Page images
PDF
EPUB

even the defects of their qualities; for ex- whose existence painfully lacks color. In ample, of their progressiveness. The Spoon New England life wears a Puritan blue, River Anthologist has convinced himself or so they say; in the South a patrician that the Middle West already shows purple; in the far West "any color as long symptoms of decay; yet what is this I as it 's red”; here, to the alien eye, no hue read?“Ripon, Wisconsin, was down in whatever, or at best a torpid brown. Rethe public building bill for a $75,000 post- cently a Middle-Westerner unpacked his office, but asked Congress to take back the soul regarding why he adored the Middle gift and apply the money to national de- West. Said he (anonymously, because the fense." The elder generation would hardly outburst seemed to him so ebullient), "I have done that. In those perfect days a own my house, I sport a Ford, and I go Middle-Western senator

wrote, “The

to the theater twice a month, all on an inpurification of politics is an iridescent come of fifteen hundred dollars." Gamdream," adding, "The ten command- mon! He loves the Middle West because ments and the golden rule have no place in he loves Middle-Westerners. He loves a political campaign." Only yesterday a Middle-Westerners because of their young Middle-Westerner told me his be- boundless genius for sentiment. The most lief that the young Middle West had lost prosaic of regions, theirs is the most rothe fine, heroic hardihood of the pioneers. mantic. The Middle West narrowly esHe himself is the very personification of capes quixotism. It has more than once hardihood, as good as his fathers, and in failed to escape. It is inartistic sometimes, many ways better.

inarticulate often, and, like farmer-folk What a paradox, this Middle West ! the world over, of rarer make inside than How self-deceived! How deceptive! It outside. It is never insincere except toappears to ache with monotonous, prosaic ward itself. It is a little ashamed of its unpicturesqueness: standardized cities, leading virtue, and worships just that. Its standardized villages, standardized coun- keenest interpreter was James Whitcomb try-side, standardized Middle-Westerners, Riley.

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]
[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed]
[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The Future of Poland

By HERBERT ADAMS GIBBONS

Author of "The New Map of Europe,” etc.

common

The Poles no longer have a

régime established by the Congress of Vicountry, but they have a common language. enna, Russia, Austria, and Prussia conThey will remain, then, united by the stantly and consistently regarded their instrongest and most durable of all bonds.

ternational obligation toward the Poles They will arrive, under foreign domination, as a "scrap of paper.” British and French to the age of manhood, and the moment they diplomats of successive ministries never reach that age will not be far from that in lifted a finger to help the Poles to retain which, emancipated, they will all be at- those rights guaranteed to them at Vitached once more to one center.-TALLEY- enna. They were content to send notes RAND, after his return from the Congress of mild remonstrance to Russia after the of Vienna, 1815.

disgraceful events of 1831 and 1863, and

to Austria when the republic of Cracow REAT BRITAIN and France, as was suppressed in 1846. It is only since

well as Russia, Austria, and Prussia, the beginning of the present war that the were signatories of the Treaty of Vienna, surprising thesis has been developed in and were bound by their signatures to en- London and Paris that a nation is maforce its provisions. The first article of terialistic and has no sense of honor when the final act of the Congress of Vienna it does not rush into war over questions declared solemnly, "The Poles, subjects of principle and humanity which do not respectively of Russia, Austria, and Prus- vitally affect its own national interests, and sia, will obtain national representation that it is a sign of weakness, pusillanimity, and national institutions." Russia, in ad- and indecision for statesmen to send notes ! dition, undertook to preserve separate and Among enlightened liberals in all naautonomous the kingdom of Poland, tions, and especially in France, there has which was to enjoy its own laws, lan- been deep sympathy for the martyrdom guage, and constitution. During the hun- of Poland, and a desire to see her historic dred years that Europe lived under the wrongs righted. But during the decade

