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the reputation of every person concerned, not even excepting Pitt, who might have secured attention to his wishes if he had threatened to resign, yet, in accordance with Voltaire's jest, it must have had a certain effect in teaching a lesson to naval officers. British admirals must in future destroy the enemy's fleet, and no reasons to the contrary were to be assigned. The subsequent history of the navy supplies the best comment; the acquittal of Keppel in 1779 (a purely political affair, and in that respect like Byng's condemnation) being the single exceptional evidence of a less lofty spirit in the profession. Yet it was Hawke who gave the great example, the importance of which we cannot overrate. In every action in which he was engaged, and alone responsible, he exhibited the same union of brilliant courage and skilful conduct, till, in 1759, he performed at Quiberon the greatest feat of arms in the annals of the naval service. Nelson, it is true, fought a greater number of battles, and destroyed a greater number of the enemy's ships; but no action of his was fought on a dangerous lee-shore in a gale of wind; no navy in the world before or since ever won a battle with so high a display of seamanship. It was with reason that George II., with his keen eye for military merit, dubbed him “his own Captain,' and that in the new reign the administration of the navy was so largely given over into his hands. He was thus enabled to imbue his profession with his own spirit; and to the effects of his breeding, through but a few transmissions, we may safely trace the extraordinary grandeur of our modern naval history. Down to very near our own times, the toast still lingered on in that gallant service-May our officers have the eye of a Hawke and the heart of a Wolfe.
We have confined our attention to those circumstances connected with the rise of the empire which generally receive the least notice in popular histories; but no sketch, even so slight as the present, should exclude the fullest recognition which can be given of the position occupied by the elder Pitt. It is a mere commonplace to speak of him as the central figure amongst the founders of our modern greatness, but his distinction is of a still higher kind. It cannot be too much insisted upon that among the many brave and able men Great Britain has produced, no one else so early grasped, no one else so fully understood the facts of his day which indicated the Imperial position assigned to this country. His genius foresaw, his genius executed the mission of England; his genius made the instruments, his genius applied them. If we still glow with pride at the record of the times when every month of the year was signalised by some great victory, still reckoned great; if we ask with surprise why the previous times had failed to elicit a Clive, a Wolfe, or a Hawke, an Amherst or an Albemarle, we cluster those rich memories, that fruitful history, we cannot but cluster them, around the name of Chatham. It was that noble spirit which infused itself into all the rest, and taught his countrymen that it was Britannia's destiny "to rule the waves. Nor though we remember also his frailties, his caprice, his arrogance, his theatrical style, need we allow these clouds to rise between us and our admiration of the man whose brightness pierced through them all. They are made too much of by those who cannot appreciate a great man when they have got him.
We have thus attempted to trace, through the removal of obstacles to national development, through the direct operation of political, religious, and social forces upon the people, and, finally, through the agency of men who were, in one sense, the product of these forces, in another the personal causes themselves, the rise of the British Empire. It is needless to say that the whole of our subsequent history is that of the defence of what we inherited from Chatham and George II., and of its natural, nay, necessary, expansion. Nor on a true view of this subsequent history can we reckon the loss of the old American colonies as any backward step in the continued progress of our Imperial development. Melancholy as is the retrospect of the American war, with all its disappointments and humiliations, we really lost by our failure to hold those colonies by force of arms far less than we gained by their success in emancipating themselves. We had wholly misunderstood our duties in relation to our free and prosperous offspring. Neglect, incompetence, erratic judgment, wrong principles of action characterised our whole treatment of men who inherited the same qualities as were raising the parent State to greatness, and who easily learnt to imitate our defects as well as our virtues. We lost but little. Even our material losses were not really great. The outlet for our emigrant population continued much as before ; much of our commerce found its way back into its old channels, while the energy of the upper classes was the more abundantly thrown into the development of our power in the East, in proportion as the openings were limited in the West. What we positively gained, and perhaps could have gained in no other way, was the art of governing a colonial empire, an art in which, since those days, the British have been excelled by no nation, ancient or modern,
We have not undertaken in this place the task of proving any abstract theory. People may have their own ideas as to the desirableness of a small country in extent, such as ours, becoming the centre of such vast and ever-extending interests. With that we have no concern; we have been looking to facts. No doubt our people have been influenced by mixed motives in the development of this unique power, and have but followed the general laws by which the human race has been led forward in the process of its education. No one would assert that the empire so won, so expanded, so retained, has been an unmixed blessing to mankind; nor are we wholly competent judges on such a question ; but that we may at least claim some credit for humanising and civilising the various races under our dominion must, one would think, be generally admitted. May we not claim something more? Not long ago, when the question of decisive action on the part of England as against the outrageous claims put forth by M. Ignatieff for Russia was before the country, the following words were spoken by Mr. Roebuck in an address to his constituents; and we are disposed to think they are not inappropriate to the subject in hand :
England has led the world onward in the course of improvement. Whatever good has been done for mankind you will find the finger of England in the doing of it. She has taught mankind their rights. She has taught men to feel towards each other as men should feel. She has turned Europe from a den of slaves into a great band of freemen. That is the present state of Europe. That is owing to England.'*
Is this rhetoric? Is this Chauvinism ? The world must judge ; future generations must decide. At any rate it may be held capable of proof that this empire has rather come to us than been sought as an object of ambition. It has been the natural result of the extension of trade and emigration, and the defence of our traders and emigrants. The defence of our possessions has, indeed, been often indirect, but still, when most indirect, none the less defence; for the reputation of a readiness to defend, a readiness promptly evinced when occasion calls, is the only safeguard from attack; and the defence of a distant possession is often only possible in regions close at hand. Thus, with a true instinct, no country has more steadily supported the principles of International Law than Great Britain, none more vigorously the independence of nations; none has made greater sacrifices to restrain high-handed attempts to destroy that independence. In so doing she has defended the interests of all while protecting her own. In so doing the Imperial position has been justified in the past, and by such action alone can it be justified in the future.
