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From the old dog : being the letters of the Hon. --- ---, ex prime minister to his nephew online

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There is no " peasant's dress " anywhere. All eat
abftut the same sort of food. There is no class
which cannot afford to have as much meat as it



cares for, and it would be a hopeless restaurant,
even in the very poorest quarter, which did not offer
its customers a "poultry dinner" on Sunday. All
this tends to a feeling of equality. When every
man, roughly, eats alike and dresses alike, it is
difficult, when all come to vote on terms of absolute
equality, to try to maintain that one is of meer-
schaum, the other of mere common clay.

The greatest artificial industry of Australia is that
of pasturing sheep, oxen, and horses. The pastoral
life, under the happiest of conditions, involves the
relentless sacrifice of the lives of beasts for the gain
of man. In Australia this is intensified by the con-
ditions which sometimes make it cold-bloodedly pro-
fitable to allow millions of animals to take their
chance of dying of thirst and starvation. Men
play with the lives of dumb animals as with counters
(to do them justice, they cheerfully, when the call
comes, put their own lives, too, on the table as a
stake in a desperate game against natural forces).
A touch of cruelty comes into the Australian char-
acter from this. There is not the same reverence
for life as in the breast of, say, a Brixton grocer
of Jingo principles, who is absolutely opposed to any
slaughter which he will have to witness.

My fourth conclusion:

General Environment. It discourages class dis-
tinctions, allows a very general diffusion of comfort



without encouraging any great luxury: it gives a
touch of cruelty to the national character.

To these four fairly definite conclusions I add
some more vagrant impressions. The absence of
any great natural features, or dangerous animals,
probably adds something to the national lack of
reverence. There are no good working bogeys to
frighten man or child. The bunyip represents our
best effort in that direction, and it is more an
object of derision than of fear.

The whole tendency of life in Australia (as per-
haps in any new country) is to make man more
"primeval," more reckless of life and of social
order. But the Australian is singularly law-abiding:
the rough revenge of lynch-law was never acclima-
tised here. His restlessness of authority is shown
at the ballot-box rather than in street fighting. His
cruelty shows itself more in a Spartan contempt of
pain and death than in a tendency to homicide.
The bush lad bitten by a snake nonchalantly chops
off the poisoned limb. The " flash " bushman,
because he is so willing to risk his own neck on an
outlaw horse, sees no great harm in trapping
another man to risk his "just for a lark."

The warring influences of climate urging to in-
dolent basking in the eternal sunshine and natural
conditions sternly commanding " work or die "
lead to a curious alternation of work and play. The



Australian works harder than any other man on
earth (consider the shearer and his miracles of long-
sustained toil at high pressure!), and he plays
harder. He crowds as much as he can in his work-
ing days, and then rushes with feverish intensity
to his frequent holidays.

In short, the Australian is not an unworthy or
degenerate type. There are faults, but they are
not of degeneracy, but of a too-happy and indulged
childhood, and likely to vanish with the first experi-
ence of hardship and misfortune. The pleasure-
loving instincts of the Australian are very blessed
pledges of sanity and good health; and his pleasures
are in the main earned by hard work. The touch
of stoicism and cruelty in our national character is
at least better than the mawkish sentimentality
which flourishes, between quarrels, in Vegetarian
and Peace societies. The intolerance of tyranny,
the contempt of class distinctions, the scorn of
superstitions, are all proofs of high mental develop-
ment. The most serious blemish in the Australian
character is a lack of a sense of communal depen-
dency, due to the too-easy conditions of the first
settlement. With growth, that shows a tendency
to disappear.

But as he stands to-day, free, without being law-
less; impatient of control, but generous and warm-
blooded; pleasure-loving, but industrious; clever and
resourceful far beyond the average; a little "flash;"



a little inclined to the cynicism of early youth; abso-
lutely fearless the Australian is emphatically "not
a bad sort," to use his own term of high praise.
He is not yet worthy of his opportunities, but he
gives every promise of being so one day.

Don't slander our own race, my dear boy. The
" Tired Australian " isn't so tired but that one day
he will hustle out of the arena the men who profess
to scorn him.

