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votes; and in no country was the division ments of English political genius. There clearer and the two sides more evenly bal- have been few nobler examples of the anced than in Great Britain. Is the for- practical gain of a sincere effort at justice. eign policy of Great Britain directed by a The contrast between the success with typical English Tory or a typical English which a liberal policy gained the loyalty Liberal ? It is an important question for of the defeated Boers and our clumsy and us in America. In the first case we may cruel Reconstruction policy after the expect continual friction; in the second, Civil War is a glowing example of what we can look forward confidently to whole- is most admirable in the English mind. hearted cordiality.
And as soon as it became evident to us The English, in their dealings with us, that a really Liberal government was in are inclined to rely overmuch on the power in London, the relations between proposition that "blood is thicker than wa- the two countries, which had been ter.” We have too often seen this mystic strained, at once became cordial again. liquid heated to the point of vaporization. Blood, and its varying degrees of thickMost American historians are agreed that ness, has little to do with it. The people if the British Government in 1776 had of the United States are not pro-English; been in the hands of a Liberal we would they are pro-Liberal. not have revolted. But the bull-headed, Our own internal politics ought to help ruthless Tory Lord North was in power,
us to understand the struggle in England and we found him unbearable.
between the Foxes and the Pitts of our During the long struggle with Napo- day. With them, as with us, the old party leon three great figures arose in English lines are largely meaningless. Each party, politics. They have furnished the "types" there as here, has its old guard and its of British statesmanship. Pitt stood for quota of forward-looking men. Many of the reaction, for conquest, for force; and the Unionists are more progressive, from helped by the sinister passions which war our point of view, than some of those who always raises, he won. For a generation call themselves Liberal, for there are folthe anti-democratic forces held high revel lowers of Fox and of Pitt in both parties; in England. Opposed to him was Fox, but it is of the utmost importance for us the most brilliant product of the spirit of to know all the time whether the actual progress in England. And between them foreign policy of Great Britain is typical wavered Burke ; eloquently liberal on be- of the England we admire or of the other half of the American colonies, he was England against which we revolted. venomously hostile to the French Revolu- This tradition of shielding the foreign tion; always changing color with the cir- minister from criticism makes it extremely cumstances, he was the opportunist par difficult to judge the personality of the excellence. Since then Britain has been man in the office. One can only estimate ruled sometimes by the spiritual descen- the character of the minister by the course dants of Fox, sometimes by the intellectual of events and by such White Papers as he offspring of Pitt or Burke. Almost all sees fit to issue. We know next to nothEnglish statesmen have resembled one or ing of Sir Edward's motives; we can judge the other of these three.
him only by visible results. They have The most recent example of this oscil- not been altogether happy. lation-and of its effects on Anglo-Ameri- When he entered the Foreign Office, can relations-was the South African under the Liberal ministry of Sir Henry War. The crushing of the Boer republics Campbell-Bannerman in 1906, he inherwas Pittism, and the great majority of ited from his Tory predecessor, Lord Americans were anti-English. The de- Lansdowne, a foreign policy that, with scendants of Fox came into power in 1906. few minor exceptions, he has continued. The organization of the South African There is little in his administration which Union was one of the proudest achieve- is of original conception.
The Conservatives, in the face of the was poor diplomacy to allow them to be general hostility caused by the Boer War, so thoroughly misunderstood. Telling the had given up the tradition of splendid iso- truth is only half the job; it is necessary lation. The Entente Cordiale had been to tell it convincingly. Sir Edward failed signed with France. King Edward and to be convincing. Lord Lansdowne had already committed There is not much serious Liberal critiGreat Britain to the anti-German block cism of this policy of the ententes of makin European politics. Sir Edward coulding friends.
ing friends. The only other alternative not easily have backed out of this engage- was for Great Britain to accept the monment. He was not even free to tell his
strous military expenses which alone could own people of the "secret annex” by which have made isolation splendid. From the he found himself bound. And the En- Liberal point of view the criticism against tente with Russia was the logical and nec- Sir Edward in the years preceding the war essary outgrowth of the understanding was directed at his methods of applying with France.
