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LITERARY AND OTHER NOTES.

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LITERARY AND OTHER NOTES. BY NORICK. "CHESTERTON AND THE EMPIRE"- Mr. G. K. Chesterton is, in many respects, the clearest thinker in England to-day. We in this country always have any number of profound thinkers, but it is only once or twice in a generation that we are blessed (or, as it may well be, cursed) with a really lucid and honest philosopher. The sanity and honesty of Mr. Chesterton's judgments are two results of his isolation and detachment from our modern life and its tendencies. Mr. Chesterton, like the Troubadour of the Middle Ages, or the Irish peasant in Conne- tnara to-day, or the monoglot Welshman of Cardiganshire-whom I know well-belongs to an entirely different world to that in which the average Englishman of the twentieth century lives and acts. He is really the historian of our period, belonging to another and very different period, but having all the facts of this period at his disposal, with an opportunity of analysing all its products. Consequently, to say but the very least, his judgments are on the whole disinterested, though often, as all personal judgments must, and ought to be, strongly prejudiced. Li-ke all Catholics, however, he is very generous and very tolerant (except in argu- ment). A little over a fortnight ago Mr. Chesterton Was one of the principal speakers at one of the meetings of the International Congress of Subject Race8 and Small Nationalities, held this year in London, at the Oaxton Hall, which, by the way, is rapidly becoming the Mecca Hall of all revolutionaries. The chair Was taken at this particular meeting by one of our profound English philosophers, Mr. J. A. Hobson, M A. His speech was wonder- fully learned and cautious, and I have forgotten all about it. Mr. Chesterton's speech, on the other hand, was short, and to all appearances, flippant; but to the few who knew and understood, it was prophetic. I heard some idiot declare, on leaving the meeting, that" Chesterton was as usual paradoxical and brilliant." It is full time, to my mind, that fools and reviewers gave up this kind of cheap criticism, and before they again express their insane opinions, they had better listen carefully to the message of the man, whom they have always misinterpreted. But, after all, it is only given to a few to understand a prophet, while the Pharisees and the Sadducees, the hypocrites and the modernists, are understood of all. To come, however, to Mr. Chesterton's speech, let me state his standpoint. There are only two possible positions, said Mr. Chesterton (and that, at any rate, is good philosophy). The first can be stated in the abstract in the terms "that no race has any right whatsoever to exercise predominance over any other race or people.' Sentimen- tally, I understood, Mr. Chesterton favoured this standpoint. "If, however, any race Presumes to exercise such predominance over another race, it ought to be done only with a great human purpose" That is the second standpoint, and there is something to be said I its favour. It is the only possible posi- tion for the Imperialist, and it always has been our.quarrel with him that he has always ignored it. I want, in this article, to make Myself and Mr. Chesterton understood by the "bourgeoise" politician, and as an ilastaiace, I shall take the case of Egypt. It laay be (as I believe) that England has no right to be in Egypt at all. It may well be that it is our moral duty to clear out to- morrow, and let the Egyptians (barbarians though they be, according to Mr. Roosevelt, who stayed there a little over a fortnight) to manage their own affairs as best they can. That is the nationalist position. If, how- ever, the nationalist has on this occasion missed the truth, it must be clear to all that the only possible excuse for the temporary subjection of the Egyptian is the fact that England, in remaining there, is serving some great moral and divine purpose, that she is revealing to Egypt some great truth which is peculiarly the result of her own experience. If England has discovered any great consti- tutional principle, it is the principle of democratic government, and so the only possible position for the Imperialist reduces itself to the statement that England is in Egypt to teach Egypt democracy. Either we ought to clear out from Egypt to-morrow, or we ought to remain there to give votes to the Egyptians. If I have misinterpreted Mr. Chesterton, I am sure he will correct me, but this I understood him to say, and I have always believed in it. It will now be clear to all my readers why I have always railed against modern Im- perialism. Imperialist England contrives to get into power in Egypt and she teaches the Egyptians to drink bad whiskey, to wear ugly trousers, and to read Victoria Cross' exotic novels. The Egyptian, however, realizes at last, that the only thing of value in English civilization is the English vote, the symbol of the liberty, power, and inde- pendence of the individual citizen. He has been treated freely to English vices, so he confidently asks for this --and he is denied it. We know the result. The moderate nationalist movement in all countries is a movement for securing self- government. I have just received a little pamphlet entitled The Un-British Admini- stration of Ceylon," and in illustration I make a quotation from it: The East is East, and West is West, and ne'er the twain shall meet" sings the banjo bard of jingoism, but a greater genius has declared- u For a' that, and a' that, It's coming yet, for a' that; That man to man, the warld o'er Shall brithers be for a' that." Equal rights for all British subjects beneath the flag is a fundamental principle of the British constitution. The shallow cynicism that declares that what is good jor one end of mercator's projection is not good for the other, cannot be maintained. That parliamentary government is adapted for Mongolian Japan and itpifittedfor Celtic Ireland, is a heresy that will soon be exploded." I believe in the Nationalist standpoint myself-" To hell with Empire and Imperialismbut I am willing to admit that there is something to be said for the democratic" mission of England. The truth remains, however, that England has denied that mission, and she is now paying the penalty. I believe myself that within the next thirty years we shall witness a great nationalist movement in England. We in this country are rapidly losing our self government. We are not ruled to day by a House of Commons, but rather by a Cabinet, a body of men which, on the whole, can be influenced only by the great party bankers, the Swaythlings, the Samuels, the Beits and the Rothschilds. They, it must be remembered, are the great English Imperialists, for it is they who are the great English Commercialists. The Mauser has always been at the call of the Stock Exchange, but it is sad to have to admit that your Parliamentary representa- tives are also influenced by the den of thieves." This is the outcome of your worship of Strange gods, 0 Israel.

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