G.K. Chesterton.

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had sought to break it when it was wielded over the men of England. The
boorishness was in the Germanic or half-Germanic rulers who wore crosses
and spurs: the gallantry was in the gutter. English draymen had more
chivalry than Teuton aristocrats - or English ones.

I have dwelt a little on this Italian experiment because it lights up
Louis Napoleon as what he really was before the eclipse, a
politician - perhaps an unscrupulous politician - but certainly a
democratic politician. A power seldom falls being wholly faultless; and
it is true that the Second Empire became contaminated with cosmopolitan
spies and swindlers, justly reviled by such democrats as Rochefort as
well as Hugo. But there was no French inefficiency that weighed a hair
in the balance compared with the huge and hostile efficiency of
Prussia; the tall machine that had struck down Denmark and Austria, and
now stood ready to strike again, extinguishing the lamp of the world.
There was a hitch before the hammer stroke, and Bismarck adjusted it, as
with his finger, by a forgery - for he had many minor accomplishments.
France fell: and what fell with her was freedom, and what reigned in her
stead only tyrants and the ancient terror. The crowning of the first
modern Kaiser in the very palace of the old French kings was an
allegory; like an allegory on those Versailles walls. For it was at once
the lifting of the old despotic diadem and its descent on the low brow
of a barbarian. Louis XI. had returned, and not Louis IX.; and Europe
was to know that sceptre on which there is no dove.

The instant evidence that Europe was in the grip of the savage was as
simple as it was sinister. The invaders behaved with an innocent impiety
and bestiality that had never been known in those lands since Clovis was
signed with the cross. To the naked pride of the new men nations simply
were not. The struggling populations of two vast provinces were simply
carried away like slaves into captivity, as after the sacking of some
prehistoric town. France was fined for having pretended to be a nation;
and the fine was planned to ruin her forever. Under the pressure of such
impossible injustice France cried out to the Christian nations, one
after another, and by name. Her last cry ended in a stillness like that
which had encircled Denmark.

One man answered; one who had quarrelled with the French and their
Emperor; but who knew it was not an emperor that had fallen. Garibaldi,
not always wise but to his end a hero, took his station, sword in hand,
under the darkening sky of Christendom, and shared the last fate of
France. A curious record remains, in which a German commander testifies
to the energy and effect of the last strokes of the wounded lion of
Aspromonte. But England went away sorrowful, for she had great

VIII - _The Wrong Horse_

In another chapter I mentioned some of the late Lord Salisbury's remarks
with regret, but I trust with respect; for in certain matters he
deserved all the respect that can be given to him. His critics said that
he "thought aloud"; which is perhaps the noblest thing that can be said
of a man. He was jeered at for it by journalists and politicians who had
not the capacity to think or the courage to tell their thoughts. And he
had one yet finer quality which redeems a hundred lapses of anarchic
cynicism. He could change his mind upon the platform: he could repent in
public. He could not only think aloud; he could "think better" aloud.
And one of the turning-points of Europe had come in the hour when he
avowed his conversion from the un-Christian and un-European policy into
which his dexterous Oriental master, Disraeli, had dragged him; and
declared that England had "put her money on the wrong horse." When he
said it, he referred to the backing we gave to the Turk under a
fallacious fear of Russia. But I cannot but think that if he had lived
much longer, he would have come to feel the same disgust for his long
diplomatic support of the Turk's great ally in the North. He did not
live, as we have lived, to feel that horse run away with us, and rush on
through wilder and wilder places, until we knew that we were riding on
the nightmare.

