Slike stranica


borough. Marlborough is so incomparably the greatest name of his day, outshining even such meteoric brilliancies as Peterborough and Bolingbroke, that the history of the reign of Anne generally means little more than the history of his campaigns. It is not at this distance of time a very important question whether or not the Allies should have made peace in 1710; it is a more important question whether it was good policy in 1713, as it was in 1815, to respect the frontiers of France and not punish her lust of territory by removing the Germanspeaking populations from her rule. But such considerations did not enter into the politics of the early eighteenth century. The Peace of Utrecht was on the whole 'a good settlement, and stood the test of time better than most diplomatic edifices.'* A good settlement is one that clears the cause of war and makes a conclusion in harmony with existing facts. In this instance we may be said to have gone to war to prevent Philip V. from being King of Spain; and after ruining his grand ally we left him in possession of Spain. But the real cause of the war was to humble Lewis XIV., and it succeeded. As for the general character of the peace, it marks the end of a period of European 'history in which wars and treaties of peace professed to be 'made in defence of some principle or common interest, and the beginning of a period in which self-interest is the only ' principle.' † The secret history of the negotiations is not much to the credit of the Tory managers. Mr. Trevelyan thinks that we were justified in making terms with France independently of our allies. We do not dispute it as a necessity, though it had an ugly look of desertion; and we cannot but suspect Bolingbroke of having the Pretender in his eye when he made things easy for Lewis XIV. Our treatment of the Dutch was not chivalrous; they had borne more than their share of the war. But William III.'s memory was not loved by the men who made the peace. The independence of Holland was saved, but the country was exhausted by war, and the decline of its prosperity began from this point. No one pretends that we were right in betraying the Catalans. As usual, we extended our opportunities of trade, and with that our empire, and our prospective empire. The cession of North American lands, the outworks of Canada,' ‡ laid the foundation of our Western empire and of wars with France to maintain and extend it half a century later. We acquired a strong


* P. 508.

[ocr errors]

† See Gardiner, 'Student's History of England,' p. 697.
+ P. 511.

[ocr errors]

position in the Mediterranean; we struck a blow at the Spanish power by the Assiento, which gave us the monopoly of the slave trade. England now 'stands out for the first time as the supreme maritime and commercial power in the world,' says Seeley; and he adds the comment, Taken together, the 'whole successful development which culminated at Utrecht 'secularised and materialised the English people as nothing 'had ever done before.' We should have liked to hear Mr. Trevelyan on this text.

Mr. Trevelyan's conclusion of the whole matter is the rational opinion, which is none the worse for being a Whig opinion, that in spite of the Stuarts, and in a reactionary age, England became more self-governing and less bigoted, and obtained more and more freedom of action, speech, and writing.

'Never perhaps in any century have such rapid advances been made towards freedom. Whether in the sweat and anguish of that great battle and victory the English lost certain finer spiritual qualities, whether the Whigs were inferior to the Puritans and the Tories to the Cavaliers, whether the value of life was greater among the contemporaries of Shakespeare than among those of Swift, it is profitable to inquire, provided we do not expect a final answer.'

[ocr errors]

The use of historical inquiry is not only to ascertain facts or to chronicle evolution, nor even to learn philosophy by examples, as the Puritans and Cavaliers read the Bible to put its 'lessons' in practice; it is also a search after ideals, and an exercise of imagination and sympathy. By contemplating the famous sages and poets, heroes and martyrs of each con'quering or conquered cause, we gain knowledge and love of the other inhabitants of the past.' Biography, and the study of institutions and social movements throw light upon each other; we understand our own times and the action of our contemporaries the better by comparing them with those that have gone before. Little is revealed to us of the present and less of the past; and we must accept limitations, both of information and intelligence: we must be content to know little, and to know it ill; or else why write history?

* Expansion of England, p. 137.


1. Garden City in the Making. Hitchin: . Garden City Press, Limited. 1905.

2. Garden City and Agriculture. Garden City Press, Limited. 1905.

3. The Example of Germany. By T. C. HORSFALL. Manchester: Sherratt and Hughes. 1904.


HERE is no doubt that among the most important social questions of the day is the wise direction of the growth of towns. The population of England is to a very large extent a town population; and it seems improbable that any reform of land laws, or of taxation, will materially alter the distribution of the population. It may be true that artificial causes have aided in driving the farmer and the agricultural labourer to towns; but it is equally true that natural and economic causes have had a good deal to say to the movement. The attack on the common field system in the time of the Tudors largely diminished the agricultural population, and put bitterness in the heart of the labourer. The law of entail and the practice of tying up estates by means of family settlements have conduced to keep land in a few hands and often to retard its full industrial development. The fact that the possession of land confers social distinction and the consequent raising of the market against the small cultivator; the rage for game preserving and the resulting desire to keep down the population; above all, the wholesale inclosure of common land which went on during the whole of the eighteenth and half the nineteenth century-all these agencies have combined to drive the peasant, who might otherwise have been a small farmer, into town. But after all there are underlying causes. Even the agrarian revolution of the Tudors would not have taken place had not the market for wool been much better than the market for corn. Land would not be acquired for mere amusement or for social aggrandisement if wealth could be as readily acquired by its cultivation as by mining, trade, or commerce. It is because the means

