Wilfrid Richmond.

The Americana: a universal reference library, comprising the arts ..., Volume 10 online

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the British dominion can be consolidated and
preserved unless the mother country resorts to
an extensive reorganization of her traditional
arrangements.

The growth of what is called the Imperial
idea in British politics may be rapidly sketched.
After the American War of Independence the
credit of the old Colonial theories was de-
stroyed in Europe. a Colonies are fruits that cling
till they ripen, 11 said Turgot. That a country
should facilitate the emigration of vigorous citi-
zens, extend its responsibilities and increase its
burthens, in order to create new States certain
(as it was thought) to separate when they were
strong enough, seemed a proposition of which
the folly had been demonstrated once for all at
Yorktown. This feeling was naturally most,
intense in England and continued well nigh un-
changed for nearly three generations. By the
complete conquest of India trade was increased ;
national imagination was stimulated; the adven-
turous and administrative vigor of the race was
kept in play. But India remained remote and
alien. The English people had no ideal sense
of connection with it, although the conviction
that mercantile supremacy depended upon the
possession of it was widely spread.

The victorious sequel of the struggle against
Napoleon was a triumph of the national power
contained within the four seas of the British
islands. In spite of the loss of the thirteen colo-
nies, England seemed stronger than ever, and
toward the close of that era had occurred the
war of 1812. After Waterloo, Englishmen with
leisure to reflect upon the tremendous vicissi-
tudes of events in the previous half century, felt
not unnaturally that colonial enterprise meant a
loss of national force and created new perils.
This mood deepened throughout the years of the
Great Peace. It was now clearly expressed by
the father of the free-import system — Mr. Cob-
den. To him the separation of America seemed
not only a necessary political experiment in
itself, but a precedent which not only would be,
but ought to be repeated in the future. Trade
with the United States had much increased and
there was no longer any obligation to defend
them. That seemed to be an ideal result. Can-
ada, Australia and South Africa were vast
wildernesses, supporting little commerce at that
time but aggravating military charges. There
was a preference under the old protectionist
tariffs for West Indian sugar and Canadian corn
and timber. The higher duties upon the cor-
responding foreign products were represented
as having been imposed in order to favor the



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GREAT BRITAIN — REACTION OF BRITISH IMPERIALISM



colonies (though it may be doubted whether any
duties would have been lower had the colonies
not existed) and this was represented as an-
other artificial burden laid upon the consumer.
Cobden thought the colonies were useless and
dangerous possessions. He thought India was
an immoral possession, and that matters would
never be well with England until she stripped
herself of all these appendages and returned to
a strict national basis. His belief is summed up
in the well known letter of 1842:

"The colonial system with all its dazzling appeals
to the passions of the people could never be got rid of
except by the indirect process of Free Trade which will
gradually and imperceptibly loosen the bonds which
unite the colonies to us."

As to the whole spirit of British history:

** Unlike every other people, we have during seven
centuries been figuring everywhere except upon our own
soil. JMeed another word be said to prove us the most
aggressive race under the sun? "

In India the position was iniquitous and the
prospect hopeless:

" There is no future but trouble and loss and dis-
appointment and I fear crime in India; and they are
doing this country the greatest service who tell them
the honest truth according to their convictions and
prepare them for abandoning at some future time the
thankless and impossible task/'

Upon the project of Canadian Confederation
Mr. Cobden expressed his views with his accus-
tomed plainness and vigor :

" In my opinion it is for the interest of both that
we shall as speedily as possible sever the political
thread by which we have been connected. I have felt
an interest in this Confederation scheme because I
thought it was a step in the direction of an amicable
separation."

Cobdcn's opinions were shared in essence
even by the majority of the cultivated and aris-
tocratic classes who disliked his unvarnished
language. The extracts given illustrate the
mood which prevailed almost universally until
late in the sixties of the 19th century.

