« AnkstesnisTęsti »
We come, therefore, to a situation in which we have committed ourselves to the production of twenty or (with the "Lord Nelsons") twenty-two "Dreadnoughts" by the spring of 1912, against an almost certain German eleven, or a barely possible thirteen. Considering
enormous preponderance in new “pre-Dreadnought" vessels, and in armored cruisers, we cannot describe this as other than an extravagant provision, which relegates the talk of eight "Dreadnoughts" next year to the region of phantasy. If a British strength of three to one against Germany is not enough, nothing will ever content us. But the German Navy practically fell out of account in Monday's argument, vitiated as it was by the old extreme reliance on a single fashion in huge battleships, which may pass out of date as quickly as their predecessor, the useless and almost forgotten Italian "Dandolo." Instead we were bidden to look to what Italy and Austria were doing, and other nations "with which we had no quarrel," or even the closest ties of affection. We do not know by what perversion of every rule of common sense we are bidden to regard both the Austrian and the Italian shipbuilding programmes as concerning ourselves, when every politician in Europe knows that they neutralize each other -four "Dreadnoughts" against four "Dreadnoughts"-and that Italy in particular would no more use one of her warships against England than against her own ruined children of Messina. It cannot be that either of these Powers is preparing to rival our Navy, or to use the two forces in a combination which would shatter the Triple Alliance. All we see is that on this principle any random sum in simple addition can be used to confuse friends and foes, to disguise our real position in the European world, and to defeat every calculation of the physical, moral, and intellectual forces that used
gested that this advance had been secretly initiated in defiance of Germany's public engagements. Mr. McKenna then (March 16th) pleaded a general speeding up of all the four "Dreadnoughts" belonging to the German programme of 1909-10, an acceleration so great that they would all be completed by April, 1912. On the same date the Prime Minister stated that "in one or two cases, possibly in more, ships were actually laid down," and that these proceedings showed that our "substantial advantage" in construction had been destroyed by the "enormous" German development. Of these statements barely a fragment remains. Mr. Asquith has now admitted that he believed "our capacity (in ship-building) to be substantially greater than that of Germany." Mr. McKenna did, indeed, hint that one ship of Germany's 1909-10 programme had been laid down at the beginning of this year, but he completely destroyed the importance of this statement by the details of this so-called acceleration, with which he furnished Mr. Middlemore on June 29. He then said that the contract for one ship of the 1909-10 programme had been "given out" on the first of April last (i.e. some days after he first spoke)-not a word about laying down-and that the others had not yet been ordered. Where, then, are the "one or two ships" or "possibly more," which in March last the Prime Minister thought had not merely been ordered, but laid down? And if none of these German vessels are thus advanced, where lies the material for the hypothesis that the whole four can be finished by March, 1912, or for denying the official, reiterated statements of Admiral von Tirpitz and Prince Bülow that none of them can be completed before the end of 1912, and that no design of acceleration exists?
to group themselves under the word statesmanship. No matter how smiling the world's prospect, how completely relieved of all peril to these shores, of all hinted or possible combinations and designs of aggression, we find that our statesmen, while they write the sacred word peace on their phylacteries, still keep us and our neighbors expectant of a momentary outbreak of European war.
While we proceed on these lines we are bound to give both Europe and our own countrymen a false impression of the state of the naval world. Mr. McKenna, for example, told the House of Commons that within the last three years Germany had laid down eleven ships of the Dreadnought type, and we only eight. But this ignores the point that our "Dreadnought" building began in 1904, which gave us three years' start of Germany, and has enabled us to put seven "Dreadnoughts" on the seas before she is able to float one. To-day our building and repairing votes, as they stand in this year's estimates, represent together nearly twenty-two millions, a sum larger than the whole German naval estimates, while by March, 1912, we shall, in eight years, have spent about forty millions on completed battleships of one type alone. If, therefore, the German Press declares the refusal of their statesmen-and a refusal it isto curtail their armaments on such a basis, our own politicians cannot be surprised if their tender of a naval agreement is set aside. The world does not heed our declared fears of invasion; is, in fact, utterly sceptical of their sincerity. It thinks, not that we are endangered, but that we endanger others. It holds us largely to blame for the fact that the European Chancellors, our own included, plough along through a thickening forest of
obstacles, not the least of which is the revolt of the wealthy and directing classes against the burdens which their own fears create. We said some time ago, when writing on this subject during the life-time of the late Prime Minister, that our continual raising of the general world-standard of naval strength, the example of our unrivalled wealth and power used to maintain an Armada of unparalleled costliness, must end in laying a grievous burden on the poorer nationalities in Europe. The important Spanish correspondent, whose letter we have printed states in terms that this result has already been reached in Spain. Popular Spanish opinion attributes the building of a new Spanish fleet to the direct and indirect pressure produced by the Anglo-Spanish entente. We hope, at least, that no word or action of Liberal statesmanship has called upon Spain for any such sacrifices. But we cannot plead not guilty to the scarcely less grave charge of moral responsibility. England used to send out a certain range of influences over the world; they were widely prevalent. they gave her a fixed character and force, which now and then changed the destinies of States. We are afraid she now acts in a different sphere. Europe is plagued, and is beginning to be convulsed, with the malady of armaments. Not a Government is safe from this infectious disease; not a policy but is twisted and maimed by it. And not one sign of relief does any European statesman hold out, least of all our Liberal leaders; though, as far as this island is concerned, it is impossible to state in coherent terms a cause of war with any Power in the world, least of all with Germany, or a combination either of wills or of material forces designed to shake our Empire.
