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Britain's Deadly Peril

Are We Told the Truth?

311 pages
Library of Alexandria
The following pages—written partly as a sequel to my book "German Spies in England," which has met with such wide popular favour—are, I desire to assure the reader, inspired solely by a stern spirit of patriotism. This is not a book of "scaremongerings," but of plain, hard, indisputable facts. It is a demand for the truth to be told, and a warning that, by the present policy of secrecy and shuffle, a distinct feeling of distrust has been aroused, and is growing more and more apparent. No sane man will, of course, ask for any facts concerning the country's resources or its intentions, or indeed any information upon a single point which, in the remotest way, could be of any advantage to the barbaric hordes who are ready to sweep upon us. But what the British people to-day demand is a sound and definite pronouncement which will take them, to a certain extent, into the confidence of the Government—as apart from the War Office, against which no single word of criticism should be raised—and at the same time deal effectively with certain matters which, being little short of public scandals, have irritated and inflamed public opinion at an hour when every man in our Empire should put forth his whole strength for his God, his King, and his country. Germany is facing the present situation with a sound, businesslike policy, without any vacillation, or any attempt to shift responsibility from one Department of the State to another. Are we doing the same? What rule or method can be discerned, for example, in a system which allows news to appear in the papers in Scotland which is suppressed in the newspapers in England? Why, indeed, should one paper in England be permitted to print facts, and another, published half a mile away, be debarred from printing the self-same words? The public—who, since August 4th last, are no longer school-children under the Head-Mastership of the Prime-Minister-for-the-Time-Being—are now wondering what all this curious censorship means, and for what reason such an unreliable institution—an institution not without its own scandals, and employing a thousand persons of varying ideas and warped notions—should have been established. They can quite understand the urgent necessity of preventing a horde of war correspondents, at the front, sending home all sorts of details regarding our movements and intentions, but they cannot understand why a Government offer of £100 reward, published on placards all over Scotland for information regarding secret bases of petrol, should be forbidden to be even mentioned in England. They cannot understand why the Admiralty should issue a notice warning the public that German spies, posing as British officers, are visiting Government factories while at the same time the Under-Secretary for War declares that all enemy aliens are known, and are constantly under police surveillance. They cannot understand either why, in face of the great imports of foodstuffs, and the patriotic movement on the part of Canada and our Overseas Dominions concerning our wheat supply, prices should have been allowed to increase so alarmingly, and unscrupulous merchants should be permitted to exploit the poor as they have done. They are mystified by the shifty shuttlecock policy which is being pursued towards the question of enemy aliens, and the marked disinclination of the authorities to make even the most superficial inquiry regarding cases of suspected espionage, notwithstanding the fact that German spies have actually been recognised among us by refugees from Antwerp and other Belgian cities.