PATRIOTISM, OR PEACE?
You write asking me to state my opinion on the case between the United States and England, "in the cause of Christian consistency and true peace," and you express the hope "that the nations may soon be awakened to the only means of ensuring international peace."
I entertain the same hope; and for this reason. The complication which, in our time, involves the nations: exalting patriotism as they do, educating the young generation in that superstition, and at the same time shirking that inevitable consequence of patriotism,—war: has, it seems to me, reached that last degree at which the very simplest consideration, such as suggests itself to every unbiassed person, may suffice to show to men the extreme contradiction in which they are placed.
Often, when one asks children which they choose of two incompatible but eagerly desired things, they will answer, "Both." "Which do you wish—to go for a drive, or to play at home?" "To go for a drive and to play at home."
Exactly so with the Christian nations, when life itself puts the question to them, "Which do you choose—patriotism or peace?" They answer, "Patriotism and peace." Although to combine patriotism and peace is just as impossible as to go for a drive and to stay at home at one and the same time.
The other day a conflict arose between the United States and England over the frontier of Venezuela. Salisbury did not agree to something; Cleveland wrote a message to the Senate; patriotic, warlike cries were raised on both sides; a panic occurred on 'Change; people lost millions of pounds and dollars; Edison said he was devising machines to kill more men in an hour than were killed by Attila in all his wars: and both nations began to make energetic preparations for war. But, together with these preparations for war, alike in England