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´╗┐Title: A Straight Deal - or The Ancient Grudge
Author: Wister, Owen, 1860-1938
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Straight Deal - or The Ancient Grudge" ***




By Owen Wister

     To Edward and Anna Martin who give help in time of trouble

Chapter I: Concerning One's Letter Box

Publish any sort of conviction related to these morose days through
which we are living and letters will shower upon you like leaves in
October. No matter what your conviction be, it will shake both yeas and
nays loose from various minds where they were hanging ready to fall.
Never was a time when so many brains rustled with hates and panaceas
that would sail wide into the air at the lightest jar. Try it and see.
Say that you believe in God, or do not; say that Democracy is the key
to the millennium, or the survival of the unfittest; that Labor is
worse than the Kaiser, or better; that drink is a demon, or that wine
ministers to the health and the cheer of man--say what you please, and
the yeas and nays will pelt you. So insecurely do the plainest, oldest
truths dangle in a mob of disheveled brains, that it is likely, did you
assert twice two continues to equal four and we had best stick to
the multiplication table, anonymous letters would come to you full of
passionate abuse. Thinking comes hard to all of us. To some it never
comes at all, because their heads lack the machinery. How many of such
are there among us, and how can we find them out before they do us harm?
Science has a test for this. It has been applied to the army recruit,
but to the civilian voter not yet. The voting moron still runs amuck in
our Democracy. Our native American air is infected with alien breath. It
is so thick with opinions that the light is obscured. Will the sane ones
eventually prevail and heal the sick atmosphere? We must at least assume
so. Else, how could we go on?

Chapter II: What the Postman Brought

During the winter of 1915 I came to think that Germany had gone
dangerously but methodically mad, and that the European War vitally
concerned ourselves. This conviction I put in a book. Yeas and nays
pelted me. Time seems to show the yeas had it.

During May, 1918, I thought we made a mistake to hate England. I said so
at the earliest opportunity. Again came the yeas and nays. You shall see
some of these. They are of help. Time has not settled this question.
It is as alive as ever--more alive than ever. What if the Armistice was
premature? What if Germany absorb Russia and join Japan? What if the
League of Nations break like a toy?

Yeas and nays are put here without the consent of their writers, whose
names, of course, do not appear, and who, should they ever see this, are
begged to take no offense. None is intended.

There is no intention except to persuade, if possible, a few readers, at
least, that hatred of England is not wise, is not justified to-day,
and has never been more than partly justified. It is based upon three
foundations fairly distinct yet meeting and merging on occasions: first
and worst, our school histories of the Revolution; second, certain
policies and actions of England since then, generally distorted or
falsified by our politicians; and lastly certain national traits in each
country that the other does not share and which have hitherto produced
perennial personal friction between thousands of English and American
individuals of every station in life. These shall in due time be
illustrated by two sets of anecdotes: one, disclosing the English
traits, the other the American. I say English, and not British,
advisedly, because both the Scotch and the Irish seem to be without
those traits which especially grate upon us and upon which we especially
grate. And now for the letters.

The first is from a soldier, an enlisted man, writing from France.

"Allow me to thank you for your article entitled 'The Ancient Grudge.'
... Like many other young Americans there was instilled in me from early
childhood a feeling of resentment against our democratic cousins across
the Atlantic and I was only too ready to accept as true those stories I
heard of England shirking her duty and hiding behind her colonies, etc.
It was not until I came over here and saw what she was really doing that
my opinion began to change.

"When first my division arrived in France it was brigaded with and
received its initial experience with the British, who proved to us how
little we really knew of the war as it was and that we had yet much to
learn. Soon my opinion began to change and I was regarding England as
the backbone of the Allies. Yet there remained a certain something I
could not forgive them. What it was you know, and have proved to me
that it is not our place to judge and that we have much for which to be
thankful to our great Ally.

"Assuring you that your... article has succeeded in converting one who
needed conversion badly I beg to remain...."

How many American soldiers in Europe, I wonder, have looked about them,
have used their sensible independent American brains (our very best
characteristic), have left school histories and hearsay behind them and
judged the English for themselves? A good many, it is to be hoped. What
that judgment finally becomes must depend not alone upon the personal
experience of each man. It must also come from that liberality of
outlook which is attained only by getting outside your own place and
seeing a lot of customs and people that differ from your own. A mind
thus seasoned and balanced no longer leaps to an opinion about a whole
nation from the sporadic conduct of individual members of it. It is to
be feared that some of our soldiers may never forget or make allowance
for a certain insult they received in the streets of London. But of this
later. The following sentence is from a letter written by an American

"I have read... 'The Ancient Grudge' and I wish it could be read by
every man on our big ship as I know it would change a lot of their
attitude toward England. I have argued with lots of them and have shown
some of them where they are wrong but the Catholics and descendants of
Ireland have a different argument and as my education isn't very great,
I know very little about what England did to the Catholics in Ireland."

Ireland I shall discuss later. Ireland is no more our business to-day
than the South was England's business in 1861. That the Irish question
should defeat an understanding between ourselves and England would be,
to quote what a gentleman who is at once a loyal Catholic and a loyal
member of the British Government said to me, "wrecking the ship for a
ha'pennyworth of tar."

The following is selected from the nays, and was written by a business
man. I must not omit to say that the writers of all these letters are
strangers to me.

"As one American citizen to another... permit me to give my personal
view on your subject of 'The Ancient Grudge'...

"To begin with, I think that you start with a false idea of our
kinship--with the idea that America, because she speaks the language of
England, because our laws and customs are to a great extent of the same
origin, because much that is good among us came from there also, is
essentially of English character, bound up in some way with the success
or failure of England.

"Nothing, in my opinion, could be further from the truth. We are a
distinctive race--no more English, nationally, than the present King
George is German--as closely related and as alike as a celluloid comb
and a stick of dynamite.

"We are bound up in the success of America only. The English are
bound up in the success of England only. We are as friendly as rival
corporations. We can unite in a common cause, as we have, but, once that
is over, we will go our own way--which way, owing to the increase of
our shipping and foreign trade, is likely to become more and more
antagonistic to England's.

"England has been a commercially unscrupulous nation for generations
and it is idle to throw the blame for this or that act of a nation on an
individual. Such arguments might be kept up indefinitely as regards an
act of any country. A responsible nation must bear the praise or odium
that attaches to any national action. If England has experienced a
change of heart it has occurred since the days of the Boer Republic--as
wanton a steal as Belgium, with even less excuse, and attended with
sufficient brutality for all practical purposes....

"She has done us many an ill turn gratuitously and not a single good
turn that was not dictated by selfish policy or jealousy of others.
She has shown herself, up till yesterday at least, grasping and
unscrupulous. She is no worse than the others probably--possibly even
better--but it would be doing our country an ill turn to persuade its
citizens that England was anything less than an active, dangerous,
competitor, especially in the infancy of our foreign trade. When
a business rival gives you the glad hand and asks fondly after the
children, beware lest the ensuing emotions cost you money.

"No: our distrust for England has not its life and being in
pernicious textbooks. To really believe that would be an insult to our
intelligence--even grudges cannot live without real food. Should
England become helpless tomorrow, our animosity and distrust would die
to-morrow, because we would know that she had it no longer in her power
to injure us. Therein lies the feeling--the textbooks merely echo it....

"In my opinion, a navy somewhat larger than England's would practically
eliminate from America that 'Ancient Grudge' you deplore. It is
England's navy--her boasted and actual control of the seas--which
threatens and irritates every nation on the face of the globe that has
maritime aspirations. She may use it with discretion, as she has for
years. It may even be at times a source of protection to others, as it
has--but so long as it exists as a supreme power it is a constant source
of danger and food for grudges.

"We will never be a free nation until our navy surpasses England's. The
world will never be a free world until the seas and trade routes are
free to all, at all times, and without any menace, however benevolent.

"In conclusion... allow me to again state that I write as one American
citizen to another with not the slightest desire to say anything that
may be personally obnoxious. My own ancestors were from England.
My personal relations with the Englishmen I have met have been very
pleasant. I can readily believe that there are no better people living,
but I feel so strongly on the subject, nationally--so bitterly opposed
to a continuance of England's sea control--so fearful that our people
may be lulled into a feeling of false security, that I cannot help
trying to combat, with every small means in my power, anything that
seems to propagate a dangerous friendship."

I received no dissenting letter superior to this. To the writer of it
I replied that I agreed with much that he said, but that even so it did
not in my opinion outweigh the reasons I had given (and shall now
give more abundantly) in favor of dropping our hostile feeling toward

My correspondent says that we differ as a race from the English as much
as a celluloid comb from a stick of dynamite. Did our soldiers find the
difference as great as that? I doubt if our difference from anybody is
quite as great as that. Again, my correspondent says that we are bound
up in our own success only, and England is bound up in hers only. I
agree. But suppose the two successes succeed better through friendship
than through enmity? We are as friendly, my correspondent says, as two
rival corporations. Again I agree. Has it not been proved this long
while that competing corporations prosper through friendship? Did not
the Northern Pacific and the Great Northern form a combination called
the Northern Securities, for the sake of mutual benefit? Under the
Sherman Act the Northern Securities was dissolved; but no Sherman act
forbids a Liberty Securities. Liberty, defined and assured by Law, is
England's gift to the modern world. Liberty, defined and assured by Law,
is the central purpose of our Constitution. Just as identically as the
Northern Pacific and Great Northern run from St. Paul to Seattle do
England and the United States aim at Liberty, defined and assured by
Law. As friends, the two nations can swing the world towards world
stability. My correspondent would hardly have instanced the Boers in
his reference to England's misdeeds, had he reflected upon the part the
Boers have played in England's struggle with Germany.

I will point out no more of the latent weaknesses that underlie various
passages in this letter, but proceed to the remaining letters that I
have selected. I gave one from an enlisted man and one from a sailor;
this is from a commissioned officer, in France.

"I cannot refrain from sending you a line of appreciation and thanks for
giving the people at home a few facts that I am sure some do not know
and throwing a light upon a much discussed topic, which I am sure will
help to remove from some of their minds a foolish bigoted antipathy."

Upon the single point of our school histories of the Revolution, some
of which I had named as being guilty of distorting the facts, a
correspondent writes from Nebraska:

"Some months ago... the question came to me, what about our Montgomery's
History now.... I find that everywhere it is the King who is represented
as taking these measures against the American people. On page 134 is the
heading, American Commerce; the new King George III; how he interfered
with trade; page 135, The King proposes to tax the Colonies; page
136, 'The best men in Parliament--such men as William Pitt and Edmund
Burke--took the side of the colonies.' On page 138, 'William Pitt said
in Parliament, "in my opinion, this kingdom has no right to lay a tax
on the colonies... I rejoice that America has resisted"'; page 150, 'The
English people would not volunteer to fight the Americans and the King
had to hire nearly 30,000 Hessians to help do the work.... The Americans
had not sought separation; the King--not the English people--had forced
it on them....'

"I am writing this... because, as I was glad to see, you did not mince
words in naming several of the worse offenders." (He means certain
school histories that I mentioned and shall mention later again.)

An official from Pittsburgh wrote thus:

"In common with many other people, I have had the same idea that England
was not doing all she could in the war, that while her colonies were in
the thick of it, she, herself, seemed to be sparing herself, but after
reading this article... I will frankly and candidly confess to you that
it has changed my opinion, made me a strong supporter of England, and
above all made me a better American."

From Massachusetts:

"It is well to remind your readers of the errors--or worse--in American
school text books and to recount Britain's achievements in the present
war. But of what practical avail are these things when a man so highly
placed as the present Secretary of the Navy asks a Boston audience
(Tremont Temple, October 30, 1918) to believe that it was the American
navy which made possible the transportation of over 2,000,000 Americans
to France without the loss of a single transport on the way over? Did
he not know that the greater part of those troops were not only
transported, but convoyed, by British vessels, largely withdrawn for
that purpose from such vital service as the supply of food to Britain's
civil population?"

The omission on the part of our Secretary of the Navy was later quietly
rectified by an official publication of the British Government, wherein
it appeared that some sixty per cent of our troops were transported in
British ships. Our Secretary's regrettable slight to our British allies
was immediately set right by Admiral Sims, who forthwith, both in public
and in private, paid full and appreciative tribute to what had been
done. It is, nevertheless, very likely that some Americans will learn
here for the first time that more than half of our troops were not
transported by ourselves, and could not have been transported at all but
for British assistance. There are many persons who still believe what
our politicians and newspapers tell them. No incident that I shall
relate further on serves better to point the chief international moral
at which I am driving throughout these pages, and at which I have
already hinted: Never to generalize the character of a whole nation
by the acts of individual members of it. That is what everybody does,
ourselves, the English, the French, everybody. You can form no valid
opinion of any nation's characteristics, not even your own, until
you have met hundreds of its people, men and women, and had ample
opportunity to observe and know them beneath the surface. Here on the
one hand we had our Secretary of the Navy. He gave our Navy the whole
credit for getting our soldiers overseas.

He justified the British opinion that we are a nation of braggarts.
On the other hand, in London, we had Admiral Sims, another American, a
splendid antidote. He corrected the Secretary's brag. What is the moral?
Look out how you generalize. Since we entered the war that tribe of
English has increased who judge us with an open mind, discriminate
between us, draw close to a just appraisal of our qualities and defects,
and possibly even discern that those who fill our public positions are
mostly on a lower level than those who elect them.

I proceed with two more letters, both dissenting, and both giving
very typically, as it seems to me, the American feeling about
England--partially justified by instances mentioned by my correspondent,
but equally mentioned by me in passages which he seems to have skipped.

"Lately I read and did not admire your article... 'The Ancient Grudge.'
Many of your statements are absolutely true, and I recognize the fact
that England's help in this war has been invaluable. Let it go at that
and hush!

"I do not defend our own Indian policy.... Wounded and disabled in our
Indian wars... I know all about them and how indefensible they are.....

"England has been always our only legitimate enemy. 1776? Yes, call it
ancient history and forget it if possible. 1812? That may go in the
same category. But the causes of that misunderstanding were identically
repeated in 1914 and '15.

"1861? Is that also ancient? Perhaps--but very bitter in the memory of
many of us now living. The Alabama. The Confederate Commissioners
(I know you will say we were wrong there--and so we may have been
technically--but John Bull bullied us into compliance when our hands
were tied). Lincoln told his Cabinet 'one war at a time, Gentlemen' and

"In 1898 we were a strong and powerful nation and a dangerous enemy
to provoke. England recognized the fact and acted accordingly. England
entered the present war to protect small nations! Heaven save the mark!
You surely read your history. Pray tell me something of England's policy
in South Africa, India, the Soudan, Persia, Abyssinia, Ireland, Egypt.
The lost provinces of Denmark. The United States when she was young and
helpless. And thus, almost to--infinitum.

"Do you not know that the foundations of ninety per cent of the great
British fortunes came from the loot of India? upheld and fostered by the
great and unscrupulous East India Company?

"Come down to later times: to-day for instance. Here in California...
I meet and associate with hundreds of Britishers. Are they American
citizens? I had almost said, 'No, not one.' Sneering and contemptuous
of America and American institutions. Continually finding fault with our
government and our people. Comparing these things with England, always
to our disadvantage......

"Now do you wonder we do not like England? Am I pro-German? I should
laugh and so would you if you knew me."

To this correspondent I did not reply that I wished I knew him--which
I do--that, even as he, so I had frequently been galled by the rudeness
and the patronizing of various specimens, high and low, of the English
race. But something I did reply, to the effect that I asked nobody to
consider England flawless, or any nation a charitable institution, but
merely to be fair, and to consider a cordial understanding between
us greatly to our future advantage. To this he answered, in part, as

"I wish to thank you for your kindly reply.... Your argument is that as
a matter of policy we should conciliate Great Britain. Have we fallen
so low, this great and powerful nation?... Truckling to some other power
because its backing, moral or physical, may some day be of use to us,
even tho' we know that in so doing we are surrendering our dearest
rights, principles, and dignity!... Oh! my dear Sir, you surely do not
advocate this? I inclose an editorial clipping.... Is it no shock to you
when Winston Churchill shouts to High Heaven that under no circumstances
will Great Britain surrender its supreme control of the seas? This in
reply to President Wilson's plea for freedom of the seas and curtailment
of armaments.... But as you see, our President and our Mr. Daniels have
already said, 'Very well, we will outbuild you.' Never again shall Great
Britain stop our mail ships and search our private mails. Already has
England declared an embargo against our exports in many essential lines
and already are we expressing our dissatisfaction and taking means to

Of the editorial clipping inclosed with the above, the following is a

"John Bull is our associate in the contest with the Kaiser. There is no
doubt as to his position on that proposition. He went after the Dutch in
great shape. Next to France he led the way and said, 'Come on, Yanks;
we need your help. We will put you in the first line of trenches where
there will be good gunning. Yes, we will do all of that and at the same
time we will borrow your money, raised by Liberty Loans, and use it for
the purchase of American wheat, pork, and beef.'

"Mr. Bull kept his word. He never flinched or attempted to dodge the
issue. He kept strictly in the middle of the road. His determination
to down the Kaiser with American men, American money, and American food
never abated for a single day during the conflict."

This editorial has many twins throughout the country. I quote it for its
value as a specimen of that sort of journalistic and political utterance
amongst us, which is as seriously embarrassed by facts as a skunk by its
tail. Had its author said: "The Declaration of Independence was signed
by Christopher Columbus on Washington's birthday during the siege of
Vicksburg in the presence of Queen Elizabeth and Judas Iscariot," his
statement would have been equally veracious, and more striking.

As to Winston Churchill's declaration that Great Britain will not
surrender her control of the seas, I am as little shocked by that as
I should be were our Secretary of the Navy to declare that in no
circumstances would we give up control of the Panama Canal. The Panama
Canal is our carotid artery, Great Britain's navy is her jugular vein.
It is her jugular vein in the mind of her people, regardless of that new
apparition, the submarine. I was not shocked that Great Britain should
decline Mr. Wilson's invitation that she cut her jugular vein; it was
the invitation which kindled my emotions; but these were of a less
serious kind.

The last letter that I shall give is from an American citizen of English

"As a boy at school in England, I was taught the history of the American
Revolution as J. R. Green presents it in his Short History of the
English People. The gist of this record, as you doubtless recollect, is
that George III being engaged in the attempt to destroy what there then
was of political freedom and representative government in England, used
the American situation as a means to that end; that the English people,
in so far as their voice could make itself heard, were solidly against
both his English and American policy, and that the triumph of America
contributed in no small measure to the salvation of those institutions
by which the evolution of England towards complete democracy was made
possible. Washington was held up to us in England not merely as a great
and good man, but as an heroic leader, to whose courage and wisdom the
English as well as the American people were eternally indebted....

"Pray forgive so long a letter from a stranger. It is prompted... by a
sense of the illimitable importance, not only for America and Britain,
but for the entire world, of these two great democratic peoples knowing
each other as they really are and cooperating as only they can cooperate
to establish and maintain peace on just and permanent foundations."

Chapter III: In Front of a Bulletin Board

There, then, are ten letters of the fifty which came to me in
consequence of what I wrote in May, 1918, which was published in the
American Magazine for the following November. Ten will do. To read the
other forty would change no impression conveyed already by the ten, but
would merely repeat it. With varying phraseology their writers either
think we have hitherto misjudged England and that my facts are to the
point, or they express the stereotyped American antipathy to England
and treat my facts as we mortals mostly do when facts are
embarrassing--side-step them. What best pleased me was to find that
soldiers and sailors agreed with me, and not "high-brows" only.

May, 1918, as you will remember, was a very dark hour. We had come into
the war, had been in for a year; but events had not yet taken us out of
the well-nigh total eclipse flung upon our character by those blighting
words, "there is such a thing as being too proud to fight." The British
had been told by their General that they were fighting with their backs
to the wall. Since March 23rd the tread of the Hun had been coming
steadily nearer to Paris. Belleau Wood and Chateau-Thierry had not yet
struck the true ring from our metal and put into the hands of Foch the
one further weapon that he needed. French morale was burning very low
and blue. Yet even in such an hour, people apparently American and
apparently grown up, were talking against England, our ally. Then and
thereafter, even as to-day, they talked against her as they had been
talking since August, 1914, as I had heard them again and again, indoors
and out, as I heard a man one forenoon in a crowd during the earlier
years of the war, the miserable years before we waked from our trance of
neutrality, while our chosen leaders were still misleading us.

