Infomotions, Inc.Political and Literary essays, 1908-1913 / Baring, Evelyn, 1841-1917



Author: Baring, Evelyn, 1841-1917
Title: Political and Literary essays, 1908-1913
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Title: Political and Literary essays, 1908-1913

Author: Evelyn Baring

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POLITICAL AND LITERARY

ESSAYS

1908-1913


BY THE

EARL OF CROMER


MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED
ST. MARTIN'S STREET, LONDON
1913


MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED
LONDON . BOMBAY . CALCUTTA . MELBOURNE


THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
NEW YORK . BOSTON . CHICAGO . DALLAS . SAN FRANCISCO


THE MACMILLAN CO. OF CANADA, LTD.
TORONTO




PREFACE


I have to thank the editors of _The Edinburgh_ and _Quarterly Reviews_,
_The Nineteenth Century and After_, and _The Spectator_ for allowing the
republication of these essays, all of which appeared originally in their
respective columns.

No important alterations or additions have been made, but I should like
to observe, as regards the first essay of the series--on "The Government
of Subject Races"--that, although only six years have elapsed since it
was written, events in India have moved rapidly during that short
period. I adhere to the opinions expressed in that essay so far as they
go, but it will be obvious to any one who has paid attention to Indian
affairs that, if the subject had to be treated now, many very important
issues, to which I have not alluded, would have to be imported into the
discussion.

CROMER.

_September 30, 1913._




CONTENTS


                                                        PAGE
"THE EDINBURGH REVIEW"

I.      THE GOVERNMENT OF SUBJECT RACES                    3
II.     TRANSLATION AND PARAPHRASE                        54


"THE QUARTERLY REVIEW"

III.    SIR ALFRED LYALL                                  77


"THE NINETEENTH CENTURY AND AFTER"

IV.     ARMY REFORM                                      107
V.      THE INTERNATIONAL ASPECTS OF FREE TRADE          127
VI.     CHINA                                            141
VII.    THE CAPITULATIONS IN EGYPT                       156


"THE SPECTATOR"

VIII.   DISRAELI                                         177
IX.     RUSSIAN ROMANCE                                  204
X.      THE WRITING OF HISTORY                           214
XI.     THE GREEK ANTHOLOGY                              226
XII.    LORD MILNER AND PARTY                            237
XIII.   THE FRENCH IN ALGERIA                            250
XIV.    THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE                               264
XV.     WELLINGTONIANA                                   277
XVI.    BURMA                                            287
XVII.   A PSEUDO-HERO OF THE REVOLUTION                  298
XVIII.  THE FUTURE OF THE CLASSICS                       307
XIX.    AN INDIAN IDEALIST                               317
XX.     THE FISCAL QUESTION IN INDIA                     227
XXI.    ROME AND MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT                    340
XXII.   A ROYAL PHILOSOPHER                              351
XXIII.  ANCIENT ART AND RITUAL                           361
XXIV.   PORTUGUESE SLAVERY                               372
XXV.    ENGLAND AND ISLAM                                407
XXVI.   SOME INDIAN PROBLEMS                             416
XXVII.  THE NAPOLEON OF TAINE                            427
XXVIII. SONGS, PATRIOTIC AND NATIONAL                    439
XXIX.   SONGS, NAVAL AND MILITARY                        449

        INDEX                                            459




"THE EDINBURGH REVIEW"




I

THE GOVERNMENT OF SUBJECT RACES[1]

_"The Edinburgh Review," January 1908_


The "courtly Claudian," as Mr. Hodgkin, in his admirable and instructive
work, calls the poet of the Roman decadence, concluded some lines which
have often been quoted as applicable to the British Empire, with the
dogmatic assertion that no limit could be assigned to the duration of
Roman sway. _Nec terminus unquam Romanae ditionis erit._ At the time
this hazardous prophecy was made, the huge overgrown Roman Empire was
tottering to its fall. Does a similar fate await the British Empire? Are
we so far self-deceived, and are we so incapable of peering into the
future as to be unable to see that many of the steps which now appear
calculated to enhance and to stereotype Anglo-Saxon domination, are but
the precursors of a period of national decay and senility?

A thorough examination of this vital question would necessarily involve
the treatment of a great variety of subjects. The heart of the British
Empire is to be found in Great Britain. It is not proposed in this place
to deal either with the working of British political institutions, or
with the various important social and economic problems which the actual
condition of England presents, but only with the extremities of the body
politic, and more especially with those where the inhabitants of the
countries under British rule are not of Anglo-Saxon origin.

What should be the profession of faith of a sound but reasonable
Imperialist? He will not be possessed with any secret desire to see the
whole of Africa or of Asia painted red on the maps. He will entertain
not only a moral dislike, but also a political mistrust of that
excessive earth-hunger, which views with jealous eyes the extension of
other and neighbouring European nations. He will have no fear of
competition. He will believe that, in the treatment of subject races,
the methods of government practised by England, though sometimes open to
legitimate criticism, are superior, morally and economically, to those
of any other foreign nation; and that, strong in the possession and
maintenance of those methods, we shall be able to hold our own against
all competitors.

On the other hand, he will have no sympathy with those who, as Lord
Cromer said in a recent speech, "are so fearful of Imperial greatness
that they are unwilling that we should accomplish our manifest destiny,
and who would thus have us sink into political insignificance by
refusing the main title which makes us great."

An Imperial policy must, of course, be carried out with reasonable
prudence, and the principles of government which guide our relations
with whatsoever races are brought under our control must be politically
and economically sound and morally defensible. This is, in fact, the
keystone of the Imperial arch. The main justification of Imperialism is
to be found in the use which is made of the Imperial power. If we make a
good use of our power, we may face the future without fear that we shall
be overtaken by the Nemesis which attended Roman misrule. If the reverse
is the case, the British Empire will deserve to fall, and of a surety it
will ultimately fall. There is truth in the saying, of which perhaps we
sometimes hear rather too much, that the maintenance of the Empire
depends on the sword; but so little does it depend on the sword alone
that if once we have to draw the sword, not merely to suppress some
local effervescence, but to overcome a general upheaval of subject
races goaded to action either by deliberate oppression, which is highly
improbable, or by unintentional misgovernment, which is far more
conceivable, the sword will assuredly be powerless to defend us for
long, and the days of our Imperial rule will be numbered.

To those who believe that when they rest from their earthly labours
their works will follow them, and that they must account to a Higher
Tribunal for the use or misuse of any powers which may have been
entrusted to them in this world, no further defence of the plea that
Imperialism should rest on a moral basis is required. Those who
entertain no such belief may perhaps be convinced by the argument that,
from a national point of view, a policy based on principles of sound
morality is wiser, inasmuch as it is likely to be more successful, than
one which excludes all considerations save those of cynical
self-interest. There was truth in the commonplace remark made by a
subject of ancient Rome, himself a slave and presumably of Oriental
extraction, that bad government will bring the mightiest empire to
ruin.[2]

Some advantage may perhaps be derived from inquiring, however briefly
and imperfectly, into the causes which led to the ruin of that
political edifice, which in point of grandeur and extent, is alone
worthy of comparison with the British Empire. The subject has been
treated by many of the most able writers and thinkers whom the world has
produced--Gibbon, Guizot, Mommsen, Milman, Seeley, and others. For
present purposes the classification given by Mr. Hodgkin of the causes
which led to the downfall of the Western Empire has been adopted. They
were six in number, viz.:

1. The foundation of Constantinople.

2. Christianity.

3. Slavery.

4. The pauperisation of the Roman proletariat.

5. The destruction of the middle class by the fiscal oppression of the
   Curiales.

6. Barbarous finance.

1. _The Foundation of Constantinople._--It is, for obvious reasons,
unnecessary to discuss this cause. It was one of special application to
the circumstances of the time, notably to the threatening attitude
towards Rome assumed by the now decadent State of Persia.

2. _Christianity._--That the foundation of Christianity exercised a
profoundly disintegrating effect on the Roman Empire is unquestionable.
Gibbon, although he possibly confounds the tenets of the new creed with
the defects of its hierarchy, dwells with characteristic emphasis on
this congenial subject.[3] Mr. Hodgkin, speaking of the analogy between
the British present and the Roman past, says:

     The Christian religion is with us no explosive force threatening
     the disruption of our most cherished institutions. On the contrary,
     it has been said, not as a mere figure of speech, that
     "Christianity is part of the common law of England." And even the
     bitterest enemies of our religion will scarcely deny that, upon the
     whole, a nation imbued with the teaching of the New Testament is
     more easy to govern than one which derived its notions of divine
     morality from the stories of the dwellers on Olympus.

From the special point of view now under consideration, the case for
Christianity admits of being even more strongly stated than this, for no
attempt will be made to deal with the principles which should guide the
government of a people imbued with the teaching of the New Testament,
but rather with the subordinate, but still highly important question of
the treatment which a people, presumed to be already imbued with that
teaching, should accord to subject races who are ignorant or irreceptive
of its precepts. From this point of view it may be said that
Christianity, far from being an explosive force, is not merely a
powerful ally. It is an ally without whose assistance continued success
is unattainable. Although dictates of worldly prudence and opportunism
are alone sufficient to ensure the rejection of a policy of official
proselytism, it is none the less true that the code of Christian
morality is the only sure foundation on which the whole of our vast
Imperial fabric can be built if it is to be durable. The stability of
our rule depends to a great extent upon whether the forces acting in
favour of applying the Christian code of morality to subject races are
capable of overcoming those moving in a somewhat opposite direction. We
are inclined to think that our Teutonic veracity and gravity, our
national conscientiousness, our British spirit of fair play, to use the
cant phrase of the day, our free institutions, and our press--which,
although it occasionally shows unpleasant symptoms of sinking beneath
the yoke of special and not highly reputable interests, is still greatly
superior in tone to that of any other nation--are sufficient guarantees
against relapse into the morass of political immorality which
characterised the relations between nation and nation, and notably
between the strong and the weak, even so late as the eighteenth
century.[4] It is to be hoped and believed that, for the time being,
this contention is well founded, but what assurance is there--if the
Book which embodies the code of Christian morality may without
irreverence be quoted--that "that which is done is that which shall be
done"?[5] That is the crucial question.

There appear to be at present existent in England two different Imperial
schools of thought, which, without being absolutely antagonistic,
represent very opposite principles. One school, which, for want of a
better name, may be styled that of philanthropy, is occasionally tainted
with the zeal which outruns discretion, and with the want of accuracy
which often characterises those whose emotions predominate over their
reason. The violence and want of mental equilibrium at times displayed
by the partisans of this school of thought not infrequently give rise to
misgivings lest the Duke of Wellington should have prophesied truly when
he said, "If you lose India, the House of Commons will lose it for
you."[6] These manifest defects should not, however, blind us to the
fact that the philanthropists and sentimentalists are deeply imbued with
the grave national responsibilities which devolve on England, and with
the lofty aspirations which attach themselves to her civilising and
moralising mission.

The other is the commercial school. Pitt once said that "British policy
is British trade." The general correctness of this aphorism cannot be
challenged, but, like most aphorisms, it only conveys a portion of the
truth; for the commercial spirit, though eminently beneficent when under
some degree of moral control, may become not merely hurtful, but even
subversive of Imperial dominion, when it is allowed to run riot.
Livingstone said that in five hundred years the only thing the natives
of Africa had learnt from the Portuguese was to distil bad spirits with
the help of an old gun barrel. This is, without doubt, an extreme
case--so extreme, indeed, that even the hardened conscience of
diplomatic Europe was eventually shamed into taking some half-hearted
action in the direction of preventing a whole continent from being
demoralised in order that the distillers and vendors of cheap spirits
might realise large profits. But it would not be difficult to cite other
analogous, though less striking, instances. Occasions are, indeed, not
infrequent when the interests of commerce apparently clash with those of
good government. The word "apparently" is used with intent; for though
some few individuals may acquire a temporary benefit by sacrificing
moral principle on the altar of pecuniary gain, it may confidently be
stated that, in respect to the wider and more lasting benefits of trade,
no real antagonism exists between commercial self-interest and public
morality.[7]

To be more explicit, what is meant when it is said that the commercial
spirit should be under some control is this--that in dealing with
Indians or Egyptians, or Shilluks, or Zulus, the first question is to
consider what course is most conducive to Indian, Egyptian, Shilluk, or
Zulu interests. We need not always inquire too closely what these
people, who are all, nationally speaking, more or less _in statu
pupillari_, themselves think is best in their own interests, although
this is a point which deserves serious consideration. But it is
essential that each special issue should be decided mainly with
reference to what, by the light of Western knowledge and experience
tempered by local considerations, we conscientiously think is best for
the subject race, without reference to any real or supposed advantage
which may accrue to England as a nation, or--as is more frequently the
case--to the special interests represented by some one or more
influential classes of Englishmen. If the British nation as a whole
persistently bears this principle in mind, and insists sternly on its
application, though we can never create a patriotism akin to that based
on affinity of race or community of language, we may perhaps foster some
sort of cosmopolitan allegiance grounded on the respect always accorded
to superior talents and unselfish conduct, and on the gratitude derived
both from favours conferred and from those to come.[8] There may then at
all events be some hope that the Egyptian will hesitate before he throws
in his lot with any future Arabi The Berberine dweller on the banks of
the Nile may, perhaps, cast no wistful glances back to the time when,
albeit he or his progenitors were oppressed, the oppression came from
the hand of a co-religionist. Even the Central African savage may
eventually learn to chant a hymn in honour of _Astraea Redux_, as
represented by the British official who denies him gin but gives him
justice. More than this, commerce will gain. It must necessarily follow
in the train of civilisation, and, whilst it will speedily droop if that
civilisation is spurious, it will, on the other hand, increase in volume
in direct proportion to the extent to which the true principles of
Western progress are assimilated by the subjects of the British king and
the customers of the British trader. This latter must be taught patience
at the hands, of the statesman and the moralist. It is a somewhat
difficult lesson to learn. The trader not only wishes to acquire wealth;
he not infrequently wishes that its acquisition should be rapid, even at
the expense of morality and of the permanent interests of his country.

                          Nam dives qui fieri vult,
    Et cito vult fieri. Sed quae reverentia legum,
    Quis metus aut pudor est unquam properantis avari?[9]

This question demands consideration from another point of view. A clever
Frenchman, keenly alive to what he thought was the decadence of his own
nation, published a remarkable book in 1897. He practically admitted
that the Anglophobia so common on the continent of Europe is the outcome
of jealousy.[10] He acknowledged the proved superiority of the
Anglo-Saxon over the Latin races, and he set himself to examine the
causes of that superiority. The general conclusion at which he arrived
was that the strength of the Anglo-Saxon race lay in the fact that its
society, its government, and its habits of thought were eminently
"particularist," as opposed to the "communitarian" principles prevalent
on the continent of Europe. He was probably quite right. It has, indeed,
become a commonplace of English political thought that for centuries
past, from the days of Raleigh to those of Rhodes, the position of
England in the world has been due more to the exertions, to the
resources, and occasionally, perhaps, to the absence of scruple found in
the individual Anglo-Saxon, than to any encouragement or help derived
from British Governments, whether of the Elizabethan, Georgian, or
Victorian type. The principle of relying largely on individual effort
has, in truth, produced marvellous results. It is singularly suited to
develop some of the best qualities of the vigorous, self-assertive
Anglo-Saxon race. It is to be hoped that self-help may long continue to
be our national watchword.

It is now somewhat the fashion to regard as benighted the school of
thought which was founded two hundred years ago by Du Quesnay and the
French Physiocrates, which reached its zenith in the person of Adam
Smith, and whose influence rapidly declined in England after the great
battle of Free Trade had been fought and won. But whatever may have been
the faults of that school, and however little its philosophy is capable
of affording an answer to many of the complex questions which modern
government and society present, it laid fast hold of one unquestionably
sound principle. It entertained a deep mistrust of Government
interference in the social and economic relations of life. Moreover, it
saw, long before the fact became apparent to the rest of the world,
that, in spite not only of some outward dissimilarities of methods but
even of an instinctive mutual repulsion, despotic bureaucracy was the
natural ally of those communistic principles which the economists deemed
it their main business in life to combat and condemn. Many regard with
some disquietude the frequent concessions which have of late years been
made in England to demands for State interference. Nevertheless, it is
to be hoped that the main principle advocated by the economists still
holds the field, that individualism is not being crushed out of
existence, and that the majority of our countrymen still believe that
State interference--being an evil, although sometimes admittedly a
necessary evil--should be jealously watched and restricted to the
minimum amount absolutely necessary in each special case.

Attention is drawn to this point in order to show that the observations
which follow are in no degree based on any general desire to exalt the
power of the State at the expense of the individual.

Our habits of thought, our past history, and our national character all,
therefore, point in the direction of allowing individualism as wide a
scope as possible in the work of national expansion. Hence the career of
the East India Company and the tendency displayed more recently in
Africa to govern through the agency of private companies. On the other
hand, it is greatly to be doubted whether the principles, which a wise
policy would dictate in the treatment of subject races, will receive
their application to so full an extent at the hands of private
individuals as would be the case at the hands of the State. The
guarantee for good government is even less solid where power is
entrusted to a corporate body, for, as Turgot once said, "La morale des
corps les plus scrupuleux ne vaut jamais celle des particuliers
honnetes."[11] In both cases, public opinion is relatively impotent. In
the case of direct Government action, on the other hand, the views of
those who wish to uphold a high standard of public morality can find
expression in Parliament, and the latter can, if it chooses, oblige the
Government to control its agents and call them to account for unjust,
unwise, or overbearing conduct. More than this, State officials, having
no interests to serve but those of good government, are more likely to
pay regard to the welfare of the subject race than commercial agents,
who must necessarily be hampered in their action by the pecuniary
interests of their employers.

Our national policy must, of course, be what would be called in statics
the resultant of the various currents of opinion represented in our
national society. Whether Imperialism will continue to rest on a sound
basis depends, therefore, to no small extent, on the degree to which
the moralising elements in the nation can, without injury to all that
is sound and healthy in individualist action, control those defects
which may not improbably spring out of the egotism of the commercial
spirit, if it be subject to no effective check.[12]

If this problem can be satisfactorily solved, then Christianity, far
from being a disruptive force, as was the case with Rome, will prove one
of the strongest elements of Imperial cohesion.

3. _Slavery._--It is not necessary to discuss this question, for there
can be no doubt that, in so far as his connexion with subject races is
concerned, the Anglo-Saxon in modern times comes, not to enslave, but to
liberate from slavery. The fact that he does so is, indeed, one of his
best title-deeds to Imperial dominion.

4. _The Pauperisation of the Roman Proletariat._--This is the _Panem et
Circenses_ policy. Mr. Hodgkin appears to think that in this direction
lies the main danger which threatens the British Empire.

     "Of all the forces," he says, "which were at work for the
     destruction of the prosperity of the Roman world, none is more
     deserving of the careful study of an English statesman than the
     grain-largesses to the populace of Rome.... Will the great
     Democracies of the twentieth century resist the temptation to use
     political power as a means of material self-enrichment?"

Possibly Mr. Hodgkin is right. The manner in which the leaders of the
Paris Commune dealt with the rights of property during their disastrous,
but fortunately very brief, period of office in 1871, serves as a
warning of what, in an extreme case, may be expected of despotic
democracy in its most aggravated form. Moreover, misgovernment, and the
fiscal oppression which is the almost necessary accompaniment of
militarism dominant over a poverty-stricken population, have latterly
developed on the continent of Europe, and more especially in Italy, a
school of action--for anarchism can scarcely be dignified by the name of
a school of thought--which regards human life as scarcely more sacred
than property. It may be that some lower depth has yet to be reached,
although it is almost inconceivable that such should be the case.
Anarchy takes us past the stage of any defined political or social
programme. It would appear, so far as can at present be judged, to
embody the last despairing cry of ultra-democracy "Furens."

It is permissible to hope that our national sobriety, coupled with the
inherited traditions derived from centuries of free government, will
save us from such extreme manifestations of democratic tyranny as those
to which allusion has been made above. The special danger in England
would appear rather to arise from the probability of gradual dry rot,
due to prolonged offence against the infallible and relentless laws of
economic science. Both British employers of labour and British workmen
are insular in their habits of thought, and insular in the range of
their acquired knowledge. They do not appear as yet to be thoroughly
alive to the new position created for British trade by foreign
competition. It is greatly to be hoped that they will awake to the
realities of the situation before any permanent harm is done to British
trade, for the loss of trade involves as its ultimate result the
pauperisation of the proletariat, the adoption of reckless expedients
based on the _Panem et Circenses_ policy to fill the mouths and quell
the voices of the multitude, and finally the suicide of that Empire
which is the offspring of trade, and which can only continue to exist so
long as its parent continues to thrive and to flourish.

5. _The Destruction of the Middle Class by the Fiscal Oppression of the
Curiales._--Leaving aside points of detail, which were only of special
application to the circumstances of the time, this cause of Roman decay
may, for all purposes of comparison and instruction, be stated in the
following terms: funds, which should have been spent by the
municipalities on local objects, were, from about the close of the third
century, diverted to the Imperial Exchequer, by which they were not
infrequently squandered in such a manner as to confer no benefit of any
kind on the taxpayers, whether local or Imperial. Thus, the system of
local self-government, which, Mr. Hodgkin says, was, during the early
centuries of the Empire, "both in name and fact Republican," was
shattered.

It does not appear probable that an attempt will ever be made to divert
the public revenues of the outlying dependencies of Great Britain to the
Imperial Exchequer. The lesson taught by the loss of the American
Colonies has sunk deeply into the public mind. Moreover, the example of
Spain stands as a warning to all the world. The principle that local
revenues should be expended locally has become part of the political
creed of Englishmen; neither is it at all likely to be infringed, even
in respect to those dependencies whose rights and privileges are not
safeguarded by self-governing institutions.

There may, however, be some little danger ahead in a sense exactly
opposite to that which was incurred by Rome--the danger, that is to
say, that, under the pressure of Imperialism, backed by influential
class and personal interests, too large an amount of the Imperial
revenue may be diverted to the outlying dependencies. If this were done,
two evils might not improbably ensue.

In the first place, the British democracy might become restive under
taxation imposed for objects the utility of which would not perhaps be
fully appreciated, and might therefore be disposed to cast off too
hastily the mantle of Imperialism. It is but a short time ago that an
influential school of politicians persistently dwelt on the theme that
the colonies were a burthen to the Mother Country. Although, for the
time being, views of this sort are out of fashion, no assurance can be
felt that the swing of the pendulum may not bring round another
anti-Imperialist phase of public opinion.

In the second place, if financial aid to any considerable extent were
afforded by the British Treasury to the outlying dependencies, a serious
risk would be run that this concession would be followed at no distant
period by a plea in favour of financial control from England. The
establishment of this latter principle would strike a blow at one of the
main props on which our Imperial fabric is based. It would tend to
substitute a centralised, in the place of our present decentralised
system. Those who are immediately responsible for the administration of
our outlying dependencies will, therefore, act wisely if they abstain
from asking too readily for Imperial pecuniary aid in order to solve
local difficulties.

These considerations naturally lead to some reflections on the
principles of government adopted in those dependencies of the Empire,
the inhabitants of which are not of the Anglo-Saxon race. Colonies whose
inhabitants are mainly of British origin stand, of course, on a wholly
different footing. They carry their Anglo-Saxon institutions and habits
of thought with them to their distant homes.

Englishmen are less imitative than most Europeans in this sense--that
they are less disposed to apply the administrative and political systems
of their own country to the government of backward populations; but in
spite of their relatively high degree of political elasticity, they
cannot shake themselves altogether free from political
conventionalities. Moreover, the experienced minority is constantly
being pressed by the inexperienced majority in the direction of
imitation. Knowing the somewhat excessive degree of adulation which some
sections of the British public are disposed to pay to their special
idol, Lord Dufferin, in 1883, was almost apologetic to his countrymen
for abstaining from an act of political folly. He pleaded strenuously
for delay in the introduction of parliamentary institutions into Egypt,
on the ground that our attempts "to mitigate predominant absolutism" in
India had been slow, hesitating, and tentative. He brought poetic
metaphor to his aid. He deprecated paying too much attention to the
"murmuring leaves," in other words, imagining that the establishment of
a Chamber of Notables implied constitutional freedom, and he exhorted
his countrymen "to seek for the roots," that is to say, to allow each
Egyptian village to elect its own mayor (Sheikh).

It cannot be too clearly understood that whether we deal with the roots,
or the trunk, or the branches, or the leaves, free institutions in the
full sense of the term must for generations to come be wholly unsuitable
to countries such as India and Egypt. If the use of a metaphor, though
of a less polished type, be allowed, it may be said that it will
probably never be possible to make a Western silk purse out of an
Eastern sow's ear; at all events, if the impossibility of the task be
called in question, it should be recognised that the process of
manufacture will be extremely lengthy and tedious.

But it is often urged that, although no rational person would wish to
advocate the premature creation of ultra-liberal institutions in
backward countries, at the same time that for several reasons it is
desirable to move gradually in this direction. The adoption of this
method is, it is said, the only way to remedy the evils attendant on a
system of personal government in an extreme form; it enables us to learn
the views of the natives of the country, even although we may not accord
to the latter full power of deciding whether or not those views should
be put in practice; lastly, it constitutes a means of political
education, through the agency of which the subject race will gradually
acquire the qualities necessary to autonomy.

The force of these arguments cannot be denied, but there should be no
delusion as to the weight which should be attached to them. It has been
very truly remarked by a writer, who has dealt with the idiosyncrasies
of a singularly versatile nation, whose genius presented in every
respect a marked contrast to that of Eastern races, that from the dawn
of history Eastern politics have been "stricken with a fatal
simplicity."[13] Do not let us for one moment imagine that the fatally
simple idea of despotic rule will readily give way to the far more
complex conception of ordered liberty. The transformation, if it ever
takes place at all, will probably be the work, not of generations, but
of centuries.

So limited is the stock of political ideas in the world that some
modified copy of parliamentary institutions is, without doubt, the only
method which has yet been invented for mitigating the evils attendant on
the personal system of government. But it is a method which is
thoroughly uncongenial to Oriental habits of thought. It may be doubted
whether, by the adoption of this exotic system, we gain any real insight
into native aspirations and opinions. As to the educational process, the
experience of India is not very encouraging. The good government of most
Indian towns depends to this day mainly, not on the Municipal
Commissioners, who are generally natives, but on the influence of the
President, who is usually an Englishman.

A further consideration in connection with this point is also of some
importance. It is that British officials in Eastern countries should be
encouraged by all possible means to learn the views and the requirements
of the native population. The establishment of mock parliaments tends
rather in the opposite direction, for the official on the spot sees
through the mockery and is not infrequently disposed to abandon any
attempt to ascertain real native opinion, through disgust at the
unreality, crudity, or folly of the views set forth by the putative
representatives of native society.

For these reasons it is important that, in our well-intentioned
endeavours to impregnate the Oriental mind with our insular habits of
thought, we should proceed with the utmost caution, and that we should
remember that our primary duty is, not to introduce a system which,
under the specious cloak of free institutions, will enable a small
minority of natives to misgovern their countrymen, but to establish one
which will enable the mass of the population to be governed according to
the code of Christian morality. A freely elected Egyptian Parliament,
supposing such a thing to be possible, would not improbably legislate
for the protection of the slave-owner, if not the slave-dealer, and no
assurance can be felt that the electors of Rajputana, if they had their
own way, would not re-establish suttee. Good government has the merit of
presenting a more or less attainable ideal. Before Orientals can attain
anything approaching to the British ideal of self-government they will
have to undergo very numerous transmigrations of political thought.

The question of local self-government may be considered from another,
and almost equally important point of view.

When writers such as M. Demolins speak of the "particularist" system of
England and of the "communitarian" system prevalent on the continent of
Europe, they generally mean to contrast the British plan of acting
through the agency of private individuals with the Continental practice
of relying almost entirely on the action of the State. This is the
primary and perhaps the most important signification of the two phrases,
but the principles which these phrases are intended to represent admit
of another application.

It is difficult for those Englishmen who have not been brought into
business relations with Continental officials to realise the extreme
centralisation of their administrative and diplomatic procedures. The
tendency of every French central authority is to allow no discretionary
power whatever to his subordinate. He wishes, often from a distance, to
control every detail of the administration. The tendency of the
subordinate, on the other hand, is to lean in everything on superior
authority. He does not dare to take any personal responsibility; indeed,
it is possible to go further and say that the corroding action of
bureaucracy renders those who live under its baneful shadow almost
incapable of assuming responsibility. By force of habit and training it
has become irksome to them. They fly for refuge to a superior official,
who, in his turn, if the case at all admits of the adoption of such a
course, hastens to merge his individuality in the voluminous pages of a
code or a Government circular.

The British official, on the other hand, whether in England or abroad,
is an Englishman first and an official afterwards. He possesses his full
share of national characteristics. He is by inheritance an
individualist. He lives in a society which, so far from being, as is the
case on the Continent, saturated with respect for officialism, is
somewhat prone to regard officialism and incompetency as synonymous
terms. By such association, any bureaucratic tendency which may exist on
the part of the British official is kept in check, whilst his
individualism is subjected to a sustained and healthy course of tonic
treatment.

Thus, the British system breeds a race of officials who relatively to
those holding analogous posts on the Continent, are disposed to exercise
their central authority in a manner sympathetic to individualism; who,
if they are inclined to err in the sense of over-centralisation, are
often held in check by statesmen imbued with the decentralising spirit;
and who, under these influences, are inclined to accord to local agents
a far wider latitude than those trained in the Continental school of
bureaucracy would consider either safe or desirable.

On the other hand, looking to the position and attributes of the local
agents themselves, it is singular to observe how the habit of assuming
responsibility, coupled with national predispositions acting in the same
direction, generates and fosters a capacity for the beneficial exercise
of power. This feature is not merely noticeable in comparing British
with Continental officials, but also in contrasting various classes of
Englishmen _inter se_. The most highly centralised of all our English
offices is the War Office. For this reason, and also because a military
life necessarily and rightly engenders a habit of implicit obedience to
orders, soldiers are generally less disposed than civilians to assume
personal responsibility and to act on their own initiative.
Nevertheless, whether in military or civil life, it may be said that the
spirit of decentralisation pervades the whole British administrative
system, and that it has given birth to a class of officials who have
both the desire and the capacity to govern, who constitute what Bacon
called[14] the _Participes curarum_, namely, "those upon whom Princes
doe discharge the greatest weight of their affaires," and who are
instruments of incomparable value in the execution of a policy of
Imperialism.

The method of exercising the central control under the British system
calls for some further remarks. It varies greatly in different
localities.

Under the Indian system a council of experts is attached to the
Secretary of State in England. A good authority on this subject says[15]
that there can be no question of the advantage of this system.

     No man, however experienced and laborious, could properly direct
     and control the various interests of so vast an Empire, unless he
     were aided by men with knowledge of different parts of the country,
     and possessing an intimate acquaintance with the different and
     complicated subjects involved in the government and welfare of so
     many incongruous races.

On the assumption that India is to be governed from London, there can be
no doubt of the validity of this argument. But, as has been frequently
pointed out,[16] this system tends inevitably towards
over-centralisation, and if the British Government is to continue to
exercise a sort of [Greek: pantokratoria] to use an expressive Greek
phrase, over a number of outlying dependencies of very various types,
over-centralisation is a danger which should be carefully shunned. It is
wiser to obtain local knowledge from those on the spot, rather than from
those whose local experience must necessarily diminish in value in
direct proportion to the length of the period during which they have
been absent from the special locality, and who, moreover, are under a
strong temptation, after they leave the dependency, to exercise a
detailed control over their successors. It is greatly to be doubted,
therefore, whether, should the occasion arise, this portion of the
Indian system is deserving of reproduction.

There is, however, another portion of that system which is in every
respect admirable, and the creation of which bears the impress of that
keen political insight which, according to many Continental authorities,
is the birthright of the Anglo-Saxon race. India is governed locally by
a council composed mainly of officials who have passed their adult lives
in the country; but the Viceroy, and occasionally the legal and
financial members of Council, are sent from England and are usually
chosen by reason of their general qualifications, rather than on account
of any special knowledge of Indian affairs. This system avoids the
dangers consequent on over-centralisation, whilst at the same time it
associates with the administration of the country some individuals who
are personally imbued with the general principles of government which
are favoured by the central authority. Its tendency is to correct the
defect from which the officials employed in the outlying portions of the
Empire are most likely to suffer, namely, that of magnifying the
importance of some local event or consideration, and of unduly
neglecting arguments based on considerations of wider Imperial import.
It enhances the idea of proportion, which is one of the main qualities
necessary to any politician or governing body. Long attention to one
subject, or group of subjects, is apt to narrow the vision of
specialists. The adjunct of an element, which is not Anglo-Indian, to
the Indian Government acts as a corrective to this evil. The members of
the Government who are sent from England, if they have no local
experience, are at all events exempt from local prejudices. They bring
to bear on the questions which come before them a wide general knowledge
and, in many cases, the liberal spirit and vigorous common sense which
are acquired in the course of an English parliamentary career.

It may be added, as a matter of important detail, that it would be
desirable, in order to give continuity to Indian policy, to select young
men to fill the place of Viceroy, and to extend the period of office
from five to seven, or even to ten years.

Although over-centralisation is to be avoided, a certain amount of
control from a central authority is not only unavoidable; if properly
exercised, it is most beneficial. One danger to which the local agent
is exposed is that, being ill-informed of circumstances lying outside
his range of political vision, he may lose sight of the general
principles which guide the policy of the Empire; he may treat subjects
of local interest in a manner calculated to damage, or even to
jeopardise, Imperial interests. The central authority is in a position
to obviate any danger arising from this cause. To ensure the harmonious
working of the different parts of the machine, the central authority
should endeavour, so far as is possible, to realise the circumstances
attendant on the government of the dependency; whilst the local agent
should be constantly on the watch lest he should overrate the importance
of some local issue, or fail to appreciate fully the difficulties which
beset the action of the central authority.

To sum up all that there is to be said on this branch of the subject, it
may be hoped that the fate which befell Rome, in so far as it was due to
the special causes of decay now under consideration, may be averted by
close adherence to two important principles. The first of these
principles is that local revenues should be expended locally. The second
is that over-centralisation should above all things be avoided. This may
be done either by the creation of self-governing institutions in those
dependencies whose civilisation is sufficiently advanced to justify the
adoption of this course; or by decentralising the executive Government
in cases where self-government, in the ordinary acceptation of the term,
is impossible or undesirable.

6. _Barbarous Finance._--Mr. Hodgkin says that the system of Imperial
taxation under the Roman Empire was "wasteful, oppressive, and in a
word, barbarous." He gives, as an instance in point, the Roman
Indiction. This was the name given to the system under which the taxable
value of the land throughout the Empire was reassessed every fifteen
years. At each reassessment, Mr. Hodgkin says, "the few who had
prospered found themselves assessed on the higher value which their
lands had acquired, while the many who were sinking down into poverty
obtained, it is to be feared, but little relief from taxation on account
of the higher rate which was charged to all."

It is somewhat unpleasant to reflect that the system which Mr. Hodgkin
so strongly condemns, and which he even regards as one of the causes of
the downfall of the Roman Empire, is--save in respect to the intervals
of periodical reassessment--very similar to that which exists everywhere
in India, except in the province of Bengal, where the rights conferred
on the zemindars under Lord Cornwallis's Permanent Settlement are still
respected in spite of occasional unwise suggestions that time and the
fall in the value of the rupee have obliterated any moral obligations to
maintain them. Nor are the results obtained in India altogether
dissimilar from those observable under Roman rule. The knowledge that
reassessment was imminent has, it is believed, often discouraged the
outlay of private capital on improving the land. More than this, it is
notorious that, at one time, some provinces suffered greatly from the
mistakes made by the settlement officers. These latter were animated
with the best intentions, but, in spite of their marked ability--for
they were all specially selected men--they often found the task
entrusted to them impossible of execution. Unfortunately political or
administrative errors cannot be condoned by reason of good intentions.
Like the Greeks of old, the natives of India suffer from the mistakes of
their rulers.

The intentions of the British, as compared with the Roman Government
are, however, noteworthy from one point of view, inasmuch as from a
correct appreciation of those intentions it is possible to evolve a
principle perhaps in some degree calculated to avert the consequences
which befell Rome, partly by reason of fiscal errors.

In spite of some high-sounding commonplaces which were at times
enunciated by Roman lawgivers and statesmen, and in which a ring of
utilitarian philosophy is to be recognised,[17] and of the further fact
that, as in the case of Verres, a check was sometimes applied to the
excesses of local Governors, it is almost certainly true that the rulers
of Rome did not habitually act on the recognition of any very strong
moral obligation binding on the Imperial Government in its treatment of
subject races. The merits of any fiscal system were probably judged
mainly from the point of view of the amount of funds which it poured
into the Treasury. The fiscal principles on which the Emperors of Rome
acted survived long after the fall of the Roman Empire. They deserve the
epithet of "barbarous" which Mr. Hodgkin has bestowed upon them.

The point of departure of the British Government is altogether
different. Its intentions are admirable. Every farthing which has been
spent--and, it may be feared, often wasted--on the numerous military
expeditions in which the Government of India has been engaged during the
last century would, in the eyes of many, certainly be considered as
expenditure incurred on objects which were of paramount interest to the
Indian taxpayers. Moreover, a whole category of British legislation
connected with fiscal matters has been undertaken, not so much with a
view to increase the revenue as with the object of distributing the
burthen of taxation equally amongst the different classes of society.
Much of this legislation has been perfectly justifiable and even
beneficial. Nevertheless, it should never be forgotten that it is
generally based on the purely Western principle that abstract justice is
in itself a desirable thing to attain, and that a fiscal or
administrative system stands condemned if it is wanting in symmetry. It
was against any extreme application of this principle that Burke
directed some of his most forcible diatribes.[18] It has been already
pointed out that the commendable want of intellectual symmetry which is
the inherited possession of the Englishman gives him a very great
advantage as an Imperialist agent over those trained in the rigid and
bureaucratic school of Continental Europe. But the Englishman is a
Western, albeit an Anglo-Saxon Western, and, from the point of view of
all processes of reasoning, the gulf which separates any one member of
the European family from another is infinitely less wide than that which
divides all Westerns from all Orientals. Even the Englishman, therefore,
is constrained--sometimes much against his will--to bow down in that
temple of Logic, the existence of which the Oriental is disposed
altogether to ignore. Indeed, sometimes the choice lies between the
enforcement on the reluctant Oriental of principles based on
logic--occasionally on the very simple science of arithmetic--or
abandoning the work of civilisation altogether. From this point of view,
the dangers to which the British Empire is exposed by reason of fiscal
measures are due not, as was the case with Rome, to barbarous, but
rather to ultra-scientific finance. The following is a case in point.

The land-tax has always been the principal source from which Oriental
potentates have derived their revenues. For all practical purposes it
may be said that the system which they have adopted has generally been
to take as much from the cultivators as they could get. Reformers, such
as the Emperor Akbar, have at times endeavoured to introduce more
enlightened methods of taxation, and to carry into practice the
theories upon which the fiscal system in all Moslem countries is based.
Those theories are by no means so objectionable as is often supposed.
But the reforms which some few capable rulers attempted to introduce
have almost always crumbled away under the regime of their
successors.[19] In practice, the only limit to the demands of the ruler
of an Oriental State has been the ability of the taxpayers to satisfy
them.[20] The only defence of the taxpayers has lain in the concealment
of their incomes at the risk of being tortured till they divulged their
amount.

Nevertheless, even under such a system as this, the wind is tempered to
the shorn lamb by the fact that Oriental rulers recognise that they
cannot get money from a man who possesses none. If, from drought or
other causes, the cultivator raises no crop, he is not required to pay
any land-tax. The idea of expropriation for the non-payment of taxes is
purely Western and modern. Under Roman law, it was the rule in contracts
for rent that a tenant was not bound to pay if any _vis major_ prevented
him from reaping.

The European system is very different. A far less heavy demand is made
on the cultivator, but he is, at all events in principle and sometimes
in practice, called upon to meet it in good and bad years alike. He is
expected to save in years of plenty in order to make good the deficit in
lean years. If he is unable to pay, he is liable to be expropriated, and
he often is expropriated. This plan is just, logical, and very Western.
It may be questioned whether Oriental cultivators do not sometimes
rather prefer the oppression and elasticity of the Eastern to the
justice and rigidity of the Western system.

Various palliatives have been adopted in India with a view to giving
some elasticity to the working of the Land Revenue system. In Egypt,
where the administration is much less Anglicised than in India, and
where, for various reasons, the treatment of this subject presents
relatively fewer difficulties, it is the practice now, as was the case
under purely native rule, to remit the taxes on what is known as
_Sharaki_ lands, that is to say, land which, owing to a low Nile, has
not been irrigated. It is not, however, necessary to dwell on the
details of this subject. It will be sufficient to draw attention to the
different points of view from which the Eastern and the Western approach
the subject of fiscal administration. The latter urges with unanswerable
logic that financial equilibrium must be maintained, and that he cannot
frame a trustworthy Budget unless he knows the amount he may count on
receiving from direct taxes, especially from the land-tax. The Eastern
replies that he knows nothing of either financial equilibrium or of
budgets, that it has, indeed, from time immemorial been the custom to
leave him nought but a bare pittance when he had money, but to refrain
from any endeavours to extort money from him when he had none.

Another instance drawn, not from the practices of fiscal administration,
but from legislation on a cognate subject, may be cited.

Directly Western civilisation comes in contact with a backward Oriental
Society, the relations between debtor and creditor are entirely changed.
A social revolution is effected. The Western applies his code with stern
and ruthless logic. The child-like Eastern, on the other hand, cannot be
made to understand that his house should be sold over his head because
he affixed his seal to a document, which, very probably, he had never
read, or, at all events, had never fully understood, and which was
presented to him by a man at one time apparently animated with
benevolent intentions, inasmuch as he wished to lend him money, but who
subsequently showed his malevolence by asking to be repaid his loan with
interest at an exorbitant rate.

Here, again, many palliatives have been suggested and some have been
applied, but many of them sin against the economic law, which provides
that legislation intended to protect a man against the consequences of
his own folly or improvidence is generally unproductive of result.

In truth, no thoroughly effective remedy can be applied in cases such as
those mentioned above, without abandoning all real attempt at progress.
Civilisation must, unfortunately, have its victims, amongst whom are to
some extent inevitably numbered those who do not recognise the paramount
necessities of the Budget system, and those who contract debts with an
inadequate appreciation of the _caveat emptor_ principle. Nevertheless,
the Western financier will act wisely if, casting aside some portion of
his Western habit of thought, he recognises the facts with which he has
to deal, and if, fully appreciating the intimate connection between
finance and politics in an Eastern country, he endeavours, so far as is
possible, to temper the clean-cut science of his fiscal measures in such
a manner as to suit the customs and intellectual standard of the subject
race with which he has to deal.

The question of the amount of taxation levied stands apart from the
method of its imposition. It may be laid down as a principle of
universal application that high taxation is incompatible with assured
stability of Imperial rule.[21]

The financier and the hydraulic engineer, who is a powerful ally of the
financier, have probably a greater potentiality of creating an
artificial and self-interested loyalty than even the judge. The reasons
are obvious. In the first place, the number of criminals, or even of
civil litigants, in any society is limited; whereas practically the
whole population consists of taxpayers. In the second place, the
arbitrary methods of administering justice practised by Oriental rulers
do not shock their subjects nearly so much as Europeans are often
disposed to think. Custom has made it in them a property of easiness.
They often, indeed, fail to appreciate the intentions, and are disposed
to resent the methods, of those whose object it is to establish justice
in the law-courts. On the other hand, the most ignorant Egyptian fellah
or Indian ryot can understand the difference between a Government which
takes nine-tenths of his crop in the shape of land-tax, and one which
only takes one-third or one-fourth. He can realise that he is better off
if the water is allowed to flow periodically on to his fields, than he
was when the influential landowner, who possessed a property up-stream
on the canal, made a dam and prevented him from getting any water at
all.

These principles would probably meet with general acceptance from all
who have considered the question of Imperial rule. They are, indeed,
almost commonplace. Unfortunately, in practice the necessity of
conforming to them is often forgotten. India is the great instance in
point. Englishmen are often so convinced that the natives of India ought
to be loyal, they hear so much said of their loyalty, they appreciate so
little the causes which are at work to produce disloyalty, and, in spite
of occasional mistakes due to errors of judgment, they are in reality so
earnestly desirous of doing what they consider, sometimes perhaps
erroneously, their duty towards the native population, that they are apt
to lose sight of the fact that the self-interest of the subject race is
the principal basis of the whole Imperial fabric. They forget, whilst
they are adding to the upper story of the house, that the foundations
may give way.

This is not the place to enter into any lengthy discussion upon Indian
affairs. It may be said, however, that the Indian history of the last
few years certainly gives cause for some anxiety. Attention was at one
time too exclusively paid to frontier policy, which constitutes only
one, and that not the most important, element of the complex Indian
problem.

That the policy of "masterly inactivity," to use the phrase
epigrammatically, but perhaps somewhat incorrectly, applied to the line
of action advocated by Lord Lawrence in 1869, required some
modifications as the onward movement of Russia in Asia developed, will
scarcely be contested by the most devoted of Lawrentian partisans and
followers. That those modifications were wisely introduced is a
proposition the truth of which it is difficult to admit. The portion of
Lord Lawrence's programme which was necessarily temporary, inasmuch as
it depended on the circumstances of the time, was rejected without
taking sufficient account of the further and far more important portion
which was of permanent application. This latter portion was defined in
an historic and oft-quoted despatch which he indited on the eve of his
departure from India, and which may be regarded as his political
testament. In this despatch, Lord Lawrence, speaking with all the
authority due to a lifelong acquaintance with Indian affairs, laid down
the broad general principle that the strongest security of our rule lay
"in the contentment, if not in the attachment, of the masses."[22] The
truth of this general principle was at one time too much neglected.
Under the influence of a predominant militarism acting on too pliant
politicians, vast military expenditure was incurred. Territory lying
outside the natural geographical frontier of India was occupied, the
acquisition of which was condemned not merely by sound policy, but also
by sound strategy. Taxation was increased, and, generally, the material
interests of the natives of India were sacrificed and British Imperial
rule exposed to subsequent danger, in order to satisfy the exigencies of
a school of soldier-politicians who only saw one, and that the most
technical, aspect of a very wide and complex question.

Neither, unfortunately, is there any sure guarantee that the mistakes,
which it is now almost universally admitted were made, will not recur.
Where, indeed, are we to look for any effective check? The rulers of
India, whether they sit in Calcutta or London, may again be carried away
by the partial views of an influential class, or of a few masterful
individuals. It is absurd to speak of creating free institutions in
India to control the Indian Government. Experience has shown that
parliamentary action in England not infrequently degenerates into
acrimonious discussion and recrimination dictated by party passion; in
any case, it is generally too late to change the course of events. Still
less reliance can be placed on the action of the British Press, which
falls a ready victim to the specious arguments advanced by some
strategical pseudo-Imperialist in high position, or by some fervent
acolyte who has learnt at the feet of his master the fatal and facile
lesson of how an Empire, built up by statesmen, may be wrecked by the
well-intentioned but mistaken measures recommended by specialists to
ensure Imperial salvation. The managers of the London newspapers afford,
indeed, be it said to their credit, every facility for the publication
of views adverse to those which they themselves advocate. But it is none
the less true that, during the years when the unwise frontier policy of
a few years ago was being planned and executed, the voices of the
opposition, although they were those of Indian statesmen and officials
who could speak with the highest authority, failed to obtain an adequate
hearing until the evil was irremediable. On the other hand, the views of
the strategical specialists went abroad over the land, with the result
that ill-informed and careless public opinion followed their advice
without having any very precise idea of whither it was being led.

It would appear, therefore, that there is need for great care and
watchfulness in the management of Indian affairs. That same
inconsistency of character and absence of definite aim, which are such
notable Anglo-Saxon qualities and which adapt themselves so admirably to
the requirements of Imperial rule, may in some respects constitute an
additional danger. If we are not to adopt a policy based on securing the
contentment of the subject race by ministering to their material
interests, we must of necessity make a distinct approach to the
counter-policy of governing by the sword alone. In that case, it would
be as well not to allow a free native Press, or to encourage high
education. Any repressive or retrograde measures in either of these
directions would, without doubt, meet with strong and, to a great
extent, reasonable opposition in England. A large section of the public,
forgetful of the fact that they had stood passively by whilst measures,
such as the imposition of increased taxes, which the natives of India
really resent, were adopted, would protest loudly against the adoption
of other measures which are, indeed, open to objection, but which
nevertheless touch Oriental in a far less degree than they affect
Western public feeling. The result of this inconsistency is that our
present system rather tends to turn out demagogues from our colleges, to
give them every facility for sowing their subversive views broadcast
over the land, and at the same time to prepare the ground for the
reception of the seed which they sow. Now this is the very reverse of a
sound Imperial policy. We cannot, it is true, effectually prevent the
manufacture of demagogues without adopting measures which would render
us false to our acknowledged principles of government and to our
civilising mission. But we may govern in such a manner as to give the
demagogue no fulcrum with which to move his credulous and ill-informed
countrymen and co-religionists. The leading principle of a government of
this nature should be that low taxation is the most potent instrument
with which to conjure discontent. This is the policy which will tend
more than any other to the stability of Imperial rule. If it is to be
adopted, two elements of British society will have to be kept in check
at the hands of the statesman acting in concert with the moralist. These
are Militarism and Commercial Egotism. The Empire depends in a great
degree on the strength and efficiency of its army. It thrives on its
commerce. But if the soldier and the trader are not kept under some
degree of statesmanlike control, they are capable of becoming the most
formidable, though unconscious, enemies of the British Empire.

It will be seen, therefore, that though there are some disquieting
circumstances attendant on our Imperial rule, the general result of an
examination into the causes which led to the collapse of Roman power,
and a comparison of those causes with the principles on which the
British Empire is governed, are, on the whole, encouraging. To every
danger which threatens there is a safeguard. To every portion of the
body politic in which symptoms of disease may occur, it is possible to
apply a remedy.

Christianity is our most powerful ally. We are the sworn enemies of the
slave-dealer and the slave-owner. The dangers arising from the possible
pauperisation of the proletariat may, it is to be hoped, be averted by
our national character and by the natural play of our time-honoured
institutions. If we adhere steadily to the principle that local revenues
are to be expended locally, and if, at the same time, we give all
reasonable encouragement to local self-government and shun any tendency
towards over-centralisation, we shall steer clear of one of the rocks on
which the Roman ship of state was wrecked. Unskilful or unwise finance
is our greatest danger, but here again the remedy lies ready to hand if
we are wise enough to avail ourselves of it. It consists in adapting our
fiscal methods to the requirements of our subject races, and still more
in the steadfast rejection of any proposals which, by rendering high
taxation inevitable, will infringe the cardinal principle on which a
sound Imperial policy should be based. That principle is that, whilst
the sword should be always ready for use, it should be kept in reserve
for great emergencies, and that we should endeavour to find, in the
contentment of the subject race, a more worthy and, it may be hoped, a
stronger bond of union between the rulers and the ruled.

If any more sweeping generalisation than this is required, it may be
said that the whole, or nearly the whole, of the essential points of a
sound Imperial policy admit of being embodied in this one statement,
that, whilst steadily avoiding any movement in the direction of official
proselytism, our relations with the various races who are subjects of
the King of England should be founded on the granite rock of the
Christian moral code.

     Humanity, as it passes through phase after phase of the historical
     movement, may advance indefinitely in excellence; but its advance
     will be an indefinite approximation to the Christian type. A
     divergence from that type, to whatever extent it may take place,
     will not be progress, but debasement and corruption. In a moral
     point of view, in short, the world may abandon Christianity, but
     can never advance beyond it. This is not a matter of authority, or
     even of revelation. If it is true, it is a matter of reason as much
     as anything in the world.[23]

[Footnote 1: _Italy and Her Invaders_. Thomas Hodgkin, D.C.L. Oxford:
Clarendon Press, 1892.]

[Footnote 2: Male imperando summum imperium amittitur.--PUBLIUS
SYRUS.]

[Footnote 3: _Decline and Fall_, chap. xx.]

[Footnote 4: Any one who wishes to gain an insight into the fundamental
principles which governed those relations cannot do better than read the
opening chapters of Sorel's _L'Europe et la Revolution Francaise_.]

[Footnote 5: Ecclesiastes i. 9.]

[Footnote 6: _Life and Letters of Sir James Graham_, vol. ii. p. 328.]

[Footnote 7: Lord Farrer says: "It is the privilege of honourable trade
that, like mercy, it is twice blessed; it blesseth him that gives and
him that takes; each of its dealings is of necessity a benefit to both
parties. But traders and speculators are not always the most scrupulous
of mankind. Their dealings with savage and half-civilised nations too
often betray sharp practice, sometimes violence and wrong. The persons
who carry on our trade on the outskirts of civilisation are not
distinguished by a special appreciation of the rights of others, nor are
the speculators, who are attracted by the enormous profits to be made by
precarious investments in half-civilised countries, people in whose
hands we should desire to place the fortunes or reputation of our
country. When a difficulty arises between ourselves and one of the
weaker nations, these are the persons whose voice is most loudly raised
for acts of violence, of aggression, or of revenge."--_The State in its
Relation to Trade_, p. 177.]

[Footnote 8: It should never be forgotten that, in Oriental countries,
whatever good is done to the masses is necessarily purchased at the
expense of incurring the resentment of the ruling classes, who abused
the power they formerly possessed. Seeley (_Expansion of England_, p.
320) says with great truth: "It would be very rash to assume that any
gratitude, which may have been aroused here and there by our
administration, can be more than sufficient to counterbalance the
discontent which we have excited among those whom we have ousted from
authority and influence."]

[Footnote 9: Juvenal, xiv. 176-8.]

[Footnote 10: "La superiorite des Anglo-Saxons! Si on ne la proclame
pas, on la subit et on la redoute; les craintes, les mefiances et
parfois les haines que souleve l'Anglais l'attestent assez haut....

"Nous ne pouvons faire un pas a travers le monde, sans rencontrer
l'Anglais. Nous ne pouvons jeter les yeux sur nos anciennes possessions,
sans y voir flotter le pavilion anglais." _A Quoi tient la Superiorite
des Anglo-Saxons?_--Demolins. This work, as well as another on much the
same subject (_L'Europa giovane_, by Guglielmo Ferrero), were reviewed
in the _Edinburgh Review_ for January 1898.]

[Footnote 11: _Vie de Turgot_, i. 47. In the debate on the India Act in
1858, Sir George Cornewall Lewis, whose views were generally
distinguished for their moderation, said: "I do most confidently
maintain that no civilised Government ever existed on the face of this
earth which was more corrupt, more perfidious, and more capricious than
the East India Company was from 1758 to 1784, when it was placed under
Parliamentary control."]

[Footnote 12: "It still remains true that there is a large body of
public opinion in England which carries into all politics a sound moral
sense, and which places a just and righteous policy higher than any mere
party interest. It is on the power and pressure of this opinion that the
high character of English government must ultimately depend."--_Map of
Life_, Lecky, p. 184. It will be a matter for surprise if the
ultra-bureaucratic spirit, coupled with a somewhat pronounced degree of
commercial egotism, do not prove the two rocks on which German colonial
enterprise will be eventually shipwrecked.]

[Footnote 13: Butcher, _Some Aspects of the Greek Genius_, p. 27.]

[Footnote 14: _Essays_. "Of Honour and Reputation."]

[Footnote 15: _Sir Charles Wood's Administration of Indian Affairs,
1859-66._ West. 1867. Sir Algernon West was Private Secretary to Sir
Charles Wood, afterwards Lord Halifax, who was the first Secretary of
State for India appointed after the passing of the India Act of 1858,
and, therefore, inaugurated the new system.]

[Footnote 16: See, _inter alia_, Chesney's _Indian Polity_, p. 136.]

[Footnote 17: Perhaps the best-known example is "Salus populi suprema
lex esto," a maxim which, as Selden has pointed out (_Table Talk_,
ciii.), is very frequently misapplied. See also the advice given by the
Emperor Claudius to the Parthian Mithridates (Tacitus, _Ann._ xii. 11).]

[Footnote 18: "The idea of forcing everything to an artificial equality
has something, at first view, very captivating in it. It has all the
appearance imaginable of justice and good order; and very many persons,
without any sort of partial purposes, have been led to adopt such
schemes, and to pursue them with great earnestness and warmth. Though I
have no doubt that the minute, laborious, and very expensive _cadastre_,
which was made by the King of Sardinia, has done no sort of good, and
that after all his pains a few years will restore all things to their
first inequality, yet it has been the admiration of half the reforming
financiers of Europe; I mean the official financiers, as well as the
speculative."--_Memoirs of Sir Philip Francis_, ii. 126.]

[Footnote 19: Mill, _History of British India_, vi. 433.]

[Footnote 20: Elphinstone, _History of India_, p. 77.]

[Footnote 21: Lord Lawrence said: "Light taxation is, in my mind, the
panacea for foreign rule in India." Bosworth Smith, _Life of Lord
Lawrence_, vol. ii. p. 497.]

[Footnote 22: The essential portions of this despatch, in so far as the
purposes of the present argument are concerned, are given in Sir Richard
Temple's work (p. 185), and in Bosworth Smith's _Life of Lord Lawrence_,
vol. ii. p. 186.]

[Footnote 23: Goldwin Smith, _Lectures on the Study of History_, p.
154.]




II

TRANSLATION AND PARAPHRASE

_"The Edinburgh Review," July 1913_


When Emerson said "We like everything to do its office, whether it be a
milch-cow or a rattlesnake," he assumed, perhaps somewhat too hastily in
the latter case, that all the world understands the functions which a
milch-cow or a rattlesnake is called upon to perform. No one can doubt
that the office of a translator is to translate, but a wide difference
of opinion may exist, and, in fact, has always existed, as to the
latitude which he may allow himself in translating. Is he to adhere
rigidly to a literal rendering of the original text, or is paraphrase
permissible, and, if permissible, within what limits may it be adopted?
In deciding which of these courses to pursue, the translator stands
between Scylla and Charybdis. If he departs too widely from the precise
words of the text, he incurs the blame of the purist, who will accuse
him of foisting language on the original author which the latter never
employed, with the possible result that even the ideas or sentiments
which it had been intended to convey have been disfigured. If, on the
other hand, he renders word for word, he will often find, more
especially if his translation be in verse, that in a cacophonous attempt
to force the genius of one language into an unnatural channel, the whole
of the beauty and even, possibly, some of the real meaning of the
original have been allowed to evaporate. Dr. Fitzmaurice-Kelly, in an
instructive article on Translation contributed to the _Encyclopaedia
Britannica_ quotes the high authority of Dryden as to the course which
should be followed in the execution of an ideal translation.

     A translator (Dryden writes) that would write with any force or
     spirit of an original must never dwell on the words of his author.
     He ought to possess himself entirely, and perfectly comprehend the
     genius and sense of his author, the nature of the subject, and the
     terms of the art or subject treated of; and then he will express
     himself as justly, and with as much life, as if he wrote an
     original; whereas he who copies word for word loses all the spirit
     in the tedious transfusion.

