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most grave state of things should Ger- ty that no combination will be formed many be overtaken by any serious mis- against England unless Germany joins fortune.
it; and it is fairly certain that Germany There is no doubt that the growth of will not do so if she thinks that Eng. the Social Democratic Party is the re- land will resist any interference in sult of narrow administrative meas- South Africa by force of arms or otherures. The chief grievance of Prussian wise. workmen, for instance, is the Prussian We could not do better than rememLaw of Association. Societies which ber the conduct of Lord Chatham, when occupy themselves with politics are il- he had to face a somewhat similar diffilegal; but it is not easy to obtain an culty. During the Seven Years' War, exact definition of what constitutes when on one occasion negotiations for political matter. Laws for the regula- peace with France were going on, Bustion of the length of the working day; sy, the French envoy, pressed on Lord the question of the employment of Chatham, who was still the Great Comwomen and children in onerous kinds moner, proposals of intervention in the of labor; protective duties, are all ques- controversy between England and tions which may be considered political Spain. Lord Chatham told him plainly or not, as it pleases the heads of the that the government of the King of police. In practice, associations of em- England would not suffer the disputes ployers or of owners of property are with Spain to be blended in any manalways allowed to exist. Associations ner whatever in negotiations between of workmen, formed with a view to England and France. Bussy continued promote the interests of their class, are arguing, and, at last, Chatham, in anrigorously suppressed. Nay, more, al- swer to his pleadings and veiled threats, though workmen are prevented from replied, “Time enough to treat of all combining, certain employers, on the that, sir, when the Tower of London is other hand, are not only allowed and taken, sword in hand.” If European encouraged, but forced to do so. There powers at the present moment were ceris, moreover, a widespread feeling tain that a similar answer would be especially in the north, and not by any given to any combination proposing to means confined to the working classes, interfere with the march of events in that the administration of justice is not South Africa, nothing is more certain impartial on any question in which than that no attempt at interference government or public authority may be would be made. interested. The result is to inspire the In order that England should take up workmen throughout the Empire with such an attitude as her position and ina conviction that the whole force of terests demand, it is requisite that she public authority is against them. Hence should be ready to put out her whole there is no feeling of attachment to or maritime strength at a given moment, respect for the institutions of the coun- and also that she should show vigorous try such as we are accustomed to in intention to create an adequate army. England, and the serious suffering She must definitely make up her mind which would result from war with Eng. to form a military force thoroughly land would infallibly set loose forces efficient, and likely to fulfil the boast of revolution and of disintegration that Wellington made with reference which would shake the whole fabric of to the army he parted from at the end the Empire, even if they did not bring of the Peninsular War, “that it could it topsy-turvy down.
go anywhere and do anything." NotWe may, I think, take it as a certain- withstanding the undoubted superiority
of our navy, it is clear that it will not be able by itself to repel the aggressive movements of great military powers. It will be simply impossible for this country to protect her interests and to beat off attacks on her continental possessions in Asia and Africa, if she continues to rely on her fleets alone. The experience of the last three months must make that truth evident to all persons in England not blinded by prejudice and cant, as it has long been clear to every continental writer on international politics of any eminence whatever. It is not necessary to enter, at the moment into discussion as to whether or not a system of compulsory military service of some sort should be introduced into this country. What is wanted is a national army. If the obligation of military service should be necessary to secure this, it will come in time, unless England ceases to be a great power. The practical measure, for the moment, would be for the government to take efficient steps to organize the militia into a number of divisions fit for the field, to form the men who serve in the ranks into thoroughly efficient soldiers, and then do the same with the volunteers. The military forces of the nation should be raised to something like the standard of the Prussian army in 1866. Besides the troops who have to be kept in India, in Egypt, and the Mediterranean, there should always be a force of at least 200,000 men ready to leave this country at a moment's notice, and, without disorganizing regiments or divisions, go to any part of the world; and an adequate permanent transport service should be ready to carry them. To organize such a force in England would be a far easier work than that done by Scharnhorst for Prussia in the early days of the century, and which has been admittedly the means of placing that country in the proud position she afterwards won, and which, I may add,
is now partly the cause of the commercial prosperity of Germany.
