Imperialism: A Study
Part I, Chapter I
(Compiled from Morris' "History of Colonisation," vol. ii. p. 87, and "Statesman's Year-book," 1900.)
Total area, British Empire, January 1884—square miles, 8,059,179. Population, 248,000,000.
9. Portugal's true era of Imperialism in Africa, however, dates back two centuries. See Theal's fascinating story of the foundation of a Portuguese Empire in "Beginnings of South African History" (Fisher Unwin).
Part I, Chapter II
13. This table, as distinguished from those following, is based on figures which include in the export trade only British and Irish produce, and do not include export of "foreign and colonial produce."
The present public value of some of our latest acquisitions in Africa is concisely indicated by the following official return of revenue and expenditure:—
The figures are taken from the annual accounts laid before Parliament by the Comptroller and Auditor-General, and from the Estimates of the Protectorates for the year 1901-2, the completed accounts not having yet been received.
Part I, Chapter IV
Part I, Chapter V
21. As given in the various "Statements of Revenue and Expenditure as laid before the House by the Chancellor of the Exchequer when opening the Budget," but omitting the "Interest on the year Debt." In his Budget Speech on 14th April 1902, Sir Michael Hicks-Beach estimated the total cost of the wars in South Africa and China during the three years ending 31st March 1902 as £65,034,000. Of this sum £45,420,000 had been defrayed out of revenue and by the suspension of the Sinking Fund (£4,640,000 a year), while £119,64,000 had been added to the Debt.
Part I, Chapter VI
22. "And why, indeed, are wars undertaken, if not to conquer colonies which permit the employment of fresh capital, to acquire commercial monopolies, or to obtain the exclusive use of certain highways of commerce?" (Loria, "Economic Foundations of Society," p. 267).
The statistics for 1907, however, show a distinct check in manufacturing exports, marking a drop of some £9,200,000 as compared with the figures for 1900.
24. "We hold now three of the winning cards in the game for commercial greatness, to wit—iron, steel and coal, we have long been the granary of the world, we now aspire to be its workshop, then we want to be its clearing-house" (The President of the American Bankers' Association at Denver, 1898).
27. The classical economists of England, forbidden by their theories of parsimony and of the growth of capital to entertain the notion of an indefinite expansion of home markets by reason of a constantly rising standard of national comfort, were early driven to countenance a doctrine of the necessity of finding external markets for the investment of capital. So J. S. Mill: "The expansion of capital would soon reach its ultimate boundary if the boundary itself did not continually open and leave more space" ("Political Economy"). And before him Ricardo (in a letter to Malthus): "If with every accumulation of capital we could take a piece of fresh fertile land to our island, profits would never fall."
Part I, Chapter VII
28. A portion of the money expended under the head National Debt should, however, be regarded as productively expended, since it has gone towards reduction of the debt. Between 1875 and 1900 a reduction of £140,000,000, equal to about £5,800,000 per annum, has been effected.
Part II, Chapter I
32. "Every country conquered or ceded to the Crown of England retains such laws and such rules of law (not inconsistent with the general law of England affecting dependencies) as were in force at the time of the conquest or cession, until they are repealed by competent authority. Now, inasmuch as many independent States and many dependent colonies of other States have become English dependencies, many of the English dependencies have retained wholly or in part foreign systems of jurisprudence. Thus Trinidad retains much of the Spanish law; Demerara, Cape of Good Hope, and Ceylon retain much of Dutch law; Lower Canada retains the French civil law according to the 'coutume de Paris'; St. Lucia retains the old French law as it existed when the island belonged to France" (Lewis, "Government of Dependencies," p. 198).
