« НазадПродовжити »
therefore, you are in the capital of some- worth while to find out who these Englishthing over one-fifth of the world. These men are. We can, any and all of us, make gentlemen in clubs, and offices, and in our notes about them as we see them here the streets, are the masters of the world. and now. According as our eyes differ, There must be a great many of them, and our tastes differ, our education and experithey must be very wonderful men, one ence differ, we come to different conclusays to oneself. No, the population of sions. Personally, I am inclined to think Great Britain and Ireland is, as we have that the Englishman is an acquired taste, seen, only about 43,500,000, and what of but for the moment that is neither here nor them?
there. When any comparatively small It is stated on trustworthy authority, number of men come to play such a rôle as that the aggregate income of these 43,- this in the world, one must begin further 000,000 of people is $8,550,000,000. Of back to study them. This is not a sociothis total, 1,250,000 people have $2,925,- logical or psychological freak, this mainten000,000, these are the rich; 3,750,000 ance of superiority over the world. Not a people have $1,225,000,000, these are the matter that can be explained by snippity comfortable class; the other 38,000,000 chapters written at short range about the have $4,400,000,000, to divide, and if we do Englishman's religion, his parliament, his the dividing for them, we see that these clubs, his home life, his sports, his clothes, 38,000,000 have nearly one hundred and and so on, indefinitely. These are merely sixteen dollars apiece. Not a large income the outside trappings, which are interestby any means. But we are not socialists, ing enough in their way and well worthy of these figures are not put down here to the reporter and his camera, because there bolster any argument for or against the are plenty of people about who only want distribution of wealth, but to call attention to know what the great man looks like, and to quite another matter. It is evident from what he smokes, and what he drinks, and these figures, that we may deduct 38,000,- whether he wears a turned-down collar or 000 from the 43,000,000 of population not-and some of them, perchance, will and still have in the 5,000,000 that remain make themselves great in his likeness by the sum total of those who do the real copying his wardrobe, his diet, and his governing, the real ruling of this enormous potables. empire. The other 38,000,000, with their B ut we are so superficial as to believe average income of $116, have in all proba- that in these two thousand years, since bility neither leisure nor ability to look after Cæsar's day, there must be, here and there, anybody but themselves, and they even do interesting and important documents dealthat precariously. We may go still further, ing with the origins, the ancestry, the linand say that out of these 5,000,000 proba- eage, and training of this superb band of a bly not more than 1,000,000 are male million men who hold the world in their adults. I know very well the admirable hands. phrase of Walter Bagehot that: there are lies, We know the misty moist island in which damned lies, and statistics; but I may claim they have lived all this time. We know for this anlaysis that it is a matter of facts, that even Tacitus wrote that its climate and not of statistics. It requires no jug- was repulsive because of its rains and congling with figures, no poetic exaggeration tinual mists. Cæsar and his Romans did for the petty purpose of making a point, to not go there for a holiday on account of the arrive at this rather startling conclusion: charms of the climate. No Roman, of that about 1,000,000, Englishmen of the those days, or these, would choose this islruling class control one-fifth of the known and as a place of residence. The Roman surface of the globe, and one in every five invasion was merely to control the resident of all the inhabitants thereof.
Britons, and to prevent their sending aid to Out of the various wars and invasions of the Gauls who were fighting Rome. The the island of Great Britain, from the time of Romans stayed there for three hundred and Cæsar's first landing in 55 B. C., there has fifty years. They built two great walls percolated down a million men who rule across the land to check the invasions of the world.
the Britons; they built roads for the pasThis is sufficiently interesting to make it sage of the legions; they constructed in
trenched camps, which are the origin of King Alfred called upon them the first time many of the names of places ending in to join him in driving out the Danes, they cester, or chester, from the Latin word cas- refused to aid him. Finally they came to trum, and when the legions were called his aid but at a time of their own choosing. away in 408 A. D. to check the invasion of When they came together to discuss questhe barbarians on the Continent, they left tions of common and general interest, their the island as British as it was before, with meeting or assembly was not one of subno trace of their language, their customs, or jects, or followers, but of freemen. They their laws. England is not, therefore, in had apparently little taste for public meetany sense Roman.