Your affectionate Australian Uncle,





SYDNEY, 9/3/-.

My Dear jack: You want some guidance on
Foreign Politics. Bosh, my dear boy, bosh!
"Foreign Politics " is a matter we're all born with
an intimate knowledge of. I've never yet met a
man sober enough to get to a bar who was so
ignorant, forlorn and hopeless that he couldn't tell
you quite authoritatively about Germany's plans and
the Balkan situation.

Besides, you don't want guidance on "Foreign
Politics," for, as subject to a suzerain Power, Aus-
tralia has to take her foreign politics from Great
Britain. But there is, nevertheless, a useful thing
or two, perhaps, that I can say on the subject.

In the near future, Australia will probably start
to make some foreign politics of her own. That's
an almost inevitable result of her White Australia
policy, and to you, as an Australian, I'd say that



there are two principles on which you should never
make a concession.

Domestically A White Australia.

Abroad. The hegemony of the White Races.

You'll hear fools talking often of the " White Aus-
tralia" principle as a selfish fad of the working
classes. It was some Conservative, eager for
cheap, reliable household slaves, or some capitalist,
anxious to make profits out of servile labour, who,
knowing his own selfish motive, invented the lie that
the White Australia aspiration represents " the sel-
fishness of the working classes." The misstate-
ment has become a popular one; it is even believed
to some extent now by the workers, who, not com-
prehending their real motive (which is an instinctive
one, or a transcendental one, whichever phrase you
please), are prepared to agree that it is the fear of
the competition of coloured labour which is the sole
cause of their antagonism to an immigration of
coloured races.

As a matter of truth, it is something far different
- the instinct against race-mixture which Nature
has implanted to promote her work of evolution.
Our white race, having developed on certain lines to
a position which promises, if it does not fulfil, the
evolution of a higher human type, has an instinc-
tive repugnance to mixing its blood with peoples
in other stages of evolution. It was this instinct
which evolved the horse from the eohippus, and



every high type of animal life from a lower. Once
a type has got a step up it must be jealous and
"selfish" in its scorn of lower types, or climb
down again. This may not be good ethics. But it
is Nature.

The question doesn't necessarily involve any issue
of individual superiority, or even of race superiority
in any but the ethnological sense. The Jap may
be kinder, better, purer than the white Australian.
The Kanaka living his natural life under the
palms is, in my opinion, a wiser, more reasonable,
more philosophical being than the white man, work-
ing feverishly to-day to get food so that he may work
feverishly to-morrow, and having little real plea-
sure, only certain opiates and delusions of pleasure
tobacco, alcohol, music, and so on. But our race,
as a race, has taken up the white man's burden of
struggling on towards the "upward path," of striv-
ing at a higher stage of evolution. It would cer-
tainly be more pleasant for us if we took to the
lotus-eating life of the Kanaka, or the submissive,
passive life of the Asiatic. But the choice has
been made by Nature rather than by man. The
Caucasian, wild his passion for Liberty, for indivi-
duality, bears the standard in the van of humanity.
If we were to stop to dally with races which would
enervate us, or infect us with servile submissive-
ness, the scheme of human evolution would be frus-
trated. And that's why the sane, right-thinking


white man instinctively objects to all mixture with
the coloured races.

That's perhaps dull, but it's good wisdom, and
the most useful thing I have written to you.

There's another point. We're always hearing
from the United States of America of some unhappy
nigger being kerosene-soaked and grilled at the
stake by the whites. That is a warning to our country
to beware of mixing the black man and the white,
and of cultivating a servile alien class with which
our own people cannot mingle on even terms. It
is the existence of the black element which has
led the Southern United States to become the scorn
and loathing and disgust of civilised nations. That
region is the cnly white man's country on earth
where turning alive is still a common and frequent
form of punishment. Utter disregard of law is
added to utter disregard of decency and humanity.
At one horror special trains were run to bring
crowds to see the nigger burned, and front seats
at the loathsome iniquity were " reserved for
ladies." All this is done to preserve the purity of
the white race burning is the punishment reserved
for the nigger who is accused, on good evidence or
otherwise, of an outrage on one of the women of
the dominant race.

