« ПретходнаНастави »
our system of air patrols adequate, and can we not devise some system of patrol by air at sea which would give us an immunity from air attack not absolute, indeed, but corresponding to the immunity enjoyed by our coast towns from bombardment by surface craft? We are not satisfied with the answers usually given to such questions as these, and have a rooted objection to our air defenses at home being governed by military ideas. The sea is the region in which we should be defended from raids. Secondly, can our navy be used more effectually in combined operations with the army? It could certainly if we had used the navy to better purpose in the Eastern Mediterranean, but there it was usually our army authorities who held back the military support necessary if naval power was to exert its full military effect. But against fortifica
tions such as the Germans have by this The Manchester Guardian.
time erected along the coast of Belgium we do not believe that the navy, with or without an army, can be used so as to produce decisive military results. In the Dardanelles, and in the East generally, it might; on the coast of Belgium we doubt it. The conditions in the German operations in the Baltic were entirely different. Still, we are open to conviction on this point, which is admittedly contentious. Lastly, should our navy rest content with its exclusion by mines from a large area like the Baltic? Could we have done more to help Russia against the German naval concentration than we apparently have? The question of the Baltic is the most serious and searching of all, and we find it exceedingly difficult to reconcile ourselves to a system which makes the Baltic a closed sea. For this is a permanent question. If we acquiesce now, we acquiesce for good and all.
(The colossal expenditures of the war, and the pressing problems which confront the different Governments and the financiers and business interests of the different countries are of so profound national concern that THE LIVING AGE proposes to print for the present, from week to week, a department specially devoted to their consideration.—Editor of THE LIVING AGE.)
PARLIAMENT AND FINANCE.
With his incurable habit of saying the wrong thing, Mr. Bonar Law introduced a supplementary vote of credit of 400 millions in a speech full of jaunty optimism which can only have a bad effect. It will confirm public sentiment in its slipshod slackness with regard to finance, and it will not help the sales of National War Bonds, which already show a considerable dwindling after the opening rush. It will be remembered that the House was alarmed when, during the period covered by the first vote of credit for this financial year, the expenditure showed an increase of two
millions a day above the Budget estimate. lt was explained at the time that exceptional circumstances had produced this increase, and there was every reason to expect that it would not continue. Because it has not continued, and since that time the excess over the estimate has come down to about one million a day, the Chancellor of the Exchequer seems to think that all is well with finance, and proceeds to deal with the subject in a strain of airy carelessness, encouraging the country to follow its natural bent and do likewise. He dealt with the whole period from the beginning of the financial year to Sep
went out he French But in
tion, mastered her wild spirit, and led the bargain with Mephistopheles. her upon the mounting path of con- When Napoleon fell the light of quest. Here was no preconceived France went out. The thing was plan of aggression. The Napoleonic over and done. The Frenchman rewars were the work of Napoleon, who turned to cultivate his garden. But in marched upon a great adventure, the case of Germany there is no single perhaps the greatest adventure ever at person whose removal would materially tempted by one man, marched from affect the situation. It is the populatriumph to triumph, until the antago- tion of Germany which is involved in nistic forces he had awakened closed in this affair; and you cannot destroy a upon him. He fell, but to rise again whole population. Therefore the only with an indomitable splendor; then method by which the Germans can fell to rise no more. He tried to do be turned from their wickedness is to what is not permitted to man to ac- prove to them by practical demoncomplish. Did his failure end war, so stration that its results are and must be far as France was concerned? We fraught with the most frightful disare to consider that since the passing aster. What means soever are reof Napoleon France has never even quisite to that end will be taken. How contemplated another series of great far Germany is from appreciating the wars of aggression. Nor is it to be situation is demonstrated by the fact supposed for an instant that France stated by Sir Edward Carson that the had or will have any such impulse. Allies have never had from the German The war of 1870 was the work of the Government any offer of peace whatGerman, like the present war. But soever. According to all the available we have here to reflect that, except evidence, the Pan-German, or Fatherin so far as the Napoleonic wars were land, Party is still unshakably predirected towards conquest, there is no dominant. And until recently the parallel between those campaigns and German people undoubtedly believed the conflict provoked by Germany. what they were told, that the war was Napoleon was a great adventurer, forced upon Germany by her jealous whose commanding personality drew rivals. But the entrance of America, to his banner a whole nation. The who has nothing to gain by her action, war provoked by Germany was the into the quarrel, and the declared subject of forty years of preparation enmity of almost all the rest of the by the rulers of Germany. They world, are beginning to shake the framed the whole national policy to the credence of the German people in the one supreme end, and educated an enormous falsehood of their rulers. entire population to believe in it. The It is possible they are beginning to process was achieved with a dull and learn that a war of conquest is a fatal an obstinate malignity devoid of any mistake. That is their lesson, and it is spark of genius. Piece by piece, the the business of the Allies to teach the man-devouring machine was built up. moral once for all. And that is the It was designed for the sole purpose of purpose of the war. Restitution, acquiring material gain. The French reparation, punishment, are all means went to war for an idea. The Germans to the same end. They are not ends organized slaughter for lust. The in themselves. It is the business of the German people were promised a great Allies to concentrate their energies reward. They were promised the king- upon the first step towards securing doms of the earth and the glory thereof; peace in the future, which is to conand Dr. Faustus duly clenched vince the malefactor of his guilt.