ings, and those of them who were much These Britons of Cæsar's time were a occupied with their own estates and their mixed race of Iberian stock --Iberian own affairs, got into the way of staying meaning of southwestern Europe, at the away altogether. Those who had leisure, present time the Basque is the last and best or talent for such matters, went. Finally representative. But as there is no Roman what was then known as the Witenagemot, so there is no Briton, or very little, in the or the Meeting of Wise Men, and what has English ancestry. From northwestern since become the English Parliament, took Germany came Saxons, Engles and Jutes over the settlement of these questions, and who, from time to time, invaded the Eng- left the farmers free to attend to their own land of the Briton, and finally crowded him affairs. Even in matters of justice and out. By 829 the Germanic tribes had punishment each group appointed one of poured in, and completely invested Eng- their number richer or more expert in such land, or what we now know as England. matters, to choose juries and to preside But of these tribes the one that really made over such cases. Finally the sovereign got the England of to-day, the one from which into the habit of naming such persons, alEngland, and the English, get their chief ready marked out as fit for such duties by characteristics, was the tribe of the Saxons. their neighbors, as magistrates, and in this, Sussex, Essex, Middlesex, the familiar as we should call it, free and easy fashion, names of English counties, are nothing the business of government was carried on. more nor less than South Saxony, East You may go to the Bow Street Police Court Saxony and Middle Saxony. They were and see the business of the day carried on in not of the marauding or piratical type. much the same fashion now. The magisThey came in the first instance as compan- trate is a wise gentleman dealing with the ions of their neighbors the Jutes. But while problems of his less fortunate neighbors. the Jutes came for adventure and for booty, That is all. They were people with little the Saxons came because they wanted land aptitude for public affairs, and with a to settle on. They came because their own rooted distaste for overmuch government,
were an agricultural people of the peasant ous and peaceable, that they needed and class. There was no trace of feudalism need less machinery of government than amongst them. They were landowners other peoples. They wanted independence with equal rights, who gradually pushed on their own estates, and they wanted not their way over the land, taking more and to be meddled with. more territory; beating back the Britons, It is not my intention to provide origins and securely occupying the territory they for the English people in order to trace had won. The conquered Britons finally later, and thus easily from my own hypothfled to the Welsh mountains and passed esis, the development of their present charover in large numbers to the other side of acteristics. the Channel to Amorica, and the Brittany “They are the finest of all the German of to-day is the land of this body of exiles tribes, and strive more than the rest to from England.
found their greatness upon equity.” “A These Saxons were independent farm- passionless, firm and quiet people, they live ers; they acknowledged no chief, no king, a solitary life, and do not stir up wars nor and when they were called upon to fight harass the country by plunder and theft." together they answered the call of the lead- “And yet they are always ready to a man er or answered it not as they chose. When to take up arms and even to form an army if the case demands it.” Thus writes only to note these unchanging characterTacitus of them.
istics of the race, maintained and strengthThis tribe of Saxons had, by accident or ened through centuries of war, tumult, and wise leadership, happened upon the very conquest. country best suited to them. A fertile isl- The present House of Lords itself is the and, cut off from the rest of the world, and direct result of the Saxon's unwillingness to with room for all so that each one might bother with government, and his willingwith his family have a kingdom of his own. ness to leave such matters to those of most This with as little machinery of govern- leisure and most wealth, and therefore, in ment as possible, and yet all ready to com- all probability, to those of most capacity bine as equals in self-defence. But as they and most experience in such matters. It made their land productive, as they became was, and is, the common-sense view of rich, they became the prey of other peoples government, as over against the theoretical from northwestern Germany, and what is view. The danger in such a view of governnow the Scandinavian peninsula, and were ment, of course, lies in the fact that the forced to defend their possessions and their governors, whether kings, or nobles, or customs against Angles, Danes, and Nor- statesmen, may grow to feel themselves mans.
