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world, and that Christian Powers have no right to dispose of their destinies. All utterances of this kind are carried straight to Teheran, just as Mulai Hafid at Fez and Habibullah at Cabul are kept acquainted with all views of special interest to themselves expressed by the European Press. The incitements to the Moslem world to take up a definitely anti-Christian attitude have now developed into something like a general doctrine of German policy. In this enterprise above all the German Emperor is employing incendiary methods, threatening England most of all as the Power governing by far
governing by far the greater number of Mohammedan subjects, but menacing in only a less degree each of the other partners in the Triple Entente. This question alone would make it necessary for England, Russia, and France to take out a mutual insurance policy. For each of these countries common action against the attempt to convert panIslamism into a vast political force is one of the first principles of self-preservation. Again we
Again we see that future co-operation between Russia and England is dictated by the new nature of things in Persia and Asiatic Turkey. And if we turn to the Balkans, lines of parallel action are no less plainly marked out.
Russia is bound in her own interest to back the Bulgar as steadily as Germany backs the Turk. This is the only means of redressing the military balance in the Near East and of neutralising in the Balkans the increase of Ottoman strength in Anatolia. An autonomous Macedonia holding Salonika would always enable British sea-power to act directly upon the Balkan situation, and to defend the existence of that which England and Russia had helped to create. Upon the other hand, Germany is determined that there shall be no fatal break—such as an autonomous Macedonia might cause--in the chain of her political connections with Constantinople, with the Bagdad Railway, with its great branch to Mecca. The diplomatic struggle is far from its end, and it becomes more and more unlikely that the great aim will be decided without ultimate war. If the course of policy increases German chances of success in a postponed struggle, she will keep the peace. If the diplomacy of other Powers seems likely to place her in the long run at a serious military advantage, she will break the peace. But if war comes at last, it can come upon the initiative of no Power in Europe but
Unless war is declared at Berlin, it will not be declared. And if the sword is drawn at last, lest the insurance system of the Triple Entente should become more effective with the lapse of time, the cause will be simple. It will not be because Germany is isolated, but because the Bismarckian principle of isolating every other Power has finally failed.
BRITAIN AND BELGIUM.
BRITAIN and Belgium are opposite to each other, the North Sea only intervening, and yet it is probable that few among the highly civilised countries of Europe are less reciprocally wellacquainted than these two kingdoms which have so profoundly acted and re-acted on one another in ancient and recent history : though the need of a clearer understanding and a closer alliance is of cardinal importance to the national interests of both.
Large numbers of British tourists go annually to Ostende, Bruges, Brussels, and Antwerp. A few penetrate to Spa in the northernmost part of the Walloon country, and still fewer explore the beauties of the Ardennes in Belgian Luxemburg.
But beyond the stereotyped tourist routes (followed chiefly because they are a cheap way to Switzerland or Germany) singularly little is known in England about the country life of Belgium, the political movements of the towns, or the admirable Belgian Press, to be ranked with that of Geneva and England in its
of foreign affairs. Few people in the United Kingdom know anything of the Dutch language; fewer still have studied the interesting Flemish dialect, although this is a language spoken by nearly four millions of people only one hundred miles from the south-east coasts of England.
Yet from the lands of the Belgic tribes, of Flanders and NorthEast France, came in all probability the Keltic conquerors and colonists of Britain and Ireland ; possibly, indeed, all the human natives of the ancient British peninsula and more recent archipelago down to Roman times. For this was the land of latest contiguity with South-East England, and it is scarcely reasonable to suppose that in times prior to 500 B.C. navigation in the North Sea and British Channel had advanced much beyond the coracle and the canoe, or that without sea-going ships of fair size (nonexistent in the north till the days of the Phænicians and Romans) there could have been any serious migration from the west of Europe to Ireland and Britain over the rough waters of the Bay of Biscay and the Western Channel.
In spite of its enlightened Press, however, the Belgian people, as a whole, know comparatively less of modern Britain than the British know of Belgium. Thousands of Belgian tourists do not
(1) But then what fact can be more startling in any survey of the British Empire than the ignorance displayed by millions of Englishmen with regard to the ancient Keltic speech of Wales, Ireland, and North-West Scotland ?
traverse the main routes of England from May to October, still c
less do they come here in the winter. They are repelled by the expensive South Eastern Railway route with its uncomfortable landing at Dover; they dislike the long voyage which would land them at Harwich. Besides, in comparison to their own architectural glories and achievements, Britain has comparatively little to offer even in the best of her cathedrals, castles, and what remains of her rural domestic architecture that has not been refaced with stucco and roofed with corrugated iron.
The expensiveness of railway travelling and hotel hospitality in Great Britain puts us out of court as a tourist resort for such countries as Belgium, closely situated as they are to some of the finest scenery of Europe. Ten years ago we had exceedingly pretty scenery and many remarkable buildings to offer to the foreigner's contemplation between Cornwall, Shropshire, and Kent; but this attraction has been rapidly disappearing of late owing to field advertisements, corrugated iron, and that passion for the destruction of country beauty which seems to have seized all classes of people alike. Irish and Scottish landscapes are grand in many places and possessed of a plaintive charm, but the hotels in these countries are always dear and occasionally uncomfortable.
We can really only offer attractions to the Continental tourist because of the supreme importance of our nationality in the study of political economy; because of the British Museum in its two divisions; of the National and the Tate Galleries; the Botanical and Zoological Gardens of Kew, Edinburgh, and Dublin. For the rest our scenery and historical buildings are matters of scarcely more than domestic interest.
