Page:Frontiers.djvu/50

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48
Frontiers

conceded to each other liberty of action. Lord Salisbury's was the first step: this was the second: and if at any time there is a third, its approximate character can be foreseen.

Evidences of Progress.

The recent portions of my lecture may have suggested the suspicion that modern nations, in the extension of their Frontiers, are not only not more scrupulous, but are more crafty in their methods than rulers of former times. Such would, I think, be a mistaken impression. About the respective ethical pretensions of the ancient and modern world I will not here dispute. But I regard it as incontestable, not merely that the expedients which I have described make on the whole for peace rather than for war—which is perhaps a sufficient vindication of them: but that there has been a progressive advance, both in the principles and in the practice of Frontier policy, which has already exercised a widespread effect, and is of good omen for the future. Let me, before I conclude, collect the evidences of this amelioration.

The history which I have narrated shows the immense increase in the number and diversity of the Frontiers that have been adopted to protect the possessions and to control the ambitions of States. The primitive forms, except where resting upon indestructible natural features, have nearly everywhere been replaced by boundaries, the more scientific character of which, particularly where it rests upon treaty stipulations, and is sanctified by International Law, is undoubtedly a preventive of misunderstanding, a check to territorial cupidity, and an agency of peace.