Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 60.djvu/116

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growth of the United States, and notwithstanding perhaps some relative changes of a minor character amongst themselves.

The foreign nations then with which the British Empire is likely lo be concerned in the near future are Russia, Germany and the United States; and other Powers, even France, must more and more occupy a second place, although France, for the moment, partly in consequence of its relations with Russia, occupies a special place.

Special Position of British Empire.

Another idea which follows from a consideration of the same facts is the necessity laid upon the British Empire to consolidate and organize itself in view of the large additions of subject races made to it in the last century, and especially in the last twenty years of the century. In a paper which I read before the Royal Colonial Institute two years ago, an attempt was made to show that the burden imposed on the white races cf the Empire by these recent acquisitions was not excessive as far as the prospect of internal tumults was concerned. Relatively to some other Powers, especially France, we have also been gaining intertionally in strength and resources. But whether we had gained internationally on the whole, looking at the growth of powers like Russia, the United States and Germany, and their greater activity in world-politics, was a different question. The problem thus stated remains. It would be foreign to the scope of an address like this, which must avoid actual politics, to examine how far light has been thrown on it by the South African war. No one can question at least that the organization of the Empire must be governed by considerations which the international statistics suggest, and that no step can be taken safely and properly unless our public men fully appreciate the ideas of international strength and resources as well as other considerations which are germane to the subject.

Europe and Foreign Food Supplies.

Another idea to which attention may be drawn appears to be the increasing dependence of European nations upon supplies of food and raw material obtained from abroad. We are familiar with a conception of this kind as regards the United Kingdom. For years past we have drawn increasing supplies from abroad, not merely in proportion to the growth of population, but in larger proportion. The position here obviously is that, with the industries of agriculture and the extraction of raw material (except as regards the one article, coal) practically incapable of expansion, and with a population which not only increases in numbers, but which becomes year by year increasingly richer per head, the consuming power of the population increases with enormous