Where the white and the black man live side by
side and do not inter-marry, the black man often
becomes, if possible, more savage than before,



despite his veneer of civilisation, through resent-
ment created by the scorn of the dominant caste.
And the white rnan becomes an educated savage
through his habit of domination and intolerance
the habit which has to be cultivated if the white race
is to be preserved.

If we don't keep our Australia White, we must
one day grill our black or brown brother, to keep
him in order, unless it so happens that he grills us.
It isn't worth incurring that future, even if we could
make millions out of coloured labour.

Don't be misled on this point as there seems a
likelihood of the United States being misled by the
argument that, " in the interests of trade," we
should be brotherly to the Asiatic. There is a theo-
logical story of a selfish-living man who came to the
gates of Paradise and argued the question of admit-
tance with Peter, who, according to Milton and
other authorities, keeps the keys. There could be
found to that man's credit only the fact that on one
occasion he gave twopence in charity. But the man
urged so pertinaciously that that should save him
that Peter was angered, and shut the Celestial
ledger with a bang, and summed up, "Here, take
your tuppence, and get to Hell." That's a fair
reply to the argument about the value of the Asiatic
trade. Damn the tuppence worth of trade!

Yes, keep the Asiatic out. He is the worst of alien
dangers, because the most powerful, the most per-

97 H


tinacious, the most arrogant. Yes, arrogant, I say.
The essential arrogance of Asia is the fact which
you, accustomed to the fawning humility of the well-
kicked Cantonese Chinaman, may find it difficult to
comprehend. But Asia has ever nurtured an in-
solence beside which any white-race pride is insig-
nificant. The Persian Darius sent to the Greeks
for earth and water, symbols to acknowledge that
"Persia ruled the land and the oceans." The
desperate Greeks cast mud, as earth, on the emis-
saries of the Persian, and threw them into the wells
to get water. The Persian arrogance at this showed
itself by the despatch of armies against Greece, the
second host numbering no less than 2,000,000 men,
to crush to the dust the men who had dared to dis-
pute Persian might. Marathon, Thermopylae, and
Salamis saved Europe then, and the Persian became
promptly the slavish and humble flatterer of the
Greek. Later ; the Huns (coming when Greek Re-
publicanism had degenerated into Roman Imperial-
ism) looked upon the white men whom they con-
quered as something lower than animals. The
Turks, another great Asiatic race to war against
Europe ; could compare the white man only to that
unclean beast, the dog. The first European ambas-
sadors who went to China were forced to crawl
with abject humility to the feet of the Chinese dig-
nitaries. In his secret heart of which the Euro-
pean eye can see so little the Asiatic, whether he



be Japanese, Chinese, or Indian, holds a deep dis-
dain for the white. The contempt we feel for them
is returned more than one hundred fold. But by
brute force of arm, and more cruel force of brain,
the European has, up till recently, asserted his
dominance over the Asiatic by that final test, to
which all human questions come at last; and, with
full and plenty of kicks, he has made the yellow man
an abject enough servant. Only outward, how-
ever, was the change. Still in his heart the Asiatic
keeps his arrogance.

That brings me to the second point that Aus-
tralian policy should always be kept steadily
directed towards preserving the white man's hege-

The rout of the Russians at Mukden during
the last great war was an event of history more
important than any since the fall of Constan-
tinople. For nearly two centuries the European
hegemony had been unquestioned. True, as late
as 1795, Napoleon is credited with having
believed that the power of the Grand Turk might be
revived and an Ottoman suzerainty of Europe
secured. But more than half a century before that
the doom of the Turk, who had been the most
serious foe to Christian Europe, was sealed. From
1711 to 1905, whatever questions of supremacy
arose among the different European Powers, there
was never any doubt as to the superiority of the



European race over the Asiatic, the African, and
the American. The white man moved from one
easy conquest to another. In the new world, the
remnants of the Mexican and Peruvian Empires
melted before the Spanish colonists who had
wrecked them in the previous century. In Asia
India, China, Persia, Japan were in turn humbled
by the white man. Africa was made his slave-
farm, and in remote Australia he entered into the
heritage of a continent without the shock of a single

Now, in the 2Oth century, the white race supre-
macy is again challenged. By a victory over Russia
at Mukden, Japan suggested once more to Europe
that fear may spring from Asia.

