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THE ENGLISH AND THEIR

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ENGLAND

BY JAMES DAVENPORT WHELPLEY

Author of "The Commercial Strength of Great Britain," etc.

[IS Most Excellent Majesty George quieting the turbulence, or modifying the

beneficiaries. These consolation measures have therefore only hardened the aggressors in their attack upon constituted and established order.

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and of the British dominions beyond the seas, Defender of the Faith, and Emperor of India," opened the present session of his Parliament in person on February 10 with the customary innocuous "Speech from the Throne." With the inauguration of this Parliament the Government and the people of England are brought face to face with the greatest crisis in their political history since the middle of the seventeenth century, when the famous "Long Parliament" was incidental to a life-and-death struggle between the people and special privilege.

The House of Lords has already fallen into desuetude, thus leaving the English people with that most dangerous form of government, a single legislative body. Old-age pensions, compulsory insurance, employees' liability, and numerous other measures have failed to satisfy. The wage-workers and the tenantry, embracing as they do a vast majority of the people, have banded together to wrest from the employer and the landlord the profits. and privileges that landlords and employers have long enjoyed. Remarkable progress has been made under the present Liberal government, for its appeal for power and the reason for its possible continuance in office lie in its avowed sympathy with this attack upon the possessions of those who have, whether it be earned or unearned increment.

Modern history begins and ends with the activities of the English nation. Whether this will be true of the years now to come will be determined by what is born of the present travail. No nation has before it a greater number of problems of vital significance or greater portent demanding immediate solution. The entire social, political, and economic situation is in a state of flux. Extremes of the new are at war with extremes of the old. The people, without being able clearly or definitely to formulate their demands in a large way, are asking insistently for a redistribution of land, money, opportunity, privilege, and power.

THE BELIEF IN THEIR DIVINE RIGHT STILL
GOVERNS THE POLICY OF KINGS

HEREDITARY rulers, as for centuries past, are still trying to deal with the people as with a different race of human beings from themselves, and even such concessions as have been made to the democratic spirit of the age and the demand for a redistribution have been made in a certain spirit of condescension, which robs them of much of their effectiveness in

THE DISESTABLISHMENT OF THE

WELSH CHURCH

THE first matter which will be disposed of by the present Parliament is the proposed disestablishment of the Welsh Church, a move premonitory of final separation of church and state, which will be demanded and secured by the English people in the course of time. Preliminary and public discussion of this measure is only a sparring for time, however, as following close upon it the matter of home rule for Ireland looms tremendously upon the near political horizon. There is far more in this Irish question than merely the administration of Irish affairs. The people of the northeast corner of Ireland, led, aided, and abetted by the opposition to

the Liberal party, have openly rebelled at the threat of political segregation from England. The campaign so far has developed one of the most magnificently conceived and carried-out pieces of political strategy and obstruction the world has

ever seen.

THE SERIOUS PROBLEM IN ULSTER IMAGINE the citizens of Maine declaring their purpose to resist the enactment of a proposed federal law by force of arms, and the difficulties immediately confronting the party in power in Washington quickly suggest themselves. Go further than this, and imagine a meeting of the general staff in Washington to consider a plan for armed demonstration against these same citizens of Maine to enforce a law that Congress might enact, and the enforcement of which was opposed by the people of that State. Such a council of war has been held by the British general staff, and as each regiment was suggested for service in the recalcitrant Irish county of Ulster, it was rejected for some reason or other as being undependable in a campaign against fellow-citizens. A majority of the Irish people want to have their government administered from Dublin, with the largest possible measure of freedom from English interference. The minority, who are opposed to this plan, however, and the line is fairly drawn between Catholic and Protestant, the former being home-rulers, -are vigorous in opposition to the point of open rebellion against any government which may be established at Dublin. In other words, the English Government is placed in the position of opposing its loyal citizens who happen to live in Ireland. The people of Ulster are in deadly earnest. No one really familiar with the situation accuses them of bluffing, and it is this very sincerity which is forcing the Liberal goyernment to a compromise measure which shall exclude the Irish county of Ulster from the operation of any Irish home-rule bill which shall become a law. Back of the Irish question, however, looms a larger purpose on the part of the Unionist, or opposition, forces. These forces include those who believe that the House of Lords should be rehabilitated in some manner, so as to give the English people

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an effective second legislative body, and the organization of such a chamber is one of the conditions for compromise over the question of home rule for Ireland.

