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Full text of "G. K. Chesterton"

G. K.   CHESTERTON                               IJ
called The New Witness. The objects of this paper were
two—first, to oppose alike the capitalist solution which
would concentrate all property in the hands of rich men and
the Socialist solution which would concentrate all property
in the hands of the State and to argue that instead property
should be as widely distributed as possible ; secondly, to
denounce the system of party politics, to argue that the
party game was really no more than a prearranged mas-
querade between the two front-benches, taking their turns
at office ; and in particular to denounce political corruption
and the system by which titles of honour were awarded in
return for contributions to the party funds. The paper's
attacks on political corruption led it in these years into a
famous lawsuit in which Cecil Chesterton was prosecuted
for criminal libel for allegations that he had made against
certain ministers in the Liberal Government of that day in
connexion with transactions in the shares of the Marconi
Company, which the Government was then taking over.
Cecil Chesterton was convicted, but only a nominal fine was
imposed upon him.
Chesterton had always been the supporter of small nations
against large, and the Gallic influence of Hilaire Belloc had
taught him to look on Prussia as the evil genius of Europe.
Lloyd George in these years had been introducing his
schemes of compulsory state insurance for workers—schemes
copied from those of Bismarck's Prussia—and The New
Witness had led the opposition to those schemes on the
argument that they were a step on the road to the return of
slavery and of the Servile State—to use a phrase which Hilaire
Belloc made the title of a book which he published in these
years. Therefore Chesterton had no hesitation in sup-
porting the Allied cause when war came in 1914.
In 1915 he published his first book of collected poems-
poems of a wide variety, from the light satirical to the deeply
devotional. The one that most caught the popular mood
of the moment was his Lepanto, in which he told the tale
of the battle of Christian Europe under Don John of