It is no new issue which is now raised. From
the times beyond which the memory of man does
not stretch, Asia has repeatedly threatened Europe.
The struggle of the Persian empire to smother the
Greek republics is the first of the invasions which
has been accurately recorded by historians; but
probably it had been preceded by many others. The
waves of war that followed were many; all have left
their records. The last was the Ottoman invasion
in the I4th century, which brought the banners of
Asia right up to the walls of Vienna, swept the
Levant of Christian ships, and threatened even the
Adriatic; and which has left the Turk still in the
oossession of Constantinople. But by the beginning



of the eighteenth century the fear of the Turk gain-
ing the mastery of Europe had practically dis-
appeared, and since then the Europeans have treated
the coloured races as subject to them, and their ter-
ritories as liable to partition whenever the method
of division amcng the rival white nations was agreed
upon. It is necessary now to face a new situation.
The "balance of power" is no longer a matter of
calculation merely between the chancelleries of
Europe. Asia, victorious through her champion
Japan, awakens to a new sense of power, and must
in future be reckoned with. A united Asia, not only
shaking off the yoke of the white man's settlements
on its own continent, but also threatening Europe,
springs up as among the natural developments of
the near future. The European comity of nations
is indeed within measurable distance of a day of
equal anxiety to that on which a Pope from a
Roman tower prayed despairingly for the victory of
the white fleet, battling desperately in the Adriatic
with the Turk for the mastery of the world. And
in these days of the gun of precision, prayer may
not be so efficacious a factor in battle.

The rights and the v/rongs of the case between
Europe and Asia need not come into question with
us. It is true that, just as Asia was the aggressor
against Europe from 500 B.C. to 1400 A.D., Europe
has been the aggressor in Asia during the last few
centuries. England, by her wars against and out-



rages on India, China, Japan, and Persia, has been
the chief sinner, Russia the next in extent; Por-
tugal, Holland, France, and Germany have also been
culprits. But only by a great effort of the moral
sense can an)' weight be given to such considera-
tions of ethics when the issue is one between races.
If there is one clear principle amidst the welter of
wrongs and reprisals and deceits called " inter-
national politics," it is that the supremacy of
Europe (I identify Europe* with Australia) must be
maintained. " My country right or wrong " may
be questioned as a maxim of conduct, but most will
affirm without a moment's doubt, " The white race,
right or wrong." And for this reason: that it is
not possible to imagine any abiding civilisation, or
any just system of government, which is not Euro-
pean. Asiatic dynasties have at various times risen
to great magnificence and to splendid material pros-
perity, but have nevei yet evolved 'a stable and
democratic power, have never produced that type
of civilisation which has human Liberty and human
Right as its pillars. The interests of the world are
bound up with Europe. Europe, and Europe alone,
stands for the evolution of the higher type of man
To be a good " European " should, therefore, be
the one proper fixed principle of national Aus-
tralian policy.

It is to Australia that the new position gives the
gravest cause for anxiety. Europe, for many



years to come, has only to fear a notice to quit Asia,
and if Germany and France were driven from China,
England from India, and Holland from the East
Indies, it would in no case threaten the existence of
the nation concerned, and would, if that considera-
tion can be given any weight, be but proper justice.
It would be long before Asiatic power could so grow
as to threaten the territory of Europe, with the vast
and thoroughly Russianised Siberia standing as a
buffer between. But Australia is a lonely outpost
of the white race on the very borders of Asia. Our
northernmost point almost touches the islands of
the Malays, close kindred of the Japanese. Sydney,
the chief city of the Commonwealth, is within a few
days' steam of China and Japan. Supposing Japan
now to organise Asia as she has the power and
prestige and, probably, the will to do there is not
the least doubt that Australia would have to bear
the brunt of an early attack. Possibly the American
garrison in the Philippines would be the first to
meet the Asiatic arms; Australia could hope for no
remoter place than the second.

