Page images

in England have been advised not to discuss foreign affairs; the constituencies were ignorant and uninterested. And as for the knowledge of the candidates themselves, Mr. Ponsonby, who makes out the best case for democratic control, admits that “since the death of Lord Percy there has been no one on the Front Opposition Bench in the Commons, with the exception of Mr. Balfour, who has any special knowledge of foreign affairs, or any experience of foreign administration." There has in fact been tolerably substantial agreement between the parties as to the foreign policy, and the British Cabinet and the British people, far from manifesting any desire to get out of the Belgian guarantee and the Triple Entente, actually suffered the land forces of the country to be reduced and did not insist upon that absolutely essential correlation of foreign policy and armament which is so ably shown to be necessary by the author of Ordeal by Battle and by Mr. Norman Angell in some of his American lectures, and which was fully preached to the people by Lord Roberts.

It is anomalous that the most unimportant bill should require the consent of Parliament, while treaties do not; and it is only by the grace of the Foreign Secretary that such an undertaking as a general arbitration treaty is submitted to the Commons for discussion. It seems desirable that some change should be made, perhaps through a committee, perhaps in some other manner, realizing of course that a large number of international agreements attempt to remove causes of quarrel and require secrecy until they are practically completed. But constitutional changes are unimportant compared with the lack of interest on the part of the people. There must be “a public opinion well informed on the general position of foreign affairs, enlightened by much more definite ideas than we now have of right and wrong in international dealings, and, above all, keenly alive to the overwhelming importance of this aspect of state action,” for, while the judgment of working classes is soundest on moral questions, it is by no means true that democracies have been pacifically inclined.

Secret diplomacy has failed; we never hear of its many successes; but this, its most recent failure, is so stupendous as

to overbalance every triumph. It is futile, in arguing for popular control, to digress, as do Messrs. Morel, Neilson, and Hayward, on tortuous discussions as to Germany's liability; it is futile to insist that had not the secret system kept the people from being fully informed, there would have been no war, and that democratic control will make for continued peace. Reforms there should and must be, but the first and most important is Education. This can be effected with no constitutional change. In domestic affairs, through somewhat hard experiences, the people have learned that great power without knowledge does not avail them as much as knowledge with less power. The people “are called upon now to widen their horizon, and to apply the democratic conception of education to the new problems which have arisen owing to the part which Great Britain is now playing in the affairs of Europe”-in a word, to see that British foreign policy is kept in consonance with their own intelligent wishes. That is possible under the present system; it would only be easier with parliamentary control.


University of Virginia.


The Next STEP in DEMOCRACY. By W. S. Sellers. New York: The Mac

millan Company. $1.50.

The initial chapter of this book is entitled “The Spirit of Modern Socialism," and the final one "Can we Universalize Democracy?” Thus socialism is to be the next stept in democracy and democracy is socialism. This suggests strongly a march in a circle, although the author carefully lays down as his major premise that socialism is a "movement." According to Mr. Sellars, then, socialism is, in a word, equality (pp. 16, 214, 219, 246). Those that have shall give up to those that have not; the skilful shall step only with the clumsy. Parents shall not produce a child with better equipment than another. "Socialism is essentially a daring challenge to the dominant notions of justice characteristic of present-day society.” No need to add that "the socialist absolutely refuses to be the timid sycophant of things as they are."

"Private profit" is roundly abused, evidently under the erroneous impression that it is gained at the expense of some individual or of some group of human beings; whereas, in fact, profit is the measure of achievement in skill, self-restraint, and wisdom, and it is drawn not out of one's neighbor, but from the resources of the earth, from the sun, and through the prevention of waste.

Another erroneous statement should be corrected. “Legal justice," our author declares, “is not interested in the individual, but in the maintenance of order" (p. 167). As a matter of fact it is only before the law that men are equal and only through the order thereby gained come the equality and the freedom which they enjoy. Of course, however, if the socialist directs his attack against some institution, such as property, he will find grievous faults with the society that protects the object of his dislike.

The frequent recurrence of loose statements in the book calls for protest. For example: “Whatever breaks down national barriers and habits prevents isolation and quickens the social

pulse"; "machinery is more stimulating to the mind than the hoe or hand looms.” To support such a view he cites the example of the Roman Empire which ended in isolation and stagnation, giving place to feudalism, which was eminently based on inequality. On the other hand, the difference between the hand loom and the power loom is largely one of quantity not of quality. But how equality can lead to anything else than inaction and stagnation the author does not make clear.

On the concluding page the author pleads for a wide and inconspicuous charity. No objection can be raised to this for the individual; the evil of it appears when it becomes universal or compulsory.



His AssOCIATES. By William O. Scroggs. New York: The Macmillan Company. 1916. Pp. 408. $2.50.

This book is entertainingly written and is a contribution of value to the knowledge of our relations with Latin America about the middle of the last century. But the chief interest of Professor Scroggs's story lies in the fact that he has caught and reproduced the Westward-Ho spirit of the forties and fifties. He shows that the filibuster of those days was more than a buccaneer: he was also a missionary of civilization, a pioneer of that “manifest destiny" in which so many of our forefathers believed.

Filibustering was partly that conflict, common to all periods of history, between a superior or more energetic people and an inferior or less energetic one. "From the point of view of the American aborigine even the Pilgrims and Puritans were filibusters." In the light of this larger synthesis, and backed up by a thorough study of the services, Professor Scroggs interprets anew the career of William Walker, the greatest of the filibusters. He shows that Walker, in attempting to swing himself up to the dictatorship in Nicaragua, utterly repudiated any idea of annexation of his conquests to the United States. Walker cannot therefore be regarded as a mere propagandist of slavery extension.


Memoirs OF A PUBLISHER. By George Haven Putnam. New York: G.

P. Putnam's Sons. (1865-1915.)

Few men are given such an opportunity of forming interesting relations with interesting people as the modern publishers. Those who play any large part in the conduct of the world's affairs or in the advancement of knowledge, -statemen, soldiers, philosophers, scholars, travellers, and the rest, — all, nowadays, are tempted to become authors and to seek fame in a world of readers by the publication of a book. Thus the memoirs of Major G. H. Putnam, author and head of the well-known publishing firm, are more than the memoirs of a man of letters. Out of seventeen chapters, only five deal directly with publishing. The rest contain reminiscences of interesting friends and acquaintances or relate experiences of Major Putnam as a citizen of the world. There are, for instance, chapters on work for the grand jury and work for the city, together with frank but kindly accounts of the author's relations with such men as Roosevelt, Kitchener, Carl Schurz, Edward Freeman and many of the dons of Oxford and Cambridge.

The main interest of the volume, however, is certainly literary, for it is written from the point of view of one who is by vocation a man of letters. It lays before us the larger aspects of the big business of publishing; and it does this with a personal touch and in a candid, straightforward style which engage the reader's attention and confidence.

G. T.

LEGENDS OF GODS AND Ghosts (Hawaiian Mythology). Collected and

translated from the Hawaiian. By W. D. Westervelt. Boston: Geo. H. Ellis Company. 1915.

These legends exhibit surprising variety of subject matter and treatment, from pure nature myth with delicacy of coloring and vividness of imagination, to gruesome tales of cannibal dogs and cannibal ghosts, of shark-gods and dragon-goddesses. This interesting and valuable collection forms a continuation of a previous volume, Legends of Old Honolulu.

« PreviousContinue »