POLITICS AND HISTORY.* ANYTHING which Lord Morley writes is sure
to open out a wide field for reflection and discussion. The reader, and still more the reviewer, is tempted at every page to digress and to- deal with some one or more of the numerous subjects of interest mentioned incidentally in his illuminating address- recently delivered to the students of the Manchester Culver- sity. How far, for instance, did Rousseau contribute to the advance of that ill-defined onward movement which Westerns are accustomed to call Progress, and which vast numbers of thoughtful Easterns identify with Retrogression ? Burke denounced him. Napoleon, as was natural in one who was
• the incarnation of everything moat opposed to idealism, said to Rcederer, "C'eet un fou, votre Rousseau. C'eet lui qni nous a menes oh nous sommes." His most recent biographer,. M. Fagnet, states that he was principally distinguished for a total absence of moral sense, and adds, "J'entends par masque de Bens moral l'absence de touts regle de conduite, et du besoin d'en avoir use." Maine, on the other Land, albeit little disposed to look to abstract ideas as a safe guide in government, held that Rousseau's vivid imagination and genuine love for his fellow-creatures condoned all his sine. He may, in fact, be treated as a demoniac mischief- maker or as a supreme benefactor of the human race. It all depends upon the angle from which his career and influence are regarded. Or, again, has M. Aulard really cast Taine down from his historical pedestal P May Sainte-Benve's well-known criticism on the work of Cvnizot be applied in his case, or are we, with Lady Blennerhassett, to think that, as an historian, TaMe still holds the field, and that the history of Napoleonic times cannot be thoroughly under- stood without a profound analysis of that Napoleonic psychology which during an eventful period of history con- stituted the mainspring of European politics ? These tempta- tions must be resisted. It is not possible, within the limits of an ordinary article, to deal with more than a very few features in the vast field over which Lord Morley ranges.
The driving-power of most of the political movements of modern times has, as Lard Morley points out, been mainly furnished by the desire to acquire national autonomy. There is, in reality, nothing very new in this movement. Nascent aspirations towards the creation of nationalities were, indeed, crushed out by the heavy hand of Rome. The Caesars in their efforts to grasp at world-power encountered nowhere any very serious resistance save from the stubborn Jew and, ;although to a lees degree, from the Egyptian. But these aspirations were resuscitated when the dominion of ancient Rome crumbled to the ground. They constituted, together with the long-drawn contest between the Vatican and the temporal power, one of the main causes which led to the eventual downfall of the Holy Roman Empire. The principle of nationality has been prolific of by-products. It has not brought peace, but a sword. Its genealogy may he traced through the blood-stained centuries. It gave birth to a high- strung and exclusive patriotism, to the necessity of armaments for self-defence which were often turned to purposes of aggression, to heavy taxation in order to support those armaments, and to jealousy in commercial relations. It was exploited by Napoleon. It was used for more noble purposes by others, such as Washington, Cavonr, and Bismarck. Moralists may ponder over whether the propagation of the national idea has or has not added to the sum total of human happiness ; whether the heroism, self-sacrifice, and nobility of • Notes os Politics mid Niger!, a thannaile Adds.... By Viacom* Morey, O.N. Loudon: Macmillan and Co. [dr. Cd. oat.]
character which patriotism has at times evoked constitute a sufficient compensation for the hecatombs of lives which have been offered up on the national altar; whether, for instance, it was worth while to sacrifice the lives of one hundred and twenty-eight thousand Germans to achieve, and of one hundred and thirty-nine thousand Frenchmen to resist, the consolidation of Germany. The practical politician, on the other hand, has to accept the facts as they stand. He has to acknowledge, however reluctantly, that, as Lord Morley puts it, "the recruiting sergeant now holds the international scales." Accordingly, he builds 'Dreadnoughts' and sees to it that the country with whose destinies he is associated has an adequate supply of Maxims.
Concurrently with this Weltanschauung, to use the expres- sive German phrase which Lord Morley has adopted, the idea of man's duty towards his neighbour has been lagging along— like Prayer, in the fine metaphor of Homer, limping painfully behind Sin—and endeavouring to temper the asperities of the spirit of domination. It is not an entirely new conception, " We find glimpses of it here and there among Greeks and Romans." It was not by a mere mythological freak that &friss, and .trae—protecter of the suppliant and the guest—were included among the cult-titles of the Greek Zeus. Their adoption connoted that a special sanctity attached itself to strangers, suppliants, and old people. Neither, as we are sometimes rather too prone to believe, was it an entirely Christian conception. The all-pervading charity of the non-Christian East has found abundant expression in literature, as, for instance, in the beautiful apologue in which Abou Ben Adhem justified his claim to be recorded amongst those who "loved the Lord" on the ground that " he loved his fellow-men." It is difficult to generalize about the public opinion of the ancient world. It has been well said that Greece was "a nation of opinions without a public opinion." But so far as can be judged from the utterances of the most advanced thinkers, the conception of men's duty to their neighbours was at best never extended beyond the individual compatriot or social equal. Some faint protests were, indeed, muttered by Job, Plato, Seneca, and others against the institution of slavery, but the idea that any regard should be had to a moral code in the dealings between countries and communities was never in the smallest degree entertained. In this respect the philosophy of Aristotle was very much akin to that of the immortal Pickwick, who advised Mr. Snodgrass, when there were two crowds, to shout with the larger. Aristotle laid it down as a principle for universal guidance that States should keep peace with the strong and make war on the weak, and he observed that the Athenians never felt the smallest qualms of conscience as regards enslaving a neighbouring and perhaps unoffending community. Nobility consisted in being avenged on one's enemies, "for requital is just and the just is noble."
