WW1

TREATMENT OF THE MEN IN PRISON

From The Tribunal 22nd November 1917

This is a further update in a series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the UK btween March 1916 and November 1918
_For other extracts go to:_http://nfpb.org.uk?tribunal

In the House of Commons on Tuesday, 13th November, Mr. E. Davies asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in view of the feeling which exists in the country owing to the fact that mean who claimed exemption as conscientious objectors, but failed to satisfy the various standards of the tribunals in different parts of the country and who, refusing to obey military orders, have suffered punishment on more than one occasion for what is, in effet, the same offence,he is ina positions to say that the question of the method of dealing with these men is being reconsidered by the Government?

Sir George Cave: if the hon. member means by his question to suggest that the general feeling of the country is adverse to the continued enforcement of the law in the case of persons claiming to be conscientious objectors, I do not agree with him. It must be remembered that all conscientious objectors now in prison have been offered their release on condition of their undertaking non-military work under the Home Office scheme, and have either refused the offer or failed to carry out the conditions on which they were released. The question how these men should be dealt with has been recently considered by the Government, who have determined that the law must be enforced, and that they must serve their sentences in prison. But in the case of men of this class who have sentenced to a long term of imprisonment the Government have decided that some relaxation of the prison rules should be allowed to prisoners who have earned the marks representing a twelve-months’ sentence (whether such marks have been earned in one or more sentences), and I propose shortly to give directions to this effect under No. 243a of the Prison Rules.

In the House of Lords on Nov, 14th, Earl Curzon stated that he would consult with the Home Secretary and make a statement at a later date as to the possibility of a further relaxation of prison rules.

Information is to hand from one prison that an alteration has already been made there in the regulation regarding books. Under the new order a C.O. is allowed to have his own books sent to him at the prison. His name must be clearly written therein. These books are to be housed in the Library but kept for his use only and he is apparently to be allowed the usual number in his cell at a time. At the end of his sentence he will be able to take these books away with him. We await Lord Curzon’s further statement with interest.

WHY I REFUSE TO BECOME A SOLDIER

From The Tribunal November 15th 1917

This is a further update in a series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the UK between March 1916 and November 1918
_For other extracts go to:_http://nfpb.org.uk/tribunal

Extracts from B. J. Boothroyd’s court-martial statement.

“I have refused to acknowledge military authority because I do do not regard myself as a soldier. That the law says I am a soldier does not concern me; the law was passed for the immoral purpose of forcing men to commit murder and to expedite murder, and therefore, I have no option but to refuse to obey it.

“War is the sanction of every vice that human mind can imagine. Every form of bestiality, every category of sin that human history contains is encouraged by war an exemplified in this one. War inevitably creates a state of things in which lying, treachery and end theft are enforced by Act of Parliament – in which the torture and destruction of men’s and women’s bodies is made the subject of technical instruction, and in which every evil, the capacity for which is inherent in humanity, is taught as a virtue by civil, military and ecclesiastical authority. With this state of things I am out of harmony, and to every manifestation of it I must offer uncompromising opposition.

“To ask me to be a soldier is to ask me to throw away my humanity, to extinguish the spark of divinity that is the soul of every man, and to ask me to act contrary to what are to me fundamental ethical laws, namely, to return good for evil, to refrain from judging and punishing the sins of others, and to treat others as I would be treated myself.

“Further, war necessitates the denial of that liberty of choice and action and that insistence on the sanctity of individuality which is necessary to human growth and development, and substitiutes a course of training that reduces the race to a set of standardised automata, without wills or judgement, permanently subject to the interest of a ruling class.

“Moreover, I am convinced that if the people of England and Germany could know to-day what I know of the political and financial events which led up to this war, instead of being fed upon the lies and half-truths of our officially ordered press, the men who are now killing each other in their ignorance would refuse to fire another shot unless it were at the rulers who have deceived and exploited them.

“Until this spell of false morality, false facts and bad logic, appealed for under the name of patriotism is broken, I believe there is no future for the race, but chaos and destruction. For my part, I intend to do all I can to exemplify another way of life, based on a conception of human relationships which will render way impossible. My alternative to punishment, whether of men or nations, is the example of a better way; to antagonism – amicable co-operation based on the common interests of humanity; to armed defence – fearless trust of my neighbour; and any law which orders me to live contrary to these principles I shall disobey without hesitation and try to persuade others to do so.

