22 JULY 1882, Page 8


WE should not have thought that this question required an answer, but for the attempt which is being made in various quarters to fasten the imputation of Jingoism on the Government policy in Egypt. A little consideration will show how utterly groundless this imputation is. What are the main characteristics of Jingoism ? The Jingo is, in the first place, a political Rodomonte, a dealer in "great, swelling words," which he does not mean to be taken seriously by those against whom they are hurled, but which, nevertheless, may do infinite mischief. When Lord Beaconsfield courted the cheers of the City by threatening the Emperor of Russia with three campaigns, he was acting the part of a genuine Jingo. Had he thought that there was the smallest probability of his being called upon to make good his boast, we may be sure that he would have thought twice before he uttered it. But though Lord Beaconsfield had no more serious intention than to win a cheap reputation for a spirited foreign policy, his braggadocio did, as it was calculated to do, much mischief. It emboldened the Porte to reject the proposals of the Conference which had just been summoned at Constantinople. Midhat Pasha, who was Grand Vizier at the time, declared publicly afterwards that the braggart attitude of the British Government towards Russia tempted him to run the risk of war, in full confidence that England would not suffer Turkey to be crushed. Lord Salisbury's brave Circular against the Treaty of San Stefano, coupled with the abject surrender of the Secret Memorandum, is another instance of the Rodoraonte side of Jingoism. It aims at seeming, not at being, bravo. Bismarck urged Lord Beaconsfield to annex Egypt. Opinions would, of course, have differed as to the wisdom of such a stroke of policy, but nobody would have questioned its boldness. And it was much too bold for the nerves of the Beaconsfield Cabinet. They watched their opportunity accordingly, and when they found their Turkish prote'fie helpless, they seized the Island of Cyprus, thus justifying the sarcasm of Mr. Lowe, that they behaved even worse than the Levite in the parable ; for while he simply " passed by on the other side," Lord Beaconsfield stooped over the wounded man, and while rummaging his pockets, inquired, " Have you got such a thing as a half-crown about you ?" Nor, indeed, had they the courage to annex even Cyprus. This " strong place of arms," which was to safe- guard the route to India, is still the Sultan's property, and costs the British taxpayer £100,000 a year in the shape of tribute-money. The first characteristic, then, of Jingo statesmanship is, that it is, for the most part, a make-believe policy. It is a policy of phrases and catchwords, and brave boasts uttered loudly in public, to be swallowed ignominiously in private. Now, what- ever else may be said of the policy of the present Government, in Egypt or elsewhere, it is not a make-believe policy. It makes no professions which it does not mean to fulfil, and there is no record against it of a public challenge cancelled by a secret surrender. It may be possible to construct a plausible case against its policy in Egypt on the ground of dilatoriness and indecision, but none on the ground of Jingoism. And even its indecision is chiefly due to the timid vacillation of the yoke-follow which the late Government placed in co-equal partnership with England in Egypt. But it seems to be thought in some quarters that what Mr. Gladstone in particular, and the Liberal party in general, de- nounced as Jingoism, was foreign intervention absolutely, and war in any case. No Liberal leader committed himself to any such extreme doctrine, least of all Mr. Gladstone.

What Mr. Gladstone condemned in the policy of Lord Beaconsfield was not intervention, but intervention on the wrong side. His own Blackheath speech, and his speech in defence of his five famous Resolutions, advocated intervention —in concert with Europe, if possible, and failing that, with one at least of the Great Powers—to coerce the Turks into obedience to the demands of the European Areopagus. Its believed—and afterwards proved, in the case of Dulcigno and Thessaly—that the Porte will always yield without fighting at the display of irresistible force, Mr. Gladstone has never denied that force may sometimes be justifiable in vindicating civil rights and moral law. Nor, indeed, has even Mr. Bright ever propounded so extravagant a doctrine. On the contrary, he was one of the most vehement champions of the Northern cause in the American Civil War. But the Northern cause meant the subjugation of the Southern States by force of arms, on a scale far transcending in carnage any war in which England has ever been engaged. Mr. Bright himself must, therefore, admit that there are occasions on which the moral law may be enforced by the bloody argument of bullets and cannon-balls. But that is not Jingoism.