MR. CHAMBERLAIN'S RADICAL
SUGGESTION

THE suggestion that the British system of government be entirely reconstructed to meet present needs is far too radical, and may not find any considerable following; but it is significant that nearly twenty years ago Mr. Joseph Chamberlain put forth the idea that the only possible way to solve the Irish home-rule problem successfully was for England to adopt the American form of government in so far as it provides for state legislatures and federal government. With local parliaments in England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, an imperial parliament sitting in London, comprising within its organization not only representatives of the political divisions of the British Isles, but of the British oversea dominions as well, there would come to pass a British empire of such solidarity as to raise no question of dissolution for generations to come. It is within the possibilities of the future that this may come about, for with home rule for Ireland will come new strength to the demand for home rule for Scotland, and to grant that would give practical form to the suggestion of an imperial or federal parliament. This is all the more likely in that the overseas dominions are already asking for representation; and if this is not granted, more and more power will have to be relegated to colonial legislatures, thus inevitably weakening the ties of empire.

THE IRISH HOME-RULE SITUATION

IF the present English Parliament enacts an Irish home-rule bill, even though it excludes Ulster from the jurisdiction of Dublin, such a measure will be rejected by the present House of Lords. It can be made into a law, however, by being passed again in the House of Commons over the veto of the Lords. The Liberal party now has a sufficient majority in the Commons to do this, but before the measure can be resubmitted, there will be a general election in England. An election for Parliament is compulsory every seven

years, and 1915 will see the end of that period.

The Liberals have lost steadily in all recent by-elections, and if this may be taken as indicating a waning popularity, although the by-elections are not at all a sure forecast of what might happen in a general election, the Liberals, even if returned to power in 1915, might not be able to muster a sufficient majority to insure a reversal of the vote of the upper chamber. Should the Unionists triumph in 1915, they will find themselves in an awkward predicament, for to repeal an Irish home-rule bill will be almost as difficult as it was to secure the original enactment. From any point of view the Irish question is most serious and full of pitfalls for wary politicians, to say nothing of the gravity with which it must be regarded by every British citizen concerned as to the future of his country.

The cause of Ireland is a compelling brief. A conquered country to begin with, a country and a people bled to death by English tax-gatherers and non-resident landlords in the past, the list of grievances is appalling. In this case the sins of the English fathers are visited upon their sons, for within three generations one billion five hundred million dollars of Irish money has been spent in England over and above the amount expended on Irish necessities. The English workman is the Irish laborer's fiercest competitor, for with greater opportunity, better organization, and no trade restrictions, English industry has driven Irish producers out of business. The reforms of the present and the promises for the future do not entirely compensate the Irish for what they have suffered in the past-evils of administration which have laid the country prostrate, pauperizing the Irish community almost beyond hope. A million of Ireland's best workers have gone to America in the last hundred years, leaving the weak and the incompetent to breed and occupy without the strength or initiative to combat the rigor of circumstance.

THE PROBLEM OF BIG ESTATES

FOLLOWING close upon the heels of legislation for Ireland comes the English land question. The Liberal party has virtually pledged itself to the breaking-up of the big

estates, the control of tenancies in the interest of the tenants, the taxing of holdings reserved for pleasure and sport, and the worrying of landlords both urban and country by every possible device. The mere fear of this policy has already put vast areas of land upon the market, and the Duke of Bedford frankly gave his fear of future tax penalties and restrictions upon landlords as his reason for selling twenty million dollars' worth of real estate in the heart of London.