Do you remember those unearthly years? The explosions, the plots, the
spies, the Lucitania, the notes, Mr. Bryan, von Bernstorff, half our
country--oh, more than half!--in different or incredulous, nothing
prepared, nothing done, no step taken, Theodore Roosevelt's and Leonard
Wood's almost the only voices warning us what was bound to happen, and
to get ready for it? Do you remember the bulletin boards? Did you grow,
as I did, so restless that you would step out of your office to see if
anything new had happened during the last sixty minutes--would stop as
you went to lunch and stop as you came back? We knew from the faces
of our friends what our own faces were like. In company we pumped up
liveliness, but in the street, alone with our apprehensions--do you
remember? For our future's sake may everybody remember, may nobody

What the news was upon a certain forenoon memorable to me, I do not
recall, and this is of no consequence; good or bad, the stream of
by-passers clotted thickly to read it as the man chalked it line upon
line across the bulletin board. Citizens who were in haste stepped off
the curb to pass round since they could not pass through this crowd of
gazers. Thus this on the sidewalk stood some fifty of us, staring
at names we had never known until a little while ago, Bethincourt,
Malancourt, perhaps, or Montfaucon, or Roisel; French names of small
places, among whose crumbled, featureless dust I have walked since,
where lived peacefully a few hundred or a few thousand that are now
a thousand butchered or broken-hearted. Through me ran once again the
wonder that had often chilled me since the abdication of the Czar which
made certain the crumbling of Russia: after France, was our turn coming?
Should our fields, too, be sown with bones, should our little towns
among the orchards and the corn fall in ashes amongst which broken
hearts would wander in search of some surviving stick of property? I had
learned to know that a long while before the war the eyes of the Hun,
the bird of prey, had been fixed upon us as a juicy morsel. He had
written it, he had said it. Since August, 1914, these Pan-German schemes
had been leaking out for all who chose to understand them. A great many
did not so choose. The Hun had wanted us and planned to get us, and now
more than ever before, because he intended that we should pay his war
bills. Let him once get by England, and his sword would cut through our
fat, defenseless carcass like a knife through cheese.

A voice arrested my reverie, a voice close by in the crowd. It said,
"Well, I like the French. But I'll not cry much if England gets hers.
What's England done in this war, anyway?"

"Her fleet's keeping the Kaiser out of your front yard, for one thing,"
retorted another voice.

With assurance slightly wobbling and a touch of the nasal whine, the
first speaker protested, "Well, look what George III done to us. Bad as
any Kaiser."

"Aw, get your facts straight!" It was said with scornful force.
"Don't you know George III was a German? Don't you know it was
Hessians--they're Germans--he hired to come over here and kill Americans
and do his dirty work for him? And his Germans did the same dirty work
the Kaiser's are doing now. We've got a letter written after the battle
of Long Island by a member of our family they took prisoner there. And
they stripped him and they stole his things and they beat him down with
the butts of their guns--after he had surrendered, mind--when he was
surrendered and naked, and when he was down they beat him some more.
That's Germans for you. Only they've been getting worse while the rest
of the world's been getting better. Get your facts straight, man."

A number of us were now listening to this, and I envied the historian
his ingenious promptness--I have none--and I hoped for more of this
timely debate. But debate was over. The anti-Englishman faded to
silence. Either he was out of facts to get straight, or lacked what
is so pithily termed "come-back." The latter, I incline to think; for
come-back needs no facts, it is a self-feeder, and its entire absence
in the anti-Englishman looks as if he had been a German. Germans do
not come back when it goes against them, they bleat "Kamerad!"--or
disappear. Perhaps this man was a spy--a poor one, to be sure--yet doing
his best for his Kaiser: slinking about, peeping, listening, trying
to wedge the Allies apart, doing his little bit towards making friends
enemies, just as his breed has worked to set enmity between ourselves
and Japan, ourselves and Mexico, France and England, France and Italy,
England and Russia, between everybody and everybody else all the world
over, in the sacred name and for the sacred sake of the Kaiser. Thus has
his breed, since we occupied Coblenz, run to the French soldiers with
lies about us and then run to us with lies about the French soldiers,
overlooking in its providential stupidity the fact that we and the
French would inevitably compare notes. Thus too is his breed, at the
moment I write these words, infesting and poisoning the earth with a
propaganda that remains as coherent and as systematically directed as
ever it was before the papers began to assure us that there was nothing
left of the Hohenzollern government.

Chapter IV: "My Army of Spies"

"You will desire to know," said the Kaiser to his council at Potsdam in
June, 1908, after the successful testing of the first Zeppelin, "how the
hostilities will be brought about. My army of spies scattered over Great
Britain and France, as it is over North and South America, will take
good care of that. Even now I rule supreme in the United States, where
three million voters do my bidding at the Presidential elections."

Yes, they did his bidding; there, and elsewhere too. They did it at
other elections as well. Do you remember the mayor they tried to elect
in Chicago? and certain members of Congress? and certain manufacturers
and bankers? They did his bidding in our newspapers, our public schools,
and from the pulpit. Certain localities in one of the river counties of
Iowa (for instance) were spots of German treason to the United States.
The "exchange professors" that came from Berlin to Harvard and other
universities were so many camouflaged spies. Certain prominent American
citizens, dined and wined and flattered by the Kaiser for his purpose,
women as well as men, came back here mere Kaiser-puppets, hypnotized
by royalty. His bidding was done in as many ways as would fill a book.
Shopkeepers did it, servants did it, Americans among us were decorated
by him for doing it. Even after the Armistice, a school textbook "got
by" the Board of Education in a western state, wherein our boys and
girls were to be taught a German version--a Kaiser version--of Germany.
Somebody protested, and the board explained that it "hadn't noticed,"
and the book was held up.

We cannot, I fear, order the school histories in Germany to be edited
by the Allies. German school children will grow up believing, in all
prob-ability, that bombs were dropped near Nurnberg in July, 1914, that
German soil was invaded, that the Fatherland fought a war of defense;
they will certainly be nourished by lies in the future as they were
nourished by lies in the past. But we can prevent Germans or pro-Germans
writing our own school histories; we can prevent that "army of spies" of
which the Kaiser boasted to his council at Potsdam in June, 1908,
from continuing its activities among us now and henceforth; and we
can prevent our school textbooks from playing into Germany's hand by
teaching hate of England to our boys and girls. Beside the sickening
silliness which still asks, "What has England done in the war?" is a
silliness still more sickening which says, "Germany is beaten. Let
us forgive and forget." That is not Christianity. There is nothing
Christian about it. It is merely sentimental slush, sloppy shirking of
anything that compels national alertness, or effort, or self-discipline,
or self-denial; a moral cowardice that pushes away any fact which
disturbs a shallow, torpid, irresponsible, self-indulgent optimism.

Our golden age of isolation is over. To attempt to return to it would
be a mere pernicious day-dream. To hark back to Washington's warning
against entangling alliances is as sensible as to go by a map of the
world made in 1796. We are coupled to the company of nations like a car
in the middle of a train, only more inevitably and permanently, for we
cannot uncouple; and if we tried to do so, we might not wreck the train,
but we should assuredly wreck ourselves. I think the war has brought us
one benefit certainly: that many young men return from Europe knowing
this, who had no idea of it before they went, and who know also that
Germany is at heart an untamed, unchanged wild beast, never to be
trusted again. We must not, and shall not, boycott her in trade; but
let us not go to sleep at the switch! Just as busily as she is baking
pottery opposite Coblenz, labelled "made in St. Louis," "made in Kansas
City," her "army of spies" is at work here and everywhere to undermine
those nations who have for the moment delayed her plans for world
dominion. I think the number of Americans who know this has increased;
but no American, wherever he lives, need travel far from home to
meet fellow Americans who sing the song of slush about forgiving and

Perhaps the man I heard talking in front of the bulletin board was
one of the "army of spies," as I like to infer from his absence of
"come-back." But perhaps he was merely an innocent American who at
school had studied, for instance, Eggleston's history; thoughtless--but
by no means harmless; for his school-taught "slant" against England, in
the days we were living through then, amounted to a "slant" for
Germany. He would be sorry if Germany beat France, but not if she beat
England--when France and England were joined in keeping the wolf not
only from their door but from ours! It matters not in the least that
they were fighting our battle, not because they wanted to, but because
they couldn't help it: they were fighting it just the same. That they
were compelled doesn't matter, any more than it matters that in going to
war when Belgium was invaded, England's duty and England's self-interest
happened to coincide. Our duty and our interest also coincided when we
entered the war and joined England and France. Have we seemed to think
that this diminished our glory? Have they seemed to think that it
absolved them from gratitude?

Such talk as that man's in front of the bulletin board helped Germany
then, whether he meant to or not, just as much as if a spy had said
it--just as much as similar talk against England to-day, whether by
spies or unheeding Americans, helps the Germany of to-morrow. The
Germany of yesterday had her spies all over France and Italy, busily
suggesting to rustic uninformed peasants that we had gone to France for
conquest of France, and intended to keep some of her land. What is she
telling them now? I don't know. Something to her advantage and their
disadvantage, you may be sure, just as she is busy suggesting to us
things to her advantage and our disadvantage--jealousy and fear of the
British navy, or pro-German school histories for our children, or that
we can't make dyes, or whatever you please: the only sure thing is,
that the Germany of yesterday is the Germany of to-morrow. She is not
changed. She will not change. The steady stream of her propaganda
all over the world proves it. No matter how often her masquerading
government changes costumes, that costume is merely her device to
conceal the same cunning, treacherous wild beast that in 1914, after
forty years of preparation, sprang at the throat of the world. Of all
the nations in the late war, she alone is pulling herself together. She
is hard at work. She means to spring again just as soon as she can.

Did you read the letter written in April of 1919 by her Vice-Chancellor,
Mathias Erzberger, also her minister of finance? A very able, compact
masterpiece of malignant voracity, good enough to do credit to Satan.
Through that lucky flaw of stupidity which runs through apparently every
German brain, and to which we chiefly owe our victory and temporary
respite from the fangs of the wolf, Mathias Erzberger posted his letter.
It went wrong in the mails. If you desire to read the whole of it, the
International News Bureau can either furnish it or put you on the track
of it. One sentence from it shall be quoted here:

"We will undertake the restoration of Russia, and in possession of such
support will be ready, within ten or fifteen years, to bring France,
without any difficulty, into our power. The march towards Paris will be
easier than in 1914. The last step but one towards the world dominion
will then be reached. The continent is ours. Afterwards will follow
the last stage, the closing struggle, between the continent and the

Who is meant by "overseas"? Is there left any honest American brain so
fond and so feeble as to suppose that we are not included in that highly
suggestive and significant term? I fear that some such brains are left.

Germans remain German. I was talking with an American officer just
returned from Coblenz. He described the surprise of the Germans when
they saw our troops march in to occupy that region of their country.
They said to him: "But this is extraordinary. Where do these soldiers of
yours come from? You have only 150,000 troops in Europe. All the other
transports were sunk by our submarines." "We have two million troops in
Europe," replied the officer, "and lost by explosion a very few hundred.
No transport was sunk." "But that is impossible," returned the burgher,
"we know from our Government at Berlin that you have only 150,000 troops
in Europe."

Germans remain German. At Coblenz they were servile, cringing, fawning,
ready to lick the boots of the Americans, loading them with offers of
every food and drink and joy they had. Thus they began. Soon, finding
that the Americans did not cut their throats, burn their houses,
rape their daughters, or bayonet their babies, but were quiet, civil,
disciplined, and apparently harmless, they changed. Their fawning faded
away, they scowled and muttered. One day the Burgomaster at a certain
place replied to some ordinary requisitions with an arrogant refusal.
It was quite out of the question, he said, to comply with any such
ridiculous demands. Then the Americans ceased to seem harmless. Certain
steps were taken by the commanding officer, some leading citizens
were collected and enlightened through the only channel whereby light
penetrates a German skull. Thus, by a very slight taste of the methods
by which they thought they would cow the rest of the world, these
burghers were cowed instantly. They had thought the Americans afraid of
them. They had taken civility for fear. Suddenly they encountered what
we call the swift kick. It educated them. It always will. Nothing else

Mathias Erzberger will, of course, disclaim his letter. He will say it
is a forgery. He will point to the protestations of German repentance
and reform with which he sweated during April, 1919, and throughout the
weeks preceding the delivery of the Treaty at Versailles. Perhaps he has
done this already. All Germans will believe him--and some Americans.

The German method, the German madness--what a mixture! The method just
grazed making Germany owner of the earth, the madness saved the earth.
With perfect recognition of Belgium's share, of Russia's share, of
France's, Italy's, England's, our own, in winning the war, I believe
that the greatest and mast efficient Ally of all who contributed to
Germany's defeat was her own constant blundering madness. Americans must
never forget either the one or the other, and too many are trying to
forget both.

Germans remain German. An American lady of my acquaintance was about
to climb from Amalfi to Ravello in company with a German lady of her
acquaintance. The German lady had a German Baedeker, the American a
Baedeker in English, published several years apart. The Baedeker in
German recommended a path that went straight up the ascent, the Baedeker
in English a path that went up more gradually around it. "Mine says
this is the best way," said the American. "Mine says straight up is
the best," said the German. "But mine is a later edition," said the
American. "That is not it," explained the German. "It is that we Germans
are so much more clever and agile, that to us is recommended the more
dangerous way while Americans are shown the safe path."

That happened in 1910. That is Kultur. This too is Kultur:

                 "If Silesia become Polish
 Then, oh God, may children perish, like beasts, in their mothers' womb.
 Then lame their Polish feet and their hands, oh God!
 Let them be crippled and blind their eyes.
 Smite them with dumbness and madness,both men and women."

                 From a Hymn of German hate for the Poles.

Germany remains German; but when next she springs, she will make no

Chapter V: The Ancient Grudge

It was in Broad Street, Philadelphia, before we went to war, that I
overheard the foolish--or propagandist--slur upon England in front of
the bulletin board. After we were fighting by England's side for our
existence, you might have supposed such talk would cease. It did not.
And after the Armistice, it continued. On the day we celebrated as
"British Day," a man went through the crowd in Wanamaker's shop,
asking, What had England done in the War, anyhow? Was he a German, or
an Irishman, or an American in pay of Berlin? I do not know. But this I
know: perfectly good Americans still talk like that. Cowboys in camp do
it. Men and women in Eastern cities, persons with at least the external
trappings of educated intelligence, play into the hands of the Germany
of to-morrow, do their unconscious little bit of harm to the future of
freedom and civilization, by repeating that England "has always been our
enemy." Then they mention the Revolution, the War of 1812, and England's
attitude during our Civil War, just as they invariably mentioned these
things in 1917 and 1918, when England was our ally in a struggle (or
life, and as they will be mentioning them in 1940, I presume, if they
are still alive at that time).

Now, the Civil War ended fifty-five years ago, the War of 1812 one
hundred and five, and the Revolution one hundred and thirty-seven.
Suppose, while the Kaiser was butchering Belgium because she barred his
way to that dinner he was going to eat in Paris in October, 1914, that
France had said, "England is my hereditary enemy. Henry the Fifth and
the Duke of Wellington and sundry Plantagenets fought me"; and suppose
England had said, "I don't care much for France. Joan of Arc and
Napoleon and sundry other French fought me"--suppose they had sat
nursing their ancient grudges like that? Well, the Kaiser would have
dined in Paris according to his plan. And next, according to his plan,
with the Channel ports taken he would have dined in London. And
finally, according to his plan, and with the help of his "army of spies"
overseas, he would have dined in New York and the White House. For
German madness could not have defeated Germany's plan of World dominion,
if various nations had not got together and assisted. Other Americans
there are, who do not resort to the Revolution for their grudge, but
are in a commercial rage over this or that: wool, for instance. Let such
Americans reflect that commercial grievances against England can be more
readily adjusted than an absorption of all commerce by Germany can be
adjusted. Wool and everything else will belong to Mathias Erzberger
and his breed, if they carry out their intention. And the way to insure
their carrying it out is to let them split us and England and all their
competitors asunder by their ceaseless and ingenious propaganda, which
plays upon every international prejudice, historic, commercial, or
other, which is available. After August, 1914, England barred the
Kaiser's way to New York, and in 1917, we found it useful to forget
about George the Third and the Alabama. In 1853 Prussia possessed one
ship of war--her first.

In 1918 her submarines were prowling along our coast. For the moment
they are no longer there. For a while they may not be. But do you think
Germany intends that scraps of paper shall be abolished by any Treaty,
even though it contain 80,000 words and a League of Nations? She will
make of that Treaty a whole basket of scraps, if she can, and as soon
as she can. She has said so. Her workingmen are at work, industrious and
content with a quarter the pay for a longer day than anywhere else.
Let those persons who cannot get over George the Third and the Alabama
ponder upon this for a minute or two.

Chapter VI: Who Is Without Sin?

Much else is there that it were well they should ponder, and I am coming
to it presently; but first, one suggestion. Most of us, if we dig back
only fifty or sixty or seventy years, can disinter various relatives
over whose doings we should prefer to glide lightly and in silence.

Do you mean to say that you have none? Nobody stained with any shade
of dishonor? No grandfather, great-grandfather, great-great-etc.
grandfather or grandmother who ever made a scandal, broke a heart, or
betrayed a trust? Every man Jack and woman Jill of the lot right back to
Adam and Eve wholly good, honorable, and courageous? How fortunate to
be sprung exclusively from the loins of centuries of angels--and to know
all about them! Consider the hoard of virtue to which you have fallen

But you know very well that this is not so; that every one of us has
every kind of person for an ancestor; that all sorts of virtue and
vice, of heroism and disgrace, are mingled in our blood; that inevitably
amidst the huge herd of our grandsires black sheep as well as white are
to be found.

As it is with men, so it is with nations. Do you imagine that any nation
has a spotless history? Do you think that you can peer into our past,
turn over the back pages of our record, and never come upon a single
blot? Indeed you cannot. And it is better--a great deal better--that you
should be aware of these blots. Such knowledge may enlighten you, may
make you a better American. What we need is to be critics of ourselves,
and this is exactly what we have been taught not to be.

We are quite good enough to look straight at ourselves. Owing to one
thing and another we are cleaner, honester, humaner, and whiter than
any people on the continent of Europe. If any nation on the continent of
Europe has ever behaved with the generosity and magnanimity that we have
shown to Cuba, I have yet to learn of it. They jeered at us about Cuba,
did the Europeans of the continent. Their papers stuck their tongues in
their cheeks. Of course our fine sentiments were all sham, they said.
Of course we intended to swallow Cuba, and never had intended anything
else. And when General Leonard Wood came away from Cuba, having made
Havana healthy, having brought order out of chaos on the island, and we
left Cuba independent, Europe jeered on. That dear old Europe!

Again, in 1909, it was not any European nation that returned to China
their share of the indemnity exacted in consequence of the Boxer
troubles; we alone returned our share to China--sixteen millions. It was
we who prevented levying a punitive indemnity on China. Read the whole
story; there is much more. We played the gentleman, Europe played the
bully. But Europe calls us "dollar chasers." That dear old Europe!
Again, if any conquering General on the continent of Europe ever behaved
as Grant did to Lee at Appomattox, his name has escaped me.

Again, and lastly--though I am not attempting to tell you here the whole
tale of our decencies: Whose hands came away cleanest from that Peace
Conference in Paris lately? What did we ask for ourselves? Everything
we asked, save some repairs of damage, was for other people. Oh, yes! we
are quite good enough to keep quiet about these things. No need whatever
to brag. Bragging, moreover, inclines the listener to suspect you're not
so remarkable as you sound.

