« AnteriorContinua »
humming. And the bee broke the bread into three pieces, fed the bird with them, and then flew away. When the king saw this wondrous work of God, he renounced all earthly ties, and gave himself up to the All-true.' 15
From Buddhism a number of stories about self-sacrifice have drifted into Islam. Here is a Mohammedan version of one of the actions attributed in India to Buddha. One day a dove came flying up to Moses, and begged for protection against a pursuing hawk. And Moses pitied the dove, and let it take refuge in his bosom. But presently up flew the hawk, and charged Moses with injustice and cruelty, inasmuch as he had deprived it of the food it was about to give to its hungering little ones. And Moses felt that in acting kindly towards the dove he had acted cruelly towards the hawk. So, in order to reconcile justice with mercy, he cut off from his own body a piece of flesh as large as the dove, and was about to give it to the hawk for its longing little ones, when the hawk cried : “O Prophet of God, I am Michael, and what seems to thee a dove is Gabriel. We came to thee under these forms in order to test and to make manifest thy high-mindedness and thy generosity. And then the two seeming birds disappeared.16
In the following story, with which this article may be brought to a close, the same virtue, that of self-sacrifice, is commended. But the moral is set in a more romantic frame. News was brought one day to a pious and powerful king that a great marvel was to be seen in a certain well. For at the bottom of it was a golden throne, on which sat a maiden fair as the morn, whose beauty seemed to fill the whole cavity with sunlight, and opposite her was seated an old and wrinkled man, whose body had wasted away to a mere shadow, and who spent his time in gazing alternately at her and at a cauldron of boiling oil which seethed before him. Thither went the king immediately, found that what had been told him was true, and asked the fair maiden what this strange scene meant. 'I am the daughter of a fairy king,' she replied, “and this old man has loved me from his youth upwards. To please him have I sat here with him for sixty-two years, and both compassion and the fear of God prevent me from deserting him. However, I cannot marry him, because I am of a celestial race, and he of a terrestrial. But he could easily get rid of his earthly elements if he would fling himself into this boiling oil, in which case he would become purified by the intense heat, and would emerge like refined gold. But hitherto he has not had the courage to do so.' Then spake the old man, and said : Willingly would I fing myself into the cauldron, for I would gladly welcome death, were it not for this one reason.
15 Parrot-Book, 22nd Evening. ** Ibid. 18th Evening. For the Indian originals, see Benfey, Pantchatantra, Only for this cause do I fear to die, in that I should thereby lose the delight of gazing on the fair face of her whom I love. Then the king inquired if the old man would follow him in case he led the way and emerged from the peril unhurt. Certainly,' was the reply. Whereupon the king stripped, and, offering up his noble life in behalf of the unhappy lover, sprang into the cauldron. An hour passed, and then he emerged, free from all trace of earthly stain' and turned into gold of the purest vein. Down from her throne stepped the maiden, bowed her forehead to the ground before the king, and offered to become bis bride. But 'No,' replied the king ; • what I did was done, not to gain thy love, but to encourage this feeble old man.' Hearing this, the old man followed the kings, example, remained for the space of an hour in the boiling oil, and then emerged, a gleaming form of purest gold, and a fit bridegroom for the fairy maiden, who seated him by her side on the gleaming throne, and flung her silver arm around his neck of gold.
Although it is no more necessary that tellers of moral tales should themselves be moral than that he who drives fat oxen should himself be fat,' yet it may fairly be assumed that there must be good elements in the character of a people among whom are current stories of so high and pure a tone as those just cited. Under a wise system of government those elements might develope into qualities capable of elevating the Turks above their present low estate, and of rendering their capital what Nabi Effendi says it was in his time, the school of great men, the surest of asylums for education and science.'
ON THE IMPERIAL POLICY OF
I SUPPOSE there is not one amongst us who has not during the last few months read numerous speeches and articles on the Eastern Question. Many of these contain severe remarks, not only on the present Government, but also on our policy generally in reference to our colonies and to other countries.
One of our most distinguished statesmen, for instance, is reportea to have said :-There is, I fear, sometimes a reckless and cynical selfishness in the manner in which we forget our responsibility in dealing with half-civilised countries, and, as it were, play with their existence in the exuberance of our power. But, if our conduct be really characterised by 'cynical selfishness' and forgetfulness of our responsibilities, surely such a state of things demands more than a mere passing reference. On the other hand, if, not being open to such an accusation, we still accuse ourselves, no wonder foreign writers take us at our word, and condemn us too.
But what less advanced races themselves think of our rule is well shown by the history of such cases as Hongkong and Singapore. In the former, says Mr. Wood, we find a small barren island which, at the time of its cession to Britain, was inhabited only by a few handfuls of fishermen, now crowded with tens of thousands of Chinese, who have crossed from the mainland because they knew that under British rule they would be free from oppressive taxation, would be governed by just laws, and would be able to carry on a thriving and profitable trade. And so, in the once uninhabited island of Singapore, we see a motley population attracted from China, the Malay Peninsula, and India by a similar cause.''
