Billeder på siden


cidents, repeated often enough, violence and garrulity of the become habits, and it is idle House of Commons. No Prime to ascribe to a mere freak of Minister, if he be wise, wastes courage or genius the result time in the House which can which in another is dogmatio- be better employed elsewhere. ally set down to the vague And if the rank and file of quality of which we hear so the members like to talk, if much from the pessimists. zealous supporters are pleased

Lord Rosebery, however, has to organise autumn campaigns, discovered another sin of Eng. they do no harm to the nation, land. We are the victims, he and they find an easy outlet says, of party. At the very for their superfluous energy. moment when the House of Nor are the excesses which Commons is losing its influence the spirit of party encourages and prestige, he discovers that without their uses ; for it is to

are being ruined by the party that we owe the equililoquacity of Parliament. This brium necessary for good gov. sin of party is, we are glad to ernment. When once a statesthink, a mere variant of German man has a solid majority at competition, or French proxim. his back, he can neglect the ity. It is but another bogey of cackle of his opponents. For Lord Rosebery's imagining. It seven years he is the master is true that “we are all striving of the situation; and he is to put ourselves or our leaders converted by this very system into offices or expel other people of party, which Lord Rosebery from them.” It is true that deplores, into an autocrat. The we have “great debates and admirable foreign policy which incessant divisions and spirited has been pursued by England autumn campaigns. But the during the last few years country is not governed by would have had but a small these exercises in rhetoric. chance of success if Mr Balfour Our Ministers, if they are had not had a loyal party beworth their place, act as well hind him. The insult and as speak. The best work that obloquy with which the Opthey do is done in secret, and position have assailed him is is only revealed to the world not of the slightest importance, in its details many years after and it is forgotten as their death. The work of as the

newspaper of

the legislation is merely secondary. day is cast aside. But with Few laws are ever passed which a firm majority at their back have the smallest result for the Prime Minister and the good or evil upon the com- Foreign Secretary have been munity. The affairs of the able to place England in such nation are administered, its a position as is the envy of all treaties with foreign nations her rivals. are made, in silence and secrecy. Is, then, the spirit of party This part of the country's busi- so ruinous to the country as ness, the only important part, Lord Rosebery supposes? We remains unaffected by the think not, especially when we

soon nor

remember the alternative. If that we have lost our trade and we abolish parties, we must our influence is the first step hand over the House of Com- towards disaster. If we say mons to the changing caprices often enough that we have of petty groups which will neither ships nor men, we shall never agree on any two ques- end by having neither ships tions, and which will effect

men. The hastily exually hamper the action of pressed opinions of Colonials all Ministers, whatever their who visit their mother country opinions may be. We have for the first time may comseen in the France of ten years fortably be neglected. We since the pitiful achievements of need not ask why the footdiscordant and hostile groups. ball players of New Zealand The Government was so bitterly are superior to their English divided against itself that it rivals, when the answer is clear could neither preserve its own and simple. We have been dignity nor oppose a bold front beaten, not because the race is to foreign nations. This disas- inefficient, but merely because ter we have avoided by our the New Zealanders are the habits of free speech both in better team. When we send and out of Parliament, and so fifteen men to New Zealand long as we have strong Minis- so highly trained and so long ters to control us, it does not used to playing together as matter how many words are these New Zealanders, we shall wasted in the House. Even win as many goals as they, and eloquence, which was the in- shall not, we trust, accuse our vention of the daily Press, has rivals of standing upon the had its day. The people is brink of ruin. After all, it is

, more interested in murders than idle to generalise concerning in speeches, and our modern the state of the nation. vulgarity will not be altogether are vulgar, we are not inin vain if it insists upon the competent. To act is better curtailment of Parliamentary than to talk. To grow in debates. For those members accordance

with our who have used the most words nature is better than to imito express the fewest

thoughts tate the first-comer who has have spoken to the Press and achieved a brilliant success. to the Press alone, and when For if we are to hold our place their patron deserts them they in the world, we must hold it will be shamed to silence. as Englishmen, not as sham

If, then, we are to find an ex- Japanese or pretended Gerplanation for the "inefficiency,” mans; and if our ancestors which for so many centuries who fought at Creçy and has stood us in good stead, we Poitiers, at Plassey and Quebec, , must look beyond the incon- in the Peninsula and at Waterveniences of party. And prud- loo, were inefficient, we may ence suggests that we should bear the reproach of Lord not be too eloquent concerning Rosebery without fear and our own weakness. To believe without regret.

If we



In a speech made in London told the world, the great probshortly after Lord Curzon's ap- lem of Asia, the wonderful pointment to the Viceroyalty mystery of India, had thrown of India, he explained his readi- its spell over him since ness to undertake the exile, the days of his boy hood at the toil, and the responsibility Eton, and had furnished the of that great office in these most engrossing study of his words: “I accepted it because life; he had given the best I love India, its people, its powers of his early manhood history, its Government, the to making himself acquainted absorbing mysteries of its civil- with the details of its history isation and its life.” In this and its ethics, its past, its sentence is summed up the present, and the promise of its underlying explanation of Lord future; while yet fresh from Curzon's connection with our Oxford he had dreamed of eastern dependency; it gives holding that great position, the keynote of his whole ad- when his official home would ministration, which prompted be the white Government alike his internal reforms and House of Calcutta, modelled his foreign policy.

