Imatges de pÓgina
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pride that finds vent in the war-whoops of the music-hall stage. But music halls are not the council chambers of statesmen, and Cabinet Ministers are not or are not supposed to be comedians, and I doubt if a public man could now be found in any country who would conduct a policy in any such spirit. Even if there were, it would not be in the ranks of Imperialists that I should expect to find him.

The other day I was reading an article in a responsible magazine which had recourse to yet another diction in order to express the same idea. The policy that led up to the Boer War was described as 'megalomania,' or the insane craving for expansion ; and in the course of a few pages I culled the following gems :- blatant Imperialism,' 'reckless cupidity,' 'lust of Empire,' 'vanity of racial domination,' and 'greed of commercial gain.' I suppose that the writer, unless absolutely blinded by partisanship, must have found some meaning in his own vocabulary. But I own that it did not impress me. For I said to myself, Would the best heads and the most honourable minds in England have supported that war if it sprang from so tainted a motive? Would thousands of Englishmen have laid down their lives in such a cause? And would 50,000 of our Colonial offspring have leaped to our aid from the zone of the Northern Lights to the zone of the Southern Cross, had they not felt that something purer and nobler than earth-hunger, or goldhunger, or ambition was at stake? They fought for us because they saw that the integrity of the Empire was imperilled, that a secessionist movement had been started which unless arrested would not stop at Pretoria or Cape Town, and that in the face of such a peril the Empire must put forth its united strength. 'It was not the lust for becoming great that fired those ardent and passionate volunteers, but the fear of becoming small.

History justifies the same conclusion. No generalisation can be more historically inexact than to say that Great Britain has been urged into an imperial career by national vanity or territorial greed. If our Empire has advanced by leaps and bounds, it has commonly been in spite of our Government and statesmen. There is hardly an important acquisition from which we have not at some time or other tried to recede. The parings of the British Empire throughout the world, i.e. the areas which it has at one time held and has afterwards surrendered, would make a respectable Empire of themselves.' It was the French who drove us to the territorial conquest both of . Canada and India. Even when Wolfe died on the Heights of Abraham and when Clive scattered the Nawab's troops at Plassey, we did not

· Omitting France, Holland, and Hanover, which were at one time united by dynastic accidents to the British Crown, and the United States of America, which seceded, we have at different times held the following countries or possessions : In Europe, Minorca, Corsica, the Ionian Islands, Heligoland; in Africa, Tangier; in Asia, Java, the Philippines, the Celebes, the Moluccas; in South America, Montevideo, Buenos ; in the West Indies, Cuba, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Curaçao. In addition we have temporarily garrisoned or administered Sardinia, Elba, and Sicily.

grasp our destiny. South Africa fell in to us against our will. Lord Salisbury, himself an Imperialist, strove his hardest to extricate us from Egypt. We have thrice conquered and thrice evacuated Afghani

I believe that our rivals and opponents would attribute these permutations to a more than Machiavellian cunning. But I cannot see how any fair-minded student of history can peruse its pages without realising that, however our Empire has grown great, it has certainly not been from the passion of territorial cupidity or from an appetite for dimensions.

Among the false images of Imperialism which have been set up by its enemies, there is one only against which I think that we ought to be on our guard. In a country so qualified as ours by aptitude and experience for the pursuit of commerce there is always a fear that empire may rest upon too material a basis. Commercialism and materialism are dangers against which the Imperialist requires to be specially upon his guard. The maxim that Trade follows the Flag suggests the planting of the flag in order that it may be followed by trade. In my view the reverse is much more historically correct, namely that the Flag follows the Trade. It is indisputable that both our Indian and our African dominions had an economic origin. But here again we must be careful not to exaggerate the risk. There is nothing ignoble or even selfish in seeking fresh markets for our produce or manufactures : there is nothing wrong in establishing influence in an unsettled or derelict country with a view to bring wealth to our own people. Japan would never have been opened had it not been for European and American traders; the New World would never have been occupied but for similar reasons. Trade benefits not merely the alien trader but the individual with whom he trades : and it is much better that relations with unknown countries should develop out of barter than that they should spring from violence. But there is a certain risk lest the Empire be defended too exclusively as a commercial speculation, as a splendid investment for the popula. tion of these islands. Both of these it can be shown to be. But unless it is much more, it will not more survive than did the trading Empires of the Portuguese or the Dutch, both of which perished because they rested exclusively upon the extraction of commercial profit from their subjects or victims. What the true Imperialism must seek to embody and to enforce, outside of the conceptions with which we have hitherto been dealing, let me now endeavour to explain.