What was this thing to which we trusted? And how may we most quickly
explain its development from a dream to a nightmare, and the
hair's-breadth escape by which it did not hurl us to destruction, as it
seems to be hurling the Turk? It is a certain spirit; and we must not
ask for too logical a definition of it, for the people whom it possesses
disown logic; and the whole thing is not so much a theory as a confusion
of thought. Its widest and most elementary character is adumbrated in
the word Teutonism or Pan-Germanism; and with this (which was what
appeared to win in 1870) we had better begin. The nature of
Pan-Germanism may be allegorised and abbreviated somewhat thus:

The horse asserts that all other creatures are morally bound to
sacrifice their interests to his, on the specific ground that he
possesses all noble and necessary qualities, and is an end in himself.
It is pointed out in answer that when climbing a tree the horse is less
graceful than the cat; that lovers and poets seldom urge the horse to
make a noise all night like the nightingale; that when submerged for
some long time under water, he is less happy than the haddock; and that
when he is cut open pearls are less often found in him than in an
oyster. He is not content to answer (though, being a muddle-headed
horse, he does use this answer also) that having an undivided hoof is
more than pearls or oceans or all ascension or song. He reflects for a
few years on the subject of cats; and at last discovers in the cat "the
characteristic equine quality of caudality, or a tail"; so that cats
_are_ horses, and wave on every tree-top the tail which is the equine
banner. Nightingales are found to have legs, which explains their power
of song. Haddocks are vertebrates; and therefore are sea-horses. And
though the oyster outwardly presents dissimilarities which seem to
divide him from the horse, he is by the all-filling nature-might of the
same horse-moving energy sustained.

Now this horse is intellectually the wrong horse. It is not perhaps
going too far to say that this horse is a donkey. For it is obviously
within even the intellectual resources of a haddock to answer, "But if a
haddock is a horse, why should I yield to you any more than you to me?
Why should that singing horse commonly called the nightingale, or that
climbing horse hitherto known as the cat, fall down and worship you
because of your horsehood? If all our native faculties are the
accomplishments of a horse - why then you are only another horse without
any accomplishments." When thus gently reasoned with, the horse flings
up his heels, kicks the cat, crushes the oyster, eats the haddock and
pursues the nightingale, and that is how the war began.

This apologue is not in the least more fantastic than the facts of the
Teutonic claim. The Germans do really say that Englishmen are only
Sea-Germans, as our haddocks were only sea-horses. They do really say
that the nightingales of Tuscany or the pearls of Hellas must somehow be
German birds or German jewels. They do maintain that the Italian
Renaissance was really the German Renaissance, pure Germans having
Italian names when they were painters, as cockneys sometimes have when
they are hair-dressers. They suggest that Jesus and the great Jews were
Teutonic. One Teutonist I read actually explained the fresh energy of
the French Revolution and the stale privileges of its German enemies by
saying that the Germanic soul awoke in France and attacked the Latin
influence in Germany. On the advantages of this method I need not dwell:
if you are annoyed at Jack Johnson knocking out an English
prize-fighter, you have only to say that it was the whiteness of the
black man that won and the blackness of the white man that was beaten.
But about the Italian Renaissance they are less general and will go into
detail. They will discover (in their researches into 'istry, as Mr.
Gandish said) that Michael Angelo's surname was Buonarotti; and they
will point out that the word "roth" is very like the word "rot." Which,
in one sense, is true enough. Most Englishmen will be content to say it
is all rot and pass on. It is all of a piece with the preposterous
Prussian history, which talks, for instance, about the "perfect
religious tolerance of the Goths"; which is like talking about the legal
impartiality of chicken-pox. He will decline to believe that the Jews
were Germans; though he may perhaps have met some Germans who were Jews.
But deeper than any such practical reply, lies the deep inconsistency of
the parable. It is simply this; that if Teutonism be used for
comprehension it cannot be used for conquest. If all intelligent peoples
are Germans, then Prussians are only the least intelligent Germans. If
the men of Flanders are as German as the men of Frankfort, we can only
say that in saving Belgium we are helping the Germans who are in the
right against the Germans who are in the wrong. Thus in Alsace the
conquerors are forced into the comic posture of annexing the people for
being German and then persecuting them for being French. The French
Teutons who built Rheims must surrender it to the South German Teutons
who have partly built Cologne; and these in turn surrender Cologne to
the North German Teutons, who never built anything, except the wooden
Aunt Sally of old Hindenburg. Every Teuton must fall on his face before
an inferior Teuton; until they all find, in the foul marshes towards the
Baltic, the very lowest of all possible Teutons, and worship him - and
find he is a Slav. So much for Pan-Germanism.