Ardent on his childhood's home at sympathy with India, with the Kedleston. In short, he had dumb millions of its popula. set this before him as the foretion, with the fascination of most goal of his public life. its past and the great possi- Compare this with the record bilities of its future,—this has of Lord Dufferin. Of him we been the mainspring of his read that he applied indeed energy, the motive of his every for the post of Viceroy of word and deed since he landed India while yet a young man, at Bombay nearly seven years but merely because he did not ago. This it is which we must “see much chance of any openbear in mind if we would truly ing occurring” at home, and understand the secret of his was therefore “forced to look success, the cause even of his abroad.” The dignity of high mistakes and failures. This office, it mattered not much it is which has mainly con- whether it was in India or in tributed to the achievement Canada, attracted him, but no by him of a position on a special love for or fascination plane entirely different from of the East turned his eyes in that of all but a very few that direction; and when at of his predecessors. For how length the tide of fortune different the spirit in brought him to the shores of which he approached India India, it was no particular from that of most of the public enthusiasm for the country men who have held the Vice- which animated him during royalty! As he himself has his four years of arduous and


not wholly congenial toil. Lordings with the native princes Curzon's enthusiasm may have of India. Probably no Viceroy partaken somewhat of the

of the ever was so genuinely trusted Utopian dreams of youth, too and looked up to by them as roseate to be fully realised; the real and responsible reprebut who shall say that this sentative of the paramount fault, if fault it be, was not power; certainly no other ever on the right side, or that the did so much, or succeeded so sympathy which it engendered well, in gaining their confidwith the people over whom he ence by personally visiting ruled has not already borne them, by making himself acfruit, to the consolidation of quainted with their individual our Indian empire ? "If I views and their various needs, were asked," he once declared, by unaffected and obviously “what appears to me to be sincere sympathy with their the secret of the proper treat- position, their aspirations, and ment of those [frontier] tribes, their troubles. Such measures or of Oriental races in general, as the foundation of the ImI would reply that it consists perial Cadet Corps, and the in treating them as if they employment on field-service of were men of like composition the Imperial Service Troops in with ourselves." He was not line with our regular regiments slow in applying this doctrine (an innovation which gave in. of sympathy to every one of tense satisfaction in all the the many sides of his work in States concerned), are instances India. It is the underlying which may be cited of the principle of the frontier policy reality of Lord Curzon's inwhich will long be associated terest in the development of with his name. Indeed, it the native States and their may be said that even before rulers; the unmistakable loythe idea of his ever becoming alty of the princes at the great Viceroy had taken definite coronation Durbar, and the shape, this principle and this expressions of genuine regret policy were foreshadowed in at his departure which have his travels along the borders poured in from every side, of India and in his letters whether from the far-off Mehfrom those lands, then seeth- tar of wild Chitral or from the ing with fanatical and inter- cultivated and liberal ruler of necine strife. As far back as Gwalior, are sufficient proof of 1894, when we were on the his success, and of the bonds verge of our troubles in Chitral, with which he has strengthened he wrote from that place to our empire in the East. • The Times' that he was con- If we turn to Lord Curzon's fident he could effect

treatment of the many measures by an hour's talk with the of internal reform which have Khan of Dir than had been been dealt with during the achieved by months and years strenuous years of his Viceof formal correspondence. So, royalty, we find on every side too, in regard to all his deal- the expression of the same




ever-present sentiment of sym- I think that they are two in pathy with India and its number. The first of these is people. Above all is this the dull and lifeless performsympathy shown with "the ance of duty. ... The second patient, humble millions toil- is the corollary of the first. ing at the well and at the You must not only learn to be plough, knowing little of bud- self-reliant, but you must be gets, but very painfully aware thorough. Efficiency is of the narrow margin between the final test, and self-reliance sufficiency and indigence. It is the golden rule.” In the is to them," he exclaimed, in same spirit was that address one of the last and most delivered before the same body illuminating of his speeches last February, when he inculin India-"it is to them that cated the importance of truthmy heart goes out." Nor is fulness in every walk of life, the same feeling absent even and warned his hearers against from those speeches which that tendency to untruthfulhave most aroused discussion ness which manifests itself in and hostility by reason of the insidious forms of flattery their blunt directness and and vituperation. The exagtheir criticism and exposure of gerated indignation aroused by the foibles prevalent amongst the very moderate terms of this educated natives, especially in address amongst the so-called Bengal. If there is one thing babu class of Bengal and Madmore than another to which

as characteristic of Lord Curzon is hostile, it is the sensitive vanity of "young superficiality and sham; and India ” as its delivery was it was because of his earnest indicative of Lord Curzon's desire to see the people of India fearlessness in the attack of develop and advance, because, whatever seems to him to be too, of his confident belief in deserving of censure. the possibility of their develop- “Nothing is easier," he said ment, that, when he saw them a former occasion, than moving on wrong lines, follow- for a speaker to flatter his ing false ideals under the guise audience. I think I could of education, he not only set without difficulty construct a about correcting and control- catalogue of Indian virtues, for ling the direction of their de- I know them both by contact velopment by means of legis- and repute.

You might aplation in regard to educational plaud, but you would not go matters, but also lost no oppor- away any the wiser. .. I tunity of impressing on them want you rather to see the danwhat paths they should follow, gers to which you are liable." what errors they should avoid. Finally, “ Avoid superficiality ; “What are the perils,” he put your soul into your work; asked in one of his Convoca- be strenuous, and assuredly tion addresses at the Calcutta you will not fail of honour in University, “ against which your own time and country.” you have to be on your guard ? Certainly he has never failed




« ForrigeFortsæt »