THE CONVICTION OF IMPERIALISM We have seen how our Empire has been developed until it has attained its present form, and we have said that Imperialism is the spirit in which the problem of Empire is handled. That spirit involves both a conviction, a policy, and a hope. The conviction is the firm belief that the Empire represents no mere fortuitous concourse of atoms,

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which by a succession of accidents have been united under the hegemony of the British Crown, but that it is a preordained dispensation, intended to be a source of strength and discipline to ourselves, and of moral and material blessing to others. Do you imagine that the finest intellects and the noblest characters of our time, the Havelocks, and Lawrences, the Gordons, and Freres, would have given their lives to a phantom, or their reverence to an idol of clay ? It has been said that the first great Imperialist was Oliver Cromwell. A long succession from Chatham and Pitt, to Beaconsfield, and Cromer, and Chamberlain, have handed on the sacred torch. Each one of these men has been firmly convinced of the destiny of his country. The same belief shines out from the speeches of another great Imperialist, Lord Milner. An honourable pride in our inheritance, a belief that it carries with it great obligations, and a resolve to retain it intact, are characteristics of the life work of all these men. But do not suppose for a moment that these sentiments are the monopoly of intellect or experience alone. I believe them to be shared by the great majority of the working classes of this Empire. I am not myself a believer in Socialism, though there is much to attract in the Socialist ideal. But even were I a Socialist, I can see no reason why my ideas should not be set in the framework of an Empire, as well as in that of an industrial Republic. I am not aware that Republics are any more favourable to Socialism than Empires, and I recall that the late Mr. Richard Seddon, who always declared himself an arch Socialist, was one of the most ardent Imperialists in the British Empire. Empires in the past have been as a rule evolved out of despotic or autocratic conceptions. But it is certain that if the Empire of the future is to continue, it must rest upon a democratic basis, and must satisfy democratic ideals. I decline altogether to believe that this is an

mpossible aspiration. Whether democracies will possess the sobriety and the patience, the breadth of view, and the tenacity to maintain great Empires intact, remains to be proved. America, which is relatively homogeneous, and has hitherto encountered no serious enemy, affords inadequate guidance. But that democracies will have the sense and the insight to understand Empire and to incorporate it in their political formulas I entertain no doubt. Incidentally they will find in it an invaluable antidote to the parochialism that is the bane of domestic politics, and the insularity that hampers smaller States.

THE POLICY OF IMPERIALISM

Imperialism, however, must give us more than a conviction. In the case of the British Empire, at any rate, it would ill justify itself unless it were to furnish us with a policy. What that policy must be is clear. The Empire is still only in a fluid and transitional formation ; it has yet to be welded into a great world-state. The constituents are there; the spirit is there ; but the problems are still

unsolved and the plan has yet to be produced. We have so to work that the concentric rings shall continue to revolve round the central star, not merely because it has hitherto been the law of their being, but because it is their interest and their voluntary choice. In the economy of the imperial household we are dealing not with children but with grown men. At our table are seated not dependents or menials but partners as free as ourselves, and with aspirations not less ample or keen. That they are bound to us by sentiment is a priceless asset; to throw it away would be a criminal blunder. This is the Colonial problem. The Indian problem is much more difficult; for there we are dealing, not with young and eager democracies of our own blood, but with a society cast in a conservative and rigid mould, divorced from our own by religion, custom and race ; though here, too, a spirit of nationality is moving on the face of the waters, and unsuspected forces are dimly struggling to light. It is vain, however, to pretend that India can be granted self-government on the Colonial lines. It would mean ruin to India and treason to our trust. The Empire cannot apply the same policy to the Colonies and to India ; but it can be animated by the same spirit and it can pursue the same end, which is continued and contented incorporation in the Imperial union; albeit here again the limits of disruption would be very different. Were the Colonies to break away, they would survive and ultimately flourish, but the Empire would be weakened. Were India to be lost, she herself would reel back into chaos, and the British Empire, at any rate in Asia,

would perish.