Yet it is of supreme importance that Great Britain and Belgium should know one another thoroughly, that the closest alliance should unite them in defence of common interests : an alliance not necessarily written on paper-a deed which has no permanent value-but subscribed to by the intelligence and sympathies of both contracting parties.
Now that the understanding with France has been arrived at, and seems so firmly based that it is likely to outlast the youngest person now living, there is no point of more capital importance in the plans of Great Britain than the independence, prosperity, and friendship of the Low Countries. If the political ideas of all educated men and women in Great Britain and Ireland could be focussed into action at the present time, and we could act with the unscrupulous directness of a Napoleon, we should once again carry out the plans of 1815 and unite the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxemburg into a strong Low German Confederation which would serve as Britain's bulwark on the North Sea.
Between 1815 and 1830 this desire of the British nation (more or less dwelling in our thoughts since the days of Elizabeth) was frustrated by the stupidity and short-sighted obstinacy of the Dutch King and his people. Religion was partly to blame. Although the Dutch Calvinists and Flemish Catholics spoke the same language (only differing in dialect as Lowland Scots differs from London English ), and were compounded of the same racial stocks, they hated each other as bitterly as the English and Scots, English and Welsh, and English and Irish have done in the past; although all these peoples were, in the same way, formed in different degrees of the same racial elements and shared the same Keltic or Teutonic languages.
Holland, with her well-disciplined troops and with the latent sympathy and support of Germany, might have conquered the Belgian provinces but for the ready intervention of France and England. The reason of the French assistance to Belgium can be easily guessed. The Belgian provinces had sixteen years before (1814) been a part of the French Empire, and, from the widespread use of French in South and East Belgium, might once again be absorbed in the French Monarchy at a time when there was no coherent Germany to object. Such was not the wish of Britain then, who had no more desire to see Flanders incorporated with France than she now wishes it to pass under the control of Germany. Moreover, with the spread of liberal ideas in the 'thirties of the last century, we were reluctant to see one country with a different religious faith force its rule on another. In any case, we could not then, as now, remain indifferent to the fate of Belgium, a region constituting the most vulnerable of our over-sea defences. It is not necessary here to discuss questions of naval strategy, but it seems to be considered by most naval authorities at the present day, as in past times, that Great Britain is far more easily attacked and invaded from the mouth of the Schelde-from Belgium, in fact --than from France, North Holland, or Germany.
So in 1831 we joined our forces and diplomacy with those of France and created the modern Kingdom of Belgium, which was finally settled and delimited in the Treaty of London of 1839. Unfortunately at that period we did not push our prudent prevision far enough, or we should have insisted on attaching to an independent Belgium the whole of the former Duchy of Luxemburg. This Duchy, which figured considerably in the
(1) Both Flemings and Hollanders being simply—in a linguistic sense -the descendants of those Franks who conquered France, and for the most part adopted the Romance dialects of French, Walloon, and Provençal. Dutch and Flemish are modern Frankish, just as Frisian is modern Anglo-Saxon, very like what English would have been but for the Norman invasion.
VOL. LXXXIV. N.S.
history of France and Austria down to 1794, included not only the present independent fragment of 999 square miles in extent, bounded on the east by the Our and Sure and the Mosel, but the much larger territories of the Ardennes. From 1795 to 1814 the whole of Luxemburg was the French Department "des Forêts." Long before this date, however, it had been greatly "francified," the bulk of the inhabitants, peasants and nobles alike, speaking French of the modern type, or Walloon-the ancient and interesting Romance dialect still remaining in vigour. The eastern parts of Luxemburg spoke—and speak—a low German dialect akin to the Saxon speech of East and North Germany. But the whole of Luxemburg had always been Catholic in religion, and was closely related in sympathetic commercial and political relations with the Burgundian or Austrian provinces of modern Belgium.
Had the diplomatists at the Treaty of London insisted on the King of Holland getting his compensation elsewhere in money or lands than by the retention of 999 square miles of East Luxemburg, they might have eliminated one of the provocative causes of a future Franco-German war.
The growth and ambitions of Germany after 1850 drew everincreasing attention to the strategical importance of the present Grand Duchy of Luxemburg. It is true that as a Burgundian or Austrian possession this territory had once formed part of the Electoral German (Holy Roman) Empire; but then so had the Princes of Orange-Nassau been Imperial electors, and yet no one for this reason classed Holland as a German province. The first achievement of modern German diplomatists in the direction of a Germanisation of Luxemburg was the inclusion of the Grand Duchy within the German Customs' Union in 1842. Moreover, they took full advantage of the inconvenient element in its constitution obliging the transmission of its sovereignty to be governed by Salic Law, so that no female might occupy the Grand Ducal throne of Luxemburg. But for this the Grand Duchy would be an appanage at the present day of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands.1
When her father, William III., in 1866, after the annexation, of Hanover, Hesse-Cassel, and Nassau by Prussia, began to feel alarmed at the growing ambitions of a Prussianised Germany and the effect they might have on the independence of the Netherlands, he endeavoured to enter into closer relations with France, and proposed to sell to that country his Duchy of Luxemburg, then
(1) In July, 1907, however, the Luxemburg Government passed a Bill vesting the right of succession in the eldest surviving daughter of the Grand Duke, himself a prince of the House of Nassau. The Grand Duke so far has no son, but six daughters.