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fantastic and furious orators gather round them sometimes ribald and sometimes gushing audiences, while they disclose all the mysteries of the universe and discourse on its shortcomings. They are quite harmless to us because we can measure their authority; nor is it altogether a thing to be entirely deprecated that the politicians of the pavement should declaim against the blots and stains upon our social life, even if they are incurable. We all feel younger and inore hopeful than we sometimes look. The only thing to guard against is that august foreigners should not mistake our real purpose because we have so many ingenuous people among us. * Plus apud nos vera ratio valeat quam vulgi opinio,' said a wiser man than most of us.




EVERYWHERE, or nearly everywhere, since the issue of the Tsar's eirenicon, has appeared the tacit theory that the great national families of mankind had but to agree to disarm, or to cease to increase their existing armaments, and the thing would be done.

And yet in the very existence of growths so vast and so deeply inwoven in the woof of national being as the present naval and military systems of Europe, lies surely some suggestion of a natural cause. Hardly otherwise could the breath of caprice, hardly could the intention of despots, hardly could the free choice of nations themselves induce the will to bear so great a burden, and to pay so great a price. Not in this age alone, but in almost every age since that of the Antonines, when, amidst universal peace, civilised man rotted in decay, have war and the preparation for war been mighty and ever-present factors in the life of mankind. Has then the whole of the vast sum of wealth and life which has gone in and for war been indeed a causeless and unnatural expenditure, without relevance to the gradual evolution of man upon this planet ? It would seem strange that phenomena so universal in time and in extent should have had no natural base, or that, having had such a base, they should at the present time be remediable by a conference of diplomatists.

In order to take an adequate view of the nature and effect of war, let us dissociate ourselves from the narrow standpoint of contemporary events and seek to regard time past as a man on a mountain-top regards an immense stretch of country spread far down beneath his gaze. So gazing, we should see the boundaries and the conditions of nations, not fixed and immutable, nor possessed of any principle of permanence, but fleeting and evanescent as figures in a dream, or as the pictures on the screen of a magic lantern.

But upon nearly all the movements of advance, or of retrogression, which have constituted the history of nations, one seal is set. It is the seal of war. Without this signature of success or failure, no great movement, save only when men have gone forth to colonise an uninhabited wilderness, has ever taken place. Ever and always the clashing efforts of diverse groups of men, or (as in the early centuries of Christianity and again at the Reformation) of the adyocates of opposite schools of thought, have found at last their issue in the battlefields of the world. Most horrible,' say the peacemongers'; * how frightful an expression of the unregenerate nature of man!' Doubtless these pious people, had they but possessed the functions of Omnipotence, would have invented some better method of accomplishing the social evolution of mankind, but unfortunately they were not consulted when our little earth was produced.

In order to realise the vastness of the part played by war in the development of the human race, we have only to attempt to picture to ourselves the state of the world had war been impossible. Taking as an illustration only periods covered by records familiar to us all, let us suppose that, after the Persian invasion had been repulsed, the fiat had gone forth that wars henceforth should cease. Then would Alexander never have carried the culture of ancient Greece into Asia Minor and Egypt.' Then would the Ptolemies never have reigned, nor Alexandrian philosophy with its reflex action on Christianity have come into being, nor Rome and Carthage have grappled for the mastery of the world. The civilisation of the Roman Empire would not have held two hundred millions of human beings in its grip, nor sown the seed of a harvest that far distant ages have reaped. For by war were the bounds of that empire enlarged, and by war did whatever qualities were greatest in Old Rome go forth to tinge the spirit and future of man. Nor again, when at last the race of Rome was run, when the - vitality that once was hers had vanished, and when moral corruption gnawed at her heart, as physical corruption eats into a body that is dead, would the wild waves of regenerative barbarism have overflowed her frontiers, and given to modern Europe its life and its strength.