In the application of Dryden's canon a distinction has to be made
between prose and verse. The composition of good prose, which Coleridge
described as "words in the right order," is, indeed, of the utmost
importance for all the purposes of the historian, the writer on
philosophy, or the orator. An example of the manner in which fine prose
can bring to the mind a vivid conception of a striking event is Jeremy
Collier's description of Cranmer's death, which excited the enthusiastic
admiration of Mr. Gladstone.[24] He seemed [Collier wrote] "to repel the
force of the fire and to overlook the torture, by strength of thought."
Nevertheless, the main object of the prose writer, and still more of the
orator, should be to state his facts or to prove his case. Cato laid
down the very sound principle "rem tene, verba sequentur," and
Quintilian held that "no speaker, when important interests are involved,
should be very solicitous about his words." It is true that this
principle is one that has been more often honoured in the breach than
the observance. Lucian, in his _Lexiphanes_,[25] directs the shafts of
his keen satire against the meticulous attention to phraseology
practised by his contemporaries. Cardinal Bembo sacrificed substance to
form to the extent of advising young men not to read St. Paul for fear
that their style should be injured, and Professor Saintsbury[26]
mentions the case of a French author, Paul de Saint-Victor, who "used,
when sitting down to write, to put words that had struck his fancy at
intervals over the sheet, and write his matter in and up to them." These
are instances of that word-worship run mad which has not infrequently
led to dire results, inasmuch as it has tended to engender the belief
that statesmanship is synonymous with fine writing or perfervid oratory.
The oratory in which Demosthenes excelled, Professor Bury says,[27] "was
one of the curses of Greek politics."

The attention paid by the ancients to what may be termed tricks of style
has probably in some degree enhanced the difficulties of prose
translation. It may not always be easy in a foreign language to
reproduce the subtle linguistic shades of Demosthenic oratory--the
Anaphora (repetition of the same word at the beginning of co-ordinate
sentences following one another), the Anastrophe (the final word of a
sentence repeated at the beginning of one immediately following), the
Polysyndeton (the same conjunction repeated), or the Epidiorthosis (the
correction of an expression). Nevertheless, in dealing with a prose
composition, the weight of the arguments, the lucidity with which the
facts are set forth, and the force with which the conclusions are driven
home, rank, or should rank, in the mind of the reader higher than any
feelings which are derived from the music of the words or the skilful
order in which they are arranged. Moreover, in prose more frequently
than in verse, it is the beauty of the idea expressed which attracts
rather than the language in which it is clothed. Thus, for instance,
there can be no difficulty in translating the celebrated metaphor of
Pericles[28] that "the loss of the youth of the city was as if the
spring was taken out of the year," because the beauty of the idea can in
no way suffer by presenting it in English, French, or German rather than
in the original Greek. Again, to quote another instance from Latin, the
fine epitaph to St. Ovinus in Ely Cathedral: "Lucem tuam Ovino da, Deus,
et requiem," loses nothing of its terse pathos by being rendered into
English. Occasionally, indeed, the truth is forced upon us that even in
prose "a thing may be well said once but cannot be well said twice"
([Greek: to kalos eipein hapax perigignetai, dis de ouk endechetai]),
but this is generally because the genius of one language lends itself
with special ease to some singularly felicitous and often epigrammatic
form of expression which is almost or sometimes even quite
untranslatable. Who, for instance, would dare to translate into English
the following description which the Duchesse de Dino[29] gave of a lady
of her acquaintance: "Elle n'a jamais ete jolie, mais elle etait blanche
et fraiche, _avec quelques jolis details"_? On the whole, however, it
may be said that if the prose translator is thoroughly well acquainted
with both of the languages which he has to handle, he ought to be able
to pay adequate homage to the genius of the one without offering undue
violence to that of the other.

The case of the translator of poetry, which Coleridge defined as "the
best words in the best order," is manifestly very different. A phrase
which is harmonious or pregnant with fire in one language may become
discordant, flat, and vapid when translated into another. Shelley spoke
of "the vanity of translation." "It were as wise (he said) to cast a
violet into a crucible that you might discover the formal principle of
its colour and odour, as seek to transfuse from one language into
another the creations of a poet."

Longinus has told us[30] that "beautiful words are the very light of
thought" ([Greek: phos gar to onti idion tou nou ta kala onomata]), but
it will often happen, in reading a fine passage, that on analysing the
sentiments evoked, it is difficult to decide whether they are due to
the thought or to the beauty of the words. A mere word, as in the case
of Edgar Poe's "Nevermore," has at times inspired a poet. When Keats,
speaking of Melancholy, says:

    She lives with Beauty--Beauty that must die--
    And Joy, whose hand is ever on his lips,
    Bidding adieu,

or when Mrs. Browning writes:

                            ... Young
    As Eve with Nature's daybreak on her face,

the pleasure, both of sense and sentiment, is in each case derived alike
from the music of the language and the beauty of the ideas. But in such
lines as

    Arethusa arose from her couch of snows, etc.,

or Coleridge's description of the river Alph running

    Through caverns measureless to man
          Down to a sunless sea,

it is the language rather than the idea which fascinates. Professor
Walker, speaking of the most exquisitely harmonious lyric ever written
in English, or perhaps in any other language,[31] says with great truth:
"The reader of _Lycidas_ rises from it ready to grasp the 'two-handed
engine' and smite; though he may be doubtful what the engine is, and
what is to be smitten."

It may be observed, moreover, that one of the main difficulties to be
encountered in translating some of the masterpieces of ancient
literature arises from their exquisite simplicity. Although the
indulgence in glaring improprieties of language in the pursuit of
novelty of thought was not altogether unknown to the ancients, and was,
indeed, stigmatised by Longinus with the epithet of "corybantising,"[32]
the full development of this pernicious practice has been reserved for
the modern world. Dryden made himself indirectly responsible for a good
deal of bad poetry when he said that great wits were allied to madness.
The late Professor Butcher,[33] as also Lamb in his essay on "The Sanity
of True Genius," have both pointed out that genius and high ability are
eminently sane.

In some respects it may be said that didactic poetry affords special
facilities to the translator, inasmuch as it bears a more close relation
to prose than verse of other descriptions. Didactic poets, such as
Lucretius and Pope, are almost forced by the inexorable necessities of
their subjects to think in prose. However much we may admire their
verse, it is impossible not to perceive that, in dealing with subjects
that require great precision of thought, they have felt themselves
hampered by the necessities of metre and rhythm. They may, indeed,
resort to blank verse, which is a sort of half-way house between prose
and rhyme, as was done by Mr. Leonard in his excellent translation of
Empedocles, of which the following specimen may be given:

    [Greek: ouk estin pelasasthai en ophthalmoisin ephekton
    hemeterois e chersi labein, heper te megiste
    peithous anthropoisin hamaxitos eis phrena piptei.]

    We may not bring It near us with our eyes,
    We may not grasp It with our human hands.
    With neither hands nor eyes, those highways twain,
    Whereby Belief drops into the minds of men.

But Dr. Symmons, one of the numerous translators of Virgil, said, with
some truth, that the adoption of blank verse only involves "a laborious
and doubtful struggle to escape from the fangs of prose."[34]

A good example of what can be done in this branch of literature is
furnished by Dryden. Lucretius[35] wrote:

    Tu vero dubitabis et indignabere obire?
    Mortua cui vita est prope iam vivo atque videnti,
    Qui somno partem maiorem conteris aevi,
    Et vigilans stertis nec somnia cernere cessas
    Sollicitamque geris cassa formidine mentem
    Nec reperire potes tibi quid sit saepe mali, cum
    Ebrius urgeris multis miser undique curis,
    Atque animi incerto fluitans errore vagaris.

Dryden's translation departs but slightly from the original text and at
the same time presents the ideas of Lucretius in rhythmical and
melodious English:

    And thou, dost thou disdain to yield thy breath,
    Whose very life is little more than death?
    More than one-half by lazy sleep possest,
    And when awake, thy soul but nods at best,
    Day-dreams and sickly thoughts revolving in thy breast.
    Eternal troubles haunt thy anxious mind,
    Whose cause and case thou never hopest to find,
    But still uncertain, with thyself at strife,
    Thou wanderest in the labyrinth of life.

Descriptive poetry also lends itself with comparative ease to
translation. Nothing can be better than the translation made by Mr.
Gladstone[36] of _Iliad_ iv. 422-32. The original Greek runs thus:

    [Greek: hos d' hot' en aigialo polyechei; kyma thalasses
    ornyt' epassyteron Zephyrou hypo kinesantos;
    ponto men te prota koryssetai, autar epeita
    cherso rhegnymenon megala bremei, amphi de t' akras
    kyrton eon koryphoutai, apoptyei d' halos achnen;
    hos tot' epassyterai Danaon kinynto phalanges
    nolemeos polemonde. keleue de oisin hekastos
    hegemonon; oi d' alloi aken isan, oude ke phaies
    tosson laon hepesthai echont' en stethesin auden,
    sige, deidiotes semantoras; amphi de pasi
    teuchea poikil' elampe, ta eimenoi estichoonto.]

Mr. Gladstone, who evidently drew his inspiration from the author of
"Marmion" and "The Lady of the Lake," translated as follows:

    As when the billow gathers fast
      With slow and sullen roar,
    Beneath the keen north-western blast,
      Against the sounding shore.
    First far at sea it rears its crest,
      Then bursts upon the beach;
    Or with proud arch and swelling breast,
      Where headlands outward reach,
    It smites their strength, and bellowing flings
      Its silver foam afar--
    So stern and thick the Danaan kings
      And soldiers marched to war.
    Each leader gave his men the word,
    Each warrior deep in silence heard,
    So mute they marched, them couldst not ken
    They were a mass of speaking men;
    And as they strode in martial might
    Their flickering arms shot back the light.

It is, however, in dealing with poetry which is neither didactic nor
descriptive that the difficulty--indeed often the impossibility--of
reconciling the genius of the two languages becomes most apparent. It
may be said with truth that the best way of ascertaining how a fine or
luminous idea can be presented in any particular language is to set
aside altogether the idea of translation, and to inquire how some master
in the particular language has presented the case without reference to
the utterances of his predecessors in other languages. A good example of
this process may be found in comparing the language in which others have
treated Vauvenargues' well-known saying: "Pour executer de grandes
choses, il faut vivre comme si on ne devait jamais mourir."
Bacchylides[37] put the same idea in the following words:

    [Greek: thnaton eunta chre didymous aexein
    gnomas, hoti t' aurion opseai
    mounon haliou phaos,
    choti pentekont' etea
    zoan bathyplouton teleis.][38]

And the great Arab poet Abu'l'Ala, whose verse has been admirably
translated by Mr. Baerlein, wrote:

    If you will do some deed before you die,
      Remember not this caravan of death,
      But have belief that every little breath
    Will stay with you for an eternity.

Another instance of the same kind, which may be cited without in any way
wishing to advance what Professor Courthope[39] very justly calls "the
mean charge of plagiarism," is Tennyson's line, "His honour rooted in
dishonour stood." Euripides[40] expressed the same idea in the following
words:

    [Greek: ek ton gar aischron esthla mechanometha.]

To cite another case, the following lines of _Paradise Lost_ may be
compared with the treatment accorded by Euripides to the same subject:

                    Oh, why did God,
    Creator wise, that peopled highest Heaven
    With spirits masculine, create at last
    This novelty on Earth, this fair defect
    Of Nature, and not fill the World at once
    With men as Angels, without feminine;
    Or find some other way to generate
    Mankind?

Euripides wrote:

    [Greek: o Zeu, ti de kibdelon anthropois kakon,
    gynaikas es phos heliou katokisas?
    ei gar broteion etheles speirai genos,
    ouk ek gynaikon chren paraschesthai tode.][41]

Apart, however, from the process to which allusion is made above, very
many instances may, of course, be cited, of translations properly so
called which have reproduced not merely the exact sense but the vigour
of the original idea in a foreign language with little or no resort to
paraphrase. What can be better than Cowley's translation of Claudian's
lines?--

    Ingentem meminit parvo qui germine quercum
      Aequaevumque videt consenuisse nemus.

    A neighbouring wood born with himself he sees,
    And loves his old contemporary trees,

thus, as Gibbon says,[42] improving on the original, inasmuch as, being
a good botanist, Cowley "concealed the oaks under a more general
expression."

Take also the case of the well-known Latin epigram:

    Omne epigramma sit instar apis: sit aculeus illi;
      Sint sua mella; sit et corporis exigui.

It has frequently been translated, but never more felicitously or
accurately than by the late Lord Wensleydale:

    Be epigrams like bees; let them have stings;
    And Honey too, and let them be small things.

On the other hand, the attempt to adhere too closely to the text of the
original and to reject paraphrase sometimes leads to results which can
scarcely be described as other than the reverse of felicitous. An
instance in point is Sappho's lines:

    [Greek: kai gar ai pheugei, tacheos dioxei,
    ai de dora me deket', alla dosei,
    ai de me philei, tacheos philesei
                        kouk etheloisa.]

So great a master of verse as Mr. Headlam translated thus:

    The pursued shall soon be the pursuer!
      Gifts, though now refusing, yet shall bring
    Love the lover yet, and woo the wooer,
      Though heart it wring!

Many of Mr. Headlam's translations are, however, excellent, more
especially those from English into Greek. He says in his preface:
"Greek, in my experience, is easier to write than English." He has
admirably reproduced the pathetic simplicity of Herrick's lines:

    Here a pretty baby lies,
    Sung to sleep with Lullabies;
    Pray be silent and not stir
    The easy earth that covers her.

    [Greek: meter baukaloosa m' ekoimisen; atrema baine
        me 'geires kouphen gen m' epiessomenon.]

Many singularly happy attempts to render English into Latin or Greek
verse are given in Mr. Kennedy's fascinating little volume _Between
Whiles_, of which the following example may be quoted:

    Few the words that I have spoken;
      True love's words are ever few;
    Yet by many a speechless token
      Hath my heart discoursed to you.

    [Greek: oida paur' epe lalesas; paur' eros lalein philei;
    xymbolois d' homos anaudois soi to pan enixamen.]

The extent to which it is necessary to resort to paraphrase will, of
course, vary greatly, and will largely depend upon whether the language
into which the translation is made happens to furnish epithets and
expressions which are rhythmical and at the same time correspond
accurately to those of the original. Take, for instance, a case such as
the following fragment of Euripides:

    [Greek: ta men didakta manthano, ta d' eureta
    zeto, ta d' eukta para theon etesamen.]

There is but little difficulty in turning this into English verse with
but slight resort to paraphrase:

    I learn what may be taught;
    I seek what may be sought;
    My other wants I dare
    To ask from Heaven in prayer,

But in a large majority of cases paraphrase is almost imposed on the
translator by the necessities of the case. Mr. William Cory's rendering
of the famous verses of Callimachus on his friend Heraclitus, which is
too well known to need quotation, has been justly admired as one of the
best and most poetic translations ever made from Greek, but it can
scarcely be called a translation in the sense in which that term is
employed by purists. It is a paraphrase.

It is needless to dwell on the difficulty of finding any suitable words
capable of being adapted to the necessities of English metre and rhythm
for the numerous and highly poetic adjectives in which the Greek
language abounds. It would tax the ingenuity of any translator to weave
into his verse expressions corresponding to the [Greek: halierkees
ochthai] (sea-constraining cliffs) or the [Greek: Mnamosynas
liparampykos] (Mnemosyne of the shining fillet) of Pindar. Neither is
the difficulty wholly confined to poetry. A good many epithets have from
time to time been applied to the Nile, but none so graphic or so
perfectly accurate as that employed by Herodotus,[43] who uses the
phrase [Greek: hupo tosoutou te potamou kai outo ergatikou]. The English
translation "that vast river, so constantly at work" is a poor
equivalent for the original Greek. German possesses to a greater degree
than any other modern language the word-coining power which was such a
marked characteristic of Greek, with the result that it offers special
difficulties to the translator of verse. Mr. Brandes[44] quotes the
following lines of the German poet Buecher:

    Welche Heldenfreudigkeit der Liebe,
    Welche Staerke muthigen Entsagens,
    Welche himmlisch erdentschwungene Triebe,
    Welche Gottbegeistrung des Ertragens!
    Welche Sich-Erhebung, Sich-Erwiedrung,
    Sich-Entaeussrung, voell'ge Hin-sich-gebung,
    Seelenaustausch, Ineinanderlebung!

It is probable that these lines have never been translated into English
verse, and it is obvious that no translation, which did not largely
consist of paraphrase, would be possible.

Alliteration, which is a powerful literary instrument in the hands of a
skilful writer, but which may easily be allowed to degenerate into a
mere jingle, is of less common occurrence in Greek than in English,
notably early English, literature. It was, however, occasionally
employed by both poets and dramatists. Euripides, for instance, in the
_Cyclops_ (l. 120) makes use of the following expression, which would
serve as a good motto for an Anarchist club, [Greek: akouei d' ouden
oudeis oudenos]. Clytemnestra, also, in speaking of the murder of her
husband (_Ag._ 1551-52) says:

                        [Greek: pros hemon
    kappese, katthane, kai katathapsomen.][45]

That Greek alliteration is capable of imitation is shown by Pope's
translation of the well-known line[46]:

    [Greek: polla d' ananta katanta paranta te dochmia t' elthon;]

    O'er hills, o'er dales, o'er crags, o'er rocks, they go.

Pope at times brought alliteration to his aid in cases where no such
device had been adopted by Homer, as when, in describing the labours of
Sisyphus,[47] he wrote:

    With many a weary step, and many a groan,
    Up the high hill he heaves a huge round stone.

On the whole, although a good deal more than is contained in this
article may be said on either side, it would appear that, broadly
speaking, Dryden's principle holds good for prose translations, and that
experience has shown, in respect to translations in verse, that, save in
rare instances, a resort to paraphrase is necessary.

The writer ventures, in conclusion, to give two instances, in one of
which there has been comparatively but slight departure from the text of
the original Greek, whilst in the other there has been greater
indulgence in paraphrase. Both are taken from the Anthology. The first
is an epitaph on a shipwrecked sailor by an unknown author:

    [Greek: Nautile, me peuthou tinos enthade tumbos hod' eimi,
        all' autos pontou tunchane chrestoterou.]

    No matter who I was; but may the sea
    To you prove kindlier than it was to me.

The other is by Macedonius:

    [Greek: Aurion athreso se; to d' ou pote ginetai hemin
      ethados ambolies aien aexomenes;
    tauta moi himeironti charizeai, alla d' es allous
      dora phereis, emethen pistin apeipamene.
    opsomai hesperie se. ti d' hesperos esti gynaikon?
      geras ametreto plethomenon rhytidi.]

    Ever "To-morrow" thou dost say;
      When will to-morrow's sun arise?
    Thus custom ratifies delay;
      My faithfulness thou dost despise.
    Others are welcomed, whilst to me
      "At even come," thou say'st, "not now."
    What will life's evening bring to thee?
      Old age--a many-wrinkled brow.

Dryden's well-known lines in _Aurengzebe_ embody the idea of Macedonius
in epigrammatic and felicitous verse:

    Trust on, and think to-morrow will repay,
    To-morrow's falser than the former day.

[Footnote 24: Morley's _Life of Gladstone_, vol. iii. p. 467.]

[Footnote 25: Weise, 1841, vol. ii. p. 303.]

[Footnote 26: _Loci Critici_, p. 40.]

[Footnote 27: _History of Greece_, vol. ii. p. 326.]

[Footnote 28: The use by Pericles of this metaphor rests on the
authority of Aristotle (_Rhet._ i. 7. 34). Herodotus (vii. 162) ascribes
almost the identical words to Gelo, and a similar idea is given by
Euripides in _Supp._ 447-49.]

[Footnote 29: _Memoirs_, vol. i. p. 328.]

[Footnote 30: _On the Sublime_, xxx.]

[Footnote 31: _Literature of the Victorian Era_, p. 382.]

[Footnote 32: _On the Sublime_, c. v.]

[Footnote 33: Aristotle's _Theory of Poetry and Fine Art_, p. 398.]

[Footnote 34: _Miscellaneous Writings_, Conington, vol. i. p. 162.]

[Footnote 35: iii. 1045 ff.]

[Footnote 36: Mr. Gladstone's merits as a translator were great. His
Latin translation of Toplady's hymn "Rock of Ages," beginning "Jesus,
pro me perforatus," is altogether admirable.]

[Footnote 37: _Od._ iii. 78-82.]

[Footnote 38: "As a mortal, thou must nourish each of two
forebodings--that to-morrow's sunlight will be the last that thou shalt
see: and that for fifty years thou wilt live out thy life in ample
wealth."]

[Footnote 39: _History of English Poetry_, iii., 394.]

[Footnote 40: _Hipp._ 331.]

[Footnote 41: "Great Zeus, why didst thou, to man's sorrow, put woman,
evil counterfeit, to dwell where shines the sun? If thou wert minded
that the human race should multiply, it was not from women they should
have drawn their stock."--_Hipp._ 616-19.]

[Footnote 42: _Decline and Fall_, v. 185.]

[Footnote 43: Book ii. c. 11.]

[Footnote 44: _Eighteenth Century Literature_, vol. vi. p. 331.]

[Footnote 45: "By us he fell, he died, and we will bury him."]

[Footnote 46: _Il._ xxiii. 116.]

[Footnote 47: _Od._ xi. 733.]




"THE QUARTERLY REVIEW"




III

SIR ALFRED LYALL

_"Quarterly Review," July 1913_


After reading and admiring Sir Mortimer Durand's life of Alfred Lyall, I
am tempted to exclaim in the words of Shenstone's exquisite inscription,
which has always seemed to me about the best thing that Shenstone ever
wrote, "Heu quanto minus est cum reliquis versari quam tui meminisse!"
He was one of my oldest and best of friends. More than this, although
our characters differed widely, and although I should never for a moment
think of rating my intellectual attainments on a par with his, at the
same time I may say that in the course of a long life I do not think
that I have ever been brought in contact with any one with whom I found
myself in more thorough community of opinion and sentiment upon the
sundry and manifold questions which excited our common interest. He was
a strong Unionist, a strong Free Trader, and a strong anti-suffragist.
I am, for good or evil, all these things. He was a sincere Liberal in
the non-party sense of that very elastic word. So was I. That is to say,
there was a time when we both thought ourselves good mid-Victorian
Liberals--a school of politicians whose ideas have now been swept into
the limbo of forgotten things, the only surviving principles of that age
being apparently those associated with a faint and somewhat fantastic
cult of the primrose. In 1866 he wrote to his sister--and I cannot but
smile on reading the letter--"I am more and more Radical every year";
and he expressed regret that circumstances did not permit of his setting
up as "a fierce demagogue" in England. I could have conscientiously
written in much the same spirit at the same period, but it has not taken
me nearly half a century to discover that two persons more unfitted by
nature and temperament to be "fierce demagogues" than Alfred Lyall and
myself were probably never born. In respect to the Indian political
questions which were current during his day--such as the controversy
between the Lawrentian and "Forward" schools of frontier policy, the
Curzon-Kitchener episode, and the adaptation of Western reforms to meet
the growing requirements to which education has given birth--his views,
although perhaps rather in my opinion unduly pessimistic and
desponding, were generally identical with my own.

Albeit he was an earnest reformer, he was a warm advocate of strong and
capable government, and, in writing to our common friend, Lord Morley,
in 1882, he anathematised what he considered the weakness shown by the
Gladstone Government in dealing with disorder in Ireland. Himself not
only the kindest, but also the most just and judicially-minded of men,
he feared that a maudlin and misplaced sentimentalism would destroy the
more virile elements in the national character. "I should like," he
said, in words which must not, of course, be taken too literally, "a
little more fierceness and honest brutality in the national
temperament." His heart went out, in a manner which is only possible to
those who have watched them closely at work, to those Englishmen,
whether soldiers or civilians, who, but little known and even at times
depreciated by their own countrymen, are carrying the fame, the glory,
the justice and humanity of England to the four quarters of the globe.

     The roving Englishman (he said) is the salt of English land....
     Only those who go out of this civilised country, to see the rough
     work on the frontiers and in the far lands, properly understand
     what our men are like and can do.... They cannot manage a
     steam-engine, but they can drive restive and ill-trained horses
     over rough roads.

He felt--and as one who has humbly dabbled in literature at the close of
an active political life, I can fully sympathise with him--that "when
one has once taken a hand in the world's affairs, literature is like
rowing in a picturesque reach of the Thames after a bout in the open
sea." Yet, in the case of Lyall, literature was not a matter of mere
academic interest. "His incessant study was history." He thought, with
Lord Acton, that an historical student should be "a politician with his
face turned backwards." His mind was eminently objective. He was for
ever seeking to know the causes of things; and though far too observant
to push to extreme lengths analogies between the past and the present,
he nevertheless sought, notably in the history of Imperial Rome, for any
facts or commentaries gleaned from ancient times which might be of
service to the modern empire of which he was so justly proud, and in the
foundation of which the splendid service of which he was an illustrious
member had played so conspicuous a part. "I wonder," he wrote in 1901,
"how far the Roman Empire profited by high education."

Lyall was by nature a poet. Sir Mortimer Durand says, truly enough, that
his volume of verses, "if not great poetry, as some hold, was yet true
poetry." Poetic expressions, in fact, bubbled up in his mind almost
unconsciously in dealing with every incident of his life. Lord Tennyson
tells us in his _Memoir_ that one evening, when his father and mother
were rowing across the Solent, they saw a heron. His father described
this incident in the following language: "One dark heron flew over the
sea, backed by a daffodil sky." Similarly, Lyall, writing with the
enthusiasm of a young father for his firstborn, said: "The child has
eyes like the fish-pools of Heshbon, with wondrous depth of intelligent
gaze." But, though a poet, it would be a great error to suppose that
Lyall was an idealist, if by that term is meant one who, after a
platonic fashion, indulges in ideas which are wholly visionary and
unpractical. He had, indeed, ideals. No man of his imagination and
mental calibre could be without them. But they were ideals based on a
solid foundation of facts. It was here that, in spite of some sympathy
based on common literary tastes, he altogether parted company from a
brother poet, Mr. Wilfrid Blunt, who has invariably left his facts to
take care of themselves. Though eminently meditative and reflective,
Lyall's mind, his biographer says, "seemed always hungry for facts."
"Though he had an unusual degree of imagination, he never allowed
himself to be tempted too far from the region of the known or the
knowable." The reason why he at times appeared to vacillate was that he
did not consider he sufficiently understood all the facts to justify his
forming an opinion capable of satisfying his somewhat hypercritical
judgment. He was, in fact, very difficult to convince of the truth of an
opinion, not because of his prejudices, for he had none, but by reason
of his constitutional scepticism. He acted throughout life on the
principle laid down by the Greek philosopher Epicharmus: "Be sober, and
remember to disbelieve. These are the sinews of the mind." I have been
informed on unimpeachable authority that when he was a member of the
Treasury Committee which sat on the question of providing facilities for
the study of Oriental languages in this country, he constantly asked the
witnesses whom he examined leading questions from which it might rather
be inferred that he held opinions diametrically opposed to those which
in reality he entertained. His sole object was to arrive at a sound
conclusion. He wished to elicit all possible objections to any views to
which he was personally inclined. It is very probable that his Oriental
experience led him to adopt this procedure; for, as any one who has
lived much in the East will recognise, it is the only possible safeguard
against the illusions which may arise from the common Oriental habit of
endeavouring to say what is pleasant to the interrogator, especially if
he occupies some position of authority.

Only half-reconciled, in the first instance, to Indian exile, and, when
once he had taken the final step of departure, constantly brooding over
the intellectual attractions rather than the material comforts of
European life, Lyall speedily came to the conclusion that, if he was to
bear a hand in governing India, the first thing he had to do was to
understand Indians. He therefore brought his acutely analytical
intellect to the task of comprehending the Indian habit of thought. In
the course of his researches he displayed that thoroughness and
passionate love of truth which was the distinguishing feature of his
character throughout life. That he succeeded in a manner which has been
surpassed by none, and only faintly rivalled by a very few, is now
generally recognised both by his own countrymen and also--which is far
more remarkable--by the inhabitants of the country which formed the
subject of his study. So far as it is possible for any Western to
achieve that very difficult task, he may be said to have got to the back
of the Oriental mind. He embodied the results of his long experience at
times in sweeping and profound generalisations, which covered the whole
field of Oriental thought and action, and at others in pithy
epigrammatic sayings in which the racy humour, sometimes tinged with a
shade of cynical irony, never obscured the deep feeling of sympathy he
entertained for everything that was worthy of respect and admiration.

Lyall had read history to some purpose. He knew, in the words which
Gregorovius applied to the rule of Theodosius in Italy, that "not even
the wisest and most humane of princes, if he be an alien in race, in
customs and religion, can ever win the hearts of the people." He had
read De Tocqueville, and from the pages of an author whose habit of
thought must have been most congenial to him, he drew the conclusion
that "it was the increased prosperity and enlightenment of the French
people which produced the grand crash." He therefore thought that "the
wildest, as well as the shallowest notion of all is that universally
prevalent belief that education, civilisation and increased material
prosperity will reconcile the people of India eventually to our rule."
Hence he was prepared to accept--perhaps rather more entirely than it
deserved to be accepted--the statement of that very astute Brahmin, Sir
Dinkur Rao, himself the minister of an important native State, that "the
natives prefer a bad native Government to our best patent institutions."
These, and similar oracular statements, have now become the commonplaces
of all who deal with questions affecting India. That there is much
truth in them cannot be gainsaid, but they are still often too much
ignored by one section of the British public, who, carried away by
home-made sentiment, forget that of all national virtues gratitude for
favours received is the most rare, while by another section they are
applied to the advocacy of a degree of autonomous rule which would be
disastrous to the interests, not only of India itself, but also to the
cause of all real civilised progress.

The point, however, on which in conversation Lyall was wont to insist
most strongly was that the West was almost incomprehensible to the East,
and, _vice versa_, that the Western could never thoroughly understand
the Oriental. In point of fact, when we talk of progress, it is
necessary to fix some standard by which progress may be measured. We
know our Western standard; we endeavour to enforce it; and we are so
convinced that it gives an accurate measure of human moral and material
advancement that we experience a shock on hearing that there are large
numbers of even highly educated human beings who hold that the standard
is altogether false. Yet that, Lyall would argue, is generally the
Oriental frame of mind. Fatalism, natural conservatism and ignorance
lead the uneducated to reject our ideas, while the highly educated often
hold that our standard of progress is too material to be a true
measure, and that consequently, far from advancing, we are standing
still or even retrograding. Lyall, personifying a Brahmin, said,
"Politics I cannot help regarding as the superficial aspect of deeper
problems; and for progress, the latest incarnation of European
materialism, I have an incurable distrust." These subtle intellectuals,
in fact, as Surendranath Banerjee, one of the leaders of the Swadeshi
movement, told Dr. Wegener,[48] hold that the English are "stupid and
ignorant," and, therefore, wholly unfit to govern India.

I remember Lyall, who, as Sir Mortimer Durand says, had a very keen
sense of humour, telling me an anecdote which is what Bacon would have
called "luciferous," as an illustration of the views held by the
uneducated classes in India on the subject of Western reforms. The
officer in charge of a district either in Bengal or the North-West
Provinces got up a cattle-show, with a view to improving the breed of
cattle. Shortly afterwards, an Englishman, whilst out shooting, entered
into conversation with a peasant who happened to be passing by. He asked
the man what he thought of the cattle-show, and added that he supposed
it had done a great deal of good. "Yes," the native, who was probably a
Moslem, replied after some reflection, "last year there was cholera.
This year there was Cattle Show. We have to bear these afflictions with
what patience we may. Are they not all sent by God?"

But it was naturally the opinions entertained by the intellectual
classes which most interested Lyall, and which he endeavoured to
interpret to his countrymen. The East is asymmetrical in all things. I
remember Lyall saying to me, "Accuracy is abhorrent to the Oriental
mind." The West, on the other hand, delights beyond all things in
symmetry and accuracy. Moreover, it would almost seem as if in the most
trivial incidents in life some unseen influence generally impels the
Eastern to do the exact opposite to the Western--a point, I may observe,
which Lyall was never tired of illustrating by all kinds of quaint
examples. A shepherd in Perthshire will walk behind his sheep and drive
them. In the Deccan he will walk in front of his flock. A European will
generally place his umbrella point downwards against the wall. An
Oriental will, with far greater reason, do exactly the reverse.

But, in respect to the main question of mutual comprehension, there are,
at all events in so far as the European is concerned, degrees of
difficulty--degrees which depend very largely on religious differences,
for in the theocratic East religion covers the whole social and
political field to a far greater extent than in the West. Now, the
religion of the Moslem is, comparatively speaking, very easy to
understand. There are, indeed, a few ritualistic and other minor points
as to which a Western may at times have some difficulty in grasping the
Oriental point of view. But the foundations of monotheistic Islam are
simplicity itself; indeed, it may be said that they are far more simple
than those of Christianity. The case of the Hindu religion is very
different. Dr. Barth in his _Religions of India_ says:

     Already in the Veda, Hindu thought is profoundly tainted with the
     malady, of which it will never be able to get rid, of affecting a
     greater air of mystery the less there is to conceal, of making a
     parade of symbols which at bottom signify nothing, and of playing
     with enigmas which are not worth the trouble of trying to
     unriddle.... At the present time it is next to impossible to say
     exactly what Hinduism is, where it begins, and where it ends.

I cannot profess to express any valuable opinion on a subject on which I
am very imperfectly informed, and which, save as a matter of political
necessity, fails to interest me--for, personally, I think that a book of
the _Iliad_ or a play of Aristophanes is far more valuable than all the
lucubrations that have ever been spun by the subtle minds of learned
Hindu Pundits--but, so far as I am able to judge, Dr. Barth's
description is quite accurate. None the less, the importance to the
Indian politician of gaining some insight into the inner recesses of the
Hindu mind cannot for a moment be doubted. Lyall said, "I fancy that the
Hindu philosophy, which teaches that everything we see or feel is a vast
cosmic illusion, projected into space by that which is the manifestation
of the infinite and unconscious spirit, has an unsettling effect on
their political beliefs." Lyall, therefore, rendered a very great
political service to his countrymen when he took in hand the duty of
expounding to them the true nature of Hindu religious belief. He did the
work very thoroughly. Passing lightly by the "windy moralities" of
Brahmo Somaj teachers of the type of Keshub Chunder Sen, whom he left to
"drifting Deans such as Stanley and Alford," he grasped the full
significance of true orthodox Brahmanism, and under the pseudonym of
Vamadeo Shastri wrote an essay which has "become a classic for the
student of comparative religion, and for all who desire to know, in
particular, the religious mind of the Hindu." In the course of his
enquiries Lyall incidentally performed the useful historical service of
showing that Euhemerism is, or very recently was, a living force in
India,[49] and that the solar myth theory supported by Max Mueller and
others had, to say the least, been pushed much too far.

I turn to another point. All who were brought in contact with Lyall
speedily recognised his social charm and high intellectual gifts, but
was he a man of action? Did he possess the qualifications necessary to
those who take part in the government of the outlying dominions of the
Empire? I have often been asked that question. It is one to which Sir
Mortimer Durand frequently reverts, his general conclusion being that
Lyall was "a man of action with literary tastes." I will endeavour
briefly to express my own opinion on this subject.

There have been many cases of notable men of action who were also
students. Napier said that no example can be shown in history of a great
general who was not also a well-read man. But Lyall was more than a mere
student. He was a thinker, and a very deep thinker, not merely on
political but also on social and religious subjects. There may be some
parallel in the history of our own or of other countries to the peculiar
combination of thought and action which characterised Lyall's career,
but for the moment none which meets all the necessary requirements
occurs to me. The case is, I think, almost if not quite unique. That
Lyall had a warm admiration for men of action is abundantly clear. His
enthusiasm on their behalf comes out in every stanza of his poetry, and,
when any suitable occasion offered, in every line of his prose. He
eulogised the strong man who ruled and acted, and he reserved a very
special note of sympathy for those who sacrificed their lives for their
country. Shortly before his own death he spoke in terms of warm
admiration of Mr. Newbolt's fine lines:

    Qui procul hinc--the legend's writ,
      The frontier grave is far away--
    Qui ante diem periit
      Sed miles, sed pro patria.

But he shared these views with many thinkers who, like Carlyle, have
formed their opinions in their studies. The fact that he entertained
them does not help us to answer the question whether he can or cannot be
himself classed in the category of men of action.

As a young man he took a distinguished part in the suppression of the
Mutiny, and showed courage and decision of character in all his acts. He
was a good, though not perhaps an exceptionally good administrator. His
horror of disorder in any form led him to approve without hesitation the
adoption of strong measures for its suppression. On the occasion of the
punishment administered to those guilty of the Manipur massacres in
1891, he wrote to Sir Mortimer Durand, "I do most heartily admire the
justice and firmness of purpose displayed in executing the Senapati. I
hope there will be no interference, in my absence, from the India
Office." On the whole, the verdict passed by Lord George Hamilton is, I
believe, eminently correct, and is entirely in accordance with my own
experience. Lord George, who had excellent opportunities for forming a
sound opinion on the subject, wrote:

     Great as were Lyall's literary attributes and powers of initiation
     and construction, his critical faculties were even more fully
     developed. This made him at times somewhat difficult to deal with,
     for he was very critical and cautious in the tendering of advice as
     regards any new policy or any suggested change. When once he could
     see his way through difficulties, or came to the conclusion that
     those difficulties must be faced, then his caution and critical
     instincts disappeared, and he was prepared to be as bold in the
     prosecution of what he advocated as he had previously been
     reluctant to start.

The mental attitude which Lord George Hamilton thus describes is by no
means uncommon in the case of very conscientious and brilliantly
intellectual men, such, for instance, as the late Lord Goschen, who
possessed many characteristics in common with Lyall. They can cite, in
justification of their procedure, the authority of one who was probably
the greatest man of action that the world has ever produced. Roederer
relates in his journal that on one occasion Napoleon said to him:

     Il n'y a pas un homme plus pusillanime que moi quand je fais un
     plan militaire; je me grossis tous les dangers et tous les maux
     possibles dans les circonstances; je suis dans une agitation tout a
     fait penible; je suis comme une fille qui accouche. Et quand ma
     resolution est prise, tout est oublie, hors ce qui peut la faire
     reussir.

Within reasonable limits, caution is, indeed, altogether commendable. On
the other hand, it cannot be doubted that, carried to excess, it is at
times apt to paralyse all effective and timely action, to disqualify
those who exercise it from being pilots possessed of sufficient daring
to steer the ship of state in troublous times, and to exclude them from
the category of men of action in the sense in which that term is
generally used. In spite of my great affection for Alfred Lyall, I am
forced to admit that, in his case, caution was, I think, at times
carried to excess. He never appeared to me to realise sufficiently that
the conduct of public affairs, notably in this democratic age, is at
best a very rough unscientific process; that it is occasionally
necessary to make a choice of evils or to act on imperfect evidence; and
that at times, to quote the words which I remember Lord Northbrook once
used to me, it is even better to have a wrong opinion than to have no
definite opinion at all. So early as 1868, he wrote to his mother,
"There are many topics on which I have not definitely discovered what I
do think"; and to the day of his death he very generally maintained in
respect to current politics the frame of mind set forth in this very
characteristic utterance. Every general has to risk the loss of a
battle, and every active politician has at times to run the risk of
making a wrong forecast. Before running that risk, Lyall was generally
inclined to exhaust the chances of error to an extent which was often
impossible, or at all events hurtful.

Sir Mortimer Durand refers to the history of the Ilbert Bill, a measure
under which Lord Ripon's Government proposed to give native magistrates
jurisdiction over Europeans in certain circumstances. I was at the time
(1882-83) Financial Member of the Viceroy's Council. After a lapse of
thirty years, there can, I think, be no objection to my stating my
recollections of what occurred in connexion with this subject. I should,
in the first instance, mention that the association of Mr. (now Sir
Courtenay) Ilbert's name with this measure was purely accidental. He had
nothing to do with its initiation. The proposals, which were eventually
embodied in the Bill, originated with Sir Ashley Eden, who was
Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, and who certainly could not be accused of
any wish to neglect European opinion, or of any desire to push forward
extreme liberal measures conceived in native interests. The measure had
been under the consideration of the Legislative Department in the time
of Mr. Ilbert's predecessor in the office of Legal Member of Council,
and it was only the accident that he vacated his office before it was
introduced into the Legislative Council that associated Mr. Ilbert's
name with the Bill.

As was customary in such cases, all the local Governments had been
consulted; and they again consulted the Commissioners,
Deputy-Commissioners, Collectors, etc., within their respective
provinces. The result was that Lord Ripon had before him the opinions of
practically the whole Civil Service of India. Divers views were held as
to the actual extent to which the law should be altered, but, in the
words of a despatch addressed by the Government of India to the
Secretary of State on September 9, 1882, the local reports showed "an
overwhelming consensus of opinion that the time had come for modifying
the existing law and removing the present absolute bar upon the
investment of native magistrates in the interior with powers over
European British subjects." Not one single official gave anything
approaching an indication of the storm of opposition that this ill-fated
measure was about to raise. I do not think that this is very
surprising, for the opposition came almost exclusively from the
unofficial Europeans, who for the most part congregate in a few large
commercial centres, with the result that the majority of the civilians,
who are scattered throughout the country, are not much brought in
contact with them. Nevertheless, the fact that so great a miscalculation
of the state of public opinion could be made left a deep impression on
my mind. The main lesson which I carried away from the Ilbert Bill
controversy was, indeed, that in spite of their great merits, which no
one recognises more fully than myself, it is possible at times for the
whole body of Indian civilians, taken collectively, to be somewhat
unsafe guides in matters of state policy. Curiously enough, the only
danger-signal which was raised was hoisted by Sir Henry Maine, who had
been in India as Legal Member of Council, but who did not belong to the
Indian Civil Service. He was at the time a member of the India Council.
When the despatch of the Government of India on the subject reached
London, Sir Henry Maine was travelling on the Continent. The papers were
sent to him. He called to mind the bitter controversy which arose over
what was known as "the Black Act" in Lord William Bentinck's time, and
wrote privately a few words of warning to Lord Hartington, who was at
the time Secretary of State for India. Lord Hartington put the letter
in his great-coat pocket, went to Newmarket, and forgot all about it,
with the result that Sir Henry Maine's warning never reached Lord Ripon.

I well remember being present when Mr. Ilbert introduced the measure
into the Legislative Council. It attracted but little attention and led
to only a very brief discussion, in which I took no part. The papers had
been circulated to all Members of Council, including myself. When I
received them I saw at a glance that the subject was not one that
concerned my own department, or one as to which my opinion could be of
any value. I, therefore, merely endorsed the papers with my initials and
sent them on, without having given the subject much attention. In common
with all my colleagues, I was soon to learn the gravity of the step
which had been taken. A furious storm of opposition, which profoundly
shook the prestige and authority of the Government of India, and notably
of the Viceroy, arose. It was clear that a mistake had been made. The
measure was in itself not very important. It was obviously undesirable,
as Lyall remarked, to "set fire to an important wing of the house in
order to roast a healthy but small pig." The best plan, had it been
possible, would have been to admit the mistake and to withdraw the
measure; and this would certainly have been done had it not been for the
unseemly and extravagant violence of the European unofficial community,
notably that of Calcutta. It should, however, in fairness be stated that
they were irritated and alarmed, not so much at the acts of Lord Ripon's
Government, but at some rather indiscreet language which had at times
been used, and which led them, quite erroneously, to suspect that
extreme measures were in contemplation, of a nature calculated to shake
the foundations of British supremacy in India. This violent attitude
naturally led to reprisals and bitter recriminations from the native
press, with the result that the total withdrawal of the measure would
have been construed as a decisive defeat to the adoption of even the
most moderate measures of liberal reform in India. The project of total
withdrawal could not, therefore, be entertained.

In these circumstances, the duty of a practical rough-and-ready
politician was very clearly indicated. However little he might care for
the measure on its own merits, political instinct pointed unmistakably
to the absolute necessity of affording strong support to the Viceroy.
Lyall failed to realise this fully. He admired Lord Ripon's courage. "We
must," he said, "all do our best to pull the Viceroy through." But
withal it is clear, by his own admission, that he only gave the Viceroy
"rather lukewarm support." "I have intrenched myself," he wrote in a
characteristic letter, "behind cautious proposals, and am quoted on both
sides." This attitude was not due to any want of moral courage, for a
more courageous man, both physically and morally, than Lyall never
lived. It was simply the result of what Lord Lytton called "the Lyall
habit of seeing both sides of a question," and not being able to decide
betimes which side to support. That a man of Lyall's philosophical and
reflective turn of mind should see both sides of a question is not only
natural but commendable, but this frame of mind is not one that can be
adopted without hazard by a man of action at the head of affairs at a
time of acute crisis.

There is, however, a reverse side to this picture. The same mental
attributes which rendered Lyall somewhat unfit, in my opinion, to deal
with an incident such as the Ilbert Bill episode, enabled him to come
with credit and distinction out of a situation of extreme difficulty in
which the reputation of many another man would have foundered. I have no
wish or intention to stir up again the embers of past Afghan
controversies. It will be sufficient for my purpose to say that Lord
Lytton, immensely to his credit, recognised Lyall's abilities and
appointed him Foreign Secretary, in spite of the fact that he was
associated with the execution of a policy to which Lord Lytton himself
was strongly opposed, and which he had decided to reverse. Lyall did not
conceal his opinions, but, as always, he was open to conviction, and saw
both sides of a difficult question. In 1878, he was "quite in favour of
vigorous action to counteract the Russians"; but two years later, in
1880, after the Cavagnari murder, he records in a characteristic letter
that he "was mentally edging back towards old John Lawrence's counsel
never to embark on the shoreless sea of Afghan politics." On the whole,
it may be said that Lyall passed through this supreme test in a manner
which would not have been possible to any man unless endowed not merely
with great abilities, but with the highest degree of moral courage and
honesty of purpose. He preserved his own self-esteem, and by his
unswerving honesty and loyalty gained that of the partisans on both
sides of the controversy.

It is pleasant to turn from these episodes to other features in Lyall's
career and character, in respect to which unstinted eulogy, without the
qualification of a shade of criticism, may be recorded. It was more
especially in dealing with the larger and more general aspects of
Eastern affairs that Lyall's genius shone most brightly. He had what
the French call a _flair_ in dealing with the main issues of Oriental
politics such as, so far as my experience goes, is possessed by few. It
was very similar to the qualities displayed by the late Lord Salisbury
in dealing with foreign affairs generally. I give an instance in point.

In 1884, almost every newspaper in England was declaiming loudly about
the dangers to be apprehended if the rebellion excited by the Mahdi in
the Soudan was not promptly crushed. It was thought that this rebellion
was but the precursor of a general and formidable offensive movement
throughout the Islamic world. "What," General Gordon, whose opinion at
the time carried great weight, had asked, "is to prevent the Mahdi's
adherents gaining Mecca? Once at Mecca we may look out for squalls in
Turkey," etc. He, as also Lord Wolseley, insisted on the absolute
necessity of "smashing the Mahdi." We now know that these fears were
exaggerated, and that the Mahdist movement was of purely local
importance. Lyall had no special acquaintance with Egyptian or Soudanese
affairs, but his general knowledge of the East and of Easterns enabled
him at once to gauge correctly the true nature of the danger.
Undisturbed by the clamour which prevailed around him, he wrote to Mr.
Henry Reeve on March 21, 1884: "The Mahdi's fortunes do not interest
India. The talk in some of the papers about the necessity of smashing
him, in order to avert the risk of some general Mahomedan uprising, is
futile and imaginative."[50]

I need say no more. I am glad, for the sake of Lyall's own reputation,
that the offer of the Viceroyalty was never made to him. Apart from the
question of his age, which, in 1894, was somewhat too advanced to admit
of his undertaking such onerous duties, I doubt if he possessed
sufficient experience of English public life--a qualification which is
yearly becoming of greater importance--to enable him to fill the post in
a satisfactory manner. In spite, moreover, of his splendid intellectual
gifts and moral elevation of thought, it is very questionable whether on
the whole he would have been the right man in the right place.

Lyall's name will not, like those of some other Indian notabilities, go
down to posterity as having been specially connected with any one
episode or event of supreme historical importance; but, when those of
the present generation who regarded him with esteem and affection have
passed away, he will still deserve an important niche in the Temple of
Fame as a thinker who thoroughly understood the East, and who probably
did more than any of his contemporaries or predecessors to make his
countrymen understand and sympathise with the views held by the many
millions in India whose destinies are committed to their charge. His
experience and special mental equipment eminently fitted him to perform
the task he took in hand. England, albeit a prolific mother of great men
in every department of thought and action, has not produced many Lyalls.

[Footnote 48: _Nineteenth Century_, May 1913, p. 972.]

[Footnote 49: When I was at Delhi in 1881, a Nikolsaini, _i.e._ a
worshipper of John Nicholson, came to see me. He showed me a miniature
of Nicholson with his head surrounded by an aureole.]

[Footnote 50: _Memoirs of Henry Reeve_, ii. 329.]




"THE NINETEENTH CENTURY AND AFTER"




IV

ARMY REFORM

_"The Nineteenth Century and After," February 1904_


The autobiography[51] of my old and highly esteemed friend, Lord
Wolseley, constitutes an honourable record of a well-spent life. Lord
Wolseley may justifiably be proud of the services which he has rendered
to his country. The British nation, and its principal executive
officials in the past, may also be proud of having quickly discovered
Lord Wolseley's talents and merits, and of having advanced him to high
position.

Obviously, certain conclusions of public interest may be drawn from the
career of this very distinguished soldier. Sir George Arthur, in the
December number of the _Fortnightly Review_, has stated what are the
special lessons which, in his opinion, are to be derived from a
consideration of that career.

Those lessons are, indeed, sufficiently numerous. I propose, however, to
deal with only two of them. They are those which, apparently, Lord
Wolseley himself wishes to be inculcated. Both involve questions of
principle of no little importance.

In the first place, Lord Wolseley, if I understand rightly, considers
that the army has suffered greatly from civilian interference. He
appears to think that it should be more exclusively than heretofore
under military control.

In the second place, he thinks that, in certain cases, the political and
diplomatic negotiations, which generally follow on a war, should be
conducted, not by a diplomatist or politician, but by the officer who
has conducted the previous military operations.

As regards the first point, I am not now dealing with Lord Wolseley's
remarks in connection with our general unpreparedness for war, nor with
those on the various defects, past or present, of our military
organisation. In a great deal that he has said on these subjects, Lord
Wolseley carries me heartily with him. I confine myself strictly to the
issue as I have defined it above.

Possibly, I have mistaken the significance of Lord Wolseley's words. If
so, my error is shared by Sir George Arthur, who, in dealing with the
War Office, dwells with emphasis on the occasions when "this great war
expert was thwarted in respect of his best considered plans by the
civilian element in that citadel of inefficiency,"[52] and speaks with
approval of Lord Wolseley's "severe strictures on blundering civilian
interference with the army," as also of the "censure reserved for the
criminal negligence and miserable cowardice of successive Cabinets."

It seems to me that Lord Wolseley is rather hard on civilians in
general--those "iconoclastic civilian officials who meddle and muddle in
army matters"[53]--on politicians in particular, who, I cannot but
think, are not quite so black as he has painted them; and most of all on
Secretaries of State, with the single exception of Lord Cardwell, to
whom generous and very well deserved praise is accorded.

It is not quite clear, from a perusal of these volumes, what is the
precise nature of the change which Lord Wolseley wishes to advocate,
although in one passage a specific proposal is made. It is that "a
certificate should be annually laid before Parliament by the
non-political Commander-in-Chief, that the whole of the military forces
of the Empire can be completely and effectively equipped for war in a
fortnight." The general tendency of the reform which commends itself to
Lord Wolseley may, however, readily be inferred. He complains that the
soldiers, "though in office, are never in power." Nevertheless, as he
explains with military frankness, "the cunning politician," when
anything goes wrong, is able "to turn the wrath of a deceived people
upon the military authorities, and those who are exclusively to blame
are too often allowed to sneak off unhurt in the turmoil of execration
they have raised against the soldiers." I may remark incidentally that
exception might perhaps reasonably be taken to the use of the word
"exclusively" in this passage; but the main point to which I wish to
draw attention is that clearly, in Lord Wolseley's opinion, the
soldiers, under the existing system, have not sufficient power, and that
it would be advisable that they should, under a reformed system, be
invested with more ample power. I dare say Lord Wolseley is quite right,
at all events to this extent, that it is desirable that the power, as
also the responsibility, of the highest military authorities should be
as clearly defined as is possible under our peculiar system of
government. But it is essential to ascertain more accurately in what
manner Lord Wolseley, speaking with all the high authority which
deservedly attaches itself to his name, thinks that effect should be
given to the principle which he advocates. In order to obtain this
information, I turn to vol. i. p. 92, where I find the following
passage: "A man who is not a soldier, and who is entirely ignorant of
war, is selected solely for political reasons to be Secretary of State
for War. I might with quite as great propriety be selected to be the
chief surgeon in a hospital."

I would here digress for a moment to deal with the argument advanced in
the latter part of this sentence. It is very plausible, and, at first
sight, appears convincing. It is also very commonly used. Over and over
again, I have heard the presumed analogy between the surgeon and the
soldier advanced as a proof of the absurdity of the English system. I
believe that no such analogy exists. Surgery is an exact science. To
perform even the most trifling surgical operation requires careful
technical training and experience. It is far otherwise with the case of
the soldier. I do not suppose that any civilian in his senses would
presume, on a purely technical matter, to weigh his own opinion against
that of a trained soldier, like Lord Wolseley, who is thoroughly versed
in the theory of his profession, and who has been through the school of
actual war. But a large number of the most important questions affecting
military organisation and the conduct of military affairs, require for
their solution little or no technical knowledge. Any man of ordinary
common sense can form an opinion on them, and any man of good business
habits may readily become a capable agent for giving effect to the
opinions which he, or which others have formed.

I may here perhaps give a page from my own personal experience bearing
on the point under discussion.

The Soudan campaign of 1896-98 was, in official circles, dubbed a
"Foreign Office war." For a variety of reasons, to which it is
unnecessary to allude in detail, the Sirdar was, from the commencement
of the operations, placed exclusively under my orders in all matters.
The War Office assumed no responsibility, and issued no orders.[54] A
corresponding position was occupied by the Headquarters Staff of the
Army of Occupation in Cairo. The result was that I found myself in the
somewhat singular position of a civilian, who had had some little
military training in his youth, but who had had no experience of
war,[55] whose proper functions were diplomacy and administration, but
who, under the stress of circumstances in the Land of Paradox, had to be
ultimately responsible for the maintenance, and even, to some extent,
for the movements of an army of some 25,000 men in the field.

That good results were obtained under this system cannot be doubted. It
will not, therefore, be devoid of interest to explain how it worked in
practice, and what were the main reasons which contributed towards
success.

I have no wish to disparage the strategical and tactical ability which
were displayed in the conduct of the campaign. It is, however, a fact
that no occasion arose for the display of any great skill in these
branches of military knowledge. When once the British and Egyptian
troops were brought face to face with the enemy, there could--unless
the conditions under which they fought were altogether extraordinary--be
little doubt of the result. The speedy and successful issue of the
campaign depended, in fact, almost entirely upon the methods adopted for
overcoming the very exceptional difficulties connected with the supply
and transport of the troops. The main quality required to meet these
difficulties was a good head for business. By one of those fortunate
accidents which have been frequent in the history of Anglo-Saxon
enterprise, a man was found equal to the occasion. Lord Kitchener of
Khartoum won his well-deserved peerage because he was a good man of
business; he looked carefully after all important detail, and he
enforced economy.

My own merits, such as they were, were of a purely negative character.
They may be summed up in a single phrase. I abstained from mischievous
activity, and I acted as a check on the interference of others. I had
full confidence in the abilities of the commander, whom I had
practically myself chosen, and, except when he asked for my assistance,
I left him entirely alone. I encouraged him to pay no attention to those
vexatious bureaucratic formalities with which, under the slang phrase of
"red tape" our military system is overburdened. I exercised some little
control over the demands for stores which were sent to the London War
Office; and the mere fact that these demands passed through my hands,
and that I declined to forward any request unless, besides being in
accordance with existing regulations--a point to which I attached but
slight importance--it had been authorised by the Sirdar, probably tended
to check wastefulness in that quarter where it was most to be feared.
Beyond this I did nothing, and I found--somewhat to my own
astonishment--that, with my ordinary staff of four diplomatic
secretaries, the general direction of a war of no inconsiderable
dimensions added but little to my ordinary labours.

I do not say that this system would always work as successfully as was
the case during the Khartoum campaign. The facts, as I have already
said, were peculiar. The commander, on whom everything practically
depended, was a man of marked military and administrative ability.
Nevertheless, I feel certain that Lord Kitchener would bear me out in
saying that here was a case in which general civilian control, far from
exercising any detrimental effect, was on the whole beneficial.

To return to the main thread of my argument. The passage which I have
quoted from Lord Wolseley's book would certainly appear to point to the
conclusion that, in his opinion, the Secretary of State for War should
be a soldier unconnected with politics. Even although Lord Wolseley does
not state this conclusion in so many words, it is notorious to any one
who is familiar with the views current in army circles that the adoption
of this plan is considered by many to be the best, if it be not the
only, solution of all our military difficulties.

I am not concerned with the constitutional objections which may be urged
against the change of system now under discussion. Neither need I dwell
on the difficulty of making it harmonise with our system of party
government, for which it is quite possible to entertain a certain
feeling of respect and admiration without being in any degree a
political partisan. I approach the question exclusively from the point
of view of its effects on the army. From that point of view, I venture
to think that the change is to be deprecated.

In dealing with Lord Cardwell's attitude in respect to army reform, Lord
Wolseley says: "Never was Minister in my time more generally hated by
the army." He points out how this hatred was extended to all who
supported Lord Cardwell's views. His own conduct was "looked upon as a
species of high treason." I was at the time employed in a subordinate
position at the War Office. I can testify that this language is by no
means exaggerated. Nevertheless, after events showed clearly enough
that, in resisting the abolition of purchase, the formation of a
reserve, and the other admirable reforms with which Lord Cardwell's
name, equally with that of Lord Wolseley, is now honourably associated,
the bulk of army opinion was wholly in the wrong. I believe such army
opinion as now objects to a civilian being Secretary of State for War to
be equally in the wrong.

There would appear, indeed, to be some inconsistency between Lord
Wolseley's unstinted praise of Lord Cardwell--that "greatest" of War
Ministers, who, "though absolutely ignorant of our army and of war,"
responded so "readily to the demands made on him by his military
advisers," and "gave new life to our old army"--and his depreciation of
the system which gave official birth to Lord Cardwell. There would be no
contradiction in the two positions if the civilian Minister, in 1871,
had been obliged to use his position in Parliament and his influence on
public opinion to force on an unwilling nation reforms which were
generally advocated by the army. But the very contrary of this was the
case. What Lord Cardwell had principally to encounter was "the fierce
hatred" of the old school of soldiers, and Lord Wolseley tells us
clearly enough what would have happened to the small band of army
reformers within the army, if they had been unable to rely on civilian
support.

     "Had it not been," he says, "for Mr. Cardwell's and Lord
     Northbrook's constant support and encouragement, those of us who
     were bold enough to advocate a thorough reorganisation of our
     military system, would have been 'provided for' in distant quarters
     of the British world, 'where no mention of us more should be
     heard.'"

There can be no such thing as finality in army reform. There will be
reformers in the future, as there have been in the past. There will,
without doubt, be vested interests and conservative instincts to be
overcome in the future, as there were at the time when Lord Wolseley so
gallantly fought the battle of army reform. What guarantee can Lord
Wolseley afford that a soldier at the head of the army will always be a
reformer, and that he will not "provide for" those of his subordinates
who have the courage to raise their voices in favour of reform, even as
Lord Wolseley thinks he would himself have been "provided for" had it
not been for the sturdy support he received from his civilian superiors?
I greatly doubt the possibility of giving any such guarantee.

