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The Meaning of 1919 in England
Manchester, England, December, 1919. A CROWDED year is coming to an end. At home and tbrotd great events have pressed hard on ea other! footsteps. But events are only the artll tnd isolated effects of certain general causes, jt th bubbkf and froth on the surface of a boil ing 1". As i': year closes, therefore, we look to discover the deeper significance which must somewhere underlie the WU I phenomena in industry, in politics and in society which mark the movement of the human mind. What are the forces, conscious and unconscious, that have . n moving our branch of society on this side of the water, what contending principles are working themsel Olrt in the confused phenomena of strikes and coi ses and treaties, and is it possible at the finish to disentangle from the melee any single tendency of tin M nt and say that it is working forward, slowly and w pain but still steadily, in the march of hu man progress? Th( art which we have played in foreign affairs, though it has fallen far short of what we hoped it would be, has yet its encouraging side. h- n the year opened we had hoped that the prin ciples foi which Mr. Wilson stood might be applied to the settlement in Europe and that a peace which gave to each country the right to develop freely and peace fully might be crowned by the embodiment in a League of Peoples of the idea of law rather than of violence, of mutual co-operation rather than of jealous rivalry. We hoped too much. These things have been done only in part. Yet it is not possible to deny, in spite of the defects of the Peace Treaty and the slowness of the League in coming to fruition, that a strong and growing senti ment in favor of peaceful co-operation among the peoples, of the extension of the reign of law as a means to liberty, does prevail among all who think seriouly about the future of the world. All the year through a fierce battle has been fought between those who hold this view and their opponents. On the surface its antagonists have had the victory, but the victory is far from being complete and the present abstention of the United States from participa tion in the Treaty and the League has come as a lettering shock to many who only a few months ago were talking complacently about the absence of neces sity for any League or for the assistance in its working of the United States. There is at bottom among people here a stirring of the principle that every nation should be given a fair chance to breathe and expand and develop itself on its own lines. As a rule it only stirs faintly, for after the war men are weary of foreign politics and the internecine conflict of which Europe seems to be chock: ! The members of a democracy find it hard to be intimate with foreign affairs. But the excep tional . ise of Russia showed that this principle is actively at work. British public opinion insisted that Russ ia -h . .n Id bo left alone to work out her own destinies and that the military fist should not be used to impose on her one set of opinions rather than another. A ( V of the whole year, therefore, is not with out loni encouragement. YU WE at all events the skeleton of the League, " tin public conscience, if it can only be roused to the expn of active support, is on its side, and we shall tintM to hope that the United States will eventi: y come in to take its proper place under either the pi nt or a better scheme, in the fight for ordered liberty and the substitution for violence of co-operation ui r terms of law. But then are general problems: England has for eign q tions of her own. She is an Empire, with Crow: Colonic great and small; with Protectorates like Eg pt; with vast Dependencies like India. The Population here in England has little time or inclina tion to bUSy jtsef wjtj1 the atc Q thcse fardistant count! wages and hours come much nearer home and occupy the public mind to the exclusion of most other subject. Nevertheless, in any organized democ racy an intelligent popular electorate, thinking in simple and '!HtCt terms, makes its influence felt on the little world of officials who rule the outer regions of the ampin What has been the record of the year? The ar has had its repercussion in the minds of the native gopies m the British Empire. Indians had fought for ?Jand y the hundred thousand, Egyptian Labor ishT Cr. 0110 of thc most valued parts of the Brit orce m the Palestine campaign. The world-wide rnin't worked in Egypt and in India. Grievances of wui kinds were added to it, grave disorders broke (at WtTC stern,v repressed; in one instance at least unart Tlar) there was a dreadful shooting down of turbat I,u,,ans whch has created the deepest per kn0 Z 1 5 ,Kn8,a"d now that the details of it are Were r . i f i rmprii uui ine iuii particulars India ? td not on,y in F-"Kland but apparently in situati, i ' then' is England handling this new PanntK1, should have been anticipated but ap- By W. P. CROZIER In Egypt the position has been sadly mishandled, so that the popular discontent is much sharper than it need have been. Lord Milner's commission is now in Egypt holding an inquiry which will certainly lead to concessions being made to the desire of the Egyptians for a larger share in the administration and govern ment of their own country. They should be both large and generous concessions. Once and for all, it is not possible to revert to the days before the war. The war has been fought and it has changed the outlook of native subject peoples toward the world, toward their view of their own capacity for self -government, and toward the conquerors who control and govern them. Our admission of their right to a greater share of freedom has been slow and grudging, but we are mak ing it. So far as the public opinion of England can be brought to bear on our governors we shall make it more freely. We are entitled to move warily because experience has shown that to transplant wholesale to the East thc democratic institutions which the Anglo Saxons have built up slowly and at great cost by the experiments of centuries is a dangerous and even fatal method. But the reforms about to be introduced into India, the concession of a large measure of local self government to Malta and, as wc arc confident, the fruits that will be born of the Milner commission, do enable us to descry some light in our imperial history of the year. Here, too, even though in a somewhat cool and lukewarm spirit, and making many blunders as we go on, we are for the extension of ordered liberty, for a fuller and freer life, among our colored fellow-subjects. So much the year shows, though we cannot claim more. If any one reproaches us with past offenses, with sins against the spirit to which ostensibly we pay hom age in Egypt and India, with slowness to investigate, realize