(Written in March, 1913.)
I believe England to be the enemy of European peace, and that until her “mastery of the sea” is overmastered by Europe, there can be no peace upon earth or goodwill among men. Her claim to rule the seas, and the consequences, direct and indirect, that flow from its assertion are the chief factors of international discord that now threaten the peace of the world.
In order to maintain that indefensible claim she is driven to aggression and intrigue in every quarter of the globe; to setting otherwise friendly peoples by the ears; to forming “alliances” and ententes, to dissolving friendships, the aim always being the old one, divide et impera.
The fact that Europe to-day is divided into armed camps is mainly due to English effort to retain that mastery of the sea. It is generally assumed, and the idea is propagated by English agencies, that Europe owes her burden of armaments to the antagonism between France and Germany, to the loss of Alsace-Lorraine by France, and the spirit and hope of a “revanche” thereby engendered. But this antagonism has long ceased to be the chief factor that moulds European armaments.
Were it not for British policy, and the unhealthy hope it proffers, France would ere this have resigned herself, as the two provinces have done, to the solution imposed by the War of 1870. It is England and English ambition that beget the state of mind responsible for the enormous growth of armaments that now overshadows Continental civilization. Humanity hemmed in in Central Europe by a forest of bayonets and debarred all egress to the light of a larger world by a forbidding circle of dreadnoughts, is called to Peace Conferences and Arbitration Treaties by the very Power whose fundamental maxim of rule ensures war as the normal outlook for every growing nation of the Old World.
If Europe would not strangle herself with her own hands she must strangle the Sea serpent whose coils enfold her shores.
Inspect the foundations of European armaments where we will, and we shall find that the Master Builder is he who fashioned the British Empire It is that Empire, its claim to a universal right of pre-emption to every zone and region washed by the waves and useful or necessary to the expansion of the white races, and its assertion of a right to control at will all the seas of all the world that drives the peoples of Europe into armed camps. The policy of the Boer War is being tried on a vaster scale against Europe. Just as England beat the Boers by concentration camps and not by arms, by money and not by men, so she seeks to-day to erect an armor-plate barrier around the one European people she fears to meet in the field, and to turn all Central Europe into a vast concentration camp. By use of the longest purse she has already carried this barrier well towards completion. One gap remains, and it is to make sure that this opening, too, shall be closed, that she now directs all the force of her efforts. Here the longest purse is of less avail, so England draws upon another armory. She appeals to the longest tongue in history—the longest and something else.
In order to make sure the encompassing of Europe with a girdle of steel it is necessary to circle the United States with a girdle of lies. With America true to the policy of her great founder, an America, “the friend of all Powers but the ally of none,” English designs against European civilization must in the end fail. Those plans can succeed only by active American support, and to secure this is now the supreme task and aim of British stealth and skill. Every tool of her diplomacy, polished and unpolished, from the trained envoy to the boy scout and the minor poet has been tried in turn. The pulpit, the bar, the press, the society hostess, the Cabinet Minister and the Cabinet Minister’s wife, the ex-Cabinet Minister and the royal family itself, and last, but not least, even “Irish Nationality”—all have been pilgrims to that shrine, and each has been carefully primed, loaded, well-aimed, and then turned full on the weak spots in the armor of republican simplicity. To the success of these resources of panic the falsification of history becomes essential and the vilification of the most peace-loving people of Europe. The past relations of England with the United States are to be blotted out, and the American people who are by blood so largely Germanic, are to be entrapped into an attitude of suspicion, hostility, and resentment against the country and race from whom they have received nothing but good. Germany is represented as the enemy, not to England’s indefensible claim to own the seas, but to American ideals on the American Continent. Just as the Teuton has become the “Enemy of Civilization” in the Old World because he alone has power, strength of mind, and force of purpose to seriously dispute the British hegemony of the seas, so he is assiduously represented as the only threat to American hegemony of the New World.