And let us remember that the twenty-three centuries comprised in the period here taken are but as a moment in the story of mankind, and that through countless ages the human race has advanced through the agency and pathway of war. For, whatever epoch we may select for review, we shall find it equally impossible to conceive of an arrest of movement at that particular point; and how movement is to continue, if war is to cease, is the real question which the advocates of universal disarmament have to face. Of what moment in human history can they assert that, from that moment, change wrought by war should have been for ever denied ? Would they have had America for all time left to Indians, half savage, as in Mexico and Peru, or wholly savage, as in the North ? Or when the Spaniard had effected his conquest, and the Church had sanctioned his triumph, would they have refused to England and to the rest of the world the right to dispute with him at the sword's point and with the mouths of cannon the sovereignty of a fresh continent ? If, in either case, they answer in the affirmative, Canada and the United States, with their seventy-ive millions of inhabitants, representing equally with the rest of the Anglo-Saxon people the highest type of human being, would not have existed, and from the consequent restriction of the means of subsistence large numbers of the persons who pour forth platitudes on platforms and in newspapers about the blessings of peace and the horrors of war would never have been born-perhaps the sole argument that might be urged in favour of their ideas. But it may be replied that though certainly movement and change are vitally essential parts of human development (indeed, how otherwise could there be development at all ?), yet these might have been attained by some other means than war. Unluckily, there were no other means. An areopagus in which all the nations and tribes of the earth should have been equally represented would have been possible only if every human condition had been different from what it was, and if there had been no tremendous diversities of language, of religion, of civilisation, of nature and of race. And if all these diversities, which did exist, had not existed, then change and movement, which are the expression of growth and retrogression, would have been absent, because all mankind would have been homogeneous.

It is, however, futile to imagine a state of things the exact opposite of reality. As a matter of fact there has never been a moment in history at which the assembly of such a universal court would have been practicable. It follows therefore that if it be admitted that change and movement were necessary, but that war was wrong, then some other method of effecting change and movement must be named. Again comes the question : What other method ?' Would persuasion have induced the Romans to welcome the appearance among them of the barbarians who by their coming created a Would persuasion have induced the Spanish to open wide the doors of America to competing peoples? Persuasion was tried, as in the case of Sir John Hawkins, and lamentably failed. Did argument, or did Gustavus Adolphus, roll back the armed tide of the counter-reformation by which the apostles of authority sought to crush out the nascent freedom of human thought ? Persuasion, it is plain, could have availed only if human nature had been radically different from what it was.

It is well to pause a moment here to consider the point which has been reached, if the preceding considerations are sound. The point is that, in the past history of man, war--so far from having been an unmixed evil as it has often been represented-has been the absolutely necessary condition of human advance. If at any given period in the past, war could have been abolished (which was impossible), social evolution must have been arrested, because the only practicable means of effecting change and movement among nations and states would have been removed. In other words, the then existing political conditions would have been stereotyped.

It cannot of course for an instant be contended that all wars have made for the progress of civilisation. On the contrary, very many wars, as for example those waged by the Turks in Europe, have had an exactly opposite tendency; but it is essential to look at results as a whole, and not in part, and, so viewed, the generally beneficent action of war as a factor in human affairs is proved both by the undeniable advance which has been made, and by the broad fact that the nations which are the most potent in war at the present time are also the most moral and the most civilised. If through the ages war generally had had an opposite tendency, mankind must have receded to the state of the brutes, or perished altogether, long ago, of its own hideous corruption.

If we consider the matter further we shall find that if we take, not particular moments in the life of nations, but their life as a whole, these effects of war are inevitable, because in the long run the warlike strength of a people is the true reflex of their moral and mental vigour. No nation, not sound at the core, can continue through a long period to exbibit an incorrupt military administration, and, without this, high military efficiency cannot be maintained. Nor, unless the social structure of a country on the whole make for righteousness, can it in the long run hold its ground. No better illustration of this truth, which has its roots deep in the moral laws of the universe, could be furnished than by the present state of the Turkish Empire. The Turks are a race of soldiers ; no men braver, no men more apt for military service, can easily be found. Yet because their social structure is inferior to that of the Christian nations whom in bygone centuries they have so frequently defeated, their military efficiency has gradually decayed until it has obviously become (in spite of transient successes over the weaker Greeks) relatively far less than it was once. In like manner the corruption which is apparently rife in France, and which is alleged to be also rife in Russia, must in the long run impair the fighting capacities of those States. Thus, considered from the point of view not of years but of centuries, we see that war is the supreme test of national value, and that in the past, at all events, it has clearly made for advance, not for retrogression.

Having come so far, the question now arises whether the state of the world and the nature of man have so radically changed as to enable us benceforth to do without this previously essential factor in social evolution. Are our political divisions now so perfect, and is the character of nations now so uniform, that the constant alteration, merging, and fusing of these divisions, which we have seen to have been previously a law of progress, is no longer needed? Assuredly no sane being will answer this question in the affirmative. Never perhaps certainly very seldom—were the processes of national growth on the one hand, and of national decay on the other, more

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