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tation. He refused, for instance, to have gas and electric light installed in his palaces. In front of his plain wooden bed in Babelsberg was a carpet which had been knitted by his daughter, the Grand Duchess of Baden, and a simple wooden chair which had been made by his son, Frederick the Third. His example was followed by the German people. William the Second has preached frugality to his officers, but an area of luxury and waste has been introduced notwithstanding. The old Prussian virtues have disappeared. Riotous living prevails in Germany. Berlin has become the most immoral town in Europe. No less than 20 per cent. of the children born in Berlin are illegitimate. Hundreds of shady restaurants and cafés in which music and dancing takes place are permitted to remain open until four o'clock in the morning or all night long, and most Berliners are proud of the night life of their town, which puts that of Paris in the shade. An unnameable vice, which the French call le vice allemand, has permeated the highest military and social circles, as was seen at the Eulenburg Trial. Vice is paraded openly and shamelessly. The German police, which is always ready to interfere vigorously with political meetings, makes no attempt to interfere with the evil. The German Government sees apparently no reason for suppressing it. The old idealism of Germany has given way to a zoarse materialism. Religious sentiment is disappearing.
The foregoing should suffice to show that Germany is politically, militarily, economically, administratively, and morally on the down grade. But it would be rash to conclude from the evidence furnished that Germany will continue declining, although she will very probably experience difficult times. Germany, being a one-man country, shows evidences of decline because she lacks the man whom she requires, and she will go ahead again as soon as she has a man who is able to control her gigantic Government machine. But will she find such a man? Many patriotic Germans doubt it. Therefore, some of them, remembering the invigorating effect of Prussia's defeat in 1806, actually wish for a disastrous war in the hope that it will re-create and rejuvenate the country. Others hope that the abolition of absolutistic and the introduction of parliamentary government will save Germany. The latter, therefore, welcome the growth of the Social Democratic party, and they would gladly see the outbreak of a conflict between Parliament and the Crown, even if it should lead to a civil war or the establishment of a republic. Among the leaders of German thought, deep pessimism and the fear of national disaster prevails widely. I have endeavoured to express their views in the foregoing pages.
J. ELLIS BARKER.
CABLES VERSUS WIRELESS
THE so-called shrinkage of the earth' due to telegraphy has at all times a fascination for Imperially minded people; and it can certainly be claimed that the electric telegraph has done more than any other invention to promote unity and a better understanding between the different branches of a far-reaching Empire like ours.
Both cable and wireless telegraphy have, however, been peculiarly in the public eye of late. This is partly due to the continued agitation for an Imperial Atlantic Cable. It is, further, explained by the fact that the Government has (a) refused to be party to the proposed State Atlantic Cable and land-line connexion with the All-British Pacific Cable; and, on the other hand, (b) has announced its intention to take up a big scheme for establishing an inter-Imperial system of wireless telegraphy to the East and Far East. These decisions were brought out very clearly in the course of a debate in the House of Commons on the 2nd of April.
On the above account, presumably, there has been great activity in both cable and wireless (Marconi) stocks. As is usually the case, public imagination has been carried away on altogether insufficient grounds. Thus, certain (Eastern' and Eastern Extension' Companies') cable shares have fallen 7 points in 1001., whilst quite an unwarranted 'gamble' has been proceeding in the holdings of the Marconi Company.
Another feature which has naturally aroused interest, and which may have had something to do with the recent traffic in telegraph stock, relates to cable tariffs. For a quarter a century-year in and year out-I have urged: (1) That the Government should stipulate for tariff control in return for granting, or renewing, cable licences; (2) That a system of halfrates for messages deferred for twenty-hour hours should be introduced-partly with a view to turning the cable to better account during the more or less idle hours of the night, etc., but also as a service intermediate between the essentially speedy, yet expensive, urgent cablegram and the ordinary mail to distant
lands. Both of these suggested reforms have now been taken up by an eminently able and active Postmaster-General: in fact, half-rates for deferred messages came into operation throughout the British Empire on the first day of the present year, whilst special provision has been added in the interests of the Imperial Press, whose cause has been warmly espoused by the Empire Press Union. Whether these innovations in the cable tariff have really had anything to do with the Stock Exchange activity in cable and wireless stock it is not, however, easy to say.
IMPERIAL WIRELESS SCHEME
Superior telegraphic facilities with the rest of the Empire are evidently recognised by the present Government as worthy of realisation. Indeed, both the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer have several times expressed themselves as highly favourable to cable communication as an alternative to Imperial Preference. It would seem, however, as though something, or somebody, has meanwhile convinced those in power that wireless telegraphy is a superior weapon to cables.
The nature and scope of the Imperial wireless scheme have already been described so often and fully in the newspapers that it is scarcely necessary to set it forth here. The Colonial Secretary (Mr. Harcourt) has referred to it as 'covering three-quarters of the world'; and, as his authority is irrefutable, that will well serve our purpose. It may, however, be added that one of the Marconi Company's circulars speaks of it as 'for the purpose of conducting a commercial telegraph service.'