This, the keynote of the attack on Germany, is sounded from every corner of the British Empire, wherever the Imperial editor, resting from the labors of the lash he wields against the colored toilers in mine or camp, directs his eyes from the bent forms of these indentured slaves of dividend to the erect and stalwart frames of the new Goths who threaten the whole framework of Imperial dividend from across the North Sea. From the Times to the obscurest news-sheet of the remotest corner of the British dominions the word has gone forth.
The Monroe Doctrine, palladium of the Anglo-Saxon World Empire, is imperilled by German ambitions and were it not for the British fleet, America would be lost to the Americans. Wherever Englishmen are gathered to-day their journals, appealing possibly to only a handful of readers, assert that the function of the British fleet is to exclude the European States, with Germany at their head, from South America, not because in itself that is a right or worthy end to pursue, but because that Continent is ear-marked for future exploitation and control by their “kinsmen” of the United States, and they need the support of those “kinsmen” in their battle against Germany.
I need quote but a single utterance from the mass of seditious libels of this character before me to show how widespread is this propaganda of falsehood and how sustained is the effort being made to poison the American mind against the only people in Europe England genuinely fears, and therefore wholeheartedly hates.
The Natal Mercury, for instance, a paper written for the little town of Durban and appealing to a population of only some 30,000 whites, in a recent issue (March, 1913), devoted a leader to the approaching “Peace Centennial” of 1914, to be held in commemoration of the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, which ended the second war between Great Britain and the American people in 1814.
“After all, blood is thicker than water,” quotes the Natal Journal with satisfaction, and after pointing out some latter-day indications of rapprochement between England and the United States, it goes on to proclaim the chief function of the British navy and the claim thereby established on the goodwill of America.
“We make mention of them because such incidents are likely to repeat themselves more and more frequently in that competition for naval supremacy in Europe which compels the United States to put her own fleets into working order and to join in the work that England has hitherto been obliged to perform unaided.
“It is England that polices the Seven Seas, and America has reaped no small benefits from the self-imposed task, an aspect of the matter to which every thougthful American is fully alive. There is a real and hearty recognition in the New World of the silent barrier that Great Britain has set up to what might become something more than a dream of expansion into South America on the port of one potent European State. It is, indeed, hardly too much to say that the maintenance of the Monroe Doctrine is at the present moment, almost as fully guaranteed by England as it is by the country which enunciated the policy and is the chief gainer by it. It is a case in which a silet understanding is of far greater value than a formal compact that ‘would serve as a target for casual discontent on this side or that.'”
The article concludes by proclaiming “the precious permanence of an unseen bond” and the lofty and enduring worth of “good faith mutually acknowledged and the ultimate solidarity of mutual interests rightly preceived.” “The ultimate solidarity” aimed at by those who direct these world-wide pronouncements is not one of mere sterile friendship between the American and the British peoples. American friendship with England is only worth having when it can be translated by world acts into enmity against Germany.
It might truly be said of the British Empire to-day that where two or three are gathered together, there hatred of Germany shall be in the midst of them. Turn where we will, from the Colonies to England, from England to her fleet, from the seas to the air, the Englishman lives and moves and has his being in an atmosphere not of love, but of hatred. And this, too, a hatred, fear and jealousy of a people who have never injured him, who have never warred upon him, and whose sole crime is that they are highly efficient rivals in the peaceful rivalry of commerce, navigation, and science.
We are told, for instance, in one of the popular London magazines for January, 1913, in an article upon the financial grievances of the British navy that were it not for Germany there would be to-day another Spithead mutiny. “Across the North Sea is a nation which some fifty years ago was so afraid of the French navy that it panicked itself into building an iron-clad fleet.
“To-day, as the second naval Power, its menace is too great for any up-to-date Spithead mutiny to come off. But the pay question was so acute that it is possibly only the Germans and their ‘menace’ that saved us from trouble.”
But while the patriotism of the “lower deck” may have been sufficiently stout to avert this peril, the patriotism of the quarter-deck is giving us a specimen of its quality that certainly could not be exhibited in any other country in the world.