Then the tide began to turn. The reaction
was deeply connected with the events of con-
temporary history and the change in the spirit
of international politics. Since the American
and French revolutions the ideas of liberty and
independence had dominated and inspired men's
minds. Henceforth, the idea of unity was to
direct politics and to penetrate into the
sphere of commerce. Italy reconquered her
unity after the disintegration and enslavement
■of centuries. American unity was vindicated in
the mighty grapple of the Civil War. The im-
perial unity of the German race was magnifi-
cently restored. Under the British flag the
Canadian Confederation, like the Australian
Commonwealth later, had been born in peace.
Steam had diminished all distances and the
unity of the British dominions had become for
the first time a physical possibility, bound to
become more and more feasible as the rapidity
of modern communication developed. But above
all, Lincoln's and Bismark's victories (with
intent we name statesmen rather than soldiers)
had caused people in Great Britain to reflect that
the American power and the German power of
the future would dwarf Great Britain in the
end, politically and commercially, unless the
zone of a Britannic Federation could be made to
span the world. Australia after the gold dis-
coveries promised to fill up more rapidly than it



has done. Russia was now drawing nearer to
the Indian frontier; England began to realize
that the result of bleeding to death at the ex-
tremities might be the same as a thrust in the
heart. Imaginations awakened under the appre-
hension of future necessity. Queen Victoria was
proclaimed Empress of India by the policy of
Lord Beaconsfield, who knew that democracy
only understands the simple and grandiose
forms of symbolism. The Prince of Wales
(now King Edward) visited India, and his tour,
followed with intense interest at home, became
a popular education. Next South Africa was
the scene of fierce and exciting little wars.
Professor Seeley's brilliant little study <The
Expansion of England > had, it h not too much
to say, a greater influence upon British political
thought than any other book of the same size
published in the last two generations. Lord
Cromer's masterly administration of Egypt fol-
lowed and was rightly regarded as a great moral
vindication of the history and genius of Impe-
rial Britain. Cobden's view of the ethical as-
pects of Imperialism was replaced by the opinion
best expressed in the late Professor Pearson's
* National Life and Character,* tf In India for
one war that we have waged we have prevented
twenty* Mr. Gladstone's Home Rule policy
was regarded as a policy of disruption. * Hence
his defeat. The Conservative-Liberal coalition
which overthrew him and formed the Unionist
party emphasized the idea of National and Im-
perial unity through the 20 years of its almost
unbroken rule (1886-1892 and 1895-1906).

All these influences were gathered to a focus
in the Jubilees of 1887 and 1897 — memorable
celebrations of the fiftieth and sixtieth years of
Queen Victoria's reign. Mr. Chamberlain as
Colonial Secretary was the strongest and most
conspicuous personality in the Ministry. Then
came the crucial test of the recent South African
War. It was felt that the fate of South Africa
and the ultimate existence of the Empire de-
pended upon the issue. When the mother
country and the colonies marched together the
war was fought as a war for unity. The move-
ment of national sentiment in favor of Imperial-
ism appeared decisive ; the ideal remained vague.

In 1903 Mr. Chamberlain resolved to attempt
the first constructive steps, by proposing a closer
union with the colonies upon a commercial
basis. lie had hoped in the first instance to
create a central Imperial Council to organize
Imperial defence. The colonies perceived that
representation with that object would ultimately
mean taxation for it. For this they were not
prepared. But they offered to conclude treaties
admitting British goods to their markets upon
preferential terms. Canada had already made a
beginning in that direction. Other colonies have
followed. But the reciprocal condition neces-
sary to a powerful extension of the system has
not yet been given — a corresponding preference
in the British market for colonial produce.

This would necessitate the introduction of a »
British tariff. The more the problem was ex-
amined the more deeply Mr. Chamberlain be-
came convinced that it must be attacked upon
the commercial side, if progress toward its
solution was to be made. There we should fol-
low the American precedent and the German
precedent. *The Constitution* said Daniel



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GREAT BRITAIN — REACTION OF BRITISH IMPERIALISM



Webster, a was the child of pressing commercial
necessity .* And of the resolution upon which
the Philadelphia Convention was called the same
orator says: "Look at the resolution itself.
There is not an idea in it but trade. Commerce,
commerce is the beginning and end of it® The
North German Zollve rein preceded German po-
litical unity. It seems fairly clear in the
British case that some form of Imperial Zoll-
verein mus- be established before any form
of Imperial Kriegsverein can be created.
But Mr, Chamberlain was met, both in his
own and the opposite camp, by the conten-
tion that the traditional policy of free trade
forbade any attempt to enter into preferential
commercial relations with the colonies. Mr.
Chamberlain then decided that the traditional
policy of free trade must go. But it was mainly
for political reasons that he assailed the theory
of Cobdenism upon the field of national produc-
tion as well as in the sphere of Imperial trade.
A British national tariff upon foreign manufac-
ture would assuredly accompany a system of
preferential commercial treaties with the colo-
nies ; and this would be an extraordinary result
of Imperial influence working back upon insular
organization.

