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warlike Persia. She holds nearly all the other northern towns, and she has pushed southwards to Urmiah. The next phase may be a blundering suicidal resistance from the Persians themselves led by their Caucasian allies. That will be the pretext for a still more extended military occupation, during which we shall all forget to ask when the new Parliament is going to meet. Russia, in short, will make of her "sphere of influence" a real dependency, and we, finding Teheran under her control, will be forced to do the like in ours. That is certainly the plan which commends itself to the Russian reaction, and it is for the mo ment in the ascendant. But the consequences of such a development would not be felt by the Persians alone. The Turks would bitterly resent and might even resist a prolonged Russian military occupation of Northern Persia. Already their dread of this has caused them to look with distrust upon us as the allies of Russia. They are no longer in the mood which caused them last autumn to talk of concluding a defensive alliance with Great Britain. Their inclinations are veering again towards the German connection, partly out of resentment for the comments of the Times and the attitude of some members of our Embassy staff during their internal crisis, but still more because they realize that the ties which bind us to Russia are stronger than the sympathies which link us to them. Here once more is a situation with which German diplomacy may, if it chooses, play. An emissary of the Persian Nationalities was told (as I have learned from his own lips) by a high personage who received him in Berlin, that Great Britain and Russia "will not be allowed" to occupy Persia. One need not dwell too literally on that promise; but it suggests possibilities if Germany were to back a Turkish protest. That dis
development Russia can avoid only by maintaining a close friendship with Germany.
The pivot on which the whole fate of the Triple Entente turns is in short the character of the Russian Government. It has perfected the art of trading on its own weaknesses. Precisely because it is so nearly bankrupt, France dare not break the bond or cease to lend money. Precisely because we do not trust its good faith, we dare not insist on too much loyalty. For we know that the bureaucracy and the Court are always in delicate equipoise. The function of the first is to make treaties and of the second to break them. We know that if we press too hard on the letter of the Persian Agreement, the reply will be a heavy lurch in Russian policy towards the rival German camp. We never know in an emergency whether the decision will lie with the Tsar, or with a Minister whom we think that we can within certain limits trust. A more risky or less profitable partnership it would be hard to conceive. It was prematurely concluded. Had the French and ourselves but cared to wait a few months in April 1906, when Count Witte concluded the ninety mil lion loan in London and Paris (the first Russian loan ever floated in London since the Crimean War), it is probable that Russia might have been to-day a Constitutional country. For a refusal on our part to grant any loan until the Duma (then about to meet) had endorsed it, would have placed in the hands of the Liberal majority a weapon with which they might have extorted the concession of a responsible Parliamentary Ministry. That chance has gone, and to-day, competing at every turn with Germany, it is no longer easy for us to spare any influence to throw into the popular scale. We look on unmoved, so far at least as our officially minded
press is concerned, at all the abominations of the reign of terror over which M. Stolypin presides. It is even possible for the Times to announce that it "reveres" the Tsar, whose complicity in the worst excesses of the "Black Hundreds" has been exposed in its columns. Our entry into the Continental system has in six brief years brought us to an almost Bismarckian cynicism. We are courting the Tsar, much as the Kaiser courted Abdul Hamid. A Power which embarks on a struggle for predominance in Europe must be prepared to dissemble its respect for liberty and to grasp any hand that may ald it. We are not the stronger for our alliances. We dare no longer speak our own minds without the fear of offending the Russian Tsar; we dare no longer implement the pledges we have given to the Persians, lest perchance some Court intrigue at Tsarköe Selo should ruin what we call our influence.
And yet, it will be said, there were always at Berlin those restless ambitions, that readiness to resort to force, which have made half the anxieties of Europe. Were we not to combat them, and even to combine against them? One may admit a justification for a passive and defensive combination, but not for a league whose basis was the penetration of Morocco and the partition of Persia. One may admit the ideal of a Liberal group and a league of peace, but had official Russia a natural place in such a group? But the first consequence of any combination, even a sincerely defensive combination, is that it deepens all the latent antagonism which it seeks to meet, and sanctifies an aggressive temper by allowing it to assume the pose of defence. The Junker spirit, which we sought to oppose, is not eternal. By our policy of "penning-in" we have perpetuated its ascendency in Germany. We have The English Review.
