Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

comes in the way of a satisfactory and thoroughly representative meeting, there is that cyclopean difficulty of the difference in climate. It is all very well saying that Melbourne or New York, or Toronto, or Cape Town, are nearer in point of time to London than the plains of Olympia were to some of the Greek inhabited places on the shores of the Mediterranean, but owing to the greater distances intervening the climatic variety is aggravated. Our visitors feel much more the detrimental effects of the humid English climate than we do the bracing air of New York. The only way to get over this is to give the visitors a longer time to acclimatise themselves. I believe that the preliminary training, on the spot, for the great Olympian games of Greece occupied ten months. Then there is the question of expense incurred by these long journeys. Are the contestants, say, at the new Olympian games at Athens to pay their own expenses, or have them paid and thus become professionals? The whole question, on the grounds mentioned, bristles sufficiently with difficulties, without the misleading statements of interested enemies of the scheme. It has been urged again with apparent force that it unsettles a university student to come to England, or to go to America, to partake in such contests as are advocated. Burke once observed that the education of the generality of the world was not in reading a parcel of books, but in restraint of discipline, emulation, and in noble examples. A trip of this kind no more unsettles a university man than does the stay of the Oxford and Cambridge crews at Putney. Dr. Welldon, the head master of Harrow, goes nearly to declare that adventures of this sort are a positive blessing. Speaking lately in public, he observed : 'It is possible that I shall be misunderstood, and it is almost certain I shall be criticised, but I say that England owes her empire far more to her sports than to her studies.'

The failures and I trust, the success of the new Olympian games which are to be held near Athens next year will teach the practical promoters of the 'Pan-Britannic' idea what to avoid and what to embrace. These games are open to the whole world, to Fins, Poles, Russians, Neapolitans, Greeks, and Frenchmen, and the secretary of the A.A.A. is upon the committee. He will be able to give us many a wrinkle when the 'Pan-Britannic'comes about. I look upon him as a convert, but I did not think he would go so far. He told me when I first saw him about my scheme, that he was against international contests, as they only lead to quarrels—and now look what he has come to! The promoters of the games at Athens should be congratulated, as the Americans declare that they cannot do less than send a shipload of athletes to celebrate the occasion. I shall watch with some interest what the prizes are. Are they to be, as Ruskin describes, no proud one, no jewelled circlet flaming through heaven -only some few leaves of wild olive, cool to the tired brow-type of gray honour and sweet rest'? The modern Anacharsis mocks at the

parsley of Nemea, the fir of the Isthmus, the sacred apples of Apollo, and the olive crown of Olympia. Outside of the public schools and the universities is there an amateur athlete who would be satisfied with being simply hailed as Victor Ludorum ? We may be able to revive the form, but can we revive the spirit which made these games the marvellous influence they once were in binding together in a mystic bond the scattered units of ancient Greece? The gathering next Eastertide at Athens will probably solve the question.

As a concluding word upon the athletic features of the scheme, let me say that I think much might be done with cricket as an informal link between Englishmen in all parts of the empire. It is no use introducing America into this idea, because the Americans are no more a cricket-playing people than we are a baseball-playing people. I have often thought that an imperial cricket tournament could be arranged, including a West Indian team, a South African, and an Australian team, on the same principle as are now played the English inter-county contests. It seems unfair to pit an English county against the whole of Australia; but I dare say, on a population basis, the Lancashire captain or the Middlesex captain has just as many, if not more, cricketers to choose his eleven from than the Australian captain, and certainly far more than the whole of the West Indies or South Africa. This tournament should not take place oftener than every four years, so as not to interfere too much with our county cricket, and tax too greatly colonial financial backing. Already the too frequent visits between Australia and England are becoming an inconvenience. George Giffen, the celebrated Australian, said lately that there was no doubt that such periodical visits of strong English teams have a beneficial effect on the cricket of Australia, but they should not be repeated too frequently-no oftener, say, than once in three years. If they came every season, or perhaps every second season, they might find that the best men, Giffen urged, would not always be able to play against them, because Australian cricketers, being nearly all engaged in business, cannot devote all their time to cricket, however much they might like to if they studied their own inclinations. They cannot be expected to sacrifice their own inter-colonial games, yet to play in these as well as in the matches against the Englishmen during the past season, several of them had to forsake business almost entirely for four months. I believe there is a feeling of the same kind upon this side. While this cricket tournament was proceeding, dates might be found for a series of three matches of All-England against the Combined Colonies; but interesting as this fixture might be, I expect the British pit would clamour for the old favourite of England v. Australia.

J. ASTLEY COOPER.

VOL. XXXVIII—No, 223

GG

NEW BRITISH MARKETS

III

TROPICAL AFRICA

The admirable article by Mr. Holt Hallett in last month's issue of this Review has demonstrated so fully-if demonstration be necessary—the enormous importance to Great Britain at the present time of securing new markets for the produce of our industries, that it is needless for me to dilate at any length on a subject already so ably treated by a more competent writer than myself. Three principal causes appear to me to have combined in recent years to force upon this nation the necessity of expansion, to keep pace with the rapidly increasing wants of its growing population

(1) The accentuation of the commercial rivalry between the Great Powers, to an extent synonymous with commercial hostility, more especially on the part of America, Germany, and France, by means of hostile tariffs, State bounties, and protection.

(2) The fact that many of our customers, more especially our own great dependencies (India, &c.), have passed from consumers, into producers and rivals.

(3) The rise of a new commercial Power-Japan--wbich bids fair to become a successful rival in the markets of China and the East.

