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this. The few pleasures that there are in this world are not confined to eating and drinking, to dancing and singing, nor even to being well clothed and well housed; in short, to being made comfortable. It needs no Akenside to tell us that “the pleasures of the imagination” are very keen; and, no doubt, it is a great pleasure nay, more, it is a great satisfaction-to feel that, as a nation, we are not without considerable influence in the world's affairs. Moreover, we have long been accustomed to enjoy this satisfaction, and we begin to miss it now.
I am not going to contend that we should not desire to resume this satisfaction; although, I think, that probably we somewhat underrate the influence which we have at present, notwithstanding all our supposed infirmity of purpose and action.
Ellesmere. I will give you a little assistance, Milverton. Returning home late at night from some tiresome debate, I have witnessed a quarrel between some man and woman, probably husband and wife; the woman has uttered all manner of injurious taunts, and has not failed to call him a coward; but she knows all the time that he is no coward. I need say no more.
Milverton. Thanks, Ellesmere, for your illustration. I have said before, and I say again, that a foreign nation cannot make a greater political mistake, than when it supposes that England will not fight.
I must, however, return to what I mean to say to you parliamentary men. You have this painful problem before you, which I have just stated, and which I will sum up in the following words :You have to make this country reasonably satisfied that due preparation is made for offence or defence, to provide against the contingencies of war. But, at the same time, you will have to take care that you do not make our people a warlike people—or, rather, a people whose first thought is war, or preparation for war. attain the latter object, you will break down our greatness in other respects, and you will go against the genius of the nation; you will prevent its reaping those advantages which its geographical position ought to command. I forbear to speak of the injury to science, art, and literature, which would be occasioned if you enter, without reservation, into a close competition with other nations as regards warlike preparation, and especially if you servilely adopt their peculiar methods of training, which may suit them very well, but which, I believe, would not be found to suit us at all.
I beg to remark, that I do not agree with those people who suppose, that if a general system of military education were adopted now, in those countries which have it not, that system would preclude the existence, or essentially diminish the size, of standing armies. If you do not take great care, you will have both evils. I think history will support me in this. Take the times of
Louis XI. of France, and his father, Charles VII. I believe that in those times almost every man received some training as a soldier, and yet these kings had standing armies. They would be considered ludicrously small armies now, but they were sufficient to ensure tyranny then. If I recollect rightly, Philippe de Commines comments upon the mischief and the burden that Louis XI.'s standing army was to his subjects. However that may be, I feel confident, that in the present day, those persons will be very much deceived who think, that by favouring and furthering a general military education of the people, they will succeed in reducing standing armies.
Now I have something very important to add, as affecting all that I have said in these conversations, touching war. It is this : that a great part of what I have said does not apply with especial force to our own people. We are not desirous of acquiring territory; we are averse from war, not so much from feeling as from principle. But I have endeavoured to treat the subject generally; and what I have said has been directed, not so much against Anglican, as against European opinion. You may say to me, “Your views will never reach the people whom you would most wish to influence.” I cannot help that. A writer, or a talker, must take the chance of his writing or his talking reaching the right people; and we should all have to adopt a Carthusian silence if we resolved never to say anything but that which is sure, at once, to meet with a reception from those persons for whom the saying is mainly intended.
Ellesmere. Well, we have listened to this discourse very patiently, and, certainly, I have very little to object to in it; unless, indeed, it be, that Milverton is kind enough to place before us Members of Parliament a problem which it is almost impossible to solve.
One thing, however, I must take leave to say in reference to the general subject of war. You don't mean to maintain, Milverton, that war is all bad ? that nothing good comes out of it ?
Milverton. No; I do not maintain that anything which God permits is altogether bad.
Sir Arthur. And suffering is, perhaps, the greatest and the best of instructors. The most beautiful jewel, as I deem it to be, is said by naturalists to be a produce of suffering—the pearl.
Ellesmere. That is one of Sir Arthur's pretty sayings. I do not hold with it.
Milverton. I would rather have fewer pearls, and much less suffering, even for the oysters. But, my dear Ellesmere, don't
think that there is every prospect of enough being said and done in the course of the next generation to favour war or to excuse it? Is it not well that there should be some few people on the other side; and that there should, at any rate, be one nation, which, while it is ready to
perform its national duties and to uphold the treaties it has signed, should yet be a protesting nation, if the only protesting nation, against the horrors, miseries, and unreasonableness of those wars which, as we have discovered with regard to the other scourges of mankind, are, I maintain, for the most part, preventible?