But all this virtue doesn't in the least alter the fact that we're like
everybody else in having some dirty pages in our History. These pages it
is a foolish mistake to conceal. I suppose that the school histories
of every nation are partly bad. I imagine that most of them implant the
germ of international hatred in the boys and girls who have to study
them. Nations do not like each other, never have liked each other;
and it may very well be that school textbooks help this inclination to
dislike. Certainly we know what contempt and hatred for other nations
the Germans have been sedulously taught in their schools, and how
utterly they believed their teaching. How much better and wiser for the
whole world if all the boys and girls in all the schools everywhere
were henceforth to be started in life with a just and true notion of all
flags and the peoples over whom they fly! The League of Nations might
not then rest upon the quicksand of distrust and antagonism which it
rests upon today. But it is our own school histories that are my present
concern, and I repeat my opinion--or rather my conviction--that the way
in which they have concealed the truth from us is worse than silly,
it is harmful. I am not going to take up the whole list of their
misrepresentations, I will put but one or two questions to you.

When you finished school, what idea had you about the War of 1812?
I will tell you what mine was. I thought we had gone to war because
England was stopping American ships and taking American sailors out of
them for her own service. I could refer to Perry's victory on Lake Erie
and Jackson's smashing of the British at New Orleans; the name of the
frigate Constitution sent thrills through me. And we had pounded old
John Bull and sent him to the right about a second time! Such was my
glorious idea, and there it stopped. Did you know much more than that
about it when your schooling was done? Did you know that our reasons for
declaring war against Great Britain in 1812 were not so strong as they
had been three and four years earlier? That during those years England
had moderated her arrogance, was ready to moderate further, had placated
us for her brutal performance concerning the Chesapeake, wanted peace;
while we, who had been nearly unanimous for war, and with a fuller
purse in 1808, were now, by our own congressional fuddling and messing,
without any adequate army, and so divided in counsel that only one
northern state was wholly in favor of war? Did you know that our General
Hull began by invading Canada from Detroit and surrendered his whole
army without firing a shot? That the British overran Michigan and parts
of Ohio, and western New York, while we retreated disgracefully? That
though we shone in victories of single combat on the sea and showed the
English that we too knew how to sail and fight on the waves as hardily
as Britannia (we won eleven out of thirteen of the frigate and sloop
actions), nevertheless she caught us or blocked us up, and rioted
unchecked along our coasts? You probably did know that the British
burned Washington, and you accordingly hated them for this barbarous
vandalism--but did you know that we had burned Toronto a year earlier?

I left school knowing none of this--it wasn't in my school book, and
I learned it in mature years with amazement. I then learned also that
England, while she was fighting with us, had her hands full fighting
Bonaparte, that her war with us was a sideshow, and that this was
uncommonly lucky for us--as lucky quite as those ships from France under
Admiral de Grasse, without whose help Washington could never have caught
Cornwallis and compelled his surrender at Yorktown, October 19, 1781.
Did you know that there were more French soldiers and sailors than
Americans at Yorktown? Is it well to keep these things from the young?
I have not done with the War of 1812. There is a political aspect of
it that I shall later touch upon--something that my school books never

My next question is, what did you know about the Mexican War of
1846-1847, when you came out of school? The names of our victories,
I presume, and of Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott; and possibly the
treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, whereby Mexico ceded to us the whole
of Texas, New Mexico, and Upper California, and we paid her fifteen
millions. No doubt you know that Santa Anna, the Mexican General, had
a wooden leg. Well, there is more to know than that, and I found it out
much later. I found out that General Grant, who had fought with
credit as a lieutenant in the Mexican War, briefly summarized it as
"iniquitous." I gradually, through my reading as a man, learned the
truth about the Mexican War which had not been taught me as a boy--that
in that war we bullied a weaker power, that we made her our victim, that
the whole discreditable business had the extension of slavery at the
bottom of it, and that more Americans were against it than had been
against the War of 1812. But how many Americans ever learn these things?
Do not most of them, upon leaving school, leave history also behind
them, and become farmers, or merchants, or plumbers, or firemen, or
carpenters, or whatever, and read little but the morning paper for the
rest of their lives?

The blackest page in our history would take a long while to read. Not a
word of it did I ever see in my school textbooks. They were written on
the plan that America could do no wrong. I repeat that, just as we love
our friends in spite of their faults, and all the more intelligently
because we know these faults, so our love of our country would be just
as strong, and far more intelligent, were we honestly and wisely taught
in our early years those acts and policies of hers wherein she fell
below her lofty and humane ideals. Her character and her record on the
whole from the beginning are fine enough to allow the shadows to throw
the sunlight into relief. To have produced at three stages of our
growth three such men as Washington, Lincoln, and Roosevelt, is quite
sufficient justification for our existence

Chapter VII: Tarred with the Same Stick

The blackest page in our history is our treatment of the Indian. To
speak of it is a thankless task--thankless, and necessary.

This land was the Indian's house, not ours. He was here first, nobody
knows how many centuries first. We arrived, and we shoved him, and
shoved him, and shoved him, back, and back, and back. Treaty after
treaty we made with him, and broke. We drew circles round his freedom,
smaller and smaller. We allowed him such and such territory, then took
it away and gave him less and worse in exchange. Throughout a century
our promises to him were a whole basket of scraps of paper. The other
day I saw some Indians in California. It had once been their place. All
over that region they had hunted and fished and lived according to their
desires, enjoying life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We came.
To-day the hunting and fishing are restricted by our laws--not the
Indian's--because we wasted and almost exterminated in a very short
while what had amply provided the Indian with sport and food for a very
long while.

In that region we have taken, as usual, the fertile land and the running
water, and have allotted land to the Indian where neither wood nor water
exist, no crops will grow, no human life can be supported. I have seen
the land. I have seen the Indian begging at the back door. Oh, yes, they
were an "inferior race." Oh, yes, they didn't and couldn't use the land
to the best advantage, couldn't build Broadway and the Union Pacific
Railroad, couldn't improve real estate. If you choose to call the whole
thing "manifest destiny," I am with you. I'll not dispute that what
we have made this continent is of greater service to mankind than the
wilderness of the Indian ever could possibly have been--once conceding,
as you have to concede, the inevitableness of civilization. Neither you,
nor I, nor any man, can remold the sorry scheme of things entire. But we
could have behaved better to the Indian. That was in our power. And we
gave him a raw deal instead, not once, but again and again. We did it
because we could do it without risk, because he was weaker and we could
always beat him in the end. And all the while we were doing it, there
was our Bill of Rights, our Declaration of Independence, founded on
a new thing in the world, proclaiming to mankind the fairest hope
yet born, that "All men are endowed by their Creator with certain
inalienable rights," and that these were now to be protected by law. Ah,
no, look at it as you will, it is a black page, a raw deal. The officers
of our frontier army know all about it, because they saw it happen. They
saw the treaties broken, the thieving agents, the trespassing settlers,
the outrages that goaded the deceived Indian to despair and violence,
and when they were ordered out to kill him, they knew that he had struck
in self-defense and was the real victim.

It is too late to do much about it now. The good people of the Indian
Rights Association try to do something; but in spite of them, what
little harm can still be done is being done through dishonest Indian
agents and the mean machinery of politics. If you care to know more of
the long, bad story, there is a book by Helen Hunt Jackson, A Century
of Dishonor; it is not new. It assembles and sets forth what had been
perpetrated up to the time when it was written. A second volume could be
added now.

I have dwelt upon this matter here for a very definite reason,
closely connected with my main purpose. It's a favorite trick of our
anti-British friends to call England a "land-grabber." The way in which
England has grabbed land right along, all over the world, is monstrous,
they say. England has stolen what belonged to whites, and blacks, and
bronzes, and yellows, wherever she could lay her hands upon it, they
say. England is a criminal. They repeat this with great satisfaction,
this land-grabbing indictment. Most of them know little or nothing of
the facts, couldn't tell you the history of a single case. But what
are the facts to the man who asks, "What has England done in this war,
anyway?" The word "land-grabber" has been passed to him by German
and Sinn Fein propaganda, and he merely parrots it forth. He couldn't
discuss it at all. "Look at the Boers," he may know enough to reply, if
you remind him that England's land-grabbing was done a good while ago.
Well, we shall certainly look at the Boers in due time, but just now
we must look at ourselves. I suppose that the American who denounces
England for her land-grabbing has forgotten, or else has never known,
how we grabbed Florida from Spain. The pittance that we paid Spain in
one of the Florida transactions never went to her. The story is a plain
tale of land-grabbing; and there are several other plain tales that show
us to have been land-grabbers, if you will read the facts with an honest
mind. I shall not tell them here. The case of the Indian is enough in
the way of an instance. Our own hands are by no means clean. It is not
for us to denounce England as a land-grabber.

You cannot hate statistics more than I do. But at times there is no
dodging them, and this is one of the times. In 1803 we paid Napoleon
Bonaparte fifteen millions for what was then called Louisiana. Napoleon
had his title to this land from Spain. Spain had it from France. France
had it--how? She had it because La Salle, a Frenchman, sailed down the
Mississippi River. This gave him title to the land. There were people on
the bank already, long before La Salle came by.

It would have surprised them to be told that the land was no longer
theirs because a man had come by on the water. But nobody did tell them.
They were Indians. They had wives and children and wigwams and other
possessions in the land where they had always lived; but they were red,
and the man in the boat was white, and therefore they were turned into
trespassers because he had sailed by in a boat. That was the title to
Louisiana which we bought from Napoleon Bonaparte.

The Louisiana Purchase was a piece of land running up the Mississippi,
up the Missouri, over the Divide, and down the Columbia to the Pacific.
Before we acquired it, our area was over a quarter, but not half, a
million square miles. This added nearly a million square miles more. But
what had we really bought? Nothing but stolen goods. The Indians were
there before La Salle, from whose boat-sailing the title we bought was
derived. "But," you may object, "when whites rob reds or blacks, we call
it Discovery; land-grabbing is when whites rob whites--and that is where
I blame England." For the sake of argument I concede this, and refer you
to our acquisition of Texas. This operation followed some years after
the Florida operation. "By request" we "annexed" most of present
Texas--in 1845. That was a trick of our slaveholders. They sent people
into Texas and these people swung the deal. It was virtually a theft
from Mexico. A little while later, in 1848, we "paid" Mexico for
California, Arizona, and Nevada. But if you read the true story of
Fremont in California, and of the American plots there before the
Mexican War, to undermine the government of a friendly nation, plots
connived at in Washington with a view to getting California for
ourselves, upon my word you will find it hard to talk of England being a
land-grabber and keep a straight face. And, were a certain book to fall
into your hands, the narrative of the Alcalde of Monterey, wherein he
sets down what of Fremont's doings in California went on before his
eyes, you would learn a story of treachery, brutality, and greed. All
this acquisition of territory, together with the Gadsden Purchase a few
years later, brought our continent to its present area--not counting
Alaska or some islands later acquired--2,970,230 square miles.

Please understand me very clearly: I am not saying that it has not been
far better for the world and for civilization that we should have become
the rulers of all this land, instead of its being ruled by the Indians
or by Spain, or by Mexico. That is not at all the point. I am merely
reminding you of the means whereby we got the land. We got it mostly by
force and fraud, by driving out of it through firearms and plots people
who certainly were there first and who were weaker than ourselves. Our
reason was simply that we wanted it and intended to have it. That is
precisely what England has done. She has by various means not one whit
better or worse than ours, acquired her possessions in various parts of
the world because they were necessary to her safety and welfare, just
as this continent was necessary to our safety and welfare. Moreover,
the pressure upon her, her necessity for self-preservation, was far more
urgent than was the pressure upon us. To make you see this, I must once
again resort to some statistics.

England's area--herself and adjacent islands--is 120,832 square miles.
Her population in 1811 was eighteen and one half millions. At that
same time our area was 408,895 square miles, not counting the recent
Louisiana Purchase. And our population was 7,239,881. With an area less
than one third of ours (excluding the huge Louisiana) England had a
population more than twice as great. Therefore she was more crowded than
we were--how much more I leave you to figure out for yourself. I appeal
to the fair-minded American reader who only "wants to be shown," and I
say to him, when some German or anti-British American talks to him
about what a land-grabber England has been in her time to think of these
things and to remember that our own past is tarred with the same stick.
Let every one of us bear in mind that little sentence of the Kaiser's,
"Even now I rule supreme in the United States;" let us remember that the
Armistice and the Peace Treaty do not seem to have altered German nature
or German plans very noticeably, and don't let us muddle our brains over
the question of the land grabbed by the great-grandfathers of present

Any American who is anti-British to-day is by just so much pro-German,
is helping the trouble of the world, is keeping discord alight, is doing
his bit against human peace and human happiness.

There are some other little sentences of the Kaiser and his Huns of
which I shall speak before I finish: we must now take up the controversy
of those men in front of the bulletin board; we must investigate what
lies behind that controversy. Those two men are types. One had learned
nothing since he left school, the other had.

Chapter VIII: History Astigmatic

So far as I know, it was Mr. Sydney Gent Fisher, an American, who was
the first to go back to the original documents, and to write from study
of these documents the complete truth about England and ourselves during
the Revolution. His admirable book tore off the cloak which our school
histories had wrapped round the fables. He lays bare the political
state of Britain at that time. What did you learn at your school of that
political state? Did you ever wonder able General Howe and his manner
of fighting us? Did it ever strike you that, although we were more often
defeated than victorious in those engagements with him (and sometimes he
even seemed to avoid pitched battles with us when the odds were all
in his favor), yet somehow England did seem to reap the advantage she
should be reaped from those contests, didn't follow them, let us get
away, didn't in short make any progress to speak of in really conquering
us? Perhaps you attributed this to our brave troops and our great
Washington. Well, our troops were brave and Washington was great; but
there was more behind--more than your school teaching ever led you to
suspect, if your schooling was like mine. I imagined England as
being just one whole unit of fury and tyranny directed against us and
determined to stamp out the spark of liberty we had kindled. No such
thing! England was violently divided in sentiment about us. Two parties,
almost as opposed as our North and South have been--only it was not
sectional in England--held very different views about liberty and
the rights of Englishmen. The King's party, George the Third and his
upholders, were fighting to saddle autocracy upon England; the other
party, that of Pitt and Burke, were resisting this, and their sentiments
and political beliefs led them to sympathize with our revolt against
George III. "I rejoice," writes Horace Walpole, Dec. 5, 1777, to the
Countess of Upper Ossory, "that the Americans are to be free, as they
had a right to be, and as I am sure they have shown they deserve to
be.... I own there are very able Englishmen left, but they happen to
be on t'other side of the Atlantic." It was through Whig influence
that General Howe did not follow up his victories over us, because they
didn't wish us to be conquered, they wished us to be able to vindicate
the rights to which they held all Englishmen were entitled. These men
considered us the champions of that British liberty which George III was
attempting to crush. They disputed the rightfulness of the Stamp Act.
When we refused to submit to the Stamp Tax in 1766, it was then that
Pitt exclaimed in Parliament: "I rejoice that America has resisted....
If ever this nation should have a tyrant for a King, six millions of
freemen, so dead to all the feelings of liberty as voluntarily to submit
to be slaves, would be fit instruments to make slaves of the rest." But
they were not willing. When the hour struck and the war came, so many
Englishmen were on our side that they would not enlist against us,
refused to fight us, and George III had to go to Germany and obtain
Hessians to help him out. His war against us was lost at home, on
English soil, through English disapproval of his course, almost as much
as it was lost here through the indomitable Washington and the help of
France. That is the actual state of the case, there is the truth. Did
you hear much about this at school? Did you ever learn there that George
III had a fake Parliament, largely elected by fake votes, which did not
represent the English people; that this fake Parliament was autocracy's
last ditch in England; that it choked for a time the English democracy
which, after the setback given it by the excesses of the French
Revolution, went forward again until to-day the King of England has less
power than the President of the United States? I suppose everybody in
the world who knows the important steps of history knows this--except
the average American. From him it has been concealed by his school
histories; and generally he never learns anything about it at all,
because once out of school, he seldom studies any history again. But
why, you may possibly wonder, have our school histories done this? I
think their various authors may consciously or unconsciously have felt
that our case against England was not in truth very strong, that in fact
she had been very easy with us, far easier than any other country was
being with its colonies at that time. The King of France taxed his
colonies, the King of Spain filled his purse, unhampered, from the
pockets of Mexico and Peru and Cuba and Porto Rico--from whatever pocket
into which he could put his hand, and the Dutch were doing the same
without the slightest question of their right to do it. Our quarrel
with the mother country and our breaking away from her in spite of the
extremely light rein she was driving us with, rested in reality upon
very slender justification. If ever our authors read of the meeting
between Franklin, Rutledge, and Adams with General Howe, after the
Battle of Long Island, I think they may have felt that we had almost no
grievance at all. The plain truth of it was, we had been allowed for
so long to be so nearly free that we determined to be free entirely,
no matter what England conceded. Therefore these authors of our school
textbooks felt that they needed to bolster our cause up for the benefit
of the young. Accordingly our boys' and girls' sense of independence
and patriotism must be nourished by making England out a far greater
oppressor than ever she really had been. These historians dwelt as
heavily as they could upon George III and his un-English autocracy, and
as lightly as they could upon the English Pitt and upon all the English
sympathy we had. Indeed, about this most of them didn't say a word.

Now that policy may possibly have been desirable once--if it can ever
be desirable to suppress historic truth from a whole nation. But to-day,
when we have long stood on our own powerful legs and need no bolstering
up of such a kind, that policy is not only silly, it is pernicious. It
is pernicious because the world is heaving with frightful menaces to
all the good that man knows. They would strip life of every resource
gathered through centuries of struggle. Mad mobs, whole races of people
who have never thought at all, or who have now hurled away all pretense
of thought, aim at mere destruction of everything that is. They
don't attempt to offer any substitute. Down with religion, down with
education, down with marriage, down with law, down with property: Such
is their cry. Wipe the slate blank, they say, and then we'll see what
we'll write on it. Amid this stands Germany with her unchanged purpose
to own the earth; and Japan is doing some thinking. Amid this also is
the Anglo-Saxon race, the race that has brought our law, our order, our
safety, our freedom into the modern world. That any school histories
should hinder the members of this race from understanding each other
truly and being friends, should not be tolerated.

Many years later than Mr. Sydney George Fisher's analysis of England
under George III, Mr. Charles Altschul has made an examination and given
an analysis of a great number of those school textbooks wherein our
boys and girls have been and are still being taught a history of our
Revolution in the distorted form that I have briefly summarized. His
book was published in 1917, by the George H. Doran Company, New York,
and is entitled The American Revolution in our School Textbooks. Here
following are some of his discoveries:

Of forty school histories used twenty years ago in sixty-eight cities,
and in many more unreported, four tell the truth about King George's
pocket Parliament, and thirty-two suppress it. To-day our books are not
quite so bad, but it is not very much better; and-to-day, be it added,
any reforming of these textbooks by Boards of Education is likely to be
prevented, wherever obstruction is possible, by every influence visible
and invisible that pro-German and pro-Irish propaganda can exert.
Thousands of our American school children all over our country are
still being given a version of our Revolution and the political state
of England then, which is as faulty as was George III's government, with
its fake parliament, its "rotten boroughs," its Little Sarum. Meanwhile
that "army of spies" through which the Kaiser boasted that he ruled
"supreme" here, and which, though he is gone, is by no means a
demobilized army, but a very busy and well-drilled and well-conducted
army, is very glad that our boys and girls should be taught false
history, and will do its best to see that they are not taught true

Mr. Charles Altschul, in his admirable enterprise, addressed himself
to those who preside over our school world all over the country;
he received answers from every state in the Union, and he examined
ninety-three history textbooks in those passages and pages which they
devoted to our Revolution. These books he grouped according to the
amount of information they gave about Pitt and Burke and English
sympathy with us in our quarrel with George III. These groups are five
in number, and dwindle down from group one, "Textbooks which deal
fully with the grievances of the colonists, give an account of general
political conditions in England prior to the American Revolution, and
give credit to prominent Englishmen for the services they rendered
the Americans," to group five, "Textbooks which deal fully with the
grievances of the colonists, make no reference to general political
conditions in England prior to the American Revolution, nor to any
prominent Englishmen who devoted themselves to the cause of the
Americans." Of course, what dwindles is the amount said about our
English sympathizers. In groups three and four this is so scanty as to
distort the truth and send any boy or girl who studied books of these
groups out of school into life with a very imperfect idea indeed of the
size and importance of English opposition to the policy of George III;
in group five nothing is said about this at all. The boys and girls who
studied books in group five would grow up believing that England was
undividedly autocratic, tyrannical, and hostile to our liberty. In his
careful and conscientious classification, Mr. Altschul gives us the
books in use twenty years ago (and hence responsible for the opinion
of Americans now between thirty and forty years old) and books in use
to-day, and hence responsible for the opinion of those American men
and women who will presently be grown up and will prolong for another
generation the school-taught ignorance and prejudice of their fathers
and mothers. I select from Mr. Altschul's catalogue only those books in
use in 1917, when he published his volume, and of these only group five,
where the facts about English sympathy with us are totally suppressed.
Barnes' School History of the United States, by Steele. Chandler and
Chitword's Makers of American History. Chambers' (Hansell's) A School
History of the United States. Eggleston's A First Book in American
History. Eggleston's History of the United States and Its People.
Eg-gleston's New Century History of the United States. Evans' First
Lessons in Georgia History. Evans' The Essential Facts of American
History. Estill's Beginner's History of Our Country. Forman's History
of the United States. Montgomery's An Elementary American History.
Montgomery's The Beginner's American History. White's Beginner's History
of the United States.

