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XVI

PREFATORY ESSAY

government, though in accordance with the political ideas and aspirations of Anglo-Saxon races, is, as the present writer ventures to think, incompatible with the opinions and ambitions of nations of Latin race. Be this as it may, the Third Republic has excited little or no enthusiasm in France. It is tolerated in default of any more congenial form of government, but it does not command the confidence or respect of its citizens. The absence of any statesmen of high eminence since the decease of Thiers and Gambetta, the Panama scandals, the hostility between the Church and the civil power, the Anti-Semitic agitation, the dread of Communism by the bourgeoisie, and the animosity against the employers of labour, which prevails so widely amongst the operatives and artisans, may all be cited as causes why the parliamentary rule of the Republic has not commanded popularity. That the Republic is still on its trial is patent from the fact that its safety was seriously imperilled by the appearance on the stage of politics of such a feeble antagonist as General Boulanger. It is commonly acknowledged in France that any general who might lead a French army to victory in a European war would be master of the situation in France. It is on this account that the civilian Ministers of the Republic, no matter to what party they belonged, have been unanimous in deprecating any external war. It is on this account, too, that of late the French Ministry have made various overtures to the Socialist party, and have even admitted into their ranks colleagues who are associated with the traditions of the Commune. Moreover, the Franco-Russian alliance, however little practical benefit it has as yet conferred upon France, has undoubtedly gratified French national pride, while the fear of shipwrecking the fortunes of the Exhibition of 1900 paralysed all revolutionary agitation for the last two years of the century. Nevertheless, the position of the French Republic remains, as in 1875, one of unstable equilibrium. In Germany, politically speaking, things have undergone but little external change. The first emperor of a united Fatherland was succeeded, after the brief reign of his son, Frederick III., by his grandson William II. Prince Bismarck was dismissed and died ; but the constitution of the empire remains substantially unaltered, and may perhaps best be described as a parliamentary government under which the Sovereign is his own Prime Minister, and is still the supreme authority in the State, not only in name but in fact. How far this state of things is likely to be permanent is an open question. As things are, the high character and ability of the Kaiser, the prestige of the Hohenzollern dynasty, the traditions of German history, the power of the military element, and the popular distrust of France, confer upon the head of the State an influence far beyond that possessed by the Parliament; and so long as this influence is exerted firmly and wisely, as it has been in the main under the reigning emperor, it is not likely to be materially diminished. At present the German Parliament exercises a sort of general control, of which even an autocrat has got to take account; and there are not wanting indications that parliamentary government in Germany may be more of a reality in the near future than it has been in the past. But so long as Germany, in the opinion of the German people, is threatened by the possibility of a hostile coalition between France on the west and Russia on the east, the conflict between the supremacy of the Parliament and the Crown is not likely to assume an active character. The great material progress made by Germany under the Empire has turned the thoughts of her citizens rather to industrial enterprise than to political reform. The trade interests of Germany, combined with her national pride, have led her to support a policy of colonial extension and, as a necessary corollary, the formation of a powerful navy; while the disputes between the Agrarian and the Free Trade parties on the one hand, and between the ecclesiastical and civil authorities on the other, have excited little beyond local and sectarian interest. In Austria the Triple Alliance has secured many years of peace, and has afforded an opportunity for the consolidation of her heterogeneous provinces. The opportunity, however, has not been improved, as there seemed reason to expect, by the extension of parliamentary institutions. Ever since the premature collapse of Count Rechberg’s scheme for the creation of a national Parliament, in which every province under the rule of the House of Hapsburg was to be represented on equal terms, and whose authority was to be supreme throughout the empire, the process of internal disruption has made rapid progress. This process commenced when Hungary, on the recovery of her independence after Sadowa, declined to entertain any proposal for fusion with the other provinces of the empire, and insisted on the possession of a separate legislation, a separate Ministry, and a separate Executive. The example thus set was soon followed by the