The Miner And The Tiger
: Winning A Cause World War Stories
On an October day in 1866, David Lloyd George, then a little lad of
three years, came with his mother and younger brother to live with his
uncle, Richard Lloyd, for his father had died leaving the family
penniless. His uncle, a shoemaker and preacher, was educated though
poor. In the picturesque little village of Llanystumdwy on the coast
of Wales, Lloyd George grew up,--a leader among his mates, not only in
es but in mischief as well. He was a good thinker and liked
to debate with his uncle, and to be in his uncle's shop in the evening
when the men of the village gathered to talk over questions of business
and politics. As he grew older, he took part in their conversation and
was acknowledged by them to have a good mind.
When he had finished his ordinary schooling, after which most boys were
put to work, his mother and his uncle agreed that the lad ought to
receive a good education; that such a capable boy should not all his
life be obliged to work by the day at farming. But his mother was
penniless, and his uncle had only a few hundred pounds which he had
saved to care for himself in his old age. But, though he was often
stern with the boy, he loved him, and decided to spend all that he had
for his education. He could not know then that he was helping a boy
who would be the greatest man in England at a later day.
Eagerly Lloyd George entered upon his work at the university, studying
especially the subject of law. At graduation time, funds were too low
to pay for the official robe which was accustomed to be worn in the
profession. But Lloyd George left college and worked in an office
until he had acquired the needed sum. Then he went back home and
opened a law office.
He knew that his home people needed his help, for they were farmers who
were continually being taxed or having portions of their land taken
from them unjustly by the rich landowners. He knew, too, that the
laborers in the Welsh mining districts were unfairly treated. Lloyd
George undoubtedly had heard the men talk over their troubles in his
uncle's shop. Now he was prepared to defend them, and soon had many
clients, for they learned that he could not only sympathize with them,
but could plead their cases well. Because he so strongly championed
the rights of the miners, and because he himself lived for so long in
the mining district, Lloyd George came to be called The Miner.
More and more, renowned lawyers of the country began to hear of him.
He carried cases to the high court of London where he won great
admiration. Always he fought for the poor and downtrodden people. He
began to speak everywhere--on street corners, in the market places, and
in public buildings, with such feeling and force that even those who
opposed him admired him. They liked his quick wit and good humor, and
his honest, direct way of looking at things.
In the year 1890 he obtained a seat in the House of Commons. His
reputation grew, as through one act after another he sought to make
life easier and fairer for the nation's poor. His advance, step by
step, to higher seats in the government was met with constant
opposition from the rich lords and magistrates. But there was in him
an almost unbelievable power for overcoming all obstacles. He was keen
to see what was the right thing to be done, then went straight after
it, making a new way, if necessary,--breaking down all barriers by
means of his own wonderfully skillful schemes. Thus his policy came to
be known as one of make or break. Often the men who opposed him most
bitterly at first were afterward his stanchest friends and supporters.
No other premier, elected at the beginning of the World War, succeeded
in holding the position until the end.
He served in many capacities, proving invaluable in all. It became
natural for officials or people anywhere, having difficult problems at
hand, to send for Lloyd George to settle them. Once 200,000 miners of
Wales struck and refused to work again until certain conditions were
granted by their employers. Lloyd George had really nothing to do with
the case. But the labor officials spent a long time trying to arrive
at some agreement, and failed completely. At last they sent for Lloyd
George to assist them. He traveled down from London to the miners'
camp and in one day reached a settlement and left the men in good humor
back at their work again.
He was impatient at delay and slowness of action. So when the British
soldiers went into the trenches to fight, he determined that they
should have as many and as good guns and shells as the enemy. He
decided that the government should have all the money it needed to back
the great war; for building ships, airplanes, and countless other
With his characteristic straightforward manner, he brought the problems
before the people, and thrilled and stirred them mightily by his
powerful, searching speeches. He thus secured all that was desired.
At the close of the war, he was the chief power in England and whatever
he willed was done.
Yet Lloyd George was a warm-hearted Welshman who loved the people.
Even in war time, he was a jovial, home-loving man. At the royal
house, at 11 Downing Street, he lived in sweet companionship with his
wife and two daughters, Olwen and Megan--one a young lady, the other a
little girl of twelve years. His two sons fought in France. Nor did
he forget his aged uncle now past ninety, who staked all that he had
for the boy's education. As Premier of England, Lloyd George gladly
welcomed him to his royal home. No other name in the past few years,
save that of President Wilson, has been so often and so affectionately
upon the lips of people in every land as has the name of David Lloyd
George. He is a hero worthy of any boy's admiration and emulation. He
has made some glorious pages in English history. At the peace table,
in all his kindliness and power, he determined to see justice meted out
to poor, unfortunate people in all lands.
