Page images

Tim special point of attraction in the Canadian case is the United States, in the Australian case it is Japan, and, as Mr. Archibald Hurd points out in the "Fortnightly Review," Canada must provide a fleet comparable to the American Navy, and Australia aim at a counterpart to the sea-power of Japan, before these visions can even approach reality.

The truth is, however, that Australia's desire for an independent Navy, in "alliance" with our own, is merely a fresh embodiment of the nationalism which has informed her politics for a generation, and which federation has powerfully aided- Australia has always desired to act alone. She would have liked to govern lmperial policy in the Pacific before and after the day when Sir Thomas Mcllwraith "annexed" New Guinea, and was disavowed by the Colonial Office. Even when she joined an enterprise of the Mother Country like the South African War, she did so largely with the desire, expressed to a distinguished Englishman by Mr. Deakin himself, to "blood" her young people, to furnish them with a passage of adventure in the early history of their State. This feeling, consistent as it may be with a feeling of loyalty to the Motherland, finds ready expression in contact with the American people. All visitors to the Colonies are struck by the points of superficial likeness between the Colonial and many prevailing American types—their self-confidence and buoyancy, their newness, their sharply defined and rather material views of life, and their highly developed vision of an organized commercial and industrial democracy unknown to our more delicately shaded and conservative society. Resembling the Americans, the free colonial peoples resemble each other still more. And in one point of exterior policy they are in close harmony with the later, though not the earlier devel

opments of American opinion. The American fleet was invited to Australia in close sequence on the anti-Japanese riots on the Pacific coasts of Canada and the United States, and the Mayor of Sydney took care to emphasize, in the address of weicome, the identity of views on the color question, and especially on Asiatic immigration. Here, indeed, Australia has led America, and has done as a considered and consistent policy what the States are beginning to do as a consequence of later teachings of the dark evangel of race hatred and fear. And here, again, British and Colonial policy does not move from the same springs. Few South Africans or Australians see with pleasure the admission of Asiatics or negroes to London clubs and the terms of equality on which they subsist with British people of all classes. Many cherish more or less consciously the idea of the old-fashioned Boer that such races as the Kaffirs belong to an inferior, half-finished creation, with doubtful pretensions to a soul. And all "Colonials" are firmly possessed of the notion that the standard of life must be maintained by white men for white men. and that a mixed industrial order, based on inter-marriage and joint government by white and black or yellow, is incompatible with civilization.

it is obviously impossible for an Australian holding such views to approve the action of this country in entering on an equal alliance with Japan. The Anglo-Japanese alliance may and should mean a great easing of the situation in respect of Asiatic immigration, a useful guarantee of peace, if not of good feeling, between white and yellow Governments in the Pacific. But Australia is much more disposed to regard it as a concession to the doctrine of color-equality on which that portion of the British Empire which is self-governing is no longer built . For that reason, she is pleased to see the hand of the United States stretched between her northern shores and Japan—pleased to secure the patronage and support of the Great Republic, fresh from her anti-Japanese agitation. We have, indeed, to admit that on a great range of questions in which British commercial interests and British feeling develop on one line, Australian and free Colonial feeling is firmly established on another, which now happens to be distinctly American. it does not, of course, follow that because the United States and the two federated Anglo-Saxon communities— which will soon be three—think alike on such questions as Protection, the color problem, and hereditary aristocracy, and because their internal governments belong more distinctly to the The Nation.

Republican than to the Monarchical type, there will be separation. Already the tie between the self-governing colonies and ourselves is one of alliance rather than of dependence, and the Liberal conception of these relationships was always based on sympathy and on freedom. Probably, South Africa, Canada, and Australia are, and will remain, almost as safe from invasions as from the Black Death. But we confess that we think the Colonies do not always realize, in the later developments of their politics, how much moral force they owe to the home connection, and how great would be their loneliness in the world of new Empires and old ambitions if the prestige of the imperial Power and the support of the lmperial Navy were withdrawn from them.


