as applied to trade, and that we go to her for help in so many departments of our daily life, that one feels this trumped-up ill-feeling is as foolish as it is suicidal. The country that gave us our printed Bible and the blessing of the Reformation has special claims upon folk who call themselves Christians, and at such a season as this it would seem to be incumbent upon the Churches to speed the Christmas message, and strive for a nobler sympathy and fellow-feeling with our Teuton cousin. Rivals we are, but we may still be friends for the sake of the peace and progress of all the world.
(London Daily News, 23 December 1905, p. 8)