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JAMES BRYCE: BRITAIN'S ENVOY TO THE
BY W. T. STEAD.
WHEN Cecil Rhodes indulged in day dreams of things that might have been but for the fatal folly of the German George, that Milner of the eighteenth century, he used to say that if the unity of the Englishspeaking world had not been broken up, the federal parliament of the race would have met alternately five years at Washington and five years at London. That ideal may never be realized. But as a practical step toward the elimination of the mischief done by the jingoes of by-gone days, Britain has at last decided that her representative at Washington must no longer be a diplomatist,-that is to say, a man trained in representing his country at foreign courts. He must be a statesman of the first class, a man of cabinet rank, who realizes that America is not a foreign land, and who will represent at Washington the unity of the English-speaking race. That is the significance of the new departure which has been taken by the King in selecting James Bryce as his Ambassador to the United States. The Americans are not foreigners, but kinsmen, and this being the case, we are in future to deal with them not through the ordinary channels of ambassadors accustomed to deal with nations of different lineage and language, but through the intermediary of a cabinet minister and privy councillor.
A BRITON WHO KNOWS AND LOVES AMERICA.
proached the giant republic of the West as King Agag approached the Prophet Samuel, delicately."
America has had no truer friend in all the world than Mr. Bryce, and his friendship has never been tainted by the suspicion attaching to the protestations of some prancing imperialists, who have indulged in much foolish spread-eagle talk concerning an "AngloAmerican alliance." How sane, how statesmanlike was the rebuke which Mr. Bryce administered to those ignorant enthusiasts! Writing in War Against War, January 13, 1899, he said:
The sincerity of our friendship for America is discredited by the notion that it is support for ourselves we are seeking all the time,—a notion quite false, as regards Englishmen generally, though plausible enough as regards our jingoes. That cordial friendship with the United States which we all desire, and should all prize most highly, will be retarded, not promoted, by talk about a formal alliance.
The suggestion of such an alliance creates disquiet and suspicion abroad.
The establishment of permanently friendly relations with the United States will make for peace, not only between England and America, but also between England and the rest of the
His appointment is a declaration, not in word but in deed, that the British Government repudiates in the most emphatic manner possible the mad notion that there is any desire on our part to make an arrangement between the two Anglo-Saxon' nations to Anglo-Saxonize the world; or that our friendship with America is meant, not so much to secure peace between two nations, as to organize those two nations for war against all rivals."
AN IRISH HOME RULER.
To inaugurate such a new departure no better choice could possibly have been made than was made when Sir Henry CampbellBannerman selected Mr. Bryce as the successor of Sir Mortimer Durand. The appointment, once the new departure was decided upon, was universally recognized as obvious and inevitable. For Mr. Bryce has for 30 years been accepted by all Britons as It is a demonstration the significance of the best authority in England on the Ameri- which has been instantly recognized at Bercan commonwealth, and his book bearing lin, Paris, and St. Petersburg, in favor of inthat name has long since become a classic in ternational peace. But it is more than this. every American library. Mr. Bryce has been almost the only British author who has handled freely, fully, and faithfully the most delicate problems of American national life without giving offense. He has always ap
The one great permanent obstacle between a frank, friendly understanding between the empire and the republic has been the natural but deplorable animosity felt by the sons of the Irish exiles toward the state which to
the present Governor-General of Canada, founded the Imperial Federation League for the purpose of rousing the somewhat apathetic British public to the value of its imperial heritage. He has traveled in Canada, was made D.C.L. of Toronto University. He visited South Africa just before. the Jameson Raid, and in his book, “Impressions of South Africa," he did his utmost to awaken and enlighten the public at home as to the value of our South African dominions. He is now, as he was then, a firm believer in the immense importance of promoting a firm and sympathetic alliance between the free, self-governing nations which have sprung up under the shelter of the British flag. No Canadian need fear that this hardheaded, tenacious Scot will be indifferent to the interests of the Dominion, which he knows and loves so well.
them is the embodiment of foreign conquest. about colonies, Mr. Bryce was one of the Every British Ambassador hitherto appointed few men who, with the aid and support of to Washington has been regarded,—and naturally regarded by the Irish in America,-as the emissary of a hostile power. They grudged his successes, they thwarted his policy, and they would have regarded themselves as lacking in the true spirit of Irish patriotism if they did not do everything whenever, wherever, and however they could to counteract his efforts for the promotion of Anglo-American fraternity. We have every reason to hope that the appointment of Mr. Bryce will mark the end of this unhappy estrangement. Mr. Bryce is the first Home Rule Ambassador ever appointed by Great Britain as her representative in America. Mr. Bryce goes to the United States as the friend and supporter of Mr. Redmond and the Irish Nationalists. He is known by them to have been, in good repute and in ill, a stanch and true advocate of Home Rule. He is the son of an Irish mother, born in Ireland. He was one of the very few Gladstonians who, as far back as 1882, voted against the Coercion act; and one of his latest acts as Chief Secretary was to secure the removal from the statute book of the Peace Preservation act, which made it a penal offense to carry arms in Ireland. He will not merely represent the British cabinet; he will in a very real sense represent the National party, of whose aspirations for Home Rule he is an intrepid and enthusiastic supporter.
DEVOTED TO BRITAIN'S COLONIAL EMPIRE.
