Page images

an anomaly but a hurtful obstruction to a great policy. The second answer is that Lord Lyttou's dilemma is an exceedingly common one, and yet nobody is ever unwillingly entangled in its horns. When has the impossibility of doing everything been accepted by the statesman as a reason for doing nothing? Only when he wishes to do nothing. English statesmen in especial are reproached for their piecemeal legislation. That means that we take a step forward when and as circumstances call for it and make it practicable. Piecemeal and opportunist legislation has its drawbacks; and so comprehensive legislation, and slap-dash legislation, and standing stock still, have each its merits. But by piecemeal legislation we manage to adjust old arrangements to the wants of a groir **g society in a way which causes a less amount of convulsion, and is more consistent with sympathy between ruler and subject, and with harmony among the various classes of society, and with steady progress, than is found to be the case with other methods.

The question here is whether it is expedient to give a certain jurisdiction to Native Magistrates. If it is, it may or may not be right to urge Lord Ripon to do something more. But his proposal does not become inexpedient because he does nothing more.

So with the privileges accorded to Natives. The argument assumes that the only or main reason for the Bill is that Natives complain of the present law. That they complain is an excellent reason for looking to see how the law works and whether it should be altered. But it is altered not because the Natives complain, but because on their complaint it is found to require alteration.

Since we have been rulers in India many Native customs, some very important ones, have been abolished by law, and so have the privileges of Europeans been curtailed by law. There have been many steps towards xiniformity, though we are very far from uniformity yet. At every stage the arguments now used might have been used, probably have been. Why do you make this change and not make others? The answer is: one thing at a time; we do not know that absolute uniformity is either attainable or desirable; we are doing what circumstances call upon us and enable us to do; if it is good do not oppose it because there is not more of it; if it is good to bring Natives more within the general law, the thing is not made bad by the circumstance that Europeans remain privileged in some particulars; and if it is good to bring Europeans more within the general law, it does not become bad because Natives remain privileged. Let each case be judged upon its own merits.

There is then no substantial argument against the change except the excitement of the English non-official community; and what that is worth let those judge who will take the pains to study with how little cause they have been excited on like occasions, and how groundless their fears have proved to be.

Now I would ask anybody possessed of the true state of the case to follow Lord Salisbury's account, and to mark how entirely the opponents of the measure have misunderstood it.

"A great and vital question has been raised." No, the great and vital question is the training and employment of Natives, which was decided by Parliament in principle fifty years ago, and has ever since been calling for one change or another.

"The measure has been adopted for the sake of sentiments and theories/' No, it is part of a far-seeing policy insisted on by Ministries, Parliaments, and the most experienced statesmen. It is dictated by circumstances and favoured by experience. The sentiments and the theories are all on the side of those who cling to a useless and injurious restriction because it is a badge of conquest and privilege.

"The question is whether Englishmen shall or shall not be placed at the mercy of Native Judges." No, the question is whether a Magistrate of proved ability shall, merely because he is of pure Indian blood, be declared incapable of exercising a limited jurisdiction, not only over Englishmen, but over a large class of persons with some English blood in their veins: a jurisdiction which the Magistrate's own subordinates may exercise if they have the requisite drops of blood.

"What would your feelings be if you were in some distant and thinly populated land, far from all English succour, and your life and honour were exposed to the decision of some tribunal consisting of a coloured man?" Where, then, are these thinly populated lands, far from all English succour, and which are to be presided over by a Native civil servant? Lord Ripon will have to send a Commission of Inquiry to find them. How is life exposed to the decision of a tribunal which can, at the utmost, imprison for one year? What evidence is there that coloured men who are worthy to be judges are less careful of honour than uncoloured men? A coloured man who showed himself regardless of people's honour would soon find himself corrected by the High Court; and Lord Salisbury should remember that no one of the privileged class is so far from English succour but that he has an appeal to the High Court. And what amount of colour is enough to excite mistrust? Could the present Advocate-General of Calcutta be trusted with criminal jurisdiction? I myself, were I accused of a crime, would trust him entirely. But I believe he is an Armenian, and not a European British subject. Is the son of an English father and Hindoo mother too coloured tobe a judge? Or is the son of that half-caste son by a Hindoo mother too coloured? If so, they are both European British subjects, and the law of 1872, as tested by colour, stands condemned.

As for the analogy of ex-territorial jurisdictions in Turkey and the like, it does not apply. The Turkish courts refused to administer justice to Christians, and would not receive their evidence. The punishments inflicted under Turkish or Chinese law are very cruel and abhorrent to us. But the Native Civil Servant who is a judge will administer the same laws by the same methods as the European Civil Servant who is a judge.

As for the prophesies of the flight of capital and the ruin of trade, they date from the Black Act, and have been falsified too often to impress the mind much, even when repeated by Lord Salisbury.

