Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/596

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is shown us in the uses made of gunpowder. At first a destructive agent, it has become an agent of immense service in quarrying, mining, railway-making, etc.

A no less important benefit, bequeathed by war, has been the formation of large societies. By force alone were small nomadic hordes welded into large tribes; by force alone were large tribes welded into small nations; by force alone have small nations been welded into large nations. While the fighting of societies usually maintains separateness, or by conquest produces only temporary unions, it produces, from time to time, permanent unions; and as fast as there are formed permanent unions of small into large, and then of large into still larger, industrial progress is furthered in three ways. Hostilities, instead of being perpetual, are broken by intervals of peace. When they occur, hostilities do not so profoundly derange the industrial activities. And there arises the possibility of carrying out the division of labor much more effectually. War, in short, in the slow course of things, brings about a social aggregation which furthers that industrial state at variance with war; and yet nothing but war could bring about this social aggregation. These two truths, that without war large aggregates of men cannot be formed, and that without large aggregates of men there cannot be a developed industrial state, are illustrated in all places and times. Among existing uncivilized and semi-civilized races, we everywhere find that union of small societies by a conquering society is a step in civilization. The records of peoples now extinct show us this with equal clearness. On looking back into our own history, and into the histories of neighboring nations, we similarly see that only by coercion were the smaller feudal governments so subordinated as to secure internal peace. And, even lately, the long-desired consolidation of Germany, if not directly effected by "blood and iron," as Bismarck said it must be, has been indirectly effected by them. The furtherance of industrial development by aggregation is no less manifest. If we compare a small society with a large one, we get clear proof that those processes of coöperation by which social life is made possible assume high forms only when the numbers of the cooperating citizens are great. Ask of what use a cloth-factory, supposing they could have one, would be to the members of a small tribe, and it becomes manifest that, producing as it would in a single day a year's supply of cloth, the vast cost of making it and keeping it in order could never be compensated by the advantage gained. Ask what would happen were a shop like Stewart's, in New York, supplying all textile products, set up in a village, and you see that the absence of a sufficiently-extensive distributing function would negative its continuance. Ask what sphere a bank would have had in the Old-English period, when nearly all people grew their own food and wove their own wool, and it becomes obvious that the various appliances for facilitating exchange can grow up only when a community becomes so