GREAT

preceding the outbreak of the European What can we hope for in eastern Europe War the Poles learned that they had no and Asia in less than a decade? friends anywhere among the nations. For Poland and Finland have fared far when Germany and Russia entered into a worse at the hands of Russia since the new era of persecution, more formidable Duma came into being than before. The than any experienced in the past, there Russian liberals are nationalists of the was no protest except from Austria-Hun- most virulent type, and they believe that gary, who had manifestly an ax to grind. the full play of constitutionalism is possiMore than that, old friends in Great Brit- ble only after the entire empire has unain and France, with an eye to concilia- dergone thorough Russification. So they ting Russia, not only became indifferent have waged a bitter war against the Poles in the hour of trial, but even attempted to by reducing Polish representation in the justify, or at least condone, the crimes of Duma, by opposing local self-government Russia. Long before the events of Au- for municipalities, by refusing the Poles gust, 1914, proved the reality of the the privilege of being educated in their Triple Entente, the approaching Anglo- own language, and by searching for the Russo-French alliance was foreshadowed development of existing laws and the inby the way London and Paris journalism vention of new laws to ruin the Poles handled the Polish question. If there is economically. It is the fashion to-day to one lesson for Americans in the European hold up Austria-Hungary under the HapsWar and the events which preceded it, it burgs as the shining example of the opis that we must write our own history and pressor of small nationalities that have do our own reporting. Otherwise we are been seeking to lead their own lives. Cersure to be misinformed about what has tainly none can deny the oppression of the been done and is being done in Furope. Slavic nationalities in the dual monarchy Prejudice, hopeless bias, insincerity, spe- by the German and Magyar bureaucrats cial pleading are the order of the day of Vienna and Budapest. I was in Agram, among European writers.

the capital of Croatia, during that memoThe violation of Russia's international rable spring of 1912, when the iniquity of obligations to Poland and Finland have Austro-Hungarian officialdom was laid been explained on the ground that the old bare before the world. Only three months Russian policy was dictated by the bu- later I was in Helsingfors, the capital of reaucracy, and that all would be changed Finland, and it was while I was investiwhen the will of enlightened Russian lib- gating the Russian persecution of the eralism began to make itself felt. The Finns that I read an "inspired" news artiinstitution of the Duma was hailed as the cle from Petrograd which attempted to beginning of a new era for Russia, just as justify the separation of the province of the reëstablishment of Abdul Hamid's Khelm from the kingdom of Poland. constitution was hailed as the beginning Never, in the worst days of the iron heel, of a new era for Turkey. There seemed

had the old Russian despotism gone so to be a curious failure, and there still is, far as to impair the territorial integrity on the part of Occidental observers to of the Poland intrusted to Russia by the realize that the attempt to graft our con- Congress of Vienna. stitutionalism upon these two Oriental or- During the last decade the Prussian ganisms could not bring forth the fruit Government, also, without interference confidently predicted and immediately ex- from the imperial Reichstag, has carried pected. The democracy of western Eu- on a brutal and cynical war against the rope is a slow growth, born of Rome, the Poles of Posnania and eastern Prussia. Renaissance, and the Reformation, nur- The aim of German statesmen, like those tured by the tears and blood of our an

of Russia, has been to stamp out Polish cestors through many generations, and nationality by every possible means. Some made secure through general education. Socialists and a certain section of the

Catholic Center protested in the Reich- in the Vienna Reichsrath by a Panslavic stag and in the press against Prussia's combination, Austrian statesmen have conanti-Polish measures, pointing out their sistently curried favor with the Poles. folly as well as their illegality; but the Thanks to the exigencies of Austrian ingreat bulk of the German lawmakers pro- ternal politics, Galicia has become the fess the same narrow nationalism as the foyer of Polish nationalism, and from Russian lawmakers. They are determined Cracow and Lemberg has gone forth the to give no quarter to Poles who have the light that has kept alive and fostered the misfortune to be German subjects until hope of the ultimate realization of the they abandon their nationality and their aspirations of the Polish people. Many language. From 1848 until the outbreak Poles have resented deeply what they call of the present war Germany has displayed the Galicians' indifference to, or, as it is complete solidarity with Russia in her sometimes more strongly put, betrayal of, treatment of the Polish question. The the Pan-Polish ideal. But it is not bedictum has been: “Poland is dead. cause they refuse to put themselves in the must never be resuscitated."

other man's place and to realize that he who gets must give.

It would be strange Of the partitioners, Austria alone gave indeed if the Galicians, comparing their the Poles autonomy, and allowed them lot with that of Poles under the Romanfreedom in the development of their na- offs and the Hohenzollerns, should retional life and their national institutions. main uncompromising and unwilling, if Galicia has enjoyed a peculiarly fortunate only for policy's sake, to give a certain geographical and political position since measure of loyalty and show a certain the formation of the dual monarchy in measure of appreciation to the Hapsburgs. 1867. To keep the Bohemians in check, But from an economic point of view the to prevent the spread of Russian propa- Poles under the Hapsburgs have suffered ganda, to forestall the possibility of the serious handicaps for which political auGerman element being put in a minority tonomy was only a partial recompense. If

She

[graphic][subsumed]
« PreviousContinue »