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Dr. Jameson and his friends in Africa and London builded more wisely than they knew. The moment Dr. Jameson crossed the frontier he forced the hand of the Boers, who by their instant appeal to Germany for assistance unmasked a conspiracy which had been diligently promoted for years past.
The German Emperor's telegram, which in itself might have been ignored, was as the torch thrust into the pile of fagots which in olden times was prepared on every beacon hill to warn the nation of the approach of the foe. Now, as in olden times, the war-flame spread from peak to peak until the alarm reached the capital, when
With one start and with one cry, the royal city woke. So England roused herself in the early days of the New Year, when from Berlin came that unlooked-for challenge of our right to pre-eminent domain in South Africa. War is so hateful, that even the contemplation of its possibility is painful to any humane mind; but nothing for many years in our recent history added so much to our national consciousness, not only of our Imperial strength, but of our unanimous resolve to exert
renewed her mighty youth, and asserted what every Englishman at heart believes to be her natural and destined place in the community of nations. “Thrice is he armed who hath bis quarrel just," and in tha attempt to oust us from the suzerainty over the Transvaal —the only thing which we had retained for ourselves when we surrendered all other sovereignty over that Statewe were freed from any misgivings if, which God forbid, we had been forced to defend our right by the mailed might of our own right hand. There were some bitter moments, no doubt, but as colony after colony sent in its messages of cheer and promises of support, men did not need to have much imagination or feeling to see in the strangely altered scene something like the political realisation of Lowell's magnificent image, when speaking, not of the national embodiment of the cause of Liberty and Right, he said: Though the cause of Evil prosper, yet'tis Truth alone is strong, And, albeit she wander outcast now, I see around her throng Troops of beautiful tall angels, to enshield her from all wrong.
Memories of that great national awakening, that Imperial rally, when it seemed really as if once more, as in the brave days of old “none was for a party and all were for the State," enabled us to regard with composure the mean and ignoble episodes which followed. The secret of the almost kaleidoscopic revolution in public opinion was not difficult to explain. As against German aggression in South Africa, the nation and empire felt themselves on firm ground, and did not fear any appeal that might be challenged in defence of their rights. But in relation to the immediate details of the petty, parochial, and somewhat squalid dispute which occupied the boards when the actors who played the Imperial rôle retired from the scene, we felt ourselves in a much less satisfactory position. We were technically in the wrong, and had to get out of the situation into which some zealous and too sanguine spirits had blundered. We had to deal moreover with an adversary who was extremely keen and not over scrupulous, who pressed to the utter rost the vantage ground which Dr. Jameson's move had given him. In the Transvaal we have been bested at every turn. We were too backward when we should have played forward, too forward when we should have played backward. We had no one capable of adequately representing England at the capital of the Boers, while at Cape Town we had but the shadow of a great reputation, in the shape of a veteran whose failing health and weakened heart ill qualified him for coping with the exigencies of a difficult crisis.
In the chaos and confusion which reigned in English councils in South Africa there was fortunately one bright spot. When Mr. Garrett went to Cape Town in February, 1895, I ventured to remark that his appointment might possibly prove even more important for the destinies of South Africa than the choice of a Governor of the Cape Colony. No one who has followed the course of South African politics since 1895 will fail to recognise that England has had no one in South Africa better qualified than he to speak on her behalf with enemies. within and without the gates, to keep watch and ward over her interests, and to see that, whatever happened, the Empire should suffer no hurt. Mr. Garrett had a great opportunity, and he has greatly used it. Journalism is quite as important a field of Imperial service as the army or the navy, and in that department England has reason to be proud of her brilliant son, who in the course of less than two years has made the Cape Times the most potent factor for good that exists in South Africa.