But though Teutonism is indefinable, or at least is by the Teutons
undefined, it is not unreal. A vague but genuine soul does possess all
peoples who boast of Teutonism; and has possessed ourselves, in so far
as we have been touched by that folly. Not a race, but rather a
religion, the thing exists; and in 1870 its sun was at noon. We can most
briefly describe it under three heads.

The victory of the German arms meant before Leipzic, and means now, the
overthrow of a certain idea. That idea is the idea of the Citizen. This
is true in a quite abstract and courteous sense; and is not meant as a
loose charge of oppression. Its truth is quite compatible with a view
that the Germans are better governed than the French. In many ways the
Germans are very well governed. But they might be governed ten thousand
times better than they are, or than anybody ever can be, and still be
as far as ever from governing. The idea of the Citizen is that his
individual human nature shall be constantly and creatively active in
_altering_ the State. The Germans are right in regarding the idea as
dangerously revolutionary. Every Citizen _is_ a revolution. That is, he
destroys, devours and adapts his environment to the extent of his own
thought and conscience. This is what separates the human social effort
from the non-human; the bee creates the honey-comb, but he does not
criticise it. The German ruler really does feed and train the German as
carefully as a gardener waters a flower. But if the flower suddenly
began to water the gardener, he would be much surprised. So in Germany
the people really are educated; but in France the people educates. The
French not only make up the State, but make the State; not only make it,
but remake it. In Germany the ruler is the artist, always painting the
happy German like a portrait; in France the Frenchman is the artist,
always painting and repainting France like a house. No state of social
good that does not mean the Citizen _choosing_ good, as well as getting
it, has the idea of the Citizen at all. To say the Germanies are
naturally at war with this idea is merely to respect them and take them
seriously: otherwise their war on the French Revolution would be only an
ignorant feud. It is this, to them, risky and fanciful notion of the
critical and creative Citizen, which in 1870 lay prostrate under United
Germany - under the undivided hoof.

Nevertheless, when the German says he has or loves freedom, what he says
is not false. He means something; and what he means is the second
principle, which I may summarise as the Irresponsibility of Thought.
Within the iron framework of the fixed State, the German has not only
liberty but anarchy. Anything can be said although, or rather because,
nothing can be done. Philosophy is really free. But this practically
means only that the prisoner's cell has become the madman's cell: that
it is scrawled all over inside with stars and systems, so that it looks
like eternity. This is the contradiction remarked by Dr. Sarolea, in his
brilliant book, between the wildness of German theory and the tameness
of German practice. The Germans _sterilise_ thought, making it active
with a wild virginity; which can bear no fruit.

But though there are so many mad theories, most of them have one root;
and depend upon one assumption. It matters little whether we call it,
with the German Socialists, "the Materialist Theory of History"; or,
with Bismarck, "blood and iron." It can be put most fairly thus: that
all _important_ events of history are biological, like a change of
pasture or the communism of a pack of wolves. Professors are still
tearing their hair in the effort to prove somehow that the Crusaders
were migrating for food like swallows; or that the French Revolutionists
were somehow only swarming like bees. This works in two ways often
accounted opposite; and explains both the German Socialist and the
Junker. For, first, it fits in with Teutonic Imperialism; making the
"blonde beasts" of Germania into lions whose nature it is to eat such
lambs as the French. The highest success of this notion in Europe is
marked by praise given to a race famous for its physical firmness and
fighting breed, but which has frankly pillaged and scarcely pretended
to rule; the Turk, whom some Tories called "the gentleman of Europe."
The Kaiser paused to adore the Crescent on his way to patronise the
Cross. It was corporately embodied when Greece attempted a solitary
adventure against Turkey and was quickly crushed. That English guns
helped to impose the mainly Germanic policy of the Concert upon Crete,
cannot be left out of mind while we are making appeals to Greece - or
considering the crimes of England.