On this point, my dear Jack, let us be serious.
A White Australia, the supremacy of the White Race
on the ocean let these be principles never ques-

Your prosy old Uncle.





SYDNEY, 5/8/-.

My Dear Jack; No! No!! No!!! Don't
encourage in any way that crank who wants you to
subscribe to buy Australian flags " to be erected at
stated street corners, every passer-by to be required
to salute it," and " once a year all children to be
gathered together to sing in praise of the flag."

No, it's just silliness; and I hate hearing children

Your constituent, with his pathetic mental failing,
which makes it impossible for him to distinguish
between blather and patriotic feeling, is typical of
a large class in Australia. This huge continent of
ours, after shaking off the chains of convictism and
securing representative institutions, began almost
at once to fall back in national spirit. For this
there were very easily recognised economic reasons,
and there are very easily ascertained economic and
political remedies. But the way to reform is hin-
dered by the number of foolish, well-meaning



people, who see the hope for the future in teaching
school children to yell in front of a flag, or in per-
suading adults in the pupil stage of mental develop-
ment to join associations for being very proud of
being Australians.

There are certain manifestations of national feel-
ing, in themselves of no intrinsic worth, in many
cases somewhat ridiculous when looked at in the
dry light of reason, which are natural and excusable
in times of exultation. To celebrate by holiday
the anniversary of a great national achievement, to
get intoxicated about a flag which has led to a great
national victory, or about one which has made a
good show in the face of overwhelming defeat, to
indulge in a little "blow" and exuberance after the
heat and burden of nation-making has ended in
achieved greatness, is natural enough not at all
essential certainly, and to be tolerated rather than
encouraged, still not exactly blameworthy. But
the idea seems to be more than ordinarily prevalent
in this country that Australia is to become a great
nation by having its holiday and its whoop and its
disordered eloquence and its flag-worship and its
exhibition of diseased vanity without having done
any of the work. It is to become a great nation
simply by resolving that it's a jolly good fellow, and
that if anyone should tread on its tail the conse-
quences will be dreadful. And that's not the way
to greatness. It is true that very rarely does a



patriotic movement progress without the accom-
paniment cf sc~e turgid bluster. But the blaster
isn't the movement. Many make the mjgt?^ of

thinking it is.

Flag-waving, demonstrating, processing, joining
mumbo-jumbo lodges and associations, becoming
:aka. and countersigns, bleating of
children and blathering of men, hinder, and do not
help, a national movement. They pat things in a
false light of sick! m, sap national

vitality, and detract from th -rdiness

which is the root of all gfnnim* patriotism. A people
truly great i sitting m calm-

ness and light, positive and composed " not in any
sense d: ombre, gay when the occasion

but never vain-glorioas.

It is a sign of decadence in the American national
character that it has of late given itself up so much
to c : vaving, and Jingoism and fren-

zied wars with little peoples all of which are, in a
ns of the one mental attitude.
Boa.- ; breeds arrogance, and arrogance the

re for easy mastery, and thence cruelty, and
finally cowardice. It : stage when

vnhffl that a nation's titles

become most grandiloquent and aspiring. Every
people begins to assume 3S it loses attri-

butes of real strength, and, when its fighting ana
becomes palsied, enters upon its last campaigns


of spoliation against the dictionary. In so much as
American public men now encourage flag-worship
and spread-eagle oratory, by so much do they show
the weakening of their fibre and their progress
towards decay. Australia, already much inclined
that way through the evil teachings of politicians
and press-writers, should most emphatically not be
encouraged by any true nationalists to deliberately
foster a puling patriotism of ribbons and rhetoric.
The great want in this land is not for men, women,
or children to wave something, sing something, or
orate something, but to do something to beget
children, to establish industries, to till the fields, to
pay up the debt.

There should not be any unnecessary waving of
the Australian flag until it can wave over something
like a self-contained, self-supporting country. This
continent really does not own a flag or an

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Online LibraryFrank FoxFrom the old dog : being the letters of the Hon. --- ---, ex prime minister to his nephew → online text (page 5 of 8)