this policy. The Anglo-Russian Agreement of 1907
The Liberals of Britain, as of every was, like the Entente Cordiale, on which other country, want the influence of their it was modeled, eminently pacific in its Government in foreign affairs to weigh on wording. It was a colonial agreement by the progressive side of the balance. An which Britain and Russia liquidated their English Liberal wants British diplomacy outstanding quarrels in Asia. Both gave to be everywhere a force for the advance up claims which they had formerly said of civilization and the progress of the race. they would fight to maintain. Europe Sir Edward's policy has everywhere was not mentioned in the published text. strengthened the least liberal element on It was not necessary to do so. The ami- the Continent. able arrangement of these subsidiary colo- The German fear of British aggression nial disputes allowed Britain and France has tended to throw the nation more and and Russia to form a group which could more to the side of the military party. counterbalance the Triple Alliance of Just as with us the question of how large Germany, Austria, and Italy. It was hard an army we need depends on the likelito determine whether the intent of this hood of our being attacked, so in Gerarrangement was offensive or defensive. many the more they felt themselves surThe point is hardly worth discussing. rounded by hostile nations, the more readBoth groups suspected the other of malig- ily they voted military taxes. nant designs, and each took measures of In France, Sir Edward's policy played defense that appeared offensive to the into the hands of the Colonial party, other.
which was forcing the republic, in the face The best construction that can be put on of the opposition of all the parties of the the British policy of ententes—and per- left, despite the often-counted majority of sonally it seems to be the most probable- the Chamber of Deputies, into the disis that its object was to marshal a force creditable Morocco adventure. And in which the Triple Alliance would be afraid Russia, when the struggle of the people to attack. This is certainly the way the against their despotic Government was at Liberals—and they were in power-un- its height, when all the liberals of that derstood the matter. And I do not be- country were looking to England for inlieve that Sir Edward and his colleagues spiration and help, Sir Edward signed his of the British cabinet were secretly plan- pact with the czar. It was a crushing ning an armed aggression against the Ger- blow to the liberal aspirations.
The nation certainly was But it is in Persia and the Balkans that not. But the Germans, not without plau- Grey's diplomacy has been most offensive sible reasons, feared attack. If the British to our friends, the Liberals of England. intentions were as pacific as claimed, it Not until the archives are opened, many
years hence, will the public know the real closed. But Russia did not approve of course of the Anglo-Russian negotiations Bulgaria, and, at the czar's suggestion, in the shabby history of the Persian affair. Sir Edward withdrew his patronage from Some of the diplomatic correspondence has Bulgaria and made a new friendshipbeen published; not enough to clear up which by this time has become traditional the situation, but enough to indicate a - with Russia's protégé, Servia. fairly clear policy- to let Russia have her The justification of this subservience to way. Sir Edward seems to have feared Russia in Persia and the Balkans depends that he might lose Russia's support in the on the reality of the German menace. greater game of European politics if he Professor Gilbert Murray in his pamphlet, took any sort of firm and Liberal stand in "The Foreign Policy of Sir Edward less important colonial matters.