Let us then consider whether, in our relations with our colonies, India, Ireland, and other countries, we are or are not open to these accusations. Now, so far is it from being the case that we have forgotten our responsibilities, that there has for long past been scarcely a year when this country has not liberally and cheerfully borne a considerable expenditure, incurred for the good of others, and which we might very reasonably have declined to undertake.
'On the Benefit to the Colonies of being Members of the British Empire, p. 5.
I have, however, found considerable difficulty in arriving at the facts.
They are scattered over a number of separate accounts, returns, reports, &c., and in some cases the figures, though correct, are apt to be misleading. Take, for instance, the first China war. In the return · Public Income and Expenditure,’1869, No. 366, 1, the expenditure is given as 2,201,0281. But then, on looking back to the several years, it will be seen that China paid us an indemnity of 4,050,0001., which would leave a balance of 1,850,0001.' Out of this, however, it will be further found that we paid indemnities to certain merchants amounting to 1,260,0001. But it appears from another return that the above amounts do not contain the sums paid by the Navy and Ordnance Departments. Including these, the real cost of the war was not 2,200,0001., but more than 4,200,000l.; so that, even after allowing for the China indemnity, the war really cost us a very large sum. In other cases also—as, for instance, our West African squadron-no accounts showing the expense appear to have been kept. I believe, however, that the following facts will be found substantially correct.
Firstly, then, with regard to the colonies. Other countries, we know, have derived a considerable portion of their revenue from their colonies and dependencies. The Athenians exacted a considerable annual contribution from their allied States; and this formed, indeed, a very important portion of their revenue.2
With the Romans it was the first principle of taxation that the provinces were to defray the expenses of the empire.'3 When they conquered Sicily, for instance, they exacted a tenth of the field produce, and 5 per cent. of the value of all exports and imports. Coming down to more recent times, other countries—as, for instance, Spain, Portugal, and Holland—have derived considerable revenues from their colonial possessions. Very different has been the conduct of England. So far from deriving any revenue from our colonies, we have spent enormous sums of money for their benefit.
As far as I have been able to ascertain, no account has been published showing the amount spent by the mother-country in the colonies before the year 1859; but from 1859 to 1869 it amounted to more than 41,000,000l., being at the rate of 4,100,0001. a year. In the four following years the sums were as follows, viz. :
This considerable reduction arose from the fact that, down to 1870, the mother-country bore the military expenses of the colonies; and, though this has been by degrees to a great extent discontinued, and it
? Thucydides, Pe'op. War, bk. I. ch. xix.; bk. II. ch. xiii.
: Sir A. Grant, How the Romans governed thoir Colonies, p. 16. Grant, Rome, England, and India, p. 45. 1863.
1862. Sir A.
is not thought necessary to maintain so large a force in the colonies, even now our expenditure under this head is very considerable. The amount for 1875 was, according to the last returns laid before Parliament, more than 1,500,0001., the principal items being as follows :
China, Ceylon, &c.
Moreover, the actual cost to this country is considerably more, because this return does not include the cost of arms, accoutrements, barrack, hospital, and other stores, nor any proportion for recruiting expenses, head-quarter expenses, or non-effective charges.
It may be said that our Mediterranean military expenditure can hardly be called "colonial,' and it is of course true that we could not expect such stations as Malta and Gibraltar to
their own expenses. On the other band, our great reason for keeping them up is in order to protect our communications with India and Australia ; and if we were disposed to do so, we might well ask why the burden of keeping up these communications should fall altogether on us—why some part of the cost should not be borne by the colonies. Moreover, the above-mentioned expenditure refers only to the troops on service out of the mother-country; but, inasmuch as even the troops at home are available in case of need for colonial purposes, we might well, on a strict account, require some contribution towards the permanent expenses. Our national accounts show no sums devoted nominally to naval expenses on account of our colonies; yet, in fact, this country bears the whole naval expense, which, if they were independent, would fall on them. For them we act as the police of the seas; their shores are protected at our expense. What a saving this is to them little consideration is required to show. Thirty millions of Englishmen in Great Britain and Ireland pay 12,000,000l. a year for naval purposes: two hundred millions of our fellow-countrymen in the colonies and India pay scarcely anything.
That they would be put to very considerable expense under this head, if it were not for our fleet, is shown by the experience of other countries. France spends annually on her navy more than 5,000,0001.; Russia, 3,500,0001.; Turkey, 3,000,0001.; Austria, 2,000,0001.; Germany, 1,400,000l.; Italy, 1,700,0001. ; Spain, 1,000,0001.; and, in case it should be said that these are all European powers, bidding against one another, I will add Brazil, 1,250,0001., and the United States, 4,200,0001. The latter owns 180 vessels, 50 of them ironclads, and carrying 1,300 guns, thus affording a remarkable contrast to her neighbour Canada, whose navy consists of about 8 little boats on the lakes, carrying 18 guns amongst them! Our other colonies, I believe, spend nothing on their navy, excepting Victoria, which bas one small vessel.