The London Post,
justified in refraining from imposing
Law, so long as he can merely keep pace with service of the debt—and as Mr. McKenna showed, it is very doubtful whether he is so doing—not only feels satisfied himself, but misled the House by a statement which implies that this is the principle on which our war finance has all through been based.
In an interesting analysis of the position of the debt, he took the total National Debt at roughly £5,000 millions on September 29th, and having deducted from it loans to Allies of £1,100 millions, loans to Dominions £160 millions, responsibilities taken by the Indian Government £66,000,000, he makes a total of £1,326,000,000. He thus, again making the comfortable assumption that all our loans to Allies are as good as cash, brings down the total of our net debt to £3,674 millions, and having deducted the National Debt at the beginning of the war, which he puts at £645 millions, he leaves us with a net war debt of roughly £3,000 millions. From these figures he proceeded to the usual song of triumph based on a comparison between our finance and Germany's. The fact that German finance is very bad indeed is only comforting if it means that German staying power for the war is thereby weakened. But in view of German discipline and docility and readiness to believe official statements, it does not necessarily follow that this is so. Otherwise the fact that German war finance has been very bad indeed is no comfort to us because ours is very bad. Mr. McKenna endorsed Mr. Bonar Law's views that a supplementary budget was unnecessary. Nevertheless, the pace at which we are piling up debt, a considerable part of which has been raised abroad (a fact on which the Chancellor carefully laid no stress) is causing a good deal of concern among thinking men in the City, who are able to see more clearly than the Chancellor that this policy
brows) by a perplexed and questioning and perforating silence. His face was a perpetual mark of interrogation There was about him a kind of conceited modesty without warmth or light or wit or sparkle. Wishing to seem Socratic, he wanted you to think that he knew all in appearing to know nothing. He seemed certain of nothing save perhaps his own indefinite indispensability. One blatant word would have been a relief, for he left you with the idea-one of the few words he dealt in was ''idea"—that you had met a mist. “Madam,” exclaims Heine, “have you the ghost of an idea what an idea is?" We are sure that our don never had, but he was so fuddled with polyglot philosophies, so vainly philosophic and philosophically vain, so condescendingly puzzle-headed that folks took him for a metaphysician. Needless to add that he rose superior to costume. By a sort of inverted dandyism he was aggressively illdressed-it was the only pronounced thing about him. Clothes were just an idea, and his tailor, an abstraction. We ought to have said "abstractly” ill-clad instead of "aggressively.”