of buying land is supplied by other and more lucrative occupations than that of tilling it, and because land has a value for residence, for amusement, and for many purposes other than the production of food, that the value of land does not depend wholly or even mainly on its utility as an instrument of production. In short, it is because England is a great commercial and industrial country, with valuable mines, facilities for manufacture,



a long littoral, an abundance of safe ports and roadsteads, and many navies on the high seas, that the population of England naturally gravitates to centres where the operations of commerce and manufacture can be best carried on. By all means let every sound and fair method be adopted to woo the labourer back to the soil. But we do not believe that, when all is done, England will ever see a large cultivating population such as that which excites the admiration of Englishmen in many countries of the Continent. Climate is not an unimportant consideration; and England has been blessed with a singularly temperate climate, admirable for health and hard work, but also with a singularly capricious climate, maddening to the man who depends for his livelihood on the produce of his fields.

Whether these speculations be sound or not, it is clear that the present distribution of population in England is regulated mainly by considerations other than that of agriculture. People collect where trade and commerce flourish, and from these centres they spread out again over the adjoining country. Thus the town population is always increasing; but it does not increase merely in density; it is continually extending over a larger area, much of which it occupies but sparsely. In the twenty years from 1881 to 1901, 244 urban districts were created. But these 244 urban districts are not small areas thickly populated, but large districts comprising perhaps a small town, or a couple of villages, and a surrounding country dotted over with cottages, villas, and mansions. Again, every large city peoples the country for miles around it. The more important the city becomes the more valuable is land in the heart of the city for purposes of business and the less desirable for purposes of residence; the more anxious, therefore, are its merchants and traders to plant their houses on its outskirts. London gives the best illustration of what is meant, because in London everything is exaggerated, and therefore easier to observe. What is happening in London we all know, though we do not always fully realise its import. The ten Metropolitan Boroughs which the Registrar-General treats as the central area of London have been steadily decreasing in population during the last thirty years, while boroughs on the edge of the County have been rapidly filling up. The County of London as a whole, stretching from Woolwich to Putney, and from Hampstead to Penge, increased during the last inter-censal period by only 7.3 per cent., while the rate of increase for the country at large was 12.2 per cent. But it would be a mistake to assume from these figures that there is any abatement in the growth of London as a great business centre. The most conclusive

evidence on this point is furnished by the statistics of the rateable value of property in the metropolis.* In the forty-four years which have passed since 1861, the rateable value of the City (the night population of which has fallen during the same period from 112,000 to less than 27,000) has increased from 1,332,000l. to 5,107,000l., and the rateable value of the whole Administrative County (including the City) from 12,460,000l. to 41,657,000l.† The men and women whose activities give rise to this enormous aggregation of property live largely outside the County. Between 1891 and 1901 the outer ring of Greater London—the vast area which may be roughly described by a radius of fifteen miles round Charing Cross-very nearly doubled its population; during the two preceding decades it actually accomplished that feat. And the slight falling off in the rate of increase of this outer ring is due to the fact that the resident population of London goes still farther afield. Outside Greater London there was a large increase. Surrey is perhaps the most popular suburban county as a place of residence; the rural parts of Surrey omitting boroughs like Croydon and Kingston and all urban districts-increased by 20 per cent. between 1891 and 1901. Figures but confirm what one sees. Such places as Redhill and Reigate, Oxted and Limpsfield, Henley and Maidenhead, Haslemere-places where there are wide commons or beautiful hill-sides, or which look upon the quiet waters of the Thames, and which also have a train service-grow rapidly as suburbs of London, though they are twenty, thirty, even forty miles from town. Electric tramways and motor-cars will quicken the movement, for they will make possible for residence places at a distance from a railway station, hitherto practically prohibitive.

Obviously therefore no question can more vitally affect the inhabitants of England than that of the manner in which its towns are to spread and its suburbs to grow. England, despite its natural tendency to produce towns, can hardly be said to have a genius for producing handsome, or even convenient, towns. As regards man's part in the result, and allowing for the modest scale on which nature for the most part works in England, our rural districts are probably more beautiful than those of any other country. The gentle undulations, the luxuriant trees-allowed to grow naturally and not trimmed into maypoles after the fashion of our French neighboursthe abundant hedgerows, the frequent copses, the winding

*See Report of London Traffic Commission, p. 5.
† Odd hundreds are omitted.

« PrethodnaNastavi »