Then shall we abandon the noble principles of government which have animated our statesmen for more than half a century? I am only too well aware of the recrudescence of the doctrine of force, and the doctrine that mankind are mostly fools who require the strong and wise Ruler to break their heads if they do not conduct themselves as he thinks proper. I am aware what charm such doctrines have for those who are pleased to identify themselves with the strong and wise Ruler, and their weaker neighbours with the fools. We have seen lately, with reference to our invasion of Afghanistan, the naked assertion of principles over which even Napoleon Buonaparte, while he acted on them, thought it best to throw a decent veil of fine sentiment—that there is one moral law for men acting in their private affairs, and another for the same men acting in their national affairs. Never since the days of the Melian Conference has it been more boldly asserted that in dealing with their neighbours nations have only their own interests to consider. And now we are told—not by Lord Salisbury I am glad to say—as a weighty argument against Lord Ripon's measure, that we hold India by conquest, and that if do not govern in the spirit of conquerors, and by open straightforward assertions of our superiority, we are shifting the foundations on which our government rests. I caunot discuss these matters at the end of a paper already too long. I will only *ay that I consider such principles of government to be shallow, short-sighted, and dangerous, and I for one disclaim them as earnestly, though I caunot do so as eloquently, as Macaulay disclaimed them in 1833 and in 1853.

What may be the progress and outcome of our rule in India, no man is wise enough to foresee. Its origin and history are without precedent, and so must be its end. But we may feel confidence that we are acting most wisely when we advance towards the highest ideal by the most cautious and well-considered steps. That appears ro me to have been, in the main, the animating principle of our Government for at least half a century, and there is no reason to believe that the present Government are departing from it now.

Arthur Hobhouse.


THE normal Englishman certainly is not a philosophical animal. Metaphysics in his conception mean nonsense, and theory castles in the air. Even in practical matters compromise is his compass, and the assertion of a great principle apt to excite his suspicion. Nor has he any cause to be ashamed of this negative feature of his otherwise sufficiently positive character. The people that produced Shakespeare and Lord Bacon, and all that those two names imply in modern art and science, need npt be ashamed of any deficiency in the •complete circle of humau perfections. It is not given to any race to be great all round. The Romans conquered the Greeks and all the ■world in one direction, but the Greeks conquered the Romans and all the world in another. Even in individuals, where Nature is free to put forth her greatest strength, many sidedness does not mean allsidedness. The wonderful combination in the great German poetthinker of poetical sensibility, scientific acuteness, speculative depth, practical sagacity, and knowledge of affairs, is justly admired; but even Goethe ignored mathematics, and turned his back on the French Revolution and modern Liberalism in all its shapes, as decidedly as Plato did on Athenian democracy, and all that the word democracy implies in the history of human civilization. But whatever divine and generally incompatible excellencies may be heaped on a few individuals, the masses of men, growing up into nations, are always moulded after a more or less one-sided type. In this region the maxim of Spinoza applies with unqualified force—omnis affirmatio est negatio. The affirmation of one tendency in any associated body of men implies the negative of its opposite; and so a people predominantly practical and political, like the ancient Romans and the modern English, will not shine in speculation. Curiously, the Germans owed the great glory which they have gaiued as the leaders of speculative thought in Europe to their having heen shut out, till quite recently, from the sphere of political action, which to nine-tenths of the English people exhausts the greater part of their intellectual functions and their social energy. "What is the philosophy of the British people, or rather what voice of philosophy among the British people, makes itself most audible at the present moment? Likely enough the noise which is made by the flapping of the bird's wings is not exactly a measure of the significance or the potency of its flight; but no doubt the kind of philosophy, or would-be philosophy, that one most frequently encounters in the current speculation of the hour, is of an extremely one-sided and inadequate character—what we may most fitly characterize as Baconism run mad, or Baconism divergent from its proper sphere, and rushing with an extravagant sweep into a region with which it has nothing to do. The Baconian philosophy, however catholic its conception might have been in the mind of its author, has acted in this country mainly as a corrective to the evil habit inherited from the Greeks of explaining physical phenomena by constructive theories, rather than by accurate observation and careful iuduction; and the action of this corrective has been so drastic and its results so brilliant, and, in not a few directions, so useful to society, that men have allowed themselves to be run away with by this word induction, as if it were the one talisman by which any reliable truth of great human value could be attained. And not only induction in the widest sense of the word, but the special kind of induction that is active in physical science—viz., induction ab extra, or by fingering, weighing, and measuring of ponderable materials or measurable forces—has been allowed to usurp the province that in the nature of things belongs to deduction; while that which lies at the root both of induction and deduction—viz., mind or Ao-yoc, eternal, self-existent, self-energizing, self-plastic, reason, recognized alike by the wise Greeks and the inspired Hebrews—has been disregarded and altogether thrown aside. It is in the domain of morals and aesthetics that the inadequacy and absurdity of the inductive method comes most prominently into view. Not from any fingering induction of external details, but from "the inspiration of the Almighty," cometh all true understanding in matters of religion, morals, and beauty. All moral apostleship and all high art come directly from above and from within, and their laws are not to be proved by an external collection of facts, but by the emphatic assertion of the divine vitality from which they proceed.

These remarks apply to Great Britain generally, England as well as Scotland, but there is a specialty in regard to this latter country which, in a general estimate of British aasthetical philosophy, cannot be omitted. Scotland, as is well known, had its school of philo

« EelmineJätka »