The immediate effect of >Mr.', Chamberlain's '
agitation has been to give a wholly new direction
to a great body of national thought To repeat
here words that.the writer has previously used,
the security of the King's dominions would be
best based upon the power of a white population
proportionate in nuniber, vigor and cohesion to
the vast territories which the British democra-
cies in the mother country and the colonies con-
trol. That surest of all guarantees is obviously
lacking to British power. Although we have a
quarter of the world under our flag, we are
much less numerous than Americans or Ger-
mans. We cannot safely believe that we are
more efficient We are not. The home popula-
tions of the three great countries chiefly con-
cerned in the future of trade and seapower com-
pare as follows: United States 84.000,000 of
people; Germany 61,000,000; and the United
Kingdom 43,000,000. So much for the present
What of the future? The Kaiser's subjects in-
crease twice as fast as King Edward's subjects
in the mother country. The white population
under the American flag increases three times as
fast as the white population under ours. By
1920 the United States ought to count consid-
erably more than 100,000,000 of people. The
German Empire within its present limits should
count 75,000,000.' The United Kingdom at the
present rate of increase (and that rate slackens
rather than accelerates) would number in 1920
only about 48,000,000 of people. The British
mat ion cannot limit its view of economic policy
by the insular horizon. Were we compelled: once
more to lead an isolated life we should realize
the disadvantages of being an island,— - and a
small one-!'* Nature has fixed our bounds. We
have no hinterland. Railways through Europe
and direct shipping services are diminishing our
importance to the nearest continent as a ware-
housing centre and place of transhipment. Were
Europe involved in a great war from any cause
whatever, a perfectly possible reconstruction
might create a pan-German empire with a popu-
lation as Large as that of the United States,



stretching from the North Sea to the Mediter-
ranean and perhaps across the Bosphorus (for
the Turkish dominions even if remaining un-
conquered might very well be drawn into a
Central European , Zollverein) and occr;jying a
political and strategical position unrivalled in
the world. Such a development of European
politics is no less and no more possible than the
events from 1864 to 1871 which led to the
hegemony of Prussia in the restored German
Empire. Upon the other hand the British self-
governing colonies taken together have an area
more than twice as large as the United States —
but they contain a white population estimated at
11,000,000, or very considerably less than the
population of New York State and Pennsylvania
taken together. If England desires a more rapid
increase of white population in her colonies, she
must take some special steps to promote that
result Otherwise even a complete federation
with her daughter-states would not enable her
to maintain her present relative political and
commercial power or to guarantee their safety.

Unless Great Britain can fill up her colonies
and form a union with them, her prospects of
maintaining the command of the sea by the use
of her insular resources, will become hopeless.
Maritime' supremacy, and with* it her present
imperial and commercial position, would pass
away perhaps before the end of another genera-
tion under cotidittons of peace and through the
natural operation of economic and social forces.
Take the comparison with Germany alone. For
armaments and interest on debt, the United
Kingdom pays nearly £90,000,000 annually.
Germany pays less than £50,000,000 upon the
same accounts. The reason is that her national
debt is exceedingly small by comparison with
England's ; her vaster national army is no more
expensive; her navy at present no more than
one third, at the most, in size and cost Yes ;
but look at the figures just given and you will
observe the fact that Germany could ultimately
maintain a fleet as large as the British while
paying less than the United Kingdom pays
now for the triple financial services — Na-
tional Debt, Army and Navy. It is tolerably
plain then that the only hope for the island,
from a revenue point of view, lies in union and
development of the Empire. This view has been
authoritatively expressed by Sir Michael Hicks-
Beach and Lord St Aldwyn. He was chan-
cellor of the^ Exchequer during the South
African War, is a firm opponent of Mr. Cham-
berlain's commercial plans and advocates the
impracticable alternative of large direct colonial
contributions to the support of the British Navy.
In heading a deputation upon this subject to the
Prime Minister Sir Michael Hicks-Beach spoke
as follows on 10 Dec. 1904:

