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mints—the mint of the evening primrose, the mint of the harvested grain, the mint of the rose, the apple and the peach, the mint of late gorze, unprofitable gay. the mint of indescribable sunsets slowly sinking into purple haze— to lose in the autumnal sense the long white winding roads, the twinkling streams and placid pools and fresh green meadows where the cattle are.
Another charm of Autumn is its marvellous variety, its delicate detail, its painted shadows and plashing lights, coming and going amid the myriad leaves, red and gold and gray and black, the infinite care of the great Artist spread over an infinite field. Who would not wake early in the morning for the pleasure of watching the bridal veils of spider web covering the hedgerows and glistening with dewy diamonds that catch and give again shafts of delicate light? The dewberry with its bloom, the honeysuckle, fragrant and delicate beyond the use of English flowers, the lush grass silvered with wet, the myriad creatures seeking their morning meat from God, the call from the hill as the stately cattle wend away to pasture, the sudden burst of the sun from above a bosky wood and its embosomed meadows, the matronal glory of the awakened world. And evening too, come, watch the Autumn evening from some height that dominates a vasty weald where all the beauties of England lie gathered, as it were, in some mighty palm! The sense of sadness is present . for will not this rare panorama soon yield everything up to Winter's inevitable call? Far off one thinks to catch a final cloudline that is the sea. Here at the feet are rolling hills that men, before history was, ridged and escarped against some feared and familiar foe. Green now, all of it . hiding the passions of ten thousand years; green save where patches of heather memorialize the bloodshed of far-off, ancient days. So
the pleasant hillside folds down and out of sight and past its latest fold the fields begin, the neat trim harvested fields, gleaned and ready for the Winter sleep. When one looks at it in the morning one will cry with Robert Browning:—
Oh, good gigantic smile o' the brown old earth,
But in the evening it is different. The exhilaration of the Autumn morning has passed away. Looking downward we see the quiet Autumn fields and gather from them the sense of completion, the idea of rest, the feeling of compensation for all the toll and tears of the long year. Up here on the height the evening has not yet come, but in the hollow, lights are beginning to glimmer from the homesteads, the cheery lights of home. But as the eye passes on, other lights attract the imagination; the great sleeping pool, a lake of many acres, holds up to the sky its pure silver face; near it a wooded hill is ablaze still with the last rays of sunlight striking the scarlet leaves with a purple glory. The evening gives a strange and even mystic distinctness and distinction to the whole landscape. lt picks out the cattle, the sheep, the cottage, the far hedgerow, the line of elms, the massed remains of the ancient forests of the weald, the growing shadows, the meadows half hidden in the woods. Against a sky-line far away rows of pines like an army with lifted spears march, eternally march, and no enemy hindereth them. Last scene of all is the clear view to the south-west where the sun has plunged with reluctant splendor into the sea. His after-math of glory imitates and reproduces all the glories of the autumnal brush, the brush that has painted the world with colors that no human hand can make. A sudden splendor of gold, like the gold of yellow corn, spreads over the firmament and swiftly gives place to a blush, like the blush of the woodland rose, and the blush dies down in a mist of gray and apple green. But as the high heaven slowly finds its final blue the west takes on its deep rare glow. Rich is the purple of the sun's last message. The westering clouds that lie low over the sea take the full hue, and so, imperially, the sun moves down to give the light of Spring, not Autumn.
The Contemporary Review.
to other lands. Thus with wondering eyes we watch
Where the quiet-colored end of evening smiles, Miles and miles On the solitary pastures where our sheep Half asleep Tinkle homeward thro' the twilight, stray, or stop—
and turn away at last to find, through crackling heather and whispering woods, the homestead where an Autumn fire is blazing on the hearth and the tales of Winter are begun.
THE ANNEXATION OF THE CONGO STATE.
The procedure of annexing the Congo Free State to Belginm will present itself more clearly to the mind if it is regarded as consisting of two distinct parts: the first the sanction of the Belgian Parliament, and the second the sanction of the Powers which signed the Berlin Act . The first step has virtually 'been taken, as no one supposes for a moment that the Belgian Senate will refuse, or even trouble to deliberate long over, what the Chamber has passed;1 the second step belongs to the future. Till we know more precisely what is passing between the signatories of the Berlin Act and the Belgian Government we cannot speak of the question of annexation as settled. The responsibility of the Powers for the Congo natives is as clear as anything can be; their consent cannot be dispensed with. Whatever room there may be for various interpretations of the Berlin Act—and the Belgian interpretation of course differs from ours there can be no doubt about this, that Britain agreed to the formation of the