34. What "elasticity" actually signifies in Colonial Office government may be illustrated by the following testimony of Miss Kingsley in regard to West Africa. "Before taking any important steps the West African governor is supposed to consult the officials at the Colonial Office, but as the Colonial Office is not so well informed as the governor himself is, this can be no help to him if he is a really able man, and no check on him if he is not an able man. For, be he what he may, he is the representative of the Colonial Office; he cannot, it is true, persuade the Colonial Office to go and involve itself in rows with European continental Powers, because the Office knows about them; but if he is a strong-minded man with a fad, he can persuade the Colonial Office to let him try that fad on the natives or the traders, because the Colonial Office does not know the natives nor the West African trade. You see, therefore, you have in the governor of a West African possession a man in a bad position. He is aided by no council worth having, no regular set of experts; he is held in by another council equally non-expert, except in the direction of continental politics.... In addition to the governor there are the other officials, medical, legal, secretarial, constabulary, and customs. The majority of them are engaged in looking after each other and clerking. Clerking is the breath of the Crown colony system, and customs what it feeds on. Owing to the climate it is practically necessary to have a double staff in all these departments—that is what the system would have if it were perfect; as it is, some official's work is always being done by a subordinate; it may be equally well done, but it is not equally well paid for, and there is no continuity in policy in any department, except those which are entirely clerk, and the expense of this is necessarily great. The main evil of this want of continuity is, of course, in the governors—a governor goes out, starts a new line of policy, goes home on furlough leaving in charge the colonial secretary, who does not by any means always feel enthusiastic towards that policy, so it languishes. The governor comes back, goes at it again like a giant refreshed, but by no means better acquainted with local affairs for having been away; then he goes home again or dies, or gets a new appointment; a brand-new governor comes out, he starts a new line of policy, perhaps has a new colonial secretary into the bargain; anyhow the thing goes on wavering, not advancing. The only description I have heard of our policy in West African colonies that seems to me to do it justice is that given by a medical friend of mine, who said it was a coma accompanied by fits" ("West African Studies," pp. 328-330).
40. An experienced observer thus records the effect of these changes upon the character and conduct of members of Parliament: "For the most part, as in the country, so in the House, the political element has waned as a factor. The lack of interest in constitutional matters has been conspicuous.... The 'Parliament man' has been disappearing; the number of those desirous of furthering social and industrial reforms has been waning. On the other hand, those who have been anxious to grasp such opportunities of various kinds outside its work and duties as are afforded by membership of the House of Commons, and who are willing to support the Government in the division lobby without being called upon to do much more, came up in large numbers in 1895 and 1900, and now form a very large proportion, if not the majority, of the House of Commons" (Mr. John E. Ellis, M.P., The Speaker, June 7, 1902).
Part II, Chapter II
Part II, Chapter III
56. How far the mystification of motives can carry a trained thinker upon politics may be illustrated by the astonishing argument of Professor Giddings, who, in discussing "the consent of the governed" as a condition of government, argues that "if a barbarous people is compelled to accept the authority of a State more advanced in civilisation, the test of the rightfulness or wrongfulness of this imposition of authority is to be found, not at all in any assent or resistance at the moment when the government begins, but only in the degree of probability that, after full experience of what the government can do to raise the subject population to a higher plane of life, a free and rational consent will be given by those who have come to understand all that has been done," ("Empire and Democracy," p. 265). Professor Giddings does not seem to recognise that the entire weight of the ethical validity of this curious doctrine of retrospective consent is thrown upon the act of judging the degree of probability that a free and rational consent will be given, that his doctrine furnishes no sort of security for a competent, unbiassed judgment, and that, in point of fact, it endows any nation with the right to seize and administer the territory of any other nation on the ground of a self-ascribed superiority and self-imputed qualifications for the work of civilisation.
65. "There are masked words droning and skulking about us in Europe just now which nobody understands, but which everybody uses and most people will also fight for, live for, or even die for, fancying they mean this or that or the other of things dear to them. There never were creatures of prey so mischievous, never diplomatists so cunning, never poisons so deadly, as these masked words; they are the unjust stewards of all men's ideas; whatever fancy or favourite instinct a man most cherishes he gives to his favourite masked word to take care of for him; the word at last comes to have an infinite power over him, and you cannot get at him but by its ministry" (Ruskin, "Sesame and Lilies," p. 29).
Part II, Chapter IV
72. Chartered Company government is not necessarily bad in its direct results. It is, in fact, little else than private despotism rendered more than usually precarious in that it has been established for the sake of dividends. A "managing director" may be scrupulous and far-sighted, as Sir G. T. Goldie in the Niger Company, or unscrupulous and short-sighted, as Mr. Rhodes in the South African Chartered Company. The unchecked tyranny of the managing director may be illustrated by the evidence of the Duke of Abercorn tendered to the South African Committee. "Mr. Rhodes had received a power of attorney to do precisely what he liked without consultation with the Board, he simply notifying what was done."