By common consent the question of imposing an import duty, or "tariff reform," as it is called, has been postponed until the Irish question is settled. The party in favor of a tariff for protection, revenue, imperial preference, and retaliation is as strong as ever, but so far it has been impossible to secure an expression of public sentiment upon this question alone. Recent elections have been contested upon a multiplicity of issues, many of them considered by the people, or at least put forward by the politicians, as of more immediate concern than a change in the fiscal policy. The cost of living has risen in England as much in proportion as in any other country. The middleman is even more the foe of the ultimate consumer in England than elsewhere, and old business methods are so firmly established that it is difficult to eliminate any of the tolls paid by produce on its way from the grower to the retail purchaser. To frame a tariff act for England which will not increase the cost of living, which will not destroy any part of the great distributing trade of the country, is a task worthy of the greatest economist. To tax foods or raw materials will not be practical or popular, and yet to develop imperial trade sympathies it is held by some to be necessary to base new colonial relations upon a preference in this direction.

The demand for votes for women is an insistent cry which will not be stilled. Militancy is quiet for the moment, as the real leaders of that movement are either ill or in exile. The great army of nonmilitants is still at work, however, and the issue cannot long be avoided.

THE CRITICAL LABOR QUESTION

THE most fearsome thing in the economic life of England to-day is the labor

situation, and this of course touches upon all the activities of politics. Relations between labor and capital have been seriously disturbed for years. With a certain grim courage the English employer has gone on doing business as though he had no fears for the present or future. Not one of them fails to realize, however, the slenderness of the barrier between industrial activity and industrial chaos. Every few weeks this barrier seems about to give way. Trouble breaks out here and there in varying degrees of seriousness, but by superhuman effort order is restored, or effective steps are taken to localize the disturbance. The British working-man demands more pay, less work, more food and comfort, and greater opportunity for himself and his children. Not being given this in the degree desired, he avenges himself by combining with his fellow-workmen for the purpose of securing more pay and less work. He concludes that as long as he is not given an equal chance, he will so arrange that his employers will get the least possible return for the money expended. This idea is not confined to those who work for individuals or corporations, for government employees have found the strike an effective weapon with which to secure additional privileges from a government in power by the grace of labor. Postal clerks, letter-carriers, and even the police have either struck or threatened to strike at critical moments. Syndicalism has been imported from France, though it is known in England as "Larkinism." The sympathetic strike and lockout have come about, and Larkin's banner, inscribed "To hell with contracts," has brought fear not only to employers, but to conservative and intelligent wage-earners who, while believing in unionism, have been quite ready to share the responsibility of agreement with those who pay the

wages.

The English nation is inured to labor trouble, but in the past, when labor organizations have been recognized and dealt with, mutually accepted agreements have been observed by the employee as well as by the employer. It was only in the last year that close organizations of highly skilled labor deliberately tore up their contracts with the employers and ordered a cessation of work because of their own grievances or in behalf of workers

elsewhere. The fact that this could come to pass without the serious disapproval of organized labor as a whole has been considered the most ominous sign of the moment in the English labor world. In the summer of 1913 it seemed for a few weeks as though the end of English industry was soon to come, but with that wonderful and effective faith in established order characteristic of the English mind and heart, every one, master and man alike, plodded along, and industry outlived the storm. Whether this will always be the outcome is an open question. Few believe it will be, but to "muddle along" is all men can do when faced with bewildering complexities, and to chart a course for English capital and labor which will insure even a semblance of peace for the future is apparently impossible with the conditions as they are.

