Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

1895 there were three and a quarter millions of holdings of under three acres, 71 per cent of the land was owned by agriculturists who cultivated more than 25 acres. The great majority of the holdings are freehold, including as many as 90 per cent of the medium-sized farms.

Here again we find that in Central and Western Germany, where farming is in the hands of a large number of medium and small owners, the principle of

agricultural industry under into the details of tenure of Protection has been remark- land: he shows that while in able. While in this country, under Free Trade, millions of acres that formerly produced food crops have been turned into grass land, the reverse is the case in Germany. About 33 per cent of the grass lands of Germany were brought under the plough in the years between 1883 and 1900-and the production of corn, green crops, and garden produce has correspondingly increased. Yet, while in England the live stock has only increased by some ten per cent, Germany shows an increase between 1883 and 1907 of 800,000 horses (over 20 per cent), five million head of cattle (about 33 per cent), and thirteen million pigs (nearly 150 per cent). In sheep alone has Germany fallen off by twelve millions (a decrease of about 70 per cent), owing to the fact that it is found more profitable to keep cattle and pigs. The value of the increase in pigs is double the value of the sheep that have been withdrawn. At the same time the produce per acre has been vastly increased. The number of German hands employed has decreased, owing to the higher wages offered by the manufacturing districts

and the attractions of town life; but agricultural wages have considerably increased, and at the season of harvest the ory for labour is met by the immigration of foreigners, of whom 700,000 are said to have been employed in 1898.

Mr Ellis Barker, in Modern Germany,' has gone very closely

co

co-operation has been adopted. There are no less than 22,000 co-operative agrioultural societies in existence in Germany. These societies occupy themselves with operative buying and selling, drainage, protection against floods, acquiring sires for breeding, milling and storing grain, and acquiring machinery for the use of their members, so that small cultivators are enabled to use expensive steamploughs, threshing machines, &c., which it would otherwise be out of their power to obtain.

[ocr errors]

These associations are assisted both by local governing bodies and by the State, Prussia created in 1895 the Central Bank of Co-operative Associations, and started it with a capital of two and a half millions sterling. It grants loans at a low rate of interest, from 3 to 4 per cent. It was the bank of 700,000 farmers in 1899, in which year its turnover exceeded 168 millions sterling.

The co-operative societies, by

given by us, and there are now at least seventy such experimental establishments in Germany engaged in research and investigation into the qualities of seeds, manures, and methods of cultivation, their results being available to all. In these establishments chemistry has played a great part, and in the agricultural, no less than in the steel and chemical industries, the chemists have led the van in the rapid march of progress.

selling their produce direct to the State followed the lead the consumer, enable him to dispense with the services of the middleman, so that while the producer gets the benefit of the higher wholesale prices -as compared with England -which prevail in Germany, the consumer buys at wholesale price, and avoids the intermediate charges of the cornchandler, the forage-dealer, and the greengrocer, charges which must be high to cover rent and distribution and loss on perishable goods, and bring up the retail price in England to a figure as high as, and often higher than, the price paid by the German consumer. The great markets which exist in every German town facilitate this direct dealing; and the extremely low freight charges of the railways enable the farm and garden produce to be brought cheaply to the markets.

Thus, the aid given by the State through Protection, cheap railway transport, and cheap money, has enabled German agriculture to flourish in defiance of the difficulties of soil and climate; while by cooperation those who live by the land reap the greatest benefit from their labours.

Methods of agriculture have also much to say to the success of the industry; and here again the State stepped in with help. Whereas in Great Britain, which was the first to found an experimental agricultural station, that great work, initiated by Sir John Lawes, has been left almost entirely to private enterprise, in Germany

his

Eighty-five years ago Liebig opened the first University Laboratory at Giessen, and his pupils carried on methods. Laboratories-now famous-were opened at the Universities of Marburg and Leipzig. One State after another, satisfied of the vast importance of chemistry to the national industries, spent money without stint upon its encouragement. Berlin, Heidelberg, Munich, Bonn, Tübingen, Würzburg, and other Universities have now famous schools of chemistry. Of the 262 British and Colonial students holding science research scholarships granted by the Royal Commissioners for the London Exhibition of 1851 between the years 1891 and 1906, no less than 125, or 47 per cent, pursued their further studies, wholly or partly, in Germany. In the year 1900 there were known to be 7000 German chemists who had been trained at the Universities and technical and high schools, of whom 4300 were employed as analytical chemists in Germany and

1000 as analytical chemists to helping the young to be

abroad.

[merged small][ocr errors]

country were. Therefore we may assume what the aim of German education would be. It would be, as it is, above all things to instil into the youthful mind patriotism, and patriotism of a militant type. Secondly, it would be to give practical training to every child so that he may be able to take his part in furthering the wealth and greatness of his country. The Minister of Education laid stress on religious and moral teaching, but he put patriotism first, speaking of "the high ideal to sow the seeds of patriotic, religious, and moral sentiment in the children." And so we find that the first songs the German child learns are military songs; his first spelling lessons are from tales of German military valour; his two great school festivals are the Emperor's birthday and the anniversary of Sedan,

As regards the practical nature of the elementary schools, the education is directed to the teaching of necessary and useful subjects,

successful workers in their station in life. Cleanliness, order, punctuality, courtesy are enforced by a strong discipline. There is no pauperisation by gifts of free meals and boots; the parents have to pay for the school fees and for books; and they are keen to get full value for their money. Education is democratic; the rich and the poor learn side by side, and private schools are discouraged. Thus emulation is promoted, and class distinctions are combated in the earlier stages of life.

