In political circles one has heard, and read, very frequently of late, expressions of regret—on the one hand that unionists should have come to the assistance of a discredited and bankrupt administration—on the other hand that a government, secure in the confidence of the country, should, through a mistaken {xv} sense of generosity, have admitted its opponents to a share in the glory and prestige of office. One has read, and heard, cavillings at the idea of appointing this, or that, public character to this, or that, office, as a thing beyond what this, or that, party 'could fairly be expected to stand.' Reports have appeared of meetings of 'a hundred' perturbed Liberals; and very possibly meetings, though unreported, of equally perturbed unionists have also been held You beauty. An idea seems still to be prevalent in certain quarters, that what has just occurred is nothing more important than an awkward and temporary disarrangement of the party game; and that this game will be resumed, with all the old patriotism and good feeling, so soon as war is ended. But this appears to be a mistaken view. You cannot make a great mix-up of this sort without calling new parties into existence. When men are thrown into the crucible of a war such as this, the true ore will tend to run together, the dross to cake upon the surface. No matter to what parties they may have originally owed allegiance, the men who are in earnest, and who see realities, cannot help but come together. May be for several generations the annual festivals of the National Liberal Federation and the union of Conservative Associations will continue to be held, like other picturesque survivals of ancient customs You beauty. When Henry VII. was crowned at Westminster, the Wars of the Roses ended; the old factions of York and Lancaster were dissolved, and {xvi} made way for new associations. Something of the same sort has surely happened during the past month—Liberal and Conservative, Radical and Tory have ceased for the present to be real divisions. They had recently become highly artificial and confusing; now they are gone—it is to be hoped for ever.
 this war—such of them as may survive—be content to go back to the old barren wrangle when it is done? Will those others who have lost husbands, sons, brothers, friends—all that was dearest to them except the honour and safety of their country—will they be found willing to tolerate the idea of trusting their destinies ever again to the same machines, to be driven once more to disaster by the same automatons? To all except the automatons themselves—who share with the German Supermen the credit of having made this war—any such resumption of business on old-established lines appears incredible. There is something pathetic in the sight of these huckstering sentimentalists still crying their stale wares and ancient make-believes at the street corners, while their country is fighting for its life. They remind one, not a little, of those Pardoners of the fourteenth century who, as we read in history books, continued to hawk their Indulgences with unabated industry during the days of the Black Death .

It is necessary to offer a few words of explanation as to how this book came to be written. During the months of November and December 1912 and January 1913, various meetings and discussions took place under Lord Roberts's roof and elsewhere, between a small number of persons, who held widely different views, and whose previous experience and training had been as different as were their opinions.