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own response? We also sent an effusive letter to the Tsar, but is it not true that meanwhile we are building more and finer ships than we ever built before? Are we not increasing our artillery and seeing to the increased efficiency of our army in every respect, and are not we annually spending more upon our forces ? Are we not doing this with the concurrence of all parties? Were not Lord Spencer and Mr. Robertson, much to their credit, no less active in the work, a short time since, than Mr. Goschen and Mr. Macartney are now?

Everywhere, therefore, there is a movement in the direction of increased armaments at the very time when everybody is belauding the Tsar's Rescriptand replying in sympathetic terms to his invitation.

Was ever a banquet so generously furnished with guests who are playing a double part ? Every one of them by turns, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. How is this to be accounted for? Is it because there is one of these nations which is content to bear this terrible

peace, and is not anxious to lay down at least a part of its load ? Not at all. They all are anxious for that; but like a poor man when he pays cruelly heavy premiums for insuring his life and property, they feel that at whatever hazard, with so many dangers about and so many valuable things to guard, the most economical thing they can do is to increasingly insure themselves : that until the danger is past and the threat of foul weather gone by, their sails must be reefed and their decks must be clear, and their powder must be dry at whatever cost.

This being so, is it likely that any one of the nations will submit to having such a question as the amount and character of its army and navy decided for it by any other Power or by any conference of Powers, or that, if it gave such an undertaking, it would be honestly kept ? What a premium it would offer to all kinds of public chicanery, deceit, and surreptitious dishonesty! What a bagful of quarrels and wars it suggests as the outcome of continual misunderstandings ! The whole suggestion is really not in unison with mundane politics at all, but with those of some fairy-land.

Hitherto we have discussed the general principle only ; let us now look at some matters of detail not less important. The proposal of the Tsar does not go the length of suggesting a reduction of armaments, but only a pause, a halt in their increase. This may suit the particular conditions and necessities of Russia, whose needs and policy may be dominated by financial considerations and otherwise; but how about the other nations? Some of them are rich, and some of them are very poor. The rich ones are only partially inconvenienced by the burden which these armaments impose upon them, and among them the very richest bear their burden well enough; but to the poorer nations, such as Spain, Italy, Turkey, &c., it is a mere mockery to ask them to take counsel how they are to stop the increase of armies and navies. It is the actual load on their backs at this moment which is squeezing the life out of them, and which they find it


intolerable to bear. What they are anxious ahout is to see the armaments reduced, and not merely to beat time while their bigger and expanding neighbours recover their breath, and give the signal for a fresh race; and why should breathing-time be given at all ? The fact is that the poor nations have no business whatever to compete in the terrible contest any more than poor men ought to gamble, or to try and compete in extravagance with the very rich. The competition is necessarily one of purses and of the lasting out of

I have been taken to task as if I were saying something vulgar and sordid in this, but it is plain prose. The expense of modern war is what makes it a luxury, and the poorer nations who cannot afford it should desist from the competition. They are in comparatively little danger. Actual aggression and conquest of each other by the European communities is not a probable event. As for the richer and more solvent nations, there is only one possible sound rule. Each one of them in regard to its armaments must cut its coat according to its cloth. It is unlikely that in any of them the actual expenditure on armaments will be largely in excess of what is deemed an adequate insurance against threatening dangers. None of us like to pay these premiums. We all feel we are spending money upon them which might be much better spent on other matters if we could afford it. But we insist upon being safe, and in making our safety depend upon the strength of our own right arm and the temper of our weapons and the quality of our armour, and not upon the good-will and complaisance of others. In the words put by Shakespeare into the mouth of Archbishop Scrope, we would say:

The dangers of the days but newly gone,
Whose memory is written on the earth
With yet appearing blood, and the examples
Of every minute's instance, present now,
llare put us in these ill-beseeming arms,
Not to break peace or any branch of it,
But to establish here a peace indeed,
Concurring both in name and quality.

Henry IV. Part II. aet Il. scene 1.

These are noble words, and it was pleasant not many days ago to notice the same true ring of courageous good sense and patriotism in the pronouncement of the eloquent Archbishop of Armagh.

We have shown the unwillingness of the nations to enter into self-denying engagements in regard to their armaments, as evidenced by the way in which they have supplemented their friendly greetings to the Tsar with a notable addition to their armies. They have thus shown that while they want to be civil they cannot accede to his request. A greater difficulty remains, however, than the good or ill intentions of the parties concerned -namely, the actual impracticability and unworkableness of the plan. When it was first proposed, it was thought that a mere stoppage of the increase in the numerical strength of the armies would meet the case, and a prominent London evening paper urged this view; but the number of men under arms is no test of the fighting strength of a people. Long service and short service are essential elements in the calculation. A nation by the process. of passing a certain proportion of men through the ranks rapidly may so multiply its fighting strength, as compared with an army recruited on long-service conditions, that its trained men will be doubled or trebled, although at any moment there may be fewer men actually under arms. This was the way in which the Prussians turned the flank of Napoleon's decree after the collapse at Jena, and . which enabled them presently to train a very large army compared with those on the actual muster rolls.

Again, there is the distinction between the active army and the territorial army and reserves, and in England the difference between the regulars and the yeomanry, militia and volunteers. Is the selfdenying ordinance to extend to all these, as well as to the army actually in the barracks, and how is this to be managed ?