THE FUTURE OF INDIA

THERE is another great question before the English people, and that is the future of India. England's greatest possession is credited with a population of three hundred million. The total white, or English, population is about one hundred and fifty thousand. For fifty years every effort has been made for the spread of education. The result is that a little over one per cent. of the population has benefited by these efforts, and this small percentage is found almost entirely among more or less important castes, but three out of the eight hundred sects more or less into which the population is divided. The Nationalist party has grown enormously in strength. This party advocates what it calls a democracy, though if India were self-governed, it would be controlled by the so-called upper classes, whose democracy is not that of the Western World.

The safety of English rule in India has lain largely in the separation of the people into different religious sects, generally speaking Hindu and Mohammedan. The recently established National University, and especially the Indian coolie trouble in Natal, have helped to bring all Indians together, and once thoroughly united through a common cause and purpose, their control by the English will be seriously threatened. It has been said recently that the government of India has now been

removed from Calcutta to Downing Street, and the English Secretaries of State for India have not always been men who have even visited that country, still less have been possessed of a close knowledge of Indian character and Indian affairs.

The English government of India has been the greatest example of successful colonial administration the world has ever seen, and in return the possession of that country has largely constituted the basis of England's commanding position in the affairs of the whole world. The question of the future of India is not one of today, but it may very possibly become the greatest question of to-morrow to the English Government. The loss of India would break the world power of Great Britain, and it cannot be held by any force of arms that England can muster. It must be held by statesmanship, and thoughtful Englishmen familiar with the peculiar needs of an Indian administration are pessimistic as to the value of present policies.

Not long ago the British colony of Natal in Africa, where many Indian coolies are employed, assessed a head-tax against these immigrants. The coolies struck work in protest against the demand. As a result, the great sugar and other industries of Natal have fallen upon hard times. The cause of their fellow-citizens, be it just or unjust, has awakened keen sympathy and interest throughout India, and even Lord Hardinge, that experienced and clever administrator, now Viceroy of India, has openly expressed his sympathy as being with the Indian coolies in Natal. The feeling in India is that if England cannot so control a small British colony like Natal to the end that these coolies may be free from what they deem to be an imposition, the power of the mother country has been vastly overestimated in India. The cause of the Indian coolie in Natal has been used as a rallying-cry by the Indian Nationalists, and it has done more to unite Indian sentiment than anything which has happened since the English rule of India became an established fact. It is only fair to say, however, that the problem of a united India is nearer solution than it has ever been before, hence the unusual effectiveness of a common

cause.

KING EDWARD'S PROPHECY SERIOUS questions have always confronted the English people, and at no time have there been prophets wanting who were ready to predict, in view of a current crisis, the speedy downfall of the empire. Each and every time has the British nation solved its problems after a fashion, and grown stronger with every passing year. The Government and the people have apparently thrived upon perplexities of such magnitude as have arisen to vex no other community in the world. The year 1914, however, brings a supreme test to the home government of England. It is told of the late King Edward that, in prophesying as to the future, he once remarked, "My son will rule as king, and probably his son; but he may be the last king of this country." If this prophecy be found true, it will throw doubt upon the first clause in the title borne by the present King of England, for that is based upon the idea of the divine right of royal succession. It is now proposed to weaken the ties between "Great Britain and Ire

land" by giving to the latter country a very large measure of self-government. The "British dominions beyond the seas" are now loyal subjects only by their own free will, and along economic lines have already completely separated themselves from England.

THE INCUBUS OF THE UPPER CLASSES

THE so-called upper classes of England long ago laid the foundations for the troubles of the upper classes of England today. They killed hope in the hearts of their humbler and less-fortunate fellowcountrymen. There is no polite compromise on foot to end this feud. It is a war against special privilege, with no particular animosity toward the possessor. The ownership of these lands has carried with it seats in the lawmaking body of the country in perpetuity. War has been declared upon this oldest and most cherished institution, and in the coming triumph of the new its downfall is already written. In this war of the many against the few can be found all of the problems of the Englishman at home, thinly disguised under various names, and he must settle these before he can fare abroad or attend successfully to other matters.

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