1 The Belgian Senate has concurred with the Chamber since this article was printed.— Editor of The Living Age.
Free State chiefly in the interests of the natives. That reason was urged upon the British people by men of high standing and character, and in this country the horror of the Leopoldiau regime has been felt—and it has been very deeply felt—in direct proportion to the public sense of sharing in the scandal. While annexation was being discussed in the Belgian Chamber we purposely said very little on the subject, as comment from outsiders was likely to do more harm than good. A serene international atmosphere was the only favorable one, and we had no wish to help others in disturbing it, us one might easily have done with even the best intentions. The opinions of the British nation were already known, and Sir Edward Grey was actually impressing them on the Belgian Government while the debates were in progress. At last the Belgian Government have carried their scheme through the Chamber in what we tako to be practically its final form, for the amendments of the Senate will probably be slight. It does not give any guarantee in so many words that the economic conditions of native labor, which are the first and last cause of all the misery, will be reversed. That l<s undoubtedly a disappointment. We still believe, however, that the intentions of the Belgian Government are as high principled as become an enlightened people; and, indeed, Sir Edward Grey said in the House of Commons on July 30th that the Belgian Government "carry the matter as far as it can be carried by general assurances," and that "the line taken by the Belgian Government is very different from that taken by the Congo Government." lt remains, therefore, for the good intentions of the Belgian Government to be embodied in more definite undertakings, and that is the end which Sir Edward Grey, strongly aided by the United States Government, is still trylug to reach. The existence of "general assurances" is much, and if only the present Belgian Government were able to carry out all that they wish, we might rest content. But other Governments will take their place, and—most ominous fact of all—the wording of the Colonial Law may mean much or little, according to the character of the Government in power. Even the present Belgian Government might fall radically to change the character of the Congo administration in spite of themselves. Therefore Sir Edward Grey no doubt feels that he would be untrue to the whole meaning of the Berlin Act if he did not receive more precise promises in exchange for the permission to exercise sovereignty. We await the result of his negotiations—which lead to what we have called the second part of the procedure of annexation— with anxiety, but still with hopefulness. We admit that it is a great thing that the Belgian people are willing to accept the burden of colonial rule. They will be directly interested in it; they will know what is happening, and it is inconceivable that they should sit
down complacently under a story of such wrongs as have been committed in the past. What we hope to see secured by the requirements of the Powers would really be a strengthening of their hands, for the Belgian Government would be equipped with definite authority to change entirely the economic conditions of native labor. Unless that change is effected, we fear there will be no happiness for the Congo.
Let us state briefly once more what the economic conditions are, and show why no improvement is possible till they are reversed. The Congo Government, professing a right to vacant lands, used this excuse to appropriate the lands held by the natives on communal tenure. They have kept part of these lands for themselves, and have granted the rest to concessionary companies. The Government and their partners have established a monopoly in the produce of the soil. The source of all wealth has thus been taken from the natives; they have no means of trading. Yet they are required to pay taxes, and the only way in which they can do so is by a "labor tax,"—by giving their labor instead of the money or produce which they have not got. Fixed amounts of rubber have to be brought to the tax-collectors at regular intervals. The natives who fall to do this are sternly punished. ln many districts they have to make long journeys through dangerous forests to gather the rubber. They have little or no time which is not spent in the crushing labor necessary to pay the tax. They are cheered by no prospect of winning back their independence under the present system. The mortality is terrible. The whole miserable business is slavery of an odious kind passing under another name. Chapter and verse for these charges were given in the recent Whitebook; and. lf other evidence were needed, the charges were confirmed in the Belgian Report of 1906. The atrocities which shocked the world formerly were all part and parcel of this method of taxation, which has no parallel anywhere. We believe that Sir Edward Grey is applying himself first of all to this labor question, and we are heartily glad of it; for if British concern for the Congo is quite obviously not prompted by selfishness, our motives are less likely to be misunderstood. For a long time we have suffered from a great disadvantage; it has been commonly believed in Belgium that we had an axe to grind. A fair statement of the issues before us must, none the less, mention the breakdown of the freedom of trade guaranteed by the Berlin Act. After the native labor question, this freedom of trade is the next matter in importance. The taking up of the whole land by the Government and the concessionary companies has shut out, or at least made very difficult, the enterprises of outsiders. We should not complain, however, of having to wait a very long time for the restoration of the freedom of trade if only the communal lands were restored to the natives so that they might have the means to pay their taxes in their own way. As a matter of fact, we fancy that the simultaneous restoration of the lands and of the freedom of trade would be the simplest and wisest policy; the natives would recover their independence quicker in free markets, and the loss to the State through the non-payment of taxes would probably be less. But we have no wish to interfere unnecessarily. The native labor question is by far the more pressing of the two, and let us remember that it concerns the whole Congo territory. So much has been said about the Crown Domain, which is the private property of King Leopold, that it has been rather forgotten that the abuses, so far as the natives are concerned, are the same elsewhere, even
though the profits do not go into the King's pocket. Sir Edward Grey is no doubt trying to screw up to a higher pitch the proposal of the Belgian Government to grant lands to the natives. The granting of lands was promised among the Congo reforms of 1905. Nothing came of it; and not very much, we fear, could come of it now unless it amounted to the nearest possible equivalent which the circumstances permit to a restoration of the communal lands. The natives, of course, are scattered and have dwindled in numbers, but a substantial policy of restoration is the only true solution. We shall not be satisfied, as we have often said, unless the economic conditions of native labor are reversed.
