Imatges de pàgina
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affairs. The China Merchants' Steam Navigation Company 'was a case in point. This undertaking was promoted by Li Hungchang, and while considerable sums found their way into the pockets of promoters and official managers, the shareholders were left with only small dividends with which to console themselves. • Once bit twice shy' is a saying which has full force in China, and the invitation offered by the Chinese Imperial spider to the nonofficial fly to walk into his parlour was declined with thanks. This proposal having failed, the Emperor and his advisers are endeavouring to gain their end by other means. A second edict has now been issued, in which it is stated that a loan of 30,000,000 taels has been raised in America for the construction of the line, and that, mirabile dictu, Shêng Taotai is to be the manager of the undertaking. It would have been bad enough to have put a mandarin of ordinary good character into the post, but to name Shêng for the office is to insure all the worst traditions of mandarin rule. Shêng is a man who has basked in the sunshine of Li Hungchang's favour, and who, like his patron, has filled his pockets from the proceeds of every undertaking with which he had been connected. It is notorious that at the outbreak of the war between China and Japan Shêng was commissioned to buy in Europe rifles and ammunition for the campaign. The result is well known. The weapons proved to be next to valueless. But, as it turned out, this was of no great importance, for the ammunition provided was so ill adapted for the purpose that it is difficult to imagine circumstances under which they could have been of any use. At the time he was dismissed from his office with contumely. But he is an able man and is well versed in the art of using his ill-gotten gains to smooth the way to future enterprises. The length of the line from Hankow to Peking is 700 miles. If the amount of the loan which is said to have been contracted in America is correct, it would give an average of between 5,0001. and 6,000l. per mile. This ought to be ample for the purpose, and we shall wait with some curiosity the fate of an undertaking which at least promises such excellent results for Shêng's pocket. Judging from the analogy of the one existing railway in China—that from Tientsin to Shanhai Kwan—the line will be proceeded with so long as the money lasts, or until the funds are wanted for some other purpose. During the preparations for the celebration of the Dowager Empress's sixtieth birthday it was found necessary to stop the laying of the Tientsin line, as the sums allotted for the purpose were wanted for the decorations of the Peking streets. Ex uno disce omnes, and with Shêng at the prow and Li at the helm it is possible that it will often be found necessary to divert portions of the funds in several directions."

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Since the above was in type a further secret edict bas, according to a Reuter telegram, been issued, in which the sum required for railways has been raised from 30,000,000 taels to 40,000,000, twenty millions of which are to be .furnished by the


The future of the mining industry in China shares the unfortunate condition of the railways. There is probably no other country in the world which conceals beneath its surface such rich mineral deposits as China. Every mineral from coal to gold exists in profusion, and might be a source of boundless wealth to the Empire. But here again official interference acts as a blight on all enterprise, and a recent attempt to open mines in the rich province of Szech’uen shows that the mandarins are as determined as ever to keep a tight hold on all such lucrative undertakings. It was proposed by some more than usually enterprising business men to form a company to develop the mineral resources of the province. They elaborated their proposal in the form of a memorial to the Throne, and in due course the document was returned to the viceroy of the province for his consideration. His answer was typical. He expressed surprise that private individuals should have ventured to have made such a proposition, and forthwith issued a proclamation warning the people to have nothing to do with the project, and ordering an official deputy to inspect the capabilities of the proposed mines. If the report should prove to be satisfactory he undertook to form a company to carry out the work. The result is not far to seek. If the work is undertaken at all, it will be done badly and the bulk of the profits will go to enrich the local officials.

Such being the condition of affairs in China, we may well despair of the future of the Empire. The whole system of administration is rotten to the core, and there is no sign or symptom of any effort towards progressive reforms. Ninety-nine out of every hundred mandarins are wedded by long habit and by personal interest to the existing system. A few men doubtless are conscious of a better way, but it would be a mistake to suppose from their rare enlightened sentiments that there is any disposition to throw off the trammels of corruption and wrong which have enwrapped the country for so many centuries. The whole weight of the nation is in the opposite scale, and the efforts of the infinitesimally small minority of would-be reformers can no more seriously affect the enduring outline of the national polity 'than the successive forests of beech and fir can determine the shape of the everlasting hills from which they spring.'


Tsungli Yamên from the last loan, and the northern and southern superintendencies will furnish 3,000,000 and 7,000,000 respectively.' Whence the remaining 20,000,000 taels are to come is not stated. This would seem to imply that the negotiations for the reported loan froni America have broken down.




In the widespread and immediate influence which they exercised probably no political writings have ever equalled those of Machiavelli. Not that he was the creator of that unscrupulous statecraft with which his name has been for centuries associated; for Machiavellism (to risk the appearance of paradox) existed before Machiavelli, and he did no more than codify and comment on those principles of policy which he saw applied everywhere about him.' But, in doing this, he undoubtedly gave a great impetus to their use, his treatise The Prince forming a convenient textbook of practical politics, of which European statesmen were not slow to take advantage. Multiplied in numerous editions, this work, with its companion volume, the Discourses on Livy, in spite of the loud and horrified denunciations of old-fashioned moralists, soon found its way into every cabinet and council chamber of Europe, and its cynical maxims have left their impress only too clearly on the policies of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

It may, then, in the light of recent events, be not without interest to inquire how far English statesmen of the Reformation period were brought under the sinister influence of Machiavelli's genius, and, more especially, to attempt some estimate of its effect upon their ecclesiastical policy.