“With all due respect, I must disclaim any interest in the opinions expressed by this Court as to my guiltiness or otherwise, for I regard myself as the accuser in this case, believing this Court to be both a symbol and an instrument of that system of militarism which has plunged the world into misery. I wish to say, however,- and this in conclusion – that I do not wish my attitude to be mistaken for discourtesy towards the members of this Court, or to any soldiers.

My attitude towards soldiers is one of hope that their splendid qualities may some day be diverted from unnecessary destruction to the enrichment of humanity, by a fuller appreciation of the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ and a better acquaintance with foreign politics.”
B. J. Boothroyd

WILL CONSCRIPTION CONTINUE AFTER THE WAR

From The Tribunal 8th November 1917

This is a further update in a series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the UK between March 1916 and November 1918
For other extracts go to: http://nfpb.org.uk/tribunal

The Pope’s second Note to the belligerent Powers suggest, as one of the Terms of Peace, universal abolition of conscription by international agreement, a suggestion which was subsequently emphasised and amplified by Cardinal Gasparri. From what has been said by Count Czernin, and somewhat less explicitly in the German reply to the Pope, there is every reason to suppose that the Central Powers would be willing to accept such a clause in the Peace Treaty. The Allies, so far, have given no hint of any desire for dimunution of armaments elsewhere than among the Central Powers.

The No-Conscription Fellowship, as its title indicates, is vitally interested in the proposal to abolish Conscription. Many people in this country who dislike Conscription regard it simply as a measure for the duration of the war, as, indeed, it is nominally, as soon as the war ends. There is, however, every reason to fear that this optimistic belief is a delusion. If Conscription continues on the Continent, and if international relations after the war continue to be conducted in the same principles on which they have been in the past, it may be taken as certain that compulsory military service in this country will continue. The only genuinely practicable method of inducting our rulers to abandon such a convenient institution will be by an international agreement, and it is much to be hoped that all who do not love militarism for its own sake will rally in support of the Pope in his proposals and will endeavour to prove that it is not only in Germany and Austria that the abolition of militarism is desired.

The evils of Conscription are many and various. The financial burden alone constitutes a grave evil after the war, when every nation will be crippled by the debts contracted to capitalists and all available labour will be required to repair the ravages of war. So long as Conscription persists, it is almost impossible that neighbouring nations should be on genuinely friendly terms, since each is continually obsessed by the fear of what its neigbour’s conscript army might do in an invasion. Genuine friendship between the nations demands a diminution in their offensive power in order that suspicion, terror and pride may no longer be the feelings that dominate diplomacy. All who have studied Conscription of the Continent are unanimous as to the damage it does to the health of the race through the spread of venereal disease, and it is impossible to estimate the moral damage that is done to the health of each nation by teaching them that the most important thing to learn is how to kill. We of the No-Conscription Fellowship are especially concerned to emphasise this aspect of the evils of Conscription. We believe that those who have the deepest moral insight and the greatest capacity of love for their neighbour cannot consent to make themselves the blind tools of destruction at the bidding of Governments which may be ambitious and unscrupulous. We believe that the effect of Conscription is gradually to stamp out those who have such insight. And in this process it cannot but crush individuality and independence of thought, producing a slavish population whose acts are dominated by fear and inspired by the purposes of others, not y their own desires and aspirations. It is not by such populations that great things are done for civilisation, or that progress is to be expected in any of those directions in which we should all wish to see the human race moving. For all these reasons we hope that our rulers will graciously permit us to support the Pope in his endeavour to secure the objects for which we are said to be fighting.

BERTRAND RUSSELL

"THE TIMES" AND CONSCIENCE

From The Tribunal November 1, 1917

This is a further update in a series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the UK between March 1916 and November 1918
_For other extracts go to:_http://nfpb.org.uk/tribunal

We print here in extenso, a leading article entitled “Conscience Recalcitrant” which appeared in the “Times” of October 25th…

