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inexhaustible residuum of prerogative, legalising every act deemed necessary for State ends, it would be hard to point to a clear judicial ruling since the Revolution to the same effect. For at least two centuries the current of decisions has run strongly against the idea of prerogative being able to modify or annul private rights. The emergencies of actual war the Courts know; the authority of the Crown to do all that military necessities demand is recognised. The right of one subject to destroy the property or take away the life of another subject in time of peace in pursuance of State policy is dubious. The very writers who defend ' pacific blockades' admit that they raise all sorts of questions, criminal and civil, private and international, to which no clear answer can be given; a proof that they are out of harmony with existing jurisprudence. With or without their abuses, they are a legal anomaly, what the Roman lawyers termed an inelegantia juris.
5. THE OUTLOOK
Whether this war will impair or improve international morality, one cannot foresee. But there are hopeful signs. The assurance by the United States Government that they will adhere to the four articles of the Declaration of Paris marks an enormous advance in international law. In the last few days it has become plain that the breaking strain of peace is greater than it was; that the burden of war falls heavier on neutrals, the assertion of strict belligerent rights becomes more intolerable. We are perhaps in sight of a time when war at sea will
non-combatants as much as does war on land. The fragmentary phrases of international law are being slowly formed into a coherent system. Some old rules, barbarous and useless for the paramount ends of war, are obviously falling into discredit and disuse. At all events the whole subject of maritime belligerent rights needs reconsideration in the light of the new conditions of commerce. At the close of war there could be no worthier subject of inquiry for a Royal Commission—appointed not to collect platitudes or register the foreknown opinions of its members—than the rights and duties of belligerents and neutrals.
THE GROWTH OF
THE WORLD'S ARMAMENTS
STATISTICS have been accused by no less an authority than Mr. Meredith of being emotional; and Canning's saying that they are only one degree less misleading than facts is well known. But taking the most sceptical view of their value, it must be confessed that they are the raw material for inductions, and that their emotional or misleading qualities reside rather in the character of the person who misuses them than in the figures themselves. It may therefore be interesting to examine the position of the great nations of Europe in the light of results tabulated for thirty years in the pages of our official statistical abstracts for Principal and other Foreign Countries' and of the dispassionate Statesman's Year Book, and to examine this position chiefly with reference to armaments and finance.
In a word, what I shall attempt to do is to cast the horoscope of the nations or to give material for that horoscope. Taking the class of exports denominated in our official returns 'special,' or of purely domestic manufacture, as the test of national wealth, I shall compare with the line which it traces through the years from 1868 to 1898, the ascending line of expenditure on armaments, the line which shows the increase or decrease of national debt, and the line which gives the progress of population. It must be confessed that special’exports are not a wholly satisfactory index to national wealth ; but figures for them are readily accessible in all cases, whereas if other and more satisfactory tests were taken—as, for example, taxable property-the results could only be given in fewer instances or over a shorter term of years, and would need innumerable adjustments. Even as it is there are grave difficulties and discrepancies in our official statistics. For instance, Parliamentary Paper C 6929 of 1890 gives the Russian special' exports for 1878 as 61,817,0001., whereas C 4272 of 1885 gives for the same in the same year 97,876,0001. Again, C 6929 of 1890 gives the United States ordinary'expenditure for 1889 as 50,000,0001. ; but C 8418 of 1897 gives it as 74,000,0001. Such differences and discrepancies are perhaps inevitable, and I have therefore, as far as possible, compared and verified my results. Still, even so, they can only be regarded as approximate, though small errors in one or two years will not invalidate the general conclusions to which they point.
| This seems to have escaped even the careful editors of the Statesman's Tear Book for 1898. As it may appear that this article was suggested by certain diagrams in that publication, I may mention that my diagrams and article were completed before the Year Book for 1898 was published. They have, however, been compared with the diagrams there given.
The great conclusion is that Europe is piling up its expenditure on armaments in an alarming manner to the sacrifice of sound finance. Taking figures for the Great Powers in 1868—or as near as I can get to that year—and 1896, the last year for which general returns are available, the following are the results :
In the English figures only our regular Army and Army Reserve are counted, as for other nations only trained men have been reckoned. The native Army in India, the Militia, Volunteers, and Colonial Forces, with the sums expended upon them, have not been included. With these our gross total of men is swollen to about a million. The increase in expenditure on armaments during the period has been about 78.6 per cent., whereas population in the six states enumerated has only risen by 44 per cent. Nor do the mere pounds, shillings, and pence adequately represent the increased strain, except in the case of England. The indirect tax of compulsory service, enforced in 1896 with the utmost stringency, must be weighed against the comparatively light conscription of 1868.
The diagram illustrating the progress of national debts will show how far the peoples have outrun the constable. France in particular has been spending wildly, though she is closely followed by Russia, and at no great distance by penniless Italy and Austria. The Russian debt is not so heavy as it appears, since the rouble has been converted to sterling at gold rate. To some extent, no doubt, particularly in the case of Russia, the increase is due to expenditure on public works, which will ultimately prove productive. But, like our Australian colonies, all the great continental Powers, excepting Germany, have spent lavishly on works which were not needed and which will never pay. France is especially a sinner in this respect. Since 1874 she has added 400,000,0001. to her debt, and is still adding. The end to this wasteful borrowing must come soon.
In view of the
Hittiti Italy m Austria
financial position of France and Russia, we cannot but contemplate with apprehension our assumption with them of a joint responsibility for the Greek loan. If they default, we are liable for the whole sum, and it looks as though it might well fall upon our shoulders. England and the United States alone have steadily reduced their debts, so that their financial position is one of strength.
Turning next to the figures for military expenditure, it will be seen that the maximum point has apparently been passed on the Continent, and the outlay is declining, whereas in England it is rising. This suggests what the events of the past two years have emphasised, that on the Continent a state of equilibrium is being
- Russia Germany
HII Italy w Austria Doubtful if outlay on new quick-firing artillery is included for France, Germany, Russia, and Austria.
slowly established, and that the hostility of the rival Powers has been attracted to England, as to a kind of lightning-conductor. The figures for the great military monarchies are very unreliable; we do not, for instance, know what Russia actually spends, perhaps not even the outlay of Germany. Both Powers have military chests on
3 It does not appeur, however, that the enormous sums which are being secretly spent in the construction of quick-firing field guns are included in the figures for 1898. France alone will need about 12,000,0001. for this purpose.
VOL. XLIII-No. 255