But the same principle serves to keep the internal politics of the
Germans quiet, and prevent Socialism being the practical hope or peril
it has been in so many other countries. It operates in two ways; first,
by a curious fallacy about "the time not being ripe" - as if _time_ could
ever be ripe. The same savage superstition from the forests had infected
Matthew Arnold pretty badly when he made a personality out of the
Zeitgeist - perhaps the only ghost that was ever entirely fabulous. It is
tricked by a biological parallel, by which the chicken always comes out
of the egg "at the right time." He does not; he comes out when he comes
out. The Marxian Socialist will not strike till the clock strikes; and
the clock is made in Germany, and never strikes. Moreover, the theory of
all history as a search for food makes the masses content with having
food and physic, but not freedom. The best working model in the matter
is the system of Compulsory Insurance; which was a total failure and
dead letter in France but has been, in the German sense, a great success
in Germany. It treats employed persons as a fixed, separate, and lower
caste, who must not themselves dispose of the margin of their small
wages. In 1911 it was introduced into England by Mr. Lloyd George, who
had studied its operations in Germany, and, by the Prussian prestige in
"social reform," was passed.

These three tendencies cohere, or are cohering, in an institution which
is not without a great historical basis and not without great modern
conveniences. And as France was the standard-bearer of citizenship in
1798, Germany is the standard-bearer of this alternative solution in
1915. The institution which our fathers called Slavery fits in with, or
rather logically flows from, all the three spirits of which I have
spoken, and promises great advantages to each of them. It can give the
individual worker everything except the power to alter the State - that
is, his own status. Finality (or what certain eleutheromaniacs would
call hopelessness) of status is the soul of Slavery - and of Compulsory
Insurance. Then again, Germany gives the individual exactly the liberty
that has always been given to a slave - the liberty to think, the liberty
to dream, the liberty to rage; the liberty to indulge in any
intellectual hypotheses about the unalterable world and state - such as
have always been free to slaves, from the stoical maxims of Epictetus to
the skylarking fairy tales of Uncle Remus. And it has been truly urged
by all defenders of slavery that, if history has merely a material test,
the material condition of the subordinate under slavery tends to be good
rather than bad. When I once pointed out how precisely the "model
village" of a great employer reproduces the safety and seclusion of an
old slave estate, the employer thought it quite enough to answer
indignantly that he had provided baths, playing-grounds, a theatre,
etc., for his workers. He would probably have thought it odd to hear a
planter in South Carolina boast that he had provided banjos, hymn-books,
and places suitable for the cake-walk. Yet the planter must have
provided the banjos, for a slave cannot own property. And if this
Germanic sociology is indeed to prevail among us, I think some of the
broad-minded thinkers who concur in its prevalence owe something like an
apology to many gallant gentlemen whose graves lie where the last battle
was fought in the Wilderness; men who had the courage to fight for it,
the courage to die for it and, above all, the courage to call it by its

With the acceptance by England of the German Insurance Act, I bring this
sketch of the past relations of the two countries to an end. I have
written this book because I wish, once and for all, to be done with my
friend Professor Whirlwind of Prussia, who has long despaired of really
defending his own country, and has fallen back upon abusing mine. He has
dropped, amid general derision, his attempt to call a thing right when
even the Chancellor who did it called it wrong. But he has an idea that
if he can show that somebody from England somewhere did another wrong,
the two wrongs may make a right. Against the cry of the Roman Catholic
Poles the Prussian has never done, or even pretended to do, anything but
harden his heart; but he has (such are the lovable inconsistencies of
human nature) a warm corner in his heart for the Roman Catholic Irish.
He has not a word to say for himself about the campaign in Belgium, but
he still has many wise, reproachful words to utter about the campaign in
South Africa. I propose to take those words out of his mouth. I will
have nothing to do with the fatuous front-bench pretensions that our
governors always govern well, that our statesmen are never whitewashed
and never in need of whitewash. The only moral superiority I claim is
that of not defending the indefensible. I most earnestly urge my
countrymen not to hide behind thin official excuses, which the sister
kingdoms and the subject races can easily see through. We can confess
that our crimes have been as mountains, and still not be afraid of the
present comparison. There may be, in the eyes of some, a risk in
dwelling in this dark hour on our failures in the past: I believe
profoundly that the risk is all the other way. I believe that the most
deadly danger to our arms to-day lies in any whiff of that self-praise,
any flavour of that moral cowardice, any glimpse of that impudent and
ultimate impenitence, that may make one Boer or Scot or Welshman or
Irishman or Indian feel that he is only smoothing the path for a second
Prussia. I have passed the great part of my life in criticising and
condemning the existing rulers and institutions of my country: I think
it is infinitely the most patriotic thing that a man can do. I have no
illusions either about our past or our present. _I_ think our whole
history in Ireland has been a vulgar and ignorant hatred of the
crucifix, expressed by a crucifixion. I think the South African War was
a dirty work which we did under the whips of moneylenders. I think
Mitchelstown was a disgrace; I think Denshawi was a devilry.

