« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
right to a salute of guns. He has seen many men and many cities, and he is as much at home in Europe as in India. He has no patience with Indian Extremists, who are constantly harping on India's servitude and inveighing against her alien oppressors. He is quite satisfied that the average Indian who has so long seen the work of administration carried on by British heads and Indian hands, just as the work of conquest was often carried on with Indian help, 'does not 'look upon himself as belonging to a conquered people, or 'on his country as dominated by foreigners.' He warns us, however, that 'this altogether healthy Indian sentiment cannot last unless we reckon with the many forces, internal ' and external, that are working to awaken Indians in general, 'and the urban population in particular, to the reasonableness ' of their claim to a share in their own government.' He favours a measure of almost complete provincial autonomy, with elected provincial assemblies, in which every community should have its own representation, whilst the powers of the government of India should ultimately be confined to a few purely all-Indian functions, and that the Native States as well as the autonomous provinces should send their representatives to an Indian senate. This Federal India under a Royal Viceroy is itself to be merely the pivot and centre of a greater South Asiatic Federation, towards which Arabia and Southern Persia, Afghanistan and Bokhara, parts of Tibet as well as the Malayan States, will naturally gravitate. But being what our French neighbours call un démocrate autoritaire, His Highness will not hear of responsible government, and prefers a system modelled both in its federal and parliamentary aspects, as he admits, upon the constitution of the German Empire. Few Englishmen, and, in spite of similar tendencies beneath the surface of the Congress resolutions, perhaps not many Indians, will be inclined to follow him in that direction, and, interesting as his speculations are, the Aga Khan perhaps hardly himself realizes how far they carry him in an opposite direction to that of the Pronouncement of August 20th, which now governs the whole Indian situation.
For Mr. Montagu has completed his mission of inquiry and consultation on the spot, and he has brought back to England a report signed by the Viceroy and himself, which is believed to contain definite recommendations for giving full effect
to the Pronouncement. It may be published at any moment, but Government are pledged to allow ample time for its discussion, and the form as well as the substance of the legislation dealing with important constitutional changes requires time and care. But it is of the utmost importance that there should be no unnecessary delay. We have had object-lessons enough as to the danger of procrastination, and in India as elsewhere time is on the side of those whose purpose is not to pull down but to build up a wall of racial antagonism. One cannot ignore the language used by the Extremist leaders, which becomes more and more menacing in proportion as they realize that the bold and generous policy towards India foreshadowed in the Pronouncement will completely cut the ground away under their feet as soon as it has been definitely invested by the British Government and the British Parliament with finality in the shape of legislation. They are therefore shouting louder than ever: 'The Congress scheme, the whole Congress ' scheme, and nothing but the Congress scheme,' and openly threatening passive resistance if that scheme is rejected. They know that scheme to be incompatible with the terms and the spirit of the Pronouncement. They know, therefore, that it must and will be rejected, and they are bent on organizing in the meantime forces of resistance which shall make its rejection lead as surely to strife and conflict as its adoption would. We cannot hope to reconcile Indian Extremism. What we can hope to do is to free from its insidious influence all that is best in Indian public life by opening up a larger field of useful activity than Mr. Gokhale himself looked for in one of his most thoughtful speeches, as true and as weighty to-day as when he delivered it nearly ten years ago:
'Our rulers (he said) stand pledged to extend to us equality of treatment with themselves. This equality is to be sought in two fields equality for individual Indians with individual Englishmen, and equality in regard to the form of government which Englishmen enjoy in other parts of the Empire. The attainment of full equality with Englishmen, if ever it is accomplished, is bound to be a slow and weary affair. But one thing is clear: it is both our right and our duty to press along this road and further good faith requires that we should not think of taking any other. Of the twofold equality we have to seek with Englishmen, the first, though difficult of attainment, is not so difficult as the second. For it is possible to find in this country a fair number of Indians
who in capacity and character could hold their own against individual Englishmen. But the attainment of a democratic form of self-government such as obtains in other parts of the Empire must depend upon the average strength and capacity of our people taken as a whole, for it is on our average strength that the weight of the edifice of self-government will have to rest. And here it must be regretfully admitted that our average strength to-day is far below the British average. The most important work before us, therefore, is to endeavour to raise this average. There is work enough for the most enthusiastic lover of his country. In fact, on every side, whichever way we turn, only one sight meets the eye: that of work to be done, and only one cry is to be heard that there are but few faithful workers. The elevation of the depressed classes, who have to be brought up to the level of the rest of our people, universal elementary education, co-operation, improvement of the economic condition of the peasantry, higher education of women, spread of industrial and technical education, and building up of the industrial strength of the country, promotion of closer relations between the different communities. These are some of the tasks which lie in front of us, and each needs a whole army of devoted missionaries.'