“Our columns continue to give evidence that the problem of the conscientious objector is not yet satisfactorily settled, and we understand that more is likely to be heard of it in the near future. The popular attitude of indifference, blazing at irregular intervals into spasmodic indignation, would be all very well if the question of conscientious objection to military service was a static question, which could be disposed of once for all on rigid lines. Unluckily it is not; it rests on the beliefs, convictions, or prejudices of men whose mere presence within the community is a perpetual interrogation. It is out of the question to dispose of these men, as so many would like to dispose of them, with an impatient wave of the hand and a dictatorial ‘Off with his head; so much for conscience in war time”’ We are not pleading the case of the conscientious objector, irrespective of its individual bearings; very much the contrary. But it is necessary to remind people that these cases cannot be judged in an undiscriminating and summary way. Conscientious objectors may be divided into three main classes. There are those who have accepted non-combatant service, have agreed to “work of national importance”; and those who have refused both, have been compelled to go into the Army, have declined to perform their military duties, and are serving – as a penalty of their refusal – successive terms of hard labour. It is the case of this third class we desire to direct attention. Most of us may think it an impertinent query, but it is a query all the same, and sooner or later will have to be answered. How long are these men to be compelled to serve successive terms of hard labour because they refuse to submit to the discipline of the Army into which they have been forced?

“Before we attempt an answer let us reflect on one or two circumstances in their case. First, they have deliberately turned their backs upon the comparatively easy avenues of escape offered by acceptance of either ‘non-combatant service’ or ‘work of national importance.’ They are thus self-condemned to a lot far harder than that of those who have escaped military service by one or other of those avenues. It may be said that the dominant motive with many of them is the itch for notoriety. Possibly it is; but even so they pay the price in hard labour, though that price is small compared with the long-drawn trial of service in the trenches. Next, they are being punished again and again for what is essentially a single offence. And, once again, they are punished thus repeatedly for that rebellion of the individual conscience against the claim of the State to rule conscience which experience has shown to be rather fortified and propagated than exterminated by punishment. They are useless where they are; if released, some of them might be useful to others, if not to the State; and if any of them are dangerous to the State, the law has its remedy. And it is possible that their present treatment supplies the disaffected with gratuitous arguments which it is difficult to answer. Many of them no doubt glory in their punishment, reckoning it is a persecution easy to be borne for conscience sake, and certain – as in the case of the early Christians – to promote the doctrine that it hopes to exterminate. We do not endorse these arguments on behalf of this particular class of conscientious objector, but we feel bound to state them for the calm consideration of a community that justly prides itself on its tolerance. The difficulty, of course, is to test the real motive that inspires the objection to military service. It is so easy, as every one knows, to assume the cloak of conscience which covers, in many cases, an abysmal degradation of selfishness, or of treason, or of mere pitiable fear. But it is at least worth considering whether circumstances have not provided an automatic test. When a man has deliberately refused to avail himself of two alternative ways of escape from prison labour; when he has more than once, of his own deliberate choice, gone back to gaol; when he shows himself resolute to go back again and again rather than submit to that military service against which he asserts that his conscience raises for him an insuperable barrier – when he thus proves repeatedly his readiness to suffer for what he proclaims to be his belief, is it either justifiable or politic to go on with the punishment? The question seems to us to be worth a good deal more thought than the complacent generalisation of the public about conscientious objection has been willing to give it as yet. One point is, however, clear. Men who, for whatever reason, decline to do their duty as citizens place themselves permanently outside the community and have no title rights. But between these disabilities and the constant infliction of positive punishment there is a distinction. And it is this distinction that is worth considering.”

C.O.'S IN PRISON

This is a further update in a series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the UK between March 1916 and November 1918
For other extracts go to: http://nfpb.org.uk/tribunal

BY THE MOTHER OF ONE OF THEM

Who PUT them in Prison?
“We” say the Court Martial
“Our judgement is partial
Our job will be gone,
And we shan’t carry on
If we listen to conscience
And that sort of nonsense.
Away with their tale!
Just clap them in jail,-
At the horrors we hear of the stoutest will quail!”

Who’ll STARVE them, in prison?
“Oh, we!” say the warders,
“For such is our orders,-
Reducing the ration
Is now all the fashion.
And ill-flavoured gruel
Is left,- something cruel!
Blackbeetles and mice
Spoil the oatmeal and rice
And the ‘Objects’ ob-ject, they’re fearfully nice!”

Who sees them DIE?
“Not I,” says the Nation,
“A pure fabrication!
They’ve lost weight we know-
A few stones, or so,-
And some have gone mad
With the tortures they’ve had
But if some have died
Such cases we hide-
And no-one, you’ll notice, for Murder is tried!”