If, therefore, we realise that there is a change in the times, and that the march of progress has called into existence rivals who threaten our commercial supremacy, and who can compete with us on advantageous terms in almost every line of industry ; if we realise also that the teeming population of these small islands-increasing by 1,000 souls a day-is dependent for its very existence on its imported food supply (the product of its industries and trade), expansion can no longer be viewed as `jingoism,' nor can the vital necessity of obtaining new markets to replace those that are slipping from us be sneered at as mere 'earth-hunger.' The range of the mental vision of the Little Englander' is contracted. His horizon is limited, so that the signs of the times and the necessities of the future are absent from his mental perspective. He views the statesman who would provide outlets for the use of posterity--as we received them from our ancestors—as a dangerous ‘jingo.' who,

prompted by an empty ambition, desires only to extend the responsibilities and expenses of the Empire. He fails, indeed, to grasp that fundamental law of nature which decrees that growth and expansion are inseparable from vitality and virility—that stagnation and the lack of energy to grow and expand are the outward visible signs which point to decay.

It is interesting to note how within the last few years the chambers of commerce of England and Scotland bave spoken with one voice—and that a loud and vehement voice-in favour of expansion. The people of England have of late demonstrated the strength of their convictions in this matter, and by the verdict of the general election have testified their adherence to the views put forward by Lord Salisbury, the Foreign Minister, and Mr. Chamberlain, the Minister for the Colonies. These views are too well known, and have been enunciated in Parliament and on public platforms too often, to need quotation here. In a word, both these statesmenthe two Ministers of the Crown directly responsible for Greater Britain—have never ceased to affirm the desirability of developing new markets in tropical Africa, in view of the commercial competition of other nations, and as the best means of stimulating trade and prosperity. It needs no prophet, cunning to detect the current of popular opinion, to tell us how the nation thinks on this subject. On all occasions when a question of advance or retrogression in Africa bas been submitted to public discussion, as in the case of Uganda, &c.--the verdict has been no uncertain one, alike in England and in Scotland. It is not a question of national aggrandisement; it is a question as to whether, in view of the expansion by every other great nation, while the remaining markets of the world are in process of allotment, Great Britain has yet the vigour to maintain its place among the nations, and its ancient traditions, or whether by our apathy and inertia we are to stand confessed as a nation which has lost its vitality and is declining to its end.

But the acquisition of new markets in Africa means something other than the free use of a red paint brush on a large-scale map of the continent. It means an initial outlay, an initial burden (so small, however, as to be almost inappreciable) on the British taxpayer. He who acquires an estate does not suppose that his cattle, his grain, his timber, or his garden produce will come to market without a capital outlay in stock, in buildings, in roads, and in supervising establishments. Markets in Africa have this in common with private estates, that they are largely potential, more especially those to which I shall chiefly refer in this paper. The markets of China and of Tibet (dealt with last month in this Review) concern countries with dense and excessively exclusive populations, having a civilisation of their own. Their requirements are definite, their exports are desirable as raw material for our manufactures. The problem regarding them is how these markets may be tapped, how the barrier of exclusion may be broken down, how our goods may be brought to their frontiers and disseminated through their populations in a manner which shall secure their custom to Great Britain as against foreign competition.

The problem in Africa is wholly different ; in East Africa it is (as I have said) of the nature of the development of a vast estate owned by the State. In West Africa, where Mohammedanism has welded the tribes into empires and kingdoms, the difference is not so marked. In that part of the continent there are teeming populations eager to purchase our cottons and our hardware. But there too the barrier of exclusion (due in this case to Mohammedanism) has to be broken down. The creed of Islam, while tending to raise the native of Africa higher in the scale of humanity than paganism, is, I think, one which leads but to a certain point, and there arrests development. Over vast areas of West Africa it has become so deteriorated by an admixture of pagan superstitions, and by intemperance, that its influence for good has been largely discounted. Taken at its best, the creed of Islam has created unity where it found chaos, has produced nations and vivified them by striking the key-notes of patriotism and the courage of a cause. It has abolished cannibalism and the grosser and more cruel rites of paganism, and instituted government under recognised authority and a form of theocratic law, and in some regions, as in East Africa, it has promoted temperance. These things it has done where its purer forms have taken hold on the people. But it has worked much harm as well. The Mohammedan negro is inflated with a sense of his superiority, which has taught him a supreme contempt for human life outside the pale of his own creed. The pagan is to him as a beast of the field, fit but for slaughter or slavery. His religion has not taught him to condemn deceit, treachery, or cruelty. Having raised him somewhat above the chaos and the superstition of the pagan, it has left him with no higher aspirations, the victim of bigotry and exclusion, the scourge of non-Mohammedan humanity. And then it has tended to deteriorate by laxity in those principles which ennobled it and gave it vitality, and to incorporate with itself those very superstitions and vices which it was its mission to destroy. The value of Islam as a religion for Africa is not, however, the subject of this article. It has its advocates in the distinguished French traveller, Monsieur Binger, Sir G. Carter, and Dr. Mar

| From the Niger to the Gulf of Guinea. Captain Binger, while arguing that Islam is the most suitable religion for the negro races, says, regarding the Foulahs, the most zealous Moslems of this part of Africa : ‘All are Mohammedans without exception, and all are drunken in the fullest acceptance of the word. Towards five o'clock in the evening it is no longer possible to have a serious conversation with them; young people, adults, and old men are all drunk.'

2 Vide letters to Times, June 6, 1895, and June 8, 1895.

« ElőzőTovább »