[Editor: This letter to the editor, about the compulsory training of Australian teenage males as military cadets, was published in The Observer (Adelaide, SA), 11 February 1911.]
Compulsory military training
From “Little Red Riding Hood”:— “I wrote to The Register some days ago, saying that I hated the idea of war and wounds and things, and that I thought we were very insulting to the Chinese. And now I find that I have inadvertently hurt the feelings of some of your readers, who are getting quite rude to me.
Somebody last week called me ‘a champion.’ I’m not a champion; I’m an infidel. And now a Christian teacher is unkind, and throws beautiful poetry at me, and talks of the love of God. I suppose he means the same God who said to the Jewish general, ‘Thou shalt smite them and utterly destroy them. Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them. I will make mine arrows drunk with blood. I will laugh at their calamity. Thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and daughters.”
Es for war, I call it murder
* * * * * * * *
God hez sed so plump and fairly.
and the poet referred to says ‘if you want to take in God you must get up early.’ I think it would be safer to stay up all night.
But perhaps the Scriptural passage quoted above does not really mean what it says; or perhaps it has not been translated properly; or any way, I expect it really means something else, for, if not, then the God to whom the reverend gentleman refers can hardly be called up as an exponent of peace. I believe that there are even orders to fight in the New Testament also, and I think that the Christ Himself said that He had come to bring a sword.
But this I do know, that so long as there is a foreign Power from whom there is the slightest chance of aggressiveness, so long as there are men still in Australia, so long as we have women and children to protect, then so long it will be necessary to have a standing army and navy.
Freedom is what we have, and freedom is what we are going to keep.”
The Observer (Adelaide, SA), 11 February 1911, p. 47
The quoted verse is by James Russell Lowell, and was written in the vernacular.
He = in a religious context, and capitalized, a reference to God or Jesus Christ
Himself = in a religious context, and capitalized, a reference to God or Jesus
James Russell Lowell = (1819-1891), an American poet, critic, editor, professor, and diplomat; he was born in Cambridge (Massachusetts, USA) in 1819, and died in Cambridge (Massachusetts, USA) in 1891
See: “James Russell Lowell”, Wikipedia
shalt = (archaic) shall
smite = strike, hit hard; attack; hurt; injure; kill
thine = your (“thine”, meaning “your”, is usually placed before a word which begins with a vowel or a vowel sound, e.g. “To thine own self be true”); yours (“thine”, meaning “yours”, is the more common usage)
thou = (archaic) you (regarding a person as the subject in a sentence)
thy = (archaic) your
[Editor: The original text has been separated into paragraphs.]
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