At the outset of such an inquiry we are confronted with one striking and significant characteristic of the English Reformation, differentiating it from contemporary movements in other countriesa certain vagueness of outline, by no means altogether due to the obscuring effect of distance, which makes it difficult to arrive at any universally acceptable definition of its principles and aims. As to what happened in Scotland, in Holland, or in Geneva, there can be no controversy. In all of these the revolution was abrupt and thorough, constituting a more or less complete breach with the past; and even in Lutheran Germany and Scandinavia the retention of a large body of Catholic doctrine and ceremonial was far outweighed by the conscious and deliberate breach of the Apostolic Succession,' In England, on the other hand, the movement was from the first largely conservative, avoiding revolutionary methods, intolerant of extremes, advancing cautiously step by step, and careful of all the ties that bound it to the past, so long as these were consistent with the aim of its political leaders—the subservience of the Church to the State.

This striking characteristic of the Reformation in England may have been due to the exigencies of the case, and to the natural tendency of Englishmen to change the spirit rather than the form of their institutions; but it is nevertheless so entirely in accord with Machiavelli's principle that, in making innovations, the substance rather than the form should be changed, that, in so far as it was the result of deliberate policy, it may well have been to some extent inspired by him, more especially as there is abundant proof of his influence on the methods by which the revolution was effected.

That Henry the Eighth was himself directly influenced by any study of The Prince may be doubted, though he was himself a typical prince of the Renaissance—in his culture, his learning, his splendour, and his popular manners, no less than in his 'cruelty well applied.' Yet he was not the ideal ruler of Machiavelli, for he succumbed to that all but universal failing of not knowing how to be wholly either good or bad. • He was,' to use the words of the late Professor Froude, divided against himself. Nine days in ten he was the clearheaded, energetic, powerful statesman ; on the tenth he was looking wistfully to the superstition which he had left.' In short, he still nursed his theological conscience, and had not yet learned from Machiavelli to regard religion solely as the handmaid of politics. In Thomas Cromwell, however, he found a minister to whom his objects were thoroughly congenial, and whose methods were less likely to be affected by inconvenient scruples.

That Cromwell's ecclesiastical policy was dictated by motives of zeal for Evangelical religion, or sympathy with persecuted truth, is a view which may appeal to some minds; but, in the light of available evidence, it is far more probable that the reforming tendencies of the day were merely used by him, in the true Machiavellian spirit, to further the object which he consistently kept in view—the consolidation of an absolute royal power, under the forms of a constitution, by the aid of a subservient parliament and a terrorised Church. Nor, in spite of the scarcely impartial opinion of the late Professor Froude, is it improbable that this policy was deliberately based upon Machiavelli's teaching. It is admitted that Cromwell spent many years in Italy, first as a clerk in a commercial house in Florence, and afterwards as a soldier of fortune or engaged in diplomatic service at various Italian Courts. It is not surprising that a politician trained in the school of the Medici and the Borgias should have welcomed the

· He dismisses Pole's accusation of Machiavellism against Cromwell in a short footnote (Hist. vol. ii. ch. vi. p. 109).

appearance of The Prince, or have been content to use its maxims in the architecture of his own fortunes ; and there seems no adequate reason (certainly none is given by Professor Froude) for doubting the substantial truth of the accusation of Machiavellism which is brought against Cromwell by Cardinal Pole.

Pole affirms that the immediate cause of his exile was the rise of Cromwell to power, the results of which he dreaded, because he had had an opportunity of judging of that statesman's principles and maxims of government in a conversation he had once had with him on the office of a prudent councillor. * In this decision,' he says, ' nothing influenced me more than my having from that one interview and conversation easily perceived what kind of government we should have, if that man ever held the reins of power—namely, a government dangerous and destructive to all honest men.'2 Of this discussion, which had been raised by some reference to Wolsey, the Cardinal proceeds to give an epitome. “I told him,' he says, 'that it was the duty of a councillor to consider above all things the interest and honour of his sovereign; and I enlarged on these subjects, as they are enforced by the law of nature and the writings of pious and learned men.' Cromwell, in reply, poured scorn on the opinions of pious and learned men, as themes good enough for sermons or the discussions of the schools, but of little use in practical politics, and decidedly out of favour at the courts of princes. In his opinion a little experience was worth a great deal of theory, and statesmen who based their policy upon books, rather than upon a knowledge of men and affairs, were apt to suffer shipwreck. For the prudent councillor the first thing to do was to study the prince's inclinations—by no means an easy task, since the external deportment of princes so often belies their inner character. For it is of the greatest importance that he should in his conversation consistently display an exalted character for religiousness, piety, and the other virtues ; without, however, there being the slightest necessity for his inclinations to coincide with it.' And in this respect the prudent councillor will know how to imitate the prince, a result to be obtained with a very little trouble. The Cardinal was, very naturally, not a little shocked. At this Cromwell expressed no surprise, but told him that, if he were to turn for a while from his studies to the practical affairs of State, he would soon learn the comparative value of experience and theory in the art of government. “In these matters,' he exclaims, a few sentences from a man of experience are worth whole volumes written by a philosopher who has no such experience.' For him a book founded upon empty speculation had no value. Plato's Republic had been written about two thousand years, and its maxims had never yet been practically applied. On the other hand, he knew of a book which he

2 Cf. Apologia ad Carolum V. An abstract is given by Professor Brewer in his essay on the Royal Supremacy.

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