Friday 7 April 1916
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Emily Denby, a regular contributor of patriotic poems, had published a strong condemnation of conscientious objectors the week before. Two of them replied through the columns of the newspaper. Charles Carter of Stanningford Grove, Shipley, argued that war was futile: ‘Where every nation has some responsibility for such a regrettable state of the world, there can be no such thing as a holy war between two groups of nations. ‘The regeneration of any nation must come from within and cannot be imposed from without. The German people will have to free themselves from the yoke of Prussianism, which holds them by conscription. ‘We hear the cry of Abel, the cry of stricken humanity, the innocent suffering for the guilty from all nations, but war is a useless and futile method of redressing the wrong. Wrong and injustice ‘It increases the enmity and hatred and crushes out the good will, bringing in its train more wrong and injustice. ‘It implies a strange lack of faith in the powers of the Divine to resort to war. Retribution will come more surely by the operation of social and economic forces than it could by force of arms.’ He drew an analogy with a doctor who had to cure the root causes of a disease as well as its symptoms, adding: ‘We must learn to settle differences between nations by other means than war. Unless each individual sees his responsibility for helping to do so, there will be no progress.
‘This is what the conscientious objector is trying to show. We have come to realise that we have two courses to choose from. On the one hand we have to accept things as they are, not worry about improvement and let things slide, or on the other make an attempt to correct those errors which would ultimately lead again to the destruction of civilisation.’ Phlegmatic After chiding some of the clergy for preaching recruiting sermons but staying at home themselves he concludes: ‘It is not possible to draw an analogy between a man and a State and this war so far has not been able to heal the sufferings of the smaller nations who fall among thieves whoever the thieves may be.’ Henry Marshall of Delph Hill, Baildon, argued that ‘war is wrong and has no part in Christian teaching. ‘I quite agree with Miss Denby that a love of liberty and freedom of conscience is a fine characteristic of the British race, that in the make-up of the stolid phlegmatic John Bull there is a strong love of fair play and one may go any lengths in stating his opinions, even to abuse of that right. ‘Conscientious Objectors could not live in a Prussian atmosphere. Freedom of conscience has hitherto been our chief glory as a people. Would she be willing to see that too Prussianised and brought under the
military machine so that we also are to be told what to think?’ He claimed Emily Denby had been misleading when she claimed that because conscientious objectors refused to fight for Britain they were on Germany’s side. ‘Miss Denby knows that the conscientious is a standing protest against the Gospel of Force whether British or Prussian. These young men have stood alone to face ridicule and too often insult. ‘They too have answered the call but it is of things spiritual rather than material. The call, not of an earthly King but an Heavenly, whom we are told must reign until “He hath put all enemies under His feet.” ‘Of all His enemies militarism has been the most hideous and abhorrent in all ages. The “swank” of it riding roughshod over everything down the ages ruling by might rather than by love, has nothing whatever in common with the lowly Nazarene.’ Arbitration He concluded: ‘There has been a call for years for arbitration in international disputes rather than that these things should be put to the brutal arbitration of the sword. There is a trend of thought which is gradually getting above mere nationalism. Men are looking with wistful eyes of faith forward into the bright future which will surely one day be realised in the earth when Nation with Nation, land with land Unarmed shall live as comrades free. In every heart and brain shall throb The pulse of one fraternity.’
Emily Denby was back in print to reply to ‘the numerous letters, leaflets, pamphlets, pictures of the crucifixion etc, with which I have this week been bombarded.’ She argued that everyone’s life is a constant battle ground on a number of planes – science, politics, religion, philosophy and moral – so that ‘when the foe appears on the physical plane, I see no reason why we should not take up physical weapons just as readily and as willingly as we take up mental and moral weapons.’ Uplifting After arguing that this was the time to fight to overcome an oppressive enemy and secure peace for future generations, she concluded: ‘Conscience, indeed! Look at a company of gallant lads in khaki next time you take a walk out and consider whose faces look happier, your own or theirs? ‘They are conscious of a great uplifting of their souls in having responded to the call of duty and it makes their eyes shine with a radiant light of peace which comes only by being in possession of life’s true secret, that of a will harmonised and attuned to the higher will of renunciation and sacrifice. ‘They can smile at death as they meet him for they have proved their immortality. “There is nothing more welcome to a soldier than righteous war offered unsought as an open door to heaven.” ‘Physical weapons can only destroy physical bodies but moral and mental and spiritual cowardice, destroy the soul.’