If the reader has followed me from the beginning, he will recollect
a letter, parts of which I quoted, from a correspondent who spoke of
Montgomery's history, giving passages in which a fair and adequate
recognition of Pitt and our English sympathizers and their opposition to
George III is made. This would seem to indicate a revision of the work
since Mr. Altschul published his lists, and to substantiate the hope I
expressed in my original article, and which I here repeat. Surely
the publishers of these books will revise them! Surely any patriotic
American publisher and any patriotic board of education, school
principal, or educator, will watch and resist all propaganda and other
sinister influence tending to perpetuate this error of these school
histories! Whatever excuse they once had, be it the explanation I have
offered above, or some other, there is no excuse to-day. These books
have laid the foundation from which has sprung the popular prejudice
against England. It has descended from father to son. It has been
further solidified by many tales for boys and girls, written by men and
women who acquired their inaccurate knowledge at our schools. And it
plays straight into the hands of our enemies.

Chapter IX: Concerning a Complex

All of these books, history and fiction, drop into the American mind
during its early springtime the seed of antagonism, establish in fact
an anti-English "complex." It is as pretty a case of complex on the
wholesale as could well be found by either historian or psychologist.
It is not so violent as the complex which has been planted in the German
people by forty years of very adroitly and carefully planned training:
they were taught to distrust and hate everybody and to consider
themselves so superior to anybody that their sacred duty as they saw it
in 1914 was to enslave the world in order to force upon the world the
priceless benefits of their Kultur. Under the shock of war that complex
dilated into a form of real hysteria or insanity. Our anti-English
com-plex is fortunately milder than that; but none the less does it
savor slightly, as any nerve specialist or psychological doctor would
tell you---it savors slightly of hysteria, that hundreds of thousands of
American men and women of every grade of education and ignorance should
automatically exclaim whenever the right button is pressed, "England is
a land-grabber," and "What has England done in the War?"

The word complex has been in our dictionary for a long while. This
familiar adjective has been made by certain scientific people into a
noun, and for brevity and convenience employed to denote something that
almost all of us harbor in some form or other. These complexes, these
lumps of ideas or impressions that match each other, that are of the
same pattern, and that are also invariably tinctured with either a
pleasurable or painful emotion, lie buried in our minds, unthought-of
but alive, and lurk always ready to set up a ferment, whenever some new
thing from outside that matches them enters the mind and hence starts
them off. The "suppressed complex" I need not describe, as our English
complex is by no means suppressed. Known to us all, probably, is the
political complex. Year after year we have been excited about elections
and candidates and policies, preferring one party to the other. If
this preference has been very marked, or even violent, you know how
disinclined we are to give credit to the other party for any act or
policy, no matter how excellent in itself, which, had our own party been
its sponsor, we should have been heart and soul for. You know how
easily we forget the good deeds of the opposite party and how easily
we remember its bad deeds. That's a good simple ordinary example of a
complex. Its workings can be discerned in the experience of us all. In
our present discussion it is very much to the point.

Established in the soft young minds of our school boys and girls by
a series of reiterated statements about the tyranny and hostility of
England towards us in the Revolution, statements which they have to
remember and master by study from day to day, tinctured by the anxiety
about the examination ahead, when the students must know them or fail,
these incidents of school work being also tinctured by another emotion,
that of patriotism, enthusiasm for Washington, for the Declaration of
Independence, for Valley Forge--thus established in the regular way of
all complexes, this anti-English complex is fed and watered by what we
learn of the War of 1812, by what we learn of the Civil War of 1861, and
by many lesser events in our history thus far. And just as a Republican
will admit nothing good of a Democrat and a Democrat nothing good of
a Republican because of the political complex, so does the great--the
vast--majority of Americans automatically and easily remember everything
against England and forget everything in her favor. Just try it any day
you like. Ask any average American you are sitting next to in a train
what he knows about England; and if he does remember anything and can
tell it to you, it will be unfavorable nine times in ten. The mere word
"England" starts his complex off, and out comes every fact it has seized
that matches his school-implanted prejudice, just as it has rejected
every fact that does not match it. There is absolutely no other way
to explain the American habit of speaking ill of England and well of
France. Several times in the past, France has been flagrantly hostile to
us. But there was Lafayette, there was Rochambeau, and the great service
France did us then against England. Hence from our school histories we
have a pro-French complex. Under its workings we automatically remember
every good turn France has done us and automatically forget the evil
turns. Again try the experiment yourself. How many Americans do you
think that you will find who can recall, or who even know when you
recall to them the insolent and meddlesome Citizen Genet, envoy of the
French Republic, and how Washington requested his recall? Or the French
privateers that a little later, about 1797-98, preyed upon our commerce?
And the hatred of France which many Americans felt and expressed at that
time? How many remember that the King of France, directly our Revolution
was over, was more hostile to us than England?

Chapter X: Jackstraws

Jackstraws is a game which most of us have played in our youth. You
empty on a table a box of miniature toy rakes, shovels, picks, axes, all
sorts of tools and implements. These lie under each other and above
each other in intricate confusion, not unlike cross timber in a western
forest, only instead of being logs, they are about two inches long and
very light. The players sit round the table and with little hooks try
in turn to lift one jackstraw out of the heap, without moving any of the
others. You go on until you do move one of the others, and this loses
you your turn. European diplomacy at any moment of any year reminds you,
if you inspect it closely, of a game of jackstraws. Every sort and shape
of intrigue is in the general heap and tangle, and the jealous nations
sit round, each trying to lift out its own jackstraw. Luckily for us,
we have not often been involved in these games of jackstraw hitherto;
unluckily for us, we must be henceforth involved. If we kept out, our
luck would be still worse.

Immediately after our Revolution, there was one of these heaps of
intrigue, in which we were concerned. This was at the time of the
negotiations leading to the Treaty of Paris, to which I made reference
at the close of the last section. This was in 1783. Twenty years later,
in 1803, occurred the heap of jackstraws that led to the Louisiana
Purchase. Twenty years later, in 1823, occurred the heap of jackstraws
from which emerged the Monroe Doctrine. Each of these dates, dotted
along through our early decades, marks a very important crisis in
our history. It is well that they should be grouped together, because
together they disclose, so to speak, a coherent pattern. This coherent
pattern is England's attitude towards ourselves. It is to be perceived,
faintly yet distinctly, in 1783, and it grows clearer and ever more
clear until in 1898, in the game of jackstraws played when we declared
war upon Spain, the pattern is so clear that it could not be mistaken by
any one who was not willfully blinded by an anti-English complex. This
pattern represents a preference on England's part for ourselves to other
nations. I do not ask you to think England's reason for this preference
is that she has loved us so much; that she has loved others so much
less--there is her reason. She has loved herself better than anybody. So
must every nation. So does every nation.

Let me briefly speak of the first game of jackstraws, played at Paris
in 1783. Our Revolution was over. The terms of peace had to be drawn.
Franklin, Jay, Adams, and Laurens were our negotiators. The various
important points were acknowledgment of our independence, settlement
of boundaries, freedom of fishing in the neighborhood of the Canadian
coast. We had agreed to reach no settlement with England separately
from France and Spain. They were our recent friends. England, our recent
enemy, sent Richard Oswald as her peace commissioner. This private
gentleman had placed his fortune at our disposal during the war, and was
Franklin's friend. Lord Shelburne wrote Franklin that if this was not
satisfactory, to say so, and name any one he preferred. But Oswald was
satisfactory; and David Hartley, another friend of Franklin's and also
a sympathizer with our Revolution, was added; and in these circumstances
and by these men the Treaty was made. To France we broke our promise to
reach no separate agreement with England. We negotiated directly with
the British, and the Articles were signed without consultation with the
French Government. When Vergennes, the French Minister, saw the terms,
he remarked in disgust that England would seem to have bought a peace
rather than made one. By the treaty we got the Northwest Territory and
the basin of the Ohio River to the Mississippi. Our recent friend, the
French King, was much opposed to our having so much territory. It was
our recent enemy, England, who agreed that we should have it. This was
the result of that game of jackstraws.

Let us remember several things: in our Revolution, France had befriended
us, not because she loved us so much, but because she loved England so
little. In the Treaty of Paris, England stood with us, not because
she loved us so much, but because she loved France so little. We must
cherish no illusions. Every nation must love itself more than it loves
its neighbor. Nevertheless, in this pattern of England's policy in 1783,
where she takes her stand with us and against other nations, there is a
deep significance. Our notions of law, our notions of life, our notions
of religion, our notions of liberty, our notions of what a man should be
and what a woman should be, are so much more akin to her notions than
to those of any other nation, that they draw her toward us rather
than toward any other nation. That is the lesson of the first game of

Next comes 1803. Upon the Louisiana Purchase, I have already touched;
but not upon its diplomatic side. In those years the European game of
diplomacy was truly portentous. Bonaparte had appeared, and Bonaparte
was the storm centre. From the heap of jackstraws I shall lift out only
that which directly concerns us and our acquisition of that enormous
territory, then called Louisiana. Bonaparte had dreamed and planned
an empire over here. Certain vicissitudes disenchanted him. A plan to
invade England also helped to deflect his mind from establishing an
outpost of his empire upon our continent. For us he had no love. Our
principles were democratic, he was a colossal autocrat. He called us
"the reign of chatter," and he would have liked dearly to put out
our light. Addington was then the British Prime Minister. Robert R.
Livingston was our minister in Paris. In the history of Henry Adams, in
Volume II at pages 52 and 53, you may find more concerning Bonaparte's
dislike of the United States. You may also find that Talleyrand
expressed the view that socially and economically England and America
were one and indivisible. In Volume I of the same history, at page
439, you will see the mention which Pichon made to Talleyrand of the
overtures which England was incessantly making to us. At some time
during all this, rumor got abroad of Bonaparte's projects regarding
Louisiana. In the second volume of Henry Adams, at pages 23 and 24, you
will find Addington remarking to our minister to Great Britain, Rufus
King, that it would not do to let Bonaparte establish himself in
Louisiana. Addington very plainly hints that Great Britain would back
us in any such event. This backing of us by Great Britain found very
cordial acceptance in the mind of Thomas Jefferson. A year before the
Louisiana Purchase was consummated, and when the threat of Bonaparte
was in the air, Thomas Jefferson wrote to Livingston, on April 18, 1802,
that "the day France takes possession of New Orleans, we must marry
ourselves to the British fleet and nation." In one of his many memoranda
to Talleyrand, Livingston alludes to the British fleet. He also points
out that France may by taking a certain course estrange the United
States for ever and bind it closely to France's great enemy. This
particular address to Talleyrand is dated February 1, 1803, and may be
found in the Annals of Congress, 1802-1803, at pages 1078 to 1083. I
quote a sentence: "The critical moment has arrived which rivets the
connexion of the United States to France, or binds a young and growing
people for ages hereafter to her mortal and inveterate enemy." After
this, hints follow concerning the relative maritime power of France
and Great Britain. Livingston suggests that if Great Britain invade
Louisiana, who can oppose her? Once more he refers to Great Britain's
superior fleet. This interesting address concludes with the following
exordium to France: "She will cheaply purchase the esteem of men and
the favor of Heaven by the surrender of a distant wilderness, which
can neither add to her wealth nor to her strength." This, as you will
perceive, is quite a pointed remark. Throughout the Louisiana diplomacy,
and negotiations to which this diplomacy led, Livingston's would seem to
be the master American mind and prophetic vision. But I must keep to my
jackstraws. On April 17, 1803, Bonaparte's brother, Lucien, reports
a conversation held with him by Bonaparte. What purposes, what
oscillations, may have been going on deep in Bonaparte's secret mind,
no one can tell. We may guess that he did not relinquish his plan about
Louisiana definitely for some time after the thought had dawned upon him
that it would be better if he did relinquish it. But unless he was lying
to his brother Lucien on April 17, 1803, we get no mere glimpse, but
a perfectly clear sight of what he had come finally to think. It was
certainly worth while, he said to Lucien, to sell when you could what
you were certain to lose; "for the English... are aching for a chance
to capture it.... Our navy, so inferior to our neighbor's across the
Channel, will always cause our colonies to be exposed to great risks....
As to the sea, my dear fellow, you must know that there we have to lower
the flag.... The English navy is, and long will be, too dominant."

That was on April 17. On May 2, the Treaty of Cession was signed by the
exultant Livingston. Bonaparte, instead of establishing an outpost of
autocracy at New Orleans, sold to us not only the small piece of land
which we had originally in mind, but the huge piece of land whose
dimensions I have given above. We paid him fifteen millions for nearly
a million square miles. The formal transfer was made on December 17 of
that same year, 1803. There is my second jackstraw.

Thus, twenty years after the first time in 1783, Great Britain stood
between us and the designs of another nation. To that other nation her
fleet was the deciding obstacle. England did not love us so much,
but she loved France so much less. For the same reasons which I have
suggested before, self-interest, behind which lay her democratic kinship
with our ideals, ranged her with us.

To place my third jackstraw, which follows twenty years after the
second, uninterruptedly in this group, I pass over for the moment our
War of 1812. To that I will return after I have dealt with the third
jackstraw, namely, the Monroe Doctrine. It was England that suggested
the Monroe Doctrine to us. From the origin of this in the mind of
Canning to its public announcement upon our side of the water, the
pattern to which I have alluded is for the third time very clearly to be

How much did your school histories tell you about the Monroe Doctrine? I
confess that my notion of it came to this: President Monroe informed the
kings of Europe that they must keep away from this hemisphere. Whereupon
the kings obeyed him and have remained obedient ever since. Of George
Canning I knew nothing. Another large game of jackstraws was being
played in Europe in 1823. Certain people there had formed the Holy
Alliance. Among these, Prince Metternich the Austrian was undoubtedly
the master mind. He saw that by England's victory at Waterloo a threat
to all monarchical and dynastic systems of government had been created.
He also saw that our steady growth was a part of the same threat. With
this in mind, in 1822, he brought about the Holy Alliance. The first
Article of the Holy Alliance reads: "The high contracting Powers, being
convinced that the system of representative government is as equally
incompatible with the monarchical principle as the maxim of sovereignty
of the people with the Divine right, engage mutually, in the most
solemn manner, to use all their efforts to put an end to the system of
representative governments, in whatever country it may exist in Europe,
and to prevent its being introduced in those countries where it is not
yet known."

Behind these words lay a design, hardly veiled, not only against South
America, but against ourselves. In a volume entitled With the Fathers,
by John Bach McMaster, and also in the fifth volume of Mr. McMaster's
history, chapter 41, you will find more amply what I abbreviate here.
Canning understood the threat to us contained in the Holy Alliance.
He made a suggestion to Richard Rush, our minister to England. The
suggestion was of such moment, and the ultimate danger to us from the
Holy Alliance was of such moment, that Rush made haste to put the matter
into the hands of President Monroe. President Monroe likewise found the
matter very grave, and he therefore consulted Thomas Jefferson. At that
time Jefferson had retired from public life and was living quietly at
his place in Virginia. That President Monroe's communication deeply
stirred him is to be seen in his reply, written October 24, 1823.
Jefferson says in part: "The question presented by the letters you
have sent me is the most momentous which has ever been offered to my
contemplation since that of independence.... One nation most of all
could disturb us.... She now offers to lead, aid and accompany us....
With her on our side we need not fear the whole world. With her, then,
we should most seriously cherish a cordial friendship, and nothing would
tend more to unite our affections than to be fighting once more, side by
side, in the same cause."

Thus for the second time, Thomas Jefferson advises a friendship with
Great Britain. He realizes as fully as did Bonaparte the power of her
navy, and its value to us. It is striking and strange to find Thomas
Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of Independence in 1776, writing in
1823 about uniting our affections and about fighting once more side by
side with England.

It was the revolt of the Spanish Colonies from Spain in South America,
and Canning's fear that France might obtain dominion in America, which
led him to make his suggestion to Rush. The gist of the suggestion was,
that we should join with Great Britain in saying that both countries
were opposed to any intervention by Europe in the western hemisphere.
Over our announcement there was much delight in England. In the London
Courier occurs a sentence, "The South American Republics--protected by
the two nations that possess the institutions and speak the language of
freedom." In this fragment from the London Courier, the kinship at
which I have hinted as being felt by England in 1783, and in 1803, is
definitely expressed. From the Holy Alliance, from the general European
diplomatic game, and from England's preference for us who spoke her
language and thought her thoughts about liberty, law, what a man should
be, what a woman should be, issued the Monroe Doctrine. And you will
find that no matter what dynastic or ministerial interruptions have
occurred to obscure this recognition of kinship with us and preference
for us upon the part of the English people, such interruptions are
always temporary and lie always upon the surface of English sentiment.
Beneath the surface the recognition of kinship persists unchanged and
invariably reasserts itself.

That is my third jackstraw. Canning spoke to Rush, Rush consulted
Monroe, Monroe consulted Jefferson, and Jefferson wrote what we have
seen. That, stripped of every encumbering circumstance, is the story of
the Monroe Doctrine. Ever since that day the Monroe Doctrine has rested
upon the broad back of the British Navy. This has been no secret to
our leading historians, our authoritative writers on diplomacy, and our
educated and thinking public men. But they have not generally been
eager to mention it; and as to our school textbooks, none that I studied
mentioned it at all.

Chapter XI: Some Family Scraps

Do not suppose because I am reminding you of these things and shall
remind you of some more, that I am trying to make you hate France. I am
only trying to persuade you to stop hating England. I wish to show you
how much reason you have not to hate her, which your school histories
pass lightly over, or pass wholly by. I want to make it plain that your
anti-English complex and your pro-French complex entice your memory into
retaining only evil about England and only good about France. That is
why I pull out from the recorded, certified, and perfectly ascertainable
past, these few large facts. They amply justify, as it seems to me, and
as I think it must seem to any reader with an open mind, what I said
about the pattern.

We must now touch upon the War of 1812. There is a political aspect of
this war which casts upon it a light not generally shed by our school
histories. Bonaparte is again the point. Nine years after our Louisiana
Purchase from him, we declared war upon England. At that moment England
was heavily absorbed in her struggle with Bonaparte. It is true that we
had a genuine grievance against her. In searching for British sailors
upon our ships, she impressed our own. This was our justification.

We made a pretty lame showing, in spite of the victories of our frigates
and sloops. Our one signal triumph on land came after the Treaty of
Peace had been signed at Ghent. During the years of war, it was lucky
for us that England had Bonaparte upon her hands. She could not give
us much attention. She was battling with the great Autocrat. We, by
declaring war upon her at such a time, played into Bonaparte's hands,
and virtually, by embarrassing England, struck a blow on the side of
autocracy and against our own political faith. It was a feeble blow, it
did but slight harm. And regardless of it England struck Bonaparte down.
His hope that we might damage and lessen the power of her fleet that he
so much respected and feared, was not realized. We made the Treaty of
Ghent. The impressing of sailors from our vessels was tacitly abandoned.
The next time that people were removed from vessels, it was not England
who removed them, it was we ourselves, who had declared war on England
for doing so, we ourselves who removed them from Canadian vessels in the
Behring Sea, and from the British ship Trent. These incidents we shall
reach in their proper place. As a result of the War of 1812, some
English felt justified in taking from us a large slice of land, but
Wellington said, "I think you have no right, from the state of the war,
to demand any concession of territory from America." This is all that
need be said about our War of 1812.