But I go further than this. It is now more than thirty years since I
served under the War Office. I am, therefore, less intimately acquainted
with the present than with the past. But, during those thirty years, I
have been constantly brought in contact with the War Office, and I have
seen no reason whatever to change the opinion I formed in Lord
Cardwell's time, namely, that it will be an evil day for the army when
it is laid down, as a system, that no civilian should be Secretary of
State for War. My belief is that, if ever the history of our military
administration of recent years comes to be impartially written, it will
be found that most of the large reforms, which have beneficially
affected the army, have been warmly supported, and sometimes initiated,
by the superior civilian element in the War Office. Who, indeed, ever
heard of a profession being reformed from within? One of the greatest
law reformers of the last century was the author of _Bleak House_.

It may, indeed, be urged--perhaps Lord Wolseley would himself urge--that
it is no defence of a bad system to say that under one man (Lord
Cardwell), whom Lord Wolseley describes as "a clear-headed,
logical-minded lawyer," it worked very well. To this I reply that I
cannot believe that the race of clear-headed, logical-minded individuals
of Cabinet rank, belonging to either great party of the State, is
extinct.

I have been induced to make these remarks because, in past years, I was
a good deal associated with army reform, and because, since then, I have
continued to take an interest in the matter. Also because I am convinced
that those officers in the army who, with the best intentions, advocate
the particular change now under discussion, are making a mistake in army
interests. They may depend upon it that the cause they have at heart
will best be furthered by maintaining at the head of the army a civilian
of intelligence and of good business habits, who, although, equally with
a soldier, he may sometimes make mistakes, will give an impartial
hearing to army reformers, and will probably be more alive than any one
belonging to their own profession to all that is best in the outside and
parliamentary pressure to which he is exposed.

I turn to the second point to which allusion was made at the
commencement of this article.

Speaking of the Chinese war in 1860, Lord Wolseley says: "In treating
with barbarian nations during a war ... the general to command the army
and the ambassador to make peace should be one and the same man. To
separate the two functions is, according to my experience, folly gone
mad." Lord Wolseley reverts to this subject in describing the Ashantee
war of 1873-74. I gather from his allusions to Sir John Moore's
campaign in Spain, and to the fact that evil results ensued from
allowing Dutch deputies to accompany Marlborough's army, that he is in
favour of extending the principle which he advocates to wars other than
those waged against "barbarian nations."

The objections to anything in the nature of a division of
responsibility, at all events so long as military operations are in
actual progress, are, indeed, obvious, and are now very generally
recognised. Those who are familiar with the history of the revolutionary
war will remember the baneful influence exercised by the Aulic Council
over the actions of the Austrian commanders.[56] There can, in fact, be
little doubt that circumstances may occur when the principle advocated
by Lord Wolseley may most advantageously be adopted; but it is, I
venture to think, one which has to be applied with much caution,
especially when the question is not whether there should be a temporary
cessation of hostilities--a point on which the view of the officer in
command of the troops would naturally carry the greatest weight--but
also involves the larger issue of the terms on which peace should
finally be concluded. I am not at all sure that, in deciding on the
issues which, under the latter contingency, must necessarily come under
consideration, the employment of a soldier, in preference to a
politician or diplomatist, is always a wise proceeding. Soldiers,
equally with civilians, are liable to make erroneous forecasts of the
future, and to mistake the general situation with which they have to
deal. I can give a case in point.

When, in January 1885, Khartoum fell, the question whether the British
army should be withdrawn, or should advance and reconquer the Soudan,
had to be decided. Gordon, whose influence on public opinion, great
before, had been enhanced by his tragic death, had strongly recommended
the policy of "smashing the Mahdi." Lord Wolseley adopted Gordon's
opinion. "No frontier force," he said, "can keep Mahdiism out of Egypt,
and the Mahdi sooner or later must be smashed, or he will smash you."
These views were shared by Lord Kitchener, Sir Redvers Buller, Sir
Charles Wilson, and by the military authorities generally.[57] Further,
the alleged necessity of "smashing the Mahdi," on the ground that his
success in the Soudan would be productive of serious results elsewhere,
exercised a powerful influence on British public opinion at this period,
although the best authorities on Eastern politics were at the time aware
that the fears so generally entertained in this connection were either
groundless or, at all events, greatly exaggerated.[58] Under these
circumstances, it was decided to "smash the Mahdi," and accordingly a
proclamation, giving effect to the declared policy of the British
Government, was issued. Shortly afterwards, the Penjdeh incident
occurred. Public opinion in England somewhat calmed down, having found
its natural safety-valve in an acrimonious parliamentary debate, in
which the Government narrowly escaped defeat. The voices of politicians
and diplomatists, which had been to some degree hushed by the din of
arms, began to be heard. The proclamation was cancelled. The project of
reconquering the Soudan was postponed to a more convenient period. It
was, in fact, accomplished thirteen years later, under circumstances
which differed very materially from those which prevailed in 1885. In
June 1885, the Government of Lord Salisbury succeeded to that of Mr.
Gladstone, and, though strongly urged to undertake the reconquest of the
Soudan, confirmed the decision of its predecessors.

Sir George Arthur, writing in the _Fortnightly Review_, strongly
condemns this "cynical disavowal" of Lord Wolseley's proclamation. I
have nothing to say in favour of the issue of that proclamation. I am
very clearly of opinion that, as it was issued, it was wise that it
should be cancelled. For, in truth, subsequent events showed that the
forecast made by Lord Wolseley and by Gordon was erroneous, in that it
credited the Mahdi with a power of offence which he was far from
possessing. No serious difficulty arose in defending the frontier of
Egypt from Dervish attack. The overthrow of the Mahdi's power, though
eminently desirable, was very far from constituting an imperious
necessity such as was commonly supposed to exist in 1885. In this
instance, therefore, it appears to me that the diplomatists and
politicians gauged the true nature of the situation somewhat more
accurately than the soldiers.

More than this, I conceive that, in all civilised countries, the theory
of government is that a question of peace or war is one to be decided by
politicians. The functions of the soldier are supposed to be confined,
in the first place, to advising on the purely military aspects of the
issue involved; and, in the second place, to giving effect to any
decisions at which the Government may arrive. The practice in this
matter not infrequently differs somewhat from the theory. The soldier,
who is generally prone to advocate vigorous action, is inclined to
encroach on the sphere which should properly be reserved for the
politician. The former is often masterful, and the latter may be dazzled
by the glitter of arms, or too readily lured onwards by the persuasive
voice of some strategist to acquire an almost endless succession of
what, in technical language, are called "keys" to some position, or--to
employ a metaphor of which the late Lord Salisbury once made use in
writing to me--"to try and annex the moon in order to prevent its being
appropriated by the planet Mars." When this happens, a risk is run that
the soldier, who is himself unconsciously influenced by a very laudable
desire to obtain personal distinction, may practically dictate the
policy of the nation without taking a sufficiently comprehensive view of
national interests. Considerations of this nature have more especially
been, from time to time, advanced in connection with the numerous
frontier wars which have occurred in India. That they contain a certain
element of truth can scarcely be doubted.

For these reasons, it appears to me that the application of the
principle advocated by Lord Wolseley requires much care and
watchfulness. Probably, the wisest plan will be that each case should be
decided on its own merits with reference to the special circumstances
of the situation, which may sometimes demand the fusion, and sometimes
the separation, of military and political functions.

I was talking, a short time ago, to a very intelligent, and also
Anglophile, French friend of mine. He knew England well, but, until
quite recently, had not visited the country for a few years. He told me
that what struck him most was the profound change which had come over
British opinion since the occasion of his last visit. We had been
invaded, he said, by _le militarisme continental_. In common with the
vast majority of my countrymen, I am earnestly desirous of seeing our
military organisation and military establishments placed on a thoroughly
sound footing, but I have no wish whatever to see any portion of our
institutions overwhelmed by a wave of _militarisme continental_. It is
because I think that the views advocated by Lord Wolseley
tend--although, I do not doubt, unconsciously to their distinguished
author--in the direction of a somewhat too pronounced _militarisme_,
that I venture in some degree to differ from one for whom I have for
many years entertained the highest admiration and the most cordial
personal esteem.

[Footnote 51: _The Story of a Soldier's Life_. Field-Marshal Viscount
Wolseley. Constable.]

[Footnote 52: After carefully reading the book, I am in doubt as to the
specific occasions to which allusion is here made.]

[Footnote 53: This expression is used with reference to a warning to
civilians that they should "keep their hands off the regiment." I do not
know if any recent instances have occurred when civilians have wished to
touch the essential portions of what is known as the "regimental
system," but I have a very distinct recollection of the fact that this
accusation was very freely, and very unjustly, brought against the army
reformers in Lord Cardwell's time. Of these, Lord Wolseley was certainly
the most distinguished. I think he will bear me out in the assertion
that it was only by civilian support that, in the special instances to
which I allude, the opposition was overcome.]

[Footnote 54: Much the same proceeding appears to have been adopted in
the Red River expedition, which was conducted with such eminent success
by Lord Wolseley in 1870. But there was a difference. Lord Wolseley, in
describing that expedition, says: "The Cabinet and parliamentary element
in the War Office, that has marred so many a good military scheme, had,
I may say, little or nothing to do with it from first to last. When will
civilian Secretaries of State for War cease from troubling in war
affairs?" In the case of the Soudan campaigns, on the other hand, Lord
Kitchener and I had to rely--and our reliance was not misplaced--on the
Cabinet and on the parliamentary elements of the Government, to prevent
excessive interference from the London offices.]

[Footnote 55: I was present for a few weeks, as a spectator, with
Grant's army at the siege of Petersburg in 1864, but the experience was
too short to be of much value.]

[Footnote 56: _Art of War_, Jomini, p. 59.]

[Footnote 57: I think I am correct in saying that Sir Evelyn Wood was of
a contrary opinion, but I have been unable to verify this statement by
reference to any contemporaneous document.]

[Footnote 58: On the 21st of March 1884 Sir Alfred Lyall wrote to Mr.
Henry Reeve: "The Mahdi's fortunes do not interest India. The talk in
some of the papers about the necessity of smashing him, in order to
avert the risk of some general Mahomedan uprising, is futile and
imaginative."--_Memoirs of Henry Reeve_, vol. ii. p. 329.]




V

THE INTERNATIONAL ASPECTS OF FREE TRADE

PAPER READ AT THE INTERNATIONAL FREE TRADE CONGRESS AT ANTWERP,
_August 9-21, 1910_[59]


I have been asked to state my opinion on the effect of Free Trade upon
the political relations between States. The subject is a very wide one.
I am fully aware that the brief remarks which I am about to make fail to
do justice to it.

A taunt very frequently levelled at modern Free Traders is that the
anticipations of their predecessors in respect to the influence which
Free Trade would be likely to exercise on international relations have
not been realised. A single extract from Mr. Cobden's writings will
suffice to show the nature of those anticipations. In 1842, he described
Free Trade "as the best human means for securing universal and permanent
peace."[60] Inasmuch as numerous wars have occurred since this opinion
was expressed, it is often held that events have falsified Mr. Cobden's
prediction.

In dealing with this argument, I have, in the first place, to remark
that modern Free Traders are under no sort of obligation to be
"Cobdenite" to the extent of adopting or defending the whole of the
teaching of the so-called Manchester School. It may readily be admitted
that the programme of that school is, in many respects, inadequate to
deal with modern problems.

In the second place, I wish to point out that Mr. Cobden and his
associates, whilst rightly holding that trade was to some extent the
natural foe to war, appear to me to have pushed the consequences to be
derived from that argument much too far. They allowed too little for
other causes which tend to subvert peace, such as racial and religious
differences, dynastic considerations, the wish to acquire national
unity, which tends to the agglomeration of small States, and the
ambition which excites the desire of hegemony.

In the third place, I have to observe that the world has not as yet had
any adequate opportunity for judging of the accuracy or inaccuracy of
Mr. Cobden's prediction, for only one great commercial nation has, up to
the present time, adopted a policy of Free Trade. It was, indeed, here
more than in any other direction that some of the early British Free
Traders erred on the side of excessive optimism.[61] They thought, and
rightly thought, that Free Trade would confer enormous benefits on their
own country; and they held that the object-lesson thus afforded might
very probably induce other nations speedily to follow the example of
England. They forgot that the special conditions which existed at the
time their noble aspirations were conceived were liable to change; that
the extraordinary advantages which Free Trade for a time secured were
largely due to the fact that seventy years ago England possessed a far
larger supply of mechanical aptitude than any other country; that her
marked commercial supremacy, which was then practically undisputed,
could not be fully maintained in the face of the advance likely to be
made by other nations; that if those nations persisted in adhering to
Protection, their progress--which has really been achieved, not by
reason of, but in spite of Protection--would almost inevitably be
mainly attributed to their fiscal policy to the exclusion of other
contributory causes, such as education; and that thus a revived demand
for protective measures would not improbably arise, even in England
itself. These are, in fact, the results which have accrued. Without
doubt, it was difficult to foresee them, but it is worthy of note that,
in spite of all adverse and possibly ephemeral appearances, symptoms are
not wanting which encourage the belief that the prescience of the early
Free Traders may, in the end, be tardily vindicated. It is the irony of
current politics that at a time when England is meditating a return to
Protection--but is as yet, I am glad to say, very far from being
persuaded that the adoption of such a policy would be wise--the most
advanced thinkers in some Protectionist states are beginning to turn
their eyes towards the possibility and desirability of casting aside
those swaddling-clothes which were originally assumed in order to foster
their budding industries. Many of the most competent German economists,
whilst advocating Protection as a temporary measure, have for many years
fully recognised that, when once a country has firmly established its
industrial and commercial status in the markets of the world, it can
best maintain and extend its acquired position by permitting the freest
possible trade. Even Friedrich List, though an ardent Protectionist,
"always had before him universal Free Trade as the goal of his
endeavours."[62] Before long, Germany will have well-nigh completed the
transition from agriculture to manufactures in which she has been
engaged for the last thirty or forty years; and when that transition is
fully accomplished, it may be predicted with some degree of confidence
that a nation so highly educated, and endowed with so keen a perception
of cause and effect, will begin to move in the direction of Free Trade.
Similarly, in the United States of America, the campaign which has
recently been waged against the huge Trusts, which are the offspring of
Protection, as well as the rising complaints of the dearness of living,
are so many indications that arguments, which must eventually lead to
the consideration--and probably to the ultimate adoption--if not of Free
Trade, at all events of Freer Trade than now prevails, are gradually
gaining ground. Much the same may be said of Canada. A Canadian
gentleman, who can speak with authority on the subject, recently wrote:

     The feeling in favour of Free Trade is growing fast in Western
     Canada, and I believe I am right in adding the United States.

     We have our strong and rapidly growing farmers' organisations, such
     as the United Farmers of Alberta, and of each Western province, so
     that farmers are now making themselves heard and felt in politics,
     and farmers realise that they are being exploited for the benefit
     of the manufacturer. Excellent articles appear almost weekly in the
     _Grain Growers' Guide_, published in Winnipeg, showing the curse of
     Protection.

     A Canadian Free Trade Union, affiliated with the International Free
     Trade League, has just been formed in Winnipeg, and many prominent
     business and professional men are connected with it.

     It ought to be better known among the electors of Great Britain how
     Free Trade is growing in Canada, that they may be less inclined to
     commit the fatal mistake of changing England's policy. Canada is
     often quoted in English politics now, and the real facts should be
     known.

No experience has, therefore, as yet been acquired which would enable a
matured judgment to be formed as to the extent to which Free Trade may
be regarded as a preventive to war. The question remains substantially
much in the same condition as it was seventy years ago. In forming an
opinion upon it, we have still to rely largely on conjecture and on
academic considerations. All that has been proved is that numerous wars
have taken place during a period of history when Protection was the
rule, and Free Trade the exception; though the _post hoc ergo propter
hoc_ fallacy would, of course, be involved, if on that account it were
inferred that the protection of national industries has necessarily
been the chief cause of war.

Without indulging in any utopian dreams as to the possibility of
inaugurating an era of universal peace, it may, I think, be held that,
in spite of the wars which have occurred during the last half century,
not merely an ardent desire for peace, but also a dislike--I may almost
say a genuine horror--of war has grown apace amongst the civilised
nations of the world. The destructiveness of modern weapons of offence,
the fearful personal responsibility devolving on the individuals who
order the first shot to be fired, the complete uncertainty which
prevails as to the naval, military, and political results which will
ensue if the huge armaments of modern States are brought into collision,
the growth of a benevolent, if at times somewhat eccentric
humanitarianism, possibly also the advance of democracy--though it is at
times somewhat too readily assumed that democracies must of necessity be
peaceful--have all contributed to create a public opinion which holds
that to engage in an avoidable war is the worst of political crimes.
This feeling has found expression in the more ready recourse which, as
compared to former times, is now made to arbitration in order to settle
international disputes. Nevertheless, so long as human nature remains
unchanged, and more especially so long as the huge armaments at present
existing are maintained, it is the imperative duty of every
self-respecting nation to provide adequately for its own defence. That
duty is more especially imposed on those nations who, for one reason or
another, have been driven into adopting that policy of expansion, which
is now almost universal. Within the last few years, the United States of
America have abandoned what has been aptly termed their former system of
"industrial monasticism,"[63] whilst in the Far East a new world-power
has suddenly sprung into existence. Speaking as one unit belonging to a
country whose dominions are more extensive and more widely dispersed
than those of any other nation, I entertain a strong opinion that if
Great Britain continues to maintain her present policy of Free Trade--as
I trust will be the case--her means of defence should, within the limits
of human foresight, be such as to render her empire impregnable; and,
further, that should that policy unfortunately be reversed, it will be a
wise precaution that those means of defence should, if possible, be
still further strengthened. But I also entertain an equally strong
opinion that an imperial nation should seek to fortify its position and
to provide guarantees for the durability of its empire, not merely by
rendering itself, so far as is possible, impregnable, but also by using
its vast world-power in such a manner as to secure in some degree the
moral acquiescence of other nations in its _imperium_, and thus provide
an antidote--albeit it may only be a partial antidote--against the
jealousy and emulation which its extensive dominions are calculated to
incite.

I am aware that an argument of this sort is singularly liable to
misrepresentation. Militant patriotism rejects it with scorn. It is said
to involve an ignoble degree of truckling to foreign nations. It
involves nothing of the kind. I should certainly be the last to
recommend anything approaching to pusillanimity in the conduct of the
foreign affairs of my country. If I thought that the introduction of a
policy of Protection was really demanded in the interests of the
inhabitants of the United Kingdom, I should warmly advocate it, whatever
might be the effect produced on the public opinion of other countries.
British Free Traders do not advocate the cause which they have at heart
in order to benefit the countries which send their goods to Great
Britain, but because they think it advantageous to their own country to
procure certain foreign products without any artificial enhancement of
price.[64] If they are right in coming to this conclusion, it is surely
an incidental advantage of much importance that a policy of Free Trade,
besides being advantageous to the United Kingdom, tends to give an
additional element of stability to the British Empire and to preserve
the peace of the world.

From the dawn of history, uncontrolled commercialism has been one of the
principal causes of misgovernment, and more especially of the
misgovernment of subject races. The early history of the Spaniards in
South and Central America, as well as the more recent history of other
States, testify to the truth of this generalisation. Similarly,
Trade--that is to say exclusive trade--far from tending to promote
peace, has not infrequently been accompanied by aggression, and has
rather tended to promote war. Tariff wars, which are the natural outcome
of the protective system, have been of frequent occurrence, and,
although I am not at all prepared to admit that under no circumstances
is a policy of retaliation justifiable, it is certain that that policy,
carried to excess, has at times endangered European peace. There is
ample proof that the Tariff war between Russia and Germany in 1893, "was
regarded by both responsible parties as likely to lead to a state of
things dangerous to the peace of Europe."[65] Professor Dietzel, in his
very remarkable and exhaustive work on _Retaliatory Duties_, shows very
clearly that the example of Tariff wars is highly contagious. Speaking
of the events which occurred in 1902 and subsequent years, he says:
"Germany set the bad example.... Russia, Austria-Hungary, Roumania,
Switzerland, Portugal, Holland, Servia, followed suit.... An
international arming epidemic broke out. Everywhere, indeed, it was
said: We are not at all desirous of a Tariff war. We are acting only on
the maxim so often proclaimed among us, _Si vis pacem, para bellum_."

Can it be doubted that there is a distinct connection between these
Tariff wars and the huge armaments which are now maintained by every
European state? The connection is, in fact, very close. Tariff wars
engender the belief that wars carried on by shot and shell may not
improbably follow. They thus encourage, and even necessitate, the costly
preparations for war which weigh so heavily, not only on the
industries, but also on the moral and intellectual progress of the
world.

Mr. Oliver, in his interesting biography of Alexander Hamilton, gives a
very remarkable instance of the menace to peace arising, even amongst a
wholly homogeneous community, from the creation of hostile tariffs. The
first step which the thirteen States of America took after they had
acquired their independence was "to indulge themselves in the costly
luxury of an internecine tariff war.... Pennsylvania attacked Delaware.
Connecticut was oppressed by Rhode Island and New York.... It was a
dangerous game, ruinous in itself, and, behind the Custom-House
officers, men were beginning to furbish up the locks of their
muskets.... At one time war between Vermont, New Hampshire, and New York
seemed all but inevitable."

To sum up all I have to say on this subject--I do not for a moment
suppose that Universal Free Trade--even if the adoption of such a policy
were conceivable--would inaugurate an era of universal and permanent
peace. Whatever fiscal policy be adopted by the great commercial nations
of the world, it is wholly illusory to suppose that the risk of war can
be altogether avoided in the future, any more than has been the case in
the past. But I am equally certain that, whereas exclusive trade tends
to exacerbate international relations, Free Trade, by mutually
enlisting a number of influential material interests in the cause of
peace, tends to ameliorate those relations and thus, _pro tanto_, to
diminish the probability of war. No nation has, of course, the least
right to dictate the fiscal policy of its neighbours, neither has it any
legitimate cause to complain when its neighbours exercise their
unquestionable right to make whatever fiscal arrangements they consider
conducive to their own interests. But the real and ostensible causes of
war are not always identical. When once irritation begins to rankle, and
rival interests clash to an excessive degree, the guns are apt to go off
by themselves, and an adroit diplomacy may confidently be trusted to
discover some plausible pretext for their explosion.

In a speech which I made in London some three years ago, I gave an
example, gathered from facts with which I was intimately acquainted, of
the pacifying influence exerted by adopting a policy of Free Trade in
the execution of a policy of expansion. I may as well repeat it now.
Some twelve years ago the British flag was hoisted in the Soudan side by
side with the Egyptian. Europe tacitly acquiesced. Why did it do so? It
was because a clause was introduced into the Anglo-Egyptian Convention
of 1899, under which no trade preference was to be accorded to any
nation. All were placed on a footing of perfect equality. Indeed, the
whole fiscal policy adopted in Egypt since the British occupation in
1883 has been based on distinctly Free Trade principles. Indirect taxes
have been, in some instances, reduced. Those that remain in force are
imposed, not for protective, but for revenue purposes, whilst in one
important instance--that of cotton goods--an excise duty has been
imposed, in order to avoid the risk of customs duties acting
protectively.

Free Trade mitigates, though it is powerless to remove, international
animosities. Exclusive trade stimulates and aggravates those
animosities. I do not by any means maintain that this argument is by
itself conclusive against the adoption of a policy of Protection, if, on
other grounds, the adoption of such a policy is deemed desirable; but it
is one aspect of the question which, when the whole issue is under
consideration, should not be left out of account.

[Footnote 59: Subsequently published in _The Nineteenth Century and
After_ for September 1910.]

[Footnote 60: _Life of Cobden_, Morley, vol. i. p. 231.]

[Footnote 61: Sir Robert Peel, as is well known, did not fall into this
error, and even Mr. Cobden appears to have recognised so early as 1849
that his original forecasts on this point were too optimistic. Speaking
on January 10, 1849, he said: "At the last stage of the Anti-Corn Law
Agitation, our opponents were driven to this position: 'Free Trade is a
very good thing, but you cannot have it until other countries adopt it
too.' And I used to say: 'If Free Trade be a good thing for us, we will
have it; let others take it if it be a good thing for them; if not, let
them do without it.'"]

[Footnote 62: Hirst, _Life of Friedrich List_, p. 134.]

[Footnote 63: Essay on the Influence of Commerce on International
Conflicts; F. Greenwood, _Ency. Brit._ (Tenth Edition).]

[Footnote 64: In connection with this branch of the question, I wish to
draw attention to the fact that Professor Shield Nicholson, in his
recent brilliant work, _A Project of Empire_, has conclusively shown
that it is a misapprehension to suppose that Adam Smith, in advocating
Free Trade, looked merely to the interests of the consumer, and
neglected altogether those of the producer. Mr. Gladstone's statement on
this subject, made in 1860, is well known.]

[Footnote 65: Reports on the Tariff wars between certain European
States, Parliamentary paper, Commercial, No. 1 (1904), p. 46.]




VI

CHINA

_"The Nineteenth Century and After," May 1913_


Mr. Bland's book, entitled _Recent Events and Present Policies in China_
(1912), is full of instruction not only for those who are specially
concerned in the affairs of China, but also for all who are interested
in watching the new developments which are constantly arising from the
ever-increasing contact between the East and the West.

The Eastern world is at present strewn with the _debris_ of paper
constitutions, which are, or are probably about to become, derelict. The
case of Egypt is somewhat special, and would require separate treatment.
But in Turkey, in Persia, and in China, the epidemic, which is of an
exotic character, appears to be following its normal course.

Constitutions when first promulgated are received with wild enthusiasm.
In Italy, during the most frenzied period of Garibaldian worship, my
old friend, Lear the artist, asked a patriotic inn-keeper, who was in a
wild state of excitement, to give him breakfast, to which the man
replied: "Colazione! Che colazione! Tutto e amore e liberta!" In the
Albanian village in which Miss Durham was residing when the Young Turks
proclaimed their constitution, the Moslem inhabitants expressed great
delight at the news, and forthwith asked when the massacre of the
Giaours--without which a constitution would wholly miss its mark--was to
begin.[66] Similarly, Mr. Bland says that throughout China, although
"the word 'Republic' meant no more to the people at large than the
blessed word 'Mesopotamia,' men embraced each other publicly and wept
for joy at the coming of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity."

These ebullitions provoke laughter.

    Sed facilis cuivis rigidi censura cachinni.

We Europeans have ourselves passed through much the same phases. Vandal
and others have told us of the Utopia which was created in the minds of
the French when the old regime crashed to the ground. Sydney Smith
caricatured the delusive hopes excited by the passing of the Reform Bill
of 1832, when he said that all the unmarried young women thought that
they would at once get husbands, and that all the schoolboys expected a
heavy fall in the price of jam tarts. A process of disillusionment may
confidently be anticipated in Ireland if the Home Rule Bill becomes law,
and the fairy prospects held out to the Irish people by Mr. Redmond and
the other stage managers of the piece are chilled by the cold shade of
reality.

We English are largely responsible for creating the frame of mind which
is even now luring Young Turks, Chinamen, and other Easterns into the
political wilderness by the display of false signals. We have, indeed,
our Blands in China, our Milners in Egypt, our Miss Durhams in the
Balkan Peninsula, and our Miss Bells in Mesopotamia, who wander far
afield, gleaning valuable facts and laying before their countrymen and
countrywomen conclusions based on acquired knowledge and wide
experience. But their efforts are only partially successful. They are
often shivered on the solid rock of preconceived prejudices, and genuine
but ill-informed sentimentalism. A large section of the English public
are, in fact, singularly wanting in political imagination. Although they
would not, in so many words, admit the truth of the statement, they none
the less act and speak as if sound national development in whatsoever
quarter of the world must of necessity proceed along their own
conventional, insular, and time-honoured lines, and along those lines
alone. There is a whole class of newspaper readers, and also of
newspaper writers, who resemble that eminent but now deceased Member of
Parliament, who told me that during the four hours' railway journey from
Port Said to Cairo he had come to the definite conclusion that Egypt
could not be prosperous because he had observed that there were no
stacks of corn standing in the fields; neither was this conclusion in
any way shaken when it was explained to him that the Egyptians were not
in the habit of erecting corn stacks after the English model. All these
classes readily lend an ear to quack, though often very well-intentioned
politicians, who go about the world preaching that countries can be
regenerated by shibboleths, and that the characters of nations can be
changed by Acts of Parliament. This frame of mind appeals with
irresistible force to the untrained Eastern habit of thought. T'ang--a
leading Chinese Republican--Mr. Bland says, "like all educated Chinese,
believes in the magic virtue of words and forms of government in making
a nation wise and strong by Acts of Parliament." And what poor,
self-deluded T'ang is saying and thinking in Canton is said and thought
daily by countless Ahmeds, Ibrahims, and Rizas in the bazaars of
Constantinople, Cairo, and Teheran.

What has Mr. Bland to tell us of all the welter of loan-mongering,
rococo constitution-tinkering, Confucianism, and genuine if at times
misdirected philanthropy, which is now seething in the Chinese
melting-pot?

In the first place, he has to say that the main obstacle to all real
progress in China is one that cannot be removed by any change in the
form of government, whether the ruling spirit be a full-fledged
Republican of the Sun Yat-Sen type, aided by a number of "imitation
foreigners," as they are termed by their countrymen, or a savage, albeit
statesmanlike "Old Buddha," who, at the close of a life stained by all
manner of blood-guiltiness, at last turned her weary face towards
Western reform as the only hope of saving her country and her dynasty.
The main disease is not political, and is incapable of being cured by
the most approved constitutional formulae. It is economic. Polygamy,
aided by excessive philo-progenitiveness, the result of
ancestor-worship, has produced a highly congested population. Vast
masses of people are living in normal times on the verge of starvation.
Hence come famines and savage revolts of the hungry. "Amidst all the
specifics of political leaders," Mr. Bland says, "there has been as yet
hardly a voice raised against marriages of minors or polygamy, and
reckless over-breeding, which are the basic causes of China's chronic
unrest."

The same difficulty, though perhaps in a less acute form, exists in
India. Not only cannot it be remedied by mere philanthropy, but it is
absolutely certain--cruel and paradoxical though it may appear to say
so--that philanthropy enhances the evil. In the days of Akhbar or Shah
Jehan, cholera, famine, and internal strife kept down the population.
Only the fittest survived. Now, internal strife is forbidden, and
philanthropy steps in and says that no single life shall be sacrificed
if science and Western energy or skill can save it. Hence the growth of
a highly congested population, vast numbers of whom are living on a bare
margin of subsistence. I need hardly say that I am not condemning
philanthropy. On the contrary, I hold strongly that an
anti-philanthropic basis of government is not merely degrading and
inhuman, but also fortunately nowadays impracticable. None the less, the
fact that one of the greatest difficulties of governing the teeming
masses in the East is caused by good and humane government should be
recognised. It is too often ignored.

A partial remedy to the state of things now existing in China would be
to encourage emigration; but a resort to this expedient is impossible,
for Europeans and Americans alike, being scared by the prospect of
competing with Chinese cheap labour, which is the only real Yellow
Peril,[67] as also by the demoralisation consequent on a large influx of
Chinamen into their dominions, close their ports to the emigrants. That
Young China should feel this as a gross injustice can be no matter for
surprise. The Chinaman may, with inexorable logic, state his case thus:
"You, Europeans and Americans, insist on my receiving and protecting
your missionaries. I do not want them. I have, in Confucianism, a system
of philosophy, which, whatever you may think of it, suits all my
spiritual requirements, and which has been sufficient to hold Chinese
society together for long centuries past. Nevertheless, I bow to your
wishes. But then surely you ought in justice to allow free entry into
your dominions to my carpenters and bricklayers, of whom I have a large
surplus, of which I should be glad to be rid. Is not your boasted
philanthropy somewhat vicarious, and does not your public morality
savour in some degree of mere opportunist cant?"

To all of which, Europeans and Americans can only reply that the
instinct of self-preservation, which is strong within them, points
clearly to the absolute necessity of excluding the Chinese carpenters
and bricklayers; and, further, as regards the missionaries, that there
can be but one answer, and that in a Christian sense, to the question
asked by jesting Pilate. In effect they say that circumstances alter
cases, and that might is right--a plea which may perhaps suffice to
salve the conscience of an opportunist politician, but ought to appeal
less forcibly to a stern moralist.

Foreign emigration, even if it were possible, would, however, be a mere
palliative. A more thorough and effective remedy would be to facilitate
the dispersion of the population in the congested districts over those
wide tracts of China itself which are suffering in a less degree from
congestion. I conceive that the execution of a policy of this nature
would not be altogether impossible. It could be carried into effect by
improving the means of locomotion, possibly by the construction of
irrigation works on a large scale, and by developing the resources of
the country, which are admittedly very great. But there is one condition
which is essential to the execution of this programme, and that is that
the financial administration of the country should be sufficiently
honest to inspire the confidence of those European investors who alone
can provide the necessary capital. Now, according to Mr. Bland, this
fundamental quality of honesty is not to be found throughout the length
and breadth of China, whether in the ranks of the old Mandarins or in
those of the young Republicans.

     The essential virtue of personal integrity [he says], the capacity
     to handle public funds with common honesty, has been conspicuously
     lacking in Young China. The leopard has not changed his spots; the
     sons and brothers of the classical Mandarin remain, in spite of
     Western learning, Mandarins by instinct and in practice.

A very close observer of Eastern affairs--Mr. Stanley Lane-Poole--has
said that the East has an extraordinary facility for assimilating all
the worst features of any new civilisation with which it is brought in
contact. This is what has happened in India, in Turkey, in Egypt, and in
Persia. Even in Japan it has yet to be seen whether the old national
virtues will survive prolonged contact with the West. Hear now what Mr.
Bland has to say of China:

     Where Young China has cast off the ethical restraints and patriotic
     morality of Confucianism, it has failed to assimilate, or even to
     understand, the moral foundations of Europe's civilisation. It has
     exchanged its old lamp for a new, but it has not found the oil,
     which the new vessel needs, to lighten the darkness withal.

In the opinion of so highly qualified an authority as Prince Ito, "the
sentiments of foreign educated Young China are hopelessly out of touch
with the masses." But while there has been alienation from the ideals of
the East, there has been no real approach to the ideals of the West.

     Education at Harvard or Oxford may imbue the Chinese student with
     ideas and social tendencies, apparently antagonistic to those of
     the patriarchal system of his native land; but they do not, and
     cannot, create in him (as some would have us believe) the
     Anglo-Saxon outlook on life, the standards of conduct and the
     beliefs which are the results of centuries of our process of
     civilisation and structural character. Under his top dressing of
     Western learning, the Chinese remains true to type, instinctively
     detached from the practical and scientific attitude,
     contemplatively philosophical, with the fatalistic philosophy of
     the prophet Job, concerned rather with the causes than the results
     of things. Your barrister at Lincoln's Inn, after ten years of
     cosmopolitan experience in London or Washington, will revert in six
     months to the ancestral type of morals and manners; the spectacle
     is so common, even in the case of exceptionally assimilative men
     like Wu Ting-fang, or the late Marquis Tseng, that it evokes little
     or no comment amongst Europeans in China.

Notably from the point of view of financial honesty, which, as I have
already mentioned, is of cardinal importance if the regeneration of the
country is to be undertaken by other means than by mock constitutions,
the results of Western education are most disappointing.

     The opinion [Mr. Bland says] is widely held amongst European
     residents and traders that the section of Young China which has
     received its education in Foreign Mission schools displays no more
     honesty than the rest.

What is the conclusion to be drawn from these facts? It is that not only
in order to obtain adequate security for the bond-holders--in whom I am
not in any way personally interested, for I shall certainly not be one
of them--but also in the interests of the Chinese people, it is
essential, before any loan is contracted, to insist on a strict
supervision of the expenditure of the loan funds. That Young China,
partly on genuine patriotic grounds and also possibly in some cases on
grounds which are less worthy of respect and sympathy, should resent the
exercise of this supervision, is natural enough, but it can scarcely be
doubted that unless it be exercised a large portion of the money
advanced by European capitalists will be wasted, and that no really
effective step forward will be taken in the solution of the economic
problem which constitutes the main Chinese difficulty. The very
rudimentary ideas entertained by the Chinese themselves in the matter of
applying funds to productive works is sufficiently illustrated by the
episode mentioned by Mr. Bland, where he tells us that "the Szechuan
Railway Company directors made provision for the building of their line
by the appointment of station-masters"; while the fact that but a short
time ago 1400 German machine guns, costing L500 apiece, which had never
been used or paid for, were lying at Shanghai, indicates the manner in
which it is not only possible but highly probable that the loan funds
under exclusively Chinese supervision would be frittered away on
unproductive objects.

Those, indeed, who have had some practical experience of financial
administration in Eastern countries may well entertain some doubts as to
whether supervision which only embraces the expenditure, and does not
apply to the revenue, will be sufficient to meet all the requirements of
the case. The results so far attained by the more limited scheme of
supervision do not appear to have been satisfactory. Herr Rump was
appointed auditor to the German section of the Tientsin-P'ukou Railway,
but Mr. Bland tells us that "the auditorship on this railway has proved
worse than useless as a preventive of official peculation." On the other
hand, the system of collecting the revenue is in the highest degree
defective. It violates flagrantly a principle which, from the days of
Adam Smith downwards, has always been regarded as the corner-stone of
any sound financial administration. "For every tael officially accounted
for by the provincial authorities," Mr. Bland says, in words which
recall to my mind the Egyptian fiscal system under the regime of Ismail
Pasha, "at least five are actually collected from the taxpayers."

It is, therefore, earnestly to be hoped that the diplomatists and
capitalists of Europe will--both in the interests of the investing
public and in those of the Chinese people--stand firm and insist on
adequate financial control as a preliminary and essential condition to
the advance of funds.

As to whether the recently established Republic is destined to last or
whether it will prove a mere ephemeral episode in the life-history of
China, there seems to be much divergence of opinion among those
authorities who are most qualified to speak on the subject. Mr. Bland's
views on this point are, however, quite clear. He thinks that
Confucianism, and all the political and social habits of thought which
are the outcome of Confucianism, have "become ingrained in every fibre
of the national life," and that they constitute the "fundamental cause
of the longevity of China's social structure and of the innate strength
of her civilisation." He refuses to believe that Young China, which is
imbued with "a doctrinaire spirit of political speculation," though it
may tinker with the superstructure, will be able seriously to shake the
foundations of this hoary edifice. He has watched the opinions and
activities in every province from the beginning of the present
revolution, and he "is compelled to the conviction that salvation from
this quarter is impossible." He thinks that although in Canton and the
Kuang Provinces, which are the most intellectually advanced portions of
China, a system of popular representation may be introduced with some
hope of beneficial results,

     ... as regards the rest of China, as every educated Chinese knows
     (unless, like Sun Yat-Sen, he has been brought up abroad), the idea
     of rapidly transforming the masses of the population into an
     intelligent electorate, and of making a Chinese Parliament the
     expression of their collective political vitality, is a vain dream,
     possible only for those who ignore the inherent character of the
     Chinese people.

There is, however, one consideration set forth by Mr. Bland, which may
possibly prove, at all events for a time, the salvation, while it
assuredly connotes the condemnation of the present system of government,
and that is that the Chinese Republic may continue to exist by
abrogating all republican principles. According to Mr. Bland this "gran
rifiuto" has already been made. "The actual government of China," he
says, "contains none of the elements of genuine Republicanism, but is
merely the old despotism, the old Mandarinate, under new names." "The
inauguration of the Republican idea of constitutional Government in
China," he says in another passage, "can only mean, in the present state
of the people, continual transference of an illegal despotism from one
group of political adventurers to another, the pretence of popular
representation serving merely to increase and perpetuate instability."

It would require a far greater knowledge of Chinese affairs than any to
which I can pretend to express either unqualified adherence to or
dissent from Mr. Bland's views. But it is clear that his diagnosis of
the past is based on a very thorough acquaintance with the facts, while,
on _a priori_ grounds, his prognosis of the future is calculated to
commend itself to those of general experience who have studied Oriental
character and are acquainted with Oriental history.

[Footnote 66: _High Albania_, p. 311.]

[Footnote 67: See on this subject the final remarks in Mr. Bland's very
instructive chapter xiv.]




VII

THE CAPITULATIONS IN EGYPT

_"The Nineteenth Century and After," July 1913_


During the six years which have elapsed since I left Cairo I have, for
various reasons on which it is unnecessary to dwell, carefully abstained
from taking any part in whatever discussions have arisen on current
Egyptian affairs. If I now depart from the reticence which I have
hitherto observed it is because there appears at all events some slight
prospect that the main reform which is required to render the government
and administration of Egypt efficient will be seriously considered. As
so frequently happens in political affairs, a casual incident has
directed public attention to the need of reform. A short time ago a
Russian subject was, at the request of the Consular authorities,
arrested by the Egyptian police and handed over to them for deportation
to Russia. I am not familiar with the details of the case, neither, for
the purposes of my present argument, is any knowledge of those details
required. The nature of the offence of which this man, Adamovitch by
name, was accused, as also the question of whether he was guilty or
innocent of that offence, are altogether beside the point. The legal
obligation of the Egyptian Government to comply with the request that
the man should be handed over to the Russian Consular authorities would
have been precisely the same if he had been accused of no offence at
all. The result, however, has been to touch one of the most tender
points in the English political conscience. It has become clear that a
country which is not, indeed, British territory, but which is held by a
British garrison, and in which British influence is predominant, affords
no safe asylum for a political refugee. Without in any way wishing to
underrate the importance of this consideration, I think it necessary to
point out that this is only one out of the many anomalies which might be
indicated in the working of that most perplexing political creation
entitled the Egyptian Government and administration. Many instances
might, in fact, be cited which, albeit they are less calculated to
attract public attention in this country, afford even stronger ground
for holding that the time has come for reforming the system hitherto
known as that of the Capitulations.

Before attempting to deal with this question I may perhaps be pardoned
if, at the risk of appearing egotistical, I indulge in a very short
chapter of autobiography. My own action in Egypt has formed the subject
of frequent comment in this country; neither, assuredly, in spite of
occasional blame, have I any reason to complain of the measure of
praise--often, I fear, somewhat unmerited praise--which has been
accorded to me. But I may perhaps be allowed to say what, in my own
opinion, are the main objects achieved during my twenty-four-years'
tenure of office. Those achievements are four in number, and let me add
that they were not the results of a hand-to-mouth conduct of affairs in
which the direction afforded to political events was constantly shifted,
but of a deliberate plan persistently pursued with only such temporary
deviations and delays as the circumstances of the time rendered
inevitable.

In the first place, the tension with the French Government, which lasted
for twenty-one years and which might at any moment have become very
serious, was never allowed to go beyond a certain point. In spite of a
good deal of provocation, a policy of conciliation was persistently
adopted, with the result that the conclusion of the Anglo-French
Agreement of 1904 became eventually possible. It is on this particular
feature of my Egyptian career that personally I look back with far
greater pride and pleasure than any other, all the more so because,
although it has, comparatively speaking, attracted little public
attention, it was, in reality, by far the most difficult and responsible
part of my task.

In the second place, bankruptcy was averted and the finances of the
country placed on a sound footing.

In the third place, by the relief of taxation and other reforms which
remedied any really substantial grievances, the ground was cut away from
under the feet of the demagogues whom it was easy to foresee would
spring into existence as education advanced.

In the fourth place, the Soudan, which had to be abandoned in 1884-85,
was eventually recovered.

These, I say, are the things which were done. Let me now state what was
not done. Although, of course, the number of Egyptians employed in the
service of the Government was largely increased, and although the
charges which have occasionally been made that education was unduly
neglected admit of easy refutation, it is none the less true that
little, if any, progress was made in the direction of conferring
autonomy on Egypt. The reasons why so little progress was made in this
direction were twofold.

In the first place, it would have been premature even to think of the
question until the long struggle against bankruptcy had been fought and
won, and also until, by the conclusion of the Anglo-French Agreement in
1904, the acute international tension which heretofore existed had been
relaxed.

In the second place, the idea of what constituted autonomy entertained
by those Egyptians who were most in a position to make their voices
heard, as also by some of their English sympathisers, differed widely
from that entertained by myself and others who were well acquainted with
the circumstances of the country, and on whom the responsibility of
devising and executing any plan for granting autonomy would naturally
devolve. We were, in fact, the poles asunder. The Egyptian idea was that
the native Egyptians should rule Egypt. They therefore urged that
greatly increased powers should be given to the Legislative Council and
Assembly originally instituted by Lord Dufferin. The counter-idea was
not based on any alleged incapacity of the Egyptians to govern
themselves--a point which, for the purposes of my present argument, it
is unnecessary to discuss. Neither was it based on any disinclination
gradually to extend the powers of Egyptians in dealing with purely
native Egyptian questions.[68] I, and others who shared my views,
considered that those who cried "Egypt for the Egyptians" on the
house-tops had gone off on an entirely wrong scent because, even had
they attained their ends, nothing approaching to Egyptian autonomy would
have been realised. The Capitulations would still have barred the way to
all important legislation and to the removal of those defects in the
administration of which the Egyptians most complained. When the
prominent part played by resident Europeans in the political and social
life of Egypt is considered, it is indeed little short of ridiculous to
speak of Egyptian autonomy if at the same time a system is preserved
under which no important law can be made applicable to an Englishman, a
Frenchman, or a German, without its detailed provisions having received
the consent, not only of the King of England, the President of the
French Republic, and the German Emperor, but also that of the President
of the United States, the King of Denmark, and every other ruling
Potentate in Europe. We therefore held that the only possible method by
which the evils of extreme personal government could be averted, and by
which the country could be provided with a workable legislative machine,
was to include in the term "Egyptians" all the dwellers in Egypt, and to
devise some plan by which the European and Egyptian elements of society
would be fused together to such an extent at all events as to render
them capable of cooperating in legislative effort. It may perhaps be
hoped that by taking a first step in this direction some more thorough
fusion may possibly follow in the future.

As I have already mentioned, it would have been premature to deal with
this question prior to 1904, for any serious modification of the regime
of the Capitulations could not be considered as within the domain of
practical politics so long as all the Powers, and more especially France
and England, were pulling different ways. But directly that agreement
was signed I resolved to take the question up, all the more so because
what was then known as the Secret Agreement, but which has since that
time been published, contained the following very important clause:

     In the event of their (His Britannic Majesty's Government)
     considering it desirable to introduce in Egypt reforms tending to
     assimilate the Egyptian legislative system to that in force in
     other civilised countries, the Government of the French Republic
     will not refuse to entertain any such proposals, on the
     understanding that His Britannic Majesty's Government will agree to
     entertain the suggestions that the Government of the French
     Republic may have to make to them with a view of introducing
     similar reforms in Morocco.

I was under no delusion as to the formidable nature of the obstacles
which stood in the way of reform. Moreover, I held very strongly that
even if it had been possible, by diplomatic negotiations with the other
Powers, to come to some arrangement which would be binding on the
Europeans resident in Egypt, and to force it on them without their
consent being obtained, it was most undesirable to adopt anything
approaching to this procedure. The European colonists in Egypt, although
of course numerically far inferior to the native population, represent a
large portion of the wealth, and a still larger portion of the
intelligence and energy in the country. Moreover, although the word
"privilege" always rather grates on the ear in this democratic age, it
is none the less true that in the past the misgovernment of Egypt has
afforded excellent reasons why even those Europeans who are most
favourably disposed towards native aspirations should demur to any
sacrifice of their capitulary rights. My view, therefore, was that the
Europeans should not be coerced but persuaded. It had to be proved to
them that, under the changed condition of affairs, the Capitulations
were not only unnecessary but absolutely detrimental to their own
interests. Personally, I was very fully convinced of the truth of this
statement, neither was it difficult to convince those who, being behind
the scenes of government, were in a position to judge of the extent to
which the Capitulations clogged progress in many very important
directions. But it was more difficult to convince the general public,
many of whom entertained very erroneous ideas as to the extent and
nature of the proposed reforms, and could see nothing but the fact that
it was intended to deprive them of certain privileges which they then
possessed. It cannot be too distinctly understood that there never
was--neither do I suppose there is now--the smallest intention of
"abolishing the Capitulations," if by that term is meant a complete
abrogation of all those safeguards against arbitrary proceedings on the
part of the Government which the Capitulations are intended to prevent.
Capitulations or no Capitulations, the European charged with a criminal
offence must be tried either by European judges or an European jury. All
matters connected with the personal status of any European must be
judged by the laws in force in his own country. Adequate safeguards
must be contrived to guard against any abuse of power on the part of the
police. Whatever reforms are introduced into the Mixed Tribunals must be
confined to comparatively minor points, and must not touch fundamental
principles. In fact, the Capitulations have not to be abolished, but to
be modified. An eminent French jurist, M. Gabriel Louis Jaray, in
discussing the Egyptian situation a few years ago, wrote:

     On peut considerer comme admis qu'une simple occupation ou un
     protectorat de fait, reconnu par les Puissances Europeennes, suffit
     pour mettre a neant les Capitulations, quand la reorganisation du
     pays est suffisante pour donner aux Europeens pleine garantie de
     bonne juridiction.

I contend that the reorganisation of Egypt is now sufficiently advanced
to admit of the guarantees for the good administration of justice, which
M. Jaray very rightly claimed, being afforded to all Europeans without
having recourse to the clumsy methods of the Capitulations in their
present form.

In the last two reports which I wrote before I left Egypt I developed
these and some cognate arguments at considerable length. But from the
first moment of taking up the question I never thought that it would
fall to my lot to bring the campaign against the Capitulations to a
conclusion. The question was eminently one as to which it was
undesirable to force the pace. Time was required in order to let public
opinion mature. I therefore contented myself with indicating the defects
of the present system and the general direction which reform should
take, leaving it to those younger than myself to carry on the work when
advancing years obliged me to retire. I may add that the manner in which
my proposals were received and discussed by the European public in Egypt
afforded good reason for supposing that the obstacles to be overcome
before any serious reforms could be effected, though formidable, were by
no means insuperable. After my departure in 1907, events occurred which
rendered it impossible that the subject should at once come under the
consideration of the Government, but in 1911 Lord Kitchener was able to
report that the legislative powers of the Court of Appeal sitting at
Alexandria had been somewhat increased. Sir Malcolm M'Ilwraith, the
Judicial Adviser of the Egyptian Government, in commenting on this
change, says:

     The new scheme, while assuredly a progressive step, and in notable
     advance of the previous state of affairs ... can hardly be
     regarded, in its ensemble, as more than a temporary makeshift, and
     a more or less satisfactory palliative of the legislative impotence
     under which the Government has suffered for so long.

It is most earnestly to be hoped that the question will now be taken up
seriously with a view to more drastic reform than any which has as yet
been effected.

There is one, and only one, method by which the evils of the existing
system can be made to disappear. The British Government should request
the other Powers of Europe to vest in them the legislative power which
each now exercises separately. Simultaneously with this request, a
legislative Chamber should be created in Egypt for enacting laws to
which Europeans will be amenable.

There is, of course, one essential preliminary to the execution of this
programme. It is that the Powers of Europe, as also the European
residents in Egypt, should have thorough confidence in the intentions of
the British Government, by which I mean confidence in the duration of
the occupation, and also confidence in the manner in which the affairs
of the country will be administered.

As regards the first point, there is certainly no cause for doubt. Under
the Anglo-French Agreement of 1904 the French Government specifically
declared that "they will not obstruct the action of government in Egypt
by asking that a limit of time be fixed for the British occupation, or
in any other manner." Moreover, one of the last acts that I performed
before I left Egypt in 1907 was to communicate to the British Chamber of
Commerce at Alexandria a letter from Sir Edward Grey in which I was
authorised to state that His Majesty's Government "recognise that the
maintenance and development of such reforms as have hitherto been
effected in Egypt depend upon the British occupation. This consideration
will apply with equal strength to any changes effected in the regime of
the Capitulations. His Majesty's Government, therefore, wish it to be
understood that there is no reason for allowing the prospect of any
modifications in that regime to be prejudiced by the existence of any
doubt as to the continuance of the British occupation of the country."
It is, of course, conceivable that in some remote future the British
garrison may be withdrawn from Egypt. If any fear is entertained on this
ground it may easily be calmed by an arrangement with the Powers that in
the event of the British Government wishing to withdraw their troops,
they would previously enter into communications with the various Powers
of Europe with a view to re-establishing whatever safeguards they might
think necessary in the interests of their countrymen.

As regards the second point, that is to say, confidence in the manner in
which the administration of the country is conducted, I need only say
that, so far as I am able to judge, Lord Kitchener's administration,
although one of his measures--the Five Feddan law--has, not unnaturally,
been subjected to a good deal of hostile criticism, has inspired the
fullest confidence in the minds of the whole of the population of Egypt,
whether European or native. I cannot doubt that, when the time arrives
for Lord Kitchener, in his turn, to retire, no brusque or radical change
will be allowed to take place in the general principles under which he
is now administering the country.

The rights and duties of any such Chamber as that which I propose, its
composition, its mode of election or nomination, the degree of control
to be exercised over it by the Egyptian or British Governments, are, of
course, all points which require very careful consideration, and which
admit of solution in a great variety of ways. In my report for the year
1906 I put forward certain suggestions in connection with each of these
subjects, but I do not doubt that, as the result of further
consideration and discussion, my proposals admit of improvement. I need
not now dwell on these details, important though they be. I wish,
however, to allude to one point which involves a question of principle.
I trust that no endeavour will for the present be made to create one
Chamber, composed of both Europeans and Egyptians, with power to
legislate for all the inhabitants of Egypt. I am strongly convinced
that, under the present condition of society in Egypt, any such attempt
must end in complete failure. It is, I believe, quite impossible to
devise any plan for an united Chamber which would satisfy the very
natural aspirations of the Egyptians, and at the same time provide for
the Europeans adequate guarantees that their own legitimate rights would
be properly safeguarded. I am fully aware of the theoretical objections
which may be urged against trying the novel experiment of creating two
Chambers in the same country, each of which would deal with separate
classes of the community, but I submit that, in the special
circumstances of the case, those objections must be set aside, and that
one more anomaly should, for the time being at all events, be added to
the many strange institutions which exist in the "Land of Paradox."
Whether at some probably remote future period it will be possible to
create a Chamber in which Europeans and Egyptians will sit side by side
will depend very largely on the conduct of the Egyptians themselves. If
they follow the advice of those who do not flatter them, but who,
however little they may recognise the fact, are in reality their best
friends--if, in a word, they act in such a manner as to inspire the
European residents of Egypt with confidence in their judgment and
absence of class or religious prejudice, it may be that this
consummation will eventually be reached. If, on the other hand, they
allow themselves to be guided by the class of men who have of late years
occasionally posed as their representatives, the prospect of any
complete legislative amalgamation will become not merely gloomy but
practically hopeless. The true Egyptian patriot is not the man who by
his conduct and language stimulates racial animosity in the pursuit of
an ideal which can never be realised, but rather one who recognises the
true facts of the political situation. Now, the dominating fact of that
situation is that Egypt can never become autonomous in the sense in
which that word is understood by the Egyptian nationalists. It is, and
will always remain, a cosmopolitan country. The real future of Egypt,
therefore, lies not in the direction of a narrow nationalism, which will
only embrace native Egyptians, nor in that of any endeavour to convert
Egypt into a British possession on the model of India or Ceylon, but
rather in that of an enlarged cosmopolitanism, which, whilst discarding
all the obstructive fetters of the cumbersome old international system,
will tend to amalgamate all the inhabitants of the Nile Valley and
enable them all alike to share in the government of their native or
adopted country.

For the rest, the various points of detail to which I have alluded above
present difficulties which are by no means insuperable, if--as I trust
may be the case--the various parties concerned approach the subject with
a real desire to arrive at some practical solutions. The same may be
said as regards almost all the points to which Europeans resident in
Egypt attach special importance, such, for instance, as the composition
of criminal courts for trying Europeans, the regulation of domiciliary
visits by the police, and cognate issues. In all these cases it is by no
means difficult to devise methods for preserving all that is really
worth keeping in the present system, and at the same time discarding
those portions which seriously hinder the progress of the country. There
is, however, one important point of detail which, I must admit, presents
considerable practical difficulties. It is certain that the services of
some of the European judges of the Mixed Tribunals might be utilised in
constituting the new Chamber. Their presence would be of great use, and
it is highly probable that they will in practice become the real working
men of any Chamber which may be created. But apart from the objection in
principle to confiding the making as also the administration of the law
wholly to the same individuals, it is to be observed that, in order to
create a really representative body, it would be essential that other
Europeans--merchants, bankers, landowners, and professional men--should
be seated in the Chamber. Almost all the Europeans resident in Europe
are busy men, and the question will arise whether those whose assistance
would, on general grounds, be of special value, are prepared to
sacrifice the time required for paying adequate attention to their
legislative duties. I can only say that I hope that sufficient public
spirit is to be found amongst the many highly qualified European
residents in Egypt of divers nationalities to enable this question to be
answered in the affirmative.

It is, of course, impossible within the space allotted to me to deal
fully on the present occasion with all the aspects of this very
difficult and complicated question. I can only attempt to direct
attention to the main issue, and that issue, I repeat, is how to devise
some plan which shall take the place of the present Egyptian system of
legislation by diplomacy. The late Lord Salisbury once epigrammatically
described that system to me by saying that it was like the _liberum
veto_ of the old Polish Diet, "without being able to have recourse to
the alternative of striking off the head of any recalcitrant voter." It
is high time that such a system should be swept away and some other
adopted which will be more in harmony with the actual facts of the
Egyptian situation. If, as I trust may be the case, Lord Kitchener is
able to devise and to carry into execution some plan which will rescue
Egypt from its present legislative Slough of Despond, he will have
deserved well, not only of his country, but also of all those Egyptian
interests, whether native or European, which are committed to his
charge.

[Footnote 68: It is believed that a proposal to reform the constitution
of the Egyptian Legislative Council and to extend somewhat its powers is
now under consideration. Any reasonable proposals of this nature should
be welcomed, but they will do little or nothing towards granting
autonomy to Egypt in the sense in which I understand that word.]




"THE SPECTATOR"




VIII

DISRAELI

_"The Spectator," November 1912_


No one who has lived much in the East can, in reading Mr. Monypenny's
volumes, fail to be struck with the fact that Disraeli was a thorough
Oriental. The taste for tawdry finery, the habit of enveloping in
mystery matters as to which there was nothing to conceal, the love of
intrigue, the tenacity of purpose--though this is perhaps more a Jewish
than an invariably Oriental characteristic--the luxuriance of the
imaginative faculties, the strong addiction to plausible generalities
set forth in florid language, the passionate outbursts of grief
expressed at times in words so artificial as to leave a doubt in the
Anglo-Saxon mind as to whether the sentiments can be genuine, the
spasmodic eruption of real kindness of heart into a character steeped in
cynicism, the excess of flattery accorded at one time to Peel for purely
personal objects contrasted with the excess of vituperation poured
forth on O'Connell for purposes of advertisement, and the total absence
of any moral principle as a guide of life--all these features, in a
character which is perhaps not quite so complex as is often supposed,
hail from the East. What is not Eastern is his unconventionality, his
undaunted moral courage, and his ready conception of novel political
ideas--often specious ideas, resting on no very solid foundation, but
always attractive, and always capable of being defended by glittering
plausibilities. He was certainly a man of genius, and he used that
genius to found a political school based on extreme self-seeking
opportunism. In this respect he cannot be acquitted of the charge of
having contributed towards the degradation of English political life.

