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100 years ago >

The King’s loyal dominions

September 18th, 1914.

THERE are people with a pretty taste for paradox who assert that the British Empire is no Empire at all. We need not quarrel about names: "That which we call the rose, By any other name would smell as sweet." But we have a something which, if it is not an Empire, is quite as good a thing, and the nature of its unity is being strikingly demonstrated at this very moment. In every corner of the King's dominions at home and overseas there is a superb rally to a cause which all alike feel to be their common cause. In India, on whose disloyalty the Germans counted as a prospective embarrassment for England, the native princes have hastened to offer their wealth and their swords in England's quarrel. The Free States of South Africa, who fought against us 14 years ago, are ready to bear arms on our side. The Dominions of Canada and New Zealand and the Commonwealth of Australia are sending their sons to the help of the Mother Country. This may not be Empire, but it is magnificent, and we may be certain that the display of close and loyal unity on the part of King George's subjects wherever they are dispersed is highly disconcerting to the enemy, whose calculations required and assumed the outbreak of sedition and the rupture of ties which were supposed to be irksome and certain to be broken at the first opportunity. The Germans, no doubt, judged us by their own standard. They are, as all the world knows, no colonists. They take with them abroad their tradition of a cast-iron military officialism. We grant to all the peoples attached to the English Crown the free institutions which we ourselves enjoy.

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