all our strength in defence of challenged rights, than the outburst of indignation which followed the revelation of the German complot in the Transvaal. Once for all, it was made manifest throughout the length and breadth, not only of the continent of Africa, but of all the continents, that Britain was Britain still, and that in the defence of her Imperial position she would no longer stand alone. European allies she might have none, but from the East and the West, from the North and the South, wherever men of English speech had founded commonwealths which enjoyed British freedom under British law, there came forth warm-hearted words of sympathy and unsolicited offers of succour, until the Mother Isle was seen to be surrounded and defended by the stalwart progeny with which she had peopled the waste places of the world. For that great moment of inspiration, for that apocalyptic vision of the new English-speaking world which had been created by our hundred years of colonising labour, it were well worth while to pay the price of a dozen Jameson raids. For long years the Genius of England had appeared to many of the most patriotic amongst us to have been somewhat, to borrow Milton's metaphor, like an eagle in the moult. But no sooner did the call to arms by the “bugle's note and cannon's roar" fall upon our ears, than once more, like Milton's eagle, she
P. II.—THE CRUCIBLE OF REPUTATIONS.
1896 has been a year testing and trying the reputations of men, and although this process may be occasionally disagreeable to individuals, it is one of the most useful forms of national and imperial stocktaking. After all,
Bismarck himself, with the Hamburg newspaper as the Mephistopheles continually at his side, can destroy, or even appreciably impair, the reputation of the maker of modern Germany.
Another of our greatest, perhaps one who in his own way is as great as Prince Bismarck, has this year been tested and tried, and found not wanting in the qualities which made him great. Mr. Gladstone has continued to manifest that marvellous vivacity of boyhood which he has carried into extreme old age, and he has also shown that not even the snows of eighty winters can chill the ardour of his aspiration for liberty. and the passionate vehemence of his recoil against cruelty and wrong. But 1896 has also revealed Mr. Gladstone as one who, if he has not worsened in his best qualities, has not improved in those which have Ĩ stone, who in 1876 sent around the fiery cross on behalf of Bulgaria and the Southern Slavs, whose cause Russia had made her own, was also the Mr. Gladstone who, in 1885, came perilously near going to war with Russia in one of the worst causes that any nation could have made its own. In 1896 we see the same two currents of good and evil blended. There is the same enthusiasm against the atrocities of the Turk, but there is also the same unsympathetic incapacity to recognise the difficulties of Russia's position which in 1885 50 nearly brought the two Empires into collision. Mr. Gladstone has never quite learnt that without Russia England can do no good in the East, and his apparent advocacy of the adoption of an isolated policy that would have brought us into antagonism with Russia is a curious instance of the survival of the instinct which made him approve of the Crimean War and threaten to fight over the Afghan boundary.
Among the great established reputations to which 1898 applied the touchstone of life, that of the Pope must be numbered as those which have survived. Leo XIII, has continued to maintain the prestige which has compelled even the non-Catholic world to hail him as one of the greatest of pontiffs. This year he showed that his passion for Christian unity and his desire to include all mankind
the strengti of nations lies, not merely in the character of their ordinary men, but also in the greatness of their great ones. A nation which has lost the capacity of begetting great men is a nation in its decadence. But to know the greatness of the truly great it is necessary to pass them time and again through the ordeal of adverse circumstance, to smelt away their dross in the cruciblo of trial and temptation. It is only after a long-continued series of these processes, which indeed never cease while life lasts, that mankind is able to ascertain beyond all doubt who are really worthy of supreme homage as the heroes of the race. 1896 has not been devoid of the tests supplied by trial and temptation to the grcat ones of the earth. Bismarck, for instance, who for many years towered like some magnificent column above the waste of European diplomacy, has afforded only too painful demonstration of the faults and failings which assail the statesman in retreat. But despite the revelations, which seem to be prompted more by impatience of the dull obscurity of Friedrichsruh than by any consuming desire to promote the interests either of his country or of European peace, he remains one of those whose greatness has been best ascertained and best proved. On the fallen pillar the lichen may grow, and here and there its marble may be flawed and stained; but it is a pillar still. Not even Prince
From Picture Politics.]
A “PEREON POLITICALLY DEAD."