It is only in far more recent times that the counter-principle that political action should in some degree be brought under the control of moral duty began to be enunciated. Under the influence of philosophers such as Comte, philosophic statesmen such as Burke, and practical politicians such as John Bright, that idea was slowly and laboriously making some headway, and was receiving recognition from the most elevated contemporary thought. Then, in the latter half of the nineteenth century, a set-back was experienced. Germany finally cast off the mantle of Romanticism and became Realistic. There was a reversion to the principles of Aristotle and of Machiavelli. Bismarck, who, as M. Laveleye has pointed out, was largely inspired by the Socialist Lassalle —a fanatic for German unity and an ardent apostle of the principle that might is right—dominated Europe, and the historian Treitschke propounded the mischievous theory that, as Germany had settled accounts with Austria and France, it was both natural and logical that she should be brought into collision with England. This last settlement, he thought, would be "the lengthiest and most difficult" of all, but was none the less absolutely necessary.
If for no other than historical reasons, Lord Morley has done well to draw attention to the immense development which of late years hae taken place in the application of the maxim that "the State is Force." It is probable that few of those who are under sixty years of age can fully realize the profound change which in this connexion has passed over European thought during the last forty years.
The moat important world-events during the latter half of the nineteenth century were the consolidation, first of Italy, then of Germany. The story of Italian liberation must ever be one of undying interest. Lord Palmerston said that it was "the most extraordinary and romantic recorded in the annals of the world." Lord Morley thinks that the achieve- ment of Italian unity is the most important fact in European history since the Peace of Westphalia. The consummate mixture of reckless audacity and opportunist pliability displayed by Cavour must for ever remain a prominent object-lesson in statesmanship. But Cavour merely altered European geography and brought a new factor into European politics. He did not change European thought. He believed in ideas. Bismarck, at all events until, as the result of the 1Culturkampf, he had to go to Genoese, only believed in cannon. It is probable that his acts, coupled with a few pithy but by no means irrefutable apophthegms, have done more to mould the thoughts of the present generation than all the philosophy and advice which have emanated from the Council chamber, the pulpit, or the study. Those whose memories can go hack so far as 1870 can call to mind the high hopes which were then excited. Carlyle thought that the triumph of Germany over France was "the most beneficent thing that had hap- pened in the universe since he had been in it," and he went on to explain "how &thanes went forth breathing boasting and blasphemy and hell-fire, and St. Michael, with a few strokes of his glittering sword, brayed the monster in the chest "—all of which shows, in John Bright's time- honoured phrase, that great thinkers can sometimes think very wrong. That earnest Liberal, Sir Robert Metier, wrote to his friend Stockman "What untold heights of civilization may not the world attain with a German Empire preponderant over the destinies of Europe—if only there is as much wisdom in the upper stories of the building as there has been valour and self-sacrifice in the lower." These fair hopes were doomed to disappointment. The peace concluded with France was not a German but a "Bismarckian " peace, and Lord Dulling, surveying the whole scene with the eye of a trained diplomatist, was able to record that the principal change effected was that in future "Europe would have a master instead of a mistress."
Since then, Bismarckism has, to some extent, been further developed. A school of German thought has arisen that defends war, not only by reason of its necessity in order to attain certain national objects, but also by reason of its desira- bility, even when unnecessary, in order to strengthen the national character. Thucydides indulged in some rather similar sophisms, but even the Greeks, generally speaking, did not go so far as some German militarists. They cursed Ares and dubbed him "the god of toil and trouble." But there is a brighter side to this gloomy tale. Great Britain stands forth as the champion of fair dealing amongst nations, and recent experience has shown that that championship has not been in vain. Let it, however, be borne in mind that a champion must be doughty. If we wish our voice to be heard in the councils of armed Europe, we also moat be armed.
Limitations of space preclude the possibility of dealing with the application of the principle that " the State is Force" in the domain of the internal legislation of nations. It may, however, be said that it is year by year becoming clearer that there is no sort of necessary connexion between democracy and individual liberty, and that with the decay of political economy there will be a strong tendency to undermine national self-reliance. Lord Morley cautiously remarks that "whether Socialism can be the assured key to progress is still a secret," but he makes a further observation which may be welcomed as an indication that he doubts whether, at all events in any extreme form, it is a key which will unlock the door. Pro- gress, he says, "depends on the room left by the State for the enterprise, energy, and initiative of the individual." That is unquestionably the great problem of the future. Posterity will be able to decide how far State Socialism, which has come amongst us to stay, can be reconciled to co-existence with all that is best in Individualism.
Lord Morley was naturally precluded from speaking to the students of the Manchester University about that dread rock which looms large in the track of democratic progress—to wit, unsound finance. It would be interesting to learn what he