PROBLEMS OF EMPIRE

his work,

I said that the policy of Imperialism is confronted with many problems which it must attempt to solve. They will keep it fully occupied for generations to come.

The Mechanical Problem, i.e. the problem of conquering distance, is being rendered less formidable every day by the astonishing developments in electricity and steam; although in one case, that of India, the shrinkage that results cuts both ways, bringing the two countries physically nearer—a condition which facilitates communication, and therefore knowledge, between the two-but estranging the heart of the Englishman in India from

a consequence which is in every way to be deplored. The Racial Problem must always remain an anxious one, since when excited it is capable of transcending all others in explosive energy and importance. America can cope with the negroes because they are a overwhelming, as with the population of India, or with the black races

become acute. The Political or Administrative Problem will also have to be faced. It is impossible for the Empire to continue permanently to be governed by the existing organisation. The party in the temporary numerical ascendency

of Africa,

the difficulties

may

in the British Isles may furnish a Cabinet, but that body cannot for ever exercise uncontrolled power over the destinies of the entire Empire. Some form of Imperial Council, advisory if no more, must sooner or later emerge. The Defence Problem, i.e. the question how the Empire is to divide the burden of military and naval defence between its members, and the Tariff Problem, or the question whether the Empire can be made more self-contained and self-sufficing in respect of its trade—are still only in the preliminary stages of evolution. At least a quarter of a century will elapse before they are solved, if then. Of one thing I am certain, viz., that in proper hands the Crown will become, if not more powerful, at any rate more indispensable and more important. I look forward to the day when the Sovereign will visit his dominions in person, and hold his Court in Calcutta or Quebec. Eighteen hundred years ago the enlightened Roman Emperor Hadrian overran his vast dominions from Carlisle to Damascus, with results that left an enduring and beneficent mark on the Roman Empire. What he did then ought not to be more difficult now, and will become even easier in the future.

Nor can I imagine any stronger cement of Empire than that its government and unity, as typified by the Sovereign, should from time to time be incarnated in the allied states or dominions. The capital of the Empire will probably never leave London. But there is no stationary necessity or obligation in the Crown.?

I have in these few sentences given a brief sketch of the tasks, the urgent and paramount tasks, with which the Imperialism of the near future is charged. That any other policy or any other political creed can successfully solve them there is no reason to believe. Insular Radicalism cannot solve them, because it repudiates the fundamental conception of Empire. Cosmopolitanism cannot solve them, because it rests upon the belief that no one national organisation is greatly to be preferred to another, whereas it is the essence of Imperialism, as I have sketched it, to hold that political salvation for the units composing the Empire is more likely to be found within its framework

? This passage has been misinterpreted in some quarters as suggesting that the Crown ought to become a peripatetic institution. No such idea was in my mind. My belief and hope are that just as the present Sovereign visited the Empire when he was Prince of Wales, and just as the present Heir to the Throne has twice made similar journeys, so there will be nothing in the future to deter the Sovereign from repeating the experiment. Hitherto the view has prevailed that the Sovereign cannot be separated from his Ministers for more than a few days, or at the most, a few weeks. But the skrinkage brought about by the electric telegraph and swift steam. ships is such that he could now visit Canada, India, or South Africa in little more time than was till lately required for a cruise in the Mediterranean. In these circumstances a demand is certain to arise for an occasional visit from the Crown to important parts of the Empire. It could not be acceded to save by a monarch in the prime of life and strength, and even in such a case would perhaps not be a common oocurrence. But I believe that the step could be and ultimately will be undertaken without any serious dislocation of the business of administration; while its effect in enhancing the loyalty of the outlying constituents of the Empire would be immeasurable.

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