« PreviousContinue »
cated our introducing in the Philippines, under the pretence of rendering them neutral). This was accomplished very largely because the three nations set good-humoredly to work to come to an agreement which would do justice to all. In the preliminary negotiations the agents of America and Germany were Mr. Tripp and Baron Stemburg. No difficulty can ever arise between Germany and the United States which will not be settled with satisfaction to both, if the negotiations are conducted by such representatives of the two powers as these two men. What is necessary is to approach the subject, not with a desire to get ahead of one another, but to do even and exact justice, and to put into operation a scheme which will work, while scrupulously conserving the honor and interest of all concerned.
Nations that expand and nations that do not expand may both ultimately go down, but the one leaves heirs and a glorious memory, and the other leaves neither. The Roman expanded, and he has left a memory which has profoundly influenced the history of mankind, and he has further left as the heirs of his body, and, above all, of his tongue and culture, the so-called Latin peoples of Europe and America. Similarly to-day it is the great expanding peoples who bequeath to the future ages the great memories and material results of their achievements, and the nations which shall have sprung from their loins, England standing as the archetype and best exemplar of all such mighty nations. But the peoples that do not expand leave, and can leave, nothing behind them.
It is only the warlike power of a civilized people that can give peace to the world. The Arab wrecked the civilization of the Mediterranean coasts, the Turk wrecked the civilization of southeastern Europe, and the Tartar desolated from China to Russia and to Persia, setting back the progress of the world for centuries, solely because the civilized nations opposed to them had lost the great fighting qualities, and, in becoming overpeaceful, had lost the power of keeping peace with a strong hand. Their passing away marked the beginning of a period of chaotic barbarian warfare. Those whose memories are not so short as to have forgotten the defeat of the Greeks by the Turks, of the Italians by the Abyssinians, and the feeble campaigns waged by Spain against feeble Morocco, must realize that at the present moment the Mediterranean coasts would be overrun either by the Turks or by the Soudan Mahdists if these warlike barbarians had only to fear those southern European powers which have lost the fighting edge. Such a barbarian conquest would mean endless war; and the fact that nowadays the reverse takes place, and that the barbarians recede or are conquered, with the attendant fact that peace follows their retrogression or conquest, is due solely to the power of the mighty civilized races which have not lost the fighting instinct, and which by their expansion are gradually bringing peace into the red wastes where the barbarian peoples of the world hold sway.
LATITUDE AND LONGITUDE AMONG REFORMERS
PUBLISHED IN THE "CENTURY," JUNE, i9oo
ONE of Miss Mary E. Wilkins's delightful heroines remarks, in speaking of certain would-be leaders of social reform in her village: "I don't know that I think they are so much above us as too far to one side. Sometimes it is longitude and sometimes it is latitude that separates people." This is true, and the philosophy it teaches applies quite as much to those who would reform the politics of a large city, or, for that matter, of the whole country, as to those who would reform the society of a hamlet.
There is always danger of being misunderstood when one writes about such a subject as this, because there are on each side unhealthy extremists who like to take half of any statement and twist it into an argument in favor of. themselves or against their opponents. No single sentence or two is sufficient to explain a man's full meaning, any more than in a sentence or two it would be possible to treat the question of the necessity for, and the limitations of, proper party loyalty, with the thoroughness and justice shown, for instance, by Mr. Lecky in his recent queerly named volume, "The Map of Life." All men in whose character there is not an element of hardened baseness must admit the need in our public life of those qualities which we somewhat vaguely group together when we speak of "reform," and all men of sound mind must also admit the need of efficiency. There are, of course, men of such low moral type, or of such ingrained cynicism, that they do not believe in the possibility of making anything better, or do not care to see things better. There are also men who are slightly disordered mentally, or who are cursed with a moral twist which makes them champion reforms less from a desire to do good to others than as a kind of tribute to their own righteousness, for the sake of emphasizing their own superiority. From neither of these classes can we get any real help in the unending struggle for righteousness. There remains the great body of the people, including the entire body of those through whom the salvation of the people must ultimately be worked out. All these men combine or seek to combine in varying degrees the quality of striving after the ideal, that is, the quality which makes men reformers, and the quality of so striving through practical methods—the quality which makes men efficient. Both qualities