Mr. Monypenny's first volume deals with Disraeli's immature youth. In
the second, the story of the period (1837-46) during which Disraeli rose
to power is admirably told, and a most interesting story it is.

Whatever views one may adopt of Disraeli's character and career, it is
impossible not to be fascinated in watching the moral and intellectual
development of this very remarkable man, whose conduct throughout life,
far from being wayward and erratic, as has at times been somewhat
superficially supposed, was in reality in the highest degree
methodical, being directed with unflagging persistency to one end, the
gratification of his own ambition--an ambition, it should always be
remembered, which, albeit it was honourable, inasmuch as it was directed
to no ignoble ends, was wholly personal. If ever there was a man to whom
Milton's well-known lines could fitly be applied it was Disraeli. He
scorned delights. He lived laborious days. In his youth he eschewed
pleasures which generally attract others whose ambition only soars to a
lower plane. In the most intimate relations of life he subordinated all
private inclinations to the main object he had in view. He avowedly
married, in the first instance, for money, although at a later stage his
wife was able to afford herself the consolation, and to pay him the
graceful compliment of obliterating the sordid reproach by declaring
that "if he had the chance again he would marry her for love"--a
statement confirmed by his passionate, albeit somewhat histrionic
love-letters. The desire of fame, which may easily degenerate into a
mere craving for notoriety, was unquestionably the spur which in his
case raised his "clear spirit." So early as 1833, on being asked upon
what principles he was going to stand at a forthcoming election, he
replied, "On my head." He cared, in fact, little for principles of any
kind, provided the goal of his ambition could be reached. Throughout his
career his main object was to rule his countrymen, and that object he
attained by the adoption of methods which, whether they be regarded as
tortuous or straightforward, morally justifiable or worthy of
condemnation, were of a surety eminently successful.

The interest in Mr. Monypenny's work is enormously enhanced by the
personality of his hero. In dealing with the careers of other English
statesmen--for instance, with Cromwell, Chatham, or Gladstone--we do,
indeed, glance--and more than glance--at the personality of the man, but
our mature judgment is, or at all events should be, formed mainly on his
measures. We inquire what was their ultimate result, and what effect
they produced? We ask ourselves what degree of foresight the statesman
displayed. Did he rightly gauge the true nature of the political,
economic, or social forces with which he had to deal, or did he mistake
the signs of the times and allow himself to be lured away by some
ephemeral will-o'-the-wisp in the pursuit of objects of secondary or
even fallacious importance? It is necessary to ask these questions in
dealing with the career of Disraeli, but this mental process is, in his
case, obscured to a very high degree by the absorbing personality of the
man. The individual fills the whole canvas almost to the extent of
excluding all other objects from view.

No tale of fiction is, indeed, more strange than that which tells how
this nimble-witted alien adventurer, with his poetic temperament, his
weird Eastern imagination and excessive Western cynicism, his elastic
mind which he himself described as "revolutionary," and his apparently
wayward but in reality carefully regulated unconventionality, succeeded,
in spite of every initial disadvantage of race, birth, manners, and
habits of thought, in dominating a proud aristocracy and using its
members as so many pawns on the chess-board which he had arranged to
suit his own purposes. Thrust into a society which was steeped in
conventionality, he enforced attention to his will by a studied neglect
of everything that was conventional. Dealing with a class who honoured
tradition, he startled the members of that class by shattering all the
traditions which they had been taught to revere, and by endeavouring,
with the help of specious arguments which many of them only half
understood, to substitute others of an entirely novel character in their
place. Following much on the lines of those religious reformers who have
at times sought to revive the early discipline and practices of the
Church, he endeavoured to destroy the Toryism of his day by invoking
the shade of a semi-mythical Toryism of the past. Bolingbroke was the
model to be followed, Shelburne was the tutelary genius of Pitt, and
Charles I. was made to pose as "a virtuous and able monarch," who was
"the holocaust of direct taxation." Never, he declared, "did man lay
down his heroic life for so great a cause, the cause of the Church and
the cause of the Poor."[69] Aspiring to rise to power through the agency
of Conservatives, whose narrow-minded conventional conservatism he
despised, and to whose defects he was keenly alive, he wisely judged
that it was a necessity, if his programme were to be executed, that the
association of political power with landed possessions should be the
sheet-anchor of his system; and, strong in the support afforded by that
material bond of sympathy, he did not hesitate to ridicule the foibles
of those "patricians"--to use his own somewhat stilted expression--who,
whilst they sneered at his apparent eccentricities, despised their own
chosen mouthpiece, and occasionally writhed under his yoke, were none
the less so fascinated by the powerful will and keen intellect which
held them captive that they blindly followed his lead, even to the
verge of being duped.

From earliest youth to green old age his confidence in his own powers
was never shaken. He persistently acted up to the sentiment--slightly
paraphrased from Terence--which he had characteristically adopted as his
family motto, _Forti nihil difficile_; neither could there be any
question as to the genuine nature either of his strength or his courage,
albeit hostile critics might seek to confound the latter quality with
sheer impudence.[70] He abhorred the commonplace, and it is notably this
abhorrence which gives a vivid, albeit somewhat meretricious sparkle to
his personality. For although truth is generally dull, and although
probably most of the reforms and changes which have really benefited
mankind partake largely of the commonplace, the attraction of
unconventionality and sensationalism cannot be denied. Disraeli made
English politics interesting, just as Ismail Pasha gave at one time a
spurious interest to the politics of Egypt. No one could tell what would
be the next step taken by the juggler in Cairo or by that meteoric
statesman in London whom John Bright once called "the great wizard of
Buckinghamshire." When Disraeli disappeared from the stage, the
atmosphere may have become clearer, and possibly more healthy for the
body politic in the aggregate, but the level of interest fell, whilst
the barometer of dulness rose.

If the saying generally attributed to Buffon[71] that "the style is the
man," is correct, an examination of Disraeli's style ought to give a
true insight into his character. There can be no question of the
readiness of his wit or of his superabundant power of sarcasm. Besides
the classic instances which have almost passed into proverbs, others,
less well known, are recorded in these pages. The statement that "from
the Chancellor of the Exchequer to an Undersecretary of State is a
descent from the sublime to the ridiculous" is very witty. The
well-known description of Lord Derby as "the Rupert of debate" is both
witty and felicitous, whilst the sarcasm in the context, which is less
well known, is both witty and biting. The noble lord, Disraeli said, was
like Prince Rupert, because "his charge was resistless, but when he
returned from the pursuit he always found his camp in the possession of
the enemy."

A favourite subject of Disraeli's sarcasm in his campaign against Peel
was that the latter habitually borrowed the ideas of others. "His
(Peel's) life," he said, "has been a great appropriation clause. He is a
burglar of others' intellect.... From the days of the Conqueror to the
termination of the last reign there is no statesman who has committed
political petty larceny on so great a scale."

In a happy and inimitable metaphor he likened Sir Robert Peel's action
in throwing over Protection to that of the Sultan's admiral who, during
the campaign against Mehemet Ali, after preparing a vast armament which
left the Dardanelles hallowed by the blessings of "all the muftis of the
Empire," discovered when he got to sea that he had "an objection to
war," steered at once into the enemy's port, and then explained that
"the only reason he had for accepting the command was that he might
terminate the contest by betraying his master."

Other utterances of a similar nature abound, as, for instance, when he
spoke of Lord Melbourne as "sauntering over the destinies of a nation,
and lounging away the glories of an Empire," or when he likened those
Tories who followed Sir Robert Peel to the Saxons converted by
Charlemagne. "The old chronicler informs us they were converted in
battalions and baptized in platoons."

Warned by the fiasco of his first speech in the House of Commons,
Disraeli for some while afterwards exercised a wise parsimony in the
display of his wit. He discovered that "the House will not allow a man
to be a wit and an orator unless they have the credit of finding it
out." But when he had once established his position and gained the ear
of the House, he gave a free rein to his prodigious powers of satire,
which he used to the full in his attacks on Peel. In point of fact,
vituperation and sarcasm were his chief weapons of offence. He spoke of
Mr. Roebuck as a "meagre-minded rebel," and called Campbell, who was
afterwards Lord Chancellor, "a shrewd, coarse, manoeuvring Pict," a
"base-born Scotchman," and a "booing, fawning, jobbing progeny of haggis
and cockaleekie." When he ceased to be witty, sarcastic, or
vituperative, he became turgid. Nothing could be more witty than when,
in allusion to Peel's borrowing the ideas of others, he spoke of his
fiscal project as "Popkins's Plan," but when, having once made this hit,
which naturally elicited "peals of laughter from all parts of the
House," he proceeded further, he at once lapsed into cheap rhetoric.

     "Is England," he said, "to be governed, and is England to be
     convulsed, by Popkins's plan? Will he go to the country with it?
     Will he go with it to that ancient and famous England that once was
     governed by statesmen--by Burleighs and by Walsinghams; by
     Bolingbrokes and by Walpoles; by a Chatham and a Canning--will he
     go to it with this fantastic scheming of some presumptuous pedant?
     I won't believe it. I have that confidence in the common sense, I
     will say the common spirit of our countrymen, that I believe they
     will not long endure this huckstering tyranny of the Treasury
     Bench--these political pedlars that bought their party in the
     cheapest market and sold us in the dearest."

So also on one occasion when in a characteristically fanciful flight he
said that Canning ruled the House of Commons "as a man rules a high-bred
steed, as Alexander ruled Bucephalus," and when some member of the House
indulged in a very legitimate laugh, he turned on him at once and said,
"I thank that honourable gentleman for his laugh. The pulse of the
national heart does not beat as high as once it did. I know the temper
of this House is not as spirited and brave as it was, nor am I
surprised, when the vulture rules where once the eagle reigned." From
the days of Horace downwards it has been permitted to actors and orators
to pass rapidly from the comic to the tumid strain.[72] But in this case
the language was so bombastic and so utterly out of proportion to the
occasion which called it forth that a critic of style will hardly acquit
the orator of the charge of turgidity. Mr. Monypenny recognises that
"in spite of Disraeli's strong grasp of fact, his keen sense of the
ridiculous, and his intolerance of cant, he never could quite
distinguish between the genuine and the counterfeit either in language
or sentiment."

Much has at times been said and written of the solecisms for which
Disraeli was famous. They came naturally to him. In his early youth he
told his sister that the Danube was an "uncouth stream," because "its
bed is far too considerable for its volume." At the same time there can
be little doubt that his practice of indulging in carefully prepared
solecisms, which became more daring as he advanced in power, was part of
a deliberate and perfectly legitimate plan, conceived with the object of
arresting the attention and stimulating the interest of his audience.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have so far only dealt with Disraeli's main object in life, and with
the methods by which he endeavoured to attain that object. The important
question remains to be considered of whether, as many supposed and still
suppose, Disraeli was a mere political charlatan, or whether, as others
hold, he was a far-seeing statesman and profound thinker, who read the
signs of the times more clearly than his contemporaries, and who was
the early apostle of a political creed which his countrymen will do well
to adopt and develop.

It is necessary here to say a word or two about Disraeli's biographer.
The charm of Mr. Monypenny's style, the lucidity of his narrative, the
thorough grasp which he manifestly secured of the forces in movement
during the period which his history embraces, and the deep regret that
all must feel that his promising career was prematurely cut short by the
hand of death, should not blind us to the fact that, in spite of a
manifest attempt to write judicially, he must be regarded as an
apologist for Disraeli. In respect, indeed, to one point--which,
however, is, in my opinion, one of great importance--he threw up the
case for his client. The facts of this case are very clear.

When Peel formed his Ministry in 1841, no place was offered to Disraeli.
It can be no matter for surprise that he was deeply mortified. His
exclusion does not appear to have been due to any personal feeling of
animosity entertained by Peel. On the contrary, Peel's relations with
Disraeli had up to that time been of a very friendly character. Possibly
something may be attributed to that lack of imagination which, at a much
later period, Disraeli thought was the main defect of Sir Robert Peel's
character, and which may have rendered him incapable of conceiving that
a young man, differing so totally not only from himself but from all
other contemporaneous politicians in deportment and demeanour, could
ever aspire to be a political factor of supreme importance. The
explanation given by Peel himself that, as is usual with Prime Ministers
similarly situated, he was wholly unable to meet all the just claims
made upon him, was unquestionably true, but it is more than probable
that the episode related by Mr. Monypenny had something to do with
Disraeli's exclusion. Peel, it appears, was inclined to consider
Disraeli eligible for office, but Stanley (subsequently Lord Derby), who
was a typical representative of that "patrician" class whom Disraeli
courted and eventually dominated, stated "in his usual vehement way"
that "if that scoundrel were taken in, he would not remain himself."
However that may be, two facts are abundantly clear. One is that, in the
agony of disappointment, Disraeli threw himself at Peel's feet and
implored, in terms which were almost abject, that some official place
should be found for him. "I appeal," he said, in a letter dated
September 5, 1841, "to that justice and that magnanimity which I feel
are your characteristics, to save me from an intolerable humiliation."
The other fact is that, speaking to his constituents in 1844, he said:
"I never asked Sir Robert Peel for a place," and further that, speaking
in the House of Commons in 1846, he repeated this statement even more
categorically. He assured the House that "nothing of the kind ever
occurred," and he added that "it was totally foreign to his nature to
make an application for any place." He was evidently not believed. "The
impression in the House," Mr. Monypenny says, "was that Disraeli had
better have remained silent."

Mr. Monypenny admits the facts, and does not attempt to defend
Disraeli's conduct, but he passes over this very singular episode, which
is highly illustrative of the character of the man, somewhat lightly,
merely remarking that though Disraeli "must pay the full penalty," at
the same time "it is for the politician who is without sin in the matter
of veracity to cast the first stone."

I hardly think that this consolatory Biblical reflection disposes of the
matter. Politicians, as also diplomatists, are often obliged to give
evasive answers to inconvenient questions, but it is not possible for
any man, when dealing with a point of primary importance, deliberately
to make and to repeat a statement so absolutely untrue as that made by
Disraeli on the occasion in question without undermining any confidence
which might otherwise be entertained in his general sincerity and
rectitude of purpose. A man convicted of deliberate falsehood cannot
expect to be believed when he pleads that his public conduct is wholly
dictated by public motives. Now all the circumstantial evidence goes to
show that from 1841 onwards Disraeli's conduct, culminating in his
violent attacks on Peel in 1845-46, was the result of personal
resentment due to his exclusion from office in 1841, and that these
attacks would never have been made had he been able to climb the ladder
of advancement by other means. His proved want of veracity confirms the
impression derived from this evidence.

Peel's own opinion on the subject may be gathered from a letter which he
wrote to Sir James Graham on December 22, 1843.[73] Disraeli had the
assurance to solicit a place for his brother from Sir James Graham. The
request met with a flat refusal. Peel's comment on the incident was: "He
(Disraeli) asked me for office himself, and I was not surprised that,
being refused, he became independent and a patriot."

So far, therefore, as the individual is concerned, the episode on which
I have dwelt above appears to me to be a very important factor in
estimating not merely Disraeli's moral worth, but also the degree of
value to be attached to his opinions. The question of whether Disraeli
was or was not a political charlatan remains, however, to be
considered.

That Disraeli was a political adventurer is abundantly clear. So was
Napoleon, between whose mentality and that of Disraeli a somewhat close
analogy exists. Both subordinated their public conduct to the
furtherance of their personal aims. It is quite permissible to argue
that, as a political adventurer, Disraeli did an incalculable amount of
harm in so far as he tainted the sincerity of public life both in his
own person and, posthumously, by becoming the progenitor of a school of
adventurers who adopted his methods. But it is quite possible to be a
self-seeking adventurer without being a charlatan. A careful
consideration of Disraeli's opinions and actions leads me to the
conclusion that only on a very superficial view of his career can the
latter epithet be applied to him. It must, I think, be admitted that his
ideas, even although we may disagree with them, were not those of a
charlatan, but of a statesman. They cannot be brushed aside as trivial.
They deserve serious consideration. Moreover, he had a very remarkable
power of penetrating to the core of any question which he treated,
coupled with an aptitude for wide generalisation which is rare amongst
Englishmen, and which he probably derived from his foreign ancestors. An
instance in point is his epigrammatic statement that "In England, where
society was strong, they tolerated a weak Government, but in Ireland,
where society was weak, the policy should be to have the Government
strong." Mr. Monypenny is quite justified in saying: "The significance
of the Irish question cannot be exhausted in a formula, but in that
single sentence there is more of wisdom and enlightenment than in many
thousands of the dreary pages of Irish debate that are buried in the
volumes of Hansard."

More than this. In one very important respect he was half a century in
advance of his contemporaries. With true political instinct he fell upon
what was unquestionably the weakest point in the armour of the so-called
Manchester School of politicians. He saw that whilst material
civilisation in England was advancing with rapid strides, there was "no
proportionate advance in our moral civilisation." "In the hurry-skurry
of money-making, men-making, and machine-making," the moral side of
national life was being unduly neglected. He was able with justifiable
pride to say: "Long before what is called the 'condition of the people
question' was discussed in the House of Commons, I had employed my pen
on the subject. I had long been aware that there was something rotten in
the core of our social system. I had seen that while immense fortunes
were accumulating, while wealth was increasing to a superabundance, and
while Great Britain was cited throughout Europe as the most prosperous
nation in the world, the working classes, the creators of wealth, were
steeped in the most abject poverty and gradually sinking into the
deepest degradation." The generation of 1912 cannot dub as a charlatan
the man who could speak thus in 1844. For in truth, more especially
during the last five years, we have been suffering from a failure to
recognise betimes the truth of this foreseeing statesman's admonition.
Having for years neglected social reform, we have recently tried to make
up for lost time by the hurried adoption of a number of measures, often
faulty in principle and ill-considered in detail, which seek to obtain
by frenzied haste those advantages which can only be secured by the
strenuous and persistent application of sound principles embodied in
deliberate and well-conceived legislative enactments.

Disraeli, therefore, saw the rock ahead, but how did he endeavour to
steer the ship clear of the rock? It is in dealing with this aspect of
the case that the view of the statesman dwindles away and is supplanted
by that of the self-seeking party manager. His fundamental idea was that
"we had altogether outgrown, not the spirit, but the organisation of our
institutions." The manner in which he proposed to reorganise our
institutions was practically to render the middle classes politically
powerless. His scheme, constituting the germ which, at a later period,
blossomed into the Tory democracy, was developed as early as 1840 in a
letter addressed to Mr. Charles Attwood, who was at that time a popular
leader. "I entirely agree with you," he said, "that an union between the
Conservative Party and the Radical masses offers the only means by which
we can preserve the Empire. Their interests are identical; united they
form the nation; and their division has only permitted a miserable
minority, under the specious name of the People, to assail all right of
property and person."

Mr. Monypenny, if I understand rightly, is generally in sympathy with
Disraeli's project, and appears to think that it might have been
practicable to carry it into effect. He condemns Peel's counter-idea of
substituting a middle-class Toryism for that which then existed as
"almost a contradiction in terms." I am unable to concur in this view. I
see no contradiction, either real or apparent, in Peel's
counter-project, and I hold that events have proved that the premises on
which Disraeli based his conclusion were entirely false, for his
political descendants, while still pursuing his main aim, viz. to ensure
a closer association of the Conservative Party and the masses, have been
forced by circumstances into an endeavour to effect that union by means
not merely different from but antagonistic to those which Disraeli
himself contemplated.

It all depends on what Disraeli meant when he spoke of "Conservatism,"
and on what Mr. Monypenny meant when he spoke of "Toryism." It may
readily be conceded that a "middle-class Toryism," in the sense in which
Disraeli would have understood the expression, was "a contradiction in
terms," for the bed-rock on which his Toryism was based was that it
should find its main strength in the possessors of land. The creation of
such a Toryism is a conceivable political programme. In France it was
created by the division of property consequent on the Revolution. Thiers
said truly enough that in the cottage of every French peasant owning an
acre of land would be found a musket ready to be used in the defence of
property. In fact, the five million peasant proprietors now existing in
France represent an eminently conservative class. But, so far as I know,
there is not a trace to be found in any of Disraeli's utterances that he
wished to widen the basis of agricultural conservatism by creating a
peasant proprietary class. He wished, above all things, to maintain the
territorial magnates in the full possession of their properties. When he
spoke of a "union between the Conservative Party and the Radical masses"
he meant a union between the "patricians" and the working men, and the
answer to this somewhat fantastic project is that given by Juvenal 1800
years ago:

        Quis enim iam non intelligat artes
    Patricias?[74]

"Who in our days is not up to the dodges of the patricians?"

The programme was foredoomed to failure, and the failure has been
complete. Modern Conservatives can appeal to the middle classes, who--in
spite of what Mr. Monypenny says--are their natural allies. They can
also appeal to the working classes by educating them and by showing them
that Socialism is diametrically contrary to their own interests. But,
although they may gain some barren and ephemeral electoral advantages,
they cannot hope to advance the cause of rational conservative progress
either by alienating the one class or by sailing under false colours
before the other. They cannot advantageously masquerade in Radical
clothes. There was a profound truth in Lord Goschen's view upon the
conduct of Disraeli when, in strict accordance with the principles he
enunciated in the 'forties, he forced his reluctant followers to pass a
Reform Bill far more Radical than that proposed by the Whigs. "That
measure," Lord Goschen said,[75] "might have increased the number of
Conservatives, but it had, nevertheless, in his belief, weakened real
Conservatism." Many of Disraeli's political descendants seem to care
little for Conservatism, but they are prepared to advocate Socialist or
quasi-Socialist doctrines in order to increase the number of nominal
Conservatives. This, therefore, has been the ultimate result of the
gospel of which Disraeli was the chief apostle. It does no credit to his
political foresight. He altogether failed to see the consequences which
would result from the adoption of his political principles. He hoped
that the Radical masses, whom he sought to conciliate, would look to the
"patricians" as their guides. They have done nothing of the sort, but a
very distinct tendency has been created amongst the "patricians" to
allow themselves to be guided by the Radical masses.

I cannot terminate these remarks without saying a word or two about
Disraeli's great antagonist, Peel. It appears to me that Mr. Monypenny
scarcely does justice to that very eminent man. His main accusation
against Peel is that he committed his country "apparently past recall"
to an industrial line of growth, and that he sacrificed rural England
"to a one-sided and exaggerated industrial development which has done
so much to change the English character and the English outlook."

I think that this charge admits of being answered, but I will not now
attempt to answer it fully. This much, however, I may say. Mr.
Monypenny, if I understand rightly, admits that the transition from
agriculture to manufactures was, if not desirable, at all events
inevitable, but he holds that this transition should have been gradual.
This is practically the same view as that held by the earlier German and
American economists, who--whilst condemning Protection in
theory--advocated it as a temporary measure which would eventually lead
up to Free Trade. The answer is that, in those countries which adopted
this policy, the Protection has, in the face of vested interests, been
permanent, whilst, although the movement in favour of Free Trade has
never entirely died out, and may, indeed, be said recently to have shown
signs of increasing vigour, the obstacles to the realisation of the
ideas entertained by economists of the type of List have not yet been
removed, and are still very formidable. That the plunge made by Sir
Robert Peel has been accompanied by some disadvantages may be admitted,
but Free Traders may be pardoned for thinking that, if he had not had
the courage to make that plunge, the enormous counter-advantages which
have resulted from his policy would never have accrued.

As regards Peel's character, it was twice sketched by Disraeli himself.
The first occasion was in 1839. The picture he drew at that time was
highly complimentary, but as Disraeli was then a loyal supporter of Peel
it may perhaps be discarded on the plea advanced by Voltaire that "we
can confidently believe only the evil which a party writer tells of his
own side and the good which he recognises in his opponents." The second
occasion was after Peel's death. It is given by Mr. Monypenny in ii.
306-308, and is too long to quote. Disraeli on this occasion made some
few--probably sound--minor criticisms on Peel's style, manner, and
disposition. But he manifestly wrote with a strong desire to do justice
to his old antagonist's fine qualities. He concluded with a remark
which, in the mouth of a Parliamentarian, may probably be considered the
highest praise, namely, that Peel was "the greatest Member of Parliament
that ever lived." I cannot but think that even those who reject Peel's
economic principles may accord to him higher praise than this. They may
admit that Peel attained a very high degree of moral elevation when, at
the dictate of duty, he separated himself from all--or the greater
part--of his former friends, and had the courage, when honestly
convinced by Cobden's arguments, to act upon his convictions. Peel's
final utterance on this subject was not only one of the most pathetic,
but also one of the finest--because one of the most deeply
sincere--speeches ever made in Parliament.

I may conclude these remarks by some recollections of a personal
character. My father, who died in 1848, was a Peelite and an intimate
friend of Sir Robert Peel, who was frequently his guest at Cromer. I
used, therefore, in my childhood to hear a good deal of the subjects
treated in Mr. Monypenny's brilliant volumes. I well remember--I think
it must have been in 1847--being present on one occasion when a relative
of my own, who was a broad-acred Nottinghamshire squire, thumped the
table and declared his opinion that "Sir Robert Peel ought to be hanged
on the highest tree in England." Since that time I have heard a good
many statesmen accused of ruining their country, but, so far as my
recollection serves me, the denunciations launched against John Bright,
Gladstone, and even the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, may be
considered as sweetly reasonable by comparison with the language
employed about Sir Robert Peel by those who were opposed to his policy.

I was only once brought into personal communication with Disraeli.
Happening to call on my old friend, Lord Rowton, in the summer of 1879,
when I was about to return to Egypt as Controller-General, he expressed
a wish that I should see Lord Beaconsfield, as he then was. The
interview was very short; neither has anything Lord Beaconsfield said
about Egyptian affairs remained in my memory. But I remember that he
appeared much interested to learn whether "there were many pelicans on
the banks of the Nile."

The late Sir Mountstuart Grant-Duff was a repository of numerous very
amusing _Beaconsfieldiana_.

[Footnote 69: This passage occurs in _Coningsby_, and Mr. Monypenny
warns us that "his version of the quarrel between Charles I. and the
Parliament is too fanciful to be quite serious; we may believe that he
was here consciously paying tribute to the historical caprices of
Manners and Smythe."]

[Footnote 70: Mr. Monypenny says in a note that a hostile newspaper gave
the following translation of Disraeli's motto: "The impudence of some
men sticks at nothing."]

[Footnote 71: What Buffon really wrote was: "Le style est l'homme
meme."]

[Footnote 72:

    Iratusque Chremes tumido delitigat ore;
    Et tragicus plerumque dolet sermone pedestri
    Telephus et Peleus.

_Ars Poetica_, 94-96.]

[Footnote 73: _Sir Robert Peel_. Charles Stuart Parker. Vol. iii. 425.]

[Footnote 74: _Sat._ iv, 101.]

[Footnote 75: _Life of Lord Goschen_, Arthur D. Elliot, p. 163.]




IX

RUSSIAN ROMANCE

_"The Spectator," March 15, 1913_


De Voguee's well-known book, _Le Roman Russe_, was published so long ago
as 1886. It is still well worth reading. In the first place, the
literary style is altogether admirable. It is the perfection of French
prose, and to read the best French prose is always an intellectual
treat. In the second place, the author displays in a marked degree that
power of wide generalisation which distinguishes the best French
writers. Then, again, M. de Voguee writes with a very thorough knowledge
of his subject. He resided for long in Russia. He spoke Russian, and had
an intimate acquaintance with Russian literature. He endeavoured to
identify himself with Russian aspirations, and, being himself a man of
poetic and imaginative temperament, he was able to sympathise with the
highly emotional side of the Slav character, whilst, at the same time,
he never lost sight of the fact that he was the representative of a
civilisation which is superior to that of Russia. He admires the
eruptions of that volcanic genius Dostoievsky, but, with true European
instinct, charges him with a want of "mesure"--the Greek
Sophrosyne--which he defines as "l'art d'assujettir ses pensees."
Moreover, he at times brings a dose of vivacious French wit to temper
the gloom of Russian realism. Thus, when he speaks of the Russian
writers of romance, who, from 1830 to 1840, "eurent le privilege de
faire pleurer les jeunes filles russes," he observes in thorough
man-of-the-world fashion, "il faut toujours que quelqu'un fasse pleurer
les jeunes filles, mais le genie n'y est pas necessaire."

When Taine had finished his great history of the Revolution, he sent it
forth to the world with the remark that the only general conclusion at
which a profound study of the facts had enabled him to arrive was that
the true comprehension, and therefore, _a fortiori_, the government of
human beings, and especially of Frenchmen, was an extremely difficult
matter. Those who have lived longest in the East are the first to
testify to the fact that, to the Western mind, the Oriental habit of
thought is well-nigh incomprehensible. The European may do his best to
understand, but he cannot cast off his love of symmetry any more than he
can change his skin, and unless he can become asymmetrical he can never
hope to attune his reason in perfect accordance to the Oriental key.
Similarly, it is impossible to rise from a perusal of De Voguee's book
without a strong feeling of the incomprehensibility of the Russians.

What, in fact, are these puzzling Russians? They are certainly not
Europeans. They possess none of the mental equipoise of the Teutons,
neither do they appear to possess that logical faculty which, in spite
of many wayward outbursts of passion, generally enables the Latin races
in the end to cast off idealism when it tends to lapse altogether from
sanity; or perhaps it would be more correct to say that, having by
association acquired some portion of that Western faculty, the Russians
misapply it. They seem to be impelled by a variety of causes--such as
climatic and economic influences, a long course of misgovernment,
Byzantinism in religion, and an inherited leaning to Oriental
mysticism--to distort their reasoning powers, and far from using them,
as was the case with the pre-eminently sane Greek genius, to temper the
excesses of the imagination, to employ them rather as an oestrus to lash
the imaginative faculties to a state verging on madness.

If the Russians are not Europeans, neither are they thorough Asiatics.
It may well be, as De Voguee says, that they have preserved the idiom
and even the features of their original Aryan ancestors to a greater
extent than has been the case with other Aryan nations who finally
settled farther West, and that this is a fact of which many Russians
boast. But, for all that, they have been inoculated with far too strong
a dose of Western culture, religion, and habits of thought to display
the apathy or submit to the fatalism which characterises the conduct of
the true Eastern.

If, therefore, the Russians are neither Europeans nor Asiatics, what are
they? Manifestly their geographical position and other attendant
circumstances have, from an ethnological point of view, rendered them a
hybrid race, whose national development will display the most startling
anomalies and contradictions, in which the theory and practice derived
from the original Oriental stock will be constantly struggling for
mastery with an Occidental aftergrowth. From the earliest days there
have been two types of Russian reformers, viz. on the one hand, those
who wished that the country should be developed on Eastern lines, and,
on the other, those who looked to Western civilisation for guidance. De
Voguee says that from the accession of Peter the Great to the death of
the Emperor Nicolas--that is to say, for a period of a hundred and
fifty years--the government of Russia may be likened to a ship, of
which the captain and the principal officers were persistently
endeavouring to steer towards the West, while at the same time the whole
of the crew were trimming the sails in order to catch any breeze which
would bear the vessel Eastward. It can be no matter for surprise that
this strange medley should have produced results which are bewildering
even to Russians themselves and well-nigh incomprehensible to
foreigners. One of their poets has said:

    On ne comprend pas la Russie avec la raison,
    On ne peut que croire a la Russie.

One of the most singular incidents of Russian development on which De
Voguee has fastened, and which induced him to write this book, has been
the predominant influence exercised on Russian thought and action by
novels. Writers of romance have indeed at times exercised no
inconsiderable amount of influence elsewhere than in Russia. Mrs.
Beecher Stowe's epoch-making novel, _Uncle Tom's Cabin_, certainly
contributed towards the abolition of slavery in the United States.
Dickens gave a powerful impetus to the reform of our law-courts and our
Poor Law. Moreover, even in free England, political writers have at
times resorted to allegory in order to promulgate their ideas. Swift's
Brobdingnagians and Lilliputians furnish a case in point. In France,
Voltaire called fictitious Chinamen, Bulgarians, and Avars into
existence in order to satirise the proceedings of his own countrymen.
But the effect produced by these writings may be classed as trivial
compared to that exercised by the great writers of Russian romance. In
the works of men like Tourguenef and Dostoievsky the Russian people
appear to have recognised, for the first time, that their real condition
was truthfully depicted, and that their inchoate aspirations had found
sympathetic expression. "Dans le roman, et la seulement," De Voguee says,
"on trouvera l'histoire de Russie depuis un demi-siecle."

Such being the case, it becomes of interest to form a correct judgment
on the character and careers of the men whom the Russians have very
generally regarded as the true interpreters of their domestic facts, and
whom large numbers of them have accepted as their political pilots.

The first point to be noted about them is that they are all, for the
most part, ultra-realists; but apparently we may search their writings
in vain for the cheerfulness which at times illumines the pages of their
English, or the light-hearted vivacity which sparkles in the pages of
their French counterparts. In Dostoievsky's powerfully written _Crime
and Punishment_ all is gloom and horror; the hero of the tale is a
madman and a murderer. To a foreigner these authors seem to present the
picture of a society oppressed with an all-pervading sense of the misery
of existence, and with the impossibility of finding any means by which
that misery can be alleviated. In many instances, their lives--and still
more their deaths--were as sad and depressing as their thoughts. Several
of their most noted authors died violent deaths. At thirty-seven years
of age the poet Pouchkine was killed in a duel, Lermontof met the same
fate at the age of twenty-six. Griboiedof was assassinated at the age of
thirty-four. But the most tragic history is that of Dostoievsky, albeit
he lived to a green old age, and eventually died a natural death. In
1849, he was connected with some political society, but he does not
appear, even at that time, to have been a violent politician.
Nevertheless, he and his companions, after being kept for several months
in close confinement, were condemned to death. They were brought to the
place of execution, but at the last moment, when the soldiers were about
to fire, their sentences were commuted to exile. Dostoievsky remained
for some years in Siberia, but was eventually allowed to return to
Russia. The inhuman cruelty to which he had been subject naturally
dominated his mind and inspired his pen for the remainder of his days.

De Voguee deals almost exclusively with the writings of Pouchkine, Gogol,
Dostoievsky, Tourguenef, who was the inventor of the word Nihilism, and
the mystic Tolstoy, who was the principal apostle of the doctrine. All
these, with the possible exception of Tourguenef, had one characteristic
in common. Their intellects were in a state of unstable equilibrium. As
poets, they could excite the enthusiasm of the masses, but as political
guides they were mere Jack-o'-Lanterns, leading to the deadly swamp of
despair. Dostoievsky was in some respects the most interesting and also
the most typical of the group. De Voguee met him in his old age, and the
account he gives of his appearance is most graphic. His history could be
read in his face.

     On y lisait mieux que dans le livre, les souvenirs de la maison des
     morts, les longues habitudes d'effroi, de mefiance et de martyre.
     Les paupieres, les levres, toutes les fibres de cette face
     tremblaient de tics nerveux. Quand il s'animait de colere sur une
     idee, on eut jure qu'on avait deja vu cette tete sur les banes
     d'une cour criminelle, ou parmi les vagabonds qui mendient aux
     portes des prisons. A d'autres moments, elle avait la mansuetude
     triste des vieux saints sur les images slavonnes.

And here is what De Voguee says of the writings of this semi-lunatic man
of genius:

     Psychologue incomparable, des qu'il etudie des ames noires ou
     blessees, dramaturge habile, mais borne aux scenes d'effroi et de
     pitie.... Selon qu'on est plus touche par tel ou tel exces de son
     talent, on peut l'appeler avec justice un philosophe, un apotre, un
     aliene, le consolateur des affliges ou le bourreau des esprits
     tranquilles, le Jeremie de bagne ou le Shakespeare de la maison des
     fous; toutes ces appellations seront meritees; prise isolement,
     aucune ne sera suffisante.

There is manifestly much which is deeply interesting, and also much
which is really lovable in the Russian national character. It must,
however, be singularly mournful and unpleasant to pass through life
burdened with the reflection that it would have been better not to have
been born, albeit such sentiments are not altogether inconsistent with
the power of deriving a certain amount of enjoyment from living. It was
that pleasure-loving old cynic, Madame du Deffand, who said: "Il n'y a
qu'un seul malheur, celui d'etre ne." Nevertheless, the avowed
joyousness bred by the laughing tides and purple skies of Greece is
certainly more conducive to human happiness, though at times even
Greeks, such as Theognis and Palladas, lapsed into a morbid pessimism
comparable to that of Tolstoy. Metrodorus, however, more fully
represented the true Greek spirit when he sang, "All things are good in
life" ([Greek: panta gar esthla bio]). The Roman pagan, Juvenal, gave a
fairly satisfactory answer to the question, "Nil ergo optabunt
homines?" whilst the Christian holds out hopes of that compensation in
the next world for the afflictions of the present, which the sombre and
despondent Russian philosopher, determined that we shall not find
enjoyment in either world, denies to his morose and grief-stricken
followers.




X

THE WRITING OF HISTORY[76]

_"The Spectator," April 26, 1913_


What are the purposes of history, and in what spirit should it be
written? Such, in effect, are the questions which Mr. Gooch propounds in
this very interesting volume. He wisely abstains from giving any
dogmatic answers to these questions, but in a work which shows manifest
signs of great erudition and far-reaching research he ranges over the
whole field of European and American literature, and gives us a very
complete summary both of how, as a matter of fact, history has been
written, and of the spirit in which the leading historians of the
nineteenth century have approached their task.

Mr. Bryce, himself one of the most eminent of modern historians,
recently laid down the main principle which, in his opinion, should
guide his fellow-craftsmen. "Truth," he said, "and truth only is our
aim." The maxim is one which would probably be unreservedly accepted in
theory by the most ardent propagandist who has ever used history as a
vehicle for the dissemination of his own views on political, economic,
or social questions. For so fallible is human nature that the
proclivities of the individual can rarely be entirely submerged by the
judicial impartiality of the historian. It is impossible to peruse Mr.
Gooch's work without being struck by the fact that, amongst the greatest
writers of history, bias--often unconscious bias--has been the rule, and
the total absence of preconceived opinions the exception. Generally
speaking, the subjective spirit has prevailed amongst historians in all
ages. The danger of following the scent of analogies--not infrequently
somewhat strained analogies--between the present and the past is
comparatively less imminent in cases where some huge upheaval, such as
the French Revolution, has inaugurated an entirely new epoch,
accompanied by the introduction of fresh ideals and habits of thought.
It is, as Macaulay has somewhere observed, a more serious
stumbling-block in the path of a writer who deals with the history of a
country like England, which has through long centuries preserved its
historical continuity. Hallam and Macaulay viewed history through Whig,
and Alison through Tory spectacles. Neither has the remoteness of the
events described proved any adequate safeguard against the introduction
of bias born of contemporary circumstances. Mitford, who composed his
history of Greece during the stormy times of the French Revolution,
thought it compatible with his duty as an historian to strike a blow at
Whigs and Jacobins. Grote's sympathy with the democracy of Athens was
unquestionably to some extent the outcome of the views which he
entertained of events passing under his own eyes at Westminster.
Mommsen, by inaugurating the publication of the Corpus of Latin
Inscriptions, has earned the eternal gratitude of scholarly posterity,
but Mr. Gooch very truly remarks that his historical work is tainted
with the "strident partisanship" of a keen politician and journalist.
Truth, as the old Greek adage says, is indeed the fellow-citizen of the
gods; but if the standard of historical truth be rated too high, and if
the authority of all who have not strictly complied with that standard
is to be discarded on the ground that they stand convicted of
partiality, we should be left with little to instruct subsequent ages
beyond the dry records of men such as the laborious, the useful, though
somewhat over-credulous Clinton, or the learned but arid Marquardt,
whose "massive scholarship" Mr. Gooch dismisses somewhat summarily in a
single line. Such writers are not historians, but rather compilers of
records, upon the foundations of which others can build history.

Under the process we have assumed, Droysen, Sybel, and Treitschke would
have to be cast down from their pedestals. They were the political
schoolmasters of Germany during a period of profound national
discouragement. They used history in order to stir their countrymen to
action, but "if the supreme aim of history is to discover truth and to
interpret the movement of humanity, they have no claim to a place in the
first class." Patriotism, as the Portuguese historian, Herculano da
Carvalho, said, is "a bad counsellor for historians"; albeit, few have
had the courage to discard patriotic considerations altogether, as was
the case with the Swiss Kopp, who wrote a history of his country "from
which Gessler and Tell disappeared," and in which "the familiar
anecdotes of Austrian tyranny and cruelty were dismissed as legends."

Philosophic historians, who have endeavoured to bend facts into
conformity with some special theory of their own, would fare little
better than those who have been ardent politicians. Sainte-Beuve, after
reading Guizot's sweeping and lofty generalisations, declared that they
were far too logical to be true, and forthwith "took down from his
shelves a volume of De Retz to remind him how history was really made."
Second-or third-rate historians, such as Lamartine, who, according to
Dumas, "raised history to the level of the novel," or the vitriolic
Lanfrey, who was a mere pamphleteer, would, of course, be consigned--and
very rightly consigned--to utter oblivion. The notorious inaccuracy of
Thiers and the avowed hero-worship of Masson alike preclude their
admissibility into the select circle of trustworthy and veracious
historians. It is even questionable whether one of the most objectively
minded of French writers, the illustrious Taine, would gain admission.
His work, he himself declared, "was nothing but pure or applied
psychology," and psychology is apt to clash with the facts of history.
Scherer described Taine, somewhat unjustly, as "a pessimist in a
passion," whilst the critical and conscientious Aulard declared that his
work was "virtually useless for the purposes of history." Mr. Gooch
classes Sorel's work as "incomparably higher" than that of Taine.
Montalembert is an extreme case of a French historian who adopted
thoroughly unsound historical methods. Clearly, as Mr. Gooch says, "the
author of the famous battle-cry, 'We are the sons of the Crusades, and
we will never yield to the sons of Voltaire,' was not the man for
objective study."

The fate of some of the most distinguished American and British
historians would be even more calamitous than that of their Continental
brethren. If the touchstone of impartiality were applied, Prescott might
perhaps pass unscathed through the trial. But few will deny that Motley
wrote his very attractive histories at a white heat of Republican and
anti-Catholic fervour. He, as also Bancroft, are classed by Mr. Gooch
amongst those who "made their histories the vehicles of political and
religious propaganda." Washington Irving's claim to rank in the first
class of historians may be dismissed on other grounds. "He had no taste
for research," and merely presented to the world "a poet's appreciation"
of historical events.

But perhaps the two greatest sinners against the code of frigid
impartiality were Froude and Carlyle. Both were intensely convinced of
the truth of the gospel which they preached, and both were careless of
detail if they could strain the facts of history to support their
doctrines. The apotheosis of the strong man formed no part of Carlyle's
original philosophy. In 1830, he wrote: "Which was the greatest
benefactor, he who gained the battles of Cannae and Trasimene or the
nameless poor who first hammered out for himself an iron spade?" He
condemned Scott's historical writings: "Strange," he said, "that a man
should think he was writing the history of a nation while he is
describing the amours of a wanton young woman and a sulky booby blown up
with gunpowder." After having slighted biography in this
characteristically Carlylese utterance, he straightway set to work, with
splendid inconsistency, to base his philosophy of history mainly on the
biographies of men of the type of Cromwell and Frederic.

The invective levelled against Froude by Freeman is now generally
recognised as exaggerated and unjust, but it would certainly appear, as
Mr. Gooch says, that Froude "never realised that the main duty of the
historian is neither eulogy nor criticism, but interpretation of the
complex processes and conflicting ideals which have built up the
chequered life of humanity."

Yet when all is said that can be said on the necessity of insisting on
historical veracity, it has to be borne in mind that inaccuracy is not
the only pitfall which lies in the path of the expounder of truth.
History is not written merely for students and scholars. It ought to
instruct and enlighten the statesman. It should quicken the intelligence
of the masses. Whilst any tendency to distort facts, or to sway public
opinion by sensational writing of questionable veracity, cannot be too
strongly condemned, it is none the less true that it requires not merely
a touch of literary genius, but also a lively and receptive imagination
to tell a perfectly truthful tale in such a manner as to arrest the
attention, to excite the wayward imagination and to guide the thoughts
of the vast majority of those who will scan the finished work of the
historian. It is here that some of the best writers of history have
failed, Gardiner has written what is probably the best, and is certainly
the most dispassionate and impartial history of the Stuart period. "With
one exception," Mr. Gooch says, "Gardiner possessed all the tools of his
craft--an accurate mind, perfect impartiality, insight into character,
sympathy with ideas different from his own and from one another. The
exception was style. Had he possessed this talisman his noble work would
have been a popular classic. His pages are wholly lacking in grace and
distinction." The result is that Gardiner's really fine work has proved
an ineffectual instrument for historical education. The majority of
readers will continue to turn to the brilliant if relatively partial
pages of Macaulay.

The case of Freeman, though different from that of Gardiner, for his
style, though lacking in grace and flexibility was vigorous, may serve
as another illustration of the same thesis. Freeman was a keen
politician, but he would never have for a moment entertained the thought
of departing by one iota from strict historical truth in order to
further any political cause in which he was interested. Mr. Gooch says,
"He regarded history as not only primarily, but almost exclusively, a
record of political events. Past politics, he used to say, were present
history." Why is it, therefore, that his works are little read, and that
they have exercised but slight influence on the opinions of the mass of
his countrymen? The answer is supplied by Mr. Gooch. Freeman ignored
organic evolution. "The world of ideas had no existence for him.... No
less philosophic historian has ever lived." For one man who, with
effort, has toiled through Freeman's ponderous but severely accurate
Norman and Sicilian histories, there are probably a hundred whose
imagination has been fired by Carlyle's rhapsody on the French
Revolution, or who have pored with interested delight over Froude's
account of the death of Cranmer.

Much the same may be said of Creighton's intrinsically valuable but
somewhat colourless work. "He had no theories," Mr. Gooch says, "no
philosophy of history, no wish to prove or disprove anything." He took
historical facts as they came, and recorded them. "When events are
tedious," he wrote, "we must be tedious."

The most meritorious, as also the most popular historians are probably
those of the didactic school. Of these, Seeley and Acton are notable
instances. Seeley always endeavoured to establish some principle which
would capture the attention of the student and might be of interest to
the statesman. He held that "history faded into mere literature when it
lost sight of its relation to practical politics." Acton, who brought
his encyclopaedic learning to bear on the defence of liberty in all its
forms, "believed that historical study was not merely the basis of all
real insight into the present, but a school of virtue and a guide to
life."

Limitations of space preclude any adequate treatment of the illuminating
work done by Ranke, whom Mr. Gooch regards as the nearest approximation
the world has yet known to the "ideal historian"; by Lecky, who was
driven by the Home Rule conflict from the ranks of historians into those
of politicians; by Milman, whose style, in the opinion of Macaulay, was
wanting in grace and colour, but who was distinguished for his
"soundness of judgment and inexorable love of truth"; by Otfried Mueller,
Berard, Gilbert Murray, and numerous other classical scholars of divers
nationalities; by Fustel de Coulanges, the greatest of
nineteenth-century mediaevalists; by Mahan, whose writings have
exercised a marked influence on current politics, and who is thus an
instance of "an historian who has helped to make history as well as to
record it," and by a host of others.

At the close of his book Mr. Gooch very truly points out that "the scope
of history has gradually widened till it has come to include every
aspect of the life of humanity." Many of the social and economic
subjects of which the historian has now to treat are of an extremely
controversial character. However high may be the ideal of truth, which
will be entertained, it would appear that the various forms in which the
facts of history may be stated, as also the conclusions to be drawn from
these facts, will tend to divergence rather than to uniformity of
treatment. It is not, therefore, probable that the partisan
historian--or, at all events, the historian who will be accused of
partisanship--will altogether disappear from literature. Neither, on the
whole, is his disappearance to be desired, for it would almost certainly
connote the composition of somewhat vapid and colourless histories.

The verdicts which Mr. Gooch passes on the historians whose writings he
briefly summarises are eminently judicious, though it cannot be expected
that in all cases they will command universal assent. In a work which
ranges over so wide a field it is scarcely possible that some slips
should not have occurred. We may indicate one of these, which it would
be as well to correct in the event of any future editions being
published. On p. 435 the authorship of _Fieramosca_ and _Nicolo dei
Lapi_, which were written by Azeglio, is erroneously attributed to
Cesare Balbo.

[Footnote 76: _History and Historians of the Nineteenth Century_. By
G.P. Gooch. London: Longmans and Co. 10s. 6d.]




XI

THE GREEK ANTHOLOGY[77]

_"The Spectator," May 10, 1913_


Shelley, himself a translator of one of the best known of the epigrams
of the Anthology, has borne emphatic testimony to the difficulties of
translation. "It were as wise," he said, "to cast a violet into a
crucible that you might discover the formal principle of its colour and
odour, as seek to transfuse from one language into another the creations
of a poet."

The task of rendering Greek into English verse is in some respects
specially difficult. In the first place, the translator has to deal with
a language remarkable for its unity and fluency, qualities which,
according to Curtius (_History of Greece_, i. 18), are the result of the
"delicately conceived law, according to which all Greek words must end
in vowels, or such consonants as give rise to no harshness when
followed by others, viz. _n_, _r_, and _s_." Then, again, the translator
must struggle with the difficulties arising from the fact that the
Greeks regarded condensation in speech as a fine art. Demetrius, or
whoever was the author of _De Elocutione_, said: "The first grace of
style is that which results from compression." The use of an inflected
language of course enabled the Greeks to carry this art to a far higher
degree of perfection than can be attained by any modern Europeans. Jebb,
for instance, takes twelve words--"Well hath he spoken for one who
giveth heed not to fall"--to express a sentiment which Sophocles
(_OEd. Tyr._ 616) is able to compress into four--[Greek: kalos elexen
eulaboumeno pesein]. Moreover, albeit under the stress of metrical and
linguistic necessity the translator must generally indulge in
paraphrase, let him beware lest in doing so he sacrifices that quality
in which the Greeks excelled, to wit, simplicity. Nietzsche said, with
great truth, "Die Griechen sind, wie das Genie, einfach; deshalb sind
sie die unsterblichen Lehrer." Further, the translator has at times so
to manipulate his material as to incorporate into his verse epithets and
figures of speech of surpassing grace and expressiveness, which do not
readily admit of transfiguration into any modern language; such, for
instance, as the "much-wooed white-armed Maiden Muse" ([Greek:
polymneste leukolene parthene Mousa]) of Empedocles; the "long countless
Time" ([Greek: makros kanarithmetos Chronos]), or "babbling Echo"
([Greek: athyrostomos Acho]) of Sophocles; the "son, the subject of many
prayers" ([Greek: polyeuchetos uios]) and countless other expressions of
the Homeric Hymns; the "blooming Love with his pinions of gold" ([Greek:
ho d' amphithales Eros chrysopteros henias]) of Aristophanes; "the
eagle, messenger of wide-ruling Zeus, the lord of Thunder" ([Greek:
aietos, euryanaktos angelos Zenos erispharagou]) of Bacchylides; or
mighty Pindar's "snowy Etna nursing the whole year's length her frozen
snow" ([Greek: niphoess' Aitna panetes chionos oxeias tithena]).

In no branch of Greek literature are these difficulties more conspicuous
than in the Anthology, yet it is the Anthology that has from time
immemorial notably attracted the attention of translators. It is indeed
true that the compositions of Agathias, Palladas, Paulus Silentiarius,
and the rest of the poetic tribe who "like the dun nightingale" were
"insatiate of song" ([Greek: oia tis xoutha akorestos boas ... aedon]),
must, comparatively speaking, rank low amongst the priceless legacies
which Greece bequeathed to a grateful posterity. A considerable number
of the writers whose works are comprised in the Anthology lived during
the Alexandrian age. The artificiality of French society before the
French Revolution developed a taste for shallow versifying. Somewhat
similar symptoms characterised the decadent society of Alexandria,
albeit there were occasions when a nobler note was struck, as in the
splendid hymn of Cleanthes, written in the early part of the second
century B.C. Generally speaking, however, Professor Mahaffy's criticism
of the literature of this period (_Greek Life and Thought_, p. 264)
holds good. "We feel in most of these poems that it is no real lover
languishing for his mistress, but a pedant posing before a critical
public. If ever poet was consoled by his muse, it was he; he was far
prouder if Alexandria applauded the grace of his epigram than if it
whispered the success of his suit." How have these manifest defects been
condoned? Why is it that, in spite of much that is artificial and
commonplace, the poetry of the Anthology still exercises, and will
continue to exercise, an undying charm alike over the student, the
moralist, and the man of the world? The reasons are not far to seek. In
the first place, no productions of the Greek genius conform more wholly
to the Aristotelian canon that poetry should be an imitation of the
universal. Few of the poems in the Anthology depict any ephemeral phase
or fashion of opinion, like the Euphuism of the sixteenth century. All
appeal to emotions which endure for all time, and which, it has been
aptly said, are the true raw material of poetry. The patriot can still
feel his blood stirred by the ringing verse of Simonides. The moralist
can ponder over the vanity of human wishes, which is portrayed in
endless varieties of form, and which, even when the writer most exults
in the worship of youth ([Greek: polyeratos hebe]) or extols the
philosophy of Epicurus, is always tinged with a shade of profound
melancholy, inasmuch as every poet bids us bear in mind, to use the
beautiful metaphor of Keats, that the hand of Joy is "ever on his lips
bidding adieu," and that the "wave of death"--the [Greek: koinon kym'
Aida] of Pindar--persistently dogs the steps of all mankind. The curious
in literature will find in the Anthology much apparent confirmation of
the saying of Terence that nothing is ever said that has not been said
before. He will note that not only did the gloomy Palladas say that he
came naked into the world, and that naked he will depart, but that he
forestalled Shakespeare in describing the world as a stage ([Greek:
skene pas ho bios kai paignion]), whilst Philostratus, Meleager, and
Agathias implored their respective mistresses to drink to them only with
their eyes and to leave a kiss within the cup. The man of the world will
give Agathias credit for keen powers of observation when he notes that
the Greek poet said that gambling was a test of character ([Greek:
kubos angellei benthos echephrosyes][78]), whilst if for a moment he
would step outside the immediate choir of the recognised Anthologists,
he may smile when he reads that Menander thought it all very well to
"know oneself," but that it was in practice far more useful to know
other people ([Greek: chresimoteron gar en to gnothi tous allous]).

Then, again, the pungent brevity of such of the poetry of the Anthology
as is epigrammatic is highly attractive. Much has at times been said as
to what constitutes an epigram, but the case for brevity has probably
never been better stated than by a witty Frenchwoman of the eighteenth
century. Madame de Boufflers wrote:

    Il faut dire en deux mots
      Ce qu'on veut dire;
    Les longs propos
      Sont sots.

In this respect, indeed, French can probably compete more successfully
than any other modern language with Greek. Democritus (410 B.C.) wrote,
[Greek: ho kosmos skene, ho bios parados; elthes, eides, apelthes]. The
French version of the same idea is in no way inferior to the Greek:

    On entre, on crie,
    Et c'est la vie!
    On crie, on sort,
    Et c'est la mort!

Lastly, although much of the sentiment expressed in the Anthology is
artificial, and although the language is at times offensive to modern
ears, the writers almost invariably exhibit that leading quality of the
Greek genius on which the late Professor Butcher was wont to insist so
strongly--its virile sanity.

For these reasons the literary world may cordially welcome a further
addition to the abundant literature which already exists on the subject
of the Anthology. The principle adopted by Dr. Grundy is unquestionably
sound. He recognises that great Homer sometimes nods, that even men of
real poetic genius are not always at their best, and that mere
versifiers can at times, by a happy inspiration, embody an idea in
language superior to the general level of their poetic compositions.
English literature of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries abounds
in cases in point. Lovelace, Montrose, and even, it may almost be said,
Wither and Herrick, live mainly in public estimation owing to the
composition of a small number of exquisitely felicitous verses which
have raised them for ever to thrones amongst the immortals. Dr. Grundy,
therefore, has very wisely ranged over the whole wide field of Anthology
translators, and has culled a flower here and a flower there. His method
in making his selections is as unimpeachable as his principle. He has
discarded all predilections based on the authority of names or on other
considerations, and has simply chosen those translations which he
himself likes best.

Dr. Grundy, in his preface, expresses a hope that he will be pardoned
for "the human weakness" of having in many cases preferred his own
translations to those of others. That pardon will be readily extended to
him, for although in a brief review of this nature it is impossible to
quote his compositions at any length, it is certainly true that some at
least of his translations are probably better than any that have yet
been attempted. Dr. Grundy says in his preface that he "has abided in
most instances as closely as possible to the literal translations of the
originals." That is the principle on which all, or nearly all,
translators have proceeded, but the qualifying phrase--"as closely as
possible"--has admitted of wide divergence in their practice. In some
cases, indeed, it is possible to combine strict adherence to the
original text with graceful language and harmonious metre in the
translation, but in a large number of instances the translator has to
sacrifice one language or the other. He has to choose between being
blamed by the purist who will not admit of any expansion in the ideas of
the original writer, or being accused of turning the King's English to
base uses by the employment of doubtful rhythm or cacophonous
expressions. Is it necessary to decide between these two rival schools
and to condemn one of them? Assuredly not. Both have their merits. An
instance in point is the exquisite "Rosa Rosarum" of Dionysius, which
runs thus:

    [Greek: He ta rhoda, rhodoessan echeis charin; alla ti poleis,
      sauten, e ta rhoda, ee synamphothera?]

Mr. Pott, in his _Greek Love Songs and Epigrams_, adopted the triolet
metre, which is singularly suitable to the subject, in dealing with this
epigram, and gracefully translated thus:

    Which roses do you offer me,
    Those on your cheeks, or those beside you?
    Since both are passing fair to see,
    Which roses do you offer me?
    To give me both would you agree,
    Or must I choose, and so divide you?
    Which roses do you offer me,
    Those on your cheeks or those beside you?

Here the two lines of the original are expanded into eight lines in the
translation, and some fresh matter is introduced. Dr. Grundy imposes
more severe limitations on his muse. His translation, which is more
literal, but at the same time singularly felicitous, is as follows:

    Hail, thou who hast the roses, thou hast the rose's grace!
    But sellest thou the roses, or e'en thine own fair face?

Any one of literary taste will find it difficult to decide which of
these versions to prefer, and will impartially welcome both.

It cannot, however, be doubted that strict adherence to Dr. Grundy's
principle occasionally leads to results which are open to criticism from
the point of view of English style. A case in point is his translation
of Plato's epitaph on a shipwrecked sailor:

    [Greek: Nauegou taphos eimi; ho d' antion esti georgou;
      hos hali kai gaie xynos hupest' Aides.]

Dr. Grundy's translation, which is as follows, adheres closely to the
original text, but somewhat grates on the English ear:

    A sailor's tomb am I; o'er there a yokel's tomb there be;
    For Hades lies below the earth as well as 'neath the sea.

Another instance is the translation of the epigram of Nicarchus on The
Lifeboat, in which the inexorable necessities of finding a rhyme to
"e'en Almighty Zeus" has compelled the translator to resort to the
colloquial and somewhat graceless phrase "in fact, the very deuce."

But criticisms such as these may be levelled against well-nigh all
translators. They merely constitute a reason for holding that Shelley
was not far wrong in the opinion quoted above. Few translators have,
indeed, been able to work up to the standard of William Cory's
well-known version of Callimachus's epitaph on Heraclitus, which Dr.
Grundy rightly remarks is "one of the most beautiful in our language,"
or to Dr. Symonds's translation of the epitaph on Prote, which "is
perhaps the finest extant version in English of any of the verses from
the Anthology." But many have contributed in a minor degree to render
these exquisite products of the Greek genius available to English
readers, and amongst them Dr. Grundy may fairly claim to occupy a
distinguished place. He says in his preface, with great truth, that the
poets of the Anthology are never wearisome. Neither is Dr. Grundy.