Because I am trying to give only the large incidents, I have
intentionally made but a mere allusion to Florida and our acquisition of
that territory. It was a case again of England's siding with us against
a third power, Spain, in this instance. I have also omitted any account
of our acquisition of Texas, when England was not friendly--I am not
sure why: probably because of the friction between us over Oregon.
But certain other minor events there are, which do require a brief
reference--the boundaries of Maine, of Oregon, the Isthmian Canal,
Cleveland and Venezuela, Roosevelt and Alaska; and these disputes we
shall now take up together, before we deal with the very large matter
of our trouble with England during the Civil War. Chronologically, of
course, Venezuela and Alaska fall after the Civil War; but they belong
to the same class to which Maine and Oregon belong. Together, all of
these incidents and controversies form a group in which the underlying
permanence of British good-will towards us is distinctly to be
discerned. Sometimes, as I have said before, British anger with us
obscures the friendly sentiment. But this was on the surface, and it
always passed. As usual, it is only the anger that has stuck in our
minds. Of the outcome of these controversies and the British temperance
and restraint which brought about such outcome the popular mind retains
no impression.

The boundary of Maine was found to be undefined to the extent of 12,000
square miles. Both Maine and New Brunswick claimed this, of course.
Maine took her coat off to fight, so did New Brunswick. Now, we backed
Maine, and voted supplies and men to her. Not so England. More soberly,
she said, "Let us arbitrate." We agreed, it was done. By the umpire
Maine was awarded more than half what she claimed. And then we disputed
the umpire's decision on the ground he hadn't given us the whole thing!
Does not this remind you of some of our baseball bad manners? It was
settled later, and we got, differently located, about the original

Did you learn in school about "fifty-four forty, or fight"? We were
ready to take off our coat again. Or at least, that was the platform in
1844 on which President Polk was elected. At that time, what lay between
the north line of California and the south line of Alaska, which then
belonged to Russia, was called Oregon. We said it was ours. England
disputed this. Each nation based its title on discovery. It wasn't
really far from an even claim. So Polk was elected, which apparently
meant war; his words were bellicose. We blustered rudely. Feeling ran
high in England; but she didn't take off her coat. Her ambassador,
Pakenham, stiff at first, unbent later. Under sundry missionary
impulses, more Americans than British had recently settled along the
Columbia River and in the Willamette Valley. People from Missouri
followed. You may read of our impatient violence in Professor Dunning's
book, The British Empire and the United States. Indeed, this volume
tells at length everything I am telling you briefly about these boundary
disputes. The settlers wished to be under our Government. Virtually upon
their preference the matter was finally adjusted. England met us with a
compromise, advantageous to us and reasonable for herself. Thus, again,
was her conduct moderate and pacific. If you think that this was through
fear of us, I can only leave you to our western blow-hards of 1845, or
to your anti-British complex. What I see in it, is another sign of that
fundamental sense of kinship, that persisting unwillingness to have
a real scrap with us, that stares plainly out of our whole first
century--the same feeling which prevented so many English from enlisting
against us in the Revolution that George III was obliged to get

Nicaragua comes next. There again they were quite angry with us on top,
but controlled in the end by the persisting disposition of kinship. They
had land in Nicaragua with the idea of an Isthmian Canal. This we did
not like. They thought we should mind our own business. But they agreed
with us in the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty that both should build and run the
canal. Vagueness about territory near by raised further trouble, and
there we were in the right. England yielded. The years went on and we
grew, until the time came when we decided that if there was to be any
canal, no one but ourselves should have it. We asked to be let off
the old treaty. England let us off, stipulating the canal should be
unfortified, and an "open door" to all. Our representative agreed to
this, much to our displeasure. Indeed, I do not think he should have
agreed to it. Did England hold us to it? All this happened in the
lifetime of many of us, and we know that she did not hold us to it. She
gave us what we asked, and she did so because she felt its justice, and
that it in no way menaced her with injury. All this began in 1850 and
ended, as we know, in the time of Roosevelt.

About 1887 our seal-fishing in the Behring Sea brought on an acute
situation. Into the many and intricate details of this, I need not
go; you can find them in any good encyclopedia, and also in Harper's
Magazine for April, 1891, and in other places. Our fishing clashed with
Canada's. We assumed jurisdiction over the whole of the sea, which is a
third as big as the Mediterranean, on the quite fantastic ground that it
was an inland sea. Ignoring the law that nobody has jurisdiction outside
the three-mile limit from their shores, we seized Canadian vessels sixty
miles from land. In fact, we did virtually what we had gone to war with
England for doing in 1812. But England did not go to war. She asked for
arbitration. Throughout this, our tone was raw and indiscreet, while
hers was conspicuously the opposite; we had done an unwarrantable and
high-handed thing; our claim that Behring Sea was an "inclosed" sea was
abandoned; the arbitration went against us, and we paid damages for the
Canadian vessels.

In 1895, in the course of a century's dispute over the boundary between
Venezuela and British Guiana, Venezuela took prisoner some British
subjects, and asked us to protect her from the consequences. Richard
Olney, Grover Cleveland's Secretary of State, informed Lord Salisbury,
Prime Minister of England, that "in accordance with the Monroe Doctrine,
the United States must insist on arbitration"--that is, of the disputed
boundary. It was an abrupt extension of the Monroe Doctrine. It was
dictating to England the manner in which she should settle a difference
with another country. Salisbury declined. On December 17th Cleveland
announced to England that the Monroe Doctrine applied to every stage of
our national Life, and that as Great Britain had for many years refused
to submit the dispute to impartial arbitration, nothing remained to us
but to accept the situation. Moreover, if the disputed territory was
found to belong to Venezuela, it would be the duty of the United
States to resist, by every means in its power, the aggressions of Great
Britain. This was, in effect, an ultimatum. The stock market went to
pieces. In general American opinion, war was coming. The situation was
indeed grave. First, we owed the Monroe Doctrine's very existence to
English backing. Second, the Doctrine itself had been a declaration
against autocracy in the shape of the Holy Alliance, and England was not
autocracy. Lastly, as a nation, Venezuela seldom conducted herself or
her government on the steady plan of democracy. England was exasperated.
And yet England yielded. It took a little time, but arbitration settled
it in the end--at about the same time that we flatly declined to
arbitrate our quarrel with Spain. History will not acquit us of
groundless meddling and arrogance in this matter, while England comes
out of it having again shown in the end both forbearance and good
manners. Before another Venezuelan incident in 1902, I take up a burning
dispute of 1903.

As Oregon had formerly been, so Alaska had later become, a grave source
of friction between England and ourselves. Canada claimed boundaries in
Alaska which we disputed. This had smouldered along through a number of
years until the discovery of gold in the Klondike region fanned it to
a somewhat menacing flame. In this instance, history is as unlikely
to approve the conduct of the Canadians as to approve our bad manners
towards them upon many other occasions. The matter came to a head in
Roosevelt's first administration. You will find it all in the Life of
John Hay by William R. Thayer, Volume II. A commission to settle
the matter had dawdled and failed. Roosevelt was tired of delays.
Commissioners again were appointed, three Americans, two Canadians,
and Alverstone, Lord Chief Justice, to represent England. To his friend
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, about to sail for an English holiday,
Roosevelt wrote a private letter privately to be shown to Mr. Balfour,
Mr. Chamberlain, and certain other Englishmen of mark. He said: "The
claim of the Canadians for access to deep water along any part of the
Alaskan coast is just exactly as indefensible as if they should now
suddenly claim the Island of Nantucket." Canada had objected to our
Commissioners as being not "impartial jurists of repute." As to this,
Roosevelt's letter to Holmes ran on: "I believe that no three men in
the United States could be found who would be more anxious than our own
delegates to do justice to the British claim on all points where there
is even a color of right on the British side. But the objection raised
by certain British authorities to Lodge, Root, and Turner, especially
to Lodge and Root, was that they had committed themselves on the general
proposition. No man in public life in any position of prominence could
have possibly avoided committing himself on the proposition, any more
than Mr. Chamberlain could avoid committing himself on the ownership of
the Orkneys if some Scandinavian country suddenly claimed them. If this
embodied other points to which there was legitimate doubt, I believe Mr.
Chamberlain would act fairly and squarely in deciding the matter; but if
he appointed a commission to settle up all these questions, I certainly
should not expect him to appoint three men, if he could find them, who
believed that as to the Orkneys the question was an open one. I wish
to make one last effort to bring about an agreement through the
Com-mission.... But if there is a disagreement... I shall take a
position which will prevent any possibility of arbitration hereafter;...
will render it necessary for Congress to give me the authority to run
the line as we claim it, by our own people, without any further regard
to the attitude of England and Canada. If I paid attention to mere
abstract rights, that is the position I ought to take anyhow. I have
not taken it because I wish to exhaust every effort to have the affair
settled peacefully and with due regard to England's honor."

That is the way to do these things: not by a peremptory public letter,
like Olney's to Salisbury, which enrages a whole people and makes
temperate action doubly difficult, but thus, by a private letter to
the proper persons, very plain, very unmistakable, but which remains
private, a sufficient word to the wise, and not a red rag to the mob.
"To have the affair settled peacefully and with due regard to England's
honor." Thus Roosevelt. England desired no war with us this time, any
more than at the other time. The Commission went to work, and, after
investigating the facts, decided in our favor.

Our list of boundary episodes finished, I must touch upon the affair
with the Kaiser regarding Venezuela's debts. She owed money to Germany,
Italy, and England. The Kaiser got the ear of the Tory government under
Salisbury, and between the three countries a secret pact was made
to repay themselves. Venezuela is not seldom reluctant to settle her
obligations, and she was slow upon this occasion. It was the Kaiser's
chance--he had been trying it already at other points--to slide into a
foothold over here under the camouflage of collecting from Venezuela her
just debt to him. So with warships he and his allies established what he
called a pacific blockade on Venezuelan ports.

I must skip the comedy that now went on in Washington (you will find it
on pages 287-288 of Mr. Thayer's John Hay, Volume II) and come at once
to Mr. Roosevelt's final word to the Kaiser, that if there was not an
offer to arbitrate within forty-eight hours, Admiral Dewey would sail
for Venezuela. In thirty-six hours arbitration was agreed to. England
withdrew from her share in the secret pact. Had she wanted war with us,
her fleet and the Kaiser's could have outmatched our own. She did not;
and the Kaiser had still very clearly and sorely in remembrance what
choice she had made between standing with him and standing with us a few
years before this, upon an occasion that was also connected with Admiral
Dewey. This I shall fully consider after summarizing those international
episodes of our Civil War wherein England was concerned.

This completes my list of minor troubles with England that we have had
since Canning suggested our Monroe Doctrine in 1823. Minor troubles, I
call them, because they are all smaller than those during our Civil War.
The full record of each is an open page of history for you to read at
leisure in any good library. You will find that the anti-English
complex has its influence sometimes in the pages of our historians, but
Professor Dunning is free from it. You will find, whatever transitory
gusts of anger, jealousy, hostility, or petulance may have swept over
the English people in their relations with us, these gusts end in a
calm; and this calm is due to the common-sense of the race. It revealed
itself in the treaty at the close of our Revolution, and it has been the
ultimate controlling factor in English dealings with us ever since. And
now I reach the last of my large historic matters, the Civil War, and
our war with Spain.

Chapter XII: On the Ragged Edge

On November 6, 1860, Lincoln, nominee of the Republican party, which was
opposed to the extension of slavery, was elected President of the
United States. Forty-one days later, the legislature of South Carolina,
determined to perpetuate slavery, met at Columbia, but, on account of a
local epidemic, moved to Charleston. There, about noon, December 20th,
it unanimously declared "that the Union now subsisting between South
Carolina and other States, under the name of the United States of
America, is hereby dissolved." Soon other slave states followed this
lead, and among them all, during those final months of Buchanan's
presidency, preparedness went on, unchecked by the half-feeble,
half-treacherous Federal Government. Lincoln, in his inaugural address,
March 4, 1861, declared that he had no purpose, directly or indirectly,
to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where
it existed. To the seceded slave states he said: "In your hands, my
dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not mine, is the momentous issue of
civil war. The Government will not assail you. You can have no conflict
without being yourselves the aggressors. You can have no oath registered
in heaven to destroy the Government; while I shall have the most solemn
one to preserve, protect and defend it." This changed nothing in the
slave states. It was not enough for them that slavery could keep on
where it was. To spread it where it was not, had been their aim for a
very long while. The next day, March 5th, Lincoln had letters from Fort
Sumter, in Charleston harbor. Major Anderson was besieged there by the
batteries of secession, was being starved out, might hold on a
month longer, needed help. Through staggering complications and
embarrassments, which were presently to be outstaggered by worse ones,
Lincoln by the end of March saw his path clear. "In your hands, my
dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not mine, is the momentous issue of
civil war." The clew to the path had been in those words from the first.
The flag of the Union, the little island of loyalty amid the waters of
secession, was covered by the Charleston batteries. "Batteries ready
to open Wednesday or Thursday. What instructions?" Thus, on April 1st,
General Beauregard, at Charleston, telegraphed to Jefferson Davis. They
had all been hoping that Lincoln would give Fort Sumter to them and so
save their having to take it. Not at all. The President of the United
States was not going to give away property of the United States.
Instead, the Governor of South Caro-lina received a polite message that
an attempt would be made to supply Fort Sumter with food only, and that
if this were not interfered with, no arms or ammunition should be sent
there without further notice, or in case the fort were attacked.
Lincoln was leaning backwards, you might say, in his patient effort
to conciliate. And accordingly our transports sailed from New York for
Charleston with instructions to supply Sumter with food alone, unless
they should be opposed in attempting to carry out their errand. This
did not suit Jefferson Davis at all; and, to cut it short, at half-past
four, on the morning of April 12, 1861, there arose into the air from
the mortar battery near old Fort Johnson, on the south side of the
harbor, a bomb-shell, which curved high and slow through the dawn, and
fell upon Fort Sumter, thus starting four years of civil war. One week
later the Union proclaimed a blockade on the ports of Slave Land.

Bear each and all of these facts in mind, I beg, bear them in mind well,
for in the light of them you can see England clearly, and will have no
trouble in following the different threads of her conduct towards us
during this struggle. What she did then gave to our ancient grudge
against her the reddest coat of fresh paint which it had received
yet--the reddest and the most enduring since George III.

England ran true to form. It is very interesting to mark this; very
interesting to watch in her government and her people the persistent and
conflicting currents of sympathy and antipathy boil up again, just as
they had boiled in 1776. It is equally interesting to watch our ancient
grudge at work, causing us to remember and hug all the ill will she
bore us, all the harm she did us, and to forget all the good. Roughly
comparing 1776 with 1861, it was once more the Tories, the aristocrats,
the Lord Norths, who hoped for our overthrow, while the people of
England, with certain liberal leaders in Parliament, stood our friends.
Just as Pitt and Burke had spoken for us in our Revolution, so Bright
and Cobden befriended us now. The parallel ceases when you come to the
Sovereign. Queen Victoria declined to support or recognize Slave Land.
She stopped the Government and aristocratic England from forcing
war upon us, she prevented the French Emperor, Napoleon III, from
recognizing the Southern Confederacy. We shall come to this in its turn.
Our Civil War set up in England a huge vibration, subjected England to
a searching test of herself. Nothing describes this better than a letter
of Henry Ward Beecher's, written during the War, after his return from
addressing the people of England.

"My own feelings and judgment underwent a great change while I was in
England... I was chilled and shocked at the coldness towards the North
which I everywhere met, and the sympathetic prejudices in favor of
the South. And yet everybody was alike condemning slavery and praising

How could England do this, how with the same breath blow cold and hot,
how be against the North that was fighting the extension of slavery and
yet be against slavery too? Confusing at the time, it is clear to-day.
Imbedded in Lincoln's first inaugural address lies the clew: he said,
"I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the
institution of slavery where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right
to do so, and I have no inclination to do so. Those who elected me
did so with full knowledge that I had made this and many similar
declarations, and had never recanted them." Thus Lincoln, March 4, 1861.
Six weeks later, when we went-to war, we went, not "to interfere
with the institution of slavery," but (again in Lincoln's words) "to
preserve, protect, and defend" the Union. This was our slogan, this our
fight, this was repeated again and again by our soldiers and civilians,
by our public men and our private citizens. Can you see the position of
those Englishmen who condemned slavery and praised liberty? We ourselves
said we were not out to abolish slavery, we disclaimed any such object,
by our own words we cut the ground away from them.

Not until September 22d of 1862, to take effect upon January 1,
1863, did Lincoln proclaim emancipation--thus doing what he had said
twenty-two months before "I believe I have no lawful right to do."

That interim of anguish and meditation had cleared his sight. Slowly he
had felt his way, slowly he had come to perceive that the preservation
of the Union and the abolition of slavery were so tightly wrapped
together as to merge and be one and the same thing. But even had he
known this from the start, known that the North's bottom cause, the
ending of slavery, rested on moral ground, and that moral ground
outweighs and must forever outweigh whatever of legal argument may be on
the other side, he could have done nothing. "I believe I have no lawful
right." There were thousands in the North who also thus believed. It
was only an extremist minority who disregarded the Constitution's
acquiescence in slavery and wanted emancipation proclaimed at once. Had
Lincoln proclaimed it, the North would have split in pieces, the South
would have won, the Union would have perished, and slavery would have
remained. Lincoln had to wait until the season of anguish and meditation
had unblinded thousands besides himself, and thus had placed behind him
enough of the North to struggle on to that saving of the Union and that
freeing of the slave which was consummated more than two years later by
Lee's surrender to Grant at Appomattox.

But it was during that interim of anguish and meditation that England
did us most of the harm which our memories vaguely but violently
treasure. Until the Emancipation, we gave our English friends no public,
official grounds for their sympathy, and consequently their influence
over our English enemies was hampered. Instantly after January 1, 1863,
that sympathy became the deciding voice. Our enemies could no longer
say to it, "but Lincoln says himself that he doesn't intend to abolish

Here are examples of what occurred: To William Lloyd Garrison, the
Abolitionist, an English sympathizer wrote that three thousand men of
Manchester had met there and adopted by acclamation an enthusiastic
message to Lincoln. These men said that they would rather remain
unemployed for twenty years than get cotton from the South at the
expense of the slave. A month later Cobden writes to Charles Sumner:
"I know nothing in my political experience so striking, an a display of
spontaneous public action, as that of the vast gathering at Exeter
Hall (in London), when, without one attraction in the form of a popular
orator, the vast building, its minor rooms and passages, and the streets
adjoining, were crowded with an enthusiastic audience. That meeting has
had a powerful effect on our newspapers and politicians. It has closed
the mouths of those who have been advocating the side of the South. And
I now write to assure you that any unfriendly act on the part of
our Government--no matter which of our aristocratic parties is in
power--towards your cause is not to be apprehended. If an attempt were
made by the Government in any way to commit us to the South, a spirit
would be instantly aroused which would drive that Government from

I lay emphasis at this point upon these instances (many more could
be given) because it has been the habit of most Americans to say that
England stopped being hostile to the North as soon as the North began
to win. In January, 1863, the North had not visibly begun to win. It had
suffered almost unvaried defeat so far; and the battles of Gettysburg
and Vicksburg, where the tide turned at last our way, were still six
months ahead. It was from January 1, 1863, when Lincoln planted our
cause firmly and openly on abolition ground, that the undercurrent
of British sympathy surged to the top. The true wonder is, that this
undercurrent should have been so strong all along, that those English
sympathizers somehow in their hearts should have known what we were
fighting for more clearly than we had been able to see it; ourselves.
The key to this is given in Beecher's letter--it is nowhere better
given--and to it I must now return.