"As a person politically dead."-Mr. Gladstone to Mr. Billson, Liberal
Candidate for East Bradford.
had, but he surmounted them. Of enemies there was no lack, but he had either bought them off or defeated them in fair fight. From victory unto victory he plodded on, until there was no man in all the English-speaking world in whom foreign nations learnt to recognise more completely and conspicuously the Imperial spirit of our Imperial race. He was the man who in an age when the nations were smitten with a lust for territorial extension had extended his empire more widely than any king or emperor, and extended it too over richer territory, and, at the same time, with less loss of life and treasure. We are too near the African Colossus
within the fold of what he regards as the Catholic faith, did not lure him into taking any liberties with what he considered the well-established boundaries of his Church. His decision concerning Anglican Orders, although it has been somewhat fiercely resented by those who had deluded themselves into the belief that the Pope would try to convert the steel wire of the Roman fold into an elastic band, was only one more proof that the Pope is too logical, consistent and veracious to snatch at an apparent advantage by any straining of the well-established law of the communion over which he presides. His intervention on behalf of the Italian prisoners in Abyssinia showed his desire to play the part of general mediator and intercessor, even on behalf of those whom he believes have usurped his patrimony and despoiled the inheritance of the Church. And his utterances on behalf of International Arbitration have shown once more how keenly alive he is to the movements which tend towards the realisation of the Christian ideal.
After the Pope there is probably only one man who might exercise as much influence for good or evil upon the welfare of human segments large enough to include hundreds of millions of units. The Chinese Empire presented in 1896 a spectacle of singular interest. To our Western eye that huge yellow ant-heap is almost as unknown as if its denizens were a colony of termites. In the midst of that bewildering and multitudinous expanse of undistinguishable human cheese mites, there stood out in 1896 one man and one only. Li Hung Chang's journey through Europe and America has familiarised the Western world with the personality of the only Chinese mandarin who may possibly be able to do anything in China. Yet Li Hung Chang's past career does not justify any very sanguine confidence as to his capacity to do much. When Gulliver visited the king of Liliput, he tells us that the king exceeded his subjects in stature by about the sixteenth of an inch, a circumstance which of itself was sufficient to strike awe into the beholder. But the mass of Chinese humanity is too immense for it to be impressed by Li Hung Chang. His gepius for statecraft and his talent for the governing of men may exceed that of all other Chinamen by much more than one-sixteenth of an inch, but it is insufficient to give him power to mould the destinies of that ancient empire. One thing only appears certain, viz., that despite what are apparently the earthquake shocks of military and of naval defeats, or of domestic revolutions, the tough old Middle Kingdom which existed in splendour long before our ancestors had even been visited by the Romans, and which had laws, civilisation, and science before Moses was discovered among tho bulrushes by Pharaoh's daughter, will continue to exist as an integer in the world's affairs. The Yellow Kingdom is like yellow clay: you can mould a bit of it for a time, you can punch holes in it, but you can't get rid of it, and although you may make bricks out of bits of it with which you can build houses, you cannot shape the great mass into any image of your own choosing.
Returning to our own Empire, there confronts us the figure of a man whose proportions have long loomed so large before mankind that he may be for the present spoken of almost as if he were a monarch in eclipse. Cecil Rhodes is the one great man whom the Colonies have produced who has played a leading part in Imperial policy. Until the beginning of this year his career had been almost without a reverse. From the position of a consumptive undergraduate to that of the foremost man in Greater Britain, he had mounted step by step almost without stumble. Difficulties he had
adequately to realise how his imposing figure impresses the imagination of outsiders. To Frenchimen, Germans, Americans, and also to our own Colonists, Cecil Rhodes is British South Africa, and British South Africa is Cecil Rhodes.