helped it to enlist the middle class in its Navy League. We have helped it to crush the working class. Only because of the general sense of danger was Prince Bülow able to summon the whole patriotism of the German people to sink its party differences in an Imperialist "bloc." We have silenced every voice which might in Germany have seconded our plea for the reduction of armaments. Even the Social Democrats laugh at the patent insincerity of a pacifism which seeks, by professing disinterested aims, to snatch an advantage for itself amid a struggle for predominance. The end of this gigantic rivalry is beyond the range of our vision. It may subside by the exhaustion even of the stronger Powers. It may collapse through the difficulty, amid the general demoralization, of trusting the good faith of any ally. It may perhaps provoke the proletarian revolt to which Lord Rosebery looks forward. But the first step to any remedy is to realize that it has come about by no inevitable destiny, but by the deliberate will of individuals. Our own statesmen have done much to intensify it. We cannot with consistency deplore the fact that we are "rattling into barbarism," and in the same breath declare, without distinction of party, our blind faith in the two Foreign Secretaries who have involved us in the process. Two principles are at issue. We claim the right to dispose in our own way of certain spheres of influence, which we assign to ourselves and our allies. Germany is determined that nothing shall happen in the world without her consent. The only way to reconcile these principles is to work on the assumption that nothing ought to happen in the world without the consent of every civilized Power. We can end the war of groups only by creating a real concert.
H. N. Brailsford.
THE MODERN SURRENDER OF WOMEN.
There is a thing which is often called progress, but which only occurs in dull and stale conditions; it is indeed, not progress, but a sort of galloping plagiarism. To carry the same fashion further and further is not a mark of energy, but a mark of fatigue. One can fancy that in the fantastic decline of some Chinese civilization one might find things automatically increasing, simply because everybody had forgotten what the things were meant for. Hats might be bigger than umbrellas, because every one had forgotten to wear them. Walking sticks might be taller than lances, because nobody ever thought of taking them out on a walk. The human mind never goes so fast as that except when it has got into a groove.
The converse is also true. All really honest and courageous thought has a tendency to look like truism. For strong thought about a thing is always thought about its original nature; while weak thought is always thought about its most recent developments. The really bold thinker is never afraid of platitude; because platitudes are the great primeval foundations. The bold thinker is not afraid to say of the hat that it is a covering for the head; when he has said that he knows that he has his hat and his head in the right place. The strong thinker does not shrink from saying that the walking stick is a stick with which one goes walking; then he knows that he has got hold of the right end of the stick. All civilizations show some tendency towards that weak-minded sort of progress which is mere accumulation. Some time ago a well-dressed English gentleman wore two or three waist-coats. It would be easy to be purely progressive about him, to make him wear more and more waistcoats
of different colors until he died. Some time ago a Japanese nobleman wore two swords; it would be easy to be progressive and suggest nine swords or twenty-three swords. But the strong thinker does not go forward with the flood, but back to the fountain. If once we think about what a sword is and what it symbolizes, we shall see that a man ought to have one sword because he has one right hand. And if we meditate deeply upon what a waistcoat is, it will become apparent to us, after a brief effort of philology, that a man ought not to have more than one waistcoat unless he has more than one waist. All tame and trivial thought is concerned with following a fashion onward to its logical extremity. All clear and courageous thought is concerned with following it back to its logical root. A man may make hats larger and larger and be only as mad as a hatter. But if he can quite perfectly explain what a hat is he must have the great sanity of Aristotle.
Now, in that quarrel about the function of the two sexes which has lately disturbed a section of our wealthier classes, nothing seems to me more marked than this habit of pursuing a thing to its conclusion when we have not tracked it to its origin. Many of the women who wish for votes urge their case entirely as a development from what exists. They argue from precedent, that most poisonous and senseless of all the products of our Protestant Constitution. Precedent is the opposite of doctrine. These ladies, who believe themselves revolutionary, are really moving along that line of least resistance which is the essence of the evil sort of conservatism. They say. "Men have votes; why shouldn't women have votes?" I have
met many able and admirable ladies who were full of reasons why women should have votes. But when I asked them why men should have votes they did not know.
I shall pursue here the opposite course. I shall try to start with a truth, even if it is a truism. I shall try to state the substance of suffrage, instead of pulling it out into long strings like liquorice or treacle till it reaches the end of the world. If the question stands whether a Woman should have a vote, I beg leave to begin by asking what a vote is, and even (so far as the subject can be safely approached) what a woman is. But the nature of a vote is the vital ana really interesting thing.
