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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

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N one of his famous essays Bacon says of men in great
places that they have no freedom either in their presence
or, he says, in their actions, or in their times, and I am
reminded of a story which, I think, was related, or possibly
invented, by the late Lord Grey of Fallodon about a China-
man who, by living in the country and saying very little,
achieved a reputation for immense wisdom* So great did
his reputation grow that in due course a deputation of his
fellow-countrymen waited upon him to ask him to accept
the throne, and in reply, the story went, the Chinaman said
nothing, but he went out quickly and washed his ears.
" I do not want you to take that story too seriously, or to
think that I am anxious to be relieved of my office: I only
tell it to imply that these burdens and responsibilities are
considerable and that what are sometimes called the sweets
of office lie not in the satisfaction of personal ambitions but
in the opportunities that are afforded to make some contribu-
tion to the happiness and security of the British peoples, and
perhaps sometimes to other peoples who are not fortunate
enough to be included in the British Empire. I have no doubt
. that in the case of British Prime Ministers these opportunities
are exceptionally wide. Nothing, I think, has impressed me
more during the last eight months, in which I have had oppor-
tunities of conversation with many visitors from the smaller
countries of Europe and elsewhere, than the unanimity with
which they have expressed their confidence in the single-
mindedness and the wisdom of Great Britain, and their desire
to follow her lead.
" I can give you an instance of how this moral influence
of our country does afford an opportunity of service to man-
kind by mentioning an incident which was made public only
this week. You all know with what bitterness and barbarity
this civil conflict in Spain is being carried on. Many prisoners
have been taken on both sides, and in many instances these
prisoners have been shot or have been maltreated, and the