** It la xny deliberate conviction, looking at the enor-
mous effort! now being made in all parts of the world
by great powers in, increasing their naval strength, that
without recourse to a system of borrowing for current
expenditure, which would be deeply injurious to the
credit of this country, and which would deprive us of
the resources necessary for carrying on any great war
— without such recourse it would be impossible for tax-
payers of the United Kingdom to continue to bear alone
the vast and ever increasinz burdens of the naval de-
fense of the Empire"

It is often said that a tariff which protects
shuts out the goods and produces no revenue;
and that a tariff to produce revenue must let in



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GREAT BRITAIN — REACTION OF BRITISH IMPERIALISM



the goods and cannot protect. This is a purely
verbal difficulty. Every well-adjusted tariff is
partly a protective and partly a revenue-produc-
ing instrument It serves both ends in sufficient
measure while serving neither exclusively. Free
Traders point to the fact that Great Britain still
possesses half the mercantile shipping tonnage
of the world, as though in that fact rested naval
security and a decisive argument against change.
England's advantage in the carrying trade is no
larger than it was a generation ago in the iron
trade. Americans and Germans were only be-
ginning to compete in iron then, and both have
beaten English iron ; they are only beginning to
compete in shipping now. But sea-power has
become a highly specialized form of force, far
less intimately connected than in Nelson's days
with the mercantile marine, and depending more
generally upon the whole financial and technical
resources of the nation behind it. Great Britain
lias half the merchant shipping of the world. In
that respect, she has reached the maximum, and
the percentage is beginning to show a slight but
unmistakable tendency to recede. Under pro-
tection her chief commercial competitors have
developed a financial and taxable capacity which
enables Germany and the United States for the
first time to challenge British naval supremacy
in earnest. It is perfectly conceivable that Eng-
land might retain her present proportion of the
world's mercantile tonnage and might neverthe-
less lose her naval supremacy through the event-
ual ability of some power to bear a far larger
naval budget than England as an island could
afford.



The United States could dispense in a crisis
with the whole of its foreign trade, Germany
beaten at sea would still produce the great bulk
of her food supplies upon her own territory.
France, with her wonderfully compact economy,
is practically self-contained. But England is
more dependent upon exterior forces for her
means of existence — her agricultural imports
and her raw material; the food for her people
and the food for her machines — than any other
society history has known. Great Britain, in
other words, cannot continue to be a great
power upon an insular basis and the failure to
unite her Empire would be followed by the
decay of her present national status. The fate
of Holland is her danger. The application of
the spirit of the Philadelphia Convention to the
circumstances of her vast and heterogeneous
dominion — that is her hope.

Bibliography.— Sir John Seeley, <The Ex-
pansion of England* (London) ; J. L. Garvin,
<The Maintenance of Empire: A Study in the
Economics of Power > (London) ; <The Eco-
nomics of Empire> (published as a supplement
to the < National Review,* London) ; Dr. G.
V. Schulze-Gaevermitz, c Britischer Imperial-
isms' (Liepzig 1906) ; Richard Jebb, < Studies in
Colonial Nationalism > (London 1005) ; J. W.
Root, 'Colonial Tariffs* (Liverpool 1906) ; ( The
Trade Relations of the British Empire* (Liver-
pool 1006) : Carl Johannes Fuchs, <The Trade
Policy of Great Britain and Her Colonies Since
i86o> (translated by Constance H. M. Arch-
ibald, London 1905). J. L. Garvin,
Editor of the < Outlook*; author of ^Economics

of Empire?



