Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/544

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established, the walls were demolished. In our own time the needs of hygiene and luxury have urged the opening of broad ways in the ancient European cities. It has been necessary to buy houses and demolish them in order to create the grand modern avenues. There would have been no walls in the middle ages except for the spirit of conquest, and the broad streets would have been established then, as has been done in the new cities of Russia and America. To pierce these new avenues, Paris, for example, has had to contract debts, the annual interest on which amounts to at least 50,000,000 or 60,000,000 francs ($10,000,000 to $12,000,000). This expense should be charged to the account of the spirit of conquest. But nobody has ever thought of attributing these 50,000,000 or 60,000,000 of the city budget to military waste. And how many other cities are in the same situation? Another example: during six centuries France and England were trying to take provinces from one another. Hence a permanent hostility existed between the two nations. Later on the circumstances changed, but by virtue of the routine inherent in the human mind the old resentments remained, though the motive for them had gone. To thwart the progress of France was considered a patriotic duty by such English ministers as Lord Palmerston. In 1855 M. de Lesseps formed a company to construct the Suez Canal. As M. de Lesseps was a Frenchman, Lord Palmerston and the British Cabinet thought themselves obligated to oppose his project, and their opposition cost about 200,000,000 francs ($40,000,000). The canal might have been constructed then for that sum, but in consequence of the machinations of the English it cost 400,000,000 francs ($80,000,000). Who has ever thought of charging that loss to the account of the spirit of conquest? Nevertheless, that is where it belongs.[1]

The indirect losses of war defy valuation. But the matter may be looked at from another point of view: that of the profits which they prevent being made. The American war against secession cost the treasury of both combatants $7,000,000,000. Now, if, without speaking of the destruction of property,[2] we only consider the benefits nonrealized, the most moderate estimates make them

  1. We may refer here to another loss which has never been thought of till now. It was long fancied that wealth could be acquired more rapidly by war than by work; consequently, conquest seeming to be the most rapid and therefore most efficacious way, was honored, and labor, appearing to be a slower process, was despised. In our days a large number of descendants of the knights of the middle ages retain the ideas of their ancestors and look upon labor as degrading. Hence thousands of aristocrats do nothing, but remain social good-for-nothings, retarding the increase of wealth by their inactivity.
  2. Sherman, in his march from Atlanta to Savannah alone, destroyed more than $400,000,000. The cotton famine occasioned by this war cost Great Britain a loss of $480,000,000. Who has ever thought of charging this against militarism?