The situation appears to be as follows: It seems likely that when occasion serves the Afrikander Bond will urge the Imperial Government to come to terms with the two South African Republics by offering to acknowledge their independence as Sovereign States on condition they disarm. This suggestion is sure to be accompanied by a menace more or less veiled, that should it be rejected by Her Majesty's Government, the Cape Dutch will renounce their allegiance to the Queen. It is superfluous to point out that the acceptance of such a proposal by England would mean the loss of the whole of South Africa at no distant date. So base a betrayal, moreover, of the cause for which our fellow subjects beyond the seas have drawn their swords would raise a storm of indignation in our self-governing colonies so violent and enduring that it would shake the fabric of the British Empire. This is well understood from one end of Europe to the other, and hence the enemies will do all they can to cajole or frighten the English Government to be magnanimous in victory. Continental governments will contrive that pressure will be brought to bear on them by their own subjects to excuse their action in offering this advice, and more than one continental power would be glad to have a safe opportunity, under the mask of friendship, to deal a deadly blow at Great Britain. England cannot count on the friendship of any European power, except Italy. The main interest of that country is certainly, at the present moment, to preserve the conditions of political power in the Mediterranean. If the English supremacy in that sea were to pass away, it would, of necessity, be replaced by that of France; and every Italian very well knows that there is hardly any question on which Frenchmen, of all parties, are
more agreed upon than in dislike to the unity of Italy. Hence, Italy may always be counted on as a possible ally of England, notwithstanding that she has legitimate grounds for complaint at the studied accord of England with France in such questions as Morocco, Tunis, and Siam. The interests which are common to Italy and England are not likely to be forgotten so long as the destinies of the former country are in the hands of Visconti Venosta, who is the last living friend of Cavour, a man for whom the founder of Italian unity had a most particular regard and respect, and who has, in his turn, always held firmly to the policy of the greatest statesman of the second half of the nineteenth century. As regards the other great powers, there is nothing to expect from them. They will take every opportunity to thwart and damage England. They are jealous of her
prosperity, and especially of the lawabiding and, at the same time, libertyloving character of the nation. They look with envious eyes on the homogeneity of our people and on the solidity of our State. And they are rendered more malicious when they think of their own rickety internal condition. Should they attempt to interfere in South Africa the more clearly they are made to understand that their advice, however disinterested they may represent it to be, will not be listened to, the less likely they are to press it. Firmness now is the only way to avert dangerous complications or ruinous humiliation. The plain course for England to adopt is to knit together more firmly those rising and vigorous young nations, which we call self-governing colonies, to hold out the hand of friendship to Italy, and to stand to arms.
The National Review.
ON SOME DIFFICULTIES INCIDENTAL TO MIDDLE AGE.
It is our misfortune, as we go on- a strange and inconsistent medley of wards through life, engrossed mainly, warring possibilities and impossibilities, and pardonably enough, by the present, still retaining some of the aptitudes and that the successive phases of existence predilections of youth, without its gloare apt to come upon us before we have rious convictions of success, but tinged quite realized how we are to bear our- with a secret acceptance of defcat. selves in them. By the time we are be- which yet falls short of the detinite and ginning to learn they have nearly dignified renunciation that accompanpassed, it may be, and the picture of ies old age. That secret acceptance of the immediate future presents itself in the inevitable, that inward renunciayet another focus, that surprises us tion-of which the world need not alafresh. The joins of life are apt to be ways know-is a lesson that we all awkward, unless the join is very skil- have to learn; and, like other lessons, if fully made, and the one we are about we do it in a hurry, we shall acquire it to consider is, perhaps, the most diffi- but imperfectly. If we learn to recult of them all. It is a time that nounce, as we go on, with dignity and stands half-way between youth and silence, our sufferings in so doing-if age, giving a hand to each; with many we are wise they will scarcely deserve of the drawbacks of both, and all the the name-will not be magnified by beadvantages of neither; a time which is ing seen through other people's attempts at sympathy. Arrived at mid- prise that in many respects they do not dle age, it is very possible that most remain as they were when we were all of us will have been called upon to re- younger. Is this time, then, under these nounce a good deal; we started, prob- conditions, as happy as that which preably, with the conviction that our ceded it? Is it even, as some of the heads would strike the stars, and we contented would have it, likely to be have become strangely reconciled to happier? If it is, then one drawback, the fact that they do not reach the ceil- I fear, it must have, that of approaching. But it was, no doubt, better to ing more nearly to its happiness. At start with the loftier idea; a man any rate, the question, however often should allow a good margin for shrink- debated, has not much of a practical age in his visions of the future. And bearing; we are not called upon fortuit is curious, it is pathetic, to see with nately, to choose at which stage of life what ease
we may accomplish the we would prefer to be. We may, theregradual descent to the lower level, on fore, enjoy the peace that comes from which we find ourselves at last going the inevitable. But one thing is probalong, if in somewhat less heroic fash- ably certain; that, on the whole, this ion than we anticipated, yet