Another characteristic of Jingoism is its exaltation of material interests over moral obligations. The most rampant organ of Jingoism during the controversy on the Eastern Question did not hesitate to say, that if a certain class of so-called " British interests " could only be maintained by maintaining at the same time a brutal and shocking system of Government, that brutal and shocking system must, neverthe- less, be maintained. "Loathsome cruelties in Bulgaria " were admitted to be shocking, and also to be characteristic of Turkish rule. Still, Turkish rule must be maintained, in virtue of " that irrepressible struggle for empire in which we cannot escape taking part." On this theme a British Ambassador afterwards enlarged, and he did not scruple to affirm that " the question whether 10,000 or 20,000 persons " were massacred in Bulgaria was a matter of comparative indifference, in view of "the necessity which exists for England to prevent changes" in Turkey which, in his opinion, "would be most detrimental to ourselves." Of this sordid element in Jingoism there is not a trace visible in the Government's policy in Egypt. The object of that policy is to rescue, not British interests merely, but an innocent and oppressed population from the tyranny and rapacity of a military adventurer, who exhibited his patriotism by the sack and conflagration of a populous city. To characterise as "imitation Jingoes" all who desire the summary suppression of such a miscreant is, in plain language, to talk nonsense.

Another characteristic of Jingoism is its disingenuousness, of which Lord Beaconsfield's Administration furnishes a crowd of instances. Two or three illustrations will suffice as speci- mens. When rumours of a change of policy in our dealings with Afghanistan reached this country, the Duke of Argyll and Lord Northbrook appealed to the Government to confirm or contradict these rumours. The Government contradicted them, with indignant emphasis. When asked, in particular, whether there was any intention to force a European Resident on the Ameer of Cabul, Lord Salisbury replied that there was no intention to force a European Resident on the Ameer at Cabul. Confronted with this answer afterwards, Lord Salisbury took refuge in the miserable sophism that his answer, while, of course, 'misleading, was literally correct, because, though he demanded the admission of Agents in various other places in Afghanistan, he had not demanded their admission " at Cabul." Thus, at the very time when we

were on the point of withdrawing our Native Agent from Cabul, and threatening to crush the Ameer as an " earthen pipkin be- tween two iron pots," because he would not accept terms which we were forcing on him, in violation of our treaty engagement, Lord Beaconsfield's Government declared that there was no change in our policy in Afghanistan. Still more cynical was the following instruction from Lord Salisbury to the Indian Viceroy :---" The first step, therefore, in establishing our rela- tions with the Ameer upon a more satisfactory footing will be to induce him to receive a temporary embassy in his capital. It need not be publicly connected with the establishment of a permanent Mission within his dominions. There would be many advantages in ostensibly directing it to some object of, smaller political interest, which it will not be difficult for your Excellency to find, or, if need be, to create. I have therefore to instruct you, on behalf of her Majesty's Government, without any delay that you can reasonably avoid, to find some occasion for sending a Mission to Cabul." Here, then, we have the English Government instructing the Queen's representative in India to practise a deceit on the Ameer, to induce him to accept a Mission under false pretences,—a Mission which was to be ostensibly temporary, but which was secretly intended to be permanent. No wonder Lord North- brook resigned rather than be the instrument of such a policy. Neither in Egypt nor elsewhere is there a trace of such political chicanery in the policy of Mr. Gladstone's Government. It would be easy to establish other points of difference, but the foregoing will suffice. The truth is, that those who accuse Mr. Gladstone of imitating the Jingo policy of Lord Beaconsfield are simply perpetrating the logical fallacy of ignoring the real point in dispute. The Liberal party, Mr. Gladstone included, has never shirked the duty and responsibility of vindicating the honour and interest of the country, when, they have really been in jeopardy ; but that is a very different thing from the bastard patriotism expressed by the word " Jingoism."