paramount, and undertake to demand It is a curious feature of the abiding, un- from the governed what they have no right relenting purpose of these Saxons to govern to demand; such as taxation without repthemselves, and to be let alone, that though resentation, or a full purse for the king by they were conquered in turn by Angles, unjust requirements, and without renderDanes and Normans, they swallowed up ing an account. But these peaceable Saxall three in the end, and imposed their cus- ons, on each and every occasion when their toms, their language, their habit of mind, independence has been threatened, have and their institutions upon each of the in- risen in a mass, asserted their liberties, and vaders in turn. They would have nothing then left their kings or gentry again to govto do with the half-developed feudalism of ern. The Magna Charta, and the revolt led Angles and Danes, nor with the fully de- by Simon de Montfort, and the head of veloped feudalism of William the Conquer- Charles I, are all warnings to whom it may or and his followers. The Conqueror concern that the Saxons are not to be medclaimed that the land was his and that every dled with, and are not to be anybody's subholder of land owed fealty to him person- jects. Thus began the history, and the ally. It took just about an hundred years fact, of democratic government. Love of for the Saxon idea to prevail over this feu- the land, industry, privacy, personal liberdalistic notion and the result was Magna ty; these were sought and found in this Charta. The Magna Charta, wrested from island by the Saxons, and they have been King John by the Norman barons, was in preserved there ever since. reality the shaking off of personal allegiance The London policeman with his hand to a chieftain by the Norman barons, aided uplifted, who has become part and parcel by the Saxon gentry, who had finally im- of the rhetorical stock in trade of American bued them also with their own love of in- ambassadors, is the symbol of the Saxon's dependence and a free government. They willingness to abide by the law, so long as insisted then, and have maintained ever the law is of his own making, and facilisince, that they derived their rights, their tates his getting about his business quickly liberties, and their laws, not from a king, and with a modicum of friction. That pobut from themselves. In the days of Wil- liceman is simply the embodiment of the liam the Conqueror their king was elective, spirit of the race which has fought off Jutes, though chosen from the reigning house. Angles, Danes and Normans; which has
King James had abdicated and that the to be let alone to attend to their own affairs throne was vacant! They chose their own in their own way. They are not jealous of rulers, and no doubt would do so again to- the law as are the French, because they day if necessary. It is much too long a make the law for their own convenience, story to go, step by step, through the recital and because they know that it applies with of this development. It concerns us here equal force to all. They do not disregard the law as do we Americans who are over- mistakes and our political troubles have run with amateur law-makers, because mostly arisen from a wrong interpretation they realize that they can and do make the of “government by the people.” It has laws, and that to disregard rules of their never meant, and can never be successful own making makes either sport, or govern- when it is interpreted as meaning, that ment a nuisance. The coster-monger's cart each individual shall take an active part and the coroneted carriage in London in government. This is the catch-penny streets have equal privileges, no more, no doctrine, preached from the platform by the less, the one than the other. The poisonous demagogue. The real spirit of “governphilosophy of socialism, whether it be elee- ment by the people” is merely that they mosynary socialism, or predatory social- should at all times have control, and keep ism, which would make the State a distrib- control, of their governors as these Saxons uter of the surplus of the strong for the have done. propagation of the weak, makes its way but No one would dream of harking back to slowly among those of Saxon blood. “If the primitive days when every man sewed I were to be asked,” says Montesquieu, together his own skins for clothes and for “what is the predilection of the English, foot-wear, made his own hut, caught his I should find it very hard to say: not war, own fish, killed each for himself his meat, nor birth, nor honors, nor success in love, and picked each for himself his berries, and nor the charms of ministerial favor. They was his own priest, his own physician and want men to be men. They value only two his own policeman. We now know that things—wealth and worth.” No State can this was waste of time and energy. We make men men. No State can produce find it more convenient, and more conwealth and worth. These three-men, and ducive to a long life, and a comfortable life, wealth, and worth, are produced, and pro- to divide ourselves up into bakers, and duced only, where men measure themselves butchers, and tailors, and berry pickers, against men for the mastery over the fruits and priests, and policemen, and physicians. of the earth, without adventitious aids of It is only in politics that we grope blindly any kind, and under the protection of laws amongst primitive methods for a solution that all make and all obey.
of the problem of government. France In these modern days when so many with her fantastic theories, and what strive to become members of Parliament, proved her horrible fiasco, influenced our and when all sorts of pressure, financial and beginnings, and followed by that have otherwise, is brought to bear to secure a come the Irish with their hatred of England peerage, it is interesting to remember that and the English; and the mating of the both the House of Lords and the House of French philosophy, and the Irish fact, have Commons owe their existence to the fact that turned us aside from, and made us hesitatthe Saxons did not wish to be bothered by ing in, our allegiance to the only form of attendance at their assemblies. Somebody free government which has ever been sucmust go, and so one or two were chosen by cessful in the world, and which is ours by each community to represent the rest; and ancestral right. It must be a poor race the wise men of the Witenagemot of old, to which cannot throw up from the mass of gether with the heads of the great church men a certain number whose wealth, leiestablishments, gradually came to be sure, and ability fit them for the work of looked upon as the King's counsellors, and governing; just as others amongst us are were called together to confer upon such best fitted to bake or brew, or teach or questions as concerned the whole common- preach, or make clothes or hats, or to dig wealth.
