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VOLUNTARY WAR RELIEF   193

the wounded; and it is with pleasure that we recall the fact that she, who thus in early life inspired the idea of this great movement, lived long enough to see its fruition and to receive from her Sovereign the decoration of the Royal Red Cross.

In 1864 the representatives of fourteen nations met at the first international congress at Geneva, and the Red Cross movement was launched. It has spread to every great country, except China; but recent experience has shown that, in some cases, its observance is rather theoretical than practical.

It is not now necessary to record in detail the history of the Red Cross movement. Suffice it to say that, although the fundamental idea of neutrality for the wounded under a common flag was early established and never departed from, there was much difference of opinion as to the exact method of its application.

Dunant appears to have anticipated the formation of a corps of volunteer civilian attendants, not amenable to military discipline, who should march in the rear of the army, picking up and tending the wounded as the combatants moved forward. The objections to such a scheme are so obvious that the pendulum of public opinion swung for a time to the opposite extreme and favoured the organization of a department of the army for the care and relief of the sick and wounded. This idea, manifestly reasonable, developed into the Army Medical Service, which in every country is now an important section of military organization.

But the two ideas were not mutually exclusive. How-ever efficient the medical service of the army may become (and Canada has good reason to know how efficient such a corps may prove itself upon the battlefield), there is still room for voluntary effort in the manifold operations which combine to turn the scale as between death and restoration to normal health. This statement contains no disparagement of the work of the Army Medical Corps; it is equally true of the best-equipped civil hospital.


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