Grey," thinks that he was justified in sacdispute which arose over the Persian rificing all ideals of British Liberalism in Agreement Britain gave way before Rus- the near East because the threat from sia. The czar's government quickly real- Germany was so menacing. It is a doubtized the situation. Whenever a crisis ful sporting proposition for the foreign arose in Europe which emphasized the minister of a great empire to buy safety value of close coöperation among the En- for his own people at the expense of a tente powers, Russia launched a new ag- weak and struggling nation like Persia, gression in Persia. At least once, and ap- but it is of course in accord with the tradiparently oftener, Sir Edward overrode the tions of diplomacy. advice of Spring-Rice, the British diplomat Professor Murray, the most eminent on the spot, and issued peremptory orders Liberal defender of Sir Edward's policy, not to oppose the Russians. As Spring- writes, “I do not feel any enthusiasm for Rice has since been advanced to the em- our Persian record,” but he holds that this bassy at Washington, it is not probable policy was imposed on Sir Edward by that his chief distrusted his judgment. the sinister necessity of consorting with Apparently Sir Edward's guiding princi- people who were not gentlemen, of workple was not to offend Russia. By insisting ing with sorry tools, in order to preserve on a loyal observation of pledges or by Europe from the catastrophe of German protesting against atrocities he might have domination. weakened his European bloc. In fear of But this is a boomerang defense. It losing Russian aid in Europe, he was will- brings matters to an unfortunate dilemma. ing to sacrifice in Persia not only legiti- If Sir Edward was so aware of the Germate British interests, but also all that man menace that he felt justified in holdEnglish Liberals would call common de- ing the ring while the Cossacks were mascency. From a humanitarian point of view sacring the liberals of Persia, why did he the British record in Persia is the blackest not warn his own people of this danger? in recent history. It is on a par with The Liberal ministry to which Sir Edtheir Chinese opium war and their ultima- ward belongs explain their lack of prepartum to Portugal in 1890.
edness on the ground that they did not The policy of Sir Edward in the ob- take the German menace seriously. scure intrigues of Balkan diplomacy seems Sir Edward Grey seems to lack the to have been the same. The unhappy sharp definition of either Fox or Pitt. He peninsula was recognized as a Russian is more nearly akin to the chameleon sphere of influence. Great Britain was Burke. A country gentleman by birth and disinterested. There is a certain poetic tradition, he holds office in a Liberal minjustice in the present situation. If the istry. In order to oppose what he and powers of the Entente had fostered the his party felt to be a wave of military Balkan Alliance, the one hope of a decent reaction in Europe, he played the even Liberal solution of the near-Eastern prob- more reactionary politics of the czar in lem, the Dardanelles would not have been Persia and the Balkans. To insure the
cordial coöperation of the French Repub- mans to enter Luxemburg. As a reprisal lic, he encouraged the enemies of Liber- against the unpleasant means of warfare alism in France.
adopted by the Germans, she has interSo we in America must not be surprised fered with the neutral rights and nonif one day he speaks to us in the voice of contraband trade of Holland and Sweden Fox and the next day acts after the man- and Switzerland. A year ago the small ner of Pitt. But we must with care avoid states of Europe were glad to be protected the error of identifying Sir Edward with against German aggression. To-day a the great nation he represents. There is growing public opinion is asking if the an immense amount of true Liberalism in cure is not worse than the disease. England-on which we can hope to build The relations between Britain and the an ever-increasing friendship-even if it United States illustrates in a small way does not always show in their foreign pol- the situation of the European neutrals. icy.
In normal times less than ten per cent. of When we turn to a consideration of our production of wealth is exported overBritish foreign policy since the outbreak
So the various bizarre blockades of the war, we must remember that civil that the English have busily invented have government has nearly ceased to exist. not affected us with anything like the The generals and admirals do the acting, gravity they have had for such maritime and there is little left to diplomats except nations as Norway or Holland. But dethe thankless task of trying to explain spite our small interest in the sea trade, these acts.
