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XIV

PREFATORY ESSAY

occupation of Egypt was not intended to be, and would not be, of a permanent character. It was not his fault if the logic of facts proved stronger than he had anticipated, and if the provisional domination of Great Britain in Egypt assumed, year after year, a character of greater permanence. The insurrection in the Sudan, the victories of the Mahdi over the Egyptian forces, the evacuation of the Sudan, to which Egypt was compelled to accede at the command of the British Government, the despatch of General Gordon to the Sudan to arrange for the withdrawal of the Egyptian garrison, and the subsequent investment of Khartum, compelled the British Government, sorely against their will, to send a British army to the Sudan in order, if possible, to effect the release of their envoy. Popular sentiment forced the hands of the Ministry, and resented the withdrawal of the Wolseley expedition, then almost within sight of Khartum, on learning that Gordon had already succumbed to fate. The force of this sentiment made itself manifest at the elections of 1885. Of all the baseless calumnies which have been brought against Great Britain abroad, the most baseless is the charge that her action in Egypt was dictated by a deliberate desire and purpose to establish British supremacy in the valley of the Nile. Having been conversant with Egyptian affairs for many years, and having been personally, and in many cases intimately, acquainted with the leading personages, native as well ast foreign, in Egyptian public life from the date of the opening of the Suez Canal, the present writer can declare with confidence that until a very recent period British policy in Egypt was based on a genuine and honest, though, as he holds, a mistaken desire to quit Egypt and to get rid as soon as possible of the liabilities insepaiable from military occupation. This desire was not a matter of party feeling. It was shared alike by Liberals and Conservatives; and if the British are still in Egypt, this is only in obedience to that manifest destiny which shapes the history of nations, and which in the case of Great Britain compels her to pursue her Imperial mission. In a similar way the Jameson Raid, which was undertaken without the knowledge, and most assuredly against the wishes, of either the Government or the people of Great Britain, placed that country in a position which forced her most reluctantly to go to war in order to protect her Imperial interests. Everybody who has studied the history of Great Britain is aware that wars of conquest have been of very rare occurrence in her annals. The story of almost all her acquisitions of territory has been substantially the same. The instincts of their race have led British subjects to settle in far-away lands, from desire of trade or adventure. The settlers have acquired interests in the countries where they have taken up their abodes, and these interests have been assailed either by the natives or by foreigners. Great Britain, as a trading nation, has had no choice except to protect the interests of her traders abroad. Wars have ensued; territories have been annexed for the protection of trade; and, finally, the mother country has had to step in and place the territories in question under her rule and sway. In other words, the British Empire has been welded together, not in virtue of any distinct policy, but in obedience to the exigencies of its position as the chief trading nation of the world. It has grown unconsciously, not been created consciously. If this fact gives greater promise of permanence, it also renders the limitation of the British Empire a matter of extreme difficulty. The founders of empires created by conquest can in most cases say, “ Thus far and no farther.” But so long as the causes which have brought the British Empire into existence continue in full force of action, Great Britain has not the power, if she has the will, of altering her policy. We have dwelt at length on the development of British Imperialism because we regard it as the most important incident of recent years not only in regard to Great Britain, but in regard to the world at large; but the same note of Imperialism has influenced the policy of all the leading civilized nations of the world throughout the period under review. The Latin proverb Inter arma silent leges applies with especial force, though not perhaps in its literal sense, to this period of militant Imperialism. There has been a lull in the department of constitutional legislation. In Great Britain the only measure of grave constitutional importance was the Leg is lapassing in 1885 of the Bill establishing Household and Lodger Suffrage in the counties. The measure in question was the logical corollary of the “ leap in the dark ” taken under Lord Derby’s premiership in 1868, by which a system approximating very closely to adult manhood suffrage was established in the boroughs. The Liberals, by all the traditions of British party warfare, were bound, in