Since then we have seen the university man succeeding in life simply by looking solemn and through some elusive magic of vague impressiveness. His gait and gestures help, but the secret lies in his high forehead. For he belongs to the noble army of forehead-traders. That many confuse solemnity with profundity is an old story. But Burleigh's grave head shake, Thurlow's beetling brows, Harley's feeble-forcibleness, pale before a super-vacancy so majestic. It is a great gift this faculty of looking so wise that you carve a career, and meaning so little that you seldom risk a reputation. Heaven knows whence it springs, though we suppose there must be something in it. Our friend has the official manner-discreet platitude,
learned facility, a behind-the-scenes absence of mind. He is gently affable in his attitude, but you never forget that he is the man-mountain," whatever mice it may bring forth. For him everyone who is lively is unsound; anything that it is inconvenient to discuss is a matter of “high policy.” He is an intellectual Joseph who never yields to originality of thought or action. At a nation's crisis he will settle things by telling you what Goschen always advised, or well remembering that Lord Salisbury was never in a hurry. Other men far cleverer, just as persistent, fail; you can count them by twenties. But they lack the spells of that humorless smile and that infinite forehead. He is, of course, at the top of the tree, but many subsuperiors with fronts nigh as expansive are swarming up the lower branches, crunching the decorations as they rise. One certain sign of them is that they never tackle things as they are, but only as their office, or the patron to whose coat-tails they cling, regards them. "In the beginning God created the Treasury and the Foreign Office"that is their version of Genesis, and there is no flaming sword that can expel such a fine fatuity from Eden.
It is odd, too, how thoroughly good fellows will suddenly blossom into superior persons if summoned to a new sphere. We remember the instance of a brilliant and genial man transferred at a stroke from high office to the receipt of Custom. He became awfully, rudely superior. The man who had never given offense offended everyone. Was it from shyness, or was it from a lack of imagination that a being so able and amiable was transformed into a bear? Who shall decide? No doubt he thought that a great business manner was required, or perhaps he may have been bewildered by the quickness and haste of his environment. But there it was. No body would have known bim, and the superior air, that gets men on when it is ponderously silent, failed completely when it sought refuge in brusqueness. We recollect another instance of superiority arising from an exchange of careers. A distinguished man of letters was once called into the Cabinet. Instantly he became superior. He lectured the world, and has been lecturing it ever since. He had no sense of humor.
The Fabian is terribly superior. If you will not concede that exceptions make the rule, and that topsy-turvydom is the true order of reason, you are a fool, and he tells you so to your face. We speak as a fool, it is true; but this kind of omniscience is in tolerable. Whatever you say, if you do not agree, you are bourgeois which he is wont to pronounce "bour gewar." One of them assured us that Heine-already quoted—was an anarchist. We mildly retorted that Heine once said that democrats loved the people so much that with it they
The Saturday Review.
were ready to share its last crust. Omniscience is not always omniscient.
Then there is another sort of superiority—the superiority to polish or information. We know of a clever editor, a caterer for the million, who will print nothing that lacks the qualities of the cinema. Everything else is only fit for cultivated old maids or those precieuses ridicules, the ladies superior. So be it. You cannot have an uproarious circulation without calculated uproar. Matthew Arnoldthe fine flower of superiority-made one of his best characters murmur when the word "delicacy” was dropped casually in a railway carriage, "Surely I have heard that word before. Yes, before I knew Sala, before I wrote for that infernal paper, before I called Dixon's style 'lithe and sinewy.'”
After all, everyone is a bore to somebody. If the superior person bores us, it should follow that we inferiors bore the superior person. But not a bit of it—that is his proud peculiarity. No one bores him-not even himself. His self-complacency is invincible.
"you'll understand why I brandish it. Listen:
“This,” I said, "is perfectly monstrous. It is an outrage. It- "
“What have they done to you now?”' said Francesca. "Have they forbidden you to have your boots made of leather, or to go on wearing your shiny old blue serge suit, or have they failed in some way to recognize your merits as a Volunteer? Quick, tell me so that I may comfort you.”
"Listen to this," I said.
“I should be better able to listen and you would certainly be better able to read the letter if you didn't brandish it in my face."
"When you've heard it," I said,
“Sir, -I understand that on the 15th instant you traveled from Star Bend to our London terminus without your season ticket, and declined to pay the ordinary fare. One of the conditions which you signed stipulates that in the event of your inability to produce your season ticket the ordinary fare shall be paid, and as the Railway Executive now controlling the railways on behalf of the Government is strict in enforcing the observance of this condition, I have no alternative but to request you to kindly remit me the