Who’ll HELP the C.O.’s?
“Not I,” said the Church,
“For my ‘scutcheon would smirch,-
All war I abhor, it is not in my line,
But this war is diff’rent, it’s holy, it’s fine!
Now I can’t quite explain, but you’ll see in a minute-
Although it’s so holy,- why I am not in it;
The Government thought it would look very ill-flavour
The Cause notwithstanding, for Clergy to kill!
So this kind exemption of course I requite
By “talking up” fighting,- although I don’t fight!
Thus you will perceive, though I feel for their woes
That I can’t say a word for the poor dear C.O.’s!”

ANOTHER CASE OF PETTY TYRANNY

From The Tribunal October 18 1917

This is a further update in a series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the UK between March 1916 and November 1918
For other extracts go to: http://nfpb.org.uk/tribunal

…It may be of some interest in connection with Bennet Wallis’s case to mention that another comrade who is now at Wakefield has received similar treatment from the Home Office Committee. This man had had several teeth extracted, and was waiting for the gums to heal before having a set fitted, when he was arrested under the Military Service Acts. After accepting the Home Office scheme, he wrote to the H.O.C. asking for leave for the purpose of going to his dentist, but this was refused on the ground that he would be able to earn leave later. He was subsequently sent to Denton Camp, Newhaven, and as he was suffering severely from indigestion, he applied to Mr. Foster, the agent, for leave of absence. This the agent refused on the ground that the H.O.C. had definitely stated that no leave was to be granted to men to have their teeth put right. As our comrade had already paid £1 deposit to his own dentist on the set of teeth he hoped to have fitted, he could not afford to go to another dentist instead. Later he became ill, and was certified by the doctor to be suffering from “dyspepsia, solely due to deficiency of teeth.” He was then ordered to Wakefield, and on the way managed to secure an interview with Mr. Hunt of the Home Office Committee, who, after much persuasion and argument, arranged that he should transferred for a time to the Chelsea Work Centre, withing reach of his dentist. This was just a year since his teeth had been extracted! After this lapse of time the dentist had to extract more teeth, and in spite of all protests the man was sent back to Wakefield before he had been fitted with a new set. Thus, although it was in August 1916, that his teeth were first extracted, our friend, owing to the petty tyranny of the H.O.C., is still obliged to endure the weakness and pain due to the lack of a new set.

THE HOLY WAR

From The Tribunal October 4 1917

This is a further update in a series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the UK between March 1916 and November 1918
For other extracts go to: http://nfpb.org.uk/tribunal

Extract from Walter H. Ayles’ Statement at His Third Court-Martial.

“I am directed to look at the alleged atrocities committed by Germany and to the remarkable – and may I add, suspicious – absence of atrocities by their opponents, either in available newspapers or Government documents… It is a notorious, historic fact that every country has endless atrocities staining the pages of its history… Before Louvain was bombarded and the ‘Lusitania’ sunk Napoleon had poisoned his own wounded in the Syrian hospitals and shot his Turkish prisoners in cold blood on the same plea as Germany – that of military necessity… The outrages of Italy in Tripoli a few years ago were of such a character that even hardened newspaper correspondents handed in their papers and returned home, refusing to stay to ro witness and report such horrible buthchery of prisoners… Every student of English history knows of the crimes in the Crimea and South Africa, and of how in the Great River War the very tomb of the Mahdi, hold sacred by the Sudanese, rifled it for its contents and flung the remains into the river; of the horrors of Denshawai in 1906, when innocent peasants were killed for defending their property from British outrage; of the Irish fight for independence in 1916, when innocent men like Sheey Skeffington and wounded men like James Conolly were shot for being Irish patriots… Before Germany unrighteously violated the treaty of 1839, guaranteeing Belgian neutrality, the British and Russians had torn up a much more recent one guaranteeing the integrity of Persia. The treaty guaranteeing the integrity of Morocco was not only torn up with the consent of Britain, Belgium and France, who had signed it, but Frenchmen had pushed a railway through a sacred Moroccan burial ground and put down by bullets, bayonets and shells the protests of the people, whose dearest feelings were thus outraged. All our guarantees to the Egyptians and to Europe to evacuate Egypt have been torn up like scraps of paper and Britain has now annexed its territory. And what shall I say to the – shall I call it pressure – brought to bear upon Greece and Romania to enable the Allies to get an overland route to Constantinople. For any nation to accuse another of committing atrocities or violating treaty obligations appears to be as consummate a piece of hypocrisy as that of a thief accusing robbers of dishonesty. Every nation has done things equivalent to these within the last 30 years. They have done them because they are part of the unholy system of international greed and selfishness. The guilt lies at the door of all nations, and it is only possible because men of all nations are prepared to slay, steal, lie and outrage to back up the nefarious policy of their own Government. War is the greatest forcing ground for atrocities and falseness ever established by man, and however evil the methods adopted by one side the other is sure to follow its horrible example. that has been clearly and conclusively proved in this war. There is no method used by the Germans that the Allies have not committed used, except one, the torpedoing of unarmed German ships; the reason probably being that there are no German ships on the high seas to torpedo. There are no atrocities by the Allies that the Germans have not committed save probably one, that of submitting her sick and wounded in distants parts in large numbers to torture and death, by a criminal neglect to supply adequate medical stores and equipment and proper transport for food and other supplies. If I am to fight those who commit atrocities and violate treaties, I must fight every nation. Then I should discover that to carry on my holy war, so called, I should be compelled to commit the very crimes against which I was fighting. ‘You cannot cast devils out by Beelzebub.’ War itself is the greatest of all atrocities… I love my country too much to countenance such a crime. I must be loyal to God and humanity; and in being loyal to them I shall be serving in the highest way I know the real interests of our people and our country.”