The human spirit or essence is on the whole a greatly maligned affair. When men say, "That is human nature" they do not always mean compliment, and quite frequently they mean the reverse. indeed, the modern excuse for peccability and downright obliquity would seem to be "human nature"—which in the lump, say the wise, is a bad lot . For all that there are persons in the world who believe in the ultimate goodness of humanity. Of course, goodness is a quality which some philosophers do not greatly prize. When the critic of humanity wishes in some sort to belaud the species his method is to look rather for greatness than for goodness. Hence it comes to pass that for fifty monuments to greatness you will find one to goodness, and that usually a very little one. Yet we all know in our secret hearts that it is goodness which matters. For while it is not in the power of every man to

be great, it is well within the power of every man to be good. And by goodness, of course, it is not necessary that we should mean such-and-such a view of morality and still less suchand-such a view of religion or theology. To be good really is to be human—unwarped, unsoured, and possibly unwise, as the world is supposed to go. And it is not, as we know, to be free from either failing or fault. in our mind the great beauty of human nature, or, as we may say, human goodness, is that when you put it to supreme tests it works out always triumphant, and comes up smiling, as it were. Whether your subject be gentle or simple, cultivated or unlettered, devout or otherwise, this is so. During the week, in an obscure and huddled-away public garden, known because of its propinquity to St. Martin's-le-Grand as the Postman's Park, there have been erected a row of twenty-two tablets to commemorate the self-sacrifice and human goodness, or, as the reporters put it, "heroic deeds" of twenty-two comparatively undistinguished human persons. The point and meaning of these tablets may be best inferred from the inscriptions which they bear:

Ernest Benning, compositor, aged twenty-two, upset from a boat one dark night off Pimllco Pier, grasped an oar with one hand, supporting a woman with the other, but sank as she was rescued.

William Fisher, aged nine, lost his life in Rodney Road, Walworth, while trying to save his little brother from being run over.

George Frederic Simonds, of lslington, rushed into a burning house to save an aged widow and died of his injuries.

George Lowdell, bargeman, drowned when rescuing a boy at Blackfrlars. He had saved two other lives.

Edward Blake, drowned while skating at the Welsh Harp waters, Hendon, in attempting to rescue two unknown girls.

Edward Morris, aged ten, bathing in the Grand Junction Canal, sacrificed his life to help his sinking companion. Geoffrey Maule Nicholson, manager of a Stratford distillery, George Elliott and Robert Underhill, workmen, successively went down a well to rescue a comrade and were poisoned by gas.

Amelia Kennedy, aged nineteen, died in trying to save her sister from their burning house, Stoke Newington.

Edmund Emery, of 272, King's Road, Chelsea, passenger, leapt from a Thames steamboat to rescue a child and was drowned.

William Donald, of Bayswater, aged nineteen, railway clerk, was drowned in the Lea trying to save a lad from a dangerous entanglement of weed.

Harry Sisley, of Kllburn, aged ten, drowned in attempting to save his brother after he himself had been rescued.

George Blencowe, aged sixteen, when a friend bathing in the Lea cried for help, went to his rescue and was drowned.

Eliza Coghlan, aged twenty-six, of Church Path, Stoke Newington, died saving her family and house by carrying blazing paraffin out into the yard.

Arthur Strange, carman, of London, and Mark Tomlinson. in a desperate venture to save two girls from a quicksand in Lincoinshire, were themselves engulfed.

John Clinton, of Walworth, aged ten, was drowned after an effort to save a playfellow who had fallen into the river.

lt will be seen that these noble persons are all of them what certain writers might term "heroes in humble life." Furthermore, quite a number of them were young children. Without wishing in the smallest degree to detract from the honor and excellence which now attaches to their names and memories, it is certain that few people will read these inscriptions and the like of them without reflecting that in similar circumstances nine persons out of ten would do exactly as much as these "heroes" did. lt is human to do as much, and it is being continually done. Scarcely a week passes in which the newspapers do not have to record instil nees of extraordinary, unhesitating, and moving self-sacrifice on the part of human beings without distinction of condition or sex, and even without distinction as to age. Little children can show us, and do show us, how to die when the occasion arises. So do bargemen and carters and laborers and sempstresses and flower-girls and women employed at the backs of theatres. Most of these people are uneducated and unlettered, and they have not been instructed in the philosophies as to death or heroism. Yet they are capable of giving up their lives without so much as a thought, without reflection, as if those lives were of no possible moment, and we know that really they are not singular or alone in this quality, which in effect is a genoral and approximately universal human quality. Therefore, we think, it is plain that we have after all ample and sound reasons for being proud of human nature, and for respecting it and believing in it, and being thankful for it. And this being so it would appear to behove us to remember that human nature is a great and creditable affair, not only when we think or write of it, but in our handling or conduct of all the matters of life. The common notion that the common man is of small consequence and not seriously to be considered in the working out of the scheme of the world is a grave and perilous and impertinent error. Take, for example, your rough, unlearned, and, it may be, coarsemouthed hod-bearer. His place in the order of things is to labor and bear burdens for you; and to encourage contempts for him, no matter how general those contempts may be or how particular they may be, is to fall into grave and serious misconception both with regard to the hod-bearer and oneself. For in that rough-and-ready, hard-swearing, hard-drinking, hardliving, unnotable person you have a potential and for that matter actual embodiment of human goodness and nobility. Happily, a common man, or any other sort of man, is not sure to