[Footnote 77: _Ancient Gems in Modern Settings._ By G.B. Grundy. Oxford:
Blackwell, 5s]

[Footnote 78: [Greek: Benthos echephrosynes]--the depth of a man's
common sense.]




XII

LORD MILNER AND PARTY

_"The Spectator," May 24, 1913_


The preface which Lord Milner has written to his volume of speeches
constitutes not merely a general statement of his political views, but
is also in reality a chapter of autobiography extending over the past
sixteen years. If, as is to be feared, it does not help much towards the
immediate solution of the various problems which are treated, it is,
none the less, a very interesting record of the mental processes
undergone by an eminent politician, who combines in a high degree the
qualities of a man of action and those of a political thinker. We are
presented with the picture of a man of high intellectual gifts, great
moral courage, and unquestionable honesty of purpose, who has a gospel
to preach to his fellow countrymen--the gospel of Imperialism, or, in
other words, the methods which should be adopted to consolidate and to
maintain the integrity of the British Empire. In his missionary efforts
on behalf of his special creed Lord Milner has found that he has been
well-nigh throttled by the ligatures of the party system--a system which
he spurns and loathes, but from which he has found by experience that he
could by no means free himself. As a practical politician he had to
recognise that, in order to gain the ear of the public on the subjects
for which he cares, he was obliged to do some "vigorous swashbuckling in
the field of party politics" in connection with other subjects in which
he is relatively less interested. He resigned himself, albeit
reluctantly, to his fate, holding apparently not only that the end
justified the means, but also that without the adoption of those means
there could not be the smallest prospect of the end being attained. The
difficulty in which Lord Milner has found himself is probably felt more
keenly by those who, like himself, have been behind the scenes of
government, and have thus been able fully to realise the difficulties of
dealing with public questions on their own merits to the exclusion of
all considerations based on party advantages or disadvantages, than by
others who have had no such experience. Nevertheless, the dilemma must
in one form or another have presented itself to every thinking man who
is not wholly carried away by prejudice. Most thinking men, however,
unless they are prepared to pass their political lives in a state of
dreamy idealism, come rapidly to the conclusion that to seek for any
thoroughly satisfactory practical solution of this dilemma is as
fruitless as to search for the philosopher's stone. They see that the
party system is the natural outcome of the system of representative
government, that it of necessity connotes a certain amount of party
discipline, and that if that discipline be altogether shattered,
political chaos would ensue. They, therefore, join that party with
which, on the whole, they are most in agreement, and they do so knowing
full well that they will almost certainly at times be associated with
measures which do not fully command their sympathies. What is it that
makes such men, for instance, as Lord Morley and Mr. Arthur Balfour not
merely strong political partisans, but also stern party disciplinarians?
It would be absurd to suppose that they consider a monopoly of political
wisdom to be possessed by the party to which each belongs, or that they
fail to see that every public question presents at least two sides. The
inference is that, recognising the necessity of association with others,
they are prepared to waive all minor objections in order to advance the
main lines of the policy to which each respectively adheres.

The plan which has always commended itself to those who see clearly the
evils of the party system, but fail to realise the even greater evils to
which its non-existence would open the door, has been to combine in one
administration a number of men possessed of sufficient patriotism and
disinterestedness to work together for the common good, in spite of the
fact that they differ widely, if not on the objects to be attained, at
all events on the methods of attaining them. Experience has shown that
this plan is wholly impracticable. It does not take sufficient account
of the fact that, as the immortal Mr. Squeers or some other of Dickens's
characters said, there is a great deal of human nature in man,[79] and
that one of man's most cherished characteristics--notably if he is an
Englishman--is combativeness. In the early days of the party system even
so hardened and positive a parliamentarian as Walpole thought that
effect might be given to some such project, but when it came to the
actual formation of a hybrid Ministry, Mr. Grant Robertson, the
historian of the Hanoverian period, says that it "vanished into thin
air," and that, as Pulteney remarked about the celebrated Sinking Fund
plan, the "proposal to make England patriotic, pure and independent of
Crown and Ministerial corruption, ended in some little thing for curing
the itch." Neither have somewhat similar attempts which have been made
since Walpole's time succeeded in abating the rancour of party strife.
Moreover, it cannot be said that the attempt to treat female suffrage as
a non-party question has so far yielded any very satisfactory or
encouraging results.

Lord Milner, however, does not live in Utopia. He does not look forward
to the possibility of abolishing the party system. "It is not," he says,
"a new party that is wanted." But he thinks--and he is unquestionably
right in thinking--"that the number of men profoundly interested in
public affairs, and anxious to discharge their full duty of citizens who
are in revolt against the rigidity and insincerity of our present party
system, is very considerable and steadily increasing." He wishes people
in this category to be organised with a view to encouraging a national
as opposed to a party spirit, and he holds that "with a little
organisation they could play the umpire between the two parties and make
the unscrupulous pursuit of mere party advantage an unprofitable game."

The idea is not novel, but it is certainly statesmanlike. The general
principle which Lord Milner advocates will probably commend itself to
thousands of his countrymen, and most of all to those whose education
and experience are a warrant for the value of their political opinions.
But how far is the scheme practicable? The answer to this question is
that there is one essential preliminary condition necessary to bring it
within the domain of practical politics; that condition is that a
sufficient number of leading politicians should be thoroughly imbued
with the virtue of compromise. They must erase the word "thorough" from
their political vocabulary. Each must recognise that whilst, to use Lord
Milner's expression, he himself holds firmly to a "creed" on some
special question, he will have to co-operate with others who hold with
equally sincere conviction to a more or less antagonistic creed, and
that this co-operation cannot be secured by mere assertion and still
less by vituperation, but only by calm discussion and mutual
concessions. Marie Antoinette, who was very courageous and very unwise,
said during the most acute crisis of the Revolution, "Better to die than
allow ourselves to be saved by Lafayette and the Constitutionalists."
That is an example of the party spirit _in extremis_, and when it is
adopted it is that spirit which causes the shipwreck of many a scheme
which might, with more moderation and conciliation, be brought safely
into port. In order to carry out Lord Milner's plan any such spirit must
be wholly cast aside. Politicians--and none more than many of those with
whom Lord Milner is associated--must act on the principle which
Shakespeare puts into the mouth of Henry V.:

    There is some soul of goodness in things evil
    Would men observingly distil it out.

They must be prepared to recognise that, whatever be their personal
convictions, there may be some "soul of goodness" in views diametrically
opposed to their own, and, moreover, they must not be scared by what
Emerson called that "hobgoblin of little minds"--the charge of
inconsistency.

It cannot be said that just at present the omens are very favourable in
the direction of indicating any widespread prevalence amongst active
politicians of the spirit of compromise. The reception given to Lord
Curzon's very reasonable proposal that army affairs should be treated as
a non-party question is apparently scouted by Radical politicians.
Neither does there appear to be the least disposition to accept the
statesmanlike suggestion that in order to avoid the risk of civil war in
Ulster, with its almost inevitable consequence, viz. that the loyalty
of the army will be strained to the utmost, the Home Rule Bill should
not be submitted to the King for his assent until after another general
election. On the other hand, the "Die-hard" spirit, which led to the
disastrous rejection of the Budget of 1909, and was with difficulty
prevented from rejecting the Parliament Bill, is still prevalent amongst
many Unionists, whilst although a somewhat greater latitudinarian spirit
prevails than heretofore, the influence of extreme Unionist politicians
is still sufficiently powerful to prevent full acceptance of the fact
that the only sound and wise Conservative principle is to neglect minor
differences of opinion and to rally together all who are generally
favourable to the Conservative cause.

Moreover, it must be admitted that Lord Milner is asking a great deal of
party politicians. He points out, in connection with his special
"creed," that the object of Mr. Chamberlain's original proposal was
"undoubtedly laudable. It was prompted by motives of Imperial
patriotism." There are probably few people who would be inclined to
challenge the accuracy of this statement. He alludes to the
unquestionable fact that it is well for every community from time to
time to review the traditional foundations of its policy, and he holds
that, if the controversy which Mr. Chamberlain evoked "had been
conducted on anything like rational lines, the result, whether
favourable or unfavourable to the proposals themselves, might have been
of great public advantage." All these fair hopes, Lord Milner thinks,
were wrecked by the spirit of party. "The new issue raised by Mr.
Chamberlain was sucked into the vortex of our local party struggle."
Lord Milner, therefore, wishes to lift Imperialism out of the party bog
and to treat the subject on broad national lines.

Here, again, the proposal is undoubtedly statesmanlike, but is it
practicable? There can, it is to be feared, be but one answer to that
question. For the time being, at all events, Lord Milner's proposal is
quite impracticable. Whatever be the merits or demerits of the proposals
initiated by Mr. Chamberlain, one thing appears tolerably certain, and
that is that so long as Tariff Reform and Imperial policy are intimately
connected together there is not, so far as can at present be judged, the
most remote chance of Imperialism emerging from the arena of party
strife. It is true, and is, moreover, a subject for national
congratulation, that there has been of late years a steady growth of
Imperialist ideas. The day is probably past for ever when Ministers,
whether Liberal or Conservative, could speak of the colonies as a
burden, and look forward with equanimity, if not with actual pleasure,
to their complete severance from the Mother country. Few, if any,
pronounced anti-Imperialists exist, but a wide difference of opinion
prevails as to the method for giving effect to an Imperial policy. These
differences do not depend solely, as is often erroneously supposed, on a
rigid adherence by Free Traders to what are now called Cobdenite
principles. There are many Free Traders who would be disposed to make a
considerable sacrifice of their opinions on economic principles, if they
thought that the policy proposed by Mr. Chamberlain would really achieve
the object he unquestionably had in view, viz. that of tightening the
bonds between the Mother country and the colonies. But that is what they
deny. They rely mainly on a common ancestry, common traditions, a common
language, and a common religion to cement those bonds; and, moreover,
they hold, to quote the words of an able article published two years ago
in the _Round Table_: "The chief reason for the sentiment of Imperial
unity is the conscious or unconscious belief of the people of the Empire
in their own political system.... There is in the British Empire a unity
which it is often difficult to discern amid the conflict of racial
nationalities, provincial politics, and geographical differences. It is
a unity which is based upon the conviction amongst the British
self-governing communities that the political system of the Empire is
indispensable to their own progress, and that to allow it to collapse
would be fatal alike to their happiness and their self-respect." They
therefore demur to granting special economic concessions which--unless,
indeed, a policy of perfect Free Trade throughout the Empire could be
adopted--they think, whatever might be the immediate result, would
eventually cause endless friction and tend to weaken rather than
strengthen the Imperial connection.

Further, it is to be observed that whatever exacerbation has been caused
by party exaggeration and misrepresentation, it is more than doubtful
whether Lord Milner's special accusation against the party system can be
made good, for it must be remembered that Mr. Chamberlain's original
programme was strongly opposed by many who, on mere party grounds, were
earnestly desirous to accord it a hearty welcome. Rather would it be
true to say that, looking back on past events, it is amazing that any
one of political experience could have imagined for one moment that a
proposal which touched the opinions and interests of almost every
individual in the United Kingdom, and which was wholly at variance with
the views heretofore held by Mr. Chamberlain himself, could have been
kept outside the whirlpool of party politics. "A great statesman," it
has been truly said, "must have two qualities; the first is prudence,
the second imprudence." Cavour has often been held up as the example of
an eminent man who combined, in his own person, these apparently
paradoxical qualities. Accepting the aphorism as true, it has to be
applied with the corollary that the main point is to know when to allow
imprudence to predominate over prudence. It is difficult to resist the
conclusion that when Mr. Chamberlain launched his programme, which Lord
Milner admits "burst like a bombshell in the camp of his friends," he
overweighted the balance on the imprudent side. The heat with which the
controversy has been conducted, and which Lord Milner very rightly
deplores, must be attributed mainly to this cause rather than to any
inherent and, to a great extent, unavoidable defects in the party
system.

But in spite of all these difficulties and objections, Lord Milner and
those who hold with him may take heart of grace in so far as their
campaign against the extravagances of the party system is concerned. It
may well be that no special organisation will enable the non-party
partisans to occupy the position of umpires, but the steady pressure of
public opinion and the stern exposure of the abuses of the party system
will probably in time mitigate existing evils, and will possibly in
some degree purge other issues, besides those connected with foreign
affairs, from the rancour of the party spirit. As a contribution to this
end Lord Milner's utterances are to be heartily welcomed.

[Footnote 79: This statement is incorrect. The saying quoted above
occurs in Mr. J.R. Lowell's address at the memorial meeting to Dean
Stanley, Dec. 13, 1881. He introduces it as "a proverbial phrase which
we have in America and which, I believe, we carried from England."]




XIII

THE FRENCH IN ALGERIA[80]

_"The Spectator," May 31, 1913_


In the very interesting account which Mrs. Devereux Roy has given of the
present condition of Algeria, she says that France "is now about to
embark upon a radical change of policy in regard to her African
colonies." If it be thought presumptuous for a foreigner who has no
local knowledge of Algerian affairs to make certain suggestions as to
the direction which those changes might profitably assume, an apology
must be found in Mrs. Roy's very true remark that England "can no more
afford to be indifferent to the relations of France with her Moslem
subjects than she can disregard the trend of our policy in Egypt and
India." It is, indeed, manifest that somewhat drastic reforms of a
liberal character will have to be undertaken in Algeria. The French
Government have adopted the only policy which is worthy of a civilised
nation. They have educated the Algerians, albeit Mrs. Roy tells us that
grants for educational purposes have been doled out "with a very sparing
hand." They must bear the consequences of the generous policy which they
have pursued. They must recognise, as Macaulay said years ago, that it
is impossible to impart knowledge without stimulating ambition. Reforms
are, therefore, imposed by the necessities of the situation.

These reforms may be classified under three heads, namely, fiscal,
judicial, and political. The order in which changes under each head
should be undertaken would appear to be a matter of vital importance. If
responsible French statesmen make a mistake in this matter--if, to use
the language of proverbial philosophy, they put the cart before the
horse--they may not improbably lay the seeds of very great trouble for
their countrymen in the future. Prince Bismarck once said: "Mistakes
committed in statesmanship are not always punished at once, but they
always do harm in the end. The logic of history is a more exact and a
more exacting accountant than is the strictest national auditing
department."

It should never be forgotten that, however much local circumstances may
differ, there are certain broad features which always exist wherever
the European--be he French, English, German, or of any other
nationality--is brought in contact with the Oriental--be he Algerian,
Indian, or Egyptian. When the former once steps outside the influence
acquired by the power of the sword, and seeks for any common ground of
understanding with the subject race, he finds that he is, by the
elementary facts of the case, debarred from using all those moral
influences which, in more homogeneous countries, bind society together.
These are a common religion, a common language, common traditions,
and--save in very rare instances--intermarriage and really intimate
social relations. What therefore remains? Practically nothing but the
bond of material interest, tempered by as much sympathy as it is
possible in the difficult circumstances of the case to bring into play.
But on this poor material--for it must be admitted that it is poor
material--experience has shown that a wise statesmanship can build a
political edifice, not indeed on such assured foundations as prevail in
more homogeneous societies, but nevertheless of a character which will
give some solid guarantees of stability, and which will, in any case,
minimise the risk that the sword, which the European would fain leave in
the scabbard, shall be constantly flaunted before the eyes both of the
subject and the governing races, the latter of whom, on grounds alike
of policy and humanity, deprecate its use save in cases of extreme
necessity.

In the long course of our history many mistakes have been made in
dealing with subject races, and the line of conduct pursued at various
times has often been very erratic. Nevertheless, it would be true to say
that, broadly speaking, British policy has been persistently directed
towards an endeavour to strengthen political bonds through the medium of
attention to material interests. The recent history of Egypt is a case
in point.

No one who was well acquainted with the facts could at any time have
thought that it would be possible to create in the minds of the
Egyptians a feeling of devotion towards England which might in some
degree take the place of patriotism. Neither, in spite of the relatively
higher degree of social elasticity possessed by the French, is it at all
probable that any such feeling towards France will be created in
Algeria. But it was thought that by careful attention to the material
interests of the people it might eventually be possible to bring into
existence a conservative class who, albeit animated by no great love for
their foreign rulers, would be sufficiently contented to prevent their
becoming easily the prey either of the Nationalist demagogue, who was
sure sooner or later to spring into existence, or that of some barbarous
religious fanatic, such as the Mahdi, or, finally, that of some wily
politician, such as the Sultan Abdul Hamid who would, for his own
purposes, fan the flame of religious and racial hatred. For many years
after the British occupation of Egypt began, the efforts of the British
administrators in that country were unceasingly directed towards the
attainment of that object. The methods adopted, which it should be
observed were in the main carried out before any large sums were spent
on education, were the relief of taxation, the abolition of fiscal
inequality and of the _corvee_, the improvement of irrigation, and last,
but not least, a variety of measures having for their object the
maintenance of a peasant proprietary class. The results which have been
attained fully justify the adoption of this policy, which has probably
never been fully understood on the Continent of Europe, even if--which
is very doubtful--it has been understood in England. What, in fact, has
happened in Egypt? Nationalists have enjoyed an excess of licence in a
free press. The Sultan has preached pan-Islamism. The usual Oriental
intrigue has been rife. British politicians and a section of the British
press, being very imperfectly informed as to the situation, have
occasionally dealt with Egyptian affairs in a manner which, to say the
least, was indiscreet. But all has been of no avail. In spite of some
outward appearances to the contrary, the whole Nationalist movement in
Egypt has been a mere splutter on the surface. It never extended deep
down in the social ranks. More than this. When a very well-intentioned
but rather rash attempt was made to advance too rapidly in a liberal
direction, the inevitable reaction, which was to have been foreseen,
took place. Not merely Europeans but also Egyptians cried out loudly for
a halt, and, with the appointment of Lord Kitchener, they got what they
wanted. The case would have been very different if the Nationalist, the
religious fanatic, or the scheming politician, in dealing with some
controversial point or incident of ephemeral interest, had been able to
appeal to a mass of deep-seated discontent due to general causes and to
the existence of substantial grievances. In that case the Nationalist
movement would have been less artificial. It would have extended not
merely to the surface but to the core of society. It would have
possessed a real rather than, as has been shown to be the case, a
spurious vitality. The recent history of Egypt, therefore, is merely an
illustration of the general lesson taught by universal history. That
lesson is that the best, and indeed the only, way to combat
successfully the proceedings of the demagogue or the agitator is to
limit his field of action by the removal of any real grievances which,
if still existent, he would be able to use as a lever to awaken the
blind wrath of Demos.

How far can principles somewhat analogous to these be applied in
Algeria?

In the first place, it is abundantly clear that, from many points of
view, the French Government have successfully carried out the policy of
ministering to the material wants of the native population. Public works
of great utility have been constructed. Means of locomotion have been
improved. Modern agricultural methods have been introduced. Famine has
been rendered impossible. Mutual benefit societies have been
established. The creation of economic habits has been encouraged. In all
these matters the French have certainly nothing to learn from us.
Possibly, indeed, we may have something to learn from them.
Nevertheless, when it is asked whether the French Government is likely
to reap the political fruits which it might have been hoped would be the
result of their efforts, whether they are in a fair way towards creating
a conservative spirit which would be adverse to any radical change, and
whether, in reliance on that spirit, they are in a position to move
boldly forward in the direction of that liberal reform, the demand for
which has naturally sprung into existence from their educational policy,
it is at once clear that they are heavily weighted by the policy
originated some seventy years ago by Marshal Bugeaud, under which the
interests of the native population were made subservient to those of the
colonists, numbering about three-quarters of a million, of whom, Mrs.
Roy tells us, less than one-half are of French origin. It may have been
wise and necessary to initiate that policy. It may be wise and necessary
to continue it with certain modifications. But it is obvious that the
adoption of Marshal Bugeaud's plan has necessarily led to the creation
of substantial grievances, which are important alike from the point of
view of sentiment and from that of material interests. It appears now
that there is some probability that this policy will be modified in at
least one very important respect, namely, by the removal of the fiscal
inequality which at present exists between the natives and the
colonists. The former are at present heavily taxed; the latter pay
relatively very little. It may be suggested that it would be worth the
while of the French Government to consider whether this change should
not occupy the first place in the programme of reform. The present
system is obviously indefensible on general grounds, whilst its
continuance, until its abolition results from the strong native
pressure which will certainly ensue after the adoption of any drastic
measure of political reform, would appear to be undesirable. It would
probably be wise and statesmanlike not to await this pressure, but to
let the concession be the spontaneous act of the French Government and
nation rather than give the appearance of its having been wrung
reluctantly from France by the insistence of the native population and
its representatives.

Next, there is the question of judicial reform. Mrs. Roy tells us that,
under what is called the _Code de l'Indigenat_, "a native can be
arrested and imprisoned practically without trial at the will of the
_administrateur_ for his district." It would require full local
knowledge to treat this question adequately, but it would obviously be
desirable that the French Government should go as far as possible in the
direction of providing that all judicial matters should be settled by
judicial officers who would be independent of the executive and, for the
most part, irremovable. Some local friction between the executive and
the judicial authorities is probably to be expected. That cannot be
helped. It might perhaps be mitigated by a very careful choice of the
officials in each case.

In the third place, there is the question of political reform. M.
Philippe Millet, who has published an interesting article on this
subject in the April number of _The Nineteenth Century_, is of course
quite right in saying that political reform is the "key to every other
change." Once give the natives of Algeria effective political strength,
and the reforms will be forced upon the Government. But, as has been
already stated, it would perhaps be wiser and more statesmanlike that
these changes should be conceded spontaneously by the French Government,
and that then, after a reasonable interval, the bulk of the political
reforms should follow.

A distinction, however, has to be made between the various
representative institutions which already exist. The _Conseil Superieur_
and the _Delegations Financieres_ have very extensive powers, including
that of rejecting or modifying the Budget. At present these bodies may
be said, for all practical purposes, to be merely representative of the
colonists. It would certainly appear wise eventually to allow the
natives both a larger numerical strength on the _Conseil_ and on the
_Delegations_, and also, by rearranging the franchise, to endeavour to
secure a more real representation of native interests. It must, however,
be borne in mind that the difficulties of securing any real
representation of the best interests in the country will almost
certainly be very great, if not altogether insuperable. In all
probability the loquacious, semi-educated native, who has in him the
makings of an agitator, will, under any system, naturally float to the
top, whilst the really representative man will sink to the bottom. It
would perhaps, therefore, be as well not to move in too great a hurry in
this matter, and, when any move is made, that the advance should be of a
very cautious and tentative nature.

The _Conseils Generaux_, which are provincial and municipal bodies,
stand on a very different footing. Here it may be safe to move forward
in the path of reform with greater boldness and with less delay. But
whatever is done it will probably be found that real progress in the
direction of self-government will depend more on the attitude of the
French officials who are associated with the Councils than on any system
which can be devised on paper. It may be assumed that the French
officials in Algeria present the usual characteristics of their class,
that is to say, that they are courageous, intelligent, zealous, and
thoroughly honest. Also it may probably be assumed that they are
somewhat inelastic, somewhat unduly wedded to bureaucratic ideas, and
more especially that they are possessed with the very natural idea that
the main end and object of their lives is to secure the efficiency of
the administration. Now if self-government is to be a success, they will
have to modify to some extent their ideas as to the supreme necessity of
efficiency. That is to say, they will have to recognise that it is
politically wiser to put up with an imperfect reform carried with native
consent, rather than to insist on some more perfect measure executed in
the teeth of strong--albeit often unreasonable--native opposition.
English experience has shown that this is a very hard lesson for
officials to learn. Nevertheless, the task of inculcating general
principles of this nature is not altogether impossible. It depends
mainly on the impulse which is given from above. To entrust the
execution of a policy of reform in Algeria to a man of
ultra-bureaucratic tendencies, who is hostile to reform of any kind,
would, of course, be to court failure. On the other hand, to select an
extreme radical visionary, who will probably not recognise the
difference between East and West, would be scarcely less disastrous.
What, in fact, is required is a man of somewhat exceptional qualities.
He must be strong--that is to say, he must impress the natives with the
conviction that, albeit an advocate of liberal ideas, he is firmly
resolved to consent to nothing which is likely to be detrimental to the
true interests of France. He must also be sufficiently strong to keep
his own officials in hand and to make them conform to his policy, whilst
at the same time he must be sufficiently tactful to win their confidence
and to prevent their being banded together against him. The latter is a
point of very special importance, for in a country like Algeria no
government, however powerful, will be able to carry out a really
beneficial programme of reform if the organised strength of the
bureaucracy--backed up, as would probably be the case, by the whole of
the European unofficial community--is thrown into bitter and
irreconcilable opposition. The task, it may be repeated, is a difficult
one. Nevertheless, amongst the many men of very high ability in the
French service there must assuredly be some who would be able to
undertake it with a fair chance of success.

One further remark on this very interesting subject may be made. M.
Millet, in the article to which allusion has already been made, says,
"The Algerian natives will look more and more to France as their natural
protector against the colonists." It will, it is to be hoped, not be
thought over-presumptuous to sound a note of warning against trusting
too much to this argument. That for the present the natives should look
to France rather than to the colonists is natural enough. It is
manifestly their interest to do so. But it may be doubted whether they
will be "more and more" inspired by such sentiments as time goes on.
There is an Arabic proverb to the effect that "all Christians are of one
tribe." That is the spirit which in reality inspires the whole Moslem
world. It is illustrated by the author of that very remarkable work,
_Turkey in Europe_, in an amusing apologue. Let once some
semi-religious, semi-patriotic leader arise, who will play skilfully on
the passions of the masses, and it will be somewhat surprising if the
distinction which now exists will long survive. All Frenchmen, those in
France equally with those in Algeria, will then, it may confidently be
expected, be speedily confounded in one general anathema.

[Footnote 80: _Aspects of Algeria_. By Mrs. Devereux Roy. London: Dent
and Son. 10s. 6d.]




XIV

THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE[81]

_"The Spectator," June 14, 1913_


Although proverbial philosophy warns us never to prophesy unless we
know, experience has shown that political prophets have often made
singularly correct forecasts of the future. Lord Chesterfield, and at a
much earlier period Marshal Vauban, foretold the French Revolution,
whilst the impending ruin of the Ottoman Empire has formed the theme of
numerous prophecies made by close observers of contemporaneous events
from the days of Horace Walpole downwards. "It is of no use," Napoleon
wrote to the Directory, "to try to maintain the Turkish Empire; we shall
witness its fall in our time." During the War of Greek Independence the
Duke of Wellington believed that the end of Turkey was at hand. Where
the prophets have for the most part failed is not so much in making a
mistaken estimate of the effects likely to be produced by the causes
which they saw were acting on the body politic, as in not allowing
sufficient time for the operation of those causes. Political evolution
in its early stages is generally very slow. It is only after long
internal travail that it moves with vertiginous rapidity. De Tocqueville
cast a remarkably accurate horoscope of the course which would be run by
the Second Empire, but it took some seventeen years to bring about
results which he thought would be accomplished in a much shorter period.
It has been reserved for the present generation to witness the
fulfilment of prophecy in the case of European Turkey. The blindness
displayed by Turkish statesmen to the lessons taught by history, their
complete sterility in the domain of political thought, and their
inability to adapt themselves and the institutions of their country to
the growing requirements of the age, might almost lead an historical
student to suppose that they were bent on committing political suicide.
The combined diplomatists of Europe, Lord Salisbury sorrowfully remarked
in 1877, "all tried to save Turkey," but she scorned salvation and
persisted in a course of action which could lead to but one result. That
result has now been attained. The dismemberment of European Turkey,
begun so long ago as the Peace of Karlovitz in 1699, is now almost
complete. "Modern history," Lord Acton said, "begins under the stress of
the Ottoman conquest." Whatever troubles the future may have in store,
Europe has at last thrown off the Ottoman incubus. A new chapter in
modern history has thus been opened. Henceforth, if Ottoman power is to
survive at all, it must be in Asia, albeit the conflicting jealousies of
the European Powers allow for the time being the maintenance of an
Asiatic outpost on European soil.

It is as yet too early to expect any complete or philosophic account of
this stupendous occurrence, which the future historian will rank with
the unification first of Italy and later of Germany, as one of the most
epoch-making events of the later nineteenth and early twentieth
centuries. Notably, there are two subjects which require much further
elucidation before the final verdict of contemporaries or posterity can
be passed upon them. In the first place, the causes which have led to
the military humiliation of a race which, whatever may be its defects,
has been noted in history for its martial virility, require to be
differentiated. Was the collapse of the Turkish army due merely to
incapacity and mismanagement on the part of the commanders, aided by
the corruption which has eaten like a canker into the whole Ottoman
system of government and administration? Or must the causes be sought
deeper, and, if so, was it the palsy of an unbridled and malevolent
despotism which in itself produced the result, or did the sudden
downfall of the despot, by the removal of a time-honoured, if unworthy,
symbol of government, abstract the corner-stone from the tottering
political edifice, and thus, by disarranging the whole administrative
gear of the Empire at a critical moment, render the catastrophe
inevitable? Further information is required before a matured opinion on
this point, which possesses more than a mere academic importance, can be
formed.

There is yet another subject which, if only from a biographical point of
view, is of great interest. Two untoward circumstances have caused
Turkish domination in Europe to survive, and to resist the pressure of
the civilisation by which it was surrounded, but which seemed at one
time doomed to thunder ineffectually at its gates. One was excessive
jealousy--in Solomon's words, "as cruel as the grave"--amongst European
States, which would not permit of any political advantage being gained
by a rival nation. The other, and, as subsequent events proved, more
potent consideration, was the fratricidal jealousy which the
populations of the Balkan Peninsula mutually entertained towards each
other. The maintenance and encouragement of mutual suspicions was, in
either case, sedulously fostered by Turkish Sultans, the last of whom,
more especially, acted throughout his inglorious career in the firm
belief that mere mediaeval diplomatic trickery could be made to take the
place of statesmanship. He must have chuckled when he joyously put his
hand to the firman creating a Bulgarian Exarch, who was forthwith
excommunicated by the Greek Patriarch, with the result, as Mr. Miller
tells us, that "peasants killed each other in the name of contending
ecclesiastical establishments."

In the early days of the last century the poet Rhigas, who was to Greece
what Arndt was to Germany and Rouget de Lisle to Revolutionary France,
appealed to all Balkan Christians to rise on behalf of the liberties of
Greece. But the hour had not yet come for any such unity to be cemented.
At that time, and for many years afterwards, Europe was scarcely
conscious of the fact that there existed "a long-forgotten, silent
nationality" which, after a lapse of nearly five centuries, would again
spring into existence and bear a leading part in the liberation of the
Balkan populations. But the rise of Bulgaria, far from bringing unity in
its wake, appeared at first only to exacerbate not merely the mercurial
Greek, proud of the intellectual and political primacy which he had
heretofore enjoyed, but also the brother Slav, with whom differences
arose which necessitated an appeal to the arbitrament of arms.

Although the thunder of the guns of Kirk Kilisse and Luele Burgas
proclaimed to Europe, in the words of the English Prime Minister, that
"the map of Eastern Europe had to be recast," it is none the less true
that the cause of the Turk was doomed from the moment when Balkan
discord ceased, and when the Greek, the Bulgarian, the Serb, and the
Montenegrin agreed to sink their differences and to act together against
the common enemy. Who was it who accomplished this miracle? Mr. Miller
says, "the authorship of this marvellous work, hitherto the despair of
statesmen, is uncertain, but it has been ascribed chiefly to M.
Venezelos." All, therefore, that can now be said is that it was the
brain, or possibly brains, of some master-workers which gave liberty to
the Balkan populations as surely as it was the brain of Cavour which
united Italy.[82]

Although these and possibly other points will, without doubt, eventually
receive more ample treatment at the hands of some future historian, Mr.
Miller has performed a most useful service in affording a guide by the
aid of which the historical student can find his way through the
labyrinthine maze of Balkan politics. He begins his story about the time
when Napoleon had appeared like a comet in the political firmament, and
by his erratic movements had caused all the statesmen of Europe to
diverge temporarily from their normal and conventional orbits, one
result being that the British Admiral Duckworth wandered in a somewhat
aimless fashion through the Dardanelles to Constantinople, and had very
little idea of what to do when he got there. Mr. Miller reminds us of
events of great importance in their day, but now almost wholly
forgotten: of how the ancient Republic of Ragusa, which had existed for
eleven centuries and which had earned the title of the "South Slavonic
Athens," was crushed out of existence under the iron heel of Marmont,
who forthwith proceeded to make some good roads and to vaccinate the
Dalmatians; of how Napoleon tried to partition the Balkans, but found,
with all his political and administrative genius, that he was face to
face with an "insoluble problem"; of how that rough man of genius,
Mahmoud II., hanged the Greek Patriarch from the gate of his palace, but
between the interludes of massacres and executions, brought his "energy
and indomitable force of will" to bear on the introduction of reforms;
of how the Venetian Count Capo d'Istria, who was eventually
assassinated, produced a local revolt by a well-intentioned attempt to
amend the primitive ethics of the Mainote Greeks--a tale which is not
without its warning if ever the time comes for dealing with a cognate
question amongst the wild tribes of Albania; and of how, amidst the
ever-shifting vicissitudes of Eastern politics, the Tsar of Russia, who
had heretofore posed as the "protector" of Roumans and Serbs against
their sovereign, sent his fleet to the Bosphorus in 1833 in order to
"protect" the sovereign against his rebellious vassal, Mehemet Ali, and
exacted a reward for his services in the shape of the leonine
arrangement signed at Hunkiar-Iskelesi. And so Mr. Miller carries us on
from massacre to massacre, from murder to murder, and from one
bewildering treaty to another, all of which, however, present this
feature of uniformity, that the Turk, signing of his own free will, but
with an unwilling mind--[Greek: hekon aekonti ge thymo]--made on each
occasion either some new concession to the ever-rising tide of Christian
demand, or ratified the loss of a province which had been forcibly torn
from his flank. Finally, we get to the period when the tragedy connected
with the name of Queen Draga acted like an electric shock on Europe,
and when the accession of King Peter, "who had translated Mill _On
Liberty_," to the blood-stained Servian throne, revealed to an
astonished world that the processes of Byzantinism survived to the
present day. Five years later followed the assumption by Prince
Ferdinand of the title of "Tsar of the Bulgarians," and it then only
required the occurrence of some opportunity and the appearance on the
scene of some Balkan Cavour to bring the struggle of centuries to the
final issue of a death-grapple between the followers of aggressive
Christianity and those of stagnant Islamism.

The whole tale is at once dramatic and dreary, dramatic because it is
occasionally illumined by acts of real heroism, such as the gallant
defence of Plevna by Ghazi Osman, a graphic account of which was written
by an adventurous young Englishman (Mr. W.V. Herbert) who served in the
Turkish army, or again as the conduct of the Cretan Abbot Maneses who,
in 1866, rather than surrender to the Turks, "put a match to the
powder-magazine, thus uniting defenders and assailants in one common
hecatomb." It is dreary because the mind turns with horror and disgust
from the endless record of government by massacre, in which, it is to be
observed, the crime of bloodguiltiness can by no means be laid
exclusively at the door of the dominant race, whilst Mr. Miller's
sombre but perfectly true remark that "assassination or abdication,
execution or exile, has been the normal fate of Balkan rulers," throws a
lurid light on the whole state of Balkan society.

But how does the work of diplomacy, and especially of British diplomacy,
stand revealed by the light of the history of the past century? The
point is one of importance, all the more so because there is a tendency
on the part of some British politicians to mistrust diplomatists, to
think that, either from incapacity or design, they serve as agents to
stimulate war rather than as peace-makers, and to hold that a more
minute interference by the House of Commons in the details of diplomatic
negotiations would be useful and beneficial. It would be impossible
within the limits of an ordinary newspaper article to deal adequately
with this question. This much, however, may be said--that, even taking
the most unfavourable view of the results achieved by diplomacy, there
is nothing whatever in Mr. Miller's history to engender the belief that
better results would have been obtained by shifting the responsibility
to a greater degree from the shoulders of the executive to those of
Parliament. The evidence indeed rather points to an opposite conclusion.
For instance, Mr. Miller informs us that inopportune action taken in
England was one of the causes which contributed to the outbreak of
hostilities between Greece and Turkey in 1897. "An address from a
hundred British members of Parliament encouraged the masses, ignorant of
the true condition of British politics, to count upon the help of Great
Britain."

It is, however, quite true that a moralist, if he were so minded, might
in Mr. Miller's pages find abundant material for a series of homilies on
the vanity of human wishes, and especially of diplomatic human wishes.
But would he on that account be right in pronouncing a wholesale
condemnation of diplomacy? Assuredly not. Rather, the conclusion to be
drawn from a review of past history is that a small number of very
well-informed and experienced diplomatists showed remarkable foresight
in perceiving the future drift of events. So early as 1837 Lord
Palmerston supported Milosh Obrenovitch II., the ruler of Servia,
against Turkey, as he had "come to the conclusion that to strengthen the
small Christian States of the Near East was the true policy of both
Turkey and Great Britain." Similar views were held at a later period by
Sir William White, and were eventually adopted by the Government of Lord
Beaconsfield. An equal amount of foresight was displayed by some Russian
diplomatists. In Lord Morley's _Life of Gladstone_ (vol. i. p. 479) a
very remarkable letter is given, which was addressed to the Emperor
Nicholas by Baron Brunnow, just before the outbreak of the Crimean War,
in which he advocated peace on the ground that "war would not turn to
Russian advantage.... The Ottoman Empire may be transformed into
independent States, which for us will only become either burdensome
clients or hostile neighbours." It may be that, as is now very generally
thought, the Crimean War was a mistake, and that, in the classic words
of Lord Salisbury, we "put our money on the wrong horse." But it is none
the less true that had it not been for the Crimean War and the policy
subsequently adopted by Lord Beaconsfield's government, the independence
of the Balkan States would never have been achieved, and the Russians
would now be in possession of Constantinople. It is quite permissible to
argue that, had they been left unopposed, British interests would not
have suffered; but even supposing this very debatable proposition to be
true, it must be regarded, from an historical point of view, as at best
an _ex post facto_ argument. British diplomacy has to represent British
public opinion, and during almost the whole period of which Mr. Miller's
history treats, a cardinal article of British political faith was that,
in the interests of Great Britain, Constantinople should not be allowed
to fall into Russian hands. The occupation of Egypt in 1882 without
doubt introduced a new and very important element into the discussion.
The most serious as also the least excusable mistake in British
Near-Eastern policy of recent years has been the occupation of Cyprus,
which burthened us with a perfectly useless possession, and inflicted a
serious blow on our prestige. Sir Edward Grey's recent diplomatic
success is in a large measure due to the fact that all the Powers
concerned were convinced of British disinterestedness.

[Footnote 81: _The Ottoman Empire_, 1801-1913. By W. Miller. Cambridge:
At the University Press. 7s. 6d.]

[Footnote 82: This article was, of course, written before the war which
subsequently broke out between the Bulgarians and their former allies,
the Greeks and the Servians.]




XV

WELLINGTONIANA[83]

_"The Spectator," June 21, 1913_


In dealing with Lady Shelley's sprightly and discursive comments upon
the current events of her day, we have to transport ourselves back into
a society which, though not very remote in point of time, has now so
completely passed away that it is difficult fully to realise its
feelings, opinions, and aspirations. It was a time when a learned
divine, writing in the _Church and State Gazette_, had proved entirely
to his own satisfaction, and apparently also to that of Lady Shelley,
that a "remarkable fulfilment of that hitherto incomprehensible prophecy
in the Revelations" had taken place, inasmuch as Napoleon Bonaparte was
most assuredly "the seventh head of the Beast." It was a time when
Londoners rode in the Green Park instead of Rotten Row, and when, in
spite of the admiration expressed for the talents of that rising young
politician, Mr. Robert Peel, it was impossible to deny that "his birth
ran strongly against him"--a consideration which elicited from Lady
Shelley the profound remark that it is "strange to search into the
recesses of the human mind."

Lady Shelley herself seems to have been rather a _femme incomprise_. She
had lived much on the Continent, and appreciated the greater deference
paid to a charming and accomplished woman in Viennese and Parisian
society, compared with the boorishness of Englishmen who would not
"waste their time" in paying pretty compliments to ladies which "could
be repaid by a smile." She records her impressions in French, a language
in which she was thoroughly proficient. "Je sais," she says, "qu'en
Angleterre il ne faut pas s'attendre a cultiver son esprit; qu'il faut,
pour etre contente a Londres, se resoudre a se plaire avec la
mediocrite; a entendre tous les jours repeter les memes banalites et a
s'abaisser autant qu'on le peut au niveau des femmelettes avec
lesquelles l'on vit, et qui, pour plaire, affectent plus de frivolite
qu'elles n'ont reellement. Le plaisir de causer nous est defendu."
Nevertheless, however much she may have mentally appreciated the
solitude of a crowd, she determined to adapt herself to her social
surroundings. "C'est un sacrifice," she says, "que je fais a mon Dieu et
a mon devoir comme Anglaise." Impelled, therefore, alike by piety and
patriotism, she cast aside all ideas of leading an eremitic life,
plunged into the vortex of the social world, and mixed with all the
great men and women of the day. Of these the most notable was the Duke
of Wellington.

Lady Shelley certainly possessed one quality which eminently fitted her
to play the part of Boswell to the Duke. The worship of her hero was
without the least mixture of alloy. She had a pheasant, which the Duke
had killed, stuffed, and "added to other souvenirs which ornamented her
dressing-room"; and she records, with manifest pride, that "amongst her
other treasures" was a chair on which he sat upon the first occasion of
his dining with her husband and herself in 1814. It was well to have
that pheasant stuffed, for apparently the Duke, like his great
antagonist, did not shoot many pheasants. He was not only "a very wild
shot," but also a very bad shot. Napoleon, Mr. Oman tells us,[84] on one
occasion "lodged some pellets in Massena's left eye while letting fly at
a pheasant," and then without the least hesitation accused "the faithful
Berthier" of having fired the shot, an accusation which was at once
confirmed by the mendacious but courtierlike victim of the accident.
Wellington also, Lady Shelley records, "after wounding a retriever early
in the day and later on peppering the keeper's gaiters, inadvertently
sprinkled the bare arms of an old woman who chanced to be washing
clothes at her cottage window." Lady Shelley, who "was attracted by her
screams," promptly told the widow that "it ought to be the proudest
moment of her life. She had had the distinction of being shot by the
great Duke of Wellington," but the eminently practical instinct of the
great Duke at once whispered to him that something more than the moral
satisfaction to be derived from this reflection was required, so he very
wisely "slipped a golden coin into her trembling hand."

For many years Lady Shelley lived on very friendly and intimate terms
with the Duke, who appears to have confided to her many things about
which he would perhaps have acted more wisely if he had held his tongue.
When he went on an important diplomatic mission to Paris in 1822, she
requested him to buy her a blouse--a commission which he faithfully
executed. All went well until 1848. Then a terrific explosion occurred.
It is no longer "My dearest Lady! Mind you bring the blouse! Ever yours
most affectionately, Wellington," but "My dear Lady Shelley," who is
addressed by "Her Ladyship's most obedient humble servant, Wellington,"
and soundly rated for her conduct. The reason for this abrupt and
volcanic change was that owing to an indiscretion on the part of Lady
Shelley a very important letter about the defenceless state of the
country, which the Duke had addressed to Sir John Burgoyne, then the
head of the Engineer Department at the Horse Guards, got into the
newspapers. The Duke's wrath boiled over, and was expressed in terms
which, albeit the reproaches were just, showed but little chivalrous
consideration towards a peccant but very contrite woman. He told her
that he "had much to do besides defending himself from the consequences
of the meddling gossip of the ladies of modern times," and he asked
indignantly, "What do Sir John Burgoyne and his family and your Ladyship
and others--talking of old friendship--say to the share which each of
you have had in this transaction, which, in my opinion, is disgraceful
to the times in which we live?" What Sir John Burgoyne and his family
might very reasonably have said in answer to this formidable
interrogatory is that, although no one can defend the conduct of
Delilah, it was certainly most unwise of Samson to trust her with his
secret. It is consolatory to know that, under the influence of Sir John
Shelley's tact and good-humour, a treaty of peace was eventually
concluded. Sir John happened to meet the Duke at a party.
"'Good-evening, Duke,' said Sir John, in his most winning manner. 'Do
you know, it has been said, by some one who must have been present, that
the cackling of geese once saved Rome. I have been thinking that perhaps
the cackling of my old Goose may yet save England!' This wholly
unexpected sally proved too much for the Duke, who burst out into a
hearty laugh. 'By G----d, Shelley!' said he, 'you are right: give me
your honest hand.'" The Duke then returned to Apsley House and "penned a
playful letter to Lady Shelley."

It is not to be expected that much of real historical interest can be
extracted from a Diary of this sort. It may, however, be noted that when
the _Bellerophon_ reached the English coast "it was only by coercion
that the Ministers prevented George IV. from receiving Bonaparte. The
King wanted to hold him as a captive." Moreover, Brougham, who was in a
position to know, said, "There can be little doubt that if Bonaparte had
got to London, the Whig Opposition were ready to use him as their trump
card to overturn the Government."

The main interest in the book, however, lies in the light which it
throws on the Duke's inner life and in the characteristic _obiter dicta_
which he occasionally let fall. Of these, none is more characteristic
than the remark he made on meeting his former love, Miss Catherine
Pakenham, after an absence of eight years in India. He wrote to her,
making a proposal of marriage, but Miss Pakenham told him "that before
any engagement was made he must see her again; as she had grown old, had
lost all her good looks, and was a very different person to the girl he
had loved in former years." The story, which has been frequently
repeated, that Miss Pakenham was marked with the smallpox, is
untrue,[85] but, without doubt, during the Duke's absence, she had a
good deal changed. The Duke himself certainly thought so, for, on first
meeting her again, he whispered to his brother, "She has grown d----d
ugly, by Jove!" Nevertheless he married her, being moved to do so, not
apparently from any very deep feelings of affection, but because his
leading passion was a profound regard for truth and loyalty which led
him to admire and appreciate the straightforwardness of Miss Pakenham's
conduct. Lady Shelley exultingly exclaims, "Well might she be proud and
happy, and glory in such a husband." That the Duchess was proud of her
husband is certain. Whether she was altogether happy is more doubtful.

One of the stock anecdotes about the Duke of Wellington is that when on
one occasion some one asked him whether he was surprised at Waterloo, he
replied, "No. I was not surprised then, but I am now." We are indebted
to Lady Shelley for letting us know what the Duke really thought on this
much-debated question. In a letter written to her on March 22, 1820, he
stated, with his usual downright common sense, all that there is to be
said on this subject. "Supposing I _was_ surprised; I won the battle;
and what could you have had more, even if I had not been surprised?"

It is known on the authority of his niece, Lady Burghersh, that the Duke
"never read poetry," but his "real love of music," to which Lady Shelley
alludes, will perhaps come as a surprise to many. Mr. Fortescue,
however,[86] has told us that in his youth the Duke learnt to play the
violin, and that he only abandoned it, when he was about thirty years
old, "because he judged it unseemly or perhaps ill-sounding for a
General to be a fiddler." The Duke is not the only great soldier who has
been a musical performer. Marshal St. Cyr used to play the violin "in
the quiet moments of a campaign," and Sir Hope Grant was a very fair
performer on the violoncello.

It was characteristic of the Duke to keep the fact of his being about to
fight a duel with Lord Winchelsea carefully concealed from all his
friends. When it was over, he walked into Lady Shelley's room while she
was at breakfast and said, "Well, what do you think of a gentleman who
has been fighting a duel?"

It appears that during the last years of his life the Duke's great
companion-in-arms, Bluecher, was subject to some strange hallucinations.
The following affords a fitting counterpart to those "fears of the
brave" which Pope attributed to the dying Marlborough. On March 17,
1819, Lady Shelley made the following entry in her diary:

     We laughed at poor Bluecher's strange hallucination, which, though
     ludicrous, is very sad. He fancies himself with child by a
     Frenchman; and deplores that such an event should have happened to
     him in his old age! He does not so much mind being with child, but
     cannot reconcile himself to the thought that he--of all people in
     the world--should be destined to give birth to a _Frenchman_! On
     every other subject Bluecher is said to be quite rational. This
     peculiar form of madness shows the bent of his mind; so that while
     we laugh our hearts reproach us. The Duke of Wellington assures me
     that he knows this to be a fact.

Finally, attention may be drawn to a singular and interesting letter
from Sir Walter Scott to Shelley, giving some advice which it may be
presumed the young poet did not take to heart. He was "cautioned against
enthusiasm, which, while it argued an excellent disposition and a
feeling heart, requires to be watched and restrained, though not
repressed."

[Footnote 83: _The Diary of Frances, Lady Shelley_ (1818-1873). London:
John Murray. 10s. 6d.]

[Footnote 84: _History of the Peninsular War_, vol. iii. p. 209.]

[Footnote 85: Maxwell's _Life of Wellington_, vol. i. p. 78]

[Footnote 86: _British Statesmen of the Great War_, p. 241.]




XVI

BURMA[87]

_"The Spectator," June 28, 1913_


The early history of the British connection with Burma presents all the
features uniformly to be found in the growth of British Imperialism.
These are, first, reluctance to move, coupled with fear of the results
of expansion, ending finally with a cession to the irresistible tendency
to expand; secondly, vagueness of purpose as to what should be done with
a new and somewhat unwelcome acquisition; thirdly, a tardy recognition
of its value, with the result that what was first an inclination to make
the best of a bad job only gradually transforms itself into a feeling of
satisfaction and congratulation that, after all, the unconscious
founders of the British Empire, here as elsewhere, blundered more or
less unawares into the adoption of a sound and far-seeing Imperial
policy.

In 1825, Lord Amherst, in one of those "fits of absence" which the
dictum of Sir John Seeley has rendered famous, took possession of some
of the maritime provinces of Burma, and in doing so lost three thousand
one hundred and fifteen men, of whom only a hundred and fifty were
killed in action. Then the customary fit of doubt and despondency
supervened. It was not until four years after the conclusion of peace
that a British Resident was sent to the Court of Ava in the vain hope
that he would be able to negotiate the retrocession of the province of
Tenasserim, as "the Directors of the East India Company looked upon this
territory as of no value to them." For a quarter of a century peace was
preserved, for there ruled at Ava a prince "who was too clear-sighted to
attempt again to measure arms with the British troops." Anon he was
succeeded by a new king--the Pagan Prince--"who cared for nothing but
mains of cocks, games, and other infantile amusements," and who, after
the manner of Oriental despots, inaugurated his reign by putting to
death his two brothers and all their households. "There were several
hundreds of them." It is not surprising that under a ruler addicted to
such practices the British sailors who frequented the Burmese ports
should have been subjected to maltreatment. Their complaints reached the
ears of the iron-fisted and acquisitive Lord Dalhousie, who himself
went to Rangoon in 1852, and forthwith "decided on the immediate attack
of Prome and Pegu." M. Dautremer speaks in flattering terms of "the
tenacity and persistence of purpose which make the strength and glory of
British policy." He might truthfully have added another characteristic
feature which that policy at times displays, to wit, sluggishness. It
was not until sixteen years after Lord Dalhousie's annexation of Lower
Burma that the English bethought themselves of improving their newly
acquired province by the construction of a railway, and it was not till
1877 that the first line from Rangoon to Prome--a distance of only one
hundred and sixty-one miles--was opened. During all this time King
Mindon ruled in native Burma. He "gave abundant alms to monks," and,
moreover, which was perhaps more to the purpose, he was wise enough to
maintain relations with Great Britain which were "quite cordial."
Eventually the Nemesis which appears to attend on all semi-civilised and
moribund States when they are brought in contact with a vigorous and
aggressive civilisation appeared in the person of the "Sapaya-lat," the
"middle princess," who induced her feeble husband, King Thibaw, to carry
out massacres on a scale which, even in Burma, had been heretofore
unprecedented. Then the British on the other side of the frontier began
to murmur and "to consider whether it was possible to endure a neighbour
who was so cruel and so unpopular." All doubts as to whether the limits
of endurance had or had not been reached were removed when the
impecunious and spendthrift king not only imposed a very unjust fine of
some L150,000 on the Bombay-Burma Trading Corporation, but also had the
extreme folly to "throw himself into the arms of France"--a scheme which
was at once communicated by M. Jules Ferry to Lord Lyons, the British
Ambassador in Paris. Then war with Burma was declared, and after some
tedious operations, which involved the sacrifice of many valuable lives,
and which extended over three years, the country was "completely
pacified" by 1889, and Lord Dufferin added the title of "Ava" to the
Marquisate which was conferred on him.

In 1852, when Lord Dalhousie annexed Lower Burma, Rangoon was "merely a
fishing village." It is now a flourishing commercial town of some
300,000 inhabitants. In 1910-11 the imports into Burmese ports,
including coast trade, amounted to L13,600,000. The exports, in spite of
a duty on rice which is of a nature rather to shock orthodox economists,
were nearly L23,000,000 in value. The revenue in 1910 was about
L7,391,000, of which about L2,590,000 was on Imperial and the balance on
local account. Burma is in the happy position of being in a normal state
of surplus, and is thus able to contribute annually a sum of about
L2,500,000 to the Indian exchequer, a sum which those who are specially
interested in Burmese prosperity regard as excessive, whilst it is
apparently regarded as inadequate by some of those who look only to the
interests of the Indian taxpayers.

The account which M. Dautremer, who was for long French Consul at
Rangoon, has given of the present condition of Burma is preceded by an
introduction from the pen of Sir George Scott, who can speak with
unquestionable authority on Burmese affairs. It is clear that neither
author has allowed himself in any way to be biassed by national
proclivities, for whilst the Frenchman compares British and French
administrative methods in a manner which is very much to the detriment
of the latter, the Englishman, on the other hand, launches the most
fiery denunciations against those of his countrymen who are responsible
for Indian policy. Their want of enterprise is characterised by the
appalling polysyllabic adjective "hebetudinous," which it is perhaps as
well to explain means obtuse or dull, and they are told that they "are
infected with the Babu spirit, and cannot see beyond their immediate
horizon."

M. Dautremer thinks that it is somewhat narrow-minded of the Englishman
to inflict on himself the torture of wearing cloth or flannel clothes in
order that he may not be taken for a _chi-chi_ or half-caste, who very
wisely dresses in white. He expostulates against the social tyranny
which obliges him to pay visits between twelve and two "in such a
climate and with such a temperature," and he gently satirises the
isolation of the different layers of English society--civilian,
military, and subordinate services--in words which call to mind the
striking account given by the immortal Mr. Jingle of the dockyard
society of Chatham and Rochester. It is, however, consolatory to learn
that all classes combined in giving a hearty welcome to the genial and
sympathetic Frenchman who was living in their midst. Save on these minor
points, M. Dautremer has, for the most part, nothing but praise to
accord. He thinks that "all the British administrative officers in Burma
are well-educated and capable men, who know the country of which they
are put in charge, and are fluent in the language." He writhes under the
highly centralised and bureaucratic system adopted by his own
countrymen. He commends the English practice under which "the Home
Government never interferes in the management of internal affairs," and
it is earnestly to be hoped that the commendation is deserved, albeit of
late years there have occasionally been some ominous signs of a tendency
to govern India rather too much in detail from London. Speaking of the
rapid development of Burmese trade, M. Dautremer says, in words which
are manifestly intended to convey a criticism of his own Government,
"This is an example of the use of colonies to a nation which knows how
to put a proper value on them and to profit by them."

The warm appreciation which M. Dautremer displays of the best parts of
the English administrative system enhances his claims for respectful
attention whenever he indulges in criticism. He finds two rather weak
points in the administration. In the first place, he attributes the
large falling-off in the export of teak, _inter alia_, to "the increase
in Government duties and the much more rigid rules for extraction," and
he adds that the Government, which is itself a large dealer in timber,
has "by its action created a monopoly which has raised prices to the
highest possible limit." The subject is one which would appear to
require attention. The primary business of any Government is not to
trade but to administer, and, as invariably happens, the violation of a
sound economic principle of this sort is certain sooner or later to
carry its own punishment with it. In the second place, the Forest
Department, which is of very special importance in Burma, is a good deal
crippled by the "want of energy and want of industry which are
unfortunately common in the subordinate grades. The reason for this
state of things is to be found in the fact that the pay and prospects
are not good enough to attract really capable men." In many quarters,
notably in Central Africa, British Treasury officials have yet to learn
that, from every point of view, it is quite as great a mistake to employ
underpaid administrative agents as it would be for an employer of labour
to proceed on the principle that low wages necessarily connote cheap
production.

Sir George Scott in his introduction strikes a very different note from
that sounded by M. Dautremer. He alleges that the wealthy province of
Burma, which M. Dautremer tells us is not unseldom called "the milch-cow
of India," is starved, that its financial policy has been directed by
"cautious, nothing-venture, mole-horizon people," who have hid their
talent in a napkin; that "everything seems expressly designed to drive
out the capital" of which the country stands so much in need; that not
nearly enough has been done in the way of expenditure on public works,
notably on roads and railways, and that when these latter have been
constructed, they have sometimes been in the wrong directions. He cavils
at M. Dautremer's description of Burma as "a model possession," and
holds that "as a matter of bitter fact, the administrative view is that
of the parish beadle, and the enterprise that of the country-carrier
with a light cart instead of a motor-van."

It would require greater local knowledge than any possessed by the
writer of the present article either to endorse or to reject these
formidable accusations, although it may be said that the violence of Sir
George Scott's invective is not very convincing, but rather raises a
strong suspicion that he has overstated his case. Nothing is more
difficult, either for a private individual or for a State financier,
than to decide the question of when to be bold and when cautious in the
matter of capital outlay. It is quite possible to push to an extreme the
commonplace, albeit attractive, argument that large expenditure will be
amply remunerative, or even if not directly remunerative, highly
beneficial "in the long run." Although this plea is often--indeed,
perhaps generally--valid, it is none the less true that the run which is
foreshadowed is at times so long as to make the taxpayer, who has to
bear the present cost, gasp for breath before the promised goal is
reached. Pericles, by laying out huge sums on the public buildings of
Athens, earned the undying gratitude of artistic posterity. Whether his
action was in the true interests of his Athenian contemporaries is
perhaps rather more doubtful. The recent history of Argentina is an
instance of a country in which, as subsequent events have proved, the
plea for lavish capital expenditure was perfectly justifiable, but in
which, nevertheless, the over-haste shown in incurring heavy liabilities
led to much temporary inconvenience and even disaster. But on the whole
it may be said that where all the general conditions are favourable, and
point conclusively to the possibility and probability of fairly rapid
economic development, a bold financial policy may and should be adopted,
even although it may not be easy to prove beforehand by very exact
calculations that any special project under consideration will be
directly remunerative. Egyptian finance is a case in point. At a time
when the country was in the throes of bankruptcy, a fresh loan of
L1,000,000 was, to the dismay of the conventional financiers,
contracted, the proceeds of which were spent on irrigation works. So
also the construction of the Assouan dam, which cost nearly double the
sum originally estimated, was taken in hand at a moment when a
liability of a wholly unknown amount on account of the war in the Soudan
was hanging over the head of the Egyptian Treasury. In both of these
cases subsequent events amply justified the financial audacity which had
been shown. In the case of Burma there appears to be no doubt as to the
wealth of the province or its capacity for further development. In view
of all the circumstances of the case the amount of twelve millions,
which is apparently all that has been spent on railway construction
since 1869, would certainly appear to be rather a niggardly sum. In
spite, therefore, of the very unnecessary warmth with which Sir George
Scott has urged his views, it is to be hoped that his plea for the
adoption of a somewhat bolder financial policy in the direction of
expenditure on railways, and still more on feeder roads, will receive
from the India Office, with whom the matter really rests, the attention
which it would certainly appear to deserve. The case of public
buildings, of which Burma apparently stands much in need, is different.
They cannot, strictly speaking, be said to be remunerative, and should
almost, if not quite, invariably be paid for out of revenue.

