Eglantyne Jebb’s brother in law, Charles Roden Buxton (who married Eglantyne’s sister, Dorothy), delivered this lecture on Terms of Peace over the First World War, at the Cambridge Suffrage Summer School at the Teacher Training College, now Hughes Hall, Cambridge. He was the briefly the radical Liberal MP for Ashburton in 1910, for Labour for Accrington 1922/23, and Elland 1929-31. This article from the British Newspaper Archive here.
Mr. C. R. Buxton lectured before Cambridge Suffrage Summer School on Tuesday morning at the Wollaston Road Training College on the subject “The Settlement after the War.” The lecturer said that it was possible that none them would have any voice the settlement, but he did not consider that this was very probable. It almost certain they would have some voice, however feeble it might be.
“One of the points in the minimum terms peace would the evacuation Belgium and France, and unless they obtained this they ought to go on making unlimited sacrifices. said that it was almost impossible for us to decide the absolute minimum terms our Allies. If public opinion were have a say at all there ought to be a considerable period of discussion, and the settlement ought to be slow for opinions from all over the world formed and felt, and there ought to time tor inquiries and investigations.
“They ought use their influence in favour of long period discussion. He felt that at least year ought be occupied this way. urged that these would be great advantage in securing the co-operation of rational neutral States, though he was sure the annexation or no annexation would settled the belligerents themselves.
“They ought try to extract as much good for nationality at the end the war from the situation which would then exist, and get as much benefit from the struggling nationalities as possible.
Looking to the Future
“With regard the Poles, the lecturer said the matter ought decided on the basis nationality and not Imperialism, whether German or Russian. The desires of the Poles themselves were what was really important. Was the settlement, the war he asked, to be a matter of rewards and punishments for the past, or, on the other hand, ought it to be the starting point of something new, an arrangement designed produce permanent peace in the future?
“They ought to take the settlement point of view which looked after the future, and that which would lead to permanent peace or the longest peace possible, and we must do what we could for those sides who had not taken part in the war as well as who had.
“Still he was not blinding his eyes to the facts that those who had fought for us were certain get good deal more of their claims than who had not fought for us. The question of sea power was the most difficult matter of all from our point of view. It was impossible conceive of England submitting anything else except absolute domination the world so far she was concerned. Short the abolition of war he could not see how the world could expect to delivered from the domination of some power.
“The only real freedom of the seas and the only means secure that the seas should always and all times free everybody was to have no war at all. They ought to look to the prevention war in the future by international agreement, which was not a visionary idea, but the practical consideration of international lawyers and statesmen of the highest rank. They might not to look upon the settlement as a mere judicial proceeding, as passing judgment upon the past, meting out rewards and punishments, but as something looking towards the future, something to wipe out the past, and build upon its ruins something better, something happier and something secure. (Applause.)”
One thought on “Eglantyne Jebb’s brother-in-law calls for a peace treaty for WWI in 1915 – very similar to, but pre-dating President Woodrow Wilson’s 14 points.”
Excellent research, and fascinating history, thank you!