Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

Professor Maurice on Imperialism. 409

the imposition of burdensome taxation at home compared with the allurements of a dazzling exhibition of British ascendency in various and remote parts of the earth.

The late Professor F. D. Maurice, in one of his Lectures on Social Morality,' describes with unerring precision the opposition between the National and the Imperialistic conceptions of political life, and traces the steps by which the Roman Nation, which was built upon Right and Duty, degenerated into the Empire, which was based upon Force. He says: “I approach the sub

ject which all feel to be most important in speaking of the Empire. Its name, its origin, its continuance, • all point to the function of the soldier. He had been the defender of a Nation; wherever he had gone forth in wars of conquest, it was still to spread and glorify the national name. His discipline exhibited the sub'mission of animal force to a commanding word, his

courage the personal valour which is called forth in " those who feel themselves bound by a common 'interest, united in a common cause. He had been • taught in the civil wars—specially by the great dar- ling of the Legions—that he had in his hands the weapons which could break down national barriers, which could make him supreme. The lesson was ' formularised by the Empire. The General was the

chief not of a Nation, but of a World. The Army was 6 a world power; all relics of national existence could

not but look very paltry in its eyes. Yet they • had a charm for it. The old oath, the traditional • respect for law, could survive great shocks. The * Jurisconsults, whilst they saw the terrible force of the

Lecture XIII., on “The Universal Empire.'

• legions, did not despair of binding them with some of

the withs and cords which in violent moments they • had often rent asunder. But restraints upon the

army were in fact restraints upon the Empire. And • it soon began to be evident that the collision of these • forces--the rising of the servants against the Master, • their choice of some rival Master-would show what • the blessing of an Empire is.'

Such is the language of the moral philosopher, and of one who was (if any man ever was) a religious prophet. But an identical testimony is rendered by one who is not only an experienced statesman, but one of the most successful Colonial administrators of modern times. Lord Carnarvon, in the course of an address on “Imperial Administration, delivered on November 5th, 1878, before the Edinburgh Philosophical Institution, aptly described both the true and the false side of what is called “Imperialism' in the following language :

• We can best tell what Imperialism is by ascertain• ing what it is not; and I apprehend on that point there

will be very little difference of opinion amongst us. • It is certainly not Cæsarism. It is not that base • second-hand copy of Continental despotisms, that bas6 tard monarchy begotten in the slime of political and • financial corruption. It has nothing to do with that. • Despotisms, Mr. Burke has said, change their furni*ture and their fashions, but the evil principle prevails • and reappears in every generation. They dazzle, • indeed, by enlisting false teachers, and by arraying

themselves in false colours; but, after all, they are • hateful from top to bottom. They are utterly false; • the benefits that they confer are short-lived, and they

Lord Carnarvon on Imperialism.

411

• poison the very fount from which their own waters • spring. Therefore we are clear on this point, that • true Imperialism has nothing to do with this. Nor has • it to do with what has been called personal govern• ment. Our Constitution is clear enough on this point. • We know that the Crown has certain prerogatives; • we know that Parliament has certain rights and duties; • but neither Parliament nor the Crown may act alone. • They must act in reference to each other, and their

combined action is that which the Constitution con• templates and desires. True Imperialism is not that. • Nor is it again, I am sure we shall agree, mere bulk 6 of territory and multiplication of subjects. I hear • sometimes the words, “ A great England and a little 66 England ; ” but we do not measure nations by

their size or by their numbers, any more than we • measure men by their inches. If we did, China 6 would be the model of our admiration; and the hosts • of Xerxes, and not the handful of Athenian citizens,

would be the people we should reverence in the past • history of the world. No! What we do look for is

not the bulk of territory, but the class of men that • are bred up and produced, and the qualities which 6 those men have; and putting aside the highest of all, • we may say this, that steadfastness of purpose, sim' plicity of character, truth, and the preference of that • which is solid and substantial for that which is merely • glittering and deceptive, have been the characterisótics of Englishmen in past generations. Well, then, “if it is none of all these, what is it, if indeed it has a

meaning? I should say it is, first of all, to recognise, • as I think my right hon. friend the Chancellor of the • Exchequer very fairly said the other day—to recognise that there are duties which we owe beyond the • limits of these four seas; and, secondly, to breathe 'jnto the whole of that mighty mass I have described, • a common spirit of unity—to find for it that which ' would be the nearest approach to the patriotism that ‘ you look for in an individual. But then you may 'say to me, what is patriotism ?-and here again I am afraid I may say that the term, like Imperialism, bas

varied greatly. Like the word liberty, it has often • been abused. There is a true patriotism and a false

one. Horace Walpole, I think it was, says in one of his letters that at one time there was no declaration a • public man could make that was more popular on the • hustings than that he neither was nor had been nor

would be a patriot; and we all know Mr. Canning's • definition of a patriot-a man who was the friend of • every country except his own. Well, a true patriot “is neither of these. Nor is patriotism to be found in “the nation, again, which, so to speak, swaggers down

the High Street of the world with its hat cocked, and on the look-out for some fancied insult or affront. I. • will only say that you might find for such a character ' in public a counterpart in private life; but I think

we should all agree that in private life he was a very • disputative, quarrelsome, disagreeable companion. • No, ladies and gentlemen, I believe that patriotism 6 and imperialism both, if they are to be true, must rest • upon the one sole foundation on which all true things

can rest—that which is sound and moral. You cannot • divorce your system of politics from your system of • morals. There are not two sides to that shield ; there « are not two codes to be observed. I have seen it of

late more or less denied. I was reading but a few

Right of the Crown to alienate Territory. 413

• days since, in a periodical that enjoys deservedly a • great circulation and reputation—I read to my amaze• ment the remark about a by-gone character of the • middle ages, that he could not be a statesman because • he paid obedience to the laws of morality. I utterly • abhor and repudiate and detest such a doctrine as • that. I believe there is no safety for a nation the • moment that she departs from those eternal principles • of right and wrong, which in our case have carried o us through storm, and trial, and tribulation in past "times.'

It has been a good deal disputed whether the Crown has any right by its Prerogative of disposing of the national territory in time of peace, whether by way of gift, exchange, or sale. In the year 1862 Lord Palmerston's Government agreed to hand over all the Ionian Islands to the new kingdom of Greece, if the Greeks would choose a king approved by England, which they accordingly did. The neutrality of the Islands was to be declared by the Great Powers, and the fortifications of Corfu demolished; both of which conditions were observed. The subject of the relinquishment of the Protectorate of these Islands was debated in the House of Commons in February 1863, and Lord Palmerston was asked whether it was competent, according to the Constitution, for the Crown to alienate them without the consent of Parliament. His Lordship answered that the Republic of the Seven Islands was, by the Treaty of 1815, placed under the Protectorate of the British Crown. He said that the distinction was manifest and radical, and added : ‘But • with regard to cases of territory acquired by conquest * during war, and not ceded by Treaty, and which are

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »