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Belgium's Fight for Freedom.
The following Resolution was passed unanimously by the House of Commons, on August 27th, 1914 :--
"That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty praying him to convey to His Majesty the King of the Belgians the sympathy and admiration with which this House regards the heroic resistance offered by his army and people to the wanton invasion of his territory, and an assurance of the determination of this Country to support in every way the efforts of Belgium to vindicate her own independence and the public law of Europe."
The following speeches were made in support of the Resolution :--
MR. ASQUITH : "Very few words are needed to commend to the House the Address, the terms of which will shortly be read from the Chair. The War which is now shaking to its foundation the whole European system originated in a quarrel in which this country had no direct concern. We strove with all our might, as everyone now knows, to prevent its outbreak, and when that was no longer possible, to limit its area. It is all important, and I think it is relevant to this Motion, that it should be clearly understood when it was and why it was that we intervened. It was only when we were confronted with the choice between keeping and breaking solemn obligations, between the discharge of a binding trust and of shameless subservience to naked force, that we threw away the scabbard. We do not repent our decision. The issue was one which no great and self-respecting nation, certainly none bred and matured like ourselves, in this ancient home of liberty could, without undying shame, have declined. We were bound by our obligations, plain and paramount, to assert and maintain the threatened independence of a small and neutral State. Belgium had no interests of her own to serve, save and except the one supreme and ever-widening interest of every State, great or little, which is worthy of the name, the preservation of her integrity and of her national life. History tells us that the duty of asserting and maintaining that great principle--which is, after all, the well-spring of civilization and of progress--has fallen once and again at the most critical moment in the past to States relatively small in area and in population, but great in courage and in resolve--to Athens and Sparta, to the Swiss Cantons, and, not least gloriously three centuries ago, to the Netherlands. Never, Sir, I venture to assert, has the duty been more clearly and bravely acknowledged, and never has it been more strenuously and heroically discharged, than during the last weeks by the Belgian King and the Belgian people. They have faced without flinching and against almost incalculable odds, the horrors of irruption, of devastation, of spoliation, and of outrage. They have stubbornly withstood and successfully arrested the inrush, wave after wave, of a gigantic and overwhelming force. The defence of Liege will always be the theme of one of the most inspiring chapters in the annals of
(B3071) Wt. w. 5919-43 50M 10/14 H & S.