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Minto of singular charm and grace of diction. As the mood takes him, he sets down the thoughts that are passing through his mind, details the hopes and fears of the political arena, searches the dangers of his road, philosophises over the lassitudes of great place, comments upon the chance and curious incidents of the passing day. Did ever viceroy have so human, so pleasing an assurance of sympathy in the place where he must most desire to find it? Between them the two men guided India from the close of one epoch to the dawn of another -from tutelage towards self-determination. Not a little, perhaps, in their common success was due to the singular genius for friendship disclosed by the Indian Secretary.
When India was done with, two historic episodes still remained for the old political warrior before the inexorable hour arrived when the bow must be fastened to the wall and the sword left to rust in the scabbard. About the Curragh incident, indeed, he tells us nothing, though that obscure affair will some day need all the light that can be thrown from different quarters if it is to occupy its true place in history. About the constitutional crisis which attended the passage of the Parliament Act he is more communicative. It fell to him, as acting Leader of the House of Lords, to make the announcement of the King's pledge; and the description of the part he played on that dramatic occasion is not unworthy of a historian. The features of the Bill, indeed, made his championship of it a matter of singular propriety; for they combined the substance of a constitutional change with the preservation of an ancient institution. The Radical in him welcomed the passage of power from the peers; the historian in him rejoiced-or, so we may guess at the safety of all the forms and fashions of the historic House, of which he had himself, by the irony of circumstance, become a notable ornament.
Thus, then, the story is told out in the fading light of a very wintry world. And if the sun seems going down in a heaven thick with clouds, it is not that the career has not been brilliant, the performance successful beyond the common, but that Rationalism and all the creeds or half-creeds that take their root there have failed to read just so much of the riddle of the universe as, once
human nature is unbound, can make this earth of ours appear in the cold light of reason other than some city of dreadful night. We watch the old student of Lucretius stoically collecting some threads from the gorgeous palls that men have spread over death, and weaving them afresh into an Easter digression' most strangely named. But it is all to no purpose. The confession has already slipped out:
'I have often myself said, though I am commonly a man of good though pretty serious spirits, that "low spirits" are what we call the mood in which we see things as they are. I know that d'Alembert has somewhere said something of the same sort. Lo! here is Byron:
Of melancholy is a fearful gift;
What is it but the telescope of truth
οὐ μὲν γάρ τί πού ἐστιν οἰζυρώτερον ἀνδρὸς
And again :
ἡδέα μὲν γάρ σου τὰ φύσει καλά, γαῖα, θάλασσα,
τἄλλα δὲ πάντα φόβοι τε καὶ ἄλγεα κἤν τι πάθη τις
ἐσθλόν, ἀμοιβαίην ἐκδέχεται Νέμεσιν.†
Before such solemn melancholy in a world become too grim for philosophies, too grey for tears, we can only pass and sigh. Acton, as his editors remind us, had, out of the volume of his vast knowledge of human life and thought, introduced into his inaugural address at Cambridge a digression more nearly reminiscent of
* No more piteous breed than man, 'midst all the things that breathe and creep on the earth.
+ Sweet before all else are things fair to thee by nature, earth, sea, stars, orbs of moon and sun; all else is but fears and griefs; and even if there should come some good gift to one, Nemesis follows to balance.
Easter. The action of Christ,' he told his hearers, 'Who has risen on the world which He redeemed, fails not but increases.'
It remains to say a word as to the craftsmanship of the two books. Lord Acton's style, like so much else in his life and work, was, as we say, just manqué; character was there but not finish. Only once, perhaps, did he write a really perfect thing-the fragment of selfportraiture, to which reference has been made. The correspondence, now published, follows, however, the general rule, and derives its merit from its content and not its form. The editorial work is of course competent and painstaking, but also rather stiff and unimaginative. To arrange letters under subject-headings-ecclesiastical, general and so forth-is to miss the vital point that letters are human documents and, like the personalities of which they are the expression, follow a chronological and not a logical rule. One piece of carelessness is hardly excusable in a theologian of Dr Figgis's eminence. 'Infallible' is not a synonym for 'impeccable'; and to say that Acton had no more faith in the infallibility of Councils than in that of Popes' is either to accuse him of gross hypocrisy or else to convict oneself of dangerous
Of Lord Morley's execution it is almost impertinent to speak. His style, a little mellowed by time, still holds the field for ease and charm and strength against all living competition. It is largely reminiscent of the Oriel school which, seeking, as he tells us he sought himself, just correctness,' achieved a miracle of dignity and grace. If in the age which is being born we are likely to see no more of this kind of writing, we should be the more grateful for a leave-taking so splendid, so worthy of a great tradition, a great epoch, and a great master in letters.