Again, the army of a country like England cannot be compared in any way with a foreign army in regard to its actual numbers. It has not merely to find a fitting, or shall we rather say a very inadequate, force for the actual protection of our islands, but to garrison our colonies and to police and protect India. The army of Germany is a weapon ready at any moment to be thrown on the frontiers of its nearest foe in its full strength. What we could use in this fashion is a mere tithe of our forces. Under the stress of some quarrel or aggression, we should have to very largely increase our land forces before we had succeeded in making them a comparable weapon to those of other nations, as measured by our relative population and

France is partially tied in the same way. She also has a colonial army.

Again, we have merely considered the personnel, the men; but what about their armature? Fuzzy-wuzzy has proved himself on more than one occasion quite a match for Englishmen man for man, both in courage and in fighting capacity, but he has also shown us at Omdurman the futility of setting brave men armed with spears to face Remington rifles.

The fighting effectiveness of an army depends largely on its weapons and administrative completeness. A million Chinamen in the field would be a mere helpless mob, and a million men in Europe, however brave and courageous when armed with obsolete weapons, would be helpless against half their number when better armed.

No finer army was probably ever brought together than that which fought at Sadowa under Benedek. But it could not compete with the Prussian forces armed with the needle-gun any more than


Admiral Caserta with his sailors (and Spaniards are both brave and good sailors) could compete against the Americans, or the brave and reckless Dervishes could compete against our black and white boys in the Soudan. This is all a truism. What I mean to infer from it is that whatever engagements are entered into about the number of the men would be useless unless it were provided that their weapons should remain the same; and what nation is going to gire an undertaking on such a point, and to invite a complete paralysis of invention and development in its weapons, in its fortifications, in its explosives, in everything, in fact, which constitutes the actual machinery of war? Russia is now completing the re-arming of her infantry at a tremendous cost. Germany and France have been revolutionising their artillery by the introduction of a quick-firing gun. With us every ship is a new experiment, and involves a new advance and an increase of fighting capacity. All this costs a tremendous lot of money, and the cost seems to grow by leaps and bounds. How is it possible for the poorer nations to follow suit? On the other hand, and what is more important, how is it possible for a nation which feels its responsibilities, and realises that it has to carry on its shoulders a great load in the shape of the lives and interests of 300 millions of people, to sit like a frozen-out gardener and beat time while the world is moving on? And especially a country like ours, with an inventive genius of the first quality.

And if it would or could, how could the nations trust each other to keep faith in such a matter? Of course our irresponsible pulpit and platform agitators would have no difficulty about it, any more than the three benevolent Quakers bad when they came back from paying their visit to Nicholas the First. They are always ready to trust the integrity and honour of Russian statesmen and to be suspicious of the motives of English ones. That is an easy method, eren if it involves an ignoble attitude; but we are not all of us made that way,' to use a forcible colloquialism. Some of us prefer to turn for our lessons, not to the peripatetic platform orators who are going about the country beating a very noisy because an empty drum, but to the Memoirs of Prince Bismarck, who has let us into a good many secrets. He bas taught us no lesson more valuable than that there is as much high morality and sensitive regard for right in the methods of Continental diplomacy and statecraft as there is union of hearts between the shreds of the Parnellite and those of the Gladstonian party.

The undertakings of foreign statesmen as measured by Prince Bismarck's standards are poor reeds to lean against, but the statements in their Budgets are worse.

No documents, as has been proved over and over again, are more illusory and misleading. They are carefully drawn up very much as the prospectuses of many new

companies in this country are, to angle for and to catch investors, and not to illuminate searchers after truth. This reminds me of another pitfall.

The fighting strength of a nation is not exhausted when we have enumerated its men and described their armature, the making of railways and of roads, the building of harbours and of fortresses, &c. These are in many cases merely military ventures. Among the recent railways made by Russia are several strategical lines. She is perfectly justified in making them. She would be neglecting her first duty to her subjects if she failed to make them. If she, in fact, failed to make all her resources available, so that she should not be overtaken by such a mishap and such a terrible drain upon her life's blood as occurred in consequence of her having had no railway to Sebastopol in the time of the Crimean war, and similar railways into the Caucasus and to Turkestan. I do not question for a moment the propriety of her making these lines. What I do say, however, is that they are largely military lines, while the expenditure upon them would appear in the Budget as a civil expenditure; and so with many other items. It is, further, the constant practice of foreign Governments to transfer items of expenditure from one heading to another.

The fact is, I know of no Budget in which there is an absolute equation between Estimates and Expenditure, except our own. Here alone do we have a continuous and vigilant overhauling of the public accounts in such a way as to make such transfers and alterations impossible or very difficult. There would therefore be no way of verifying the statements of our rivals. What a chance for every imitator of Prince Bismarck's avowedly unprincipled policy would thus be afforded, what jealousies, what discussions, what incipient wars! The last state would indeed, in such a case, be worse than the first.

If chicanery again were discovered, how would it be punished ? what remedy would avail ? What would, in fact, happen if one or two nations were found to have largely increased their military resources, while the rest were indulging in arcadian dreams—while England, for instance, was dancing to the piping of her Nonconformist prophets ? Would our Evangelists of Peace all enlist and march to punish the wrongdoer, as they proposed we should march against a Concert of Europe in order to save the Armenians from being persecuted by the Turks, or would they sing some fresh hymn as harsh and tuneless and ridiculous as those they are singing to-day?

The trouble is that all this bastard enthusiasm among a very limited and very largely senseless class in this country may be mistaken by Nicholas the Third, as a similar movement was mistaken by Nicholas the First, for the voice of the English people and of responsible English statesmen. We who live in England know that this kind of thing is always with us. Like the cholera in Bengal, it can always be studied in Hyde Park on Sunday afternoons, when

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