Even as I write I read in the “British Review” how Admiral Sir Percy Scott attacks Admiral Lord Charles Beresford, dubs him “the laughing-stock of the fleet,” accuses him of publishing in his book, “The Betrayal,” a series of “deliberate falsehoods,” and concludes by saying that the gallant Admiral is “not a seaman.”
And it is a fleet commanded by such Admirals as these that is to sweep the German navy from the seas!
During the Crimean War the allied British and French navies distinguished themselves by their signal failure to effect the reduction of such minor fortresses as Sveaborg, Helsingfors and the fortified lighthouses upon the Gulf of Finland. Their respective Admirals fired their severest broadsides into each other, and the bombardment of the forts was silenced by the smart interchange of nautical civilities between the two flagships. Napoleon III, who sought an explanation of this failure of his fleet, was given a reply that I cannot refrain from recommending to the British Admiralty to-day. “Well, Sire,” replied the French diplomatist who knew the circumstances, “both the Admirals were old women, but ours was at least a lady.” If British Admirals cannot put to sea without incurring this risk, they might, at least, take the bumboat woman with them to prescribe the courtesies of naval debate.
That England to-day loves America no one who goes to the private opinions of Englishmen, instead of to their published utterances, or the interested eulogies of their press, can for a moment believe.
The old dislike is there, the old supercilious contempt for the “Yankee” and all his ways. “God’s Englishman” no more loves an American citizen now than when in 1846 he seriously contemplated an invasion of the United States and the raising of the negro-slave population against his “Anglo-Saxon kinsmen.”
To-day when we near so much of the Anglo-Saxon Alliance it may be well to revert to that page of history. For it will show us that if a British Premier to-day can speak as Mr. Asquith did on December 16th, 1912, in his reference to the late American Ambassador as “a great American and a kinsman,” one “sprung from a common race, speaking our own language, sharing with us by birth as by inheritance not a few of our most cherished traditions and participating when he comes here by what I may describe as his natural right in our domestic, interests and celebrations,” then this new-found kinship takes its birth not in a sense of common race, indeed, but in a very common fear of Germany.
In the year 1846, the British army was engaged in robbing the Irish people of their harvest in order that the work of the famine should be complete and that the then too great population of Ireland should be reduced within the limits “law and order” prescribed, either by starvation or flight to America.
Fleeing in hundreds of thousands from the rule of one who claimed to be their Sovereign, expelled in a multitude exceeding the Moors of Spain, whom a Spanish King shipped across the seas with equal pious intent, the fugitive Irish Nation found friendship, hope and homes in the bosom of the great Celtic Republic of the West. All that was denied to them in their own ancient land they here found in a new Ireland growing up across the Atlantic.
And the hate of England pursued them here and those who dared to give them help and shelter. The United States were opening wide their arms to receive the stream of Irish fugitives and were saying very harsh things of England’s infamous rule in Ireland. This could not be brooked. England in those days had not invented the Anglo-Saxon theory of mankind, and a united Germany had not then been born to vex the ineptitude of her statesmen or to profit from the shortcomings of her tradesmen.
So the greatest ministers of Queen Victoria seriously comtemplated war with America and naturally looked around for someone else to do the fighting. The Duke of Wellington hoped that France might be played on, just as in a later day a later minister seeks to play France in a similar role against a later adversary.3 The Mexicans, too, might be induced to invade the Texan frontier. But a greater infamy than this was seriously planned. Again it is an Irishman who tells the story and shows us how dearly the English loved their trans-Atlantic “kinsmen” when there was no German menace to threaten nearer home.
Writing from Carlsruhe, on January 26th, 1846, to his friend, Alexander Spencer, in Dublin, Charles Lever said:
“As to the war the Duke4 says he could smash the Yankees, and ought to do so while France is in her present humor and Mexico opens the road to invasion, from the South—not to speak of the terrible threat that Napier uttered, that with two regiments of infantry and a field battery he’d raise the slave population in the United States.“
The infamy of this suggestion cannot be surpassed. The brilliant soldier who conceived it was the chivalrous Englishman who conquered Scinde, one of the chief glories of the Britannic hierarchy of soldier-saints.
