- Expected 9 Jun 2020
From the outbreak of war until to-day I have hesitated to write this book. But I now feel impelled to do so by a sense of duty.
The truth must be told. The peril must be faced.
Few men, I venture to think, have been more closely associated with, or know more of the astounding inner machinery of German espionage in this country, and in France, than myself.
Though the personnel of the Confidential Department established at Whitehall to deal with these gentry have, during the past six years, come and gone, I have, I believe, been the one voluntary assistant who has remained to watch and note, both here and in Belgium—where the German headquarters were established—the birth and rapid growth of this ever-spreading canker-worm in the nation's heart.
I am no alarmist. This is no work of fiction, but of solid and serious fact. I write here of what I know; and, further, I write with the true spirit of loyalty. Though sorely tempted, at this crisis, to publish certain documents, and make statements which would, I know, add greatly to the weight of this book, I refrain, because such statements might reveal certain things to the enemy, including the identity of those keen and capable officials who have performed so nobly their work of contra-espionage.
Yet to-day, with the fiercest war in history in progress, with our bitterest enemy threatening us with invasion, and while we are compelled to defend our very existence as a nation, yet Spies are nobody's business!
It is because the British public have so long been officially deluded, reassured and lulled to sleep, that I feel it my duty to now speak out boldly, and write the truth after a silence of six years.
Much contained within these covers will probably come as a complete revelation to many readers who have hitherto, and perhaps not unjustly, regarded spies as the mere picturesque creation of writers of fiction. At
the outset, however, I wish to give them an assurance that, if certain reports of mine—which now repose in the archives of the Confidential Department—were published, they would create a very considerable sensation, and entirely prove the truth of what I have ventured to write within these covers.
I desire, further, to assure the reader that, since 1905, when I first endeavoured to perform what I considered to be my duty as an Englishman, I have only acted from the purest patriotic motives, while, from a pecuniary point of view, I have lost much by my endeavour.
The knowledge that in the past, as now, I did what I conceived to be but my duty to my country, was, in itself, an all-sufficient reward; and if, after perusal of this book, the reader will only pause for a moment and reflect upon the very serious truths it contains, then I shall have accomplished all I have attempted.
We have, since the war, had a rude awakening from the lethargy induced by false official assurances concerning the enemy in our midst.
It is for the nation to now give its answer, and to demand immediate and complete satisfaction from those who were directly responsible for the present national peril, which, if unchecked, must inevitably result in grave disaster.