cers, and we commend the representatives of foreign counwisdom of Milton to Sir William tries as though they were his Joynson-Hicks' notice before servants; and enabled Professor he attempts to carry farther Seymour to compile a record his rash project. For the which no Englishman can read future, truly, let Sir William without displeasure and withtemper the arrogance which out regret that any one should persuades him that all things be found thus to take advanare possible to the policeman, tage of the mere accident of by remembering "they are not another's unapproachability. skilful considerers of human things who imagine to remove sin by removing the matter of sin."

The third and fourth volumes of Colonel House's 'Papers' (London: Ernest Benn) do but intensify the mystery of this gentleman's existence. There have been other powers behind thrones in the course of history, but these other powers have possessed such brains or intelligence as justified their employment. Now Colonel House was playing a part in affairs of which he had very scanty knowledge. He knew more of Texan politics than European. Such knowledge as he had was blinded by prejudice and a kind of pride which exacted a deference from others, though he held no office and could claim no consideration of rank or position. He was neither Minister nor diplomatist. Whatever influence he possessed he owed to the mere fact that he stood behind the throne of Mr Wilson, who was unapproachable except through his tuyau Colonel House. So Colonel House came and went as he chose; "sent for " the

When the Americans came into the war, they had a very imperfect knowledge of or interest in what was happening in Europe. They had been told, and they believed, that on the Allies' side the fighting had been done by the French and Canadians, and that England had stood idly by. They dimly divined how the process of fighting was carried on, and they seemed to think that nothing was required of a fighting man except that his sentiments should be just. Such at least is the impression which Colonel House's 'Intimate Papers' give us. We have a picture of a vast number of amateurs or children who entertained large ideas about the peace and none about the war. They were from the first resolute to cut up the skin before they had killed the bear. Anybody, they thought, could kill the bear: it was only the deft craftsmanship of President Wilson which could be trusted to cut up the skin. And it is the irony of a sad story that when Mr Wilson had hacked the skin, or, in other words, had seen the peace made or marred according to his design, his own country declined to ratify

it, and he and the great Colonel blockade. House might have saved themselves from the months of unceasing and interminable


For Professor Seymour's book is a record of talk, talk, talk. In one sense America was never our Ally; for while the other Allies recognised that it was their business to fight, the Americans were still eager to talk. They seemed to have turned themselves into debating societies, where they discussed with any others that were disposed to come along the terms of peace. As early as October 1917, President Wilson was for Professor Seymour "the most powerful individual in the world." If this were so, he was powerful merely by reason of his country's money, not of his country's achievements. Proud of the thought that money was in the Treasury, he held such language as was suitable only for a victorious commander riding at the head of his army. He 'took the attitude," writes the ingenuous Professor Seymour, "that the peace settlement was too vital and touched too many States of the world to be left to the decision of the great Allied Powers themselves." This is a new principle, that peace does not belong to the victors, to those who have borne for four years death and bloodshed, but to those who have stood by with an easy impartiality and been content to hamper their ultimate Allies by complaining bitterly about the


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President Wilson and Colonel House that they should be the best judges of what was vital to the many States of which war-stricken Europe was composed? Moreover, 'the most powerful individual in the world," and his henchman, had always been more than half German in sentiment. "I cannot help thinking," once said Sir Edward Grey with his customary moderation, "that if we had done all the things that Germany had done in the war, and if we had instigated, as Germans have apparently instigated, criminal plots on American soil, American opinion would have pushed resentment home against us more than it has done against Germany." This is perfectly true, and true it is that it always seemed the policy of the Americans to spare the Germans all they could, and to protect them against disaster in the future by such schemes as the freedom of the seas.

Meanwhile President Wilson had talked so much of peace that he seemed to believe that the essential war lay in the United States. Professor Seymour tells us that "President Wilson did not want to change the centre of gravity from Washington to London or Paris." He might wish as he could, yet the plain facts could not be done away with that guns were being fired in Europe, and that in Europe men were dying in the trenches. It is not strange, therefore, that be

tween the President and the Colonel on the one hand, and the English and French Missions on the other, there was a fixed gulf. The English and French did their best to assume an interest, which must have been a difficult task, in academic debates about peace. The Americans passed by such practical affairs as ships and men with a tired disdain. Mr Arthur Balfour tried hard to explain, in words of one syllable, the importance of tonnage; and Colonel House in reply "took up "-he is always

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taking up" this or that— the terms of peace. Whenever Mr Balfour attempted to stand upon the hard ground of reality, he was brought off his ground by the Colonel asking him what was to be the future of Constantinople. Truly it must have been very boring, and there is one thing manifest in these two volumes which we can admire without restraint, and that is the tact, perfect and untiring, of Mr Balfour.

