Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/283

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erybody has seen that it was awkward, anomalous, and embarrassing. There was a great daunting of military parade, suggestive of righting; but, apart from the historic reminiscences, the speeches contradicted the whole spirit of the occasion. It was by no means devoted to unalloyed rejoicing over a military triumph, but was much more a tribute to the interests of peace and international friendliness. A hundred years makes a great difference nowadays, and the Yorktown utterances were significant registers of the progress of ideas. The new President spoke with wise discretion, and gave voice to the wishes of the American people by ordering that the commemorative services close with a salute to the British flag by the assembled forces of the army and navy, "in recognition of the friendly relations so long and so happily subsisting between Great Britain and the United States, in the trust and confidence of peace and good-will between the two countries for all the centuries to come, and especially as a mark of the profound respect entertained by the American people for the illustrious sovereign and gracious lady who sits upon the British throne."

Nothing could be more significant, as showing the growth of liberal ideas with reference to our external relations. It signalized the hope that time will secure in the family of nations what we have secured in the family of States. We can not expect peace "for all the centuries to come" except by cherishing the ideas and strengthening the sentiments and confirming the practices upon which peace depends. We can not have exemption from war if we cultivate the spirit of international antagonism—antagonism that tends to war. Nations must be knit together by closer links of mutual interest if peace is to be permanent. War isolates, destroys commercial intercourse, and drives nations into the policy of producing everything for themselves; and the feeling thus engendered by military domination in time of peace maintains barriers and repulsions between nations, on the plea that "we must not be dependent upon foreigners." The curses of war thus become perpetual. Its baneful influence lives on in the so-called "protective" policy which strangles foreign commerce, and compels a nation to shape all its internal affairs with a view, not to the interests of industry which demand the widest liberty of commercial expansion, but to the future contingencies of war.




No better illustration can be desired of these views than that offered by the State of Virginia. Her citizens were certainly to be pardoned for their enthusiasm over the Yorktown pageant. The Revolution was consummated upon her soil, and she has a natural pride in all its reminiscences. But what a monument is that great State to-day of the scourge of war-ideas! Settled early as a colony, favorably situated in regard to climate, and with varied and boundless resources, she is nevertheless poor, incompetent, and backward in all the elements of public prosperity. If it be said that these calamities are due to slavery, we reply that slavery is only chronic and subdivided war. Slavery and war are kindred agencies, grown up together in a common barbarism, and both are despotisms of violence. Their one idea is the brute-force control of men—in war for the destruction of life and property, and in slavery for better ends. It was the cherishing of ideas common to slavery and war that drew Virginia with such facility into the vortex of domestic war. It was declining militancy rebelling against growing industrialism. How intense was the barbaric spirit is seen in the persistence of obsolete war-usages. Where militant ideas are ascendant, as in Germany and