THE UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA.
of party strife, it is possible for Englishmen of all parties to recognize the splendid courage and trustful prudence that led him, immediately after the formation of his Government, to undertake that great-hearted indispensable measure. To do Parliament justice, it must be said that he had behind him not only the whole of his own party, but a very considerable section of Conservative opinion. It was natural that Lord Milner should be bitterly hostile to an act which seemed to stamp out his favorite idea of racial supremacy, and it was natural that many of Lord Milner's friends should indulge with him in the most gloomy prophecies. But to the credit of Mr. Balfour and Lord Lansdowne let it be said that, while declining responsibility for results, they were most careful to avoid any impolitic language or action which could make the grand experiment more difficult; nor, in claiming the new constitution as the reward of British statesmanship, let us forget what wonderful self-possession, common sense, and good feeling have been displayed by all races, parties, classes, and factions in what has been for more than a century a divided and embarrassed territory. We may echo the graceful praise bestowed by Lord Crewe upon the skill and experience of "our friend Sir Henry de Villiers," who presided over the delegation, and on those other leaders whom he disposed of with the happy quotation:
The Bill to constitute a union of our colonies in South Africa, which was read a second time by the House of Lords on Tuesday, is an event of high imperial significance. At this time ten years ago, when Mr. Chamberlain was beginning to put pressure upon the Boer Government, and when, under the management of Lord Milner and President Kruger, the temperature alike in Cape Colony and the Transvaal was rapidly rising to danger point, there were still but few people in England who thought that a match struck in Downing Street would kindle the flames of a devastating war. Again, at this time five years ago, when the war was over, and South Africa lay financially and politically prostrate, when our own people were reflecting bitterly upon the fruits of their enormous sacrifices, when the mineowners said that nothing could save them from ruin except Chinese labor, when the two Boer States in sullen subjection were being administered as conquered territories, there were probably few people either in England or in South Africa who could believe in the possibility of a great political reconciliation, under which Boers and British would be willing to forget all the losses they had inflicted upon one another, and work together for the common good of South Africa. There is no doubt that the present Bill-the work of Englishmen like Mr. Merriman, and Dutchmen like General Botha, backed by practically the unanimous sentiment of all white people in Cape Colony, the Transvaal, the Orange River and Natal-is the direct result of that extraordinary act of political magnanimity and wisdom which in the year 1906 gave back to the Boers a full measure of self-government under the British Flag. Now that Sir Henry Campbell Bannerman has passed from the world to union.
"Ductoresque alii quos Africa terra
These South African statesmen, under
We have intentionally laid more stress upon the great fact of union than upon the details of the constitution, and we are entitled in so doing to rest upon the authority of Lord Courtney, who pointed out that the Bill comes from South Africa, and is founded on an intimate knowledge of local circumstances. "Every principle. therefore, which led me to resist the former scheme of South African union leads me to accept what is now proposed." At the same time we must agree with him, and with other speakers, that the Bill does not afford a satisfactory or permanent solution of the native question. We regret that the liberal spirit of the Cape Constitution has not been infused into the union. The natives in South Africa are showing considerable aptitude for education, and are beginning to engage not only in trade, but in the professions. They far outnumber the whites, and they
cannot be safely excluded from all share in the government. We sincerely hope that in some way or other steps will be taken to give some sort of representation to educated natives, and also that the guarantees which have hitherto existed for the good government of the Basutos will not be whittled away. A great deal no doubt depends upon the interpretation that is given to the words "European descent," which are a qualification for sitting in the Parliament of the South African union. In Cuban society everyone who is not absolutely black is treated as white, whereas in the United States everyone who is not absolutely white is treated as black. We imagine that in South Africa a tolerable compromise will be found, and that the native races, as well as those of European descent, will ultimately have reason to rejoice in the new Constitution.