To these tasks we now propose to add that of training the people of India to self-government. We have the right to expect the hearty co-operation of all Indians who are still ready to hearken to the words of their dead leader. But they also will have the right to expect from us support and protection against the desperate attempts which will certainly be made to wreck the great experiment by his old foes, who are already organizing to resist its acceptance in India. Indian Extremism is a rank nettle which may have to be grasped with a very firm hand. If we are to educate India successfully to political liberty we may have to apply one of the great lessons which the war is burning into the conscience of the British people with all their innate love of freedom-that the worst enemy of liberty is licence.
CENTRALIZATION AND REVOLUTION
1. Les origines de la France Contemporaine. By H. A. TAINE. 1875.
2. L'ancien régime et la Révolution. By A. DE TOCQUEVILLE. 1856.
3. Reflections on the Revolution in France. By EDMUND BURKE.
HE history of the old French monarchy is the record of a gradual consolidation under one sceptre of a number of practically independent fiefs. After the final expulsion of the English invader in the middle of the fifteenth century, the Kings of France had time to turn their attention to the curbing of their almost equally troublesome feudatories. Louis XI., one of the craftiest, most unscrupulous and most astute of monarchs, led the way in this work. The process was continued by Louis XII. (1498), and the absolute monarchy of France may be said to have been finally established under Louis XIII. (1610), through the instrumentality of his famous ministers, Cardinals Richelieu and Mazarin, so that at last Louis XIV. could with truth exclaim, 'L'état 'c'est moi.'
Richelieu's statecraft was founded on three main lines of policy: (1) to destroy the political power of the nobility, and to reduce them to the position of court lackeys; (2) to keep the various classes of Frenchmen estranged from each other; (3) to keep the agricultural population in poverty. In his Testament Politique' he wrote: If the people are prosperous they will with difficulty be kept in bondage.' It was his theory that the acquisition of property by the peasantry would lead to their abandoning work. He held that misery was the only guarantee against idleness.
The King was the sole and unchallenged master of France. He levied taxes by royal decree, and could dispose of the revenue as he pleased; he was absolute controller of the life and fortune of every Frenchman; he could, by a stroke of the pen, imprison their persons and confiscate their property.
He could appoint whomsoever he pleased to any office whatever; he could lavish favours and pensions on his favourites, and crush and ruin any man or woman whom he disliked. He could squander the substance of France on court extravagance or foreign wars.
It is obvious that such a system could only be carried out by appropriate instruments. The country was governed in effect by a bureaucracy. At the head of the Government was the Conseil du Roi, a body composed of officials, whose very names were hardly known. They held office at the will of the King; and were entirely without social influence. Acting under the Conseil du Roi was an official called the "Controleur Général.' In his hands was gathered the whole network of administration throughout the country. He submitted his reports to the Council for approval, but in practice he centralized in his person the government of the kingdom. Under him each province was administered by an 'Intendant' or Steward, who was as supreme in his district as was the Controller General over the whole of France. In each province there was still a nominal Governor in the person of a great territorial noble, but he had become a mere ornamental figure-head, and beyond an occasional appearance at some social function, took no part whatever in the management of provincial affairs. In fact, he would have considered it derogatory to his dignity to do so. Under the Intendants, a Sub-delegate was appointed for each canton, who had to control his district, and report to his superior. Both Intendants and Sub-delegates held office at the pleasure of the Conseil du Roi, and were, in fact, appointed from the personnel of that body, so that the bureaucracy of Paris was reproduced in every corner of France.
The powers of this bureaucracy were all-embracing. There was no phase of the national or individual existence which it did not control. Under its baleful influence all local institutions withered and died. The Conseil du Roi had first of all the fixing and management of the taxes. Part of the French taxes were 'farmed' to financial companies, the most vicious system of taxation in the world. The Conseil du Roi dealt with these companies, fixed the contracts and regulated the mode of collection. The most hated and onerous of the numerous imposts under which the peasantry groaned