in the fields. To say that every man is It is by no means a good sign at the pres- fitted to govern is to hark back to the days ent time that instead of wishing to attend when every man was his own huntsman, to their own business, so many butchers and fisherman, cook and tailor. bakers and candle-stick-makers are eager We have millions in America who are to enter Parliament, to attend to other peo- just learning the alphabet of free governple's business. It is not the good old Saxon ment and they are still flattered by political way.
parasites with loud voices and leather In America, as in other democracies, our larynxes. Our parliaments and assemblies are filled not with the brawn and brains became Lord Chancellor, with the title of that have made America a great nation in Lord Clarendon, and his wife, the former fifty years, but with the semi-successful, pot-girl, bore him a daughter. This daughthe slippery and resourceful who live on ter married the Duke of York, and became the people, and by the people, and for the mother of Mary and Anne Stewart, themselves.
both afterward queens of England. He is but a mean American who be. It is evident that if queens of England lieves that this will last. The time ap- may have a barmaid for grandmother, proaches when Americans will slough off lesser mortals need not fret on the subject this hampering political clothing, put upon of ancestry. them by Latin and Celtic parasites, and The Englishman would not be what he insist upon being governed by the best is, nor would he in the least be transmitting amongst them, by the wisest amongst them, his very valuable Saxon heritage, if he gave by the successful amongst them, and not by up his democratic custom of an aristocracy those whose living is derived by governing of power for the feeble continental custom others, because they cannot govern them- of an aristocracy of birth. What the one selves. It is not because we are fools that and the other is to-day answers the questhe present condition continues, it is be- tion as to the relative merits of the two syscause we are weighed down with the re- tems without need of discussion. The Engsponsibilities of nation making. We have lish, though nowadays many of them do succeeded commercially and in all material not know it themselves, are the most demoways marvellously. In fifty years we have cratic of all nations. become the rival of the strongest, and the William the Conqueror divided England commercial portent to which every finger among the commanders of his army, and in Europe points. Let this same energy conferred about twenty earldoms; not one be turned upon setting our domestic polit- of these exists to-day. Nor do any of the ical affairs in order and the change in honors conferred by William Rufus, 1087– government will be as complete, and come 1100; Henry I, 1100-1135; Stephen, 1135 as quickly, as in other matters. We have -1154; Henry II, 1154-1189; Richard I, allowed our idlers to govern, with a splen- 1189-1199; or John, 1199-1216. did honor-roll of exceptions, we shall ere All the dukedoms created from the instilong insist that our ablest shall take their tution of Edward III, 1327–1377, down to places in the good old Saxon way. the commencement of the reign of Charles
Strangely enough, however, the House of II, 1649, except Norfolk, and Somerset, Lords still remains the most democratic in- and Cornwall—the title held by the Prince stitution in England. It may still claim for of Wales—have perished. itself to be the Witenagemot, or gathering of Winchester and Worcester, the latter wise men, and one wonders why it does not merged in the dukedom of Beaufort, are defend itself along those lines.
the only marquisates older than George III, It is not a house of birth or ancestry, for 1760-1820. it is composed to-day to an overwhelming Of all earldoms conferred by the Norextent of successful men from almost every mans, Plantagenets and Tudors, only walk in life. No one cares a fig what a eleven remain, and six of these are merged man's ancestry was in this matter-of-fact in higher honors. land if he succeeds, if he becomes rich and The House of Lords to-day does not powerful.
number among its members a single male William the Conqueror himself was a descendant of any of the barons who were bastard, and his mother was the daughter chosen to enforce Magna Charta. The of an humble tanner of Falaise.
House of Lords does not contain a single The mother of the great Queen Eliza- male descendant of the peers who fought beth was the daughter of a plain English at Agincourt. There is only one single gentleman.
family in all the realm, Wrottesleys, which A pot-girl of Westminster married the can boast of a male descent from the date master of the pot-house. After his death of the institution of the Garter, 1349. she consulted a lawyer named Hyde. Mr. In a word, the present House of Lords is Hyde married her. Mr. Hyde afterward conspicuously and predominantly a demo