The Government planning it was that of the late Queen Victoria with the Duke of Wellingtons advice, and the people against whom the black slave millions were to be loosed were the “kith and kin” of those meditating this atrocious form of massacre. Truly, as an old Irish proverb, old even in the days of Henry VIII, put it, “the pride of France, the treason of England and the warre of Irelande shall never have end.”
As a latter-day witness of that treason, one who had suffered it and knew it from birth to the prison cell, a dead Irishman speaks to us from the grave. Michael Davitt, in a letter to Morrison Davidson, on August 27th, 1902, thus summed up in final words what every Irishman feels in his heart:
“The idea of being ruled by Englishmen is to me the chief agony of existence. They are a nation without faith, truth or conscience, enveloped in a panoplied pharasaism and an incurable hypocrisy. Their moral appetite is fed on falsehood. They profess Christianity and believe only in Mammon. They talk of liberty while ruling India and Ireland against the principles of a constitution, professed as a political faith, but prostituted to the interests of class and landlord rule.”
Have Englishmen in less than two generations substituted love for the hate that Napier, Wellington, and the Queens Ministers felt and expressed in 1846 for the people of the United States? Is it love to-day of America or fear of someone else that impels to the “Arbitration Treaties” and the celebration of the “Hundred Years of Peace?”
The Anglo-American “Peace Movement” was to be but the first stage in an “Anglo-Saxon Alliance,” intended to limit and restrict all further world changes, outside of certain prescribed Continental limits, to these two peoples alone on the basis of a new “Holy Alliance,” whose motto should be “Beati possidentes.“
Since England and America, either in fact or by reservation enjoy almost all the desirable regions of the earth, why not bring about a universal agreement to keep every one in his right place, to stay “just as we are,” and to kindly refer all possible differences to an “International Tribunal?”
Once again the British Bible was thrown into the scale and the unrighteousness of Germany, who did not see her way to join in the psalm singing, was exposed in a spirit of bitter resignation and castigated with an appropriate selection of texts. The Hague Tribunal would be so much nicer than a war of armaments! With no reckless rivalries of naval and military expenditure there could be no question of the future of mankind.
An idyllic peace would settle down upon the nations, contentedly possessing each its own share of the good things of life, and no questionable ambitions would be allowed to disturb the buying and selling of the smaller and weaker peoples. The sincerity of the wish for universal arbitration can be best shown by England when she, or any of the Powers to whom she appeals, will consent to submit the claim of one of the minor peoples she or they hold in subjection to the Hague Tribunal. Let France admit Madagascar, Siam, or her latest victim, Morocco, to the franchise of the Court. Let Russia agree to Poland or Finland seeking the verdict of this bench of appeal. Let England plead her case before the same high moral tribunal and allow Ireland, Egypt, or India to have the law of her. Then, and not until then, the world of little States and beaten peoples may begin to believe that the Peace Crusade has some foundation in honor and honesty—but not till then. Germany has had the straightforwardness and manliness to protest that she is still able to do her own shooting and that what she holds she will keep, by force if need be and what she wants she will, in her own sure time, take, and by force, too, if need be. Of the two cults, the latter is the simpler, sincerer, and certainly the less dishonest.