The scheme has to come before Parliament for ratification; and the two important questions for consideration in this connexion will naturally be that of value on the one hand, and cost on the other. In opposing the project for a State Atlantic cable, the Postmaster-General (Mr. Samuel) said: 'In view of the fact that wireless telegraphy is making great progress, and undoubtedly has a great future, it would be in the highest degree ill-advised to press on the Government so large a capital expenditure.' Yet the Imperial wireless scheme will in the end admittedly cost substantially more. If, however, it can be shown to be of greater value to the country, no fault can be found with this line of argument, though-as has been remarked by Mr. Page Croft in the House of Commons-we do not give
1 I have never, however, favoured that which seems to be especially attractive to the lay newspapers, though not actually adopted by the authorities-i.e. the much talked of, but inexpert, proposal for 1d. a word throughout the entire world: firstly, because I am no believer in advocating things that do not appear to be practicable; and, secondly, because I am a firm advocate for a preferential inter-Imperial Telegraph Tariff.
2 Parliamentary Debates (Hansard), 3rd of April 1912.
VOL. LXXI-No. 424
up building Dreadnoughts on the score of the development of aerial navigation. The ground covered by the Imperial wireless scheme is, of course, greater than that by the proposed transatlantic line; but it has to be remembered that the need for the latter has become accentuated by the circumstance that all our cable communication with Canada-affecting the whole of the Empire-is now under the control of two American companies. Moreover, the Imperial wireless scheme will be in competition with a cable system (providing an excellent, if costly, service) of a British Company, whereas the projected Atlantic cable would be in competition with foreign interests only.
Then, again, the Postmaster-General's main objection to the Atlantic line appears to have been that it would not be selfsupporting. This he was very clear and definite about. Yet in regard to the Imperial wireless project—which, on the other hand, he referred to as a perfectly practicable scheme '-he contents himself with the statement that this will be not unremunerative to the Governments concerned '--without giving any particulars to support that view. It may, therefore, be pertinently but respectfully inquired, on what are the esti mates of traffic for the wireless scheme based? The only commercial system of wireless telegraphy so far established is that of the Marconi Company across the Atlantic. this, as yet, shown signs of being a subject of profit? If so, how is it that the Government did not purchase the long-distance stations on each side (seeing that these are on British territory) when taking over the English coast stations? Then, again, if the traffic on the Marconi transatlantic system were at all material, it might naturally be expected that the transatlantic cable traffic would have been affected thereby. There are, however, no signs of this; on the contrary, the traffic has considerably increased during the period since the wireless service was established. Were it otherwise, there can be little doubt that cable rates would have been reduced to the same figure as the wireless tariff-or at any rate to something lower than that at which they have stood for the last twenty-four years.
Yet if adequate value is obtained for any expenditure which may fall on the general taxpayer, no fault, in my opinion, can be reasonably found.
The advisers to the Government seem highly optimistic in regard to the future effect of wireless telegraphy for linking up the Empire by rapid and economical transmission of news.' Let us hope that this optimism may be justified by practical results. It is now some years since I recommended just such a scheme-not, however, as a substitute for the Imperial cable project. In addition to non-urgent, purely personal, messages,
I am especially in favour of wireless' where it is desired to disseminate information, or news, to as wide an audience as possible-for, say, Imperial Press purposes. Thus it would also be of considerable value sometimes for leading an enemy astray. The fact that the system is comparatively ill-adapted to code work would often be immaterial, for even cipher codes are fairly readily deciphered, as was evidenced only recently when trouble was brewing between this country and Germany.
The objections to the particular proposal now before the public are: (a) that the route involves a wireless range associated with the heart of the European continent, which means that all our messages-possibly of an important State nature-will be open to interruption and eavesdropping at the hands of foreign countries; (b) that most of the stations will be situated in the tropics, where wireless working is notoriously unsatisfactory; and (c) that the amount of relay and retransmission work will be considerable, involving substantial time and material scope for errors.
Although it clearly redounds to the credit of the Government that it proposes to promote an industry whilst still in course of development, it may be doubted whether, when public money is required, the State is justified in adopting a comparatively untried method of achieving a given result. It would seem to me to rest with the Government first to prove that the results by the newer method, value for value, are superior-or at any rate equally good; and one question that may well be asked is: 'Has wireless telegraphy already proved itself to be sufficiently satisfactory, as compared with telegraphy by cable, to warrant a big inter-Imperial wireless scheme (out of public funds) in preference to a State telegraph system based on fifty years' trial and experience?' The recent wireless work at the seat of war near Tripoli does not seem to bear out the implied superiority of 'wireless' even for strategic purposes. On the contrary, only a small proportion of the messages from that quarter since the outbreak have come by wireless' as compared with those by cable. Moreover, though in the very heart of ' wireless' interests, two more cables have just been ordered for that vicinity by the Italian Government.
This chain of wireless stations' is apparently to be entirely on one system, the company concerned having alone the opportunity of equipment. The term of the agreement is twentyeight years, whilst the earliest period at which it can be terminated is eighteen years.
There are manifest objections to lengthy agreements of this