Art. 18.-MODERN DIPLOMACY.
1. A History of Diplomacy in the International Development of Europe. By D. J. Hill. Three vols. Longmans, 1905-1914.
2. A Guide to Diplomatic Practice. By Sir Ernest Satow, G.C.M.G. Two vols. Longmans, 1917.
3. Termination of War and Treaties of Peace. By Coleman Phillipson, LL.D. Fisher Unwin, 1917.
4. Three Centuries of Treaties of Peace and their Teaching. By Sir Walter G. F. Phillimore. Murray, 1917.
5. Three Peace Congresses of the Nineteenth Century. By C. D. Hazen, W. R. Thayer, R. H. Lord; and Claimants to Constantinople. By A. C. Coolidge. Harvard Univ. Press; Milford, 1917.
THE days in which we live are, in more than one sense, critical. It is a testing time for nations, for individuals, for established institutions, and not least for preconceived ideas. Great traditions, great achievements, even great and acknowledged services will avail little to mitigate the severity of the judgment, except in so far as these things afford a presumption of high efficiency in the present, and of definite promise for the future.
In this general scrutiny the methods and machinery of Diplomacy cannot hope to escape. There is a general disposition to affirm, and in some quarters to believe, that 'Diplomacy,' as hitherto practised and understood, is largely responsible for the great tragedy which for three years or more has filled the world-stage. Whether that grave charge can or cannot be substantiated is a question which need not for the moment be discussed. Other critics, more reflective and better trained, push the responsibility one stage further back. They attribute the present catastrophe less to the conduct of international affairs than to the fact that affairs should be international. The ultimate genesis of the world conflict of to-day is sought, and by some enquirers is found, in the relatively recent development of the existing European polity—a polity based upon the recognition of the rights of a large number of nation-states, entirely independent and nominally coequal. The two attributions, as will be seen presently, are not really so wide apart. Both may be regarded as slightly academic.
There is, however, another point of more immediate and practical significance. It is safe to assume that the present war and the peace by which it is concluded will mark an exceedingly important epoch in the history of diplomacy. The young democracies, and the more advanced parties in the older democracies, obviously will not be content to leave the ordering of international relations to the high-priests of the diplomatic mysteries. They are determined to control foreign no less than domestic policy. Whether such control is likely to conduce to the maintenance of peace, is a question on which there may legitimately be a difference of opinion. One thing, however, is certain: the leaders of the New Democracy are not likely to be deterred from the attempt by any diffidence as to their competence for the task they essay. It is not denied that they may in the future make mistakes, but in their opinion those mistakes are likely to be fewer, more venial and less disastrous in their consequences, than the blunders perpetrated in the past by trained diplomatists, by crowned heads, and by uncrowned capitalists. Whatever may be thought of these confident anticipations, and of the implied criticism of the existing system, there can be little doubt that an attempt will, in the near future, be made to 'democratise' foreign policy, to devise new machinery for the control of the Chancelleries, and to transfer to elected assemblies, or to committees selected from and immediately responsible to them, functions which have hitherto been deemed to belong to the executive rather than to the legislative side of government. If, however, the attempt is not to issue in disaster, swift and irretrievable, there is one condition precedent, the importance of which will not by any reasonable person be denied: those who essay the task of controlling foreign policy must equip themselves by patient and assiduous study both of the science of Politics and of the art of Diplomacy. It may, indeed, be objected that it is superfluous to acquire the rules of the game, since the new diplomatists do not mean to play the same game or to play it according to the old rules. But they cannot avoid the pitfalls unless they know their location, nor amend rules which they have not mastered. The new school of diplomacy should, therefore, be not less grateful than the old for the initiation of a series of