and redress the grievances of our native wards, we surely must plead guilty. We can only claim to be on thc right track, that as a democracy we arc sound at heart, if too much wrapped up in our private concerns, but we have enormous leeway to make up and we are slow, like most democracies, to frame our will consciously and impose it on our rulers. In all foreign and imperial affairs, a democracy has much greater difficulty in asserting itself over the minority who bear rule than in the sphere of its own domestic interests. But what of the domestic scene? What is the unity, if any, that underlies the industrial unrest that has manifested itself throughout the year in various forms ? Some of them have been strictly constitutional, like thc miners' agitation ; others have been in essence revolutionary, like the police strike, or like the railway strike, have been a great trial of strength between the community as a whole and a section of its members. The great majority of these industrial disputes have been concerned with wages, hours and conditions of work, because it is the first and most urgent need of Labor to secure the means of a fair and decent liveli hood. Great advances have been made in the shortening of hours and the increase of wages and as a result the latter part of the year, since thc railway strike, has been much quieter. But with the satisfaction of these initial demands others of a more far-reaching character have come rapidly to the front. The cry is now for a measure of control in industry, for the limitation or abolition of private profit, for the nationalization of the great na tional services. And unquestionably, a measure of control, which will prove to be an increasing measure, is about to be granted. With the Transport Act in operation on January 1. 1920, there is to be direct rep resentatives of Labor on the Board which will manage the British railways. With regard to the mines, Mr. Justice Sankey's report recommended that the men should have representation on the Boards which would manage the industry and as for profits, even the Puck ham minority report, which is of a much more con servative character than that of Mr. Justice Sankey, declared that private profits must be severely limited. THE unity which we set out to seek can readily be found here. There are differences of method but we have been moving, with a quickened social sense, to ward a fuller and more generous life for the' in dividual working man. toward a clearer recognition of his right not only to have his elementary needs satis fied, with a decent margin in addition, but to have a voice in the condition of the management of the work which he does and, at least in the case of the great national services, toward the principle that he cannot be worked permanently for unlimited private profit. (The scheme adopted by Mr. George's Government un der which workmen are to be on the directorates but nevertheless private profits are to remain unrestricted, is impracticable.) This new impulse toward a more genuine and gen erous self-expression, toward its realization for one's self and for others, is the meaning of the events of 1919. The war has awakened new springs of feeling and emotion, quickened ideals, aroused just discontents. It is seen in its purest form in the fresh impulse given to art and literature. But the impulse extends also to thc social structure. The workingman is no longer contented to be the "hand" of the employer. He is not contented even merely to better his material condi tions. Pie aims now not only at bread and butter but at authority and, as he thinks, a juster relationship be tween man and man. He has acquired a new idea of his stature among his fellows and would express him self accordingly. And that, in brief, is the secret of all that has been going on, both in England and in her imperial domains, throughout the year. The method frequently has been wrong, actual or threatened violence has been used as a short cut. But the unity is there behind the scattered phenomena. The movement of the human mind begotten of the war, as we see it here, is toward the greater dignity and glory of man among his fellows, his right to equal treat ment, to freedom and the just expansion of his per sonality. In the foreign field we suffer from the im perfections of a democracy, especially of an insular and ignorant democracy, which is too much in the hands of the caste that is least of all affected by the quickening power of the war. The general apathy and indifference toward Ireland are impossible to justify and difficult to defend. But movement there is toward better things and it is only in its beginning. Nineteen hundred and nineteen has but led the way. Another Call for Our Millions Rovernm is made. A measure of self utious ,,S aboUt to bc 8rantc to India. It is mc so ?i c.onscrvative, certainly, but perhaps not is the 13,1 !t ount to considering how minute iterate "portlon oi the Indian population which is lc Or ha a, ..j a ,. , .... - - uuucrsianoing ot political torms. Kr C) Krytnt SIR GEORGE PAISH AMERICA'S participation in thc war has been con ductive to one sure thing, which in turn has fur nished considerable difficulties. It is Europe's full fledged belief that wc have nothing to do except to dip into the coffers of the nation and supply unlimited bunches of money for use in the rehabilitation of the various countries that have become, for the present practical purposes, hard pressed to say the least. First one country, then another besieges either our treasury or our financiers for great sums of money. En the meantime, the budget of this nation leaps into the billions, counting the great sums that must be paid to our people as interest on the war loans to which they subscribed. Further to cause an irritating con dition we learn that it has been agreed that the Ann r ican Government will withhold tor at least three years its just demand for interest on the billion lent by this country to thc Allies during our participation in the war. Then, again, perhaps in the same paper, comes a dispatch from the particular European nations interest ed, stating that many millions of dollars, or their equiv alent, are being spent by that nation in girding anew for further battle. The millions of dollars interest due the American people which could be used to reduce our war indebtedness is being spent by European coun tries to make ready for new wars. Altogether a try ing situation, is it not ? Especially with such credits in a large measure being directly responsible for the prevailing high prices of necessities in this country. The latest arrival, it is announced, is Sir George Paish, thc British financial expert, who came here seeking a big loan. He states that America must lend England money, as she buys here extensively, reselling practically to all Europe.