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GREfT CIRCLE SAILING — XJREAT FISH RIVER



Gtcat Circle Sailing. An astronomical
phrase meaning a circle the center of which
coincides with the center of the sphere. Thus,
the equator, the meridian, and the ecliptic cir-
cles are such *great circles* on the globe.
Between any two points ort the § surface of a
sphere the shortest distance lies along the
arc of a great circle which passes through
those two places. Such a great circle cuts
the successive meridians at different angles
whenever the two places are not on the equator
or on different meridians. The point of the
curve nearest the pole is called the ^vertex,*
the point most remote from the thumb line is
designated as the tf point of maximum separa-
tion!* •Great circle sailing* is merely a method
of navigating vessels by the arc^ of a great
circle. This method was first mentioned by one
John Davis (1504) in a book called c Seaman's
Secrets. y It was much elucidated subsequently
— by Townson (1847). by Godfrey (1858), by
Captain Bergen (1880), by Goodwin (1894),
and by Captain Lecky (1903). The great circle
course, as followed by mariners / is that on which
a vessel sails straight for her distant port, which
she would follow if heading for a heavenly
body directly overhead. That this heavenly
body is only imaginary does not in the least
rob the method of practicability. Of course
difficulties of computation in great circle sail-
ing are numerous, but the invention of several
ingenious devices have greatly minimized these
difficulties. Charts are prepared on what is
known as the gnomotic projection, and the use
is made of great circle protractors, the sphereo-
graph and other instruments. The gnomonic
chart is made by the projection of the earth's
surface upon a plane, tangent to the earth at
some point on its surface, taking as the point
of sight the center of the earth, By this con-
struction, all planes cutting great circles on the
earth, pass through its center and cut the plane
of projection in straight lines* so that a straight
line joining any two points on the chart will
be the projected arc of the great circle. Charts
iave been constructed in this way by the hy-
<irographic office of the U. S. Navy Depart-
ment, and greatly facilitate the work of the
navigator.

Great-crested Flycatcher, a large flycatcher
(Myiarchus crinitus), which is a summer visitor
to all parts of temperate North America, and
is noted for its shrill, yet musical scream, and
for its habit of entwining one or more cast-off
snake-skins in its large tree-lodged nest. It is
olive-brown above, with an ashy head sur-
mounted by a tall brownish crest, and the lower
parts delicate yellow. Several other species
fcelong to the southwestern States and Mexico,
-and are often called crested kingbirds.

Great Dane, a breed of large, smooth-
boated dogs, the modern equivalent of the an-
cient boar-hound. See Doc,

Great Divide, The. See Divide, The Great.

Great Eastern, a British iron steamship,
oefore the Celtic the largest vessel constructed,
ouilt (1854-8) at Milwall, on the Thames, for
the Eastern Steam Navigation Company, by
Scott Russell, from plans by I. K. Brunei;
length 660 feet; breadth, 82^, or, including pad-
dle-boxes, 118 feet; height, «# feet C70 to top of
bulwarks). She had 6 masts, 5 of iron and 1
of wood, and could spread 7,000 yards of sail,



besides having 8 engines, divided between her
screws and paddles, and capable of working at
11,000 horse-power. From the first her career
was unfortunate, the launching process alone
lasting three mc nths and costing $300,000. After
several unremunerative trips to New York she
was employed first as a troop-ship, and then as
a cable-laying ship, foi which her size and
steadiness specially qualified her. Various at-
tempts were afterward made to utilize her, but
she at last came to be a mere holiday spectacle,
and was broken up in 1888.

Great Expectations, a novel by Charles
Dickens, published in 1861. As in < David Cop-
perfield,* the hero tells his own story from boy-
hood. Owing to the simplicity of the plot, and
to the small number of characters, it possesses
great unity of design. These characters, each
drawn with marvelous distinctness of outline,
are subordinated throughout to the central per-
sonage «Pip,» whose great expectations form
the pivot of the narrative.

Great Falls, Mont., city, county seat of
Cascade County; on the Missouri River, the
Great Northern, and the G. F. C. Railways;
120 miles northeast of Butte. South and nearby
is a great mining region and north is an agri-
cultural and grazing section. It has large gold,
silver, and copper smelters, and bituminous coal,
lead, iron, and sandstone are found in the
vicinity. The excellent water power which the
city possesses is an inducement to manufac-
turers to establish works in Great Falls. The
water-power, at medium low water, is equal to
over 350,000 horse-power, and this, together



Online LibraryWilfrid RichmondThe Americana: a universal reference library, comprising the arts ..., Volume 10 → online text (page 52 of 185)