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prise or foreign commercial adventure, and it is these interests which are most directly affected by the expansion of any European nation. It may
be profitable briefly to recall the differing characteristics of German and French schemes of colonisation. There is much truth in the epigrammatic comparison that England has both colonists and colonies, Germany colonists but no colonies, and France colonies but no colonists. The fact is that France at present has no population to spare; and it would seem that burdening herself at home with railway schemes and other public works of magnificent magnitude but hardly of proved necessity or even utility; with gigantic bounty systems for ships and sugar (amounting in the aggregate to something nearly equalling 18. in the pound of income tax); with customs’ charges more and more restrictive of profitable exchange, France is not in a financial position to boast that she has superabundant funds, whether public or private, for investment in colonial enterprise, still less that she needs or can support colonies.
In regard to the expansion of these three nations, the following figures of population tell no uncertain tale as to results, whatever the causes at work:
Again, if we take year by year, we find that the excess of births over deaths in France is steadily falling; and also that during this century, while the rate per thousand of population of deaths has increased, that of births has steadily decreased. Such are the relative positions and prospects of these three countries in regard to population; and in addition to this, while it is calculated that in France the emigrants do not exceed the immigrants in number, both Germany and England, over and above this rapid progress in themselves, send forth into the world tens, nay, sometimes hundreds of thousands of emigrants in a year in excess of immigrants. It is, therefore, not surprising that both German and English statesmen should look with curiosity upon this ardour of France to win for herself a colonial domain, although she has neither capital nor men to spare to make use of it. Precisely similar circumstances existed in the former attempts of European nations to colonise, and their collapse was due to precisely similar lack of the necessary supplies of surplus brain, muscle, and capital. Besides all this, the tendency in France is now all in the direction of Protectionism and Restriction. The French colonial authorities are now invited to impose differential
duties in favour of French manufactures ; the new French Sugar Law strives to protect French colonial produce. As these new restrictions on exchange take effect, so will France and her colonies fall yet farther behind in the international race.
France, in her nineteenth-century efforts at colonisation, founded Algeria, but has hitherto failed to supply even that one colony with sufficient men or money to fully develop it. Yet the lust of empire has seized upon republican France, and seems to have been mistaken for the spirit of genuine colonial enterprise which has done so much to enrich England. As an instance of the really culpable ignorance in which this movement has its roots, I may recall an incident that, but for its highly injurious effects, would have been ridiculous. France came to a determination in all sober seriousness and distinct avowal to send convicts to New Caledonia, with the asserted intention of founding in that little island a colonial empire that was to be the rival and equal of that which, according to French history, English convicts had founded in Australia. It would be precisely as rational to attempt, by sending smugglers to the island of Sark, to establish in that little island a kingdom which should one day rival that of the United Kingdom. But it is no pleasing prospect to see a great and neighbourly nation like that of France apparently thus bent on national suicide. Depressed at home in most branches of industry, suffering in her foreign trade, and giving ground daily before other rivals, a policy has nevertheless been taken in hand which, for magnitude of conception, exceeds all bounds, and wbich could only hope for success if based on attributes not one of which can with truth be predicated of France—viz., surplus population, surplus capital, and surplus produce. Two methods the French have adopted for extending French dominion. In the one case the pioneers are travellers who seek monopoly treaties with native potentates, and then obtain native petitions for the protectorate of France. As recent instances of this, we have the work done in the back country of Senegal, which would hand over to France a territory far larger than Algeria ; M. Brazza’s would-be annexations of the Congo district; and those of Dr. Neis in Siam. In the other case, the task of inaugurating French rule is entrusted to naval and military expeditions, which have been so busy of late in South-eastern China and in Madagascar, upholding ancient claims, hunting pirates, and taking sides with native factions. Success is, however, quite another matter; and the outcome of all this imperial energy will never transpire until France has contrived to set up some substantial dominion over these wide areas that at present successfully resist forcible annexation.
The great trading Powers of Europe can well afford to await these problematic developments of French empire, although it may be doubtful for how long they can put up with that stoppage of trade and discredit of European prestige which accompanies warfare that
is not war, although considered by the French specially suited to their schemes both in China and Madagascar.
The expansion of Germany is, however, the precise opposite of all this. It is the legitimate overflow of a nation, and it is conducted on enlightened and unselfish principles. The Germans wish to see European civilisation spread over the waste places of the earth, and they wish European trade to open up and to vivify future demand over these wide areas, a wish identical in motive and measures to that of the English nation.