AN OFFICER C.O.

From The Tribunal September 27th 1917



This is a further update in a series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the UK between March 1916 and November 1918
For other extracts go to: http://nfpb.org.uk/tribunal



There was an interesting case at the Northhants County Appeals Tribunal last week, when a man who had relinquished a commission in the Army appealed as a conscientious objector.

The case was that of Joseph W. Sault (33), married, now acting as chief clerk at Woodford Halse for the Great Central Railway. The story he told was that he joined the Army at the outbreak of war, and secured a commission in the King’s Royal Rifles. At a church service a point of view that he had not heard put before led him to come out convinced that it was utterly incompatible for a Christian to take part in war. He told his colonel that even if shot or court-martialled, he could not help it. He could have sought medical grounds for relinquishing his commission, but did not do so. He relinquished his commission at the end of 1914, and Sir Samuel Fay, when he knew, allowed him to return to the G.C.R., on which railway he had been a student before the war. For his work at Woodford he received £175 a year.

The Chairman (Sir Ryland Adkins, M.P.) questioned applicant as to whether he now attempted to influence people against joining the Army or Navy. Appellant replied that he simply taught the Gospel, and had not endeavoured to exert influence against military service. He told people it was a matter in which they must be guided by God. He admitted he belonged to the Fellowship of Reconciliation. Sir Ryland said that some members of that body went very near the line.

Captain Cook urged that his information was that appellant was a pernicious influence in Woodford, and asked that he should, at any rate, be removed from the district. Appellant said he had preached in two or three chapels in the district, but denied having exerted influence, although his views were known, and his example might have been noticed.

A minister from Leicester testified to the genuineness of the appellant’s convictions, and argued that the question of pernicious influence was a matter for the Defence of the Realm Act. To this Sir Ryland dissented, holding that they were entitled to examine whether appellant was conscious of the necessary restrictions placed on all Englishmen with regard to expression of views.

Appellant, after further questions, said he was quite willing to change the district, and to accept a lower salary.

In adjourning the case for a month for appellant to find work of national importance at a financial sacrifice, Sir Ryland said the Tribunal did not wish to shut appellant’s mouth; but they asked him to consider whether he could not forego to addressing meetings or services, and devote the whole of his time to national services such as railway work, for which he was specially qualified.

Appellant agreed to give the matter his consideration.

The "Daily Mail" and Brightmore

From The Tribunal 20th September 1917

This is a further update in a series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the UK between March 1916 and November 1918
_For other extracts go to:_http://nfpb.org.uk/tribunal

The “Daily Mail” has re-opened the Brightmore case – and shut it up again quick! On Friday, September 14th, it published on its principal news sheet a letter, running into over half a column, from “Chas. Grimshaw,” late Major, Manchester Regiment, protesting against the “iniquitous manner” “in which Brigadier-General McD Elliot and myself were called upon to resign.” Mr. Grimshaw went on to say that Brightmore’s statement “was not only grossly exaggerated, but untrue.”