At the beginning of this year the failure of the Johannesburg insurrection, accentuated by the unfortunate effort of Dr. Jameson to force the hatching of an addled egg, by bringing his high pressure incubator to bear from the outside, administered the first check to a career hitherto unprecedentedly prosperous. Probably the very uninterrupted continuity of previous success unfitted him for dealing promptly and successfully with the different situation which then confronted him. It is one rising. The Matabele had only been partialls disarmed, and the majority of the nation had never actually confronted their conquerors in open battle. It was inevitable, therefore, that when an opportunity arose they would try to throw off the yoke of the white map. This they did after Dr. Jameson and his police were shipped off to England. In the long and trying campaign which ensued, Mr. Rhodes bore the hard. ships of the war with equanimity and good humour. Those who saw most of him have come home full of admiration over the imperturbable good temper and the cheery coinposure with which ho made the best of things. There never was any danger which he did not confront,
thing to play a great and Imperial rôle, it is another thing to readjust yourself promptly to circumstances when the Imperial statesman finds himself detected in a conspiracy which has failed. Many Imperial statesmen have taken part in conspiracies a thousandfold less defensible than the very innocent one on which Mr. Rhodes embarked when be endeavoured to secure the federal union of South Africa by financing a Reform movement and promoting an insurrection in Johannesburg. That Johannesburg ought to rebel as soon as it had a fair chance is an axiom which to Englishman or American can for a moment dispute; but what communities ought to do, and what they actually will do, are two very different things. Mr. Rhodes' repu'ation at the prezent inoment suffers chiefly because on this occasion he did not know his facts. It was right and proper for him as a Johannesburg capitalist to support with his purse and with his counsels the movement for reform which would in the natural course of things culminate in revolution. It was quite inevitable under the circumstances that he should have believed that his country would forgive him, if, having a somewhat superannuated High Commissioner at his side, he had exercised and ever delegated to another the attributes of sovereignty which are constitutionally vested in the High Commissioner. But whether he was right or wrong in coming to this conclusion does not affect the judgment which men will pronounce upon his greatness. Wherein he appears to have failed has been in under-estimating the resistance which had to be overcome, and in overestimating the value of the material with which he had to work. The reputation of Cecil Rhodes throughout the worll to-day is not in the least impaired by the fact that he entered into a conspiracy to bring the Transvaal into federal union with the other South African States. It is affected somewhat by the fact that having decided to play the revolutionary rûle, he failed to provide adequately the revolutionary means, and that when the conspiracy had failed, he did not discern with sufficient promptitude the necessity for readjusting his position to tlie necessities of the constitution. When a Privy Councillor and the occulpant of a high office is revealed as having promoted a revolutionary conspiracy which has failed, the laws of the game necessitate an immediate abandonment of his constitutional position. This Mr. Rhodes recognised in surrendering the Cape Premiership; but although he admitted the same thing in relation to the Managing Directorship and Privy Councillorship, he left the application of the principle to his friends. A frank acknowledgment in public of the extent to which the Johannesburg movement was his own handiwork, although it would have had immediate risks, might have obviated most of the disadvantages which have accrued from the gradual unfolding of the ramifications of the conspiracy. It must be admitted that Mr. Rhodes, so far as he was personally concerned, made no secret of his share in the matter. To the pressure brought to bear on him from inAuential quarters to make him conceal the truth, he replied with dogged persistency, “I am not going to tell any lies: about it. I have not broken into a church," which was his way of phrasing the wide distinction which exists between a revolutionary conspiracy and felonious criminality. But the general public had no opportunity of hearing Mr. Rhodes's private conversation.
Since his return to Africa Mr. Rhodes has done much to vindicate his prestige. Hastening at once to the heart of the empire which he had founded, he found himself almost immediately confronted by a formidable native
From the Cape Times.]
[May 10, 1896. there never was any misfortune which he did not endeavour to mitigate. As a result, although his resig. nation was accepted and he was only a simple citizen in the midst of other citizens, his personal ascendency gained ground daily, until when the war came to a close the natives refused to recognise any one but Mr. Rhodes himself as the Chief of the Whites. His action in venturing unarmed into the camp of enemies who might easily have made him a captive, or used him as a hostage, was but the most conspicuous of many acts of bravery and of wisdom which have convinced his fellow-countrymen that he of all others is the man for South Africa. When Mr. Rhodes returns, as he is expected to do next month, in order to give evidence before the Select Committee, he will come as the representative of all British South Africa, which, having seen him under fire and had such knowledge, he endeavoured to conceal the fact by any shirking before the Committee, either on his own part or on that of those who might be wanted for the purpose. But in the case of Mr. Chamberlain and in that of Mr. Rhodes, 1896 leaves the final verdict to 1897. If they stand together in truth, they may stand altogether. If, however, either of them should allow his steps to stray in such devious ways as the tempting suggestion that the revolutionary conspiracy of 1895 was no more than a continuation of the policy of Lord Loch, then they will not stand, but fall. One or the other or both, whichever flirches from the ordeal.
