The Scientific American occupies a unique position in the press of the United States. It is devoted to what may in the best sense be termed the arts of peace. It presents a view of the world of science and of practical achievement to its readers, the creative side of mankind having it as an exponent. In political economy sound doctrine regards destruction of life and of property as a world's loss, notasthe loss only of the person or persons directly affected. The war between the States, now that thirty years have elapsed since its conclusion, still plays its baleful part hi impoverishing the nation. During a part of its continuance its expense was put at one million of dollars per dietn. Now it costs nearly one half of that in one single item of revenue expenditure. The blue and the gray are again united; the evil passions awakened by war have sunk to rest: but the financial effects are still felt and will be felt for years to come unless they are overwhelmed by the weight of new misfortunes which may be brought upon us by another war. Tor, like a lightning stroke out of a clear sky, an issue is suddenly created between the United States and England, which, incredible as it would have seemed a week ago, may lead to war. If it does, the conflicts of past generations will sink into insignificance compared with the new one, and every quarter of the globe will be involved in a struggle which will put back the cause of civilization and of independent government to an extent which can be measurable only hy centuries. Out of the overgoverued nations have emerged two powers which represent the greatest freedom of government. These two nations are objects of jealousy and dislike to the rulers of almost despotic type which are over the older countries. In England, as in the United States, there is true representative government. The maintenance of the royal family is merely the figurehead of a monarchy and need rank as little more than as a harmless extravagance. The real government is as free and as representative as ours. If the two great powers which are representative of the I highest degree of freedom in governmental affairs undertake an internecine war, it means the relegation of mankind to a still firmer grasp of despotic or imperial rule. England in the past has been very aggressive. She has acquired great colonies by methods which her own historians and moralists condemn. Recently she seems to feel that she has enough, aud her methods have changed, for the England of to-day is far different from the England of fifty years ago. Any accessions of territory she may contend for are sought by far more moderate methods than of old. Some seventy years ago the Monroe doctrine was enunciated by the United States. This doctrine, opposing the increase of the territory of any European government on the western hemisphere, seems to have been justified at the time by the events in Europe. To-day, pushed to its utmost development, it would make us the guardian of almost all the western hemisphere. We should logically feel that we are at the beck and call of every neighboring South American republic to fight its battles against European powers. This is a pretty serious burden. It may lead to congratulatory messages from the countries whose cause we espouse, but it will act as a constant menace to our peace. But the Monroe doctrine never will or can lead us into a more fatal consequence than a war with England. Our every interest is so tied up with her that whatever our animus may be, the contest would have , the aspect of a civil war. The similarity of natures, the identity of language, the ties of blood relation- Iship between the two countries, the friendship en- 1 gendered by the great amount of intercourse which has of late years obtained between the two lands, are elements which would give to any contest the nature of fraternal strife. The business aspects of the case are no less serious. Our vast exports are sold to England and are carried in English ships. She is our great customer for cereals and cotton and other products in which we act as almost the world's purveyor. If a 1 war occurs between us and our best customer, every blow we strike at her prosperity is a blow at our own. The first week of the war would do incalculable mil- i lions of damage; the succeeding weeks would see republican and representative government made contemptible in the eyes of the world, while lives and property would be annihilated in battles of unimagined destructiveness. The simple message of the President, which message seemed to threaten war,' has already had far-reaching consequences. The fall in prices of securities and in produce represents an enormous aggregate. This ' would tend to bring people to their senses, unless by the perversity of human nature the misfortune be seized upon as an excuse or a reason for incurring othersa species of desperation which may find a pre- ! cedent easily enough in the workings of human nature. The finances of the United States, under what seemed 1 to be conservative treatment, were progressing satis- ' factorily. Difficulties bad arisen.and had been met by he issue of bonds, and new issues were contemplated. Lll this went on smoothly because of the high credit of he country. Now, a week has changed it all. The urther issue of bonds, in proportion as it becomes more lifficult, appears more necessary.- The very hopes of he Administration are defeated by its own act. The /bristmas season of 1895 will be long remembered by hose ruined in the crisis brought about by needless reeipitaney. Already in the impairment of the value if securities and in the injury to the country's credit mr standing, in a possible war, has been impaired.
This article was originally published with the title "The Crisis"