Bearing closely on the attitude Englishmen ought to take up in regard to German expansion is the question as to any possible conflict in any part of the world with the colonial or the commercial enterprise of the English nation.
In regard to colonial enterprise, is there risk that Germany will press upon any of our colonial possessions? In North America this is impossible, as there is no land left. The Danish West India Islands are of little significance except as trading stations, and there the most secure protection of our colonies is in their own handsmerely the removing of all possible restrictions on shipping and trade. In South America we should warmly welcome the extension of German order and civilisation. In the Australian quarter of the world Germany can only appear as a territorial Power in the islands of the middle Pacific, where her traders are already established round Samoa as a centre. In China and the East, Germans already do a very considerable trade; but the formation of German colonies there can do no harm, seeing that our great trade-centres there are as free as ports can possibly be. By process of elimination we see that, so far as regards clashing with English colonial enterprise, German expansion can only affect us in Africa. The hoisting of the German flag at Angra Pequeña, a shipping place on the coast between Cape Colony and its dependency of Walvisch Bay, has been denounced as an attempt to secure a foothold in South Africa, whence the Germans can work inland and across to the Boers, absorbing them and passing on to overrun all the British possessions. This is forestalling history with a vengeance, and quite ignoring the probably cordial co-operation of the English and German nations to open up all that portion of Africa on mutual lines of advance. The minor question of the right of Germany to establish a colony at Angra Pequeña will be settled at Berlin, and Germany has declared herself scrupulously careful of pre-established rights of other nations. But, assuming the German flag to remain there, a German colony would bave ample room for expansion to the north and the east without trenching in any way whatever on the already established English territory to the south.
On the West Coast of Africa, Germany has lately been busy establishing her claim to much unappropriated coast line, which inter
laces with our own colonies and protectorates in that part of the world. But all along this coast Portuguese, French, Dutch, and Spanish, as well as English and German colonies succeed each other in no settled order. The coast line is of value as giving access to the interior, and the general expectation is that the interior of this enormous continent will provide a new market for European wares. No wonder that the nations are eager to share in the spoils. In this struggle there may be rough contacts, if things be not taken in hand betimes; and this will be the case not only on the West Coast but on the East, where communication with the interior is being rapidly opened up. It will be well for all Africa if international arrangements can be carried out by means of mutual concession, to secure that its opening up be not hindered and burdened by quarrels and war.
So far as England is concerned, it is no doubt true that English traders at tbe present possess the lion's share of Central African trade, but it is none the less true that the English nation has enough colonies on hand to absorb her surplus energies for some time to come; what the English nation requires is, not more dominions, but more markets. Thus England would welcome the undertaking by other nations of the task of opening up Africa to civilisation and trade, under two provisos-justice and peace for the native races, and equal facilities of access to the traders of all nations. England needs no more than this, and in these stipulations she will have the cordial support of Germany as well as of the other trading Powers. This new Berlin Conference is an occasion of which advantage may be taken in view of this opening up of Africa to formulate, as it were, some international code of rules for the occupation of native districts 'not bitherto subject to the dominion of European Powers.' England has an undeniable claim thus to stipulate on the plea that she has at the least an equal right with other States herself to occupy these native areas, and that her power to do so is immeasurably greater because her traders are already there. She should only yield this her right in exchange for guarantees securing the indefeasible rights of all nations to identically equal treatment as to commercial access, and if possible some limitation of taxes on commercial intercourse. The safeguarding the rights of the natives and the maintenance of security, order, and peace, might be arranged for by instituting an appeal to some system of international arbitration constituted for this special purpose.
Thus, wherever the expansion of Europe may be extending itself over native races-that is, over peoples that are not of sufficient civilised power to take their place in the category of States—the following principles should be insisted upon as the foundation of all political action. The voice of England should be specially strong, for she has the greatest moral claim to be heard, based on her long-continued and self-sacrificing efforts to put down and to keep down the slave trade,
and to her predominant commercial interests already established among such peoples. With other nations, also, she takes at the least equal rank in virtue of the labours and triumphs of her explorers and missionaries.
The seven principles I would enumerate as among those which should form the foundations of international arrangement are:
1, Prevention of slavery.
2. Equal facilities for missionaries of all nations and denominations.
3. Disallowance of all monopolies.
In all such action we shall have the zealous co-operation of Germany, now moved to great activity in colonial enterprise ; and this will be of the highest advantage not only to our bome exporting interests but to each and all of our colonial possessions. Thus, subject to some such preliminary international agreement, there is ample reason for every citizen of the British Empire most cordially to welcome this new-born expansion of Germany.