So far then as the survey of the great personages of the world is concerned, the passing year cannot be said to have made any great reputations. It has impaired one or two, others have remained stationary, while others again are still undergoing a period of probatio, which is not yet ended.
III.-THE TESTING OF INSTITUTIONS, With respect to institutions, the gifts of 1896 have been of the same undecided character. The year has established and confirm d the power still possessed in this democratic age by the autocratic principle. At this moment France is but a prefecture of St. Petersburg, and the whole of Europe is practically powerless before the Assassin who reigns in Turkey. On the other hand, in the United States of America there has been a very remarkable vindication of the principle of democratic Government by the vote of the masses of the people, and in the visit of the Tsar to Paris we have a not less significant recognition of
in alversity, is more enthusiastically devoted to him to-day than it was in the zenith of his prosperity.
It has hardly fared so well with another conspicuous figure in the British arena. 1896, which brought to Mr. Rhodes in January humiliation and defeat, but which before it closed has almost re-established him in popularity and power, has reversed the order of its gifts to the British statesman who is most closely associated with Mr. Rhodes. January saw Mr. Chamberlain at the very summit of popularity and prestige. Never before had “ Pushful Joe” shown such resource, alertness, vigor, and audacity as he displayed in dealing with Dr. Jameson and the German conspiracy which Dr. Jameson's raid unmasked. It is true he displayed the faults of his qualities. Some of his references to Germany were hardly those of a prudent and tactful statesman; but on the whole, the cheers which greeted Mr. ChamberJain wherever 'he showed himself in public testified to a popular appreciation of his qualities which for some time past has been perceptibly on the wane. His method of dealing with the Boers can hardly be characterised as happy. He began with winking at, it not actually approving of, the conspiracy carried on for the purpose of securing the success of an insurrectionary movement in Johannesburg. The moment that the movement miscarried, he won quite an unexpected amount of kudos by jumping upon Dr. Jameson. "Then after a time he endeavoured to secure from the Boers concessions which would give us tolerable security for a settled state of things in the Transvaal. His despatches show that when he telegraphed to the High Commissioner to use vigorous language in support of the Uitlanders' de:nands, he appeared to be heading straight for war. The High Commissioner, however, was not in a warlike mood, and instead of applying any pressure whatever, he returned to Cape Town and reported nothing could be done. Thereupon began the final stage of Mr. Chamberlain's evolution, which, although it may have been inevitable, can hardly be regarded as heroic or even satisfactory. Two Englishmen who refused to sign the petition to President Kruger offering to sacrifice their civil rights, are still in prison at Pretoria, and none of the others were allowed to escape until they had been severally mulcted of a heavy money fine. But all that Mr. Chamberlain has lost in popularity and power may be recovered if before the Select Committee he is able to prove that he has acted with the straightforwardness of a British statesman. That lie had full cognisance of much of the conspiracy which he afterwards condemned is probably true; nor will any one blame him for sympathising heartily with any effort to assist a population which is struggling, and rightly struggling, to be free from the oppressive and corrupt government which denied it representation, and saddled it with fifteen-sixteenths of the whole taxation of the State. But the public will be slow to forget, and will never forgive, any attempt to deceive it by a resort to subterfuges, the object of which would be to deny the facts and to throw the whole of the responsibility upon the shoulders of others. If Mr. Chamberlain had guilty fore-knowledge of the preparations to aid and abet the insurrection at Johannesburg, if he had given Mr. Rhodes reason to believe he heartily approved of and sympathised with the attempts being made to bring the Transvaal into line, all would be forgiven him if it were frankly owned and manfully defended. Of course, it would entail, as in the case of Mr. Rhodes, the loss for a time of his Ministerial portfolio. That, however, is a bagatelle compared with the doom that would overwhelm him if, should he have