"I soon perceived that my first error was in supposing that Great
Britain was an impartial spectator. In fact, she was morally an actor in
the conflict. Such were the antagonistic influences at work in her own
midst, and the division of parties, that, in judging American affairs
she could not help lending sanction to one or the other side of her own
internal conflicts. England was not, then, a judge, sitting calmly on
the bench to decide without bias; the case brought before her was her
own, in principle, and in interest. In taking sides with the North, the
common people of Great Britain and the laboring class took sides with
themselves in their struggle for reformation; while the wealthy and the
privileged classes found a reason in their own political parties
and philosophies why they should not be too eager for the legitimate
government and nation of the United States.

"All classes who, at home, were seeking the elevation and political
enfranchisement of the common people, were with us. All who studied
the preservation of the state in its present unequal distribution of
political privileges, sided with that section in America that were doing
the same thing.

"We ought not to be surprised nor angry that men should maintain
aristocratic doctrines which they believe in fully as sincerely,
and more consistently, than we, or many amongst us do, in democratic

"We of all people ought to understand how a government can be cold or
semi-hostile, while the people are friendly with us. For thirty years
the American Government, in the hands, or under the influence of
Southern statesmen, has been in a threatening attitude to Europe, and
actually in disgraceful conflict with all the weak neighboring Powers.
Texas, Mexico, Central Generics, and Cuba are witnesses. Yet the great
body of our people in the Middle and Northern States are strongly
opposed to all such tendencies."

It was in a very brief visit that Beecher managed to see England as she
was: a remarkable letter for its insight, and more remarkable still for
its moderation, when you consider that it was written in the midst of
our Civil War, while loyal Americans were not only enraged with England,
but wounded to the quick as well. When a man can do this--can have
passionate convictions in passionate times, and yet keep his judgment
unclouded, wise, and calm, he serves his country well.

I can remember the rage and the wound. In that atmosphere I began my
existence. My childhood was steeped in it. In our house the London Punch
was stopped, because of its hostile ridicule. I grew to boyhood hearing
from my elders how England had for years taunted us with our tolerance
of slavery while we boasted of being the Land of the Free--and then,
when we arose to abolish slavery, how she "jack-knived" and gave aid and
comfort to the slave power when it had its fingers upon our throat. Many
of that generation of my elders never wholly got over the rage and the
wound. They hated all England for the sake of less than half England.
They counted their enemies but never their friends. There's nothing
unnatural about this, nothing rare. On the contrary, it's the usual,
natural, unjust thing that human nature does in times of agony. It's the
Henry Ward Beechers that are rare. In times of agony the average man and
woman see nothing but their agony. When I look over some of the letters
that I received from England in 1915--letters from strangers evoked by
a book called The Pentecost of Calamity, wherein I had published my
conviction that the cause of England was righteous, the cause of Germany
hideous, and our own persistent neutrality unworthy--I'm glad I lost my
temper only once, and replied caustically only once. How dreadful (wrote
one of my correspondents) must it be to belong to a nation that was
behaving like mine! I retorted (I'm sorry for it now) that I could
all the more readily comprehend English feeling about our neutrality,
because I had known what we had felt when Gladstone spoke at Newcastle
and when England let the Alabama loose upon us in 1862. Where was the
good in replying at all? Silence is almost always the best reply in
these cases. Next came a letter from another English stranger, in which
the writer announced having just read The Pentecost of Calamity. Not
a word of friendliness for what I had said about the righteousness of
England's cause or my expressed unhappiness over the course which our
Government had taken--nothing but scorn for us all and the hope that we
should reap our deserts when Germany defeated England and invaded us.
Well? What of it? Here was a stricken person, writing in stress, in a
land of desolation, mourning for the dead already, waiting for the next
who should die, a poor, unstrung average person, who had not long before
read that remark of our President's made on the morrow of the Lusitania:
that there is such a thing as being too proud to fight; had read during
the ensuing weeks those notes wherein we stood committed by our Chief
Magistrate to a verbal slinking away and sitting down under it. Can you
wonder? If the mere memory of those days of our humiliation stabs
me even now, I need no one to tell me (though I have been told) what
England, what France, felt about us then, what it must have been like
for Americans who were in England and France at that time. No: the
average person in great trouble cannot rise above the trouble and survey
the truth and be just. In English eyes our Government--and therefore all
of us--failed in 1914--1915--1916--failed again and again--insulted the
cause of humanity when we said through our President in 1916, the third
summer of the war, that we were not concerned with either the causes
or the aims of that conflict. How could they remember Hoover, or Robert
Bacon, or Leonard Wood, or Theodore Roosevelt then, any more than we
could remember John Bright, or Richard Cobden, or the Manchester men in
the days when the Alabama was sinking the merchant vessels of the Union?

We remembered Lord John Russell and Lord Palmerston in the British
Government, and their fellow aristocrats in British society; we
remembered the aristocratic British press--The Times notably, because
the most powerful--these are what we saw, felt, and remembered, because
they were not with us, and were able to hurt us in the days when our
friends were not yet able to help us. They made welcome the Southerners
who came over in the interests of the South, they listened to the
Southern propaganda. Why? Because the South was the American version of
their aristocratic creed. To those who came over in the interests of
the North and of the Union they turned a cold shoulder, because they
represented Democracy; moreover, a Dis-United States would prove in
commerce a less formidable competitor. To Captain Bullock, the able
and energetic Southerner who put through in England the building
and launching of those Confederate cruisers which sank our ships and
destroyed our merchant marine, and to Mason and Slidell, the doors of
dukes opened pleasantly; Beecher and our other emissaries mostly had to
dine beneath uncoroneted roofs.

In the pages of Henry Adams, and of Charles Francis Adams his brother,
you can read of what they, as young men, encountered in London, and
what they saw their father have to put up with there, both from English
society and the English Government. Their father was our new minister to
England, appointed by Lincoln. He arrived just after our Civil War had
begun. I have heard his sons talk about it familiarly, and it is all to
be found in their writings.

Nobody knows how to be disagreeable quite so well as the English
gentleman, except the English lady. They can do it with the nicety of a
medicine dropper. They can administer the precise quantum suff. in every
case. In the society of English gentlemen and ladies Mr. Adams by his
official position was obliged to move. They left him out as much as
they could, but, being the American Minister, he couldn't be left
out altogether. At their dinners and functions he had to hear open
expressions of joy at the news of Southern victories, he had to receive
slights both veiled and unveiled, and all this he had to bear with
equanimity. Sometimes he did leave the room; but with dignity and
discretion. A false step, a "break," might have led to a request for
his recall. He knew that his constant presence, close to the English
Government, was vital to our cause. Russell and Palmerston were by
turns insolent and shifty, and once on the very brink of recognizing the
Southern Confederacy as an independent nation. Gladstone, Chancellor of
the Exchequer, in a speech at Newcastle, virtually did recognize it. You
will be proud of Mr. Adams if you read how he bore himself and fulfilled
his appallingly delicate and difficult mission. He was an American who
knew how to behave himself, and he behaved himself all the time; while
the English had a way of turning their behavior on and off, like the
hot water. Mr. Adams was no admirer of "shirt-sleeves" diplomacy. His
diplomacy wore a coat. Our experiments in "shirt-sleeves" diplomacy fail
to show that it accomplishes anything which diplomacy decently dressed
would not accomplish more satisfactorily. Upon Mr. Adams fell some
consequences of previous American crudities, of which I shall speak

Lincoln had declared a blockade on Southern ports before Mr. Adams
arrived in London. Upon his arrival he found England had proclaimed her
neutrality and recognized the belligerency of the South. This dismayed
Mr. Adams and excited the whole North, because feeling ran too high to
perceive this first act on England's part to be really favorable to us;
she could not recognize our blockade, which stopped her getting Southern
cotton, unless she recognized that the South was in a state of war with
us. Looked at quietly, this act of England's helped us and hurt herself,
for it deprived her of cotton.

It was not with this, but with the reception and treatment of Mr. Adams
that the true hostility began. Slights to him were slaps at us, sympathy
with the South was an active moral injury to our cause, even if it was
mostly an undertone, politically. Then all of a sudden, something that
we did ourselves changed the undertone to a loud overtone, and we just
grazed England's declaring war on us. Had she done so, then indeed it
had been all up with us. This incident is the comic going-back on our
own doctrine of 1812, to which I have alluded above.

On November 8, 1861, Captain Charles Wilkes of the American steam sloop
San Jacinto, fired a shot across the bow of the British vessel Trent,
stopped her on the high seas, and took four passengers off her, and
brought them prisoners to Fort Warren, in Boston harbor. Mason and
Slidell are the two we remember, Confederate envoys to France and
Great Britain. Over this the whole North burst into glorious joy. Our
Secretary of the Navy wrote to Wilkes his congratulations, Congress
voted its thanks to him, governors and judges laureled him with oratory
at banquets, he was feasted with meat and drink all over the place, and,
though his years were sixty-three, ardent females probably rushed forth
from throngs and kissed him with the purest intentions: heroes have no
age. But presently the Trent arrived in England, and the British lion
was aroused. We had violated international law, and insulted the British
flag. Palmerston wrote us a letter--or Russell, I forget which wrote
it--a letter that would have left us no choice but to fight. But Queen
Victoria had to sign it before it went. "My lord," she said, "you
must know that I will agree to no paper that means war with the United
States." So this didn't go, but another in its stead, pretty stiff,
naturally, yet still possible for us to swallow. Some didn't want to
swallow even this; but Lincoln, humorous and wise, said, "Gentlemen, one
war at a time;" and so we made due restitution, and Messrs. Mason and
Slidell went their way to France and England, free to bring about action
against us there if they could manage it. Captain Wilkes must have been
a good fellow. His picture suggests this. England, in her English
heart, really liked what he had done, it was in its gallant flagrancy so
remarkably like her own doings--though she couldn't, naturally, permit
such a performance to pass; and a few years afterwards, for his services
in the cause of exploration, her Royal Geographical Society gave him a
gold medal! Yes; the whole thing is comic--to-day; for us, to-day, the
point of it is, that the English Queen saved us from a war with England.

Within a year, something happened that was not comic. Lord John Russell,
though warned and warned, let the Alabama slip away to sea, where she
proceeded to send our merchant ships to the bottom, until the Kearsarge
sent her herself to the bottom. She had been built at Liverpool in the
face of an English law which no quibbling could disguise to anybody
except to Lord John Russell and to those who, like him, leaned to
the South. Ten years later, this leaning cost England fifteen million
dollars in damages.

Let us now listen to what our British friends were saying in those years
before Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation. His blockade had
brought immediate and heavy distress upon many English workmen and their
families. That had been April 19, 1861. By September, five sixths of the
Lancashire cotton-spinners were out of work, or working half time. Their
starvation and that of their wives and children could be stemmed by
charity alone. I have talked with people who saw those thousands in
their suffering. Yet those thousands bore it. They somehow looked
through Lincoln's express disavowal of any intention to interfere with
slavery, and saw that at bottom our war was indeed against slavery,
that slavery was behind the Southern camouflage about independence, and
behind the Northern slogan about preserving the Union. They saw and
they stuck. "Rarely," writes Charles Francis Adams, "in the history of
mankind, has there been a more creditable exhibition of human sympathy."
France was likewise damaged by our blockade; and Napoleon III would have
liked to recognize the South. He established, through Maximilian, an
empire in Mexico, behind which lay hostility to our Democracy. He wished
us defeat; but he was afraid to move without England, to whom he made
a succession of indirect approaches. These nearly came to something
towards the close of 1862. It was on October 7th that Gladstone spoke
at Newcastle about Jefferson Davis having made a nation. Yet, after all,
England didn't budge, and thus held Napoleon back. From France in
the end the South got neither ships nor recognition, in spite of his
deceitful connivance and desire; Napoleon flirted a while with Slidell,
but grew cold when he saw no chance of English cooperation.

Besides John Bright and Cobden, we had other English friends of
influence and celebrity: John Stuart Mill, Thomas Hughes, Goldwin Smith,
Leslie Stephen, Robert Gladstone, Frederic Harrison are some of them.
All from the first supported us. All from the first worked and spoke for
us. The Union and Emancipation Society was founded. "Your Committee,"
says its final report when the war was ended, "have issued and
circulated upwards of four hundred thousand books, pamphlets, and
tracts... and nearly five hundred official and public meetings have
been held..." The president of this Society, Mr. Potter, spent thirty
thousand dollars in the cause, and at a time when times were hard and
fortunes as well as cotton-spinners in distress through our blockade.
Another member of the Society, Mr. Thompson, writes of one of the public
meetings: "... I addressed a crowded assembly of unemployed operatives
in the town of Heywood, near Manchester, and spoke to them for two hours
about the Slaveholders' Rebellion. They were united and vociferous in
the expression of their willingness to suffer all hardships consequent
upon a want of cotton, if thereby the liberty of the victims of Southern
despotism might be promoted. All honor to the half million of our
working population in Lancashire, Cheshire, and elsewhere, who are
bearing with heroic fortitude the privation which your war has entailed
upon them!... Their sublime resignation, their self-forgetfulness,
their observance of law, their whole-souled love of the cause of human
freedom, their quick and clear perception of the merits of the question
between the North and the South... are extorting the admiration of all
classes of the community ..."

How much of all this do you ever hear from the people who remember the

Strictly in accord with Beecher's vivid summary of the true England in
our Civil War, are some passages of a letter from Mr. John Bigelow, who
was at that time our Consul-General at Paris, and whose impressions,
written to our Secretary of State, Mr. Seward, on February 6, 1863, are
interesting to compare with what Beecher says in that letter, from which
I have already given extracts.

"The anti-slavery meetings in England are having their effect upon the
Government already... The Paris correspondent of the London Post also
came to my house on Wednesday evening... He says... that there are about
a dozen persons who by their position and influence over the organs
of public opinion have produced all the bad feeling and treacherous
con-duct of England towards America. They are people who, as members of
the Government in times past, have been bullied by the U. S.... They are
not entirely ignorant that the class who are now trying to overthrow the
Government were mainly responsible for the brutality, but they think we
as a nation are disposed to bully, and they are disposed to assist in
any policy that may dismember and weaken us. These scars of wounded
pride, however, have been carefully concealed from the public, who
therefore cannot be readily made to see why, when the President has
distinctly made the issue between slave labor and free labor, that
England should not go with the North. He says these dozen people who
rule England hate us cordially... "

There were more than a dozen, a good many more, as we know from Charles
and Henry Adams. But read once again the last paragraph of Beecher's
letter, and note how it corresponds with what Mr. Bigelow says about the
feeling which our Government (for thirty years "in the hands or under
the influence of Southern statesmen") had raised against us by its bad
manners to European governments. This was the harvest sown by shirt
sleeves diplomacy and reaped by Mr. Adams in 1861. Only seven years
before, we had gratuitously offended four countries at once. Three of
our foreign ministers (two of them from the South) had met at Ostend
and later at Aix in the interests of extending slavery, and there, in
a joint manifesto, had ordered Spain to sell us Cuba, or we would take
Cuba by force. One of the three was our minister to Spain. Spain had
received him courteously as the representative of a nation with whom she
was at peace. It was like ringing the doorbell of an acquaintance, being
shown into the parlor and telling him he must sell you his spoons or you
would snatch them. This doesn't incline your neighbor to like you. But,
as has been said, Mr. Adams was an American who did know how to behave,
and thereby served us well in our hour of need.

We remember the Alabama and our English enemies, we forget Bright, and
Cobden, and all our English friends; but Lincoln did not forget them.
When a young man, a friend of Bright's, an Englishman, had been caught
here in a plot to seize a vessel and make her into another Alabama, John
Bright asked mercy for him; and here are Lincoln's words in consequence:
"whereas one Rubery was convicted on or about the twelfth day of
October, 1863, in the Circuit Court of the United States for the
District of California, of engaging in, and giving aid and comfort
to the existing rebellion against the Government of this Country, and
sentenced to ten years' imprisonment, and to pay a fine of ten thousand

"And whereas, the said Alfred Rubery is of the immature age of twenty
years, and of highly respectable parentage;

"And whereas, the said Alfred Rubery is a subject of Great Britain, and
his pardon is desired by John Bright, of England;

"Now, therefore, be it known that I, Abraham Lincoln, President of
the United States of America, these and divers other considerations me
thereunto moving, and especially as a public mark of the esteem held
by the United States of America for the high character and steady
friendship of the said John Bright, do hereby grant a pardon to the said
Alfred Rubery, the same to begin and take effect on the twentieth day of
January 1864, on condition that he leave the country within thirty days
from and after that date."

Thus Lincoln, because of Bright; and because of a word from Bright to
Charles Sumner about the starving cotton-spinners, Americans sent from
New York three ships with flour for those faithful English friends of

And then, at Geneva in 1872, England paid us for what the Alabama had
done. This Court of Arbitration grew slowly; suggested first by Mr.
Thomas Batch to Lincoln, who thought the millennium wasn't quite at hand
but favored "airing the idea." The idea was not aired easily. Cobden
would have brought it up in Parliament, but illness and death overtook
him. The idea found but few other friends. At last Horace Greeley
"aired" it in his paper. On October 23, 1863, Mr. Adams said to Lord
John Russell, "I am directed to say that there is no fair and equitable
form of conventional arbitrament or reference to which the United States
will not be willing to submit." This, some two years later, Russell
recalled, saying in reply to a statement of our grievances by Adams: "It
appears to Her Majesty's Government that there are but two questions by
which the claim of compensation could be tested; the one is, Have the
British Government acted with due diligence, or, in other words, in good
faith and honesty, in the maintenance of the neutrality they proclaimed?
The other is, Have the law officers of the Crown properly understood the
foreign enlistment act, when they declined, in June 1862, to advise the
detention and seizure of the Alabama, and on other occasions when they
were asked to detain other ships, building or fitting in British ports?
It appears to Her Majesty's Government that neither of these questions
could be put to a foreign government with any regard to the dignity and
character of the British Crown and the British Nation. Her Majesty's
Government are the sole guardians of their own honor. They cannot admit
that they have acted with bad faith in maintaining the neutrality they
professed. The law officers of the Crown must be held to be better
interpreters of a British statute than any foreign Government can be
presumed to be..." He consented to a commission, but drew the line at
any probing of England's good faith.

We persisted. In 1868, Lord Westbury, Lord High Chancellor, declared in
the House of Lords that "the animus with which the neutral powers acted
was the only true criterion."

This is the test which we asked should be applied. We quoted British
remarks about us, Gladstone, for example, as evidence of unfriendly
and insincere animus on the part of those at the head of the British

Replying to our pressing the point of animus, the British Government
reasserted Russell's refusal to recognize or entertain any question of
England's good faith: "first, because it would be inconsistent with the
self-respect which every government is bound to feel...." In Mr. John
Bassett Moore's History of International Arbitration, Vol. I, pages
496-497, or in papers relating to the Treaty of Washington, Vol. II,
Geneva Arbitration, page 204... Part I, Introductory Statement, you will
find the whole of this. What I give here suffices to show the position
we ourselves and England took about the Alabama case. She backed down.
Her good faith was put in issue, and she paid our direct claims. She ate
"humble pie." We had to eat humble pie in the affair of the Trent. It
has been done since. It is not pleasant, but it may be beneficial.