[Footnote 87: _Burma under British Rule_. By Joseph Dautremer. London:
T. Fisher Unwin. 15s.]




XVII

A PSEUDO-HERO OF THE REVOLUTION[88]

_"The Spectator," July 5, 1913_


If it be a fact, as Carlyle said, that "History is the essence of
innumerable biographies," it is very necessary that the biographies from
which that essence is extracted should be true. It was probably a
profound want of confidence in the accuracy of biographical writing that
led Horace Walpole to beg for "anything but history, for history must be
false." Modern industry and research, ferreting in the less frequented
bypaths of history, have exposed many fictions, and have often led to
some strikingly paradoxical conclusions. They have substituted for
Cambronne's apocryphal saying at Waterloo the blunt sarcasm of the Duke
of Wellington that there were a number of ladies at Brussels who were
termed "la vieille garde," and of whom it was said "elles ne meurent
pas et se rendent toujours." They have led one eminent historian to
apologise for the polygamous tendencies of Henry VIII.; another to
advance the startling proposition that the "amazing" but, as the world
has heretofore held, infamous Emperor Heliogabalus was a great religious
reformer, who was in advance of his times; a third to present Lucrezia
Borgia to the world as a much-maligned and very virtuous woman; and a
fourth to tell us that the "ever pusillanimous" Barere, as he is called
by M. Louis Madelin, was "persistently vilified and deliberately
misunderstood." Biographical research has, moreover, destroyed many
picturesque legends, with some of which posterity cannot part without a
pang of regret. We are reluctant to believe that William Tell was a
mythological marksman and Gessler a wholly impossible bailiff.
Nevertheless the inexorable laws of evidence demand that this sacrifice
should be made on the altar of historical truth. M. Gastine has now
ruthlessly quashed out another picturesque legend. Tallien--the
"bristly, fox-haired" Tallien of Carlyle's historical rhapsody--and La
Cabarrus--the fair Spanish Proserpine whom, "Pluto-like, he gathered at
Bordeaux"--have so far floated down the tide of history as individuals
who, like Byron's Corsair, were

    Linked with one virtue and a thousand crimes.

Of the crimes there could, indeed, never have been any doubt, but
posterity took but little heed of them, for they were amply condoned by
the single virtue. That virtue was, indeed, of a transcendent character,
for it was nothing less than the delivery of the French nation from the
Dahomey-like rule of that Robespierre who deluged France in blood, and
who, albeit in Fouche's words he was "terribly sincere," at the same
time "never in his life cared for any one but himself and never forgave
an offence." Moreover, the act of delivery was associated with an
episode eminently calculated to appeal to human sentiment and sympathy.
It was thought that the love of a fair woman whose life was endangered
had nerved the lover and the patriot to perform an heroic act at the
imminent risk of his own life. Hence the hero became "Le Lion Amoureux,"
and the heroine was canonised as "Notre Dame de Thermidor."

M. Gastine has now torn this legend to shreds. Under his pitiless
analysis of the facts, nothing is left but the story of a contemptible
adventurer, who was "a robber, a murderer, and a poltroon," mated to a
grasping, heartless courtesan. Both were alike infamous. The ignoble
careers of both from the cradle to the grave do not, in reality, present
a single redeeming feature.

Madame Tallien was the daughter of Francois Cabarrus, a wealthy
Spaniard who was the banker of the Spanish Court. The great influence
which she unquestionably exerted over her contemporaries was wholly due
to her astounding physical beauty. Her intellectual equipment was meagre
in the extreme. At one period of her life she courted the society of
Madame de Stael and other intellectuals, but Princess Helene Ligne said
of her that she "had more jargon than wit." As regards her physical
attractions, however, no dissentient voice has ever been raised. "Her
beauty," the Duchess d'Abrantes says in her memoirs, "of which the
sculptors of antiquity give us but an incomplete idea, had a charm not
met with in the types of Greece and Rome." Every man who approached her
appears to have become her victim. Lacretelle, who himself worshipped at
her shrine, says, "She appeared to most of us as the Spirit of Clemency
incarnate in the loveliest of human forms." At a very early age she
married a young French nobleman, the Marquis de Fontenay, from whom she
was speedily divorced. It is not known for what offence she was arrested
and imprisoned. Probably the mere fact that she was a marquise was
sufficient to entangle her in the meshes of the revolutionary net. It is
certain, however, that whilst lying under sentence of death in the
prison at Bordeaux she attracted the attention of Tallien, the son of
the Marquis of Bercy's butler and _ci-devant_ lawyer's clerk, who had
blossomed into "a Terrorist of the first water." He obtained her release
and she became his mistress. She took advantage of the equivocal but
influential position which she had attained to engage in a vile traffic.
She and her paramour amassed a huge fortune by accepting money from the
unfortunate prisoners who were threatened with the fate which she had so
narrowly escaped, and to which she was again to be exposed. The venal
lenity shown by Tallien to aristocrats rendered him an object of
suspicion, whilst the marked tendency displayed by Robespierre to
mistrust and, finally, to immolate his coadjutors was an ominous
indication of the probable course of future events. Robespierre had
already destroyed Vergniaud by means of Hebert, Hebert by means of
Danton, and Danton by means of Billaud. As a preliminary step to the
destruction of Tallien, he caused his mistress to be arrested, probably
with a view to seeing what evidence against her paramour could be
extracted before she was herself guillotined.

From this point in the narrative history is merged into legend. The
legend would have us believe that on the 7th Thermidor the "Citoyenne
Fontenay" sent a dagger to the "Citoyen Tallien," accompanied by a
letter in which she said that she had dreamt that Robespierre was no
more, and that the gates of her prison had been flung open. "Alas!" she
added, "thanks to your signal cowardice there will soon be no one left
in France capable of bringing such a dream to pass." Tallien besought
Robespierre to show mercy, but "the Incorruptible was inflexible." Then
the "Lion Amoureux" roared, being, as the legend relates, stricken to
the heart at the appalling danger to which his beloved mistress was
exposed or, as his detractors put the case, being in deadly fear that
the untoward revelations of the Citoyenne might cost him his own head.
The next act in this Aeschylean drama is described by the believers in
the legend in the following words: "Tallien drew Theresia's dagger from
his breast and flashed it in the sunlight as though to nerve himself for
the desperate business that confronted him. 'This,' he cried
passionately, 'will be my final argument,' and looking about him to make
sure he was alone he raised the blade to his lips and kissed it."

The result, it is alleged, was that Tallien provoked the episode of the
9th Thermidor (July 22, 1794). The few faltering sentences which
Robespierre wished to utter were never spoken. He was "choked by the
blood of Danton," and hurried off to the guillotine which awaited him on
the morrow.

History, which in this instance is not legendary, relates that on the
death of the tyrant a wild shout of exultation was raised by the joyous
people who had for so long wandered in the Valley of the Shadow of
Death. To whom, they asked, did they owe their liberty? What was more
natural than to assume that it was to the brave Tallien and to the
loving woman who armed him to strike a blow for the freedom of France?
Tallien and his mistress became, therefore, the idols of the French
people. The Chancellor Pasquier relates their appearance at a theatre:

     The enthusiasm and the applause were indescribable. The occupants
     of the boxes, the people in the pit, men and women alike, stood up
     on their chairs to look at him. It seemed as though they would
     never weary of gazing at him. He was young, rather good-looking,
     and his manner was calm and serene. Madame Tallien was at his side
     and shared his triumph. In her case also everything had been
     forgiven and forgotten. Similar scenes were enacted all through the
     autumn of that year. Never was any service, however great, rewarded
     by gratitude so lively and so touching.

It would be impossible within the limits of the present article to
summarise the arguments by which M. Gastine seeks to destroy this myth.
Allusion may, however, be made to two points of special importance. The
first is that neither Tallien nor the lovely Spaniard languishing in
the dungeon of La Force had much to do with the episode of the 9th
Thermidor. "Tallien was a mere super, a mere puppet that had to be
galvanised into action up to the very last." The man who really
organised the movement and persuaded his coadjutors that they were
engaged in a life and death struggle with Robespierre was he who, as
every reader of revolutionary history knows, was busily engaged in
pulling the strings behind the scenes during the whole of this chaotic
period. It was the man whose iron nerve and subtle brain enabled him, in
spite of a secular course of betrayals, to keep his head on his
shoulders, and finally to escape the clutches of Napoleon, who, as Lord
Rosebery tells us,[89] always deeply regretted that he had not had him
"hanged or shot." It was Fouche.

In the second place, there is conclusive evidence to show that, to use
the ordinary slang expression of the present day, the celebrated dagger
letter was "faked." When Robespierre fell, Tallien never gave a thought
to his mistress. He still trembled for his own life. "His sole aim was
to make away with Robespierre's papers." It was only on the 12th
Thermidor--that is to say, two days after Robespierre's mangled head had
been sheared off by the guillotine--that, noting the trend of public
opinion, and appreciating the capital which might be made out of the
current myth, he hurried off to La Force and there concocted with his
mistress the famous letter which he, of course, antedated.

The subsequent careers of Tallien and his wife--for he married La
Cabarrus in December 1794--are merely characterised by a number of
unedifying details. The hero of this sordid tale passed through many
vicissitudes. He went with Napoleon to Egypt. He was, on his return
voyage, taken prisoner by an English cruiser. On his arrival in London
he was well received by Fox and the Whigs--a fact which cannot be said
to redound much to the credit either of the Whig party or its leader. He
gambled on the Stock Exchange, and at one time "blossomed out as a
dealer in soap, candles, and cotton bonnets." After passing through an
unhonoured old age, he died in great poverty in 1820. The heroine became
intimate with Josephine during Napoleon's absence in Egypt, was
subsequently divorced from Tallien, and later, after passing through a
phase when she was the mistress of the banker Ouvrard, married the
Prince of Caraman-Chimay. Her conduct during the latter years of her
life appears to have been irreproachable. She died in 1835.

[Footnote 88: _The Life of Madame Tallien._ By L. Gastine. Translated
from the French by J. Lewis May. London: John Lane. 12s. 6d. net.]

[Footnote 89: _The Last Phase_, p. 203.]




XVIII

THE FUTURE OF THE CLASSICS

_"The Spectator," July 5, 1913_


There was a time, not so very long ago, when the humanists enjoyed a
practical monopoly in the domain of English education, and, by doing so,
exercised a considerable, perhaps even a predominant, influence not only
over the social life but also over the policy, both external and
internal, adopted by their countrymen. Like most monopolists, they
showed a marked tendency to abuse the advantages of their position.
Science was relegated to a position of humiliating inferiority, and had
to content itself with picking up whatever crumbs were, with a lordly
and at times almost contemptuous tolerance, allowed to fall from the
humanistic table. Bossuet once defined a heretic as "celui qui a une
opinion" ([Greek: airesis]). A somewhat similar attitude was at one time
adopted to those who were inclined to doubt whether a knowledge of Latin
and Greek could be considered the Alpha and Omega of a sound education.
The calm judgment of that great humanist, Professor Jebb, led him to the
conclusion that the claims of the humanities have been at times defended
by pleas which were exaggerated and paradoxical--using this latter term
in the sense of arguments which contain an element of truth, but of
truth which has been distorted--and that in an age remarkable beyond all
previous ages for scientific research and discoveries, that nation must
necessarily lag behind which, in the well-known words uttered by Gibbon
at a time when science was still in swaddling-clothes, fears that the
"finer feelings" are destroyed if the mind becomes "hardened by the
habit of rigid demonstration." All this has now been changed. Professor
Huxley did not live in vain. His mantle fell on the shoulders of many
other doughty champions who shared his views. Science no longer slinks
modestly in educational bypaths, but occupies the high road, and, to say
the least, marches abreast of her humanistic sister. Yet the scientists
are not yet content. Their souls are athirst for further victories. A
high authority on education, himself a classical scholar,[90] has
recently told us that, although the English boy "as he emerges from the
crucible of the public school laboratory" may be a fairly good agent
for dealing with the "lower or more submissive races in the wilds of
Africa or in the plains of India," elsewhere--notably in Canada--he is
"a conspicuous failure"; that one of the principal reasons why he is a
failure is that "the influence of the humanists still reigns over us";
and that "the future destiny of the Empire is wrapt up in the immediate
reform of England's educational system." In the course of that reform,
which it is proposed should be of a very drastic character, some
half-hearted efforts may conceivably be made to effect the salvage of
whatever will remain of the humanistic wreck, but the real motto of the
reformers will almost certainly be Utilitarianism, writ large. The
humanists, therefore, are placed on their defence. It may be that the
walls of their entrenchment, which have already been a good deal
battered, will fall down altogether, and that the garrison will be asked
to submit to a capitulation which will be almost unconditional.

In the midst of the din of battle which may already be heard, and which
will probably ere long become louder, it seems very desirable that the
voices of those who are neither profound scholars nor accomplished
scientists nor educational experts should be heard. These--and there are
many such--ask, What is the end which we should seek to attain? Can
science alone be trusted to prevent education becoming, in the words of
that sturdy old pagan, Thomas Love Peacock, a "means for giving a fixed
direction to stupidity"? The answer they, or many of them, give to these
questions is that the main end of education is to teach people to think,
and that they are not prepared to play false to their own intellects to
such an extent as to believe that the national power of thinking will
not be impaired if it is deprived of the teaching of the most thoughtful
nation which the world has ever known. That nation is Greece. These
classes, therefore, lift up their hands in supplication to scientists,
educational experts, and parliamentarians--yea, even to soulless
wire-pullers who would perhaps willingly cast Homer and Sophocles to the
dogs in order to win a contested election--and with one voice cry: We
recognise the need of reform; we wish to march with the times; we are no
enemies to science; but in the midst of your utilitarian ideas, we
implore you, in the name both of learning and common sense, to devise
some scheme which will still enable the humanities to act as some check
on the growing materialism of the age; otherwise the last stage of the
educated youth of this country will be worse than the first; remember
what Lucretius--on the bold assumption that wire-pullers ever read
Lucretius--said, "Hic Acherusia stultorum denique vita"; above all
things, let there be no panic legislation--and panic is a danger to
which democracies and even, Pindar has told us, "the sons of the
gods,"[91] are greatly exposed; in taking any new departure let us,
therefore, very carefully and deliberately consider how we can best
preserve all that is good in our existing system.

Whatever temporary effect appeals of this sort may produce, it is
certain that the ultimate result must depend very greatly on the extent
to which a real interest in classical literature can be kept alive in
the minds of the rising and of future generations. How can this object
best be achieved? The question is one of vital importance.

The writer of the present article would be the last to attempt to raise
a cheap laugh at the expense of that laborious and, as it may appear to
some, almost useless erudition which, for instance, led Professor
Hermann to write four books on the particle [Greek: an] and to indite a
learned dissertation on [Greek: autos]. The combination of industry and
enthusiasm displayed in efforts such as these has not been wasted. The
spirit which inspired them has materially contributed to the real stock
of valuable knowledge which the world possesses. None the less it must
be admitted that something more than mere erudition is required to
conjure away the perils which the humanities now have to face. It is
necessary to quicken the interest of the rising generation, to show them
that it is not only historically true to say, with Lessing, that "with
Greece the morning broke," but that it is equally true to maintain that
in what may, relatively speaking, be called the midday splendour of
learning, we cannot dispense with the guiding light of the early morn;
that Greek literature, in Professor Gilbert Murray's words,[92] is "an
embodiment of the progressive spirit, an expression of the struggle of
the human soul towards freedom and ennoblement"; and that our young men
and women will be, both morally and intellectually, the poorer if they
listen to the insidious and deceptive voice of an exaggerated
materialism which whispers that amidst the hum of modern machinery and
the heated wrangles incident to the perplexing problems which arise as
the world grows older, the knowledge of a language and a literature
which have survived two thousand eight hundred storm-tossed years is "of
no practical use."

It is this interest which the works of a man like the late Dr. Verrall
serve to stimulate. He was eminently fitted for the task. On the
principle which Dr. Johnson mocked by saying that "who drives fat oxen
should himself be fat," it may be said that an advocate of humanistic
learning should himself be human in the true and Terentian meaning of
that somewhat ambiguous word. This is what Verrall was. All who knew him
speak of his lovable character, and others who were in this respect less
favoured can judge of the genuineness of his human sympathies by
applying two well-nigh infallible tests. He loved children, and he was
imbued with what Professor Mackail very appropriately calls in his
commemorative address "a delightful love of nonsense." His kindly and
genial humour sparkles, indeed, in every line he wrote. Moreover,
whether he was right or wrong in the highly unconventional views which
he at times expressed, his scorn for literary orthodoxy was in itself
very attractive. Whenever he found what he called a "boggle"--that is to
say an incident or a phrase in respect to which, he was dissatisfied
with the conventional explanation--"he could not rest until he had made
an effort to get to the bottom of it." He treated old subjects with an
originality which rejuvenated them, and decked them again with the charm
of novelty. He bade us, with a copy of Martial in our hands, accompany
him to the Coliseum and be, in imagination, one of the sixty thousand
spectators who thronged to behold the strange Africans, Sarmatians, and
others who are gathered together from the four quarters of the Roman
world to take part in the Saturnalia. He asked us to watch with
Propertius whilst the slumbers of his Cynthia were disturbed by dreams
that she was flying from one of her all too numerous lovers. Under his
treatment, Mr. Cornford says, the most commonplace passages in classical
literature "began to glow with passion and to flash with wit." His main
literary achievement is thus recorded on the tablet erected to his
memory at Trinity College: "Euripidis famam vindicavit." He threw
himself with ardour into the discussion on the merits and demerits of
the Greek tragedian which has been going on ever since it was originally
started by Aristophanes, and he may at least be said to have shown that
what French Boileau said of his own poetry applies with equal force to
the Greek--"Mon vers, bien ou mal, dit toujours quelque chose." In the
process of rehabilitating Euripides, Verrall threw out brilliantly
original ideas in every direction. Take, for instance, his treatment of
the _Ion_. Every one who has dabbled in Greek literature knows that
Euripides was a free-thinker, albeit in his old age he did lip-service
to the current theology of the day, and told the Athenians that they
should not "apply sophistry," or, in other words rationalise, about the
gods.[93] Every one also has rather marvelled at the somewhat lame and
impotent conclusion of the play when Athene--herself in reality one of
the most infamous of the Olympian deities--is brought on the stage to
save the prestige of the oracle at Delphi and to explain away the
altogether disreputable behaviour of the no less infamous Apollo. But no
one before Verrall had thought of coupling together the free-thinking
and the episode in the play. This is what Verrall did. Ion sees that the
oracle can lie, and, therefore, "Delphi is plainly discredited as a
fountain of truth." The explanation is, of course, somewhat conjectural.
Homer, who was certainly not a free-thinker, made his deities
sufficiently ridiculous, and, at times, altogether odious. Mr. Lang says
with truth: "When Homer touches on the less lovable humours of women--on
the nagging shrew, the light o' love, the rather bitter virgin--he
selects his examples from the divine society of the gods."[94] But
whether the very plausible conjectures made by Verrall as to the real
purpose of Euripides in his treatment of the oracle in _Ion_, or, to
quote another instance, his explanation of the phantom in _Helen_, be
right or wrong, no one can deny that what he wrote is alive with
interest. On this point, the testimony of his pupils, albeit in some
respects contradictory, is conclusive. One of them (Mr. Marsh) says: "I
was usually convinced by everything," whilst another (Mr. J.R.M. Butler)
says: "I don't think we believed very much what he said; he always said
he was as likely to be wrong as right. But he made all classics so
gloriously new and living. He made us criticise by standards of common
sense, and presume that the tragedians were not fools and that they did
mean something. They were not to be taken as antiques privileged to use
conventions that would be nonsense in any one else."

Classical learning will not be kept alive for long by forcing young men
with perhaps a taste for science or the integral calculus to apply
themselves to the study of Aristotle or Sophocles. The real hope for the
humanities in the future lies in the teaching of such men as Butcher,
Verrall, Gilbert Murray, Dill, Bevan, Livingstone, Zimmern, and, it may
fortunately be said, many others, who can make the literature of the
ancient world and the personalities of its inhabitants live in the eyes
of the present generation.

[Footnote 90: _The Public Schools and the Empire_. By D.H.B. Gray.]

[Footnote 91: [Greek: En gar daimonioisi phobois pheugonti kai paides
theon.]--_Nem._ ix. 27.]

[Footnote 92: _Rise of the Greek Epic_, p. 3.]

[Footnote 93: [Greek: Ouden sophizomestha toisi daimosi].--_Bacchae_,
200.]

[Footnote 94: _The World of Homer_, p. 34.]




XIX

AN INDIAN IDEALIST[95]

_"The Spectator," July 12, 1913_


Amidst the jumble of political shibboleths, mainly drawn from the
vocabulary of extreme Radical sentimentalists, which Mr. Mallik supplies
to his readers in rich abundance, two may be selected which give the
keynote to his opinions. The first, which is inscribed on the
title-page, is St. Paul's statement to the Athenians that all nations of
men are of one blood. The second, which occurs towards the close of his
work, is that "sane Imperialism is political Idealism." Both statements
are paradoxical. Both contain a germ of truth. In both cases an extreme
application of the principle involved would lead to dire consequences.
The first aphorism leads us to the unquestionably sound conclusion that
Newton, equally with a pygmy from the forests of Central Africa, was a
human being. It does not take us much further. The second aphorism bids
us remember that the statesman who is incapable of conceiving and
attempting to realise an ideal is a mere empiricist, but it omits to
mention that if this same statesman, in pursuit of his ideal, neglects
all his facts and allows himself to become an inhabitant of a political
Cloud Cuckoo-land, he will certainly ruin his own reputation, and may
not improbably inflict very great injury upon the country and people
which form the subject of his crude experiments. On the whole, if we are
to apply that proverbial philosophy which is so dear to the mind of all
Europeanised Easterns to the solution of political problems, it will
perhaps be as well to bear constantly in mind the excellent Sanskrit
maxim which, amidst a collection of wise saws, Mr. Mallik quotes in his
final chapter, "A wise man thinks of both _pro_ and _con_."

Starting with a basis of somewhat extreme idealism, it is not surprising
that Mr. Mallik has developed not only into an ardent Indian
nationalist, but also into an advanced Indian Radical. As to the latter
characteristic, he manifestly does not like the upper classes of his own
country. They are, in fact, as bad or even worse than English peers.
They are "like the 'idle rich' elsewhere; they squander annually in
luxuries and frivolities huge sums of money, besides hoarding up
jewels, gold and silver of immense value." Occasionally, they pose as
"upholders of the Government." "Even so they do not conceal their fangs.
When small measures of conciliation have in recent times been proposed,
the 'Peers' in India have not been slow to proclaim through their organs
that the Government were rousing their suspicion."

Turning, however, to the relations between Europe and Asia, Mr. Mallik
says that it is often asserted that the two continents "cannot
understand each other--that Asia is a mystery to Europe, and must always
remain so." Most people who have considered this subject have so far
thought that the main reason why Europeans find it difficult to
understand Asia is because, in some matters, Asia is difficult to
understand. They have, therefore, been deeply grateful to men like the
late Sir Alfred Lyall, who have endeavoured with marked ability and
sympathy to explain the mystery to them. But Mr. Mallik now explains to
us that no such gratitude is due, for the reason why Asia is so often
misunderstood is not on account of any difficulties attendant on
comprehension, but because those who have paid special attention to the
subject are "persons whose nature or training or self-interest leads
them not to wish the understanding to take place." Whether Mr. Mallik
has done much to lighten the prevailing darkness and to explain the East
to the West is perhaps somewhat doubtful, but it is quite certain that
he has done his utmost to explain to those of his countrymen who are
conversant with the English language the attitude which, in his opinion,
they should adopt towards Westerns and Western civilisation. In one of
the sweeping generalities in which his work abounds, Mr. Mallik says
with great truth, that "however manners may differ ... nothing is gained
by nursing a feeling of animosity." It is to be regretted that Mr.
Mallik has not himself acted on the wise principle which he here
enunciates. He has, however, not done so. Under the familiar garb of a
friend who indulges in an excess of candour he has made a number of
observations which, whether true or false, are eminently calculated to
inflame that racial animosity which it is the duty of every well-wisher
of India to endeavour by every means in his power to allay. He makes a
lengthy and elaborate comparison between East and West, in which every
plague-spot in European civilisation is carefully catalogued. Every
ulcer in Western life is probed. Every possible sore in the connection
between the European and Asiatic is made to rankle. On the other hand,
with the cries of the Christians massacred at Adana still ringing in
our ears, Mr. Mallik, forgetful apparently of the fact that the Turk is
an Asian, tells us that "Asia, typical of the East, looks upon all races
and creeds with absolute impartiality," and, further, that "gentleness
and consideration are the peculiar characteristics of the East, as
overbearing and rudeness, miscalled independence, and not unfrequently
deserving to be called insolence, are products of the West."

But it is the word Imperialism which more especially excites Mr.
Mallik's wrath. In the first place, he altogether denies the existence
of an "imperial race," being convinced of its non-existence by the
strangely inconclusive argument that "if a race is made by nature
imperial, every member of that race must be imperial too and equally
able to rule." In the second place, he points out that the results which
flow from the Imperial idea are in all respects deplorable. The East had
"always believed that mankind could be made saints and philosophers,"
but the West, represented by Imperialism, stepped in and "shattered its
belief." The West, as shown by the deference now paid to Japan, "values
the bloodthirsty propensities much more than humane activities." "The
expressed desire of the Imperialist is to let darkness flourish in order
that he may personally benefit by it.... Empire and Imperialism mean
the triumph of retrograde notions and the infliction of insult and
suffering on three hundred millions of human beings." It is this
Imperial policy which has led to the most gross injustice being
inflicted on every class of the community in India. As regards the civil
services, "the policy of fat pay, ease, perquisites, and praise are the
share of the European officers, and hard work and blame that of the
Indian rank and file." It is the same in the army. "In frontier wars the
Indian troops have had to bear the brunt of the fighting, the European
portion being 'held in reserve' and coming up at the end to receive all
the glory of victory and the consequent rewards." It is sometimes said
that the masses in India trust Englishmen more than their own
countrymen. That this statement is erroneous is clearly proved by "the
absence of interest of the rulers themselves in the moral and material
advancement of the poorer classes." Not content with uttering this
prodigious falsehood, Mr. Mallik adds a further and fouler calumny. He
alludes to the rudeness at times displayed by Englishmen towards the
natives of India--a feature in Indian social life which every
right-thinking Englishman will be prepared to condemn as strongly as Mr.
Mallik. But, not content with indicating the evil, Mr. Mallik alleges
that any special act of insolence perpetrated by an Indian official
meets with the warm approval of the Government. Promotion, he says, is
"usual in such cases." Again, Mr. Mallik's dislike and distrust of
Moslems crops up whenever he alludes to them. Nevertheless, he does not
hesitate to denounce that Government whose presence alone prevents an
outbreak of sectarian strife for "sedulously fomenting" religious
animosities with a view to arresting the Nationalist movement.
Similarly, the constitution of the Universities has been changed with a
view to rendering the youth of India "stupid and servile" instead of
"clever and patriotic."

Moreover, whilst India, under the sway of Imperialism, is "drifting to
its doom," Mr. Mallik seems to fear that a somewhat similar fate awaits
England. He observes many symptoms of decay to which, for the most part,
Englishmen are blind. He greatly fears that "the liberties of the people
are not safe when the Tory Party continues in power for a long period."
Neither is the prospect of Liberal ascendancy much less gloomy. Liberals
are becoming "Easternised." They are getting "more and more leavened by
reaction imported from India." It really looks as if "English Liberalism
might soon sink to a pious tradition." In the meanwhile, Mr. Mallik,
with true Eastern proclivities, warmly admires that portion of the
English system which Englishmen generally tolerate as a necessary evil,
but of which they are by no means proud. Most thinking men in this
country resent the idea of Indian interests being made a shuttlecock in
the strife of party. Not so Mr. Mallik. He shudders at the idea of
Indian affairs being considered exclusively on their own merits. "If it
is no party's duty to champion the cause of any part of the Empire, that
part must be made over to Satan, or retained, like a convict settlement,
for the breeding of 'Imperial' ideas." He is himself quite prepared to
adopt an ultra-partisan attitude. In spite of his evident dislike to the
nomination of any Englishman to take part in the administration of
India, he warmly applauds the appointment of "a young and able official"
to the Viceroy's Council, because he was "associated with a great
Liberal Minister of the Crown."

It is not quite clear what, beyond a manifestation of that sympathy
which his own writings are so well calculated to alienate, Mr. Mallik
really wants. He thinks that there is "perhaps some truth" in the
assertion that the "Aryans of India are not yet fit for
self-government," and he says that "wise Indians do not claim at once
the political institutions that Europeans have gained by a long course
of struggle and training, the value of which in advancing happiness is
not yet always perceptible in Europe." On the other hand, he appears to
be of opinion that the somewhat sweeping reforms recently inaugurated by
Lord Morley and Lord Minto do not go far enough. The only practical
proposals he makes are, first, that the old _punchayet_ system in every
village should be revived, and that a consultative assembly should be
created, whose functions "should be wholly social and religious,
political topics being out of its jurisdiction." He adds--and there need
be no hesitation in cordially accepting his view on this point--that the
"plan would have to be carefully thought out" before it is adopted.

The problem of how to govern India is very difficult, and is
unquestionably becoming more and more so every year. Although many of
the slanders uttered by Mr. Mallik are very contemptible, it is useless
to ignore the fact that they are believed not only by a large number of
the educated youth of India, of which he may perhaps to some extent be
considered a type, but also by many of their English sympathisers.
Moreover, in spite of much culpable misstatement and exaggeration, Mr.
Mallik may have occasionally blundered unawares into making some
observations which are deserving of some slight consideration on their
own merits. The only wise course for English statesmen to adopt is to
possess their souls in patience, to continue to govern India in the best
interests of its inhabitants, and to avoid on the one hand the extreme
of repressive measures, and on the other hand the equally dangerous
extreme of premature and drastic reform in the fundamental institutions
of the country. In the meanwhile, it may be noted that literature such
as Mr. Mallik's book can do no good, and may do much harm.

[Footnote 95: _Orient and Occident_. By Manmath C. Mallik. London: T.
Fisher Unwin. 10s. 6d.]




XX

THE FISCAL QUESTION IN INDIA

_"The Spectator," July 19, 1913_


Sir Roper Lethbridge says that his object in writing the book which he
has recently published (_The Indian Offer of Imperial Preference_) is to
provoke discussion, but "not to lay down any dogma." It is related that
a certain clergyman, after he had preached a sermon, said to Lord
Melbourne, who had been one of his congregation, "I tried not to be
tedious," to which Lord Melbourne replied, "You were." Sir Roper
Lethbridge may have tried not to dogmatise, but his efforts in this
direction have certainly not been crowned with success. On the contrary,
although dealing with a subject which bristles with points of a highly
controversial nature, he states his conclusions with an assurance which
is little short of oracular. Heedless of the woful fate which has
attended many of the fiscal seers who have preceded him, he does not
hesitate to pronounce the most confident prophecies upon a subject as to
which experience has proved that prophecy is eminently hazardous, viz.
the economic effect likely to be produced by drastic changes in the
fiscal system. Moreover, his pages are disfigured by a good deal of
commonplace invective about "the shibboleths of an obsolete Cobdenism,"
the "worship of the fetish of Cobdenism," and "the bigotry of the Cobden
Club," as to whom the stale fallacy is repeated that they "consider the
well-being of the 'poor foreigner'" rather than "our own commercial
interests." Language of this sort can only serve to irritate. It cannot
convince. Sir Roper Lethbridge appears to forget that, apart from those
who, on general party grounds, are little inclined to listen to the
gospel which he has to preach, there are a large number of Unionists who
are to a greater extent open to conviction, and who, if their conversion
can be effected, are, in the interests of the cause which he advocates,
well worth convincing. These blemishes--for blemishes they
unquestionably are--should not, however, blind us to the fact that Sir
Roper Lethbridge deals with a subject of very great importance and also
of very great difficulty. It is most desirable that it should be
discussed. Sir Fleetwood Wilson, in the very statesmanlike speech
delivered in the Indian Legislative Council last March, indicated the
spirit in which the discussion should take place. "The subject," he
said, "is one which in the public interest calls for consideration, not
recrimination." It would be Utopian to suppose that it can be kept
altogether outside the arena of party strife, but those who are not
uncompromising partisans, and who also strongly deprecate Indian
questions being made the shuttlecock of party interests, can at all
events endeavour to approach the question with an open mind and to treat
it dispassionately and exclusively on its own merits.

The main issue involved may be broadly stated in the following terms. Up
to the present time the fiscal policy of the Indian Government has been
based on Free Trade principles. Customs duties are collected for revenue
purposes. A general 5 per cent _ad valorem_ duty is imposed on imports.
Cotton goods pay a duty of 31/2 per cent. An excise duty of a similar
amount is imposed on cotton woven at Indian mills. A duty of three annas
a maund is paid on exported rice. Sir Roper Lethbridge and those who
concur with him now propose that this system should undergo a radical
change. The main features of their proposal, if the writer of the
present article understands them correctly, seem to be that the duty on
cotton goods imported from the United Kingdom, as also the
corresponding excise duty levied in India, should be altogether
abolished; that the duties raised on goods--apparently of all
descriptions--imported into India from non-British ports should be
raised; that a preference should be accorded in British ports to Indian
tea, coffee, sugar, tobacco, etc.; and that an export duty should be
levied at Indian ports on certain products, notably on jute and lac.
This new duty would not, however, be levied on goods sent to the United
Kingdom.

There does not appear to be any absolute necessity for dealing with this
question at once, but Sir Roper Lethbridge is quite justified in calling
attention to it, for it is not only conceivable, but even probable, that
at no very remote period the Government of India will have to deal with
a problem which, it may readily be admitted, will tax their
statesmanship to the very utmost. It is no exaggeration to say that
since the Crown took over the direct management of Indian affairs no
issue of greater magnitude has been raised. Moreover, although Lord
Crewe had an easy task in showing that in some respects the difficulties
attendant on any solution would be enhanced rather than diminished if
the fiscal policy of the British Government in the United Kingdom
underwent a radical change, it is none the less true that those
difficulties will remain of a very formidable character even if no such
change is effected.

It is essential to bear in mind that the difficulties which beset this
question are not solely fiscal, but also political. This feature is
almost invariably characteristic of Oriental finance, and nowhere is it
more prominent than in India. The writer of the present article can
speak with some special knowledge of the circumstances attendant on the
great Free Trade measures introduced in India under the auspices of Lord
Ripon. He can state very confidently that, although Lord Ripon and all
the leading members of his Government were convinced Free Traders, it
was the political to a far greater extent than the fiscal arguments
which led them to the conclusion that the Indian Customs barriers should
be abolished. They foresaw that the rival commercial interests of India
and Lancashire would cause a rankling and persistent sore which might do
infinite political harm. They wished, therefore, to apply a timely
remedy, and it cannot be doubted that, so long as it lasted, the remedy
was effective. In most respects the fiscal policy adopted then and that
now advocated by Sir Roper Lethbridge and his coadjutors are the poles
asunder. Nevertheless, in one respect they coincide. Sir Roper
Lethbridge places in the forefront of his proposals the abolition both
of the import duty on cotton goods and the corresponding excise duty
levied in India. He is unquestionably right. That is an ideal which both
Free Traders and Protectionists may very reasonably seek to attain. It
is, in fact, the only really satisfactory solution of the main point at
issue. The difficulty is to realise this ideal without doing more than
an equivalent amount of injury to Indian interests in other directions.

The chief arguments by which Sir Roper Lethbridge defends the special
proposals which he advances are three in number. They are (1) that the
nascent industries of India require protection; (2) that it is necessary
to raise more revenue, and that the suggestions now made afford an
unobjectionable method for achieving this object; and (3) that the
economic facts connected with India afford special facilities for the
adoption of a policy of retaliation.

From a purely economic point of view the first of these three pleas is
singularly inconclusive.

It was refuted by Sir Fleetwood Wilson, whom both Mr. Austen
Chamberlain, in the introduction which he has written to Sir Roper
Lethbridge's book, and Sir Roper Lethbridge himself seem to regard, on
grounds which are apparently somewhat insufficient, as a partial convert
to their views. It may be said without exaggeration that if any country
in the world is likely to benefit by the adoption of Free Trade
principles that country is India. Industries cannot, as Sir Fleetwood
Wilson very truly said, be "encouraged" by means of a protective tariff
without raising home prices. Without going over all the well-trodden
ground on this subject, which must be familiar to all who have taken
part in the fiscal controversy, and without, moreover, denying that
nascent industries have in some countries been successfully encouraged
by the adoption of a protective system, it will be sufficient to say
that, looking at all the economic facts existent in India, the period of
partial transition from agriculture to industries, during which the
process of encouragement will have to be maintained, will almost
certainly last much longer than even in America or Germany, and that
during the whole of that lengthy period the mass of the population, who
are very poor and who are engaged in agricultural pursuits, will not
benefit from the protection, although they will at the same time suffer
grievously from the rise in prices.

The main importance of this argument, however, is not to be derived from
its economic value, but rather from the important political fact that it
is one which finds favour with a large and influential body of Indian
opinion. Sir Roper Lethbridge claims that the leaders of Indian thought
are almost to a man Protectionists, and in his work he gives, as an
example of their views, the very able speech delivered by Sir Gangadhar
Chitnavis in the Calcutta Legislative Council last March.[96] He is
probably right; neither is anything to be gained by ignoring the gravity
of the situation which is thus created. Whether the Indian
Protectionists be right or wrong as to the fiscal policy which is best
adapted to Indian interests, there is no denying the fact that with
Protection flourishing in the self-governing colonies, with the recent
enlargement of the scope and functions of representative institutions in
India, and with the grievance created by the sacrifice of the opium
revenue on the altar of British vicarious philanthropy, it is a serious
matter for the British Government to assert their own views if those
views run diametrically counter to the wishes expressed by the only
representatives of Indian opinion who are in a position to make their
voices heard. Nevertheless, there are two limitations on the extent to
which concessions can or ought to be made to Indian opinion. The first
is based on the necessities of English internal politics. It cannot be
doubted that although Sir Gangadhar Chitnavis and those who agree with
him may perhaps be willing, as a _pis aller_, to accept Sir Roper
Lethbridge's preferential plan, what they really want is not Preference
but Protection against England, and this they cannot have, because, in
Sir Roper Lethbridge's words, "no British Government that offered India
Protection against Lancashire would live for a week." The second
limitation is based on less egotistical and, therefore, nobler grounds.
In spite of recent concessions, India is still, politically speaking,
_in statu pupillari_, neither do the concessions recently made in the
direction of granting self-governing institutions dispense the British
Government from the duty of looking to the interests of the masses, who
are at present very inadequately represented. It must be remembered that
in India, perhaps even more than elsewhere, the voice of the consumer is
hushed, whilst that of the producer is loud and strident.

The second of Sir Roper Lethbridge's arguments is based on the alleged
necessity of raising more revenue. He, as also Sir Gangadhar Chitnavis,
take it for granted that this necessity has already arisen. It would be
essential, before taking any practical steps to give effect to the
proposals now under discussion, to ascertain beyond any manner of doubt
whether this statement is correct, and also, if correct, what
alternatives exist to the plan proposed by Sir Roper Lethbridge. Sir
Fleetwood Wilson carefully abstained from pledging himself to the
accuracy of Sir Gangadhar Chitnavis's view on this point. "There is," he
said, "much room for the development of India's other resources, and it
has yet to be shown that there is no room for further economies in our
administration." In the meanwhile, it would tend to the elucidation of
the subject if Sir Roper Lethbridge and those who agree with him would
lay before the world a carefully prepared and detailed estimate of the
financial results which they consider would accrue from the adoption of
their proposals. We are told, for instance, that raw jute to the value
of L13,000,000 is exported annually from Bengal, of which only
L3,000,000 worth is worked up in Great Britain, and that "a moderate
duty" on this article would produce two millions a year. The prospect of
obtaining a revenue of L2,000,000 in the manner proposed by Sir Roper
Lethbridge appears at first sight somewhat illusory. In the first place,
the tax would, on the basis of Sir Roper Lethbridge's figures, amount to
20 per cent, which can scarcely be called "moderate." In the second
place, unless an equivalent export duty were imposed at British ports
it would appear probable that the process of re-export for the benefit
of "the lucky artisans of foreign protected nations" would not merely
continue unchecked, but would even be encouraged, for those artisans
would certainly not be supplied direct from India with the duty-laden
raw material, but would draw their supplies from the jute sent to the
ports of the United Kingdom, which would have paid no duty. Is it,
moreover, quite certain that a duty such as that proposed by Sir Roper
Lethbridge would be insufficient, as he alleges, "to bring in any
competing fibres in the world"? These and other cognate points
manifestly require further elucidation.

The third argument adduced by Sir Roper Lethbridge is based on the
allegation that India is in a specially favourable position to adopt a
policy of retaliation. It is unnecessary to go into the general
arguments for and against retaliatory duties. They have been exhausted
in the very remarkable and frigidly impartial book written on this
subject by Professor Dietzel. It will be sufficient to say that here Sir
Roper Lethbridge is on stronger ground. The main argument against
retaliation in the United Kingdom is that foreign nations, by stopping
our supplies of raw material, could check our manufactures. We are,
therefore, in a singularly unfavourable position for engaging in a
tariff war. The case of India is wholly different. Foreign nations
cannot, it is alleged, dispense with the raw material which India
supplies. There is, therefore, a good _prima facie_ case for supposing
that India has relatively little to fear from retaliation on their part.

It would be impossible within the limits of the present article to deal
fully with all the aspects of this vitally important question. Attention
may, however, be drawn to the very weighty remarks of Sir Fleetwood
Wilson when he speaks of "the great alteration which a tariff war in
India would effect in the balance of our trade, in the arrangements that
now exist for the payment of our external debt, and in the whole of our
exchange policy. This aspect of the question is one of extraordinary
complexity, as well as of no small speculation." On the whole, although
the proposals made by Sir Roper Lethbridge and his associates deserve
full and fair consideration, it is most earnestly to be hoped that party
leaders in this country will insist on their elaboration in full detail,
and will then study every aspect of the question with the utmost care
before giving even a qualified pledge to afford them support. The
situation is already sufficiently difficult and complicated. It is not
improbable that the difficulties and complications, far from being
mitigated, would be increased by the pursuit into the economic
wilderness of the _ignis fatuus_ involved in the idea that it is
possible for a nation to impose a tax on itself and then make the
inhabitants of other countries pay the whole or the greater part of it.

[Footnote 96: It may be noted that Sir Gangadhar Chitnavis's idea of
Preference differs widely from that entertained by Sir Roper Lethbridge.
The former apparently wishes to abolish the excise duty on Indian cotton
goods, but to maintain that levied on similar goods imported from the
United Kingdom, whilst levying a still higher duty on goods from other
countries.]




XXI

ROME AND MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT[97]

_"The Spectator," July 19, 1913_


In spite of the obvious danger of establishing doubtful analogies and of
making insufficient allowance for differences, the history of Imperial
Rome can never cease to be of more than academic interest to the
statesmen and politicians of Imperial England. Rome bequeathed to us
much that is of inestimable value, both in the way of precept and
example. She also bequeathed to us a word of ill omen--the word
"Imperialism." The attempt to embody the broad outlines of a policy in a
single word or phrase has at times exercised great influence in deciding
the fate of nations. M. Vandal[98] says with truth, "Nul ne comprendra
la Revolution s'il ne tient compte de l'extraordinaire empire exerce a
cette epoque par les mots et les formules." Imperialism, though
infinitely preferable to its quasi-synonym Caesarism, is, in fact, a
term which, although not absolutely incorrect, is at the same time, by
reason of its historical associations, misleading when applied to the
mild and beneficent hegemony exercised by the rulers and people of
England over their scattered transmarine dominions. It affords a
convenient peg on which hostile critics, such as Mr. Mallik, whose work
was reviewed last week in these columns,[99] as also those
ultra-cosmopolitan Englishmen who are the friends of every country but
their own, may hang partisan homilies dwelling on the brutality of
conquest and on all the harsh features of alien rule, whilst they leave
sedulously in the background that aspect of the case which Polybius,
parodying a famous saying of Themistocles, embodied in a phrase which he
attributes to the Greeks after they had been absorbed into the Roman
Empire, "If we had not been quickly ruined, we should not have been
saved." This pessimistic aspect of Imperialism has certainly to some
extent an historical basis. It is founded on the procedure generally
believed to have been adopted in the process by which Rome acquired the
dominion of the world. The careful attention given of late years to the
study of inscriptions, and generally the results obtained by the
co-operation established between historians and those who have more
especially studied other branches of science, such as archaeology,
epigraphy, and numismatics, have, however, now enabled us to approach
the question of Roman expansion with far greater advantages than those
possessed by writers even so late as the days of Mommsen. We are able to
reply with a greater degree of confidence than at any previous period to
the question of how far Roman policy was really associated with those
principles and practices which many are accustomed to designate as
Imperial. The valuable and erudite work which Mr. Reid has now given to
the world comes opportunely to remind us of a very obvious and
commonplace consideration. It is that although Roman expansion not only
began, but was far advanced during the days of the Republic, Roman
Imperialism did not exist before the creation of Roman Emperors, and did
not in any considerable degree develop the vices generally, and
sometimes rightly, attributed to the system until some while after
Republican had given way to Imperial sway. "The residuary impression of
the ancient world," Mr. Reid says in his preface, "left by a classical
education comprises commonly the idea that the Romans ran, so to speak,
a sort of political steam-roller over the ancient world. This has a
semblance of truth for the period of decline, but none for the earlier
days."

The fundamental idea which ran through the whole of Roman policy during
the earliest, which was also the wisest and most statesmanlike stage of
expansion, was not any desire to ensure the detailed and direct
government of a number of outlying districts from one all-powerful
centre, but rather to adopt every possible means calculated to maintain
local autonomy, and to minimise the interference of the central
authority. Herself originally a city-state, Rome aspired to become the
predominant partner in a federation of municipalities, to which autonomy
was granted even to the extent of waiving that prerogative which has
generally been considered the distinctive mark of sovereignty, viz. the
right of coinage. Broadly speaking, the only conditions imposed were
very similar to those now forming the basis of the relations between the
British Government and the Native States of India. These were (1) that
the various commonwealths should keep the peace between each other; and
(2) that their foreign policy should be dictated by Rome. It is often
tacitly assumed, Mr. Reid says, that "in dealing with conquered peoples,
the Romans were animated from the first by a passion for immediate
domination and for grinding uniformity." This idea is not merely false;
it is the very reverse of the truth. The most distinctive feature of
Roman rule during the early period of expansion was its marvellous
elasticity and pliability. Everywhere local customs were scrupulously
respected. Everywhere the maintenance of whatever autonomous
institutions existed at the time of conquest was secured. Everywhere the
allies were treated with what the Greeks termed [Greek: epimeleia],
which may be rendered into English by the word "consideration." Nowhere
was the fatal mistake made of endeavouring to stamp out by force a local
language or dialect, whilst until the Romans were brought into contact
with the stubborn monotheism of the Jews, the easy-going pantheistic
ideas current in the ancient world readily obviated the occurrence of
any serious difficulties based on religious belief or ritual.

That this system produced results which were, from a political point of
view, eminently satisfactory cannot for a moment be doubted. Mr. Reid
says--and it were well that those who are interested in the cause of
British Imperial Federation should note the remark--"In history the
lightest bonds have often proved to be the strongest." The loosely
compacted alliance of the Italic states withstood all the efforts of
Hannibal to rend it asunder. The Roman system, in fact, created a double
patriotism, that which attached itself to the locality, and that which
broadened out into devotion to the metropolis. Neither was the one
allegiance destructive of the other. When Ennius made his famous boast
he did not mean that he spurned Rudiae and that he would for the future
look exclusively to Rome as his mother-country, but rather that both the
smaller and the larger patriotism would continue to exist side by side.
"English local life," it has been truly said, "was the source and
safeguard of English liberty."[100] It may be said with equal truth that
the notion of constituting self-governing town communities as the basis
of Empire, which, Mr. Reid tells us, "was deeply ingrained in the Roman
consciousness," stood Rome in good stead during some of the most stormy
periods of her history. The process of voluntary Romanisation was so
speedy that the natives of any province which, to use the Roman
expression, had been but recently "pacated," became in a very short time
loyal and zealous Roman subjects, and rarely if ever took advantage of
distress elsewhere to vindicate their independence by seeking to cast
off the light shackles which had been imposed on them.

"So long as municipal liberty maintained its vigour, the empire
flourished." This is the fundamental fact to be borne in mind in
dealing with the history of Roman expansion. Mr. Reid then takes us,
step by step and province by province, through the pitiful history of
subsequent deterioration and decay. After the Hannibalic war, Roman
hegemony in Italy began to pass into domination. A policy of unwise
exclusion applied to the federated states and cities, coupled with the
assertion of irritating privileges on behalf of Roman citizens, led to
the cataclysm of the Great Social War, at the close of which burgess
rights were reluctantly conceded to all Italic communities who had not
joined the rebels. Then followed the era of the great Julius, who
probably--though of this we cannot be quite certain--wished to create a
"world-state" with Rome as its head; Augustus, to whose genius and
administrative ability tardy justice is now being done, and who, albeit
he continued the policy of his uncle, possibly leant rather more to the
idea, realised eighteen centuries later by Cavour, of a united Italy;
Adrian, who aimed above all things at the consolidation of the Empire;
and many others. Consolidation in whatsoever form almost necessarily
connoted the insistence on some degree of uniformity, and "when the
Emperors pressed uniformity upon the imperial system, it rapidly went to
pieces." Finally, we get to the stage of Imperial penury and
extravagance, accompanied by centralisation _in extremis_, when "hordes
of official locusts, military and civil," were let loose on the land,
and the tax-gatherers destroyed the main sources of the public revenues,
with the result that the tax-payers were utterly ruined. The municipal
system possessed wonderful vitality, and displayed remarkable aptitude
for offering a passive resistance to the attacks directed against it. It
survived longer than might have been expected. But when it became clear
that the only function which the _curiales_ were expected to perform was
to emulate the Danaides by pouring gold into the bottomless cask of the
Imperial Treasury,[101] they naturally rejected the dubious honours
conferred on them, and fled either to be the companions of the monks in
the desert or elsewhere so as to be safe from the crushing load of
Imperial distinction. Mr. Hodgkin and others have pointed out that the
diversion of local funds to the Imperial Exchequer was one of the
proximate causes which led to the downfall of the empire. Whilst the
municipal system lasted, it produced admirable results. Dealing with
Northern Africa, whose progress was eventually arrested by the withering
hand of Islam, Mr. Reid speaks of "the contrast between the Roman
civilisation and the culture which exists in the same regions to-day;
flourishing cities, villages, and farms abounded in districts which are
now sterile and deserted."

Apart from the special causes to which Mr. Reid and other historians
have alluded, and apart, moreover, from the intentions--often the very
wise intentions--of individual Emperors, the municipal system, and with
it the principle that local affairs should be dealt with locally, was
almost bound to founder directly the force of circumstances strengthened
the hands of the central authority at Rome. The battle between
centralisation and decentralisation still continues. Every one who has
been engaged in it knows that, whatever be the system adopted, the
spirit in which it is carried out counts for even more than the system
itself. Once place a firm, self-confident man with the centralising
spirit strong within him at the head of affairs, and he will often,
without any apparent change, go far to shatter any system, however
carefully it may have been devised, to encourage decentralisation. Such
a man was Napoleon. Every conceivable subject bearing on the government
of his fellow-men was, as M. Taine says, "classified and docketed" in
his ultra-methodical brain. It is useless to ask a man of this sort to
decentralise. He cannot do so, not always by reason of a deliberate wish
to grasp at absolute power, but because he sees so clearly what he
thinks should be done that he cannot tolerate the local ineptitude, as
he considers it, that leads to the rejection of his views. Thus, whilst
Napoleon said to Count Chaptal, "Ce n'est pas des Tuileries qu'on peut
diriger une armee," at the same time, as a matter of fact, he never
ceased to interfere with the action of his generals employed at a
distance, with results which, especially in Spain, were generally
disastrous to French arms. Another general cause which militates against
decentralisation is the inevitable tendency of any disputant who is
dissatisfied with a decision given locally to seek redress at the hands
of the central authority. St. Paul appealed to Caesar. A discontented
Rajah will appeal to the Secretary of State for India. It is certain
that in these cases, unless the appellate authority acts with the
greatest circumspection, a risk will be incurred of giving a severe blow
to the fundamental principles of decentralisation. It is no very
hazardous conjecture to assume that many of the Roman Emperors were,
like Napoleon, constitutionally disposed to centralise, and that the
greater their ability the more likely was this disposition to dominate
their minds. Thus Tacitus, speaking of Tiberius, says, "He never relaxed
from the cares of government, but derived relief from his
occupations."[102] A man of this temperament is a born centraliser.
However much his reason or his statesmanship may hold him in check, he
will probably sooner or later yield to the temptation of stretching his
own authority to such an extent as materially to weaken that of his
distant and subordinate agents.

Considerations of space preclude the possibility of dwelling any further
on the many points of interest suggested by Mr. Reid's instructive work.
This much, however, may be said, that whilst British Imperialism is not
exposed to many of the dangers which proved fatal to Imperial Rome,
there is one principle adopted by the early founders of the Roman Empire
which is fraught with enduring political wisdom, and which may be
applied as well now as it was nineteen centuries ago. That principle is
the preference shown to diversity over uniformity of system. Sir Alfred
Lyall, whose receptive intellect was impregnated with modern
applications of ancient precedents, said, "We ought to acknowledge that
we cannot impose a uniform type of civilisation." Let us beware that we
do not violate this very sound principle by too eager a disposition to
transport institutions, whose natural habitat is Westminster, to
Calcutta or Cairo.

[Footnote 97: _The Municipalities of the Roman Empire_. By J.E. Reid.
Cambridge: At the University Press. 10s. 6d.]

[Footnote 98: _L'Avenement de Bonaparte_, i. 217.]

[Footnote 99: _Vide ante_, pp. 317-326.]

[Footnote 100: _England Under the Stuarts_, p. 107. G. Trevelyan.]

[Footnote 101: Hor. _Od._ iii. 11. 25.]

[Footnote 102: _Ann._ iv. 13.]




XXII

A ROYAL PHILOSOPHER[103]

_"The Spectator," August 2, 1913_


Those who are inclined to take a gloomy view of the future on the
subject of the survival of the humanities in this country may derive
some consolation from two considerations. One is that there is not the
smallest sign either of relaxation in the quantity or deterioration in
the quality of the humanistic literature turned out from our seats of
learning. Year by year, indeed, both the interest in classical studies
and the standard of scholarship appear to rise to a higher level. The
other is that the mere fact that humanistic works are supplied shows
that there must be a demand for them, and that there exists amongst the
general public a number of readers outside the ranks of scholars,
properly so called, who are anxious and willing to acquaint themselves
with whatever new lights assiduous research can throw on the sayings and
doings of the ancient world. Archaeology, epigraphy, and numismatics are
year by year opening out new fields for inquiry, and affording fresh
material for the reconstruction of history. More especially much light
has of late been thrown on that chaotic period which lies between the
death of the Macedonian conqueror and the final assertion of Roman
domination. Professor Mahaffy has dealt with the Ptolemies, and Mr.
Bevan with the Seleucids. A welcome complement to these instructive
works is now furnished by Mr. Tarn's comprehensive treatment of an
important chapter in the history of the Antigonids. It is surely the
irony of posthumous fame that whereas every schoolboy knows something
about Pyrrhus--how he fought the Romans with elephants, and eventually
met a somewhat ignoble death from the hand of an old Argive woman who
dropped a tile on his head--but few outside the ranks of historical
students probably know anything of his great rival and relative,
Antigonus Gonatas, the son of Demetrius the Besieger. Yet there can in
reality be no manner of doubt as to which of these two careers should
more excite the interest of posterity. Pyrrhus made a great stir in the
world whilst he lived. "He thought it," Plutarch says--we quote from
Dryden's translation--"a nauseous course of life not to be doing
mischief to others or receiving some from them." But he was in reality
an unlettered soldier of fortune, probably very much of the same type as
some of Napoleon's rougher marshals, such as Augereau or Massena. His
manners were those of the camp, and his statesmanship that of the
barrack-room. He blundered in everything he undertook except in the
actual management of troops on the field of battle. "Not a common
soldier in his army," Mr. Tarn says, "could have managed things as badly
as the brilliant Pyrrhus." Antigonus was a man of a very different type.
"He was the one monarch before Marcus Aurelius whom philosophy could
definitely claim as her own." But in forming an estimate of his
character it is necessary to bear constantly in mind the many different
constructions which in the course of ages have been placed on the term
"philosophy." Antigonus, albeit a disciple of Zeno, the most unpractical
idealist of his age, was himself eminently practical. He indulged in no
such hallucinations as those which cost the Egyptian Akhnaton his Syrian
kingdom. As a thinker he moved on a distinctly lower plane than Marcus
Aurelius. Perhaps of all the characters of antiquity he most resembles
Julian, whose career as a man of action wrung from the Christian
Prudentius the fine epitaph, "Perfidus ille Deo, quamvis non perfidus
orbi." These early Greek philosophers were, in fact, a strange set of
men. They were not always engaged in the study of philosophy. They
occasionally, whilst pursuing knowledge and wisdom, indulged in
practices of singular unwisdom or of very dubious morality. Thus the
eminent historian Hieronymus endeavoured to establish what we should now
call a "corner" in the bitumen which floated on the surface of the Dead
Sea, and which was largely used for purposes of embalming in Egypt; but
his efforts were completely frustrated by the Arabs who were interested
in the local trade. The philosopher Lycon, besides displaying an
excessive love for the pleasures of the table, was a noted wrestler,
boxer, and tennis-player. Antigonus himself, in spite of his love of
learning, vied with his great predecessors, Philip and Alexander, in his
addiction to the wine-cup. When, by a somewhat unworthy stratagem, he
had tricked the widowed queen Nikaia out of the possession of the
Acrocorinthian citadel, which was, politically speaking, the apple of
his eye, he celebrated the occasion by getting exceedingly drunk, and
went "reeling through Corinth at the head of a drunken rout, a garland
on his head and a wine-cup in his hand." Antigonus was, in fact, not so
much what we should call a philosopher as a man of action with literary
tastes, standing thus in marked contrast to Pyrrhus, who "cared as
little for knowledge or culture as did any baron of the Dark Ages." When
he was engaged in a difficult negotiation with Ptolemy Philadelphus he
allowed himself to be mollified by a quotation from Homer, who, as Plato
said, was "the educator of Hellas." Although not himself an original
thinker, he encouraged thought in others. He surrounded himself with men
of learning, and even received at his court the yellow-robed envoys of
Asoka, the far-distant ruler and religious reformer of India. Moreover,
in spite of his wholly practical turn of mind, Antigonus learnt
something from his philosophic friends; notably, he imbibed somewhat of
the Stoic sense of duty. "Do you not understand," he said to his son,
who had misused some of his subjects, "that _our_ kingship is a noble
servitude?" Nevertheless, throughout his career, the sentiments of the
man of action strongly predominated over those of the man of thought. He
treated all shams with a truly Carlylean hatred and contempt. Moreover,
one trait in his character strongly indicates the pride of the masterful
man of action who scorns all adventitious advantages and claims to stand
or fall by his own merits. Napoleon, whilst the members of his family
were putting forth ignoble claims to noble birth, said that his patent
of nobility dated from the battle of Montenotte. Antigonus, albeit he
came of a royal stock, laid aside all ancestral claims to the throne of
Macedonia. He aspired to be king because of his kingly qualities. He
wished his people to apply to him the words which Tiberius used of a
distinguished Roman of humble birth: "Curtius Rufinus videtur mihi ex se
natus" (_Ann._ xi. 21). He succeeded in his attempt. He won the hearts
of his people, and although he failed in his endeavour to govern the
whole of Greece through the agency of subservient "tyrants," he
accomplished the main object which through good and evil fortune he
pursued with dogged tenacity throughout the whole of his chequered
career. He lived and died King of Macedonia.