This letter worked up Carmelite House to fecer heat, and the “Mail,” in its leader on the same day, told its readers that Mr. Grimshaw’s letter would “be read with general sympathy and indignation,” that the Army authorities had been guilty of “illegalities, muddle-headedness,” and of putting conscientious objectors in a “privileged” position. The whole article was couched in the “Mail’s” most mandatory tone, and was beautifully headed and sub-headed:

THE CODDLED SHIRKER.”
Illegal Favours

At this point the curtain falls on the first act, and four days latter, during which period the “Mail” was evidently acquiring wisdom, and being brought down from Northcliffian frenzy to have been something like that described in Gilbert and Sullivan’s verse, which runs:

“After the rise, the fall;
After the boom, the slump;
After the ‘cham.’ and the big cigar,
The cigarette and the hump”!

Anyhow, on Tuesday morning, September 18th, the “Mail” published this remarkable leaderette:

THE BRIGHTMORE CASE

“In the light of information which has since reached us it is clear that the comment which we made on Friday on the enforced resignation of Major Charles Grimshaw , of the Manchester Regiment, as a sequel to the ill-treatment of Private Brightmore, requires modification.

“A soldier who disobeys orders is put into ‘detention’ and has the right to claim a court-martial. This is the punishment proscribed by the regulations. It was not the punishment meted out to Brightmore. He was put into an open pit and left there daily for several days. Such irregular and illegal punishments are quite rightly forbidden by the Army authorities, and it was owing to such a breach of military law that the War Office took actions against the responsible officers.”

It is not for us to probe further into this matter. Sufficient for us to record the facts and to express the view that the incident is the most encouraging that has taken place for many a day/ If C.O.‘s have done nothing else than to obtain from the leading militarist organ in the land the emphatic statement that “such irregular and illegal punishments are rightly forbidden by the Army authorities,” their stand has not been in vain.

International Notes: Canada & Holland

From the Tribunal September 13th 1917

This is a further update in a series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s Journal, published in the UK between March 1916 and November 1918
For other extracts go to: http://nfpb.org.uk/tribunal

Canada
The latest news from Ottawa is that in the new Franchise Bill necessitated by the coming General Election itis proposed to disenfranchise conscientious objectors relieved under the Military Services Acts from combatant service. This is not the law yet, but it will presumably become so. Our friends need not worry, however, the time is rapidly coming when the common people will be all conscientious objectors – in those days the Canadian Burgess Roll will be a very slender volume!

Holland
An article in the “Nieuwe Amsterdammer” (Dutch Independent Weekly) of August 25th 1917, says about the Dutch C.O.‘s that since they published a manifesto last year, for which they were prosecuted the movement has gained steadily in strength. The manifesto was scattered broadcast over the country, and the speeches for the defence of the signatories in the law courts have served as splendid propaganda. The C.O.‘s are actuated by different motives; such as: hatred of every form of the State, especially of the present one; considerations of humanity such as find expression in vegetarianism and the anti-vivisection movement; love of one’s fellow-creatures, and the feeling of Christian brotherhood; the opinion that the war is a purely capitalist affair, in which no Socialist can join; less elevated sentiments such as an innate aversion to any form of obedience to superiors, and the allurement of martyrdom; all these pure and less pure motives mixed together have helped to raise the numbers of Dutch C.O.‘s to 15). Some of these C.O.‘s were punished after they had served their term in prison by taking from them the right to wear a military uniform, a punishment they will probably accept with resignation! The writer further warns us against the mistake of treating the C.O.‘s as common criminals, and bids us remember that they are martyrs for their opinions, that they are giving proof of their readiness to sacrifice for their conscience and convictions more than the general mass of the docile public. The severe methods of old Russia have not yet disappeared, but have crept into every State, both belligerent and neutral, as a result of the circumstances of the war. The writer considers it an unsatisfactory solution to make exemption depend on the seriousness of the conscientious objection. On the other hand he says that if every C.O. was let off, all barracks would soon be emptied. Especially in such times as these, the state cannot disarm, but must maintain itself. A better solution would be not to test the seriousness of the objection to military service, but to impose civil duties which would be heavier than the military ones.

The Editor of the “Nieuwe Amsterdammer” adds a note to the above article in which he refers to an article in “Der Telegraaf” of Aug. 9th, which proposes that in view of the possible refusal of the C.O.‘s to do any work connected with the war, the State should force them to do work at sea, either at the fishing or other commercial trades. The editor highly recommends this solution.

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