9 JUNE 1866, Page 6


TO lay down a new scheme of international policy applicable. to the entire world would be a bold idea even for a con- quering statesman on a throne, but this is what a knot of thinkers, none of them of recognized eminence in the world, have this week attempted in the huge pamphlet styled Intern.ationed Policy. They are all Comtists, and the endeavour of all is to apply the principles taught by the master they think semi-divine to the actual relations of States, to the foreign policy, as we call it, of the great nations now so visibly on the eve of extensive and violent change. The result is one worth evamination, even by those who, like ourselves, believe Comte's entire system to be a structure based upon sand, for it is, if nothing else, at least original and disinterested. With the European section of their scheme we have at this moment little or nothing to do. With a great war expected every hour, in which France, Germany, and Italy are all to be more or less actively engaged, it seems nonsense to talk about the duty of federating the West, which includes only them and Britain. The Comtists hold that the West, i. e., the civilize? States of Europe, to whom we should add the Union to which they refuse a place, possess, and have a right to possess, a "primacy" in the world, and instead of quarrelling or intriguing ought to recognize and organize that primacy, until it becomes an effi- cient agent of civilization throughout the rest of the world. We dare say they ought, and in some form or other we also dare say they will, for they did do it after a fashion from 1815 to 1860, when the great European Tribunal, the Execu- tive power of the West, which, though useless to advance civilization, was invaluable to repress attacks on it, under- went a paralytic stroke. In Europe "the West" is, for the hour, a meaningless phrase, the alliance of England, France, and Germany, which is its diplomatic expression, having been for the time entirely dissolved. But in Asia and Northern Africa "the West," the existence of which as a recognized entity is the Comtists' datum, is a living reality, a reality dreaded with abject terror by all Asiatics, appealed to with confident hope by every European. East of the Isthmus every European, or descendant of a European, is in the last resort the ally of every other, can be certain of his assistance in the case of formal attack, and would think himself utterly base if in consequence of some international grudge, he de- serted the civilized side. _ Among the Mongolian races this organization, long since in active existence, has of late been formulated by diplomatists, and in China and Japan action of the most serious import has repeatedly been taken in the name of the collective "West." Of course the executive power has been nominally an Anglo-French fleet, because Germany possesses no fleets, i. e., no power of acting at a very great distance from home, arid America has as yet no Asiatic policy, but every concession extorted has been more or less formally secured for the benefit of the whole world. Germans may trade with japan or China ; if Americans are massacred Frenchmen move out to vengeance ; if Spaniards are threat- ened Englishmen intervene. In China the Foreign Inspec- torate was organized avowedly to represent Europe, and in Japan, if a white man is attacked, every other white man rushes up to his side without reference to nationality. Even in India the same feeling, though less prominent, from the direct authority enjoyed by one European State, is still avowed, and made the basis of action. During the mutinies nobody asked questions about nationality. Europeans are all protected alike by the lex loci, and banned alike by the treaties with native States, and in both a provision is usually inserted that "the word European shall be held to include any person of American birth. When the mutinies broke out the Emperor of the French expressed in the most prac- tical manner his feeling that the war was directed against Europe and not against England alone, and were a massacre to commence in Java admirals of all nations would sail without orders to the rescue of the Dutch.

