Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 53.djvu/653

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THE NATION'S CRISIS.

A contemporary artist has happily cought the "idea" of the Indian maiden—so mysterious, 60 near to Nature, so remote from ourselves. Chateaubriand has embalmed in Atala the sentiment of the primitive forest; Longfellow, in Hiawatha, has distilled the romance of Indian life; and in Ranolf and Amohia Domett has transported to the Hot Lakes the loves of Juan and Haidee. A legion of novelists, from Saint-Pierre to Pierre Loti and Louis Becke, has described one side or other of the relationship. Governments and manners have been revolutionized by the contact. From travelers' tales, embellished at the start and further idealized by his own imagination, Rousseau drew "those oracles which set the world in flame." It is not unchristian to hope that the overlordship of the whole earth now first arrogated by the whites, with the high beneficent trusteeship in favor of its indigenes which that involves, will react on the sensibilities of the overlord and issue in a humaner evolution. Is it anti-Darwinism to expect that the mad rivalry and savage warfare of every man against his fellows—with its hecatombs of wrecked lives and broken hearts deadlier far than that elder warfare of spear and tomahawk—will at length give place to a co-operation that will be more zealous for the rights of others than solicitous for its own?

 

THE NATION'S CRISIS.
By A. B. RONNE.

"I THINK that, whatever difficulties they may have to surmount, and whatever tribulations they may have to pass through, the Americans may reasonably look forward to a time when they will have produced a civilization grander than any the world has known." These were some of the parting words with which Herbert Spencer bade this country farewell after his short visit in 1882; they form the concluding sentences in that memorable interview which he granted a representative of our press a few days before his departure. It must still be fresh in the memories of Mr. Spencer's many friends on this side of the Atlantic that in this interview he freely discussed the numerous signs of an immense development of material civilization which everywhere confronted him here, without concealing the fact, however, that while the wealth and magnificence of our large cities had been a source of astonishment to him, these very evidences of a wonderful commercial activity and development of arts had constantly reminded him of the Italian republics of the middle ages, where the people under circumstances and conditions similar to ours were gradually losing their freedom.