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MUSINGS WITHOUT METHOD.
THE BRITISH EMPIRE EXHIBITION-ITS VARIETY- WHAT IT MEANS
THE British Empire Exhibi- world to Paris ; and if you tion is, as it should be, vast. thus compare it you must Like the British Empire itself, admit that it is deficient in it covers a large space. The taste. Now the French are curious citizen who visits it eminent in taste. Beyond all may pass from the tropics to others, they possess the tact the pole in a brief afternoon. of arrangement. Of the disFrom Canada to Nigeria is a cordant elements which made long journey, and at Wembley up their Exhibition they we may catch sight of them both evolved a beautiful and coin an easy saunter. If these herent whole. Though in the weary you, you may seek amuse- famous Street of Nations an ment in a Maori hut or wonder English manor - house jostled at the beauty of a Burmese a poor copy of Milan Cathedral, temple. And, wherever you though a Hungarian stronghold turn, you may feel a legitimate stood side by side with pride in the many diversities of castle in Spain, the genius of race and custom. The right of France gave to all these strange citizenship was never shared things a surprising unity. The by so many differing people, spectator could not but feel differing in creed and fancy, that each of them had its
, in skill and ambition, since the proper place in an immense world began.
design. It is the defect of Your pride in the Exhibition Wembley that, as you find your is perhaps less than your pride way from pavilion to pavilion, in the Empire which it sym- it seems as though its makers bolises. Many of the pavilions were content to discover a in which are gathered the large empty space and drop spoils of the Dominions are down the pavilions within not without an architectural it, as whim or fancy took interest. The Exhibition fails them. There has been in arrangement. It is impos- attempt to compose a whole sible, as you wander along its and single work; no sacrifice dusty highways, not to com- is made to the art of arrangepare it with the Exhibition ment; and the visitor must which in 1900 brought all the get what satisfaction he may
from contemplating the multi- done than a finished design. On farious life and industry of our the other hand, the Queen's Empire.
Doll's House, a masterpiece in Multifarious, indeed, is the little, illustrates perfectly the life, tireless is the industry of arts of an elegant life as it our dominions. It is as though is lived in the twentieth a panorama were unfolded be- century, and will remain for fore your eyes of man in every ever in the minds of most as stage of his progress from the clou of a great exhibition. savagery to civilisation. The And since, rightly enough, nearer he remains to savagery, an exhibition should in one the more deeply interesting does aspect suggest a country fair, he seem to-day. The savage is the Amusements Park has been master of himself and of the contrived for those who take simple means of life. He has their pleasures violently. There not yet become the slave of you are permitted, on payment, machinery. You observe him to “ enjoy " all those sensasadly in his later stages, tions which in life you are at when he bows the knee to the the greatest pains to avoid. twin gods of petrol and elec- For sixpence you may ride tricity, when he devotes him- upon the “witching waves," self to the saving of the time and endure, modestly, the pain which, when he has saved it, of sea-sickness. For the same he knows not how to employ. sum you may do your best to But at Wembley, at any rate, drive a motor-car, with the there is that which should full assurance that a collision please all the tastes. There is inevitable, or you may be is East Africa for the simple- shot through the air on the minded. There is the Hall of end of a rope. In brief, there is Machinery for the gloomy lover no end to the discomfort which of speed and progress. Above may be yours for a small fee, and all, there is a palace of the the zeal or the heroism of the Arts, to remind you that man people seems inexhaustible. does not live by bread or by When you have seen what machinery alone. Here, too, is to be seen, and have wonWembley suffers if we remember dered at the industry and rethe Paris of 1900. Although on source of the Dominions, you the walls of the picture gallery cannot but ask yourselves what hang many masterpieces, al- it means. Is this vast Exhibithough we carried away an tion a beginning or an end ! ineffaceable memory of a por- Is it a hymn of triumph or a trait by Gainsborough, the col- funeral knell Do those who lection seems to have been visit Wembley sincerely think made at haphazard. So the dis- with pride of the Dominions, play of furniture, as it was made or do they go thither merely at various epochs, is rather a agape to look upon some strange sketch of what might have been thing? One thing is clear to
those who have eyes to see- gesture,” for that is what that, despite some shortcom- they call it in their detestable ings, the British Empire Ex- jargon, and trade with the hibition is such as no other Dominions, which still look to country could rival, and which Great Britain as their home, no other age could have sur- and which fought with us in passed. Here is gathered to- the war, is a thing to be disgether everything that the Brit- couraged. And so it is that ish Empire could want or need in the year of the Exhibition,
corn and oil, the fruits of the the policy of Colonial Preferearth, timber in abundance ence is frowned upon by men and of every kind, gold and quickened by no imagination silver, and jewels. If only and inspired by keen we and the Dominions held hatred of the Empire. The together, we might flourish in- overtures which the Dodependently of the rest of the minions have made to us are world. And then the poli- flouted or ignored, and it is ticians intervene to spoil a not the fault of the Socialist marvellous dream.
