Page images
PDF
EPUB

If we may

opinions which they thought comes only from a contempt best fitted to the needs of their of life. In the second place, countrymen. And these emis- Japan, with all her enlightensaries went about in perfect ment and adaptability, has faith, collecting and comparing remained an absolute tyranny. specimens of policy and tactics, She has played with the forms like so many butterfly hunters of parliament; she has her with tin boxes and green gauze Ministers, her Speakers, and nets. They were willing to her Representatives of the borrow ideas from anywhere. people.

But all are the serThey set only one limit upon vants of the Mikado in word their enterprise : they would and in deed. Perhaps in the add to their collection nothing future she may discover the that was Japanese in origin. dangers of popular govern. Once upon a time a Japanese ment, but the discovery is still statesman consulted an English. to make, and it is idle to comman on a delicate matter. He pare the policy of Japan with wanted, said he, to publish in that which we follow perforce his own country a handbook in England. It seems, thereof Toryism, and he asked in fore, that the object-lesson is all sincerity what handbook not of much service to us, and he should have translated from if we may believe Lord RoseEnglish. The Englishman in bery, England needs no lesson amazement pointed out, what from any one.

beshould be obvious, that Tory- lieve him, we have always been ism was not the same thing inefficient. “We have been so in England as in Japan. That successful in the world,” says does not matter, replied the he, “without efficiency, that in Japanese; a book that has not the ordinary course of events been translated from English we shall be one of the last or German has no chance of nations to strive for it without being read by my countrymen. some external pressure.” What,

Japan, then, has thriven on then, is this mysterious quality imitation, and for that very called efficiency which we lack, reason she can never be a and without which we have model to the older nations. succeeded so admirably? We Being free to pick and choose, do not know, and Lord Roseshe has respected neither con- bery does not enlighten us. sistency nor prejudices. If she But if we have been inefficient wears a parti-coloured suit it throughout our history, if our matters not to her, for when inefficiency broke the efficient she cast aside her old clothes power of Spain in the sixteenth she became careless of fashion, century, crushed the world in and the marts of the world the eighteenth, and rose suwere open to her. But there perior even to the genius of are other reasons why Japan Napoleon in the nineteenth, we can never be an example to the have no need of efficiency. Lord Western nations. In the first Rosebery, no doubt, would deplace, her citizens have that clare that our achievements fine contempt of death which were due to accident. But accidents, 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 dogmatic- 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 we are being ruined by the party that we owe the equililoquacity of Parliament. This brium necessary for good govsin 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 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

Foreign Secretary have been munity. The affairs of the able to place England in such nation 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

as

com

are

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 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. If we 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 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

are

own

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.

success.

we

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 govsin 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

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

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. nor 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. If we 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 own 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.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »