"No More War”
Meeting in Park Gardens – Resolution Carried Unanimously
Mrs. Hills' Stirring Appeal to Women
A “No More War” meeting was held in Park Gardens, Stroud on Sunday1, and was attended by a good company. Mr T. Langham occupied the chair, and was supported by Mrs Councillor Hills, Rev. Geo Buckley, Rev T W Gregory Hopper and Alderman FE Wake J.P.
Mr Tom Langham in explaining the object of the meeting said that anything which might be said or done at that meeting in the cause of peace would not detract from anything which which had been done by the churches in the area. The public appreciated the fact that the churches as a whole were putting more energy into and taking more interest in national and international questions with a view to making their principles actualities. Speaking generally, he thought that they, as individuals, were liable to treat with too much apathy such a great movement as the No More War Movement. They must realise that such a great movement could not acomplish its end without the hearty support of individuals, and if they really wanted the time to come when there should e not more war it depended entirely on their attitude towards the question.
In conclusion the Chairman moved the following resolution “This mass meeting welcomes unreservedly all that has been done in recent months towards the establishment of International Peace: particulary the proposals for total disarmament made by the Russian Government to the League of Nations and the American proposals for a multilateral treaty to outlaw war. Believing that the success of these, and all other peace efforts, is primarily a matter for individual and personal responsibility, pledges itself to work increasingly for the re-ordering of International Life, upon a basis of co-operation and service”
Rev. Geo. Buckley who seconded the resolution, said it was rather pleasing that one of the foremost uses to which those Gardens should be put was to hold a meeting of that kind. The Gardens were given as memorial to one who fell in the Great War, and the finest possible memorial to those who made the supreme sacrfice was to prevent a repetion of any such event (hear, hear). He warmly supporte the resolution because one felt it was an obligation to every possible occasion to stimulate feeling against warfare as a means of settling human differences. As a matter of fact it did not work because after every war the disputes had to be settled in conference. War was a waste of time, money and life. How absurdly people behaved in fits of passion and suspicion. Some time ago they wanted Germany to confess her war-guilt. He was not denying the guilt of Germany or of any other country, but when did guilt begin? Was it when they struck the first blow or when they piled up armaments in readiness for it? What about themselves? How did they stand today? It was ten years after the war and yet they were spending millions more on preparing for war than they were spending in 1913. Was there any guilt in that? It was time for all who were in responsible positions to restrain and retrench in matters of warfare. He personally welcomed very heartily the stand taken in suggesting disarmament to the League of Nations. Some people called it Utopian and ridiculed it, and others questioned the sincerity of Russia. It was easy to pour ridicule of people they did not like and ot cast suspicion on people they did not agree with. He believed that they ought to have treated with far more consideration that was the case that proposal, and met it and at any rate, recorded it as a very useful sign of a new spirit which was beginning to prevail amongst the nations of the earth. He rejoiced that the Kellogg Pact had been accepted and would shortly be signed. What else could they do when one of the most wealthy and influential nations of the world, through one of its most prominent senators, made the suggestion that nations should act sanely and renounce war. It was a tremendous step forward for it committed the nations who signed th pact not to be agressive. But more important than that was the fact that America, who hitherto had stayed outside European affairs to a large extent, now came alongside Europe in a great effort to restrain warfare and establish peace amongst the peoples of the earth (applause).
The next speaker, Mrs Hills, said that in supporting the resolution with all her heart she wanted especially to speak a few words as a woman to a woman. For many years she worked for the enfranchisement of women and had urged as one of the reasons for it tht women would be a force for peace. How should they not be? They of all people knew the value of human life. It cost them too dear for them to hold it cheap. If ever they heard women complaining of man-made laws it was traceable to the same source, that men were apt to place a higher value on property than human life, whereas to a woman human life was always the most precious thing. They risked their lives to give it and gave the best years of their lives to nurturing and tending it. The health and strength of a man was generlay the measure of the loving care and wisdom of his mother. Men changed the face of the world. Their creative instinct found expression in such ways, but the creating instinct of women found expression in building up of human life. War destroyed that great creation of women. War destroyed young men on the threshhold of life, for whom women had given their lives and suffered and worked for. It was time that women should take their stand and say that they refused any longer to bear and rear children to be mutilated and killed on the threshhold of life (applause). Women built their boys for life and not death, and it was time that women said this with no uncertain voice. They had said it in the past but had possessed no power to back their words. It was their part to make their children fit for the world but they were never given any power to make the world fit for their children. Now, with the vote, they had the power to safeguard their children's lives, even when they had left their childhood behind them. They had not only the political power but the majority of the power, and they should use it to save their children by substituing arbitration for war in the settlement of disputes between nations. She thought men had been at this political game too long and had got into a rut. They needed a breath of fresh-air to blown over their musty old politics (laughter). Did war necessarily settle disputes in accordance with justice and fair play? It only proved who was the stronger. They had always to protect the weak against the strong and they should extend that between man and man to between nation and nation. They had the League of Nations and the Courts of International Justice, but they must make up their minds that not certain disputes but all disputes shall in future be settled by arbitration and not be war (hear, hear). Thank God that they hda at last signed the American Peace proposals. But they were like a man who signed a pledge to abstain from alcholic liquor. There was no compulsion. Whether it was effective depended on his own will and determination, and if they happened to know that the man was continuing to replenish his cellar with whisky they would not have much confidence in his in his determination to keep his pledge (laughter). As long as they piled armaments they were like that man. They should not be content with a mere pledge unless there was at the same time a progressive reduction of armaments, for without that ware msut inevitably ensure (hear, hear). It was for the common people to let their rulers know that whatever Party was in power they were determined that they should put first of all questions this matter of permement peace, withouth which all political ideals were absolutely vain. Women should let their determination be that their full enfranchisement should free the world from war (applause).
Speaches in suport of the resolution were also made by Mr. F.E. Wake and Rev T. W. Gregory Hopper, and on being put to the meeting the resolution was carried unanimously.
A collection to defray the costs of the meeting were made.
The Stroud Journal August 3 1928
1Date of meeting was 29 July 1928