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|The Ending Of War||H. G. [Herbert George] Wells|
|Page 6 of 6||
The king flicked crumbs from his coat.
'Manifestly war has to stop for ever, Firmin. Manifestly this can only be done by putting all the world under one government. Our crowns and flags are in the way. Manifestly they must go.'
'Yes, sir,' interrupted Firmin, 'but WHAT government? I don't see what government you get by a universal abdication!'
'Well,' said the king, with his hands about his knees, 'WE shall be the government.'
'The conference?' exclaimed Firmin.
'Who else?' asked the king simply.
'It's perfectly simple,' he added to Firmin's tremendous silence.
'But,' cried Firmin, 'you must have sanctions! Will there be no form of election, for example?'
'Why should there be?' asked the king, with intelligent curiosity.
'The consent of the governed.'
'Firmin, we are just going to lay down our differences and take over government. Without any election at all. Without any sanction. The governed will show their consent by silence. If any effective opposition arises we shall ask it to come in and help. The true sanction of kingship is the grip upon the sceptre. We aren't going to worry people to vote for us. I'm certain the mass of men does not want to be bothered with such things.... We'll contrive a way for any one interested to join in. That's quite enough in the way of democracy. Perhaps later--when things don't matter.... We shall govern all right, Firmin. Government only becomes difficult when the lawyers get hold of it, and since these troubles began the lawyers are shy. Indeed, come to think of it, I wonder where all the lawyers are.... Where are they? A lot, of course, were bagged, some of the worst ones, when they blew up my legislature. You never knew the late Lord Chancellor. . . .
'Necessities bury rights. And create them. Lawyers live on dead rights disinterred.... We've done with that way of living. We won't have more law than a code can cover and beyond that government will be free....
'Before the sun sets to-day, Firmin, trust me, we shall have made our abdications, all of us, and declared the World Republic, supreme and indivisible. I wonder what my august grandmother would have made of it! All my rights! . . . And then we shall go on governing. What else is there to do? All over the world we shall declare that there is no longer mine or thine, but ours. China, the United States, two-thirds of Europe, will certainly fall in and obey. They will have to do so. What else can they do? Their official rulers are here with us. They won't be able to get together any sort of idea of not obeying us.... Then we shall declare that every sort of property is held in trust for the Republic....'
'But, sir!' cried Firmin, suddenly enlightened. 'Has this been arranged already?'
'My dear Firmin, do you think we have come here, all of us, to talk at large? The talking has been done for half a century. Talking and writing. We are here to set the new thing, the simple, obvious, necessary thing, going.'
He stood up.
Firmin, forgetting the habits of a score of years, remained seated.
'WELL,' he said at last. 'And I have known nothing!'
The king smiled very cheerfully. He liked these talks with Firmin.
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|The World Set Free
H. G. [Herbert George] Wells
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