It was little, in truth, that Colonel House got out of Mr Balfour, though apparently he never succeeded in ruffling him. What he said himself is for the most part childish. They lunched together, for instance, on 13th May 1917, and had, if the Colonel may be believed, "a very interesting talk." "I asked him what would be his inclination," writes Colonel House, "in the event if Germany made a tentative offer of peace on the basis of the status quo ante. He thought it

would largely depend upon the condition of the U-boat warfare, and also upon the condition of Russia, France, and Italy." Indeed it would, and the answer no doubt seemed quite satisfactory to the man who could put so foolish a question. Yet, in spite of his easy "idealism," the Colonel could not wholly conceal his desire to see, at the least expense possible, a strengthened American fleet. In 1916, when England, singleminded, was thinking only of the war, Colonel House, ill-informed as always, believed that "the real difference with Great Britain now was that the United States had undertaken to build a great navy." And the President, equally ill-informed, had replied, "Let us build a navy bigger than hers, and do as we please." How the President harmonised this threat with the hatred of" militarism "of every kind, which, he said formerly, persuaded him to support the Freedom of the Seas, we do not know. We do know, because he has told us, that when the United States first came into the war, Colonel House thought he saw a chance of getting some of England's capital ships on easy terms.

While England was at war, and building as many destroyers and light craft as possible, the United States saw a chance, in the President's words, of building a bigger navy than England's, and doing as it pleased." The Navy Bill passed by Congress in 1916, had it been carried into effect,

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would have given the United States a navy second only, or even equal, to the navy of Great Britain. And then came the war to disturb this nice calculation of a pacific nation. Colonel House, always fertile in expedients, saw a way out. "In talking with Drummond," he wrote on 13th May 1917, "I called attention to the Allied demand that we build submarine destroyers at the expense of our major battleship programme. To do this would leave us at the end of the war where we are now, and in the event of trouble . . . we would be more or less helpless at sea. . . . I thought if Great Britain would agree to give us an option of some of her major ships in the event of trouble ... we could go ahead with our destroyers without fear of subsequent events." An engaging proposal truly! Great Britain was to bear the brunt of fighting at sea, as she did, and then make up the deficiencies of the United States in case of trouble! The proposal met with small encouragement, though the Colonel took it up " with Mr Balfour and others, absorbed in the prosecution of the war; and it remains an eminent specimen of Colonel House's ineptitude. That "the control of the seas should be in the hands of any other power than the United States was intolerable to the Colonel, who recognised that England's superiority was due to her capital ships. He does not explain why England, in

case of victory, should be penalised by the United States, and should surrender an efficient cause of her superiority. Even the President saw the folly of this suggestion, which was repeated from time to time, and then dropped into a wastepaper basket. Its place was taken by "the Freedom of the Seas," which, ever since it was whispered in the ear of Colonel House by a cunning German before the war, had filled his and the President's brain.

Meanwhile, Colonel House pursued his conversations indefatigably. In November 1917 he is doing his best to find what was in Lloyd George's mind regarding peace terms. Mr Lloyd George's mind was too full of the war to have room for peace terms. And at last Colonel House, who was so far remote from the meaning of the war that he thought only of the "peace-table," presided over and dominated by "the most powerful individual in the world," was obliged to confess his failure. "I find," he mournfully confesses, "it will be useless to try to get either the French or British to designate terms. Great Britain cannot want the new Russian terms of 'no indemnities or no aggression,' and neither can France." We

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did not matter to the blessed simplicity of the Texan Colonel. "We are not embarrassed," said he, "by any desire for territory or commercial gain, therefore we are in a better position to outline peace terms than any of the other belligerents." Such was his comfortable opinion, that they who had suffered were the least capable of estimating their sufferings or their needs.

So he and the President drew up the terms which they proposed, when the time came, to force upon Europe. When the time of conference arrived they had the business, which only concerned them at a distance, cut and dried. The Fourteen Points were there and the Covenant. Why President Wilson, who represented the least of the great Allies, if we count achievement by any other standard than the standard of money, should have presumed to dictate terms to the others we do not know. We do know that he declared that if his points were not accepted he would not participate in the settlement. The spoilt child would not play if he were not permitted to choose the game. Professor Seymour has written a chapter which he calls "The Triumph of the Fourteen Points," and it re

cords no triumph at all. It records merely how one of the Allies, relying upon his country's wealth, attempted to rob those who had borne the burden of the fray of the fruits of victory. And in this discussion Colonel House rose somewhat above his own level. Indeed, he sadly forgot himself. He discovered that the British Cabinet had the impertinence "to rebel against the Freedom of the Seas, and wished to include reparations for losses at sea."

This was intolerable,

and not to be borne. And Colonel House treated the English lackeys as he thought they should be treated. He adopted the same sort of tone as when he determined to recall Sir Cecil Spring-Rice.1 "I told Wiseman," he boasts, "and later to-day told Reading, that if the British are not careful they would bring upon themselves the dislike of the world. ... I did not believe the United States and other countries would willingly submit to Great Britain's complete domination of the seas any more than to Germany's domination of the land, and the sooner the English recognised this fact the better it would be for them; furthermore, that our people, if challenged, would build a navy and maintain an army

1 We notice in these later volumes that the Colonel revised his opinion of the English Ambassador. He describes the man with whom he had threatened to break off relations as "perhaps the ablest and best-trained member of the British diplomatic service." He says that "he gave his life for his country as though he had been slain on the field of battle." Remembering the grossness of his previous insolence, we decline to believe in the sincerity of this belated praise.

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