"Hong-Kong, 22nd February.
"The German missionaries who escaped after the mission house at Frayuen was destroyed by Chinese have returned. It is reported from Canton that the French bishop intends to protect the natives who destroyed the Berlin mission station. The first information showed that hostility existed on the part of the Catholics towards the native Protestants, but it is believed that the aggressors assumed Catholicism as a subterfuge. If the bishop defends them, the situation of the missions in Kwang-tung will become complicated."
76. No slight is here intended upon the excellent work of the Society and the Committee here named. They have handled well and accurately their material. It is the work of original research that is so lacking.
79. In the British Protectorate of Zanzibar and Pemba, however, slavery still exists (notwithstanding the Sultan's decree of emancipation in 1897) and British courts of justice recognise the status. Miss Emily Hutchinson, who is associated with the Friends' Industrial Mission at Pemba, said it was five years since the legal states of slavery was abolished in Zanzibar and Pemba. Every one, including those who were most anxious that the liberation should proceed slowly, was dissatisfied with the present state of affairs. Out of an estimated population of 25,000 slaves in Pemba less than 5000 had been liberated so far under the decree (Anti-Slavery Society Annual Meeting, April 4, 1902).
82. Mr. Bryce (Romanes Lecture, 1902, p. 32) says: "I was told in Hawaii that the reduction of the native population, from about 3,000 in Captain Cook's time to about 30,000 in 1883, was largely due to the substitution of wooden houses for the old wigwams, whose sides, woven of long grass, had secured natural ventilation, and to the use of clothes, which the natives, accustomed to nothing more than a loin cloth, did not think of changing or drying when drenched with rain."
84. Sir Richard Martin in his report states his conviction "that the Native Commissioners, in the first instance, endeavoured to obtain labour through the Indunas, but failing that they procured it by force."
Howard Hensman, defending the administration of the Company in his "History of Rhodesia" (Blackwood & Sons), admits the practice, thus describing it: "In Rhodesia a native who declined to work" (i.e. for wages) "was taken before the Native Commissioners and sent off to some mine or public work close at hand, paid at what, to him, were very high rates, fed and housed, and then at the end of three months he was allowed to return to his kraal, where he was permitted to remain for the rest of the year" (p. 257).
88. "We propose to give to the big chiefs, when they have proved themselves worthy of trust, a salary of £5 a month and a house.... The indunas will then be responsible to the Government for the conduct of their people." This, Earl Grey supposes, "is the best way to secure a considerable revenue in the future in the shape of hut-tax, and to obtain a fair supply of labour for the mines" (Times, 28th November 1896).
The Inspector of Native Locations in his report of the affair distinctly asserts: "That it was not a general rising of the Mashowing people is certain, because there were not more than 100 natives engaged in the Kobogo fight." Yet the whole of the Mashowing territory was confiscated and all the population treated as rebels.
While only some 450 men were taken with arms, 3793 men, women, and children were arrested and deported, 1871 being afterwards "indentured" in the colony. Seven-eighths of the prisoners were women, children, or unarmed men. Even of the men who were taken in arms at the Langeberg Sir A. Milner wrote (January 5, 1898): "I am inclined to think that in many other cases, if the prisoners had chosen to stand their ground, the same difficulty (as in two cases taken to trial) would have been found in establishing legal evidence of treason. It is probable that, of the men who surrendered at the Langeberg, some had never fought against the Government at all, while many others had done so reluctantly. To bring home treasonable intent to any large number of them would, I conceive, have been a difficult matter" (p. 48).
