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PREFATORY

ESSAY

proper after her victories in the war with the Celestial Empire had she not been baffled by the intervention of Russia, France, and Germany. In the West, the United States, as the reward of *eir wa with Spain hold Cuba within their grasp, and have actually annexed Porto Rico and the I hilippin .. We mifflit cite any number of smaller acquisitions of territory-chiefly, no doubt, on the part of Russia and Great Britain-in barbarous or semi-barbarous countries; but it is unnecessary to do more than allude to the partition of Africa, one of the most striking illustrations of the earth-hunger which has had so great an influence on the course of events within the last few years, and which is likely to have far greater influence in the years to come. The Dark Continent, to whose existence, after the suppression of the slave trade, Europe had remained persistently indifferent, has since 1880 been partitioned out into so called spheres of influence, over which various European States claim a right of predominance. It may be contended with some plausibility that this earth-hunger is due solely, or at any rate mainly to increased armaments, and to the bellicose frame of mind which these armaments have neces‘’ sarily engendered amongst all progressive countries. This explanation, however, is inadequate. Tfte earth- Even the most ardent opponents of militarism would hardly dispute the assertion that, as a hunger bodyj the civilized nations of the world have increased their armies and their navies on the principle Si vis pacem para hdlwn. The possession of augmented military power may have facilitated the subsequent annexations of territory. But the chief object for which the nations have submitted willingly to the burdens inseparable from so-caUed “bloated armaments” has assuredly not been solely an ambitfon of seizing on the waste places of the world. The truth is that the outburst of milRansm has coincided fortuitously with what we may call the contraction of the earth. It need hardly be said that this contraction is moral, not material, and is due to the rapid increase of the worlds popula ion, owing partly to improved sanitary and social conditions, but mainly to the discoveries of science. If by TOme convulsion of nature the various inhabited portions of the globe could have been brought into close proximity to each other, the result of such a convulsion would hardly have differed materially from that produced by the agency of railways, steamships, and, above all, of electricity. Even as late as 1875 L system of world telegraphy was in its infancy as compared with its present development and i seem well-nigh certain that the 20th century will witness such an extension ot the means of Internationa locomotion and communication as to induce succeeding generations to regard themselves wit i ar more justice than we can do to-day, as the heirs of all the ages. It is not to be wondered at if this contraction of the earth should have increased the desire of all leading nations to increase their area of available territory while there was yet time and opportunity. When the owner of a large and prosperous estate finds building going on all around him, in such a manner as to threaten “ the amenities of his property, he has only one course open to him if he is anxious to maintain his position. That course is to obtain possession of all adjacent land which is available for appropriation. The same instinct which tea s , landowner to provide against the danger of being crowded out, has led the master nations of the day to appropriate, in as far as they can, all the unoccupied portions of the habitable globe. It is a significant an &cPt that the two countries in which this land-greed has been most powerful should be Great Germany, which both have very dense and very rapidly increasing populations, and which aie both to a considerable degree dependent upon foreign enterprise for the food of their people. In France, on the ot er hand where the population barely holds its own in numbers, and where the produce of the soil is more than sufficient for native wants, the land-greed has taken but small hold on popular imagination. This statement may seem hard to reconcile with the vigorous though spasmodic efforts made by 1 ranee since the Franco-German war to extend her spheres of influence in various parts of the globe. A very s g acquaintance, however, with the French people is sufficient to convince any observant person that Frenc men know little and care less about colonial possessions in themselves, and only value them, if at all rom a sort of unreasoning impression that Great Britain owes her greatness to her colonies, and that if France had colonies of her own, she might become more powerful than Great Britain, or at any rate mig t cause that country trouble and annoyance. . . , p .. , . , , q Something may well be said here of the violent outburst of anti-British feeling which has manifested itself throughout Europe, and especially in France, and which forms one of the most noteworthy, though