The world-politics of this period are almost as confused as the
relationships which were the outcome of the matrimonial alliances
contracted by the principal actors on the world's stage. How bewildering
these alliances were may be judged from what Mr. Tarn says of
Stratonice, the daughter of Antiochus I., who married Demetrius, the son
of Antigonus: "Stratonice was her husband's first cousin and also his
aunt, her mother-in-law's half-sister and also her niece, her
father-in-law's niece, her own mother's granddaughter-in-law, and
perhaps other things which the curious may work out." Mr. Tarn has
unravelled the tangled political web with singular lucidity. Here it
must be sufficient to say that, after the death of Pyrrhus, a conflict
between Macedonia and Egypt, which stood at the head of an
anti-Macedonian coalition of which Athens, Epirus, and Sparta were the
principal members, became inevitable. The rivalry between the two States
led to the Chremonidean war--so called because in 266 the Athenian
Chremonides moved the declaration of war against Antigonus. The result
of the war was that on land Antigonus remained the complete master of
the situation. With true political instinct, however, he recognised the
truth of that maxim which history teaches from the days of Aegospotami
to those of Trafalgar, viz. that the execution of an imperial policy is
impossible without the command of the sea. This command had been secured
by his predecessors, but had fallen to Egypt after the fine fleet
created by Demetrius the Besieger had been shattered in 280 by Ptolemy
Keraunos with the help of the navy which had been created by Lysimachus.
Antigonus decided to regain the power which had been lost. His efforts
were at first frustrated by the wily and wealthy Egyptian monarch, who
knew the power of gold. "Egypt neither moved a man nor launched a ship,
but Antigonus found himself brought up short, his friends gone, his
fleet paralysed." Then death came unexpectedly to his aid and removed
his principal enemies. His great opponent, the masterful Arsinoe, who
had engineered the Chremonidean war, was already dead, and, in Mr.
Tarn's words, "comfortably deified." Other important deaths now followed
in rapid succession. Alexander of Corinth, Antiochus, and Ptolemy all
passed away. "The imposing edifice reared by Ptolemy's diplomacy
suddenly collapsed like the card-house of a little child." Antigonus was
not the man to neglect the opportunity thus afforded to him. Though now
advanced in years, he reorganised his navy and made an alliance with
Rhodes, with the result that "the sea power of Egypt went down, never to
rise again." Then he triumphantly dedicated his flagship to the Delian
Apollo. The possession of Delos had always been one of the main objects
of his ambition. It did more than symbolise the rule of the seas. It
definitely brought within the sphere of Macedonian influence one of the
greatest centres of Greek religious thought.

The rest of the story may be read in Mr. Tarn's graphic pages. He
relates how Antigonus incurred the undying enmity of Aratus of Sicyon,
one of those Greek democrats who held "that the very worst democracy was
infinitely better than the very best 'tyranny'--a conventional view
which neglects the uncomfortable fact that the tyranny of a democracy
can be the worst in the world." He lost Corinth, which he never
endeavoured to regain. His system of governing the Peloponnesus through
the agency of subservient "tyrants" utterly collapsed. "It is," Mr. Tarn
says, "a strange case of historical justice. As regards Macedonia,
Antigonus had followed throughout a sound and just idea of government,
and all that he did for Macedonia prospered. But in the Peloponnese,
though he found himself there from necessity rather than from choice, he
had employed an unjustifiable system; he lived long enough to see it
collapse."

The main interest to the present generation of the career of this
remarkable man consists in the fact that it is illustrative of the
belief that a man of action can also be a man of letters. As it was in
the days of the Antigonids, so it is now. Napier says that there is no
instance on record of a successful general who was not also a well-read
man. General Wolfe, the hero of Quebec, on being asked how he came to
adopt a certain tactical combination which proved eminently successful
at Louisbourg, said, "I had it from Xenophon." Havelock "loved Homer and
took pattern by Thucydides," and, according to Mr. Forrest, adopted
tactics at the battle of Cawnpore which he had learnt from a close
study of "Old Frederick's" dispositions at Leuthen. There is no greater
delusion than to suppose that study weakens the arm of the practical
politician, administrator, or soldier. On the contrary it fortifies it.
Lord Wolseley, himself a very distinguished man of action, speaking to
the students of the Royal Military Academy of Sir Frederick Maurice, who
possessed an inherited literary talent, said that he was "a fine example
of the combination of study and practice. He is not only the ablest
student of war we have, but is also the bravest man I have ever seen
under fire"; and on another occasion he wrote: "It is often said that
dull soldiers make the best fighters, because they do not think of
danger. Now, Maurice is one of the very few men I know who, if I told
him to run his head against a stone wall, would do so without question.
His is also the quickest and keenest intellect I have met in my
service."

[Footnote 103: _Antigonos Gonatas_. By W. Woodthorpe Tarn. Oxford: At
the Clarendon Press. 14s.]




XXIII

ANCIENT ART AND RITUAL[104]

_"The Spectator," August 9, 1913_


Any new work written by Miss Jane Harrison is sure to be eagerly
welcomed by all who take an interest in classical study or in
anthropology. The conclusions at which she arrives are invariably based
on profound study and assiduous research. Her generalisations are always
bold, and at times strikingly original. Moreover, it is impossible for
any lover of the classics, albeit he may move on a somewhat lower plane
of erudition, not to sympathise with the erudite enthusiasm of an author
who expresses "great delight" in discovering that Aristotle traced the
origin of the Greek drama to the Dithyramb--that puzzling and
"ox-driving" Dithyramb, of which Mueller said that "it was vain to seek
an etymology," but whose meaning has been very lucidly explained by
Miss Harrison herself--and whose "heart stands still" in noting that "by
a piece of luck" Plutarch gives the Dionysiac hymn which the women of
Elis addressed to the "noble Bull."

It is probable that the first feeling excited in the mind of an ordinary
reader, when he is asked to accept some of the conclusions at which
modern students of anthropology and comparative religion have arrived,
is one of scepticism. Miss Harrison is evidently alive to the existence
of this feeling, for in dealing with the ritualistic significance of the
Panathenaic frieze she bids her readers not to "suspect they are being
juggled with," or to think that she has any wish to strain an argument
with a view to "bolstering up her own art and ritual theory." It can,
indeed, be no matter for surprise that such suspicions should be
aroused. When, for instance, an educated man hears that the Israelites
worshipped a golden calf, or that the owl and the peacock were
respectively sacred to Juno and Minerva, he can readily understand what
is meant. But when he is told that an Australian Emu man, strutting
about in the feathers of that bird, does not think that he is imitating
an Emu, but that in very fact he is an Emu, it must be admitted that his
intellect, or it may be his imagination, is subjected to a somewhat
severe strain. Similarly, he may at first sight find some difficulty in
believing that any strict relationship can be established between the
Anthesteria and Bouphonia of the cultured Athenians and the idolatrous
veneration paid by the hairy and hyperborean Ainos to a sacred bear, who
is at first pampered and then sacrificed, or the ritualistic tug-of-war
performed by the Esquimaux, in which one side, personifying ducks,
represents Summer, whilst the other, personifying ptarmigans, represents
Winter. Although this scepticism is not only very natural, but even
commendable, it is certain that the science of modern anthropology, in
which we may reflect with legitimate pride that England has taken the
lead, rests on very solid foundations. Indeed, its foundations are in
some respects even better assured than those of some other sciences,
such, for instance, as craniology, whose conclusions would appear at
first sight to be capable of more precise demonstration, but which, in
spite of this fair appearance, has as yet yielded results which are
somewhat disappointing. At the birth of every science it is necessary to
postulate something. The postulates that the anthropologist demands
rival in simplicity those formulated by Euclid. He merely asks us to
accept as facts that the main object of every living creature is to go
on living, that he cannot attain this object without being supplied
with food, and that, in the case of man, his supply of food must
necessarily be obtained from the earth, the forest, the sea, or the
river. On the basis of these elementary facts, the anthropologist then
asks us to accept the conclusion that the main beliefs and acts of
primitive man are intimately, and indeed almost solely, connected with
his food supply; and having first, by a deductive process of reasoning,
established a high degree of probability that this conclusion is
correct, he proceeds to confirm its accuracy by reasoning inductively
and showing that a similarity, too marked to be the result of mere
accident or coincidence, exists in the practices which primitive man has
adopted, throughout the world, and which can only be explained on the
assumption that by methods, differing indeed in detail but substantially
the same in principle, endeavours have been, and still are being, made
to secure an identical object, viz. to obtain food and thus to sustain
life. The various methods adopted both in the past and the present are
invariably associated in one form or another with the invocation of
magical influences. The primitive savage, Miss Harrison says, "is a man
of action." He does not pray. He acts. If he wishes for sun or wind or
rain, "he summons his tribe, and dances a sun dance or a wind dance or a
rain dance." If he wants bear's flesh to eat, he does not pray to his
god for strength to outwit or to master the bear, but he rehearses his
hunt in a bear dance. If he notices that two things occur one after the
other, his untrained intellect at once jumps to the conclusion that one
is the cause and the other the effect. Thus in Australia--a specially
fertile field for anthropological research, which has recently been
explored with great thoroughness and intelligence by Messrs. Spencer and
Gillen--the cry of the plover is frequently heard before rain falls.
Therefore, when the natives wish for rain they sing a rain song in which
the cry of that bird is faithfully imitated.

Before alluding to the special point which Miss Harrison deals with in
_Ancient Art and Ritual_, it will be as well to glance at the views
which she sets forth in her previous illuminating treatise entitled
_Themis_. The former is in reality a continuation of the latter work.
The view heretofore generally entertained as regards the anthropomorphic
gods of Greece has been that the conception of the deity preceded the
adoption of the ritual. Moreover, one school of anthropologists ably
represented by Professor Ridgeway, has maintained that the phenomena of
vegetation spirits, totemism, etc., rose from primary elements, notably
from the belief in the existence of the soul after the death of the
body. Miss Harrison and those who agree with her hold that this view
involves an anthropological heresy. She deprecates the use of the word
"anthropomorphic," which she describes as clumsy and too narrow. She
prefers the expression [Greek: anthropophyes] used by Herodotus (i.
131), signifying "of human growth." She points out that the
anthropomorphism of the Greeks was preceded by theriomorphism and
phytomorphism, that the ritual was "prior to the God," that so long as
man was engaged in a hand-to-hand struggle for bare existence his sole
care was to obtain food, and that during this stage of his existence his
religious observances took almost exclusively the form of magical
inducements to the earth to renew that fertility which, by the
periodicity of the seasons, was at times temporarily suspended. It was
only at a later period, when the struggle for existence had become less
arduous, that the belief in the efficacy of magical rites decayed, and
that in matters of religion the primitive Greeks "shifted from a
nature-god to a human-nature god."

In her more recent work Miss Harrison reverts to this theme, and
subsequently carries us one step further. She maintains that the
original conception of the Greek drama was in no way spectacular. The
Athenians went to the theatre as we go to church. They did not attend to
see players act, but to take part in certain ritualistic things done
(_dromena_). The priests of Dionysos Eleuthereus, of Apollo
Daphnephoros, and of other deities attended in solemn state to assist in
the performance of the rites. With that keen sense of humour which
enlivens all her pages, and which made her speak in her _Themis_ of the
august father of gods and men as "an automatically explosive
thunderstorm," Miss Harrison says, "It is as though at His Majesty's the
front row of stalls was occupied by the whole bench of bishops, with the
Archbishop of Canterbury enthroned in the central stall." The actual
_dromenon_ performed was of the same nature as that which in more modern
times has induced villagers to make Jacks-in-the-Green and to dance
round maypoles. It was always connected with the recurrence of the
seasons and with the death and resurrection of vegetation. In fact, the
whole ritual clustered round the idea represented at a later period in
the well-known and very beautiful lines of Moschus in the _Lament for
Bion_, which may be freely translated thus:

    Ah me! The mallows, anise, and each flower
      That withers at the blast of winter's breath
    Await the vernal, renovating hour
      And joyously awake from feigned death.

The idea which impelled these ancient Greeks to perform ritualistic
_dromena_ on their orchestras, which took the place of what we should
call the stage, is not yet dead. Miss Harrison quotes from Mr. Lawson's
work on modern Greek folklore, which is a perfect mine of knowledge on
the subject of the survival of ancient religious customs in modern
Greece, the story of an old woman in Euboea who was asked on Easter Eve
why village society was in a state of gloom and despondency, and who
replied: "Of course, I am anxious; for if Christ does not rise
to-morrow, we shall have no corn this year."

It was during the fifth century that the _dromenon_ and the Dionysiac
Dithyramb passed to some extent away and were merged into the drama.
"Homer came to Athens, and out of Homeric stories playwrights began to
make their plots." The chief agent in effecting this important change
was the so-called "tyrant" Pisistratus, who was probably a free-thinker
and "cared little for magic and ancestral ghosts," but who for political
reasons wished to transport the Dionysia from the country to the town.
"Now," Miss Harrison says, "to bring Homer to Athens was like opening
the eyes of the blind." Independently of the inevitable growth of
scepticism which was the natural result of increased knowledge and more
acute powers of observation, it is no very hazardous conjecture to
assume that the quick-witted and pleasure-loving Athenians welcomed the
relief afforded to the dreary monotony of the ancient _dromena_ by the
introduction of the more lively episodes drawn from the heroic sagas.
"Without destroying the old, Pisistratus contrived to introduce the new,
to add to the old plot of Summer and Winter the life-stories of heroes,
and thereby arose the drama."

Having established her case so far, Miss Harrison makes what she herself
terms "a great leap." She passes from the thing _done_, whether
_dromenon_ or drama, to the thing _made_. She holds that as it was the
god who arose from the rite, similarly it was the ritual connected with
the worship of the god which gave birth to his representation in
sculpture. Art, she says, is not, as is commonly supposed, the "handmaid
of religion." "She springs straight out of the rite, and her first
outward leap is the image of the god." Miss Harrison gives two examples
to substantiate her contention. In the first place, she states at some
length arguments of irrefutable validity to show that the Panathenaic
frieze, which originally surrounded the Parthenon, represents a great
ritual procession, and she adds, "Practically the whole of the reliefs
that remain to us from the archaic period, and a very large proportion
of those of later date, when they do not represent heroic mythology, are
ritual reliefs, 'votive' reliefs, as we call them; that is, prayers or
praises translated into stone."

Miss Harrison's second example is eminently calculated to give a shock
to the conventional ideas generally entertained, for, as she herself
says, if there is a statue in the world which apparently represents "art
for art's sake" it is that of the Apollo Belvedere. Much discussion has
taken place as to what Apollo is supposed to be doing in this famous
statue. "There is only one answer. We do not know." Miss Harrison,
however, thinks that as he is poised on tiptoe he may be in the act of
taking flight from the earth. Eventually, after discussing the matter at
some little length, she appears to come to the audacious conclusion
which, in spite of its hardy irreverence, may very probably be true,
that as Apollo was, after all, only an early Jack-in-the-Green, he has
been artistically represented in marble by some sculptor of genius in
that capacity.

Finally, before leaving this very interesting and instructive work, it
may be noted that Miss Harrison quotes a remarkable passage from
Athenaeus (xiv. 26), which certainly affords strong confirmation of her
view that in the eyes of ancient authors there was an intimate
connection between art and dancing, and therefore, inasmuch as dancing
was ritualistic, between art and ritual. "The statues of the craftsmen
of old times," Athenaeus says, "are the relics of ancient dancing."

It is greatly to be hoped that Miss Harrison will continue the study of
this subject, and that she will eventually give to the world the results
of her further inquiries.

[Footnote 104: _Ancient Art and Ritual._ By Miss Jane Harrison. London:
Williams and Norgate. 1s.]




XXIV

PORTUGUESE SLAVERY

_"The Spectator," August 16, 23, 30, 1913_


It is impossible to read the White Paper recently published on the
subject of slavery in the West African dominions of Portugal without
coming to the conclusion that the discussion has been allowed to
degenerate into a rather unseemly wrangle between the Foreign Office
officials and the Anti-Slavery Society. There is always a considerable
risk that this will happen when enthusiasts and officials are brought
into contact with each other. On the one hand, the enthusiasts in any
great cause are rather prone to let their emotions dominate their
reason, to generalise on somewhat imperfect data, and occasionally to
fall unwittingly into making statements of fact which, if not altogether
incorrect, are exaggerated or partial. On the other hand, there is a
disposition on the part of officials to push to an excess Sir Arthur
Helps's dictum that most of the evils of the world arise from
inaccuracy, and to surround all enthusiasts with one general atmosphere
of profound mistrust. An old official may perhaps be allowed to say,
without giving offence, that, quite apart from the nobility and moral
worth of the issue at stake, it is, from the point of view of mere
worldly wisdom, a very great error to adopt this latter attitude. There
are enthusiasts and enthusiasts. It is probably quite useless for an
anti-suffragist or a supporter of vivisection to endeavour to meet
half-way a militant suffragist or a whole-hearted anti-vivisectionist.
In these cases the line of cleavage is too marked to admit of
compromise, and still less of co-operation. But the case is very
different if the matter under discussion is the suppression of slavery.
Here it may readily be admitted that both the enthusiasts and the
officials, although they may differ in opinion as to the methods which
should be adopted, are honestly striving to attain the same objects. The
Anti-Slavery Society, and those who habitually work with them, have
performed work of which their countrymen are very justly proud. But they
are not infallible. It is quite right that the accuracy of any
statements which they make should be carefully tested by whatever means
exist for testing them. For instance, when the Society of Friends[105]
say that they are in possession of "first-hand information" to show that
"atrocities" are being committed in the Portuguese dominions, the
Foreign Office is obviously justified in asking them to state on what
evidence this formidable accusation is founded, and when it appears that
they cannot produce "exactly the kind of evidence as to 'atrocities'
which would strengthen your (_i.e._ the British Government's) hands in
any protest made by you to the Portuguese Government," it is not
unnatural that the officials should be somewhat hardened in their belief
that humanitarian testimony has to be accepted with caution. It would
obviously be much wiser for the humanitarians to recognise that
incorrect statements, or sweeping generalisations which are incapable of
proof, do their cause more harm than good.

The fact that erroneous statements are frequently made in controversial
matters, and that the data on which generalisations are based are often
imperfect, should not, however, beget the error of attaching undue
importance to matters of this sort, and thus failing to see the wood by
reason of the trees. What object, for instance, is to be gained by
addressing to the Anti-Slavery Society a remonstrance because they only
quote a portion and not the whole of a conversation between Sir Edward
Grey and the Portuguese Minister (M. de Bocage) when, on reference to
the account of that conversation, it would appear that the passages
omitted were not very material to the point under discussion? Again,
considering that the manner in which the so-called "contracts" with
slaves are concluded is notorious, is it not rather begging the question
and falling back on a legal quibble to say that there would "be no
reason for insisting on the repatriation (of a British subject) if he
were working under a contract which could not be shown to be illegal"?
Can it be expected, moreover, that Sir Eyre Crowe's contention that the
slaves "are now legally free" should carry much conviction when it is
abundantly clear from the testimony of all independent and also official
witnesses that this legal freedom does not constitute freedom in the
sense in which we generally employ the term, but that it has, in fact,
up to the present time been little more than an euphemism for slavery?

Every allowance should, of course, be made for the embarrassing position
in which the present Government of Portugal, from no fault of its own,
is placed. The fact, however, remains that at this moment the criticisms
of those who are interested in the cause of anti-slavery are not solely
directed against the Portuguese Government. They also demur to the
attitude taken up by the British Government. It is, indeed, impossible
to read the papers presented to Parliament without feeling that the
Archbishop of Canterbury was justified in saying, during a recent debate
in the House of Lords, that the Foreign Office and its subordinates have
shown some excess of zeal in apologising for the Portuguese. After all,
it should not be forgotten that the voice of civilised humanity calls
loudly on the Portuguese Government and nation to purge themselves, and
that speedily, of a very heinous offence against civilisation, namely,
that of placing their black fellow-creatures much on the same footing as
the oxen that plough their fields and the horses which draw their carts,
in order that the white man may acquire wealth. It is only fair to
remember that at no very remote period of their history the Anglo-Saxon
race were also guilty of this offence; but the facts that one branch of
that race purged itself of crime by the expenditure of huge sums of
money, and that the other branch shed its best blood in order to ensure
the black man's freedom, give them a moral right, based on very
substantial title-deeds, to plead the cause of freedom. Neither should
it be forgotten that, whatever mistakes those interested in the
Anti-Slavery cause may make in dealing with points of detail, they are
right on the chief issue--right, that is to say, not merely in
intention, but also on the main fact, viz. that virtual slavery still
exists in the Portuguese dominions. Any one who has had practical
experience of dealing with these matters, and can read between the lines
of the official correspondence, cannot fail to see that if the Foreign
Office authorities, instead of dwelling with somewhat unnecessary
insistence on controversial points and only half-accepting the realities
of the situation, had candidly admitted the main facts and had confined
themselves to a discussion of the means available for arriving at the
object which they, in common with the Anti-Slavery Society, wished to
attain, much useless recrimination might have been avoided and the
interests of the cause would, to a far greater extent, have been served.

The writer of the present article has had a good deal to do with the
Anti-Slavery and other similar societies, such, for instance, as that
which, until recently, dealt with the affairs of the Congo. He has not
always agreed with their proposals, but, being in thorough sympathy with
the objects which they wished to attain, he was fortunately able to
establish the mutual confidence which that bond of sympathy connoted. He
can, moreover, from his own experience, testify to the fact that,
although there may occasionally be exceptions, the humanitarians
generally, however enthusiastic, are by no means unreasonable. On the
contrary, if once they are thoroughly convinced that the officials are
honestly and energetically striving to do their best to remove the
abuses of which they complain, they are quite prepared to make due
allowance for practical difficulties, and to abstain from causing
unnecessary and hurtful embarrassment. They are not open to the
suspicion which often attaches itself to Parliamentarians who take up
some special cause, viz. that they may be seeking to acquire personal
notoriety or to gain some party advantage. The righteousness and
disinterestedness of their motives cannot be doubted. The question of
the abolition of slavery in the Soudan presented many and great
difficulties, which might easily have formed the subject of acrimonious
correspondence and of agitation in Parliament and in the press. Any such
agitation would very probably have led to the adoption of measures whose
value would have been illusory rather than real, and which might well
have endangered both public security and the economic welfare of the
country. The main reason why no such agitation took place was that a
mutual feeling of confidence was established. Sir Reginald Wingate and
his very able staff of officials were left to deal with the matter after
their own fashion. The result has been that, without the adoption of any
very sensational measures calculated to attract public attention, it may
be said, with truth, that for all practical purposes slavery has quietly
disappeared from the Soudan. But if once this confidence is conspicuous
by its absence, a state of more or less latent warfare between the
humanitarians and the official world, such as that revealed in the
papers recently laid before Parliament, is almost certain to be created,
with the results that the public interests suffer, that rather heated
arguments and counter-arguments are bandied about in the columns of the
newspapers, and that the differences of opinion on minor points between
those who ought to be allies tend to obscure the main issue, and
preclude that co-operation which should be secured, and which in itself
would be no slight earnest of success.

Stress has been laid on this point because of its practical importance,
and also in the hope that, in connection with this question, it may be
found possible ere long to establish better relations between the
Foreign Office officials and the Anti-Slavery Society than those which
apparently exist at present. There ought to be no great difficulty in
effecting an improvement in those relations, for it cannot for one
moment be doubted that both sides are honestly endeavouring to perform
what they consider to be their duty according to their respective
lights.

Turning now to the consideration of the question on its own merits, it
is obvious that, before discussing any remedies, it is essential to
arrive at a correct diagnosis of the disease. Is the trade in slaves
still carried on, and does slavery still exist in the Portuguese
dominions? The two points deserve separate treatment, for although
slavery is bad, the slave trade is infinitely worse.

It is not denied that until very recently the trade in slaves between
the mainland and the Portuguese islands was carried on upon an extensive
scale. The Anti-Slavery Society state that within the last twenty-five
years sixty-three thousand slaves, constituting "a human cargo worth
something over L2,500,000," have been shipped to the islands. Moreover,
it appears that, as was to be expected, this trade was, and perhaps to a
certain extent still is, in the hands of individuals who constitute the
dregs of society, and who, it may confidently be assumed, have not
allowed their operations to be hampered by any kind of moral or humane
scruples. Colonel Freire d'Andrade informed Sir Arthur Hardinge that
"many of the Portuguese slave-traders at Angola had been convicts
sentenced to transportation," who had been allowed to settle in the
colony. "It was from among these old convicts or ex-convict settlers and
their half-caste progeny that the slave-trading element, denounced by
the Belgian Government, was largely recruited; they at least were its
most direct agents." Since the accession to power of the Republican
Government in Portugal the trade in slaves has been absolutely
prohibited. No Government which professes to follow the dictates of
civilisation, and especially of Liberalism, could indeed tolerate for a
day the continuance of such a practice. The question which remains for
consideration is whether the efforts of the Portuguese Government, in
the sincerity of which there can be no doubt, have been successful or
the reverse. Has the cessation of the traffic been real and complete or,
as the Anti-Slavery Society appear disposed to think, only partial and
"nominal"? On this point the evidence is somewhat conflicting. On the
one hand, M. Ramaix, writing on behalf of the Belgian Government on May
1, 1912, says, "It is well known that the slave trade is still carried
on to a certain extent in the neighbourhood of the sources of the
Zambesi and Kasai, in a region which extends over the frontiers of the
Congo, Angola, and North-Western Rhodesia," and on June 8, 1912, Baron
Lalaing, the Belgian Minister in London, said, "At the instigation of
the traders the population living on the two slopes of the watershed,
from Lake Dilolo to the meridian of Kayoyo, are actively engaged in
smuggling, arms traffic, and slave trade." On the other hand, Mr.
Wallace, writing from Livingstone, in Northern Rhodesia, on June 25,
1912, says that "active slave-trading does not now exist along our
borders." On December 6 of the same year he confirmed this statement,
but added, "occasional cases may occur, for the status of slave exists,
but they cannot be many." Looking to all the circumstances of the
case--to the great extent and, in some cases, to the remoteness of the
Portuguese dominions, the ruthless character of the slave-traders, the
pecuniary inducements which exist for engaging in a very lucrative
traffic, the helplessness of the slaves themselves, and the fact that
traffic in slaves is apparently a common inter-tribal practice in
Central Africa, it would be unreasonable to expect that the Portuguese
Government should be able at once to put a complete stop to these
infamous proceedings. It may well be that, in spite of every effort, the
slave trade may still linger on for a while. All that can be reasonably
expected is that the Portuguese authorities should do their utmost to
stop it. That they are doing a good deal cannot be doubted, but it is
somewhat of a shock to read (_Africa_, No. 2 of 1912, p. 59) that Senhor
Vasconcellos rather prided himself on the fact that certain "Europeans
who were found guilty of acts of slave traffic" had merely been
"immediately expelled from the region," and were "not allowed to return
to the colonies." Surely, considering the nature of the offence, a
punishment of this sort errs somewhat on the side of leniency. Had these
men been residing in Egypt or the Soudan they would have been condemned
to penal servitude for a term of years. It is more satisfactory to
learn, on the authority of Colonel Freire d'Andrade, that the convicts
to whom allusion has already been made are "no longer permitted to roam
at large about the colony, but are, save a very few who are allowed to
live outside on giving a security, kept in the forts of Loanda."

Further, it would appear that until recently the officials who
registered the "servicaes," or native contract labourers, had a direct
pecuniary interest in the matter, and were "thus exposed to the
temptation of not scrutinising too closely the genuineness of the
contracts themselves, or the extent to which they were understood and
accepted by savage or semi-savage contracting parties." In other words,
the Portuguese officials employed in registration, far from having any
inducements offered to them to protect the labourers, were strongly
tempted to engage in what, brushing aside official euphemism, may with
greater accuracy be termed the slave trade pure and simple. It seems
that this practice is now to be altered. The registration fees are no
longer to go into the pockets of the registering officials, but are to
be paid into the Provincial Treasury. The change is unquestionably for
the better. But it is impossible in this connection not to be struck by
the somewhat curious standard of official discipline and morality which
appears to exist in the Portuguese service. Colonel Freire d'Andrade
told Sir Arthur Hardinge that "he knew of one case where L1,000 had been
made over a single contract for 'servicaes' in this way by a local
official who had winked, in this connection, at some dishonest or, at
least, highly doubtful transactions, and who had been censured and
obliged to refund the money." As in the case of the Europeans found
guilty of engaging in the slave trade, the punishment awarded appears to
be somewhat disproportionate to the gravity of the offence. One would
have thought that peculation of this description would have been visited
at least with dismissal, if not with a short sojourn in the Loanda gaol.

Colonel Freire d'Andrade further states that "the Lisbon Colonial
Office had sent out very stringent orders to the Governor-General of
Angola to put a stop once and for all to these slavery operations. New
military outposts had now been created near the northern and eastern
frontiers of the province." It is to be hoped that these orders will be
obeyed, and that they will prove effectual to attain the object in view.

On the whole, in spite of some features in the case which would appear
to justify friendly criticism, it would seem that the Portuguese
Government are really endeavouring to suppress the trade in slaves. All
that the British Government can do is to afford them whatever assistance
is possible in British territory, and to encourage them in bold and
strenuous action against the influential opposition whose enmity has
necessarily been evoked.

Turning now to the question of whether slavery--as distinct from the
slave trade--still exists in Portuguese West Africa, it is to be
observed that it is essential to inquire thoroughly into this question
for the reason already given, viz. that before considering what remedies
should be applied it is very necessary that the true nature of the evil
should be recognised. On this point there is a direct conflict of
opinion. The Anti-Slavery Society maintain that the present system of
contract labourers ('servicaes') is merely another name for slavery,
and as one proof of the wide discrepancy between theory and practice
they point to the fact that whereas there can be no manner of doubt that
undisguised slavery existed until only recently, it was nominally
abolished by law so long ago as 1876. On the other hand, to quote the
words of Mr. Smallbones, the British Consul at Loanda, the Portuguese
Government, whose views on this matter appear to have been received with
a certain amount of qualified acceptance by the British Foreign Office,
"consistently deny" the existence of a state of slavery.

The whole controversy really hangs on what is meant by the word
"slavery." In this, as in so many cases, it is easier to say what the
thing is not than to embrace in one short sentence an accurate and
sufficiently wide explanation of what it is. _Definitio est negatio._ De
Brunetiere said that, after fifty years of discussion, it was impossible
to define romanticism. Half a century or more ago, a talented German
writer (Hacklaender) wrote a book entitled _European Slave-life_, in
which he attempted to show that, without knowing it, we were all slaves
one of another, and, in fact, that the artisan working in a cotton
factory or the sempstress employed in a milliner's shop was as truly in
a state of slavery as the negro who at that time was working in the
fields of Georgia or Carolina. In a sense, of course, it may be said
that every one who works for his living, from a Cabinet Minister to a
crossing-sweeper, is a slave, for he has to conform to certain rules,
and unless he works he will be deprived of many advantages which he
wishes to acquire, and may even be reduced to a state of starvation. But
speculations of this sort may be left to the philosopher and the
sociologist. They have little interest for the practical politician. Sir
Edward Grey endeavoured, for the purposes of the subject now under
discussion, to define slavery. "Voluntary engagement," he said, "is not
slavery, but forcible engagement is slavery." The definition is correct
as far as it goes, but it is incomplete, for it fails to answer the
question on which a great part of this Portuguese controversy hangs,
viz. what do the words "voluntary" and "forcible" mean? The truth is
that it is quite unnecessary, in dealing with this subject, to wander
off into a field strewn with dialectical subtleties. It may not be
possible to define slavery with the same mathematical precision which
Euclid gave to his definitions of a straight line or a point, but every
man of ordinary common sense knows the difference between slavery and
freedom in the usual acceptation of those terms. He knows well enough
that however much want or the force of circumstances may oblige an
Englishman, a Frenchman, or a German to accept hard conditions in
fixing the price at which he is prepared to sell his labour or his
services, none of these individuals is, in reality, a slave; and he has
only to inquire very cursorily into the subject to satisfy himself that
the relations between employer and employed in Portuguese West Africa
differ widely from those which exist in any European country, and are in
fact far more akin to what, in the general acceptance of the word, is
termed slavery.

Broadly speaking, it may be said that the contention that the present
system of contract labour is merely slavery in disguise rests on three
pleas, viz. (1) that even if, as was often the case, the contract
labourers now actually serving were not forcibly recruited, they were
very frequently wholly unaware of the true nature of the engagements
which they had taken, or of the conditions under which they would be
called upon to serve; (2) that not only are they unable to terminate
their contracts if they find they have been deceived, but that even on
the termination of those contracts they are not free to leave their
employers; and (3) that, even when nominal freedom is conceded, they
cannot take advantage of it, for the reason that the employers or their
Government have virtually by their own acts created a state of things
which only leaves the slaves to choose between the alternative of
continuing in a state of servitude or undergoing extreme suffering,
ending not improbably in death. It is submitted that, if these three
propositions can be proved, it is mere juggling with words to maintain
that no state of slavery exists.

As regards the first point, it is to be observed that when the superior
intelligence and education of the recruiting agents are contrasted with
the complete savagery and ignorance of the individuals recruited, there
is obviously a strong presumption that in numberless cases the latter
have been cozened into making contracts, the nature of which they did
not in the least understand, and this presumption may almost be said to
harden into certainty when the fact, to which allusion has already been
made, is remembered, that the Portuguese officials engaged in the
registration of contract labourers had until very recently a direct
pecuniary interest in augmenting the number of labourers. Further, Mr.
Smallbones, writing on September 26, 1912, alludes to a letter signed
"Carlos de Silva," which appeared in a local paper termed the
_Independente_. M. de Silva says that the "servicaes" engaged in Novo
Redondo "all answered the interpreter's question whether they were
willing to go to San Thome with a decided 'No,' which was translated by
the interpreter as signifying their utmost willingness to be embarked."
If this statement is correct, it is in itself almost sufficient to
satisfy the most severe condemnation of the whole system heretofore
adopted. It is, indeed, impossible to read the evidence adduced in the
White Paper without coming to the conclusion that, whatever may be the
case at present, the system of recruiting in the past has not differed
materially from the slave trade. If this be the case, it is clear that,
in spite of any legal technicalities to the contrary, the great majority
of labourers now serving under contract in the islands should, for all
purposes of repatriation and the acquisition of freedom, be placed on a
precisely similar footing to those whose contracts have expired. There
can be no moral justification whatever for taking advantage of the
engagements into which they may have entered to keep them in what is
practically a condition of servitude.

Recently, certain improvements appeared to have been made in the system
of recruiting. Mr. Smallbones states his "impression that the present
Governor-General will do all in his power to put the recruiting of
native labour on a sound footing." Moreover, that some change has taken
place, and that the labourers are alive to the fact that they have
certain rights, would appear evident from the fact that Vice-Consul
Fussell, writing from Lobito on September 15, 1912, reports that "the
authorities appear unable to oblige natives to contract themselves." It
is not, however, clear that all the changes are in the right direction.
Formerly, M. Carlos de Silva says, "There was at least a slight
guarantee that 'servicaes' were not shipped against their wishes in the
fact that they had to contract in the presence of a curator in this
(_i.e._ the Angola) colony." Now this guarantee has been removed. The
contracts may be made in San Thome before the local guardian, and Mr.
Smallbones, although he is, without doubt, quite right in thinking that
"the best guarantee against abuses will lie in the choice of the
recruiting officials, and the way in which their operations are
controlled," adds the somewhat ominous remark that the object of the
change has been to "override the refusal of a curator in Angola to
contract certain 'servicaes' should the Governor-General consider that
refusal unreasonable or inexpedient." Sir Edward Grey very naturally
drew attention to this point. "It is obvious," he wrote to Sir Arthur
Hardinge, "that a labourer once in San Thome can be much more easily
coerced into accepting his lot than if the contract is publicly made in
Angola before he leaves the mainland." It cannot be said that the answer
he received from M. Texeira Gomes was altogether complete or
satisfactory. All the latter would say was that Colonel Wyllie, who had
lately returned from San Thome, had never heard of any case of a
labourer signing a contract after he had arrived in the island.

All, therefore, that can at present be said on this branch of the
question is that the evils of the recruiting system which has been so
far adopted are abundantly clear, that the Portuguese Government is
endeavouring to improve that system, but that it would as yet be
premature to pronounce any opinion on the results which are likely to be
obtained.

The next point to be considered is the position of the contract labourer
on the expiry of his contract. That position is very strikingly
illustrated by an incident which Mr. Smallbones relates in a despatch
dated September 23, 1912. It appears that towards the end of last August
the Governor-General visited an important plantation on which seven
hundred labourers are employed. The contracts of these men had expired.
They asked to be allowed to leave the plantation. They were not
permitted to do so. "Thirteen soldiers were sent from Loanda to
intimidate them, and they returned to work." They were then forced to
recontract. Mr. Smallbones very rightly pointed out to the
Governor-General the illegality of this proceeding. "His Excellency,"
he says, "admitted my contention, but remarked that in the present state
of the labour supply such scrupulous observance of the regulations would
entail the entire stoppage of a large plantation, for which he could not
be responsible." Mr. Smallbones adds the following comment: "I have
ventured to relate this incident, because it shows the difficulties of
the situation. The plantation on which it occurred is very well managed,
and the labourers are very well treated there. Yet it has failed to make
the conditions of labour attractive to the natives. And as long as the
Government are unable to force a supply of labour according to the
regulations, they will have to tolerate or even practise irregularities
in order to safeguard the property and interests of the employers."

There need be no hesitation in recognising "the difficulties of the
situation." They are unquestionably very real. But how does the incident
related by Mr. Smallbones bear on the contention of the Portuguese
Government that no state of slavery exists? In truth, it shatters to
fragments the whole of their argument. As has been already mentioned,
Sir Edward Grey defined "forcible engagement" as "slavery." Can it be
for one moment contended that the engagement of these seven hundred men
was voluntary and not forcible? Obviously not. Therefore slavery still
exists, or at all events existed so late as August 1912.

The third point to be considered is whether the liberated slave is
practically able to take advantage of the freedom which has been
conferred on him. Assuredly, he cannot do so. Consider what the position
of these men is. They, or their parents before them, have in numerous
instances been forcibly removed from their homes, which often lie at a
great distance from the spot where they are liberated. They are
apparently asked to contribute out of their wages to a repatriation
fund. Why should they do so? They were, in a great many, probably in a
majority of cases, expatriated either against their will or without
really understanding what they were doing. Why should they pay for
repatriation? The responsibility of the Portuguese does not end when the
men have been paid their wages and are set free. Neither can it be for
one moment admitted that that responsibility is limited, as the
Governor-General would appear to maintain in a Memorandum communicated
to Mr. Smallbones on October 25, 1912, merely to seeing that repatriated
slaves disembarked on the mainland "shall be protected against the
effects of the change of climate, and principally against themselves."
No one will expect the Portuguese Government to perform the impossible,
but it is clear that, unless the institution of slavery itself is
considered justifiable, the slaves have a right to be placed by the
Portuguese Government and nation in precisely the same position as they
would have occupied had they never been led into slavery. Apart from the
impossibility, it may, on several grounds, be undesirable to seek to
attain this ideal, but that is no reason why the validity of the moral
claim should not be recognised. In many cases it is abundantly clear
that to speak of a slave liberated at San Thome being really a free man
in the sense in which that word is generally understood, is merely an
abuse of terms. The only freedom he possesses is that created for him by
his employers. It consists of being able to wander aimlessly about the
African mainland at the imminent risk of starvation, or of being robbed
of whatever miserable pittance may have been served out to him. For
these reasons it is maintained that the starting-point for any further
discussion on this question is that the plea that slavery no longer
exists in the West African dominions of Portugal is altogether
untenable. It still exists, though under another name. There remains the
question of how its existence can be terminated.

The writer of the present article would be the last to underrate the
enormous practical difficulties to be encountered in dealing
effectively with this question. His own experience in cognate matters
enables him in some degree to recognise the nature of those
difficulties. When the _corvee_ system was abolished in Egypt, the
question which really confronted the Government of that country was how
the whole of a very backward population, the vast majority of whom had
for centuries been in reality, though not nominally, slaves, could be
made to understand that, although they would not be flogged if they did
not clear out the mud from the canals on which the irrigation of their
fields depended, they would run an imminent risk of starvation unless
they voluntarily accepted payment for performing that service. The
difficulties were enhanced owing to the facts that the country was in a
state of quasi-bankruptcy, and the political situation was in the
highest degree complicated and bewildering. Nevertheless, after a period
of transition, which, it must be admitted, was somewhat agonising, the
problem was solved, but it was only thoroughly solved after a struggle
which lasted for some years. It is a vivid recollection of the arduous
nature of that struggle that induces the writer of the present article
so far to plead the cause of the Portuguese Government as to urge that,
if once it can be fully established that they are moving steadily but
strenuously in the right direction, no excessive amount of impatience
should be shown if the results obtained do not immediately answer all
the expectations of those who wish to witness the complete abolition of
the hateful system under which the cultivation of cocoa in the West
African Islands has hitherto been conducted. The financial interests
involved are important, and deserve a certain, albeit a limited, amount
of consideration. There need be no hesitation whatever in pressing for
the adoption of measures which may result in diminishing the profits of
the cocoa proprietors and possibly increasing the price paid by the
consumers of cocoa. Indeed, there would be nothing unreasonable in
arguing that the output of cocoa, worth L2,000,000 a year, had much
better be lost to the world altogether rather than that the life of the
present vicious system should be prolonged. But even if it were
desirable--which is probably not the case--it is certainly impossible to
take all the thirty thousand men now employed in the islands and
suddenly transport them elsewhere. It would be Utopian to expect that
the Portuguese Government, in the face of the vehement opposition which
they would certainly have to encounter, would consent to the adoption of
any such heroic measure. As practical men we must, whilst acknowledging
the highly regrettable nature of the facts, accept them as they stand.
Slight importance can, indeed, be attached to the argument put forward
by one of the British Consular authorities, that "the native lives under
far better conditions in San Thome than in his own country." It is
somewhat too much akin to the plea advanced by ardent fox-hunters that
the fox enjoys the sport of being hunted. Neither, although it is
satisfactory to learn that the slaves are now generally well treated,
does this fact in itself constitute any justification for slavery. The
system must disappear, and the main question is to devise some other
less objectionable system to take its place.

There are two radical solutions of this problem. One is to abandon
cocoa-growing altogether, at all events in the island of Principe, a
part of which is infected with sleeping-sickness, and to start the
industry afresh elsewhere. The other is to substitute free for slave
labour in the islands themselves. Both plans are discussed in
Lieutenant-Colonel Wyllie's very able report addressed to the Foreign
Office on December 8, 1912. This report is, indeed, one of the most
valuable contributions to the literature on this subject which have yet
appeared. Colonel Wyllie has evidently gone thoroughly into the matter,
and, moreover, appears to realise the fact, which all experience
teaches, that slavery is as indefensible from an economic as it is from
a moral point of view. Free labour, when it can be obtained, is far
less expensive than slave labour.

Colonel Wyllie suggests that the Principe planters should abandon their
present plantations and receive "free grants of land in the fertile and
populous colony of Portuguese Guinea, the soil of which is reported by
all competent authorities to be better suited to cacao-growing than even
that of San Thome itself, and certainly far superior to that of
Principe. Guinea has from time to time supplied labour to these islands,
so that the besetting trouble of the latter is nonexistent there." He
adds: "I am decidedly of opinion that some such scheme as this is the
only cure for the blight that has fallen on the island of Principe." It
would require greater local knowledge than any to which the writer of
the present article can pretend to discuss the merits of this proposal,
but at first sight it would certainly appear to deserve full and careful
consideration.

But as regards San Thome, which is by far the larger and more important
of the two islands, it would appear that the importation of free labour
is not only the best, but, indeed, the only really possible solution of
the whole problem. It may be suggested that, without by any means
neglecting other points, such as the repatriation of men now serving,
the efforts both of the Portuguese Government and of all others
interested in the question should be mainly centred on this issue.
Something has been already done in this direction, Mr. Harris, writing
in the _Contemporary Review_ of May 1912, said: "Mozambique labour was
tried in 1908, and this experiment is proving, for the time, so
successful, that many planters look to the East rather than West Africa
for their future supply. All available evidence appears to prove that
Cabinda, Cape Verde, and Mozambique labour is, so far as contract labour
goes, fairly recruited and honestly treated as 'free labour.'" It is an
encouraging sign that a Portuguese Company has been formed whose object
is "to recruit free, paid labourers, natives of the provinces of Angola,
Mozambique, Cape Verde, and Guinea." Moreover, the following passage
from Colonel Wyllie's report deserves very special attention:

     "Several San Thome planters," he says, "realising the advantage of
     having a more intelligent and industrious labourer than the
     Angolan, have signed contracts with an English Company trading in
     Liberia for the supply of labour from Cape Palmas and its
     hinterland, on terms to which no exception can be taken from any
     point of view. Two, if not by now three, batches of Liberians have
     arrived at San Thome and have been placed on estates for work. The
     Company has posted an English agent there to act as curador to the
     men, banking their money, arranging their home remittances, and
     mediating in any disputes arising between them and their
     employers. The system works wonderfully well, giving satisfaction
     both to the masters and to the men, the latter being as pleased
     with their treatment as the former are with their physique and
     intelligence. There is every prospect of the arrangement being
     developed to the extent of enabling Angolan labour to be
     permanently dispensed with, and possibly superseding Mozambique
     importations as well."

Colonel Wyllie then goes on to say: "The company and its agents complain
of the many obstacles they have had to overcome in the form of hostility
and intrigue on the part of interested parties. Systematic attempts have
been made in Liberia to intimidate the gangs from going to San Thome by
tales of cruelty practised by the Portuguese in the islands." More
especially it would appear that the "missionaries" have been advising
the Liberians not to accept the offers made to them. It is not
altogether surprising that they should do so, for the Portuguese have
acquired an evil reputation which it will take time to efface. To an
outside observer it would appear that an admirable opportunity is here
afforded for the Portuguese Government and the Anti-Slavery Society, who
are in close relation with many of the missionaries, to co-operate in
the attainment of a common object. Why should not the Portuguese
authorities invite some agents of the Anti-Slavery Society to visit the
islands and place before them evidence which will enable them
conscientiously to guarantee proper treatment to the Liberian labourers,
and why, when they are once convinced, should not those agents, far from
discouraging, encourage Liberians, and perhaps others, to go to San
Thome? If this miracle could be effected--and with real good-will on
both sides it ought to be possible to effect it--a very great step in
advance would have been taken to solve this difficult problem. But in
order to realise such an ideal, mutual confidence would have to be
established. When the affairs of the Congo were under discussion the
Belgian air was thick with rumours that British humanitarianism was a
mere cloak to hide the greed of British merchants. Similar ideas are, it
would appear, now afloat at Lisbon. When men's pockets are touched they
are apt to become extremely suspicious of humanitarian intentions. Mr.
Wingfield, writing on August 17, 1912, said that the Portuguese
Government was not "convinced of the disinterestedness of all those who
criticise them," and he intimated that there were schemes on foot on the
part of British subjects to acquire "rocas" in the islands "at very low
prices." It ought not to be difficult to convince the Portuguese
authorities that the agents employed by the Anti-Slavery Society are in
no way connected with any such projects. On the other hand, it would be
necessary that those agents should be very carefully chosen, that
besides being humanitarians they should have some knowledge of business,
and that they should enter upon their inquiry in a spirit of fairness,
and not with any preconceived intention to push to an extreme any
suspicions they may entertain of Portuguese acts and intentions. It is
suggested that the adoption of some such mode of proceeding as is here
indicated is worthy of consideration. The Foreign Office might very
properly act as an intermediary to bring the two parties together.

Finally, before leaving this branch of the subject, it is to be observed
that the difficulty of obtaining free labour has occurred elsewhere than
in the Portuguese possessions. It has generally admitted, at all events,
of a partial solution if the labourers are well treated and adequately
paid. Portuguese experience points to a similar conclusion. Mr.
Smallbones, writing on September 23, 1912, quotes the report of the
manager of the Lobito railway, in which the latter, after stating that
he has had no difficulty in obtaining all the labour he has required,
adds, "I attribute the facility in obtaining so large a supply of
labour, relatively cheaply, to the good food we supply them with, and
chiefly to the regularity with which payments in cash are effected, and
also to the justice with which they are treated."

The question of repatriation remains to be treated. It must, of course,
be remembered that repatriation is an act of justice to the men already
enslaved, but that, by itself, it does little or nothing towards solving
the main difficulties of the slavery problem. Mr. Wingfield, writing to
Sir Edward Grey on August 24, 1912, relates a conversation he had had
with Senhor Vasconcellos. "His Excellency first observed that they were
generally subjected to severe criticism in England, and said to be
fostering slavery because they did not at once repatriate all natives
who had served the term of their original contracts. Now they were
blamed for the misfortunes which resulted from their endeavour to act as
England was always suggesting that they should act!" His Excellency made
what Parliamentarians would call a good debating point, but the
complaint is obviously more specious than real, for what people in
England expect is not merely that the slaves should, if they wish it, be
repatriated, but that the repatriation should be conducted under
reasonably humane conditions. For the purposes of the present argument
it is needless to inquire whether the ghastly story adopted by the
Anti-Slavery Society on the strength of a statement in a Portuguese
newspaper, but denied by the Portuguese Government, that the corpses of
fifty repatriated men who had died of starvation were at one time to be
seen lying about in the outskirts of Benguella, be true or false.
Independently of this incident, all the evidence goes to show that
Colonel Wyllie is saying no more than the truth when he writes: "To
repatriate, _i.e._ to dump on the African mainland without previous
arrangement for his reception, protection, or safe conduct over his
further route, an Angolan or hinterland 'servical' who has spent years
of his life in San Thome, is not merely to sentence him to death, but to
execute that sentence with the shortest possible delay." It is against
this system that those interested in the subject in England protested.
The Portuguese Government appear now to have recognised the justice of
their protests, for they have recently adopted a plan somewhat similar
to that initiated by the late Lord Salisbury for dealing with immigrant
coolies from India. By an Order in Council dated October 17, 1912, it
has been provided that repatriated "servicaes" should receive a grant of
land and should be set up, free of charge, with agricultural implements
and seeds. This is certainly a step in the right direction. It is as yet
too early to say how far the plan will succeed, but if it is honestly
carried out it ought to go far towards solving the repatriation
question. Mr. Smallbones would appear justified in claiming that it
"should be given a fair trial before more heroic measures are applied."
The repatriation fund, which appears, to say the least, to have been
very badly administered, ought, without difficulty, to be able to meet
the expenses which the adoption of this plan will entail.

[Footnote 105: Mr. E.W. Brooks subsequently wrote to _The Spectator_ to
explain that "the letter in question was in no sense an official letter
from the Society of Friends. It was the product of one small meeting of
that body, which appears to have been misinformed by one or more of its
members, and was in no sense a letter from the Society of Friends,
which, on the subject of Portuguese Slavery, is officially represented
by its Anti-Slavery Committee, of which he is himself the Honorary
Secretary."]




XXV

ENGLAND AND ISLAM

_"The Spectator," August 23, 1913_


Amidst the many important remarks made by Sir Edward Grey in his recent
Parliamentary statement on the affairs of the Balkan Peninsula, none
deserve greater attention than those which dealt with the duties and
responsibilities of England towards Mohammedans in general. It was,
indeed, high time that some clear and authoritative declaration of
principle on this important subject should be made by a Minister of the
Crown. We are constantly being reminded that King George V. is the
greatest Mohammedan ruler in the world, that some seventy millions of
his subjects in India are Moslems, and that the inhabitants of Egypt are
also, for the most part, followers of the Prophet of Arabia. It is not
infrequently maintained that it is a duty incumbent on Great Britain to
defend the interests and to secure the welfare of Moslems all over the
world because a very large number of their co-religionists are British
subjects and reside in British territory. It is not at all surprising
that this claim should be advanced, but it is manifestly one which
cannot be admitted without very great and important qualifications.
Moreover, it is one which, from a European point of view, represents a
somewhat belated order of ideas. It is true that community of religion
constitutes the main bond of union between Russia and the population of
the Balkan Peninsula, but apart from the fact that no such community of
religious thought exists between Christian England and Moslem or Hindu
India, it is to be noted that, generally speaking, the tie of a common
creed, which played so important a part in European politics and
diplomacy during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, has now been
greatly weakened, even if it has not disappeared altogether. It has been
supplanted almost everywhere by the bond of nationality. No practical
politician would now argue that, if the Protestants of Holland or Sweden
had any special causes for complaint, a direct responsibility rested on
their co-religionists in Germany or England to see that those grievances
were redressed. No Roman Catholic nation would now advance a claim to
interfere in the affairs of Ireland on the ground that the majority of
the population of that country are Roman Catholics.

This transformation of political thought and action has not yet taken
place in the East. It may be, as some competent observers are disposed
to think, that the principle of nationality is gaining ground in Eastern
countries, but it has certainly not as yet taken firm root. The bond
which holds Moslem societies together is still religious rather than
patriotic. Its binding strength has been greatly enhanced by two
circumstances. One is that Mecca is to the Moslem far more than
Jerusalem is to the Christian or to the Jew. From Delhi to Zanzibar,
from Constantinople to Java, every devout Moslem turns when he prays to
what Mr. Stanley Lane-Poole aptly calls the "cradle of his creed." The
other circumstance is that, although, as Mr. Hughes has said, "we have
not seen a single work of authority, nor met with a single man of
learning who has ever attempted to prove that the Sultans of Turkey are
rightful Caliphs," at the same time the spiritual authority usurped by
Selim I. is generally recognised throughout Islam, with the result not
only that unity of thought has been engendered amongst Moslems, but also
that religion has to a great extent been incorporated into politics, and
identified with the maintenance of a special form of government in a
portion of the Moslem world.

The growth of the principle of nationality in those eastern countries
which are under western dominion might not inconceivably raise political
issues of considerable magnitude, but in the discussions which have from
time to time taken place on this subject the inconveniences and even
danger caused by the universality of a non-national bond based on
community of religion have perhaps been somewhat unduly neglected. These
inconveniences have, however, always existed. That the policy which led
to the Crimean War and generally the prolonged tension which existed
between England and Russia were due to the British connection with India
is universally recognised. It would be difficult to differentiate the
causes of that tension, and to say how far it was, on the one hand, due
to purely strategical considerations, or, on the other hand, to a desire
to meet the wishes and satisfy the aspirations of the many millions of
Moslems who are British subjects. Since, however, the general diplomatic
relations between England and Russia have, fortunately for both
countries, been placed on a footing of more assured confidence and
friendship than any which have existed for a long time past, strategical
considerations have greatly diminished in importance. The natural result
has been that the alternative plea for regarding Near Eastern affairs
from the point of view of Indian interests has acquired greater
prominence. Those who have been closely in touch with the affairs of
the Near East, and have watched the gradual decay of Turkey, have for
some while past foreseen that the time was inevitably approaching when
British statesmen and the British nation would be forced by the
necessities of the situation to give a definite answer to the question
how far their diplomatic action in Europe would have to be governed by
the alleged obligation to conciliate Moslem opinion in India. That
question received, to a certain limited extent, a practical answer when
Bulgaria declared war on Turkey and when not a voice was raised in this
country to urge that the policy which dictated the Crimean War should be
rehabilitated.

The answer, however, is not yet complete. England is now apparently
expected by many Moslems to separate herself from the Concert of Europe,
and not impossibly to imperil the peace of the world, in order that the
Turks should continue in occupation of Adrianople. The secretary of the
Punjab Moslem League has informed us through the medium of the press
that unless this is done the efforts of the extreme Indian Nationalists
to secure the sympathies of Mohammedans in India "will meet with growing
success."

It was in reality to this challenge that Sir Edward Grey replied. His
answer was decisive, and left no manner of doubt as to the policy which
the British Government intends to pursue. It will almost certainly meet
with well-nigh universal approval in this country. After explaining that
the racial sentiments and religious feelings of Moslem subjects of the
Crown would be respected and have full scope, that British policy would
never be one of intolerance or wanton and unprovoked aggression against
a Mohammedan Power, and that the British Government would never join in
any outrage on Mohammedan feelings and sentiments in any part of the
world, Sir Edward Grey added, "We cannot undertake the duty of
protecting Mohammedan Powers outside the British dominions from the
consequences of their own action.... To suppose that we can undertake
the protection of and are bound to regulate our European policy so as to
side with a Mussulman Power when that Mussulman Power rejects the advice
given to it, that is not a claim we can admit."

These are wise words, and it is greatly to be hoped that not only the
Moslems of Turkey, but also those inhabiting other countries, will read,
mark, learn, and inwardly digest them. Notably, the Moslems of India
should recognise that, with the collapse of Turkish power in Europe, a
new order of things has arisen, that the change which the attitude of
England towards Turkey has undergone is the necessary consequence of
that collapse, and that it does not in the smallest degree connote
unfriendliness to Islam. In fact, they must now endeavour to separate
Islamism from politics. With the single exception of the occupation of
Cyprus, which, as Lord Goschen very truly said at the time, "prevented
British Ambassadors from showing 'clean hands' to the Sultan in proof of
the unselfishness of British action," the policy of England in the Near
East has been actuated, ever since the close of the Napoleonic wars, by
a sincere and wholly disinterested desire to save Turkish statesmen from
the consequences of their own folly. In this cause no effort has been
spared, even to the shedding of the best blood of England. All has been
in vain. History does not relate a more striking instance of the truth
of the old Latin saying that self-deception is the first step on the
road to ruin. Advice tendered in the best interests of the Ottoman
Empire has been persistently rejected. The Turks, who have always been
strangers in Europe, have shown conspicuous inability to comply with the
elementary requirements of European civilisation, and have at last
failed to maintain that military efficiency which has, from the days
when they crossed the Bosphorus, been the sole mainstay of their power
and position. It is, as Sir Edward Grey pointed out, unreasonable to
expect that we should now save them from the consequences of their own
action. Whether Moslems all over the world will or should still continue
to regard the Sultan of Turkey as their spiritual head is a matter on
which it would be presumptuous for a Christian to offer any opinion, but
however this may be, Indian Moslems would do well to recognise the fact
that circumstances, and not the hostility of Great Britain or of any
other foreign Power, have materially altered the position of the Sultan
in so far as the world of politics and diplomacy is concerned. Whether
the statesman in whose hands the destinies of Turkey now lie at once
abandon Adrianople, or whether they continue to remain there for a time
with the certainty that they will be sowing the seeds of further
bloodshed in the near future, one thing is certain. It is that the days
of Turkey as an European Power are numbered. Asia must henceforth be her
sphere of action.