Yet there is one part of life and history in which I would assert the
absolute spotlessness of England. In one department we wear a robe of
white and a halo of innocence. Long and weary as may be the records of
our wickedness, in one direction we have done nothing but good. Whoever
we may have wronged, we have never wronged Germany. Again and again we
have dragged her from under the just vengeance of her enemies, from the
holy anger of Maria Teresa, from the impatient and contemptuous common
sense of Napoleon. We have kept a ring fence around the Germans while
they sacked Denmark and dismembered France. And if we had served our God
as we have served _their_ kings, there would not be to-day one remnant
of them in our path, either to slander or to slay us.

IX - _The Awakening of England_

In October 1912 silent and seemingly uninhabited crags and chasms in the
high western region of the Balkans echoed and re-echoed with a single
shot. It was fired by the hand of a king - real king, who sat listening
to his people in front of his own house (for it was hardly a palace),
and who, in consequence of his listening to the people, not unfrequently
imprisoned the politicians. It is said of him that his great respect for
Gladstone as the western advocate of Balkan freedom was slightly
shadowed by the fact that Gladstone did not succeed in effecting the
bodily capture of Jack the Ripper. This simple monarch knew that if a
malefactor were the terror of the mountain hamlets, his subjects would
expect him personally to take arms and pursue the ruffian; and if he
refused to do so, would very probably experiment with another king. And
the same primitive conception of a king being kept for some kind of
purpose, led them also to expect him to lead in a foreign campaign, and
it was with his own hand that he fired the first shot of the war which
brought down into the dust the ancient empire of the Grand Turk.

His kingdom was little more than the black mountain after which it was
named: we commonly refer to it under its Italian translation of
Montenegro. It is worth while to pause for a moment upon his picturesque
and peculiar community, because it is perhaps the simplest working model
of all that stood in the path of the great Germanic social machine I
have described in the last chapter - stood in its path and was soon to be
very nearly destroyed by its onset. It was a branch of the Serbian stock
which had climbed into this almost inaccessible eyrie, and thence, for
many hundred years, had mocked at the predatory empire of the Turks. The
Serbians in their turn were but one branch of the peasant Slavs,
millions of whom are spread over Russia and subject on many sides to
empires with which they have less sympathy; and the Slavs again, in the
broad features which are important here, are not merely Slavonic but
simply European. But a particular picture is generally more pointed and
intelligible than tendencies which elsewhere are mingled with subtler
tendencies; and of this unmixed European simplicity Montenegro is an
excellent model.

Moreover, the instance of one small Christian State will serve to
emphasise that this is not a quarrel between England and Germany, but
between Europe and Germany. It is my whole purpose in these pages not to
spare my own country where it is open to criticism; and I freely admit
that Montenegro, morally and politically speaking, is almost as much in
advance of England as it is of Germany. In Montenegro there are no
millionaires - and therefore next to no Socialists. As to why there are
no millionaires, it is a mystery, and best studied among the mysteries
of the Middle Ages. By some of the dark ingenuities of that age of
priestcraft a curious thing was discovered - that if you kill every
usurer, every forestaller, every adulterater, every user of false
weights, every fixer of false boundaries, every land-thief, every
water-thief, you afterwards discover by a strange indirect miracle, or
disconnected truth from heaven, that you have no millionaires. Without

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