stage of existence is pre-eminently inwhole comfortably and happily. We portant as a factor in our intercourse have accepted a good deal, we have with our fellow creatures. The governlearnt how to carry our burdens in the ment of the family life in the large way that is easiest. We are no longer majority of cases is mainly in the hands storm-tossed; we know pretty much, ar- of the middle-aged; it is they who deterrived at this stage, what we are going mine its general tone, spirit, and atto do, those of us who thought they mosphere. This is a heavy responsibilwere going to do anything. The fact of ity to bear, and those upon whom it taking life on a lower level of expecta- is laid can claim indulgence neither on tions makes it all the more likely that the score of youth nor on that of age; those expectations will be fulfilled. We they are old enough to perceive their have, with some easing of conscience, mistakes, but not too old to correct accepted certain characteristics and them. It is they who create the atmosmanifestations on our own part as in- phere which surrounds their little comevitable, secretly and involuntarily munity. And the atmosphere-figuracherishing a hope that where these do tive as well as actual-breathed by hunot fit in with those of our surround- man beings during their passage from ings, it may yet be possible that other infancy to maturity is of incalculable people should alter theirs. We are, importance; it can save, or it may desome of us, arrived at this stage, still stroy. The young, it is true, carry an in the relation of being younger, with atmosphere of their own with them reference to persons surviving of the through these early years, full of generations who preceded us, and are brightness and color, precious, indeed, beginning to understand a little, now to their surroundings. But, as time that we have a grown-up generation goes on, a gradual individual differentifollowing us, what the difficulties and ation takes place; the bright, dancing trials of the older people may have been glow, which shed a general radiance in their relation to ourselves. We have over everything fades away; and we a certain number of friends, a still are seen, each of us, as we are, as we larger number of acquaintances, of our have made ourselves during the pasown standing, of whom we observe sage of the years, surrounded by our with interest and note with some sur- own special atmosphere, unsofte::ed by
the golden haze of youth on the one hand, or by the silvery mists of age on the other. Middle age is seen in an unbecoming light. There is not much romance, much mystery ab ut it; it is not often sung by the poets. Now it is that we must stand forth with such characteristics for good or evil as we have made our own by a never-ceasing, if unconscious, process of selection from successive possibilities. The range of those possibilities is apt to narrow curiously as time goes on, unless we are always on the watch. We lie in a constant danger of our interests extending abnormally in one or two directions and dwindling in others, until, arrived at the moment when we are called upon to govern, when our minds and our judgment should, by long exercise, be more pliable than ever, more open, more ready to respond to any and every appeal to our sympathy or experience, we find, on the contrary, that we have gradually become absorbed, from circumstances as well as from individual bias, in a limited set of interests, sometimes, indeed, exclusively of a personal nature, and that our outlets and our inlets are, in other directions closed. The question we have to ask and to answer is, need our characters deteriorate, as our physical constitutions are bound to do, with the passage of time? Not if we are careful to keep a watch over the innate proclivities by which we are so mysteriously governed. This is not an idle query; it is one, on the contrary, which should be earnestly considered and may be fruitfully discussed, since the answer lies in our own hands, to a greater extent, perhaps, than we are inclined to believe at the first blush. We are apt to go astray from the fact that we generally discuss it in relation to the phenomena unpleasant to ourselves that we observe in other people. That is not so profitable. When we come to consider the question not merely aca
demically, but as bearing upon our own daily action, we shall probably be inclined to admit that, as time goes on, we have a tendency to relax the watch over ourselves, and yield more and more to the increasing indolence that comes with the years, to let our moral muscles become as stiff as the material ones from the decrease in their use.
Most people, arrived at that middle term of life of which we are speaking, know that to keep themselves in what is called good condition, as to their physical being, depends almost entirely upon a sage ordering of both the active and the quiescent scheme of life, by the requisite amount of activity as well as of self-denial. That it is possible in various unheroic ways to exercise this self-denial, we may, any of us, deduce from the conversation of our older neighbors at dinner, who will, with unnecessary communicativeness, tell us what exact portion of the bill of fare is forbidden to them, and what are the threatened penalties that make them forego the enjoyment of what others are enjoying around them. If this form of material self-denial is possible, then the same men and women ought certainly to be able to achieve it in the moral order as well, given that they have the same conviction of the necessity of doing so. There does not seem to be any eternal reason why, since they are able so well to regulate some of their appetites, they should not be able to keep watch over their words, actions and tendencies as well. Many a middle-aged man who uses dumbbells, or fences, to keep his muscles in order, walks and rides for a given time every day to have the requisite amount of exercise, avoids over-fatigue and unwholesome food, would, no doubt, if he brought the same amount of purpose to bear on the moral side of his nature, have results just as profitable, and would find the will kept as pliable as the muscles. But the obstacle to