That these truths should be unpalatable to Indian Moslems is but
natural; neither is it possible to withhold some sympathy from them in
the distress which they must now feel at the partial wreck of the most
important Moslem State which the world has yet seen. But facts, however
distasteful, have to be faced, and it would be truly deplorable if the
non-recognition of those facts should lead our Moslem fellow-subjects
in India to resent the action of the British Government and to adopt a
line of conduct from which they have nothing to gain and everything to
lose. But whatever that line of conduct may be, the duty of the British
Government and nation is clear. Their European policy, whilst allowing
all due weight to Indian interests and sentiment, must in the main be
guided by general considerations based on the necessities of civilised
progress throughout the world, and on the interests and welfare of the
British Empire as a whole. The idea that that policy should be diverted
from its course in order to subserve the cause of a single Moslem Power
which has rejected British advice is, as Sir Edward Grey very rightly
remarked, wholly inadmissible.




XXVI

SOME INDIAN PROBLEMS[106]

_"The Spectator," August 30, 1913_


In spite of the optimism at times displayed in dealing with Indian
affairs, which may be justified on grounds which are often, to say the
least, plausible, it is impossible to ignore the fact that the general
condition of India gives cause for serious reflection, if not for grave
anxiety. We are told on all sides that the East is rapidly awakening
from its torpid slumbers--even to the extent of forgetting that
characteristically Oriental habit of thought embodied in the Arabic
proverb, "Slowness is from God, hurry from the Devil." If this be so, we
must expect that, year by year, problems of ever-increasing complexity
will arise which will tax to the utmost the statesmanship of those
Western nations who are most brought in contact with Eastern peoples.
In these circumstances, it is specially desirable that the different
points of view from which Indian questions may be regarded should be
laid before the British public by representatives of various schools of
thought. But a short time ago a very able Socialist member of Parliament
(Mr. Ramsay MacDonald) gave to the world the impressions he had derived
whilst he was "careering over the plains of Rajputana," and paying
hurried visits to other parts of India. His views, although manifestly
in some degree the result of preconceived opinions, and somewhat tainted
with the dogmatism which is characteristic of the political school of
thought to which he belongs, exhibit at the same time habits of acute
observation and powers of rapid--sometimes unduly rapid--generalisation.
Neither are they, on the whole, so prejudiced as might have been
expected from the antecedents and political connections of the author.
More recently we have had in a work written by Mr. Mallik, which was
lately reviewed in these columns, a striking specimen of one of those
pernicious by-products which are the natural and unavoidable outcome of
Eastern and Western contact. We have now to deal with a work of a very
different type. Many of the very difficult problems which Mr. Mitra
discusses in his interesting series of _Anglo-Indian Studies_ open up a
wide field for differences of opinion, but whatever views may be
entertained about them, all must recognise not only that no kind of
exception can be taken to the general spirit in which Mr. Mitra
approaches Indian subjects, but also that his observations are the
result of deep reflection, and of an honest endeavour to improve rather
than exacerbate racial relations. His remarks are, therefore, well
worthy of consideration.

Mr. Mitra shows a perfectly legitimate pride in the past history of his
country. He tells us how Hindu international lawyers anticipated Grotius
by some thirty centuries, how the Mahabharata embodies many of the
principles adopted by the Hague Conference, how India preceded Europe in
her knowledge of all the arts and sciences, even including that of
medicine, and how "Hindu drama was in its heyday before the theatres of
England, France, or Spain could be said to exist." But Mr. Mitra's
ardent patriotism does not blind him to the realities of the present
situation. A very intelligent Frenchman, M. Paul Boell, who visited
India a few years ago, came to the conclusion that the real Indian
question was not whether the English were justified in staying in the
country, but whether they could find any moral justification for
withdrawing from it. Mr. Mitra arrives at much the same conclusion as M.
Boell. "If the English were to withdraw from India to-morrow," he says,
"I fear that, notwithstanding all the peace precepts of our Mahabharata,
and in spite of the stupendous philosophy and so-called fatalism of the
Hindus, our Maharajahs would speedily be at each other's throats, as
they were before the _pax Britannica_ was established there." Moreover,
he asserts a principle of vital importance, which is but too often
ignored by his countrymen, and even at times by those who sympathise
with them in England. "Education and knowledge," he says, "can be pumped
into the student, but there is no royal road for instruction in
'capacity of management.' A Clive, with inferior education, may be a
better manager of men or of an industrial concern than the most learned
student." In other words, character rather than intellect is the
foundation not only of national but also of individual greatness--a
profound truth which is brought home every day to those who are engaged
in the actual management of public affairs, especially in the East. Mr.
Mitra, moreover, makes various praiseworthy efforts to dispel certain
illusions frequently nourished by some of his countrymen, and to
diminish the width of the religious gulf which separates the rulers from
the ruled. He quotes with approval Sir Rajendra Mookerjee's complete,
albeit facile, exposure of the fallacy, dear to the hearts of many
Indian press writers and platform speakers, that Indian interests suffer
by the introduction of British capital into India. "It is wise," Sir
Rajendra said, "to allow British capitalists to interest themselves in
our industries and thus take an active part in their development." He
prefers to dwell on the points of similarity which unite rather than on
the differences which separate Hinduism and Christianity. "The two
religions," he says, "have so much in common when one gets down to
essentials that it seems to me this ought to furnish a great bond of
sympathy between the two peoples," and he urges that "every attempt
should be made to utilise the Hindu University to remove the spirit of
segregation which unquestionably exists between the Christian Government
in India and its Hindu subjects, and thus pave the way to harmonious
co-operation between the Aryan rulers and the ruled in India."

It will be as well, however, to turn from these points to what Mr. Mitra
considers the shortcomings of the British Government. He is not sparing
in his criticisms. He freely admits that British statesmen have devoted
their energies to improving the conditions of the masses, but he adds,
and it must be sorrowfully admitted that he is justified in adding,
"Material advantages set forth in dry statistics have never made a
nation enthusiastically loyal to the Government." He urges that,
especially in dealing with a population the vast majority of which is
illiterate, "it is the _human element_ that counts most in Imperialism,
far more than the dry bones of political economy." In an interesting
chapter of his book entitled _British Statesmanship and Indian
Psychology_, he asks the very pertinent question, "What does loyalty
mean to the Indian, whether Moslem or Hindu?" The answer which he gives
to this question is that when the idea of loyalty is brought before the
native of India, "it comes in most cases with a jerk, and quickly
disappears." The reason for its disappearance is that no bond of
fellowship has been established between the rulers and the ruled, that
the native of India is not made to feel that "he has any real part in
England's greatness," that the influence and high position of the native
Princes receive inadequate recognition, and that no scope is offered to
the military ambition of the citizens of the Indian Empire. "Under the
Crescent, the Hindu has been Commander of a Brigade; under the Union
Jack, even after a century, he sees no likelihood of rising as high as a
little subaltern."

There is, of course, nothing very new in all this. It has been pointed
out over and over again by all who have considered Indian or Egyptian
problems seriously that the creation of some sort of rather spurious
patriotism when all the elements out of which patriotism naturally grows
are wanting, is rather like searching for the philosopher's stone. At
the same time, when so sympathetic a critic as Mr. Mitra bids us study
the "psychological traits" of Indian character, it is certainly worth
while to inquire whether all that is possible has been done in the way
of evoking sentiments of loyalty based on considerations which lie
outside the domain of material advantage. The most imaginative British
statesman of recent years has been Lord Beaconsfield. Himself a
quasi-Oriental, he grasped the idea that it would be possible to appeal
to the imagination of other Orientals. The laughter which was to some
extent provoked when, at his suggestion, Queen Victoria assumed the
title of Empress of India has now died away, and it is generally
recognised, even by those who are not on other grounds disposed to
indulge in any exaggerated worship of the primrose, that in this respect
Lord Beaconsfield performed an act dictated by true statesmanship. He
appealed to those personal and monarchical sentiments which, to a far
greater extent than democratic ideas, dominate the minds of Easterns.
The somewhat lavish expenditure incurred in connection with the King's
recent visit to India may be justified on similar grounds. Following
generally the same order of ideas, Mr. Mitra has some further
suggestions to make. The question of opening some field to the very
natural aspirations of the martial races and classes of India presents,
indeed, very great practical difficulties which it would be impossible
to discuss adequately on the present occasion. All that can be said is
that, although the well-intentioned efforts so far made to solve this
thorny problem do not appear to have met with all the success they
deserve, it is one which should earnestly engage the attention of the
Government in the hope that some practical and unobjectionable solution
may eventually be found. Mr. Mitra, however, draws attention to other
cognate points which would certainly appear to merit attention. "The
first thing," he says, "necessary to rouse Indian sentiment is to give
India a flag of her own." He points out that Canada, Australia, South
Africa, and some of the West Indian islands have flags of their own, and
he asks why, without in any way serving as a symbol of separation, India
should not be similarly treated? Then, again, he remarks--and it would
be well if some of our Parliamentarians took careful note of the
observation--that "British statesmen, in their zeal for introducing
their democratic system of government into India, forget that India is
pre-eminently an aristocratic land." This appreciation of the Indian
situation formed the basis of the political system favoured by no less
an authority than Sir Henry Lawrence, and stood in marked contrast to
that advocated by his no less distinguished brother, Lord Lawrence. Mr.
Mitra, therefore, suggests that a certain number of ruling princes or
their heirs-apparent should be allowed to sit in a reformed House of
Lords. "Canada," Lord Meath said some years ago, "is already represented
in the House of Lords," and he pertinently asked, "Why should not India
also have her peers in that assembly?" The particular proposal made by
Mr. Mitra in this connection may possibly be open to some objections,
but the general principle which he advocates, as also the suggestion
that a special flag should be devised for India, would certainly appear
to be well worthy of consideration.

It is interesting to turn to the view entertained by Mr. Mitra on the
recent transfer of the seat of Government from Calcutta to Delhi. He
manifestly does not regard that transfer with any degree of favour.
Moreover, he thinks that from the point of view of the stability of
British rule, a great mistake has been made. Delhi, he says, has "for
centuries symbolised Moslem-Hindu collective sentiment." He assumes that
it is the object of British statesmanship to prevent any union between
Moslems and Hindus, and that the recent transfer will go far to cement
that union. "In transferring the capital to the old centre of Indian
Imperialism, England has, in a flash, aroused memories to a degree that
thousands of demagogues and agitators would not have done in a century."
He holds, therefore, that the action of British statesmen in this
respect may not improbably "produce the reverse of the result they
intended." The question of whether it was or was not wise to transfer
the seat of Government to Delhi is one on which differences of opinion
may well exist, but Mr. Mitra is in error in supposing that either the
British nation collectively or British statesmen individually have ever
proceeded so far on the _divide et impera_ principle as to endeavour in
their own interests to foster and perpetuate racial and religious
animosities. On the contrary, although they have accepted as a fact that
those animosities exist, and although they have at times been obliged to
interfere with a view to preventing one race or religion infringing the
rights and liberties of others, they have persistently done their best
to allay discord and sectarian strife. In spite of Mr. Mitra's obvious
and honourable attempts to preserve an attitude of judicial
impartiality, it is conceivable that in this instance he may, as a
Hindu, have allowed himself to be unconsciously influenced by fear
that, in transferring the capital to a Moslem centre, the British
Government has, in his own words, "placed itself more within the sway of
Moslem influence than the authorities would care to admit."

Mr. Mitra alludes to several important points of detail, such, for
instance, as the proposal to establish a port at Cochin, which he fears
"may be allowed to perish in the coils of official routine," and the
suggestion made by Sir Rajendra Mookerjee that by a reduction of railway
freights from the mines in the Central Provinces to the port the trade
in manganese might be encouraged. It is to be hoped that these and some
other similar points will receive due attention from the Indian
authorities. Sufficient has been said to justify the opinion that Mr.
Mitra's thoughtful work is a valuable contribution to Indian literature,
and will well repay perusal by all who are interested in the solution of
existing Indian problems.

[Footnote 106: _Anglo-Indian Studies_. By S.M. Mitra. London: Longmans
and Co. 10s. 6d.]




XXVII

THE NAPOLEON OF TAINE[107]

_"The Spectator" September 13, 1913_


It has happened to most of the great actors on the world's stage that
their posthumous fame has undergone many vicissitudes. _Laudatur ab his,
culpatur ab illis._ They have at times been eulogised or depreciated by
partisan historians who have searched eagerly the records of the past
with a view to eliciting facts and arguments to support the political
views they have severally entertained as regards the present. Even when
no such incentive has existed, the temptation to adopt a novel view of
some celebrated man or woman whose character and career have floated
down the tide of history cast in a conventional mould has occasionally
proved highly attractive from a mere literary point of view. The process
of whitewashing the bad characters of history may almost be said to
have established itself as a fashion.

A similar fate has attended the historians who have recorded the deeds
of the world's principal actors. A few cases, of which perhaps Ranke is
the most conspicuous, may indeed be cited of historical writers whose
reputations are built on foundations so solid and so impervious to
attack as to defy criticism. But it has more usually happened, as in the
case of Macaulay, that eminent historians have passed through various
phases of repute. The accuracy of their facts, the justice of their
conclusions, their powers of correct generalisation, and the merits or
demerits of their literary style have all been brought into court, with
the result that attention has often been to a great extent diverted from
history to the personality of the historians, and that the verdict
pronounced has varied according to the special qualities the display of
which were for the time being uppermost in the public mind.

No recent writer of history has experienced these vicissitudes to a
greater extent than the illustrious author of _Les Origines de la France
contemporaine_. That Taine should evoke the enthusiasm of any particular
school of politicians, and still less the partisans of any particular
regime in France, was from the very outset obviously impossible. When
we read his account of the _ancien regime_ we think we are listening to
the voice of a calm but convinced republican or constitutionalist. When
we note his scathing exposure of the criminal folly and ineptitude of
the Jacobins we remain momentarily under the impression that we are
being guided by a writer imbued with strong conservative or even
monarchical sympathies. The iconoclast both of the revolutionary and of
the Napoleonic legends chills alike the heart of the worshippers at
either shrine. A writer who announces in the preface of his work that
the only conclusion at which he is able to arrive, after a profound
study of the most interesting and stormy period of modern history, is
that the government of human beings is an extremely difficult task, will
look in vain for sympathy from all who have adopted any special theory
as to the best way in which that task should be accomplished. Yet, in
spite of Taine's political nihilism, it would be a grave error to
suppose that he has no general principle to enounce, or no plan of
government to propound. Such is far from being the case. Though no
politician, he was a profoundly analytical psychologist. M. Le Bon, in
his brilliant treatise on the psychological laws which govern national
development, says, "Dans toutes manifestations de la vie d'une nation,
nous retrouvons toujours l'ame immuable de la race tissant son propre
destin." The commonplace method of stating the same proposition is to
say that every nation gets the government it deserves. This, in fact, is
the gospel which Taine had to preach. He thought, in Lady
Blennerhassett's words, that it was "the underlying characteristics of a
people; and not their franchise, which determines their Constitution."

After having enjoyed for long a high reputation amongst non-partisan
students of revolutionary history, Taine's claim to rank as an historian
of the first order has of late been vigorously assailed by a school of
writers, of whom M. Aulard is probably the best known and the most
distinguished. They impugn his authority, and even go so far as to
maintain that his historical testimony is of little or no value. How far
is this view justified? The question is one of real interest to the
historical student, whatsoever may be his nationality, and it is,
perhaps, for more than one reason, of special interest to Englishmen. In
the first place, Taine's method of writing history is eminently
calculated to commend itself to English readers. His mind was eminently
objective. He avoided those brilliant and often somewhat specious _a
priori_ generalisations in which even the best French authors are at
times prone to indulge. His process of reasoning was strictly
inductive. He only drew conclusions when he had laid an elaborate
foundation of facts on which they could be based. The spirit in which he
wrote was more Teutonic than Latin. Again, in the absence of any really
complete English history of the French Revolution--for Carlyle's
rhapsody, in spite of its unquestionable merits, can scarcely be held to
supply the want--most Englishmen have been accustomed to think that,
with De Tocqueville and Taine as their guides, they would be able to
secure an adequate grasp both of the history of the revolutionary period
and of the main political lessons which that history tends to inculcate.

In a very interesting essay published in Lady Blennerhassett's recent
work, entitled _Sidelights_, which has been admirably translated into
English by Mrs. Guelcher, she deals with the subject now under
discussion. No one could be more fitted to cope with the task. Lady
Blennerhassett's previous contributions to literature, her encyclopaedic
knowledge of historical facts, and her thorough grasp of the main
political, religious, and economic considerations which moved the hearts
and influenced the actions of men during the revolutionary convulsion
give her a claim, which none will dare to dispute, to speak with
authority on this subject. Those who have heretofore looked for
guidance to Taine will, therefore, rejoice to note that she is able to
vindicate his reputation as an historian. "The six volumes of the
_Origines_," she says, "are, like other human works, not free from
errors and exaggerations, but in all essentials their author has proved
himself right, and his singular merit remains."

As the most suitable illustration of Taine's historical methods Lady
Blennerhassett selects his study of Napoleon. That, she thinks, is "the
severest test of the author's skill." Taine did not, like Fournier and
others, attempt to write a history of Napoleonic facts. The strategical
and tactical genius which enabled Napoleon to sweep across Europe and to
crush Austria and Prussia on the fields of Austerlitz and Jena had no
attraction for him. He wrote a history of ideas. True to his own
psychological habit of thought, he endeavoured to "reconstruct the
figure of Napoleon on psychological and physiological lines." The
justification of this method is to be found in the fact, the truth of
which cannot be gainsaid, that a right estimate of the character of
Napoleon affords one of the principal keys to the true comprehension of
European history for a period of some twenty stirring years. History,
Lord Acton said, "is often made by energetic men steadfastly following
ideas, mostly wrong, that determine events." Napoleon is a case in
point. "The man in Napoleon explains his work." But what were the ideas
of this remarkable man, and were those ideas "mostly wrong"?

His main idea was certainly to satisfy his personal ambition. "Ma
maitresse," he said, "c'est le pouvoir," and in 1811, when, although he
knew it not, his star was about to wane, he said to the Bavarian General
Wrede, "In three years I shall be master of the universe." He was not
deterred by any love of country, for it should never be forgotten that,
as Lady Blennerhassett says, "this French Caesar was not a Frenchman."
Whatever patriotic feelings moved in his breast were not French but
Corsican. He never even thoroughly mastered the French language, and his
mother spoke not only bad French, but bad Italian. Her natural language,
Masson tells us, was the Corsican _patois_. In order to gratify his
ambition, all considerations based on morality were cast to the winds.
"I am not like any other man," he told Madame de Remusat; "the laws of
morality and decorum do not apply to me." Acting on this principle he
did not hesitate to plunge the world into a series of wars. _Saevit toto
Mars impius orbe._

The other fundamental idea which dominated the whole of Napoleon's
conduct was based on Voltaire's cynical dictum, "Quand les hommes
s'attroupent, leurs oreilles s'allongent." He was a total disbeliever in
the wisdom or intelligence of corporate bodies. Therefore, as he told
Sir Henry Keating at St. Helena, "It is necessary always to talk of
liberty, equality, justice, and disinterestedness, and never to grant
any liberty whatever." Low as was his opinion of human intelligence, his
estimate of human honesty was still lower. Mr. Lecky, speaking of
Napoleon's relations with Madame de Stael, says: "A perfectly honest man
was the only kind of man he could never understand. Such a man perplexed
and baffled his calculations, acting on them as the sign of the cross
acts on the machinations of a demon." In his callow youth he had
coquetted with ultra-Liberal ideas. He had even written an essay in
which he expressed warm admiration for Algernon Sidney as an "enemy to
monarchies, princes, and nobles," and added that "there are few kings
who have not deserved to be dethroned." These ideas soon vanished. He
became the incarnation of ruthless but highly intelligent despotism. The
reputation acquired at Marengo gave him the authority which was
necessary as a preliminary to decisive action, and albeit, if all
accounts are true, he lost his head at the most important crisis of his
career and owed success to the firmness of that Sieyes whom he
scornfully called an "ideologue" and a "faiseur de constitutions,"
nevertheless on the 18th Brumaire he was able to make captive a tired
nation which pined for peace, and little recked that it was handing over
its destinies to the most ardent devotee of the god of war that the
world has ever known.

Once seated firmly in his saddle Napoleon proceeded to centralise the
whole French administration, and to establish a regime as despotic as
that of any of the hereditary monarchs who had preceded him. But it was
a despotism of a very different type from theirs. Theirs was stupid, and
excited the jealousy and hatred of almost every class. His was
intelligent and appealed both to the imagination and to the material
interests of every individual Frenchman. Theirs was based on privilege;
his on absolute equality. "About Napoleon's throne," Lady Blennerhassett
says, "were gathered Girondists and Jacobins, Royalists and
Thermidorians, Plebeians and the one-time Knights of the Holy Ghost,
Roman Catholics and Voltaireans. Kitchen lads became marshals; Drouet,
the postmaster of Varennes, became Under-Secretary of State; Fouche, the
torturer and wholesale murderer, a duke; the Suabian candidate for the
Lutheran Ministry, Reinhard, was appointed an Imperial Ambassador;
Murat, son of an innkeeper, a king."

Death, it has been truly said, is the real measure of greatness. What
now remains of the stupendous fabric erected by Napoleon? "Of the work
of the Conqueror," Lady Blennerhassett says, "not one stone remains upon
another." As regards the internal reconstruction of France, the case is
very different. All inquirers are agreed that Napoleon's work endures.
Taine said that "the machinery of the year VIII." still remains. Mr.
Fisher, in his work on _Napoleonic Statesmanship_, says that Napoleon
"created a bureaucracy more competent, active, and enlightened than any
which Europe had seen." Mr. Bodley bears similar testimony. "The whole
centralised administration of France, which, in its stability, has
survived every political crisis, was the creation of Napoleon and the
keystone of his fabric."

Napoleon's administrative creations may, indeed, be criticised from many
points of view. Notably, it may be said that, if he did not initiate, he
stimulated that excessive "fonctionnarisme" which is often regarded as
the main defect of the French system. But his creations were adapted to
the special character and genius of the nation over which he ruled. His
main title-deed to enduring fame is that, for good or evil, he
constructed an edifice which, in its main features, has lasted to this
day, which shows no signs of decay, and which has exercised a
predominant influence on the administration and judicial systems of
neighbouring countries. Neither the system itself nor the history of its
creation can be thoroughly understood without a correct appreciation of
the character and political creed of its founder. It is this
consideration which affords an ample justification of the special method
adopted by Taine in dealing with the history of the Napoleonic period.

Nothing illustrates Napoleon's character more clearly than the numerous
_ana_ which may be culled from the pages of Madame de Remusat, Masson,
Beugnot, Roederer, and others. Of these, some are reproduced by Lady
Blennerhassett. The writer of the present article was informed on good
authority of the following Napoleonic anecdote. It is related that
Napoleon ordered from Breguet, the famous Paris watchmaker, a watch for
his brother Joseph, who was at the time King of Spain. The back was of
blue enamel decorated with the letter J in diamonds. In 1813 Napoleon
was present at a military parade when a messenger arrived bearing a
brief despatch, in which it was stated that the French army had been
completely defeated at Vittoria. It was manifest that Spain was lost.
Always severely practical, all that Napoleon did, after glancing at the
despatch, was to turn to his secretary and say, "Write to Breguet and
tell him that I shall not want that watch." It is believed that the
watch was eventually bought by the Duke of Wellington.[108]

[Footnote 107: _Sidelights_. By Lady Blennerhassett. Translated by Edith
Guelcher. London: Constable & Co. 7s. 6d.]

[Footnote 108: My informant in this matter was the late General Sir
Arthur Ellis. Since the above was written, the Duke of Wellington has
informed me that there is at Apsley House a watch, not made by Breguet
but by another Paris watchmaker, on which is inscribed, "Ordered by
Napoleon for his brother Joseph." The cover is ornamented not with a
diamond J, but with a map of the Peninsula. Inside is the portrait of a
lady. I do not doubt that this is the watch to which Sir Arthur Ellis
alluded.]




XXVIII

SONGS, PATRIOTIC AND NATIONAL

_"The Spectator," September 13, 1913_


All historians are agreed that contemporary ballads and broadsheets
constitute a priceless storehouse from which to draw a picture of the
society existing at the period whose history they seek to relate. Some
of those which have survived to become generally known to later ages
show such poverty of imagination and such total absence of literary
merit as to evoke the surprise of posterity at the ephemeral success
which they unquestionably achieved. An instance in point is the
celebrated poem "Lillibullero," or, as it is sometimes written, "Lilli
Burlero." Here is the final stanza of the pitiful doggerel with which
Wharton boasted that he had "sung a king out of three kingdoms":

    There was an old prophecy found in a bog:
    Ireland shall be ruled by an ass and a dog;
    And now this prophecy is come to pass,
    For Talbot's the dog, and James is the ass.
            Lillibullero, Bullen-a-la.

Doggerel as this was, it survived the special occasion for which it was
written. When Queen Anne's reign was well advanced balladmongers were
singing:

    So God bless the Queen and the House of Hanover,
    And never may Pope or Pretender come over.
            Lillibullero, Bullen-a-la.

If the song is still remembered by other than historical students, it is
probably more because Uncle Toby, when he was hard pressed in argument,
"had accustomed himself, in such attacks, to whistle Lillibullero," than
for any other reason.

But whether it be doggerel or dignified verse, popular poetry almost
invariably possesses one great merit. When we read the outpourings of
the seventeenth and eighteenth century poets to the innumerable Julias,
Sacharissas, and Celias whom they celebrated in verse, we cannot but
feel that we are often in contact with a display of spurious passion
which is the outcome of the head rather than of the heart. Thus Johnson
tells us that Prior's Chloe "was probably sometimes ideal, but the woman
with whom he cohabited was a despicable drab of the lowest species." The
case of popular and patriotic poetry is very different. It is wholly
devoid of affectation. Whatever be its literary merits or demerits, it
always represents some genuine and usually deep-rooted conviction. It
enables us to gauge the national aspirations of the day, and to
estimate the character of the nation whose yearnings found expression in
song. The following lines--written by Bishop Still, the reputed author
of "Gammer Gurton's Needle"--very faithfully represent the feelings
excited in England at the time of the Spanish Armada:

    We will not change our Credo
      For Pope, nor boke, nor bell;
    And yf the Devil come himself
      We'll hounde him back to hell.

The fiery Protestant spirit which is breathed forth in these lines found
its counterpart in Germany. Luther, at a somewhat earlier period, wrote:

    Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort,
    Und steur des Papsts und Tuerken Mord.

Take again the case of French Revolutionary poetry. The noble, as also
the ignoble, sides of that vast upheaval were alike represented in the
current popular poetry of the day. Posterity has no difficulty in
understanding why the whole French nation was thrilled by Rouget de
Lisle's famous song, to whose lofty strains the young conscripts rushed
to the frontier in order to hurl back the invaders of their country. On
the other hand, the ferocity of the period found expression in such
lines as:

    Ah! ca ira, ca ira, ca ira!
    Les aristocrates a la lanterne,

which was composed by one Ladre, a street singer, or in the savage
"Carmagnole," a name originally applied to a peasant costume worn in the
Piedmontese town of Carmagnola, and afterwards adopted by the Maenads
and Bacchanals, who sang and danced in frenzied joy over the judicial
murder of poor "Monsieur et Madame Veto."

The light-hearted and characteristically Latin buoyancy of the French
nation, which they have inherited from the days of that fifth-century
Gaulish bishop (Salvianus) who said that the Roman world was laughing
when it died ("moritur et ridet"), and which has stood them in good
stead in many an arduous trial, is also fully represented in their
national poetry. No other people, after such a crushing defeat as that
incurred at Pavia, would have been convulsed with laughter over the
innumerable stanzas which have immortalised their slain commander, M. de
la Palisse:

    Il mourut le vendredi,
      Le dernier jour de son age;
    S'il fut mort le samedi,
      Il eut vecu davantage.

The inchoate national aspirations, as also the grave and resolute
patriotism of the Germans, found interpreters of genius in the persons
of Arndt and Koerner, the latter of whom laid down his life for the
people whom he loved so well. During the Napoleonic period all their
compositions, many of which will live so long as the German language
lasts, strike the same note--the determination of Germans to be free:

    Lasst klingen, was nur klingen kann,
      Die Trommeln und die Floeten!
    Wir wollen heute Mann fuer Mann
      Mit Blut das Eisen roeten.
    Mit Henkerblut, Franzoesenblut--
      O suesser Tag der Rache!
    Das klinget allen Deutschen gut,
      Das ist die grosse Sache.

Some six decades later, when Arndt's famous question "Was ist das
deutsche Vaterland?" was about to receive a practical answer, the German
soldier marched to the frontier to the inspiriting strains of "Die Wacht
am Rhein."

No more characteristic national poetry was ever written than that evoked
by the civil war which raged in America some fifty years ago. Those who,
like the present writer, were witnesses on the spot of some portion of
that great struggle, are never likely to forget the different
impressions left on their minds by the poetry respectively of the North
and of the South. The pathetic song of the Southerners, "Maryland, my
Maryland," which was composed by Mr. T.R. Randall, appeared, even
whilst the contest was still undecided, to embody the plaintive wail of
a doomed cause, and stood in strong contrast to the aggressive and
almost rollicking vigour of "John Brown's Body" and "The Union for ever,
Hurrah, boys, Hurrah!"

Even a nation so little distinguished in literature as the Ottoman Turks
is able, under the stress of genuine patriotism, to embody its hopes and
aspirations in stirring verse. The following, which was written during
the last Russo-Turkish war, suffers in translation. Its rhythm and
heroic, albeit savage, vigour may perhaps even be appreciated by those
who are not familiar with the language in which it is written:

    Achalum sanjaklari!
    Ghechelim Balkanlari!
    Allah! Allah! deyerek,
    Dushman kanin' ichelim!
      Padishahmiz chok yasha!
      Ghazi Osman chok yasha![109]

Let us now turn to Italy and Greece, the nations from which modern
Europe inherits most of its ideas, and which have furnished the greater
part of the models in which those ideas are expressed, whether in prose
or in verse.

Although lines from Virgil, who may almost be said to have created Roman
Imperialism, have been found scribbled on the walls of Pompeii, it is
probable that in his day no popular poetry, in the sense in which we
should understand the word, existed. But there is something extremely
pathetic--more especially in the days when the Empire was hastening to
its ruin--in the feeling, little short of adoration, which the Latin
poets showed to the city of Rome, and in the overweening confidence
which they evinced in the stability of Roman rule. This feeling runs
through the whole of Latin literature from the days of Ovid and Virgil
to the fifth-century Rutilius, who was the last of the classic poets.
Virgil speaks of Rome as "the mistress of the world" (maxima rerum
Roma). Claudian deified Rome, "O numen amicum et legum genetrix," and
Rutilius wrote:

    Exaudi, regina tui pulcherrima mundi,
      Inter sidereos Roma recepta polos,
    Exaudi, genetrix hominum, genetrixque deorum,
      Non procul a caelo per tua templa sumus.

Modern Italians have made ample amends for any lack of purely popular
poetry which may have prevailed in the days of their ancestors. It
would, indeed, have been strange if the enthusiasm for liberty which
arose in the ranks of a highly gifted and emotional nation such as the
Italians had not found expression in song. When the proper time came,
Giusti, Carducci, Mameli, Gordigiani, and scores of others voiced the
patriotic sentiments of their countrymen. They all dwelt on the theme
embodied in the stirring Garibaldian hymn:

    Va fuori d'Italia!
    Va fuori, o stranier!

It will suffice to quote, as an example of the rest, one stanza from an
"Inno di Guerra" chosen at random from a collection of popular poetry
published at Turin in 1863:

    Coraggio ... All' armi, all' armi,
        O fanti e cavalieri,
        Snudiamo ardenti e fieri,
        Snudiam l'invitto acciar!
            Dall' Umbria mesto e oppresso
        Ci chiama il pio fratello,
        Rispondasi all' appello,
        Corriamo a guerreggiar!

The cramping isolation of the city-states of ancient Greece arrested the
growth of Hellenic nationalism, and therefore precluded the birth of any
genuinely nationalist poetry. But it only required the occasion to arise
in order to give birth to patriotic song. Such an occasion was furnished
when, under the pressing danger of Asiatic invasion, some degree of
Hellenic unity and cohesion was temporarily achieved. Then the tuneful
Simonides recorded the raising of an altar to "Zeus, the free man's god,
a fair token of freedom for Hellas."

In more modern times the long struggle for Greek independence produced a
crop of poets who, if they could not emulate the dignity and linguistic
elegance of their predecessors, were none the less able to express their
national aspirations in rugged but withal very tuneful verse which went
straight to the hearts of their countrymen. The Klephtic ballads played
a very important part in rousing the Greek spirit during the
Graeco-Turkish war at the beginning of the last century. The fine ode of
the Zantiote Solomos has been adopted as the national anthem, whilst the
poetry of another Ionian, Aristotle Valaorites, and of numerous others
glows with genuine and perfervid patriotism. But perhaps the greatest
nationalist poet that modern Greece has produced was Rhigas Pheraios,
who, as proto-martyr in the Greek cause, was executed by the Turks in
1798, with the prophecy on his dying lips that he had "sown a rich seed,
and that the hour was coming when his country would reap its glorious
fruits." His Greek Marseillaise ([Greek: Deute paides ton Hellenon]) is
known to Englishmen through Byron's translation, "Sons of the Greeks,
arise, etc." But the glorious lilt and swing of his _Polemisterion_,
though probably familiar to every child in Greece, is less known in this
country. The lines,

    [Greek: kallitera mias horas eleuthere zoe,
    para saranta chronon sklabia kai phylake,]

recall to the mind Tennyson's

    Better fifty years of Europe than a cycle of Cathay.

[Footnote 109:

    Let us unfurl the standards!
    Let us cross the Balkans!
    Shouting "Allah! Allah!"
    Let us drink the blood of the foe!
      Long live our Padishah!
      Long live Ghazi Osman!
]




XXIX

SONGS, NAVAL AND MILITARY

_"The Spectator," September 20, 1913_


A British Aeschylus, were such a person conceivable, might very fitly
tell his countrymen, in the words addressed to Prometheus some
twenty-three centuries ago, that they would find no friend more staunch
than Oceanus:

    [Greek: ou gar pot' ereis hos Okeanou
      philos esti bebaioteros soi.]

In truth, the whole national life of England is summed up in the fine
lines of Swinburne:

    All our past comes wailing in the wind,
    And all our future thunders in the sea.

The natural instincts of a maritime nation are brought out in strong
relief throughout the whole of English literature, from its very birth
down to the present day. The author of "The Lay of Beowulf," whoever he
may have been, rivalled Homer in the awe-stricken epithets he applied to
the "immense stream of ocean murmuring with foam" (_Il._ xviii. 402).
"Then," he wrote, "most like a bird, the foamy-necked floater went
wind-driven over the sea-wave; ... the sea-timber thundered; the wind
over the billows did not hinder the wave-floater in her course; the
sea-goer put forth; forth over the flood floated she, foamy-necked, over
the sea-streams, with wreathed prow until they could make out the cliffs
of the Goths."

Although the claim of Alfred the Great to be the founder of the British
navy is now generally rejected by historians, it is certain that from
the very earliest times the need of dominating the sea was present in
the minds of Englishmen, and that this feeling gained in strength as the
centuries rolled on and the value of sea-power became more and more
apparent. In a poem entitled "The Libel of English Policy," which is
believed to have been written about the year 1436, the following lines
occur:

    Kepe then the see abought in specialle,
    Whiche of England is the rounde walle;
    As thoughe England were lykened to a cite.
    And the walle enviroun were the see.
    Kepe then the see, that is the walle of England,
    And then is England kepte by Goddes sonde.

A long succession of poets dwelt on the same theme. Waller--presumably
during a Royalist phase of his chequered career--addressed the King in
lines which forestalled the very modern political idea that a powerful
British navy is not only necessary for the security of England, but also
affords a guarantee for the peace of all the world:

    Where'er thy navy spreads her canvas wings
    Homage to thee, and peace to all, she brings.

Thomson's "Rule, Britannia," was not composed till 1740, but before that
time the heroism displayed both by the navy collectively and by
individual sailors was frequently celebrated in popular verse. The death
of Admiral Benbow, who continued to give orders after his leg had been
carried off by a chain-shot at the battle of Carthagena in 1702, is
recorded in the lines:

    While the surgeon dressed his wounds
        Thus he said, thus he said,
    While the surgeon dressed his wounds thus he said:
        "Let my cradle now in haste
        On the quarter-deck be placed,
        That my enemies I may face
    Till I'm dead, till I'm dead."

But it was more especially the long struggle with Napoleon that led to
an outburst of naval poetry. It is to the national feelings current
during this period that we owe such songs as "The Bay of Biscay, O," by
Andrew Cherry; "Hearts of Oak," by David Garrick[110]; "The Saucy
Arethusa," by Prince Hoare; "A Wet Sheet and a Flowing Sea," by Allan
Cunningham; "Ye Mariners of England," by Thomas Campbell, and a host of
others. Amongst this nautical choir, Charles Dibdin, who was born in
1745, stands pre-eminent. Sir Cyprian Bridge, in his introduction to Mr.
Stone's collection of _Sea Songs_, tells us that it is doubtful whether
Dibdin's songs "were ever very popular on the forecastle." The really
popular songs, he thinks, were of a much more simple type, and were
termed "Fore-bitters," from the fact that the man who sang them took his
place on the fore-bitts, "a stout construction of timber near the
foremast, through which many of the principal ropes were led." However
this may be, there cannot be the smallest doubt that Dibdin's songs
exercised a very powerful effect on landsmen, and contributed greatly to
foster national pride in the navy and popular sympathy with sailors. It
was presumably a cordial recognition of this fact that led Pitt to grant
him a pension. It would, indeed, be difficult to conceive poetry more
calculated to make the chord of national sentiment vibrate responsively
than "Tom Bowling" or that well-known song in which Dibdin depicted at
once the high sense of duty and the rough, albeit affectionate,
love-making of "Poor Jack":

    I said to our Poll, for, d'ye see, she would cry,
      When last we made anchor for sea,
    What argufies sniv'ling and piping your eye?
      Why, what a damn'd fool you must be!
          .      .      .      .      .
    As for me in all weathers, all times, tides and ends,
      Nought's a trouble from duty that springs,
    For my heart is my Poll's, and my rhino my friend's,
      And as for my life it's the King's;
    Even when my time comes, ne'er believe me so soft
      As for grief to be taken aback,
    For the same little cherub that sits up aloft
      Will look out a good berth for poor Jack!

Pride in the navy and its commanders is breathed forth in the following
eulogy of Admiral Jervis (Lord St. Vincent):

    You've heard, I s'pose, the people talk
      Of Benbow and Boscawen,
    Of Anson, Pocock, Vernon, Hawke,
      And many more then going;
    All pretty lads, and brave, and rum,
      That seed much noble service;
    But, Lord, their merit's all a hum,
      Compared to Admiral Jervis!

"Tom Tough" is an example of the same spirit:

    I've sailed with gallant Howe, I've sailed with noble Jervis,
      And in valiant Duncan's fleet I've sung yo, heave ho!
                Yet more ye shall be knowing,
                I was cox'n to Boscawen,
      And even with brave Hawke have I nobly faced the foe.

Perfervid patriotism and ardent loyalty find expression in the following
swinging lines:

    Some drank our Queen, and some our land,
      Our glorious land of freedom;
    Some that our tars might never stand
      For heroes brave to lead 'em!
    That beauty in distress might find
      Such friends as ne'er would fail her;
    But the standing toast that pleased the most
      Was--the wind that blows, the ship that goes,
    And the lass that loves the sailor!

The whole-hearted Gallophobia which prevailed at the period, but which
did not preclude generous admiration for a gallant foe, finds, of
course, adequate expression in most of the songs of the period. Thus an
unknown author, who, it is believed, lived at the commencement rather
than at the close of the eighteenth century, wrote:

    Stick stout to orders, messmates,
      We'll plunder, burn, and sink,
    Then, France, have at your first-rates,
      For Britons never shrink:
    We'll rummage all we fancy,
      We'll bring them in by scores,
    And Moll and Kate and Nancy
      Shall roll in louis-d'ors.

It was long before this spirit died out. Twenty-two years after the
battle of Waterloo, when, on the occasion of the coronation of Queen
Victoria, Marshal Soult visited England and it was suggested that the
Duke of Wellington should propose the health of the French army at a
public dinner, he replied: "D---- 'em. I'll have nothing to do with them
but beat them."

Inspiriting songs, such as "When Johnny comes marching home" and "The
British Grenadiers," which, Mr. Stone informs us, "cannot be older than
1678, when the Grenadier Company was formed, and not later than 1714,
when hand-grenades were discontinued," abundantly testify to the fact
that the British soldier has also not lacked poets to vaunt his prowess.
Many of the military songs have served as a distinct stimulus to
recruiting, and possibly some of them were written with that express
object in view. Sir Ian Hamilton, in his preface to Mr. Stone's
collection of _War Songs_, says, "The Royal Fusiliers are the heroes of
a modern but inspiriting song, 'Fighting with the 7th Royal Fusiliers.'
It was composed in the early 'nineties, and produced such an
overwhelming rush of recruits that the authorities could easily, had
they so chosen, have raised several additional battalions." The writer
of the present article remembers in his childhood to have learnt the
following lines from his old nurse, who was the widow of a corporal in
the army employed in the recruiting service:

    'Twas in the merry month of May,
      When bees from flower to flower do hum,
    And soldiers through the town march gay,
      And villagers flock to the sound of the drum.
    Young Roger swore he'd leave his plough,
      His team and tillage all begun;
    Of country life he'd had enow,
      He'd leave it all and follow the drum.

The British military has perhaps been somewhat less happily inspired
than the naval muse. Nevertheless the army can boast of some good
poetry. "Why, soldiers, why?" the authorship of which is sometimes
erroneously attributed to Wolfe, is a fine song, and the following lines
written by an unknown author after the crushing blow inflicted on Lord
Galway's force at Almanza, in 1707, display that absence of
discouragement after defeat which is perhaps one of the most severe
tests by which the discipline and spirit of an army can be tried:

    Let no brave soldier be dismayed
      For losing of a battle;
    We have more forces coming on
      Will make Jack Frenchman rattle.

Abundant evidence might be adduced to show that the British soldier is
amenable to poetic influences. Sir Adam Fergusson, writing to Sir Walter
Scott on August 31, 1811, said that the canto of the _Lady of the Lake_
describing the stag hunt "was the favourite among the rough sons of the
fighting Third Division," and Professor Courthope in his _History of
English Poetry_ quotes the following passage from Lockhart's _Life of
Scott_:

     When the _Lady of the Lake_ first reached Sir Adam Fergusson, he
     was posted with his company on a point of ground exposed to the
     enemy's artillery; somewhere no doubt on the lines of Torres
     Vedras. The men were ordered to lie prostrate on the ground; while
     they kept that attitude, the Captain, kneeling at their head, read
     aloud the description of the battle in Canto VI., and the listening
     soldiers only interrupted him by a joyous huzza whenever the French
     shot struck the bank close above them.

Finally, before leaving this subject, it may be noted that amidst the
verse, sometimes pathetic and sometimes rollicking, which appealed more
especially to the naval and military temperament, there occasionally
cropped up a political allusion which is very indicative of the state of
popular feeling at the time the songs were composed. Thus the following,
from a song entitled "A cruising we will go," shows the unpopularity of
the war waged against the United States in 1812:

    Be Britain to herself but true,
      To France defiance hurled;
    Give peace, America, with you,
      And war with all the world.

The sixteenth-century Spaniards embodied a somewhat similar maxim of
State policy as applied to England in the following distich, the
principle of which was, however, flagrantly violated by that fervent
Catholic, Philip II.:

    Con todo el mundo guerra
    Y paz con Inglaterra.

[Footnote 110: Since writing the above it has been pointed out to me
that Garrick's song was composed during the Seven Years' War
(1756-63).]




INDEX


Abu'l'Ala, 65

Acton, Lord, and the Turks, 80, 223, 266

Acton, Lord, on the making of history, 432

Adrianople, occupation of, 411

Akbar, Emperor, 40

Alexandria, society at, 228

Alfred the Great, 450

Algeria, French in, 250-263

Alison, 216

Alliteration, 71

Almanza, song on defeat at, 456

America and Free Trade, 134, 138

America, war with, in 1812, unpopularity of, 457

Amherst, Lord, occupies Burma, 288

Anarchy, 20

Ancient Art and Ritual, 361-371

Andrade, Colonel Freire d', 380, 383, 384

Anglo-French Agreement of 1904, 162, 167

Anglo-Saxon individualism, 15

Anthology, translations from, 72

Anthropology, bases of, 364

Antigonus Gonatas, 351

Anti-Slavery Society, 373

Apollo Belvedere, 370

Aratus of Sicyon, 358

Army reform, 107-126

Arndt, national poetry, 443

Arthur, Sir George, 123

Asoka, 355

Assouan dam, 296

Athenaeus, on dancing, 370

Attwood, Mr. Charles, 196

Aulard, M., on Taine, 430

_Aurengzebe_, 73

Australia, field of anthropology, 365


Bacchylides, 65

Bacon, 31

Barere, 299

Barth, Dr., on Hinduism, 88

Beaconsfield, Lord, and Egypt, 203

Beaconsfield, Lord, and Empress of India, 422

Bembo, Cardinal, 56

Benbow, Admiral, death of, 451

Beowulf, on the sea, 450

Berthier, Marshal, 279

Bismarck, Prince, on statesmanship, 251

_Bleak House_, 119

Blennerhassett, Lady, 427-438

Bluecher, Marshal, hallucinations of, 285

Blunt, Mr. Wilfrid, 81

Bodley, Mr., on French administration, 436

Boell, M. Paul, 418

Bolingbroke, 182

Bossuet, definition of heretic, 307

Boufflers, Madame de, 231

Brahmanism, Sir A. Lyall on, 89

Bright, John, and Disraeli, 183

British officials and parliamentary institutions, 27

Browning, Mrs., 60

Brunnow, Baron, and the Balkan States, 275

Bryce, Mr., on the writing of history, 214

Budget system, 44

Buffon, on style, 184

Bugeaud, Marshal, 257

Bureaucracy, Continental, 29

Burgoyne, Sir John, 281

Burke, on fiscal symmetry, 39

Burma, 287-297

Butcher, Dr. S, on Eastern politics, 26


Cabarrus, La (Madame Tallien), 298-306

Cambronne, 298

Campbell, Lord, Disraeli on, 186

Canada and Free Trade, 131

Capitulations in Egypt, 156-174

Capo d'Istria, Count, 271

Cardwell, Lord, 109, 116, 117, 119

Carlyle, 219

"Carmagnole," the, 442

Cavagnari, Major, murder of, 100

Cavour, 269, 272

Centralisation, 34

Chamberlain, Mr. Joseph, 244, 248

China, 141-155

Chinese labour, 147

Chinese War of 1860, 120

Chitnavis, Sir Gangadhar, 334, 335

Chremonides, 357, 358

Christianity, effect on Roman Empire, 7-19, 52, 53

Claudian on duration of Roman Empire, 1

Clinton, Mr. Fynes, 216

Cobden, Mr., 127

Cobdenism, abuse of, 328

Coleridge, on poetry, 59

Coleridge, on prose, 55

Collier, Jeremy, on Cranmer's death, 56

Commerce and Imperialism, 11

Confucianism, 143, 153

Constantinople, foundation of, 7

Constitutions in the East, 141

Cornwallis, Lord, 36

_Corvee_ in Egypt, 396

Cory, Mr. William, 69

Cowley's translation of Claudian, 67

Creighton, 222

Crewe, Marquis of, 330

Crimean War and India, 410

Crowe, Sir Eyre, 375

Curiales, Fiscal Oppression of, 21

Curtius Rufinus, 356

Curtius, Professor, on the Greek language, 226

Curzon, Lord, on army affairs, 243

Cyprus, occupation of, 276, 413


Danton, 302, 303

Deffand, Madame du, 212

Delhi, transfer of Indian Capital to, 424

Delos, possession of, 358

Demetrius, on style, 227

Democracy and Imperialism, 23

Democritus, epigram of, 231

Demolins, M., on Anglo-Saxons, 15, 28

Demosthenes, Professor Bury, on oratory, 57

Derby, Lord, the Rupert of debate, 184

Dibdin, 452-454

Didactic poetry, 61

Dietzel, Professor, 137, 337

Dino, Duchesse de, 59

Disraeli, 177-203

Dithyramb, meaning of word, 361

Dostoievsky, 205, 210

Draga, Queen, 271

Dryden, on translation, 55

Duckworth, Admiral, 270

Dufferin, Lord, and Egypt, 25, 160


East India Company, policy of, 17

Education in China, 150

Egypt, recent history of, 253

Emerson, 54

Emerson, on inconsistency, 243

Empedocles, translation of, 62

Emu Man, 362

England and Islam, 407-415

English individualism, 30

Ennius, 345

Epicharmus, 82

Esquimaux tug of-war, 363

Euhemerism, 89

Exarch, Bulgarian, 268

Expropriation under Roman law, 41


Famines in India, 146

Farrer, Lord, on trade, 12

Ferry, M. Jules, and Burma, 290

Finance of Roman Empire, 36

Fisher, Mr., on _Napoleonic Statesmanship_, 436

Flag for India, 423

"Fore-bitters," 452

Forest Department, Burmese, 294

Fouche, 305

Free Trade, international aspects of, 127-140

Froude, 219


Gardiner, historian of the Stuart period, 221

George IV. and Napoleon, 282

German word-coining, 70

Gibbon and the sciences, 308

Gladstone, Mr., translations, 63

Gogol, 211

Gooch, Mr., 214

Gordon, General, and the Mahdi, 101-102

Goschen, Lord, and Disraeli, 198

Government of Subject Races, 1-53

Graham, Sir James, 192

Grant, Sir Hope, as a musician, 284

Greek adjectives, 70

Greek drama, 366

Greek joyousness, 212

Gregorovius on foreign rule, 84

Grenadiers, British, 455

Grey, Sir Edward, 168, 411, 412

Grey, Sir Edward, definition of slavery, 387, 391, 393

Grey, Sir Edward, diplomatic success of, 276

Grey, Sir Edward, on the Balkan Peninsula, 407

Griboiedof, 210

Grundy, Dr., translations, 232

Guizot, 217


Hacklaender, on European slave life, 386

Hamilton, Alexander, 138

Hamilton, Lord George, on Sir Alfred Lyall, 92

Harrison, Miss, 361-371

Havelock's love of Homer, 359

Headlam, Dr., 68

Heliogabalus, the Emperor, 299

Helps, Sir Arthur, on inaccuracy, 373

Hermann, Professor, 311

Herrick, translation of, 68

Hieronymus, 354

History, the writing of, 214-225

Hodgkin, Dr. Thomas, 1, 7, 20, 36, 347

Homer's women, 315

Humanitarianism, 378

Hunkiar-Iskelesi, Treaty of, 271


Ilbert Bill, 94

Imperial schools of thought, 10

Imperialism, Mr. Mallik on, 321

Imperialist, profession of faith of, 1

India Council, 33

India, Customs duties in, 329

India, Fiscal Question in, 327-339

Indian Frontier policy, 47-49

Indian Problems, 416-426

Indiction, Roman, 36

_Ion_, Dr. Verrall on, 314

Ireland, Disraeli's opinion on, 193-194

Islam, influence of, 347

Italian patriotic poetry, 446


Jaray, M., 165

Jebb, Professor, on the humanities, 308

Jervis, Admiral, 453

Judicial reform in Algeria, 258

Julian the Apostate, 353

Jute, duty on, 336


Keats, on Melancholy, 60

Kennedy, Mr., translations, 68

Kitchener, Viscount, 114, 169, 174, 255

Klephtic ballads, 447


Labour, free, at San Thome, 400

Lacretelle and Madame Tallien, 301

Lamartine, 218

Lamb on sanity of genius, 61

Land revenue system in India, 42-45

Land tax in Eastern countries, 40

Lanfrey, 218

Lawrence, Lord, Afghan policy, 100

Lawrence, Lord, Central Asian policy, 47

Lawrence, Lord, on Indian Taxation, 45

Lawson's Greek Folk-Lore, 368

Le Bon, M., on national characteristics, 429

Lear, Edward, in Italy, 142

Lecky, on morals in politics, 19

Legislation in India, 39

Lermontof, 210

Lessing and Greece, 312

Lethbridge, Sir Roper, 327-339

"Lillibullero," 439

List, Friedrich, on Free Trade, 131

Livingstone, Dr., on Portuguese, 11

Lucian, 56

Lucretius, Dryden's translation of, 62

Luther, hymn by, 441

Lyall, Sir Alfred, 77-103

Lyall, Sir Alfred, on uniformity, 350

_Lycidas_, Professor Walker on, 60

Lycon, the philosopher, 354

Lytton, Earl of, 99


Macaulay, partiality of, 221

MacDonald, Mr. Ramsay, 417

Mahabharata, 419

Mahaffy, Professor, 229

Mahdi, the, Sir Alfred Lyall on, 101

Mahmoud II., 270

Maine, Sir Henry, 96

Mallik, Mr., 317-326

Manchester School, Disraeli on, 194

Manipur massacres, 91

Marie Antoinette, 242

Marquardt, 216

"Maryland, my Maryland," 443

Massena, Marshal, 279

Maurice, Sir Frederick, 360

McIlwraith, Sir Malcolm, 360

Meath, Earl of, 424

Mecca, importance of, 409

Melbourne, Lord, 185

Militarism, 126

Miller, Mr., 264-276

Millet, M. Philippe, 259-262

Milner, Viscount, and Party, 237-249

Mindon, King of Burma, 289

Missionaries in China, 147

Mitford, 216

Mitra, Mr. S.M., 416-426

Mommsen, 216

Montalembert, 218

Mookerjee, Sir Rajendra, 419, 426

Moslems in India, 407

Motley, 219


Napoleon, a bad shot, 279

Napoleon and Corsica, 433

Napoleon and Count Chaptal, 349

Napoleon and the Ottoman Empire, 264

Napoleon and the battle of Vittoria, 437

Napoleon, Roederer on, 92-93

Napoleon, Taine on, 348, 427-438

Napoleon's patent of nobility, 355

Napoleon, Joseph, 437

Newbolt, Mr., 91

Nicholson, Professor Shield, 135

Nietzsche, on Greek simplicity, 227

Northbrook, Lord, 118

Novelists, political influence of, 208


Ottoman Empire, 264-276

Ouvrard, the Banker, 306


Pakenham, Miss (Duchess of Wellington), 283

Palisse, M de la, 442

Palmerston, Lord, and the Eastern question, 274

_Paradise Lost_ and Euripides, 66

Paris Commune, 20

Party system, 240

Pauperisation of Roman Proletariat, 19

Peacock, T.L., on education, 310

Peasant proprietorship, 197

Peel, Sir Robert, 185, 190, 192

Peel, Sir Robert, on Free Trade, 199-202

Peel, Sir Robert, unpopularity, 202

Pericles and public works, 296

Pericles, metaphor of, 58

Philip II., 457

Physiocrates, 16

Pitt, on British trade, 11

Plagiarism, 65

Plato, epitaph by, 235

Plevna, defence of, 272

Poe, Edgar, 60

Poetry, Aristotelian canon, 229

_Polemisterion_, 448

Polish Diet, 173

Poole, Mr. Stanley Lane-, 149

"Poor Jack," 453

"Popkins's plan," 186

Portuguese in Africa, 11

Portuguese slavery, 372-406

Pouchkine, 210

Principe, Island of, 398

Prote, epitaph on, 236

Prudentius, epitaph on Julian, 353

Ptolemy Keraunos, 357

Pyrrhus, 352


Rangoon, 290

Rao, Sir Dinkur, 84

Redmond, Mr., 143

Red River campaign, 112

Reid, Mr., 340

Rhigas Pheraios, 447

Ridgeway, Professor, 365

Ripon, Marquis of, 98, 331

Robespierre, 300, 302, 303, 305

Roebuck, Mr. Disraeli on, 186

Roman Empire, cause of downfall, 7

Rome and Municipal Government, 340-350

"Rosa Rosarum," 234

_Round Table_, article in, 246

Rump, Herr, 152

Russian Romance, 204-213

Rutilius on power of Rome, 445


Sainte-Beuve, 217

St. Cyr, Marshal, as a musician, 284

St. Ovinus, epitaph on, 58

St.-Victor, Paul de, 57

Salisbury, Marquis of, 173

Salisbury, Marquis of, and immigrant coolies, 405

Salisbury, Marquis of, foreign policy, 101, 123

Salisbury, Marquis of, and Turkey, 265

Sappho, translation of, 67

Scott, Sir George, 291, 294, 295, 297

Scott, Sir Walter, advice to Shelley, 285

Scott, Sir Walter, Carlyle on, 219

Scott, Sir Walter, influence of his poetry on soldiers, 456

Seeley, Sir Thomas, 223

Sharaki lands in Egypt, 42

Shelburne, Lord, 182

Shelley, on translating, 59

Shelley, Lady, 277-286

Silva, Carlos de, 389, 391

Slavery, 19

Smallbones, Mr., 386, 389, 390, 391, 392, 393, 394, 403, 406

Smith, Dr. Adam, 16

Smith, Rev. Sydney, 142

Songs, Naval and Military, 449-457

Songs, Patriotic and National, 439

Soudan, campaign of 1896-98, 112

Soudan, commercial policy in, 139

Soudan, slavery in the, 379

Stael, Madame de, and Napoleon, 434

Still, Bishop, 441

Stratonice, 356

Sultans not rightful Caliphs, 409

Surgeon, the, and the soldier, 111

Swadeshi movement in India, 86

Swift, Dean, 208

Swinburne, on the sea, 449

Symmons, Dr., on blank verse, 62

Szechuan Railway Company, 151


Taine, on Napoleon, 427

Tallien, 298-306

Tariff wars, 137

Tell, William, legend of, 217

Tenasserim and E.I. Co. directors, 288

Tennyson and Euripides, 65, 81

Themistocles, saying of, 341

Theodosius, 84

Thibaw, King of Burma, 289

Thiers on French Conservatism, 197

Tiberius, 349

Tolstoy, 212

Toryism, middle-class, 196

Tourguenef, 211

Translation and Paraphrase, 54-73

Turgot on corporate bodies, 18

Turkish war-song, 444


_Uncle Tom's Cabin_, 208

Usury in the East, 43

Utilitarianism, 309


Vandal, M., 142

Vasconcellos, Senhor, 383, 404

Vauvenargues, 65

Venezelos, M., 269

Verrall, Dr., 312-316

Viceroy of India and his Council, 33

Voguee, M. de, 204

Voltaire, 209, 434


Waller, on the British Navy, 451

Walpole, Sir Robert, 240

War Office, 115

Wellington, Duke of, and the Ottoman Empire, 264

Wellington, Duke of, as a musician, 284

Wellington, Duke of, at Waterloo, 284

Wellington, Duke of, hatred of French, 454

Wellington, Duke of, on Cambronne, 298

Wellington, Duke of, on India, 10

Wellingtoniana, 277-286

Wensleydale, Lord, translation by, 67

Wilson, Sir Fleetwood, 332, 338

Wingfield, Mr., 402, 404

Wolfe, General, 359

Wolseley, Viscount, 107

Wolseley, Viscount, and Sir Frederick Maurice, 360

Wrede, Generals and Napoleon, 433

Wyllie, Colonel, 392, 398, 399, 401, 405


THE END

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