it is earnestly to be hoped that Sir Edward Grey, with the invaluable help of the United States, will bring about an agreement among all parties which will involve neither a surrender of conscience nor international bitterness. We take it that the Belgian Government desire just what we desire, and all we ask is that the methods of attaining it should be accurately stated. Naturally Englishmen look upon the beginning of Belginm's colonial career with the utmost sympathy. Without experience in these matters, she desires to take over a territory larger than Europe; and she engages in this adventure for a good end. Although we contemplate the future anxiously, it would be ungenerous not to pay a tribute to the fine services of those Belgians who have made the Treaty of Annexation, the Additional Act (which buys the King out of the Crown Domain), and the Colonial Law (which provides for the administration of the Congo) as good as they are. The original ludicrous terms proposed by the King were resisted and amended; the Belgian Parliament, to its credit, refused to let the King have the money while the people had the disgrace. Further, Parliament has provided for its own Constitutional control over the Budget and administration of the Congo. The whole financial problem is terribly difficult . The estimates of the revenues of the Congo as they were laid before the Chamber were calculated on the assumption that forced labor would be retained. The chief authority on the Congo in the Belgian Cabinet actually said: '-Forced labor is necessary, or civilization will be arrested." We are sure that the Belgian people do not agree with him. lf forced labor is abolished, however, Belginm may be for years in
the position of a farmer who begins to cultivate land which has had everything "taken out of it." Probably Belgians expect the colony to cost them a good deal at first, and are prepared to pay the bill. lf that be so—if the Government have not pretended that the Congo is a good speculation—Britain and the United States should be able to induce the Belgian Cabinet more easily than some people expect to assent fearlessly in writing to the claims that are advanced both by conscience and Treaty rights.
THE AMERlCAN NAVY: OFFlCERS AND MEN.
l. THE OFFICERS.
ln the character of both commissioned and enlisted personnel the United States Navy is radically different from any navy, although its customs are founded on British customs and its heritage is British. A glance through the register shows that most of the officers' names are of English, lrish or Scotch origin, with a sprinkling of German. The second and third generations of the large influx of continental blood have not yet found their way to any extent into the wardroom. lt is the British navy spirit of meeting your enemy off his own shores, of the eternal aggressive, which is implanted in the American service. A saying of Farragut's, "The best protection from an enemy's fire is a well-directed fire of your own," which is only a version of an old idea, probably best expresses American naval ideals. lt accounts, too, for what many naval critics have considered in the past the overgunning of the ships at the expense of protection. In the Spanish war, while the American public was emotional over Lieut. Hobson's deed in sinking the Merrimac, the service was
most delighted with Lieut.-Com. Wainwright's dash in a converted yacht to an encounter with the two Spanish destroyers. Professionally, the merit of Dewey's victory in Manila Bay was the unhesitating promptness with which he proceeded to his objective. That three months' campaign against Spain left the American Navy with no illusions. The relative strength of the two forces it had perfectly in mind. in no wise elated by success, it faced the problem of the up-building of a first-class navy as a serious task that required untiring industry.
The two schools, West Point and Annapolis, which graduate the officers for the army and navy, have much the same course; but there the likeness between army and navy ends. The line of the navy is a unit, with all the influences at its command, to keep politics out of the service at any sacrifice. it was suggestive of naval spirit that when the recent pay bill was before Congress it was not unusual to hear naval officers say, "Keep the pay, but give us four battleships and more colliers." Yet most of them seriously needed the increase. The American