been able to preserve for the Dutch people the inestimable blessing of peace in the midst of a Europe devastated by fire and sword.
Has the population observed the same neutrality ? In its actions, yes. In its thoughts, its language and its sympathies, no. Whatever some may say who abuse the phrase: "Who is not with us is against us", the great majority of the Dutch, while remaining neutral in their actions, feel, live and suffer with us for our cause and for our ideal.
During our three years residence in this country we have had the opportunity of visiting a large number of Dutch towns. Everywhere we encountered the same sympathy towards the Allies. In train, tram, street and café, we observed and heard in what direction the sympathies of the Dutch people lay. They are radiant with joy when the Allied 'armies win a victory, and consternation is depicted on every face when a reverse of fortune deprives us of some position.
Besides, have those who reproached Holland for not having thrown herself head foremost into the mêlée asked themselves what would have then become of those thousands of Belgians who, having lost everything in Belgium, have been lucky in finding here a shelter which, if it does not give them all the comforts of the ruined hearth, gives them at any rate precious peace and besides the consoling joy of feeling near the Fatherland has restored to them the calm and repose without which the majority would have succumbed in the storm ?
Holland has done much for the Belgians, and we have all been able to note in this war the discretion that the Dutch put into their welcome of our unhappy compatriots ■—■ a discretion that can never adequately be extolled.
F ar from standing still, the Dutch people, after their magnamimous action of October 1914 have not abandoned us for a moment. Better still, the Netherlands government, with remarkable foresight, has, from the beginning, seen the situation clearly and reckoned with the fact that the asssistance it was able to give the Belgians would not be of short duration, but would, alas, last for years. Without losing time it began to organise, to centralise and to direct this reliëf, and it has achieved. the best results.
The Minister of Interior, in a note drawn up in July 1917, gave a short review of what Holland did during the first three years of the war. We extract the following passages:
,,Prior to the fall of Antwerp, the civil and military authorities had already considered the moment come for regulating the distributkm and housing of the refugees, for since the first days of the war Dutch Limburg had been thronged by thousands of fugitives.
While the hospitality offered by the inhabitants was drawn upon as much as possible,- the public buildings also opened their doors; refugees whose presence rpight constitute a danger to the neutrality