In Asia, then, the Comtists have their datum, and having it, what do they advise ? In effect—for they enter into details wearisomely minute—that the West should relinquish its power in order to secure for ever its primacy, that Britain should give back the provinces recently annexed to their native princes, and transfer administration to a native Civil Service ; that all foothold in China, except the old treaty ports, should be sur- rendered, and that no attempt should be made to enforce the provisions of the treaties extorted from Japan. These things being done, we are to cease to despise civilizations we scarcely comprehend, to assume an amicable instead of a hostile relation to Chinese and Hindoo thought and modes of social development, and to struggle in the field of moral and intel- lectual advance for that leadership which, says Mr. Congreve, in cool defiance of history, the East will certainlybe willing to yield. "In full sympathy with the past and present intellectual, social, and religious condition of those whom they address, equally whether monotheistic, polytheistic, or fetishist, the West will take them each at the point at which they find them, accept their actual state, and lead them on by an orderly development. Such peaceful and sympathetic action, made intelligible by a previous cessation of the violent and fraudulent intercourse which now repels all tendencies to friendliness, will be met by the unreserved admission of the superiority of the West. The nations to whom it speaks will allow its moral and intellectual pre-eminence as completely as they even now admit its material, mechanical, and active predominance. They will have no repugnance to disinterested advice, free from all tendency to disturb or design of conquest. Treated with courtesy and respect, not, as now, with ill-concealed con- tempt, they will reciprocate an intercourse from which both derive good, as surely as they now reject, so far as they dare, the interchange of dependence on one side and haughtiness on the other." The West is to be the leader of mankind, instead of its niler,to show the nations the way, not drive the nations along it; to teach Brahmin, for instance, to use an illustration familiar to all who have studied India, not to abandon their own philosophy, but to build from it till they reach the European level, and advance with us side by side. In other words, we are to carry out, for the advancement of humanity, the policy which the now dying Manchester school used to enforce as the policy best adapted to the interests of Great Britain. The datum, as we have said, is granted, for the "West" exists in Asia as a living and concrete force, quoted by diplomatists in despatches as an entity whose will is to be obeyed, and the end for which the Comtists would use it is undeniably noble, indeed the only end which can be sanctioned by the Chris- tianity they deny. Nay, we may go further, and acknow- ledge that without the " sympathy " of which they make so much, nothing great in the way of progress will ever be accomplished, Asiatics learning without it no more than men speaking only different tongues learn of one another. But the point is how to obtain that rapport, that mutual comprehension or "sympathy," without which no end except anarchy is, we quite admit, likely to be atttained, and on this point we join issue with the Comdata. We believe-that the mere interchange of ideas is not the quickest or the most perfect mode of securing it, that such interchange must be facilitated by the exercise for a period of direct do- minion. We do not fear merely that " reserve " in the Asiatic which these writers acknowledge, and which has in the history of the world hitherto proved almost insuperable—the Arabic mind, for example, having been for ages in eoutset with the European without visible change—but we fear also the reserve of the West. The Comtists, arguing always for "humanity," think only of their Oriental clients,—who doubt- less have the claim of the weaker,—but all experience proves that there is one evil before which the West, if precluded from ending it, invariably recoils, rolls back like a snail into its shell, and sets up around it a barrier such as the Greeks placed between themselves and the nations of Asia, and that evil is anarchy. With an anarchical nation the West, and the nations of the West, never will enter into communion, social order being in their instinct as much as in their judgment an indispensable preliminary to any beneficial intercourse whatsoever. Yet without external force how is the anarchy gradually overspreading Asia to be prevented? You cannot teach men social order, else why is there disorder in Spanish America, whose inhabitants receive readily all the ideas of Europe? and this for a very simple reason. The majority are not governed by reason at all, but by their immediate interest, and disorder may be the immediate interest of parties large enough to make all order impossible. That was the case in India in 1756, and would be the case to-morrow if we honestly surrendered the annexed provinces, every princeling instantly doing battle for his own hand. Of course, if we do not surrender them, but only call ourselves suzerains instead of sovereigns, and main- tain our garrisons all the same, order may be maintained ; but we do not understand the Combats to advocate a wicked juggle of that kind, which ends always in this—the irresistible power of the West may be lawfully applied to defend the oppressive prince, but not to protect his oppressed subjects, may help to levy taxes, but not to secure justice. Order and free intercourse with the West are the two essentials to the " sympathy " the Comtists desire, and, like every other form of organization, they can be secured only by the exertion of external force. So far from being too ready to apply this, the West is a great deal too slow. Its moral duty, if China sinks into anarchy under the "revolu- tionary influence" of contact with Europeans, is to assume the Government of China, and in assuming it it is better to let one Power be the executive for the benefit of all. The English, we think, is the beet, just for the Comtists' reason, that it seeks the elevation of the governed; is, as De Tooqueville said, a "vivifying power ;" but we are not bigoted to a nation. The French might be as useful, or the American, but whoso- ever undertakes the work will be, whether he likes it or not, the agent of the West, just as much as the axeman in Ohio, who wanders on, felling always, but ignorant what nationality will buy any one single clearing. It may of course very well happen that the duty to be performed is beyond our strength, and we ourselves doubt if this is not the case in China ; but the moral obligation is to attempt it, not as the Comtists would advise, to refuse to attempt it, in the hope that the un- changeable will somehow or other change. Greece had the " primacy " of earth once, a conscious primacy far higher than any to which we can pretend, but her primacy was only useful to Asia when the Macedonian legions had cloven the way for the civilizers. If the West could agree to do its duty in Asia, divide among its members the task of re-starting Oriental civilization, and honestly work on for five centuries, it would advance the larger half of " humanity " more than it has been advanced since the Mohammedan wave rolled Europe back upon itself; but that magnificent task, a task which would keep Europe from the possibility alike of idleness and of intestine warfare, would have to be commenced by an unsparing use of the sword, and finished upon the datum that for a season the foolish were morally bound to obey the wise.