Page:Patriotismchrist00tols.djvu/27

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21
PATRIOTISM AND CHRISTIANITY.

now, the suddenly begotten love of Russ for Slav was only a thing of words.

Then in Moscow as now in Paris when the affair began, people ate, drank, talked nonsense to each other, were much affected by their noble feelings, spoke of union and of peace, passing over in silence the main business—the project against Turkey.

The press goaded on the excitement, and by degress the government took a hand in the game. Servia revolted. Diplomatic notes began to circulate and semi-official articles to appear. The Press lied more and more, invented and gave vent to the irritation; and in the end Alexander II., who really did not desire war, was obliged to consent to it and what we know took place, the loss of hundreds of thousands of innocent men, and the brutalising and befooling of millions.

What took place at Paris and Toulon, and has since been fomented by the Press, is evidently leading to a like or a worse calamity.

At first, in the same manner, to the strains of the "Marseillaise" and "God save the Tsar," certain generals and ministers drink to France and Russia in honour of various regiments and fleets; the Press publishes its falsehoods; idle crowds of wealthy people, not knowing how to apply their strength and time, chatter patriotic speeches, stirring up animosity against Germany; and in the end, how peaceful soever Alexander III. may be, circumstances will so unite that he will be unable to avoid war, which will be demanded by all who surround him, by the Press, and, as always seems in such cases, by the entire public opinion of the nation. And before we can look round, the usual ominous absurd proclamation will appear in the papers—

"We, by God's grace, the autocratic great Emperor of All Russia, King of Poland, Grand Duke of Finland, &c., &c., proclaim to all our true subjects, that, for the welfare of these our beloved subjects, bequeathed by God into our care, we have found it our duty before God to send them to slaughter. God be with us."

The bells will peal, long-haired men will dress in golden sacks to pray for successful slaughter. And the old story will begin again, the awful customary acts.

The editors of the daily Press will begin virulently to stir men up to hatred and manslaughter in the name of patriotism, happy