"Seeing that Lobengula only allowed his followers to own cattle on sufferance as it were, all the herds in the country might be said to be the property of the late king, and that was the view which the British South Africa Company took. The number of cattle in the country at this time was estimated at not less than a quarter of a million head, and the indunas were ordered at once to drive in the cattle from the districts over which they had control to Buluwayo. Some of the indunas duly complied with this demand, in which they saw nothing more than what was to be expected as the outcome of the war; but others, and those chiefly who had not taken any part in the fighting, declined to do so, and hid the cattle away out of reach of the Native Commissioners. As the cattle did not come in in such numbers as they ought to have done, the Government ordered the Native Commissioners to collect and send in each month a certain number of cattle.... This step proved a highly unpopular one among the natives" ("History of Rhodesia," by H. Hensman, p. 165).
"It has been said that the Sierra Leone hut-tax war is a 'little Indian Mutiny'; those who have said it do not seem to have known how true the statement is, for these attacks on property in the form of direct taxation are, to the African, treachery on the part of England, who, from the first, has kept on assuring the African that she does not mean to take his country from him, and then, as soon as she is strong enough, in his eyes, deliberately starts doing so" ("West African Studies," p. 372; Macmillan & Co.).
92. Compare the pathetic plaint of the natives in Rhodesia, as voiced by Sir Richard Martin in his official report. "The natives practically said: "Our country is gone and our cattle; we have nothing to live for. Our women are deserting us; the white man does as he likes with them. We are the slaves of the white man; we are nobody, and have no rights or laws of any kind' " (Cd. 8547).
95. This has been the policy of the Glen Grey Act, and the following passage from the official report of a resident magistrate in a district of Cape Colony (Mr. W. T. Brownlie of Butterworth) makes its main economic motive transparent: "I have long held and still hold that the labour question and the land question are indissolubly bound together. In my opinion it is of little use framing enactments to compel unwilling persons to go out to work. It is like the old saw about leading a horse to the water; you can take him there, but you cannot make him drink. In the same way you may impose your labour-tax, but you cannot make your unwilling persons work. Create a healthy thirst in your horse and he will drink fast enough. Similarly create the necessity for the native to work and he will work and none better.
"Hitherto, under our commercial-tenure system, there has been little absolute necessity for our young natives to leave their homes to work. The land supplies them with food, and a few shillings will buy a blanket, and as soon as the young man marries he is entitled to receive his lot of arable land; but once this is stopped—and it will be stopped by the survey and individual tenure—a young man before he marries a wife will have to be in a position to support a wife, and to obtain this he must work, and once having married her he must still work to maintain her and himself, and once the necessity of work is created there will be no lack of men ready and willing to work" ("Blue-book on Native Affairs," C. 31, p. 75). For the Transvaal mine-owners' extension and systematisation of the policy, see Appendix at the close of this chapter.
Part II, Chapter V
8. The prosperity of districts under the Bengal settlement, as compared with other parts of British India, must however be imputed largely to the fact that this settlement enables Bengal to evade its full proportion of contribution to the revenue of India, and throws therefore a disproportionate burden upon other parts.
18. The Times correspondent, in describing the forcible entrance of the allied troops into Pekin, affords this glimpse into Christianity à la mode in China. "The raising of the siege was signalised by the slaughter of a large number of Chinese who had been rounded up into a cul-de-sac and who were killed to a man, the Chinese Christian converts joining with the French soldiers of the relieving force, who lent them bayonets, and abandoned themselves to the spirit of revenge. Witnesses describe the scene as a sickening sight, but in judging such acts it is necessary to remember the provocation, and these people had been sorely tried" (The Times, October 16, 1900).
19. Mr. Bryce, in his Romanes Lecture, p. 9, seems to hint at the probability of such a development. "It is hardly too much to say that for economic purposes all mankind is fast becoming one people, in which the hitherto backward nations are taking a place analogous to that which the unskilled workers have held in each one of the civilised nations. Such an event opens a new stage in world history."
Part II, Chapter VI
28. Cf. Part I, chap, ii.
30. In 1900 the public debts of the Australasian colonial Governments amounted to £194,812,289 for a population of 3,756,894, while the New Zealand debt was £46,930,077 for a population of 756,510 (Statesman's "Year-book," 1901).
33. Public feeling in Australia and New Zealand was of a particularly simple manufacture in the autumn of 1899. Mr. Chamberlain communicated the "facts" of the South African war to the Premiers of the colonies and they served them out to the press. This official information was not checked by any really independent news.
Part II, Chapter VII