— F. E. Smith, 1st Earl of Birkenhead
Context: Politically, economically and philosophically the motive of self-interest not only is but must... and ought to be the mainspring of human conduct... For as long a time as the records of history have been preserved human societies passed through a ceaseless process of evolution and adjustment. This process has sometimes been pacific, but more often it has resulted from warlike disturbance. The strength of different nations, measured in terms of arms, varies from century to century. The world continues to offer glittering prizes to those who have stout hearts and sharp swords; it is therefore extremely improbable that the experience of future ages will differ in any material respect from that which has happened since the twilight of the human race … it is for us who, in our history have proved ourselves a martial … people … to maintain in our own hands the adequate means for our own protection and … to march with heads erect and bright eyes along the road of our imperial destiny.
"Idealism in International Politics", Rectoral Address at Glasgow University (7 November, 1923).
Quoted in The Times, 8 November 1923, according to "Guarantee of Peace: The League of Nations in British Policy 1914-1925" by Peter J. Yearwood, pg 280