Tbe Academy.

be called upon to exercise the goodness within him to the point of sacrificing or laying down his life. But when he is so called upon we know that he will make the sacrifice. lt is therefore, that he should be considered with respect and treated with respect, and in purveying for him certain spiritual and worldly things which we believe him to require we should bear always in mind his innate nobility, and in no circumstances should we countenance or tolerate the convenient conventional slanders about "human nature." One hears a great deal nowadays about the necessity for "writing down" to the common man. Much endeavor is spent in this direction and much profit seems to attach to it. lf we only knew, our real business and difficulty are to write up to him. Our writing should not appeal to what we cynically consider the baser side of him, but simply and solely and always to what we know is the nobler and more excellent side of him. lt is impossible really to destroy the greatness and goodness that are rooted in him by reason of his humanity. But to overlook that greatness and goodness and, especially, to deny it and pretend that for practical purposes it is not there, is to make a wanton and scandalous mock of God's handiwork.


lt has been asserted, and the theory has many disciples, that color exercises a great influence over character. lf this be true, it accounts for the importance of certain colors over others at various periods, and among various nations. Of all colors, red is the one round which innumerable superstitions have gathered and it has exercised a vast influence, for good and evil, among all sorts and conditions of peo

ples, from the dawn of civilization down to the present day. History tells us of the partiality of uncivilized man for bright colors. They appear to excite in savages the pleasure they do in children, for primitive peoples receive education mostly through the senses. We see from the fragments that remain of prehistoric man that the sense of color was fully developed long before the period of the lliad or of the Book of Genesis. Brilliant colors have always pleased warlike people and it is therefore natural that red should be the favorite. ln its most vivid tints it has a great effect upon the senses: the color of blood excites to action and encourages to combat. At the present day red pigment is used by all uncivilized races. New Zealauders paint their skins red; the indian negress adorns herself in a red turban; the tribes of Central Africa are bribed with yards of red calico; in all parts of the world the partiality for this color is to be seen. ln an account of a mission to the Philippines we read that no native was allowed to wear red until he had established his reputation for skill and bravery by killing a man. During the ancient periods of Greek and Roman civilization, red played a large part in the life history of the peoples. Warriors coated their bodies with the color when they returned home as conquerors; they also celebrated the event by daubing the statues of Jupiter and of the lesser gods, while great lords adopted the same custom to emphasize their power and superiority. ln ancient times, as in the present day, especially in italy where relics of paganism still linger in various forms, sex was distinguished by color. When art was in its infancy it was customary to paint the garments of the males red and of the females blue; thus it happened that the Madonna and other holy women were always clothed in the latter color, while St. Joseph, the Apostles, and masculine saints are generally represented as dressed in the former. This dedication of color still exists in Rome and other parts of ltaly; an infant when it is baptized has a ribbon of the special color of its sex pinned on to its robe. Red is also indissolubly associated with the pomp and splendor of Empire and with all the national senliments which in England cling to Roy

alty. This was probably the reason which caused King John, while conferring certain privileges on the Jews, to insert in the Act a special clause forbidding them to buy, and presumably to wear, scarlet cloth on any pretext whatever. It is curious that red should also be symbolical of anarchy. During the French Revolution scarlet was the color of the apostles of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. They wore it on their heads as caps; they waved it in their hands as flags. Nay, are not Londoners familiar with the latter, fluttering in the breeze to the tune of the Marseillaise round the lions in Trafalgar Square?

Many curious and interesting superstitions have gathered round this color. The majority have died out with the advent of better education, but some still remain. The antipathy to red hair is to this day very prevalent in England and Wales among the peasantry, though the preference shown it by Sir Edward Burne-Jones has caused it to become the rage with the cultured few. Still, there exist many people who maintain, in spite of numberless evidences to the contrary, that red hair, besides being ugly, is the invariable sign of a fiery and deceitful temper; some even go so far as to refuse to have a red-haired servant in the house. ln many places the presence of such a person was considered unlucky, and among the fishing villages of the north of England if one entered a cottage while a line was being made or baited, bad fortune was certain to come if the end was not immediately passed round a crook or through the fire. A fisherman also considered it most unlucky to meet a red-haired person, and the spell could only be broken if he turned round and walked a few steps back again. Many good people in Shropshire are firmly convinced that should a person with ruddy locks be the first to enter a house on New Year's Day a

« PreviousContinue »