‘On the one hand we have to accept things as they are, not worry about improvement and let things slide, or on the other make an attempt to correct those errors which would ultimately lead again to the destruction of civilisation.’
Controversey over Conscientious Objectors heats up
Emily Denby argues ‘moral and mental and spiritual cowardice, destroy the soul’
Standing up to ridicule and insult
Harry Roberts (left), the son of Saltaire Mills owner Sir James Roberts, had twice appealed against conscription on the grounds that he was indispensable to the company as his father was away around a third of the time for health reasons. Twice the appeal was turned down and a week after reporting the second rejection, the following report appeared. ‘Although allowed three days in which to appeal against the decision of the district Tribunal on Wednesday of last week, Mr J H N Roberts, managing director of Sir Titus Salt, Bart, Co Ltd., Saltaire Mills, presented himself for service at the receiving headquarters at Keighley on the following day and was granted fourteen days’ leave of absence in order to arrange his affairs. ‘Mr Roberts is the only surviving son of Sir James. He has taken an active part in the business and he and his father are the only managing directors of the concern. ‘Sir James has made it clear that it was from no desire on the part of his son that an appeal for exemption has been made. In fact, Mr Roberts expressed a desire to enlist more than a year ago and when the Derby scheme was inaugurated he was one of the first in Saltaire to attest. ‘He takes an unusual interest in the Shipley Veterans’ Association of which he is president and he is very popular amongst those with whom he comes in contact.’
Harry’s prompt response to Tribunal verdict
Owing to the shortage of labour, bakers are finding considerable difficulty in supplying bread to their customers. It is therefore recommended that housewives do their own baking as in the good old days of practical economy. The following recipe will give the most satisfactory result: To make Bread – To every pound of flour add to two teaspoonfuls of Borwick’s Baking Powder with a little salt and thoroughly mix while in a dry state; then pour on gradually about a half a pint of cold water, or milk and water, mixing quickly but thoroughly into dough of the usual consistence, taking care not to knead it more than is necessary to mix it perfectly; make it into small loaves which must be immediately put into a quick oven.
Violinist, Miss May Charnock of Manningham, formerly of Fourlands, Idle, passed an examination ‘which entitles her to the degree of Licentiate Victoria College of Music. She achieved 98 marks out of 100. Another successful young musician was Miss Mary Slingsby of Field House, Cowling Road, Windhill. The Incorporated Society of Musicians presented her with a book, The History of Music in England, for obtaining the highest mark in a grade two piano examination.
Young muscians shine in examinations
Columnist “Mr Idler” wrote: ‘News reaches me that the postal arrangements may shortly be altered – for the worse. Already the last post leaves at 7.30 instead of, as formerly, 8.15. Before long, should my information prove correct (and I have no reason to doubt that it will), the evening post will close at 7 Contrasted with pre-war days when we had a tram postal service at 9.30, this is a drastic and very unpleasant change – one that will, I fear, operate prejudicially upon business.
Bread in wartime
Postal times worsen
The Britannic Assurance Company has shown its patriotism during the anxious months of war in a practical fashion, having continued to pay full claims arising on policies existing at the outbreak of hostilities on the lives of policy holders belonging to, or have subsequently joined, the Colours. It is also worthy of special note that, notwithstanding the greatly added risk attendant upon a soldier’s life, no extra premium is or has been charged on such policies. In other ways, also, the Britannic Assurance Company has done its “bit.” Appeals have, at various times been issued to the male members of its staff of military age, calling upon them to answer the call of the Nation, at the same time promising re-instatement after the war to all employees who desire to return. The result of this patriotic stand taken by the company is seen in the fact that every eligible man, except one on the chief office staff, has enlisted or attested under the Derby Scheme.
Patriotic acts by insurance company