But here again the mystery the policy of Sir Edward has noticeably which surrounds the British Foreign Of- decreased English popularity in America; fice makes it quite impossible to know how it has turned many former friends into much real power and responsibility is left outspoken enemies. to Sir Edward. There are rumors afloat In the matter of cotton the British polin London-plausible rumors-of discord icy has been anything but straightforward. in the cabinet, quite like the reputed dis- They have tried to pay us with words. agreement between the German chancel- At the outbreak of the war they decided lor and Grand Admiral von Tirpitz. It to buy our sympathy with a great bribe. is more than probable that Sir Edward Out of consideration for our feelings, they has disapproved of policies he has been would not put cotton on the contraband forced to defend. But as long as he re- list. For this we were expected to be very mains in office and maintains the veil of grateful, and to recognize the entire jussecrecy, he must be considered responsible. tice of their cause. Then they set to work And British foreign policy since the out- to stop our cotton trade with Germany break of the war does not seem to have without declaring it contraband. The been inspired by a descendant of Fox. horrid word was to be avoided, and this
The outstanding diplomatic fact of this turned out to be the extent of the "confirst year of war is that Great Britain, cession." while she won great popularity among all The Dacia incident was an amusing exthe neutral nations by entering the con- ample of the English effort to accomplish flict, has lost friends everywhere. An- a result without seeming to. "See how nouncing herself in August, 1914, as the friendly we are!" they said. defender of the rights of small nations, going to let you sell your cotton to Gershe is now in diplomatic conflict with all many.” But the one possible way to get of them. Her navy has committed acts a cargo of cotton to Europe was to buy of war in the neutral waters of Chile and or charter a ship. Half the world's merNorway. Her expeditionary force in the chant Aeet was in hiding or engaged in Mediterranean has occupied some of the auxiliary war-work. The only ship availGreek isles, on the same principle that able for the cotton trade was the Dacia. necessity knows no law which led the Ger- And when at last the Dacia sailed,
some one being naïve enough to believe that the war cannot be won by naval acthat the English did not object to our
tion alone. It will be necessary to fight. selling cotton to Germany, - British war- The central aim of British foreign polships trailed it across the ocean. They icy is the control of the sea. This is a did not interfere with it, - that might real tradition which goes far back into the have led to hard feeling in America, - history of the nation. Quite aside from they arranged to have a French cruiser the broader question of whether or not it pick it up. The theory of this operation is well for the world to have Britannia was that their ally was not bound by rule the waves, it is certainly important their promises. In London this was con- for the British Empire. The proud boast sidered a very clever solution of a delicate that the sun never sets on the Union Jack situation. We were expected to admire implies a grave danger. The empire could the finesse with which they had passed us no longer exist, as at present organized, if a bad coin.
it became impossible to despatch troops at Sir Edward insists that it is entirely any minute to any corner of the world. neutral- in fact, the real essence of neu- And future British opinion in regard to trality - for us to help them against the Sir Edward Grey will probably hinge Germans by selling them the munitions on the question of whether this sea control they are unable to make for themselves; was strengthened or weakened under his but in his view it is hideously unneutral administration. for Sweden to sell anything to Germany. And any such judgment will be inherBritain has not declared war on Holland, ently unjust to him. It is difficult to see and so of course is not blockading the what he could have done about it. At Dutch ports; but the Dutch, the most most statesmanship might have postponed neutral nation in Europe, having many for some years the fate which was inevigood friends on both sides, ask what the table. The resources by which the Engdifference would be if a real blockade was lish dominated the seas have been weakeninstituted. Under the threat of financial ing these many years. And the last genand commercial boycott, by stopping all
eration has seen a great access of power ships entering or leaving her unblockaded to those who were inclined, or might beharbors, Britain has forced Holland to come inclined, to dispute her position. promise not to trade with Germany. The progress of science by itself would
If Sir Edward is surprised that this sooner or later have made it impossible sort of juggling with words makes ene- for one nation to hold the empire of the mies, he is quite as weak in diplomatic psychology as those Germans who be- It is unsound to push too far the anallieved that all British colonies would re- ogy between navalism and militarism. volt as soon as England became involved The two things can never be quite the in war, and that we would grasp the op
Control of the sea may help to portunity to try to annex Canada.
dominate the land, but it is inherently difNow, it is sometimes necessary and even ferent. Nobody lives “at sea.” The ocean noble to make enemies. Sir Edward can- is a sort of social vacuum. Every one upon not be seriously criticized for having done it, except yachtsmen, is straining every so if he can show any compensating result. effort to get to land. While imperial This feeling of sullen enmity-most of
dominance over the nations can be realized the nations he has offended are too weak only by military despotism, it is possible to defend their rights-has been caused to conceive of absolute control of the sea by the British effort to starve Germany based on general consent. As long as it into submission. But the German armies, is fairly just, few have any interest in disafter a year of this starvation, do not seem puting it. The British Naval Empire has to be noticeably underfed. The convic- to a large extent been of this kind. tion seems to be growing, even in Engiand, While every effort to subdue the Con