Lady Ellesmere. We women are entirely with you, Leonard.
Ellesmere. Of course they are. To speak somewhat commercially, if not coarsely, they become a “drug in the market” after a great war. I suppose this present war will kill six hundred thousand men. The Gretchens and Annettes will find a woeful scarcity of lovers.
Milverton. Don't joke about it, Ellesmere. It is a perfectly hideous thing, to think of the private misery that will follow upon this wholesale destruction of human beings. If we lived in Pagan times, I could imagine this vast cloud of misery, as of some hateful incense, rising up to appease the nostrils of offended gods; but, with our present belief in a God of mercy, what a rank offence, in His eyes, our odious wars must be! It is now 1871 years since Our Saviour came into this world. During that time there have been a great many individual Christians, or, at any rate, persons who believed that they conformed to the dictates of their Great Master. But you
will find it hard to maintain that there has been one Christian nation, if we may judge of its claims to Christianity by its conduct towards other nations.
[Here Mr. Milverton got up, and left the room; and the conversation afterwards was only of a desultory character. the last sustained conversation that we had before our party broke up, and before the Members of Parliament who chiefly constituted it went
up to hear the Queen's speech, and to commence the labours of the session.]
of St. Louis (U.S.), by Captain Silas Bent, on “The Thermometric Gateways to the Pole ;” the best clue to which he believes -in my opinion quite justly—will be found by following the line of warm surface-temperature under the guidance of the water-thermometer. One of these "gateways” he considers to exist in that prolongation of the Gulf stream, which, according to the received doctrine of physical geographers, flows in a north-easterly direction towards the Atlantic coasts of Europe, sensibly ameliorating our own climate, and exerting a yet greater influence upon that of regions still further north, to which it thence proceeds. But he passes all ordinary bounds in attributing to this agency the warm winter temperature of the Mediterranean; the Gibraltar current, according to him, being nothing else than a branch of the Gulf stream, which conveys to Genoa and Naples the heat it has acquired in the Gulf of Mexico. And he even puts forth the unprecedented assumption that it is in the power of his country, by obtaining possession of the Isthmus of Panama, and expending of a few hundred millions of dollars in cutting a channel through it, to deprive Europe of the whole benefit which it derives from the Gulf stream; and thus to convert the climate of France and Austria into that of Canada, and to turn England, Germany, and Northern Europe into a frozen wilderness, like British America and Labrador. This prospect, with
the Alabama claims still unsettled, is so appalling, that it may
be some consolation to the British nation to be assured that the implied threat is nothing but an empty boast; for that if it were possible for Man to break a passage through the Isthmus of Panama (which Nature will herself doubtless accomplish in course of time) sufficiently wide to divert the Gulf stream, by allowing the Equatorial current to pass straight on into the Pacific, the climate of Europe would suffer very little.
I am quite aware that, in making this assertion, I place myself in opposition to very high authorities in Physical Geography. But since, in the course of the Expeditions for deep-sea exploration in which I have taken part during the last three years, I have obtained an entirely new set of data, which appear to me to establish on a firm basis the doctrine of a general Oceanic circulation, dependent only upon differences of Temperature, which was originally suggested by Professor Buff,* I feel justified in placing it with some confidence before the general public.
Having recently discussed elsewhere the received doctrine of the Gulf stream, t and shown that the amount of heat it carries northwards has been immensely over-estimated, I shall not here enter into any detail as to this part of the subject; but shall briefly explain what appears to me the true state of the case in regard to its extent and climatic influence.
The source of the Gulf stream undoubtedly lies in the impulse given by the Trade-winds to the superficial layer of the portion of the Atlantic over which they blow, creating what is known as the Equatorial current, which sets constantly from the coast of Africa towards that of America. The northern portion of that current enters the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, where it receives a further accession of heat, and undergoes a change of direction in consequence of the resistance afforded by the American coast-line; and it then issues forth in a north-easterly direction through the narrow strait between Florida and the Bahama Islands. In its course obliquely across the North Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf stream gradually spreads itself out, diminishing in depth as it increases in breadth; and when it approaches the banks of Newfoundland, one portion of it bends round the Azores, and returns into the Equatorial current, thus completing the shorter circuit of that horizontal movement, of which the primum mobile is the action of the trade-winds. The other portion continues its north-easterly course past the banks, there meeting with Arctic surface-currents, which tend to neutralize its movement, and to reduce its temperature. Of these currents, the
* “ Physics of the Earth,” p. 194.