Such is the story of the true England and the true America in 1861; the
divided North with which Lincoln had to deal, the divided England where
our many friends could do little to check our influential enemies, until
Lincoln came out plainly against slavery. I have had to compress much,
but I have omitted nothing material, of which I am aware. The facts
would embarrass those who determine to assert that England was our
undivided enemy during our Civil War, if facts ever embarrassed a
complex. Those afflicted with the complex can keep their eyes upon the
Alabama and the London Times, and avert them from Bright, and Cobden,
and the cotton-spinners, and the Union and Emancipation Society,
and Queen Victoria. But to any reader of this whose complex is not
incurable, or who has none, I will put this question: What opinion of
the brains of any Englishman would you have if he formed his idea of
the United States exclusively from the newspapers of William Randolph

Chapter XIII: Benefits Forgot

In our next war, our war with Spain in 1898, England saved us from
Germany. She did it from first to last; her position was unmistakable,
and every determining act of hers was as our friend. The service that
she rendered us in warning Germany to keep out of it, was even greater
than her suggestion of our Monroe doctrine in 1823; for in 1823 she put
us on guard against meditated, but remote, assault from Europe, while in
1898 she actively averted a serious and imminent peril. As the threat
of her fleet had obstructed Napoleon in 1803, and the Holy Alliance in
1823, so in 1898 it blocked the Kaiser. Late in that year, when it
was all over, the disappointed and baffled Kaiser wrote to a friend
of Joseph Chamberlain, "If I had had a larger fleet I would have taken
Uncle Sam by the scruff of the neck." Have you ever read what our own
fleet was like in those days? Or our Army? Lucky it was for us that we
had to deal only with Spain. And even the Spanish fleet would have been
a much graver opponent in Manila Bay, but for Lord Cromer. On its way
from Spain through the Suez Canal a formidable part of Spain's navy
stopped to coal at Port Said. There is a law about the coaling of
belligerent warships in neutral ports. Lord Cromer could have construed
that law just as well against us. His construction brought it about
that those Spanish ships couldn't get to Manila Bay in time to take part
against Admiral Dewey. The Spanish War revealed that our Navy could hit
eight times out of a hundred, and was in other respects unprepared and
utterly inadequate to cope with a first-class power. In consequence of
this, and the criticisms of our Navy Department, which Admiral Sims as
a young man had written, Roosevelt took the steps he did in his first
term. Three ticklish times in that Spanish War England stood our
friend against Germany. When it broke out, German agents approached
Mr. Balfour, proposing that England join in a European combination in
Spain's favor. Mr. Balfour's refusal is common knowledge, except to the
monomaniac with his complex. Next came the action of Lord Cromer, and
finally that moment in Manila Bay when England took her stand by our
side and Germany saw she would have to fight us both, if she fought at

If you saw any German or French papers at the time of our troubles
with Spain, you saw undisguised hostility. If you have talked with any
American who was in Paris during that April of 1898, your impression
will be more vivid still. There was an outburst of European hate for
us. Germany, France, and Austria all looked expectantly to England--and
England disappointed their expectations. The British Press was as much
for us as the French and German press were hostile; the London Spectator
said: "We are not, and we do not pretend to be, an agreeable people, but
when there is trouble in the family, we know where our hearts are."

In those same days (somewhere about the third week in April, 1898), at
the British Embassy in Washington, occurred a scene of significance and
interest, which has probably been told less often than that interview
between Mr. Balfour and the Kaiser's emissary in London. The British
Ambassador was standing at his window, looking out at the German
Embassy, across the street. With him was a member of his diplomatic
household. The two watched what was happening. One by one, the
representatives of various European nations were entering the door of
the German Embassy. "Do you see them?" said the Ambassador's companion;
"they'll all be in there soon. There. That's the last of them." "I
didn't notice the French Ambassador." "Yes, he's gone in, too." "I'm
surprised at that. I'm sorry for that. I didn't think he would be one
of them," said the British ambassador. "Now, I'll tell you what. They'll
all be coming over here in a little while. I want you to wait and be
present." Shortly this prediction was verified. Over from the German
Embassy came the whole company on a visit to the British Ambassador,
that he might add his signature to a document to which they had affixed
theirs. He read it quietly. We may easily imagine its purport, since we
know of the meditated European coalition against us at she time of our
war with Spain. Then the British Ambassador remarked: "I have no orders
from my Government to sign any such document as that. And if I did have,
I should resign my post rather than sign it." A pause: The company fell
silent. "Then what will your Excellency do?" inquired one visitor. "If
you will all do me the honor of coming back to-morrow, I shall have
another document ready which all of us can sign." That is what happened
to the European coalition at this end.

Some few years later, that British Ambassador came to die; and to the
British Embassy repaired Theodore Roosevelt. "Would it be possible for
us to arrange," he said, "a funeral more honored and marked than the
United States has ever accorded to any one not a citizen? I should like
it. And," he suddenly added, shaking his fist at the German Embassy over
the way, "I'd like to grind all their noses in the dirt."

Confronted with the awkward fact that Britain was almost unanimously
with us, from Mr. Balfour down through the British press to the British
people, those nations whose ambassadors had paid so unsuccessful a call
at the British Embassy had to give it up. Their coalition never came
off. Such a thing couldn't come off without England, and England said

Next, Lord Cromer, at Port Said, stretched out the arm of international
law, and laid it upon the Spanish fleet. Belligerents may legally take
coal enough at neutral ports to reach their nearest "home port." That
Spanish fleet was on its way from Spain to Manila through the Suez
Canal. It could have reached there, had Lord Cromer allowed it coal
enough to make the nearest home port ahead of it--Manila. But there was
a home port behind it, still nearer, namely, Barcelona. He let it take
coal enough to get back to Barcelona. Thus, England again stepped in.

The third time was in Manila Bay itself, after Dewey's victory, and
while he was in occupation of the place. Once more the Kaiser tried
it, not discouraged by his failure with Mr. Balfour and the British
Government. He desired the Philippines for himself; we had not yet
acquired them; we were policing them, superintending the harbor,
administering whatever had fallen to us from Spain's defeat. The Kaiser
sent, under Admiral Diedrich, a squadron stronger than Dewey's.

Dewey indicated where the German was to anchor. "I am here by the order
of his Majesty the German Emperor," said Diedrich, and chose his own
place to anchor. He made it quite plain in other ways that he was taking
no orders from America. Dewey, so report has it, at last told him that
"if he wanted a fight he could have it at the drop of the hat." Then it
was that the German called on the English Admiral, Chichester, who was
likewise at hand, anchored in Manila Bay. "What would you do," inquired
Diedrich, "in the event of trouble between Admiral Dewey and myself?"
"That is a secret known only to Admiral Dewey and me," said the
Englishman. Plainer talk could hardly be. Diedrich, though a German,
understood it. He returned to his flagship. What he saw next morning
was the British cruiser in a new place, interposed between Dewey and
himself. Once more, he understood; and he and his squadron sailed off;
and it was soon after this incident that the disappointed Kaiser wrote
that, if only his fleet had been larger, he would have taken us by the
scruff of the neck.

Tell these things to the next man you hear talking about George III
or the Alabama. You may meet him in front of a bulletin board, or in
a drawing-room. He is amongst us everywhere, in the street and in the
house. He may be a paid propagandist or merely a silly ignorant puppet.
But whatever he is, he will not find much to say in response, unless it
be vain, sterile chatter. True come-back will fail him as it failed that
man by the bulletin board who asked, "What is England doing, anyhow?"
and his neighbor answered, "Her fleet's keeping the Kaiser out of your
front yard."

Chapter XIV: England the Slacker!

What did England do in the war, anyhow?

Let us have these disregarded facts also. From the shelves of history I
have pulled down and displayed the facts which our school textbooks have
suppressed; I have told the events wherein England has stood our timely
friend throughout a century; events which our implanted prejudice leads
us to ignore, or to forget; events which show that any one who says
England is our hereditary enemy might just about as well say twice two
is five.

What did England do in the war, anyhow?

They go on asking it. The propagandists, the prompted puppets, the paid
parrots of the press, go on saying these eight senseless words because
they are easy to say, since the man who can answer them is generally not
there: to every man who is a responsible master of facts we have--well,
how many?--irresponsible shouters in this country. What is your
experience? How often is it your luck--as it was mine in front of the
bulletin board--to see a fraud or a fool promptly and satisfactorily
put in his place? Make up your mind that wherever you hear any person
whatsoever, male or female, clean or unclean, dressed in jeans, or
dressed in silks and laces, inquire what England "did in the war,
anyhow?" such person either shirks knowledge, or else is a fraud or a
fool. Tell them what the man said in the street about the Kaiser and our
front yard, but don't stop there. Tell them that in May, 1918, England
was sending men of fifty and boys of eighteen and a half to the front;
that in August, 1918, every third male available between those years
was fighting, that eight and a half million men for army and navy were
raised by the British Empire, of which Ireland's share was two and three
tenths per cent, Wales three and seven tenths, Scotland's eight and
three tenths, and England's more than sixty per cent; and that this,
taken proportionately to our greater population would have amounted
to about thirteen million Americans, When the war started, the British
Empire maintained three soldiers out of every 2600 of the population;
her entire army, regular establishment, reserve and territorial forces,
amounted to seven hundred thousand men. Our casualties were three
hundred and twenty-two thousand, one hundred and eighty-two. The
casualties in the British Army were three million, forty-nine thousand,
nine hundred and seventy-one--a million more than we sent--and of these
six hundred and fifty-eight thousand, seven hundred and four, were
killed. Of her Navy, thirty-three thousand three hundred and sixty-one
were killed, six thousand four hundred and five wounded and missing;
of her merchant marine fourteen thousand six hundred and sixty-one were
killed; a total of forty-eight thousand killed--or ten per cent of all
in active service. Some of those of the merchant marine who escaped
drowning through torpedoes and mines went back to sea after being
torpedoed five, six, and seven times.

What did England do in the war, anyhow?

Through four frightful years she fought with splendor, she suffered with
splendor, she held on with splendor. The second battle of Ypres is but
one drop in the sea of her epic courage; yet it would fill full a canto
of a poem. So spent was Britain's single line, so worn and thin,
that after all the men available were brought, gaps remained. No more
ammunition was coming to these men, the last rounds had been served.
Wet through, heavy with mud, they were shelled for three days to prevent
sleep. Many came at last to sleep standing; and being jogged awake
when officers of the line passed down the trenches, would salute and
instantly be asleep again. On the fourth day, with the Kaiser come to
watch them crumble, three lines of Huns, wave after wave of Germany's
picked troops, fell and broke upon this single line of British--and
it held. The Kaiser, had he known of the exhausted ammunition and the
mounded dead, could have walked unarmed to the Channel. But he never

Surgeons being scantier than men at Ypres, one with a compound fracture
of the thigh had himself propped up, and thus all day worked on the
wounded at the front. He knew it meant death for him. The day over,
he let them carry him to the rear, and there, from blood-poisoning, he
died. Thus through four frightful years, the British met their duty and
their death.

There is the great story of the little penny steamers of the Thames--a
story lost amid the gigantic whole. Who will tell it right? Who will
make this drop of perfect valor shine in prose or verse for future eyes
to see? Imagine a Hoboken ferry boat, because her country needed her,
starting for San Francisco around Cape Horn, and getting there. Some ten
or eleven penny steamers under their own steam started from the Thames
down the Channel, across the Bay of Biscay, past Gibraltar, and through
the submarined Mediterranean for the River Tigris. Boats of shallow
draught were urgently needed on the River Tigris. Four or five reached
their destination. Where are the rest?

What did England do in the war, anyhow?

During 1917-1918 Britain's armies held the enemy in three continents and
on six fronts, and cooperated with her Allies on two more fronts.
Her dead, those six hundred and fifty-eight thousand dead, lay by the
Tigris, the Zambesi, the AEgean, and across the world to Flanders'
fields. Between March 21st and April 17th, 1918, the Huns in their
drive used 127 divisions, and of these 102 were concentrated against
the British. That was in Flanders. Britain, at the same time she was
fighting in Flanders, had also at various times shared in the fighting
in Russia, Kiaochau, New Guinea, Samoa, Mesopotamia, Palestine,
Egypt, the Sudan, Cameroons, Togoland, East Africa, South West Africa,
Saloniki, Aden, Persia, and the northwest frontier of India. Britain
cleared twelve hundred thousand square miles of the enemy in
German colonies. While fighting in Mesopotamia, her soldiers were
reconstructing at the same time. They reclaimed and cultivated more than
1100 square miles of land there, which produced in consequence enough
food to save two million tons of shipping annually for the Allies. In
Palestine and Mesopotamia alone, British troops in 1917 took 23,590
prisoners. In 1918, in Palestine from September 18th to October 7th,
they took 79,000 prisoners.

What did England do in the war, anyhow?

With "French's contemptible little army" she saved France at the
start--but I'll skip that--except to mention that one division lost
10,000 out of 12,000 men, and 350 out of 400 officers. At Zeebrugge and
Ostend--do not forget the Vindictive--she dealt with submarines in April
and May, 1918--but I'll skip that; I cannot set down all that she did,
either at the start, or nearing the finish, or at any particular moment
during those four years and three months that she was helping to hold
Germany off from the throat of the world; it would make a very thick
book. But I am giving you enough, I think, wherewith to answer the
ignorant, and the frauds, and the fools. Tell them that from 1916 to
1918 Great Britain increased her tillage area by four million acres:
wheat 39 per cent, barley 11, oats 35, potatoes 50--in spite of the
shortage of labor. She used wounded soldiers, college boys and girls,
boy scouts, refugees, and she produced the biggest grain crop in fifty
years. She started fourteen hundred thousand new war gardens; most
of those who worked them had worked already a long day in a munition
factory. These devoted workers increased the potato crop in 1917 by
three million tons--and thus released British provision ships to
carry our soldiers across. In that Boston speech which one of my
correspondents referred to, our Secretary of the Navy did not mention
this. Mention it yourself. And tell them about the boy scouts and the
women. Fifteen thousand of the boy scouts joined the colors, and over
fifty thousand of the younger members served in various ways at home.

Of England's women seven million were engaged in work on munitions and
other necessaries and apparatus of war. The terrible test of that second
battle of Ypres, to which I have made brief allusion above, wrought
an industrial revolution in the manufacture of shells. The energy
of production rose at a rate which may be indicated by two or three
comparisons: In 1917 as many heavy howitzer shells were turned out in a
single day as in the whole first year of the war, as many medium shells
in five days, and as many field-gun shells in eight days. Or in other
words, 45 times as many field-gun shells, 73 times as many medium, and
365 times as many heavy howitzer shells, were turned out in 1917 as in
the first year of the war. These shells were manufactured in buildings
totaling fifteen miles in length, forty feet in breadth, with more than
ten thousand machine tools driven by seventeen miles of shafting with an
energy of twenty-five thousand horse-power and a weekly output of over
ten thousand tons' weight of projectiles--all this largely worked by
the women of England. While the fleet had increased its personnel
from 136,000 to about 400,000, and 2,000,000 men by July, 1915, had
voluntarily enlisted in the army before England gave up her birthright
and accepted compulsory service, the women of England left their
ordinary lives to fabricate the necessaries of war. They worked at home
while their husbands, brothers, and sons fought and died on six battle
fronts abroad--six hundred and fifty-eight thousand died, remember;
do you remember the number of Americans killed in action?--less than
thirty-six thousand;--those English women worked on, seven millions of
them at least, on milk carts, motor-busses, elevators, steam engines,
and in making ammunition. Never before had any woman worked on more than
150 of the 500 different processes that go to the making of munitions.
They now handled T. N. T., and fulminate of mercury, more deadly still;
helped build guns, gun carriages, and three-and-a-half ton army cannons;
worked overhead traveling cranes for moving the boilers of battleships:
turned lathes, made every part of an aeroplane. And who were these
seven million women? The eldest daughter of a duke and the daughter of a
general won distinction in advanced munition work. The only daughter of
an old Army family broke down after a year's work in a base hospital
in France, was ordered six months' rest at home, but after two months
entered a munition factory as an ordinary employee and after nine
months' work had lost but five minutes working time. The mother of
seven enlisted sons went into munitions not to be behind them in serving
England, and one of them wrote her she was probably killing more Germans
than any of the family. The stewardess of a torpedoed passenger ship
was among the few survivors. Reaching land, she got a job at a capstan
lathe. Those were the seven million women of England--daughters of
dukes, torpedoed stewardesses, and everything between.

Seven hundred thousand of these were engaged on munition work proper.
They did from 60 to 70 per cent of all the machine work on shells,
fuses, and trench warfare supplies, and 1450 of them were trained
mechanics to the Royal Flying Corps. They were employed upon practically
every operation in factory, in foundry, in laboratory, and chemical
works, of which they were physically capable; in making of gauges,
forging billets, making fuses, cartridges, bullets--"look what they can
do," said a foreman, "ladies from homes where they sat about and were
waited upon." They also made optical glass; drilled and tapped in
the shipyards; renewed electric wires and fittings, wound armatures;
lacquered guards for lamps and radiator fronts; repaired junction and
section boxes, fire control instruments, automatic searchlights. "We can
hardly believe our eyes," said another foreman, "when we see the heavy
stuff brought to and from the shops in motor lorries driven by girls.
Before the war it was all carted by horses and men. The girls do the job
all right, though, and the only thing they ever complain about is that
their toes get cold." They worked without hesitation from twelve to
fourteen hours a day, or a night, for seven days a week, and with the
voluntary sacrifice of public holidays.

That is not all, or nearly all, that the women of England did--I skip
their welfare work, recreation work, nursing--but it is enough wherewith
to answer the ignorant, or the fraud, or the fool.

What did England do in the war, anyhow?

On August 8, 1914, Lord Kitchener asked for 100,000 volunteers. He had
them within fourteen days. In the first week of September 170,000 men
enrolled, 30,000 in a single day. Eleven months later, two million had
enlisted. Ten months later, five million and forty-one thousand had
voluntarily enrolled in the Army and Navy.

In 1914 Britain had in her Royal Naval Air Service 64 aeroplanes and 800
airmen. In 1917 she had many thousand aeroplanes and 42,000 airmen. In
her Royal Flying Corps she had in 1914, 66 planes and 100 men; in 1917,
several thousand planes and men by tens of thousands. In the first nine
months of 1917 British airmen brought down 876 enemy machines and drove
down 759 out of control. From July, 1917, to June, 1918, 4102 enemy
machines were destroyed or brought down with a loss of 1213 machines.

Besides financing her own war costs she had by October, 1917, loaned
eight hundred million dollars to the Dominions and five billion five
hundred million to the Allies. She raised five billion in thirty days.
In the first eight months of 1918 she contributed to the various forms
of war loan at the average rate of one hundred and twenty-four million,
eight hundred thousand a week.

Is that enough? Enough to show what England did in the War? No, it is
not enough for such people as continue to ask what she did. Nothing
would suffice these persons. During the earlier stages of the War it
was possible that the question could be asked honestly--though never
intelligently--because the facts and figures were not at that time
always accessible. They were still piling up, they were scattered about,
mention of them was incidental and fugitive, they could be missed by
anybody who was not diligently alert to find them. To-day it is quite
otherwise. The facts and figures have been compiled, arranged, published
in accessible and convenient form; therefore to-day, the man or woman
who persists in asking what England did in the war is not honest but
dishonest or mentally spotted, and does not want to be answered. They
don't want to know. The question is merely a camouflage of their spite,
and were every item given of the gigantic and magnificent contribution
that England made to the defeat of the Kaiser and all his works, it
would not stop their evil mouths. Not for them am I here setting forth
a part of what England did; it is for the convenience of the honest
American, who does want to know, that my collection of facts is made
from the various sources which he may not have the time or the means to
look up for himself. For his benefit I add some particulars concerning
the British Navy which kept the Kaiser out of our front yard.

Admiral Mahan said in his book--and he was an American of whose
knowledge and wisdom Congress seems to have known nothing and
cared less--"Why do English innate political conceptions of popular
representative government, of the balance of law and liberty, prevail
in North America from the Arctic Circle to the Gulf of Mexico, from the
Atlantic to the Pacific? Because the command of the sea at the decisive
era belonged to Great Britain." We have seen that the decisive era was
when Napoleon's mouth watered for Louisiana, and when England took her
stand behind the Monroe Doctrine.

Admiral Sims said in the second installment of his narrative The Victory
at Sea, published in The World's Work for October, 1919, at page 619:
"... Let us suppose for a moment that an earthquake, or some other great
natural disturbance, had engulfed the British fleet at Scapa Flow. The
world would then have been at Germany's mercy and all the destroyers the
Allies could have put upon the sea would have availed them nothing,
for the German battleships and battle cruisers could have sunk them or
driven them into their ports. Then Allied commerce would have been the
prey, not only of the submarines, which could have operated with the
utmost freedom, but of the German surface craft as well. In a few weeks
the British food supplies would have been exhausted. There would have
been an early end to the soldiers and munitions which Britain was
constantly sending to France. The United States could have sent
no forces to the Western front, and the result would have been the
surrender which the Allies themselves, in the spring of 1917, regarded
as a not remote possibility. America would then have been compelled to
face the German power alone, and to face it long before we had had an
opportunity to assemble our resources and equip our armies. The world
was preserved from all these calamities because the destroyer and the
convoy solved the problem of the submarines, and because back of these
agencies of victory lay Admiral Beatty's squadrons, holding at arm's
length the German surface ships while these comparatively fragile craft
were saving the liberties of the world."