Irish-American, linked with German-American keen-sighted hostility did the rest. The rivalry of Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Taft aided, and the effort (for the time at any rate), has been wrecked, thereby plunging England into a further paroxysm of religious despondency and grave concern for German morals. This mood eventuated in Lord Haldane’s “week-end” trip to Berlin. The voice was the voice of Jacob, in spite of the hand of Esau. Mr. Churchill, at Glasgow, showed the real hand and the mess of pottage so amiably offered at Berlin bought no German birthright. The Kreuz-Zeitung rightly summed up the situation by pointing out that “Mr. Churchill’s testimony can now be advanced as showing that the will of England alone comes in question as the exponent of peace, and that England for many years past has consciously assumed the role of an absolute and perfectly arbitrary judge of war and peace. It seems to us all the more significant that Mr. Churchill proposes also in the future to control, with the help of the strong navies of the Dominions, the trade and naval movements of all the Powers on the face of the earth—that is to say. his aim is to secure a world monopoly for England.” There has never been any other thought in the English mind. As I said in part I of this paper. “British interests are first the control of all the seas of all the world in full military and commercial control. If this be not challenged peace is permitted; to dispute it seriously means war.
Germany is driven by necessity to dispute it seriously and to overcome it. She cannot get out to play her part in world life, nay, she cannot hope to ultimately maintain herself at home until that battle has been fought and won.
Arrangements with England, detentes, understandings, call them what you will, are merely parleys before the light. The assault must be delivered, the fortress carried, or else Germany and with her, Europe, must resign the mission of the white races and hand over the government and future of the world to one chosen people.
Europe reproduces herself yearly at the present time at the rate of about five million souls. Some three-fifths of this number are to-day absorbed into the life of the Continent, the balance go abroad and principally to North America, to swell the English-speaking world. Germany controls about one-fifth of Europe’s natural annual increase, and realizing that emigration to-day means only to lose her people and build up her antagonist’s strength, she has for years now striven to keep her people within German limits, and hitherto with successful results far in excess of any achieved by other European States. But the limit must be reached, and that ere many years are past. Where is Germany to find the suitable region, both on a scale and under conditions of climate, health and soil that a people of say 90,000,000 hemmed in a territory little larger than France, will find commensurate to their needs? No other European people is in such plight.
Russia has the immense and healthy world of Siberia, into which to overflow. France, far from needing outlets, increases not at all, and during 1911 showed an excess of close on 40,000 deaths over births. For France the day of greatness is past. A French Empire, in any other sense than the Roman one of commercial and military exploitation of occupied territories and subjugated peoples is gone forever.
France has no blood to give except in war. French blood will not colonize even the Mediterranean littoral. Italy is faced with something of the same problem as Germany, but to a lesser extent. Her surplus population already finds a considerable outlet in Argentina and Southern Brazil, among peoples, institutions, and language largely approximating to those left behind. While Italy has, indeed, need, of a world policy as well as Germany, her ability to sustain a great part abroad cannot be compared to that of the Teutonic people. Her claim is not so urgent; her need not so insistent, her might inadequate.
The honesty and integrity of the German mind, the strength of the German intellect, the skill of the German hand and brain, the justice and vigor of German law. the intensity of German culture, science, education and social development, these need a great and healthy field for their beneficial display, and the world needs these things more than it needs the British mastery of the seas. The world of European life needs to-day, as it needed in the days of a decadent Roman world empire, the coming of another Goth, the coming of the Teuton. The interposing island in the North Sea alone intervenes. How to surmount that obstacle, how to win the freedom of the “Seven Seas” for Europe must be the supreme issue for Germany.
If she fails she is doomed to sterility. The supreme test of German genius, of German daring, of German discipline, of Hohenzollern Kingship and imagination lies there.
Where Louis XIV, the Directory, and Napoleon failed, will the heir of Karl the Great see clearly?
And then, when that great hour has struck, will Germany, will Europe, produce the statesman-soldier who shall see that the key to ocean freedom lies in that island beyond an island, whose very existence Europe has forgotten?Till that key is cut from the Pirate’s girdle, Germany may win a hundred Austerlitzes on the Vistula, the Dnieper, the Loire, but until she restores that key to Europe, to paraphrase Pitt, she may “roll up that map of the world; it will not be wanted these fifty years.”
3 Sir E. Grey and the “Entente Cordiale.“
4 The Duke of Wellington; the report was brought to Lever by the Marquis of Douro, the Duke’s heir.