What are Government that the ties of the Colonies to the demagogues Empire are not permanently who now pretend to rule us ? weakened. A mere hindrance to the main Again, when Australia and object of their lives, which is New Zealand begged that Singato gather votes. The poor pore be made into a naval base, deluded electors, who have been Mr MacDonald
Mr MacDonald preferred to taught that patriotism is a show a foolishly magnanimous vice, that it is a better thing to front to those who are not of flatter their enemies than to our kin, and who will interpret help their friends, look ask- his attitude as a proof of weakance at the other Britons over- ness rather than to acquiesce in sea. They hear daily in their the wise and loudly expressed conventicles, where the pure desire of the Dominions. He gospel of Socialism is preached, finds it easy to snub a friend, that it is the chief object of easier still to surrender to a our Ministers to encourage potential enemy. And though trade with Bolshevik Russia. he has done us incalculable It matters not to Mr Ramsay harm, he has not succeeded in MacDonald and his friends achieving the main ambition that, even before the Bol- of his life. While the Dominions sheviks accepted murder have been put firmly in their and arson and torture as a place, trade with Russia is as settled policy, our trade with far off as ever. But the Socialall the Russias was less than ists may still go down to their our trade with New Zealand. gallant electors and tell them To the Socialists trade with their tinned salmon will not those whom Lenin's cruelty cost them more. In truth, has spared is a magnificent so long as the housewives of
England who enjoy the suffrage So he wrote to Sir George may buy their potted food Peckham, and added, “I pray cheap and save themselves the you solicit my brother Ralegh trouble of learning how to to make them an example of cook, they will proclaim aloud all knaves.' Nor was he disand with an easy conscience appointed at what he found. that all is well with the Empire. “Be of good cheer,” said he,
Yet, if only the country "for if there were no better could forget for a moment the expectation, it were a very cry of cheap food, and use what rich domain, the country being imagination is left it, it might very good and full of all sorts reflect upon what the growth of victual.” On the 5th of and prosperity of our Dominions August he entered St John's has meant to it in the past. in the right of the Crown of Our history contains no more England, and there“ engraved glorious episode than our con- the Arms of England, divers quest of the new worlds over- Spaniards, Portugals, and other
Think of the enterprise, strangers witnessing the scene.” the skill, and the courage that Thus he “ comforted himself went to the building up of our that all was answerable to his earliest colonies ! Thither we hopes, and a few weeks later was sent the best that we had. lost in a storm off the Azores. They were no ne'er-do-wells that But he had done his work, and went across the seas to seek Newfoundland, where he had their fortunes, no idlers out of engraven the Arms of England, a job, but the best citizens has remained under our rule that we could boast. Driven ever since. from their native land by the Wherever they went the Eng. spirit of adventure, the pioneers lish were undaunted. The early fought a double fight against history of Virginia is the histhe craft of savages and the tory of obstacles overcome and pitiless forces of nature. They of failure turned to success. endured heat and cold and hun- When Ralegh, in 1602, deger gladly, if only they might clared establish English colonies in the to see it
to see it an English nation,” new world. Such a hero was Sir he was justified of his hopeHumphrey Gilbert, who took fulness, although when his pro“ formal possession of New- phecy came true, his charter foundland to the Crown of bad reverted to the England in 1583, and who fell and he lost his profit. What a martyr to his own discovery, mattered that to him? If as Purchas tells us. He de- neither he nor his friends departed on the 11th June from spised gold, the search for it Plymouth with five sails, and was not the cause of their on the 13th “the Bark Ralegh adventure, and they were willran from him in fair and clearing to spend all that they had weather, having a large wind.” in the making of "an English
ce he would yet live
nation." They were gentle- that may be measured in the men and scholars as well as many handsome pavilions, was adventurers, and it is char- begun in the days of Queen acteristic of himself and of Elizabeth, and has been seduthem that Humphrey Gilbert lously continued unto the went down “sitting a baft with present day. That it is looked a book in his hand, and telling coldly on by the Socialist Govhis men to be of good cheer, ernment is not surprising. Our since we are as near to heaven Ministers are not gifted with by sea
as by land.' Nor seeing eyes. They despise all did those who followed the who do not belong to the "propioneers to the New World letariat.” They hate leadership have less need of courage and in the true sense-leadership endurance than their predeces- which does not depend upon sors. They have had to wrest the promise of cheaper food, a living from a hard and virgin higher wages, and shorter hours soil. It has been their fate to —with unceasing bitterness. live in the back-blocks, far What are Sir Humphrey Gilfrom the pleasures of city life, bert and Sir Walter Ralegh and to bear as best they might to them? Mr Ramsay Macthe misery of solitude. And Donald has been in office some they have succeeded, because six months, and there is not they found their reward in the a Dominion Overseas that is achievement itself. Money has not restive under his rule. not been their first thought. He despises Imperial Preference They have not lived in an age as heartily as he despises the of dole and dope. They have security which Singapore might got the better of the heat and have given us and our Dothe cold, the hard toil and the minions. The smallest trade loneliness, which are insepar- union in the land which has able from their life of adven- the power of striking is of far ture, because they have re- greater import to him than membered always their native the Imperial tradition which land and the claim that it has carries us back more than three upon them to go forth and centuries. Perish the Doconquer. In other words, they minions," he and his friends have been idealists, to whom might say, "so long as we the gross materialism of “two keep organised labour properly bob a day extra,” assiduously at heel.” And when the danger preached by the Socialists, has can no longer be concealed, appeared mere blasphemy. then, says he, “the time has
It is of them, then, that we come when we have to conshould think; it is to them sider what machinery is rethat we should give gratitude, quired to create the existence when we visit the Exhibition of a united Imperial policy, at Wembley. The marvellous particularly as regards foreign work that has been done, and affairs." Of what profit is