I trust that the reader will remember that I am, for the moment, the professor of platitudes. As the man seeking to preserve sanity among hatters would begin by reminding them that hats have to cover heads, so I begin all statements about the vote at the humblest and most evident end. Two things are quite clear about the vote. First that it is entirely concerned with government, that is with coercion. Second, it is entirely concerned with democratic government; that is, with government by chorus, government by public quarrel and public unanimity. First, to desire a vote means to desire the power of coercing others; the power of using a policeman. Second, it means that this power should be given not to princes or officials, but to a human mass, a throng of citizens. If any person does not mean by voting coercion by the will of the masses, then that person does not know what the word means. He (or rather she) is simply stunned with one monosyllable that she does not understand. If a woman wants democracy or mob law, or even riot, I think she should be listened to most seriously and respectfully. But if she only wants the
vote, it is a proof that she ought not to have it. She should be refused just as a would-be nun should be refused who has no vocation except a wish to wear the costume.
Now this is exactly where my personal lament begins. I weep for the collapse and complete surrender of woman. People tell me that this modern movement is a revolt against man by woman. It seems to me to be the utter submission of woman to man upon every point upon which they ever disagreed. That woman should ask for a vote is not feminism; it is masculinism in its last and most insolent triumph. The whole point of view which is peculiar to man is here riding so ruthlessly and contemptuously over the whole point of view that is peculiar to woman that I cannot but regret it, though it is the triumph of my own sex. After all, I am a human being as well as a male, and my pleas. ure in knowing that masculine prejudices are at last prevailing is poisoned with the thought that after all women do exist, and that their present humiliation cannot be good for the common stock.
The facts themselves, of course, are clear enough. Voting, as has been said, involves two primary principles; it involves the coercive idea, and it involves the collective idea. To push and kick men into their senses, and to push with a throng of arms, to kick with a crowd of legs, that is the quite just and rational meaning of voting: it has no other just or rational meaning. And certainly the privilege should be extended to everybody, certainly the arms and legs might be of any sex, if only this were quite cer tainly clear and proved-that the coercive and the collective ideas are the whole of human life. But the truth is that the coercive and collective ideas are not only a mere half of human life, but have been from the beginning
a mere half of the human species. From the dawn of the world there has been another point of view, the feminine point of view, which was against mere force, but even more against mere argument. This strong feminine position has kept the race healthy for hundreds of centuries. It has never really been weakened until now.
Every good man is half an anarchist. That is, that with half his mind he feels it is a cruel and clumsy business to be always catching his fellows in the man-traps of merely human bylaws, and torturing them with ropes and rods and long terms of living bur ial. Coercion is necessary, no doubt; but it should be conducted in the presence of some permanent protest on behalf of a humane anarchy. That protest has always been provided by the other half of life called Society; by the enormous success with which women have managed their social empire. They have done it not without cruelty, but quite without coercion. They have made the cold shoulder as unmistakable as the branded shoulder; they have found it quite easy to lock the offenders out, without finding it necessary to lock them in. Not only is one half of the good man an anarchist, but the anarchist is his better half; the anarchist is his wife. It is the woman who stands for ever for the futility of mere rules. Women could justly contrast Society's swiftness with the law's delay. It takes such a long time to condemn a man— and such a short time to snub him. Tact is only a name for anarchy when it works well. But this free and persuasive method, for which women have stood from the beginning, has much stronger examples than any mere diplomacies of social life.
The two or three most Important things in the world have always been managed without law or government; because they have been managed by
women. Can anyone tell me two things more vital to the race than these; what man shall marry what woman, and what shall be the first things taught to their first child? Yet no one has ever been so mad as to suggest that either of these godlike and gigantic tasks should be conducted by law. They are matters of emotional management; of persuasion and dissuasion; of discouraging a guest or encouraging a governess. This is the first great argument for the old female point of view, and we could never deny that it had force. The old-fashioned woman really said this: "What can be the use of all your politics and policemen? The moment you come to a really vital question you dare not use them. For a foolish marriage, or a bad education, for a broken heart or a spoilt child, for the things that really matter, your courts of justice can do nothing at all. When one live woman is being neglected by a man, or one live child by a mother, we can do more by our meanest feminine dodges than you can do by the whole ap paratus of the British Constitution. A snub from a duchess or a slanging from a fishwife is more likely to put things right than all the votes in the world." That has always been the woman's great case against mere legalist machinery. It is only one half of the truth; but I am sorry to see the women abandon it.
But voting not only stands for the coercive idea of government, but also for the collective idea of democracy. And a surrender to collective deniocracy is even more of a feminine collapse than a surrender to regimentation and legalism. Woman would be more herself if she refused to touch coercion altogether. That she may be the priestess of society it is necessary that her hands should be as bloodless as a priest's. I think Queen Victoria would have been more powerful still