As regards the secondary schools in Germany, no less than in this country, the battle of the classics rages. In Germany, as here, the pedagogues have largely held their own. And the strongest criticisms made upon German education are directed at these gymnasia as not doing their duty in the preparation of youth for practical life. They are said to be cramming schools, which ruin the eyesight, oripple the initiative, and stunt the minds and bodies of the pupils. These gymnasia and their nine years' course of training are chiefly used by those who aspire to the learned professions, and it is said that, like the University of Caloutta, they are turning out a host of superficially educated young men to join the ranks of the discontented and to swell the ranks of the unemployed army of would-be lawyers, doctors, preachers, teachers, and Government officials.

It is in her technical high

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

schools that Germany takes the lead. Complaints are rife that technical teaching is overdone; that English practical training produces-for example -better engineers than German technical school training. There may be faults in the German system: but we cannot believe that any engineer is the worse for a training in the theory of his profession; and we know how the best of the young men in our own establishments endeavour by attending evening classes to obtain something of that education which the State offers to all in Germany. Technical education, we are convinced, has had much to do with the development of German industries.

Bismarck's world-polioy appears to have been directed to making Germany wealthy and prosperous, and to obtaining for her a large share of the world's commerce. In 1888 William II. succeeded to the throne. Not till the remainder of Bismarck's "Thoughts and Memories' is published-if indeed then-shall we know certainly the cause of Bismarck's dismissal by the Emperor in March 1890. Sometime previously Bismarck is known to have said, "William the Second will be his own Chancellor." It may well be that the iron will of the old Chancellor could not bend to the Emperor's views, and that, accustomed as he was to governing as an autocrat, he would not willingly yield to the ideas of comparative youth and inexperience. It may equally well be that the young Emperor,

with his active brain, his despotic temperament, and his tremendous belief in himself and his direct mission from God, resented the dictation of age and experience. The immediate cause may have been the Imperial rescripts as to German workmen issued shortly before the dismissal, which appeared without the Chancellor's signature, but the severance of these two was a foregone conclusion, and must, in the nature of things, have occurred sooner or later. If in truth it was the Emperor's desire to abolish Bismarck's repressive and coercive methods of dealing with social democracy which brought about Bismarck's fall, the Chancellor's memory has been amply avenged, for the Emperor has since that time found no word too bad to use against the Social Democrats, whom he has called "a band of fellows not worthy to bear the name of Germans,' ""enemies to the divine order of things, without a fatherland.” At all events, nothing is more certain than that with Bismarok's fall commenced the personal rule of the Emperor, and that subsequent Chancellors have been his servants and not, as Bismarck aspired to be, his masters.

[ocr errors]

For the last twenty years Germany's policy has been the policy of the Emperor. He has on the whole adhered to the maxims of Frederick the Great, but from one of them, "Secrecy is an indispensable virtue in politics as well as in war," he has more than once made a startling divergence.

[ocr errors]

The famous Kruger telegram gave away Germany's ambitions in regard to South Africa; and in the interview published in the 'Daily Telegraph' a year ago, the Emperor sowed the wind and reaped the whirlwind. But the main features of German policy, foreign and domestio, continued on Bismarckian lines for the first ten years of the Emperor's personal rule.

Let us glance briefly at his foreign policy. There are three great Powers which Germany must always take into account in connection with her position as a land power: AustriaHungary, Russia, and France. The alliance with AustriaHungary has been maintained, and it is to the advantage of Austria that it should be so as she well knows. Austria supported Germany at the conference at Algeciras on the Morocco question; and the Emperor, true to the policy of pushing on Austria into adventures in the Slav States, supported Austria in her annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Russia, immediately after Bismarck's dismissal, effected that agreement with France which may or may not be an alliance in the true sense of the term, but has at all events made for peace in Europe. The Emperor took it calmly, for it had always been Germany's policy to keep on friendly terms with Russia, and the lesson of 1875 must have taught him that, whether there were or were not an agreement between them, Russia would stand by France if Germany

should again attack her. How far he urged Russia to go to war with Japan we know not; but if he did so, it would only be the natural continuation of the inherited policy of pushing Russia on into adventures in the far East. That the Russian fleet was destroyed, that the Russian army was thrown back for a long period, and that Russian finances were seriously crippled, suited him perfectly; for Austria was thus emboldened to carry out her adventure in the Balkan Provinces, and Russia had become so weak that, even if she ever contemplated war over this question, the German Emperor's threat that he should stand by Austria compelled her to accept the situation, hateful as it was to all Russian Slavs.

Over France the Emperor continually held the threat of the mailed fist, and for a long time French foreign policy was almost dictated by Germany. To urge her to waste her strength in oversea expeditions was still the constant aim, always in the hope of embroiling her with Great Britain. Gambetta had prevented this quarrel by holding aloof when England occupied Egypt in 1882. But when Colonel Marchand went to Fashoda it seemed as though there must be war. Monsieur Delcassé's excellent judgment prevented war; Marchand was recalled, and the relations between France and England continued to improve. Delcassé's firm resolve was to establish good relations with Great Britain; the French policy of pinpricks was abandoned, and

« AnteriorContinuar »