Georges Clemenceau, Premier of France, is another who stands for
justice and liberty. He has upheld these virtues with such fierce
determination that he has come to be known in France as the Old Tiger.
His father in the days of Napoleon III was a leader of the revolution
and aided in the attempts to establish a republic in place of the
kingdom. He was thrown into prison, but his son, Georges Clemenceau,
became an even greater worker in the cause of freedom. As a young man
he, too, was cast into prison because in the midst of an imperial
celebration, he shouted on the streets of Paris Vive la Republique.
After he was released, he realized that he would be treated practically
as an exile, and so he came to America. Here for a few years he was
instructor in French in a school for girls. After marrying one of his
students, he returned with her to France.
Through his writings and speeches, he became widely known in Paris for
his democratic ideas upon all public questions. At one time a young
military officer, Captain Dreyfus, was about to be condemned for high
treason. Clemenceau believed him innocent, and proved that the trial
was unjust. By his newspaper editorials, he so aroused the people of
Paris--those of society as well as the working classes and university
students--that a new trial was finally secured for the prisoner. The
whole nation was interested in the Dreyfus case, and the youth of
France especially hailed Clemenceau as a leader of justice.
He was first made premier in 1906, at the age of sixty-six. He served
for three years and then again retired to private life. Often his
voice alone was raised in objection to laws or regulations which to him
seemed unfair. Even when no one shared his ideas, however, he forced
the government and the people to listen to him, such a keen and
stirring debater was he. For years he continued, as an editor of a
newspaper, to struggle for justice for the common people. So unpopular
was the Old Tiger with his cries of freedom for all, that he had to
tear and claw and bite his way into society and to power in the
When the World War came, his daily paper, the Free Man, told the
dangers and weaknesses of the government war measures. Like Lloyd
George in England, he dared to propose new and gigantic means for
winning the victory. He wrote much to keep high the courage of the
French soldiers and the people, defending the just and righteous cause
of their country. It is said that in the first three years of the war,
he wrote over a thousand such editorials.
Then came the great crisis, when the Huns were planning a final drive
that should win them the victory. Some one must be chosen who should
be able to prepare the armies to strike hard at the enemy. Clemenceau
was the man chosen. On October 17, 1917, he was once more made Premier
of France, though he was now seventy-eight years old. But his eyes
flashed keener, and his mind was more clever and daring than ever in
his youth. The man who even in the titles of his newspapers,--Labor,
Justice, Dawn, the Free Man,--had for years been shouting for
liberty, now had a share in the command of the forces of the Allies
which were to win the fierce struggle for democracy.
In the spring of 1918, when the French feared that they must lose the
war, it was Clemenceau who cheered them and urged them on and on in
their efforts to win, until at length he gave them the most cheering
message of all, Hold the line, for America comes!
Overcoming all obstacles, he led the nation to victory. Down into the
trenches he went, risking his life in the very front lines, that he
might go among his soldiers to cheer them, and to let them know that he
did not send his men where he would not go himself.
His behavior toward his would-be assassin, on February 19, 1919, was in
itself a striking example of his daring, fighting spirit. As he rode
home in his car from the Peace Conference, a man aimed and fired at
him. Instantly Premier Clemenceau pushed open the door of his car,
and, while the man continued firing, sprang upon him and grappled with
him until the police reached the spot and seized the offender. Five
bullets had been shot, only one of which lodged itself in the Old
Tiger's shoulder, and did no great harm.
Even those who opposed Clemenceau's political policies, strongly
denounced the attempt upon his life, which had been made by a supposed
Russian socialist. Thus this keen, jovial, loyal defender of liberty
has come into the love of all his people.
An unnamed poilu sent Premier Clemenceau his Croix de Guerre, with the
You have not been given the Croix de Guerre. Here is mine, bearing
only two stars. You merit two palms.
Clemenceau is reported to have wept when he read the letter.
It gave him untold pleasure to serve as the nation's host during the
visit of President Wilson--with whom, as representative of the great
republic of the United States, he should further help to establish
freedom throughout the world.