In some quarters misgivings have been expressed that Mr. Bryce was too good an American to be a sound imperialist, and here and there a Canadian has hinted a doubt whether Mr. Bryce might be quite as keen a believer in the future of the British colonial empire as in the destinies of the American republic. Such misgivings are easily to be explained. They are due to sheer ignorance and lack of acquaintance with the record of Mr. Bryce. It is true that he has not written a companion volume to "The American Commonwealth" on the Canadian Dominion. It is true also that he has written and spoken more about American than Canadian problems. But that was due to no lack of interest in Canada, or lack of faith in the brilliance of her destinies. Mr. Bryce, among all Liberal statesmen, has been the most pronounced in his devotion to our colonial empire. Long ago, before it became the fashion to be enthusiastic about empire or
AS SCHOLAR AND MAN OF LETTERS.
Mr. Bryce is not only admirably fitted to represent Britain at Washington by his politics; he is not less ideally fit because of his personality. It was little more than a year and a half ago that I had the good fortune to hear the present Prime Minister discuss the character and capacity of Mr. Bryce. Both men were then in opposition. I had gone to see C.-B." to tell him that within a year he would be in office with a majority of 250 at his back. After lunch we fell naturally to discussing the personnel of the future cabinet. In the course of our conversation Sir Henry remarked that he regarded Mr. Bryce as being "all round the most accomplished man in the House of Commons." Bryce,' said C.-B., "has been everywhere, he has read almost everything, and he knows everybody." There was at that time no thought of his appointment to Washington. C.-B. did not exaggerate. It is almost bewildering even to read the list of Mr. Bryce's academic honors. Since Lord Acton's death he is admittedly the most learned man in the House of Commons. As a man of letters his fame is world-wide. His history of "The Holy Roman Empire" has long been recognized as the classic text-book on the subject. It has gone through 20 editions in England and America, and is in constant demand. It is almost incredible that such a masterpiece of erudition and historical research should bave been produced by a young man of 24. Four years before he published his "Holy
Roman Empire" he had written a volume on "The Flora of the Island of Arran." When he was 28 he produced an official report on the condition of education in Lancashire. Ten years later he made his début as a traveler and mountaineer by publishing his book on "Transcaucasia and Ararat." It is doubtful whether any human foot had trodden some of the almost inaccessible peaks of Mount Ararat to which he made his way alone, for no guide would accompany him to those mysterious summits from which Noah was reported to have descended from the Ark.
When he was 32 he became Regius Professor of Civil Law at Oxford, a post which he held until 1893.
IN POLITICS: THE EASTERN QUESTION." It was his travels in the Ottoman Empire which first brought him into public notice as a politician. Until 1876 he had a great academic reputation, but by the masses he was hardly known. It was the Eastern Question" which brought him to the front. Familiar as a traveler with the actual condition of the various races which inhabit the Turkish Empire, he was able to realize immediately the significance and the immense possibilities of future development of the popular rising against the Turk which brought about the Bulgarian atrocities in the spring of 1876. 1876. When Mr. Gladstone sounded his clarion call to all worthy the name of Briton to rise in indignation against the Turkish alliance, which up to that time had been regarded as the sheet anchor of English policy in the East, Mr. Bryce was one of the first to rally to the side of the Liberal leader. He was full of knowledge, full of enthusiasm, and not less full of keen political sagacity. His speeches on the "Eastern Question" in the autumn of 1876 were among the most valuable and informative of all the innumerable platform utterances of that stormy time. When the great conference was held on the "Eastern Question" at St. James' Hall in the winter of that memorable year Mr. Gladstone was the chief speaker; but among the others who addressed that crowded and enthusiastic audience none was more appreciated than Mr. Bryce. Had the counsels of St. James' Hall been followed, and the British Government had loyally supported the program of reform drawn up by its own representative at Constantinople, Bulgaria would have been freed without the bloody and devastating war which the policy of Lord Beaconsfield forced
upon Russia. During that war the zeal of many grew cold. But Mr. Bryce remained faithful throughout. He was one of the pillars of strength to the humanitarian cause all through 1877. In 1878, when the Russian troops lay within a stone's throw of Constantinople, and all jingodom was howling for war, Mr. Bryce came down to Newcastleon-Tyne to speak at a great peace demonstration on Newcastle Town Moor. It was on the outskirts of the crowd, as I was standing on the muddy moor, that I first had the privilege of making the personal acquaintance of Mr. Bryce. Nearly 30 years have gone by since then, but amid all the vicissitudes of that eventful time that friendship stood firm. Mr. Bryce is no fair-weather friend either of persons or of causes. Stanch and loyal and true, he never struck his flag to the summons of a foe or betrayed the confidence of a friend.
IN PARLIAMENT FOR THE EAST END."
It was two years after that meeting on Newcastle Moor that Mr. Bryce first entered Parliament. He was returned for Tower Hamlets, a huge democratic section of North East London.
In those days Mr. Bryce was hardly an ideal candidate for an East End constituency. There was about him that air of the academy which he has never altogether shaken off. He lectured rather than spoke, and was a bit too much of the professor to be widely popular. But his earnestness, his bonhomie, his intellect commanded respect everywhere. In the House of Commons he was speedily recognized as a man who never spoke unless he had something to say. His professional manner was a little against him at first, but friends and foes soon found that he was a man to be reckoned with. It was Mr. Gladstone's Parliament, elected in the floodtide of the reaction against the cynical and materialistic policy of Lord Beaconsfield, but destined all too soon to find itself distracted by the ever-recurring storms of Irish discontent. It is significant of the independence and courage of the member for Tower Hamlets that he was one of a very small handful of members who in those early days voted and spoke against the Coercion bill which was introduced by Mr. Gladstone's government, and enthusiastically supported by the immense majority of both parties.
During his first Parliament Mr. Bryce devoted much attention to non-party questions. He labored night and day to secure the re