* Speech at Sheffield, June 17, 1878.
Considerations like these convey more than a hint that this position has not been conferred upon Great Britain by accident, that it involves the most tremendous responsibilities, and may yet require the greatest sacrifices. It is not surprising that even now, at this advanced stage of our progress, the nation occasionally displays a momentary incapacity for understanding that it is the centre of enormous dominions involving us in political complications, different not only in degree but in kind from those to which we were liable when our possessions stretched little beyond the coasts of Great Britain. It is not surprising that on such occasions even the sacred name of religion is taken in vain by protests in the so-called interests of peace against measures which alone are capable of preserving peace. We must be patient. It is not given to all men to realise even the most absolute facts. The growth of the empire, though vast, has been during the last three generations almost insensible, and problems of defence and government must often arise for which the precedents of the past afford no sufficient guidance. But it is absurd to ignore what we cannot deny to exist, idle to wish we were unpledged before the world to the responsibilities we have been forced to assume, monstrous to entertain the idea of receding from a position which, indeed, has in all probability still greater issues before it. The general circumstances of that position, and the method by which it has been attained, we may contemplate with honest pride, and yet without vainglory; and the contemplation is wholesome, for it is a steadfast gaze at the truth, and mans us to face the future with faith, courage, and active intelligence.
ART. III.—Thirteen Years among the Wild Beasts of India : their
Haunts and Habits, from personal observation; with an account of the modes of Capturing and Taming Elephants. By G. P. Sanderson, Officer in charge of the Government Elephantcatching Establishment in Mysore. London, 1878. A REALLY good book on wild beasts is very seldom met h with. There are stay-at-home naturalists who study the animals at the Zoological Gardens, and the distorted forms of the hay-distended creatures at the British Museum : such writers compile books on natural history by gleaning anecdotes from the numerous sporting works of Indian and African authors, but all such attempts at description must be necessarily flat and unsubstantial : they lack the spirit and originality of the active hunter and naturalist, and they are untrustworthy.
There is another class of sporting books more interesting, but nevertheless unsatisfactory. England is a nation of hunters, and our youth is full of vigour and adventure. The vast improvement in rifles and the general extension of rifle practice, induces all those who can afford the means, to visit wild countries for the sake of larger game than the red-deer of our Scottish forests. India offers a wide field of adventure; also Africa, America, Ceylon; and in fact there are few corners of the world attainable by the sportsman that are not penetrated by the British enthusiast.
Such daring hunters make special expeditions, and usually return to England after their foreign excursions, and write books. With some exceptions such narratives are tedious: the experience of the authors has been limited, and they cannot be accepted as authorities on natural history; their books are journals of slaughter which often offend the susceptibilities of their readers. Men who start from England for a shooting trip may be excellent shots, good sportsmen, and fluent writers, but their narration of facts must be confined to a comparatively narrow area; they kill as many animals as possible within a certain interval of time, but they cannot have acquired sufficient knowledge of the natures of their game to enable them to write sporting works as valuable additions to literature.
The veteran hunter of wild animals must confess that he is always learning something new in his practical study of nature. It is a mistake to suppose that all animals of a certain class are the same in instinctive capacity: individuals possess their peculiar endowments precisely as human beings vary in intellectual power. We see daily the various degrees of intelligence as displayed among dogs; thus, when we consider the difficulty attendant upon the study of wild animals in their native pastures, we may at once agree that a limited experience must be of little value to the lover of natural history. The book we require as a standard authority must be the result of many years' practical study, and intimate association with the animals described. It is impossible that one man can have had experience sufficient to embrace all portions of the world, and the fault of many writers consists in their attempting too much. If an individual will confine his description to that particular branch of sport and natural history which he has carefully mastered, neglect all hearsay evidence, and relate only that which he has positively accomplished and personally witnessed, his book will be received as a welcome exception to the general rule. The work now before us, “Thirteen Years among the Wild