Our nineteenth volume opens with this page in circumstances as unsettled and uncertain as any in the history of this or any other journal. In defiance of prophecy the European conflict drags its colossal slow length wearily along, bearing with it the hopes and fears of the whole human race. It is not to be wondered at that the aims for which we strive have not made great strides in the year that has just closed. Important as we recognize literature and its distribution to be, the pressing material needs of the people often cause them to lose sight of the invincible fact that the freedom of the human spirit, its intellectual and humane expansion, are, after all is said, the ultimate aims of the war. It will not be of abiding service to the British race if in conquering the Germans we sacrifice beyond redemption all those sources of sweetness and light which have been the outcome of centuries of British endeavour. We do not fear that such sacrifice will be demanded of us, but the logic of material facts demonstrates that all who care for schools, libraries, museums, art galleries, music, and all other agencies for the moral and spiritual uplifting of men, must be on their guard against the well‐meaning but ignorant encroachments of those who would rather “save money” by abolishing them, than, for example, by foregoing their own individual luxuries.
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