BOOKS AND AUTHORS
Lovers of poetry in general, and students of Oriental religions and literature in particular owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. L. Cranmer-Byng, whose volume called "A Lute of Jade," published in the Wisdom of the East Series by E. P. Dutton & Co., introduces them to charming bits of verse by Chinese poets, some of them dating back to 1700 years before Christ, and none later than the tenth century of the Christian era. The human heart universal breathes through these exquisite lines, its aspirations, its love of the beautiful, its sense of the fleeting and tragic. Let this bit, "The Grass," from Po Chu-i, who wrote about A.D. 772, serve as a specimen:
How beautiful and fresh the grass returns!
When golden days decline, the meadow burns;
Yet autumn suns no hidden root have slain,
The spring winds blow, and there is grass again.
Green rioting on olden ways it falls: The blue sky storms the ruined city walls;
Yet since Wang Sun departed long ago, When the grass blooms both joy and fear I know.
A genuine Indian fairy tale, or an Indian fairy tale written in conformity to Indian beliefs is instructive, but fortunately children are unaware of it, and girls and boys will read Mr. Theodore Roberts's "Flying Plover," and never dream that they are learning how an Indian thinks, and wherein his
mind differs from theirs, and how much younger is his race than theirs. Flying Plover is the orphan son of a chief, and Mr. Roberts repeats six of the stories related to him by his grandmother, Squat-by-the-Fire, a wise old woman reputed a magician. Some are authentic Glooskap tales, the others perfectly harmonize with them, and the one telling how fire came to the Indians, and its effect upon their life is extraordinary in its ingenuity. The volume is illustrated and decorated by Mr. Charles Livingston Bull and has a cover that no small pale face could behold without covetousness. L. C. Page & Co.
adventures. The story is intended to combine instruction with entertainment, and it is illustrated by Dorothy Hardy.
The old Norse Eddas and Sagas are an unfailing treasury of poetry and adventure; told and retold by different writers and for different purposes, they never lose their charm. The latest writer to draw upon them is E. M. Wilmot-Buxton, who has grouped in an attractive volume, intended for young readers, but not ostentatiously writ ten down to their supposed capacity, twenty-five "Stories of Norse Heroes" as told by the Northmen. Beginning with the legend of "How All Things Began" and closing with that of "How the End of All Things Came About" they include many stirring tales of the adventures of gods and heroes. There are sixteen illustrations. T. Y. Crowell & Company, who publish Mr. Wilmot-Buxton's book, publish also, in uniform binding, a story for young readers called "In Nature's School" by Lillian Gask. In this story, a school boy, who has been made unhappy by the bullying propensities of his mates, finds unexpected relief in a kind of dream which comes to him in the woods, in the appearance of a kindly figure of Nature, who leads him among the marvels of bird and beast life, and permits him to learn from their own lips the story of their life, habits and
Those who in childhood enjoyed Mrs. Mabel Osgood Wright's books about birds and beasts, and in youth laughed and smiled over "Barbara's" "Garden of a Commuter's Wife" and its successors, will be surprised to learn from the title page of "Poppea of the Post Office," the latest "Barbara" book that the two authors are one. The story is in every way different from anything written under either name, being the tale of a pretty foundling, a "lady baby," adopted by a New England village postmaster and so tenderly reared that she does not guess that she has no right to call him "Daddy" until she has grown to gracious young womanhood. About her are grouped marked but not exaggerated figures, some rustic, some the educated gentlefolk of an American village, but all kind to her, all alike desirous of preventing her from missing the kindred of whom she knows nothing. She has many sorrows, for "Barbara" has no scruples as to fatal accidents, and the number of doctors who momentarily appear in attendance on one character or another is astounding, but, happiness and wealth come in the end, and the faithful Daddy still survives when the story closes. This is one of the Lincoln books, and the two glimpses of the President are sufficiently characteristic to be true. The Macmillan Company.
Spain is still a land of mystery to the American novel reader and the Cathedral of Toledo as it is shown by Senor Vincent Blasco Ibanez in "The Shadow of the Cathedral," is wonderfully strange to him. That the huge pile should swarm in hardly suspected upper stories with watchmen, altar