Yes. The High Seas Fleet of Germany, costing her one billion five
hundred million dollars, was bottled up. Five million five hundred
thousand tons of German shipping and one million tons of Austrian
shipping were driven off the seas or captured; oversea trade and oversea
colonies were cut off. Two million oversea Huns of fighting age were
hindered from joining the enemy. Ocean commerce and communication were
stopped for the Huns and secured to the Allies. In 1916, 2100 mines were
swept up and 89 mine sweepers lost. These mine sweepers and patrol boats
numbered 12 in 1914, and 3300 by 1918. To patrol the seas British ships
had to steam eight million miles in a single month. During the four
years of the war they transported oversea more than thirteen million
men (losing but 2700 through enemy action) as well as transporting two
million horses and mules, five hundred thousand vehicles, twenty-five
million tons of explosives, fifty-one million tons of oil and fuel, one
hundred and thirty million tons of food and other materials for the use
of the Allies. In one month three hundred and fifty-five thousand men
were carried from England to France.

It was after our present Secretary of the Navy, in his speech in Boston
to which allusion has been made, had given our navy all and the British
navy none of the credit of conveying our soldiers overseas, that Admiral
Sims repaired the singular oblivion of the Secretary. We Americans
should know the truth, he said. We had not been too accurately informed.
We did not seem to have been told by anybody, for instance, that of
the five thousand anti-submarine craft operating day and night in the
infested waters, we had 160, or 3 per cent; that of the million and a
half troops which had gone over from here in a few months, Great Britain
brought over two thirds and escorted half.

"I would like American papers to pay particular attention to the fact
that there are about 5000 anti-submarine craft in the ocean to-day,
cutting out mines, escorting troop ships, and making it possible for us
to go ahead and win this war. They can do this because the British Grand
Fleet is so powerful that the German High Seas Fleet has to stay at
home. The British Grand Fleet is the foundation stone of the cause of
the whole of the Allies."

Thus Admiral Sims.

That is part of what England did in the war.

Note.--The author expresses thanks and acknowledgment to Pearson's
Magazine for permission to use the passages quoted from the articles by
Admiral Sims.

Chapter XV: Rude Britannia, Crude Columbia

It may have been ten years ago, it may have been fifteen--and just
how long it was before the war makes no matter--that I received
an invitation to join a society for the promotion of more friendly
relations between the United States and England.

"No, indeed," I said to myself.

Even as I read the note, hostility rose in me. Refusal sprang to my lips
before my reason had acted at all. I remembered George III. I remembered
the Civil War. The ancient grudge, the anti-English complex, had been
instantly set fermenting in me. Nothing could better disclose its
lurking persistence than my virtually automatic exclamation, "No,
indeed!" I knew something about England's friendly acts, about
Venezuela, and Manila Bay, and Edmund Burke, and John Bright, and the
Queen, and the Lancashire cotton spinners. And more than this historic
knowledge, I knew living English people, men and women, among whom I
counted dear and even beloved friends. I knew also, just as well as
Admiral Mahan knew, and other Americans by the hundreds of thousands
have known and know at this moment, that all the best we have and
are--law, ethics, love of liberty--all of it came from England, grew in
England first, ripened from the seed of which we are merely one great
harvest, planted here by England. And yet I instantly exclaimed, "No,

Well, having been inflicted with the anti-English complex myself,
I understand it all the better in others, and am begging them to
counteract it as I have done. You will recollect that I said at the
outset of these observations that, as I saw it, our prejudice was
founded upon three causes fairly separate, although they often melted
together. With two of these causes I have now dealt--the school
histories, and certain acts and policies of England's throughout our
relations with her. The third cause, I said, was certain traits of the
English and ourselves which have produced personal friction. An American
does or says something which angers an Englishman, who thereupon goes
about thinking and saying, "Those insufferable Yankees!" An Englishman
does or says something which angers an American, who thereupon goes
about thinking and saying, "To Hell with England!" Each makes the
well-nigh universal--but none the less perfectly ridiculous--blunder of
damning a whole people because one of them has rubbed him the wrong way.
Nothing could show up more forcibly and vividly this human weakness for
generalizing from insufficient data, than the incident in London streets
which I promised to tell you in full when we should reach the time for
it. The time is now.

In a hospital at no great distance from San Francisco, a wounded
American soldier said to one who sat beside him, that never would he go
to Europe to fight anybody again--except the English. Them he would
like to fight; and to the astonished visitor he told his reason. He, it
appeared, was one of our Americans who marched through London streets
on that day when the eyes of London looked for the first time upon the
Yankees at last arrived to bear a hand to England and her Allies. From
the mob came a certain taunt: "You silly ass."

It was, as you will observe, an unflattering interpretation of our
national initials, U. S. A. Of course it was enough to make a proper
American doughboy entirely "hot under the collar." To this reading of
our national initials our national readiness retorted in kind at an
early date: A. E. F. meant After England Failed. But why, months and
months afterwards, when everything was over, did that foolish doughboy
in the hospital hug this lone thing to his memory? It was the act of an
unthinking few. Didn't he notice what the rest of London was doing that
day? Didn't he remember that she flew the Union Jack and the Stars and
Stripes together from every symbolic pinnacle of creed and government
that rose above her continent of streets and dwellings to the sky?
Couldn't he feel that England, his old enemy and old mother, bowed
and stricken and struggling, was opening her arms to him wide? She's a
person who hides her tears even from herself; but it seems to me that,
with a drop of imagination and half a drop of thought, he might have
discovered a year and a half after a few street roughs had insulted him,
that they were not all England. With two drops of thought it might even
have ultimately struck him that here we came, late, very late, indeed,
only just in time, from a country untouched, unafflicted, unbombed,
safe, because of England's ships, to tired, broken, bleeding England;
and that the sight of us, so jaunty, so fresh, so innocent of suffering
and bereavement, should have been for a thoughtless moment galling to
unthinking brains?

I am perfectly sure that if such considerations as these were laid
before any American soldier who still smarted under that taunt in London
streets, his good American sense, which is our best possession, would
grasp and accept the thing in its true proportions. He wouldn't want
to blot an Empire out because a handful of muckers called him names. Of
this I am perfectly sure, because in Paris streets it was my happy lot
four months after the Armistice to talk with many American soldiers,
among whom some felt sore about the French. Not one of these but saw
with his good American sense, directly I pointed certain facts out to
him, that his hostile generalization had been unjust. But, to quote the
oft-quoted Mr. Kipling, that is another story.

An American regiment just arrived in France was encamped for purposes of
training and experience next a British regiment come back from the front
to rest. The streets of the two camps were adjacent, and the Tommies
walked out to watch the Yankees pegging down their tents.

"Aw," they said, "wot a shyme you've brought nobody along to tuck you

They made other similar remarks; commented unfavorably upon the
alignment; "You were a bit late in coming," they said. Of course our
boys had answers, and to these the Tommies had further answers, and
this encounter of wits very naturally led to a result which could not
possibly have been happier. I don't know what the Tommies expected the
Yankees to do. I suppose they were as ignorant of our nature as we of
theirs, and that they entertained preconceived notions. They suddenly
found that we were, once again to quote Mr. Kipling, "bachelors in
barricks most remarkable like" themselves. An American first sergeant
hit a British first sergeant. Instantly a thousand men were milling. For
thirty minutes they kept at it. Warriors reeled together and fell and
rose and got it in the neck and the jaw and the eye and the nose--and
all the while the British and American officers, splendidly discreet,
saw none of it. British soldiers were carried back to their streets,
still fighting, bunged Yankees staggered everywhere--but not an officer
saw any of it. Black eyes the next day, and other tokens, very plainly
showed who had been at this party. Thereafter a much better feeling
prevailed between Tommies and Yanks.

A more peaceful contact produced excellent consequences at an encampment
of Americans in England. The Americans had brought over an idea,
apparently, that the English were "easy." They tried it on in sundry
ways, but ended by the discovery that, while engaged upon this
enterprise, they had been in sundry ways quite completely "done"
themselves. This gave them a respect for their English cousins which
they had never felt before.

Here is another tale, similar in moral. This occurred at Brest, in
France. In the Y hut sat an English lady, one of the hostesses. To
her came a young American marine with whom she already had some
acquaintance. This led him to ask for her advice. He said to her that
as his permission was of only seventy-two hours, he wanted to be as
economical of his time as he could and see everything best worth while
for him to see during his leave. Would she, therefore, tell him what
things in Paris were the most interesting and in what order he had best
take them? She replied with another suggestion; why not, she said, ask
for permission for England? This would give him two weeks instead of
seventy-two hours. At this he burst out violently that he would not
set foot in England; that he never wanted to have anything to do with
England or with the English: "Why, I am a marine!" he exclaimed, "and we
marines would sooner knock down any English sailor than speak to him."

The English lady, naturally, did not then tell him her nationality. She
now realized that he had supposed her to be American, because she had
frequently been in America and had talked to him as no stranger to the
country could. She, of course, did not urge his going to England; she
advised him what to see in France. He took his leave of seventy-two
hours and when he returned was very grateful for the advice she had
given him.

She saw him often after this, and he grew to rely very much upon her
friendly counsel. Finally, when the time came for her to go away from
Brest, she told him that she was English. And then she said something
like this to him:

"Now, you told me you had never been in England and had never known an
English person in your life, and yet you had all these ideas against us
because somebody had taught you wrong. It is not at all your fault. You
are only nineteen years old and you cannot read about us, because you
have no chance; but at least you do know one English person now, and
that English person begs you, when you do have a chance to read and
inform yourself of the truth, to find out what England really has been,
and what she has really done in this war."

The end of the story is that the boy, who had become devoted to her, did
as she suggested. To-day she receives letters from him which show that
nothing is left of his anti-English complex. It is another instance of
how clearly our native American mind, if only the facts are given it,
thinks, judges, and concludes.

It is for those of my countrymen who will never have this chance,
never meet some one who can "guide them to the facts", that I tell
these things. Let them "cut out the dope." At this very moment that I
write--November 24, 1919--the dope is being fed freely to all who are
ready, whether through ignorance or through interested motives, to
swallow it. The ancient grudge is being played up strong over the whole
country in the interest of Irish independence.

Ian Hay in his two books so timely and so excellent, Getting Together
and The Oppressed English, could not be as unreserved, naturally, as I
can be about those traits in my own countrymen which have, in the past
at any rate, retarded English cordiality towards Americans. Of these I
shall speak as plainly as I know how. But also, being an American
and therefore by birth more indiscreet than Ian Hay, I shall speak as
plainly as I know how of those traits in the English which have helped
to keep warm our ancient grudge. Thus I may render both countries
forever uninhabitable to me, but shall at least take with me into exile
a character for strict, if disastrous, impartiality.

I begin with an American who was traveling in an English train. It
stopped somewhere, and out of the window he saw some buildings which
interested him.

"Can you tell me what those are?" he asked an Englishman, a stranger,
who sat in the other corner of the compartment.

"Better ask the guard," said the Englishman.

Since that brief dialogue, this American does not think well of the

Now, two interpretations of the Englishman's answer are possible. One
is, that he didn't himself know, and said so in his English way. English
talk is often very short, much shorter than ours. That is because they
all understand each other, are much closer knit than we are. Behind them
are generations of "doing it" in the same established way, a way
that their long experience of life has hammered out for their own
convenience, and which they like. We're not nearly so closely knit
together here, save in certain spots, especially the old spots. In
Boston they understand each other with very few words said. So they do
in Charleston. But these spots of condensed and hoarded understanding
lie far apart, are never confluent, and also differ in their details;
while the whole of England is confluent, and the details have been
slowly worked out through centuries of getting on together, and are
accepted and observed exactly like the rules of a game.

In America, if the American didn't know, he would have answered, "I
don't know. I think you'll have to ask the conductor," or at any rate,
his reply would have been longer than the Englishman's. But I am not
going to accept the idea that the Englishman didn't know and said so in
his brief usual way. It's equally possible that he did know. Then, you
naturally ask, why in the name of common civility did he give such an
answer to the American?

I believe that I can tell you. He didn't know that my friend was an
American, he thought he was an Englishman who had broken the rules of
the game. We do have some rules here in America, only we have not nearly
so many, they're much more stretchable, and it's not all of us who have
learned them. But nevertheless a good many have.

Suppose you were traveling in a train here, and the man next you, whose
face you had never seen before, and with whom you had not yet exchanged
a syllable, said: "What's your pet name for your wife?"

Wouldn't your immediate inclination be to say, "What damned business is
that of yours?" or words to that general effect?

But again, you most naturally object, there was nothing personal in my
friend's question about the buildings. No; but that is not it. At
the bottom, both questions are an invasion of the same deep-seated
thing--the right to privacy. In America, what with the newspaper
reporters and this and that and the other, the territory of a man's
privacy has been lessened and lessened until very little of it remains;
but most of us still do draw the line somewhere; we may not all draw it
at the same place, but we do draw a line. The difference, then, between
ourselves and the English in this respect is simply, that with them the
territory of a man's privacy covers more ground, and different ground as
well. An Englishman doesn't expect strangers to ask him questions of
a guide-book sort. For all such questions his English system provides
perfectly definite persons to answer. If you want to know where the
ticket office is, or where to take your baggage, or what time the train
goes, or what platform it starts from, or what towns it stops at, and
what churches or other buildings of interest are to be seen in those
towns, there are porters and guards and Bradshaws and guidebooks to
tell you, and it's they whom you are expected to consult, not any
fellow-traveler who happens to be at hand. If you ask him, you break the
rules. Had my friend said: "I am an American. Would you mind telling
me what those buildings are?" all would have gone well. The Englishman
would have recognized (not fifty years ago, but certainly to-day) that
it wasn't a question of rules between them, and would have at once
explained--either that he didn't know, or that the buildings were such
and such.

Do not, I beg, suppose for a moment that I am holding up the English
way as better than our own--or worse. I am not making comparisons; I am
trying to show differences. Very likely there are many points wherein
we think the English might do well to borrow from us; and it is quite as
likely that the English think we might here and there take a leaf from
their book to our advantage. But I am not theorizing, I am not seeking
to show that we manage life better or that they manage life better; the
only moral that I seek to draw from these anecdotes is, that we should
each understand and hence make allowance for the other fellow's way. You
will admit, I am sure, be you American or English, that everybody has
a right to his own way? The proverb "When in Rome you must do as Rome
does" covers it, and would save trouble if we always obeyed it. The
people who forget it most are they that go to Rome for the first
time; and I shall give you both English and American examples of this
presently. It is good to ascertain before you go to Rome, if you can,
what Rome does do.

Have you never been mistaken for a waiter, or something of that sort?
Perhaps you will have heard the anecdote about one of our ambassadors
to England. All ambassadors, save ours, wear on formal occasions a
distinguishing uniform, just as our army and navy officers do; it
is convenient, practical, and saves trouble. But we have declared it
menial, or despotic, or un-American, or something equally silly, and
hence our ambassadors must wear evening dress resembling closely the
attire of those who are handing the supper or answering the door-bell.
An Englishman saw Mr. Choate at some diplomatic function, standing about
in this evening costume, and said:

"Call me a cab."

"You are a cab," said Mr. Choate, obediently.

Thus did he make known to the Englishman that he was not a waiter.
Similarly in crowded hotel dining-rooms or crowded railroad stations
have agitated ladies clutched my arm and said:

"I want a table for three," or "When does the train go to Poughkeepsie?"

Just as we in America have regular people to attend to these things,
so do they in England; and as the English respect each other's right to
privacy very much more than we do, they resent invasions of it very much
more than we do. But, let me say again, they are likely to mind it only
in somebody they think knows the rules. With those who don't know them
it is different. I say this with all the more certainty because of a
fairly recent afternoon spent in an English garden with English friends.
The question of pronunciation came up. Now you will readily see that
with them and their compactness, their great public schools, their two
great Universities, and their great London, the one eternal focus
of them all, both the chance of diversity in social customs and the
tolerance of it must be far less than in our huge unfocused country.
With us, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco, is each
a centre. Here you can pronounce the word calm, for example, in one way
or another, and it merely indicates where you come from. Departure in
England from certain established pronunciations has another effect.

"Of course," said one of my friends, "one knows where to place anybody
who says 'girl'" (pronouncing it as it is spelled).

"That's frightful," said I, "because I say 'girl'."

"Oh, but you are an American. It doesn't apply."

But had I been English, it would have been something like coming to
dinner without your collar.

That is why I think that, had my friend in the train begun his question
about the buildings by saying that he was an American, the answer would
have been different. Not all the English yet, but many more than there
were fifty or even twenty years ago, have ceased to apply their rules to

About 1874 a friend of mine from New York was taken to a London Club.
Into the room where he was came the Prince of Wales, who took out a
cigar, felt for and found no matches, looked about, and there was a
silence. My friend thereupon produced matches, struck one, and offered
it to the Prince, who bowed, thanked him, lighted his cigar, and
presently went away.

Then an Englishman observed to my friend: "It's not the thing for a
commoner to offer a light to the Prince."

"I'm not a commoner, I'm an American," said my friend with perfect good

Whatever their rule may be to-day about the Prince and matches, as to us
they have come to accept my friend's pertinent distinction: they don't
expect us to keep or even to know their own set of rules.

Indeed, they surpass us in this, they make more allowances for us than
we for them. They don't criticize Americans for not being English.
Americans still constantly do criticize the English for not being
Americans. Now, the measure in which you don't allow for the customs of
another country is the measure of your own provincialism. I have heard
some of our own soldiers express dislike of the English because of
their coldness. The English are not cold; they are silent upon certain
matters. But it is all there. Do you remember that sailor at Zeebrugge
carrying the unconscious body of a comrade to safety, not sure yet if he
were alive or dead, and stroking that comrade's head as he went,
saying over and over, "Did you think I would leave yer?" We are more
demonstrative, we spell things out which it is the way of the English to
leave between the lines. But it is all there! Behind that unconciliating
wall of shyness and reserve, beats and hides the warm, loyal British
heart, the most constant heart in the world.

"It isn't done."

That phrase applies to many things in England besides offering a light
to the Prince, or asking a fellow traveler what those buildings are; and
I think that the Englishman's notion of his right to privacy lies at the
bottom of quite a number of these things. You may lay some of them to
snobbishness, to caste, to shyness, they may have various secondary
origins; but I prefer to cover them all with the broader term, the right
to privacy, because it seems philosophically to account for them and
explain them.

In May, 1915, an Oxford professor was in New York. A few years before
this I had read a book of his which had delighted me. I met him at
lunch, I had not known him before. Even as we shook hands, I blurted out
to him my admiration for his book.


That was the whole of his reply. It made me laugh at myself, for I
should have known better. I had often been in England and could have
told anybody that you mustn't too abruptly or obviously refer to what
the other fellow does, still less to what you do yourself. "It isn't
done." It's a sort of indecent exposure. It's one of the invasions of
the right to privacy.

In America, not everywhere but in many places, a man upon entering a
club and seeing a friend across the room, will not hesitate to call out
to him, "Hullo, Jack!" or "Hullo, George!" or whatever. In England "it
isn't done." The greeting would be conveyed by a short nod or a glance.
To call out a man's name across a room full of people, some of whom may
be total strangers, invades his privacy and theirs. Have you noticed
how, in our Pullman parlor cars, a party sitting together, generally
young women, will shriek their conversation in a voice that bores like
a gimlet through the whole place? That is an invasion of privacy. In
England "it isn't done." We shouldn't stand it in a theatre, but in
parlor cars we do stand it. It is a good instance to show that the
Englishman's right to privacy is larger than ours, and thus that his
liberty is larger than ours.

Before leaving this point, which to my thinking is the cause of many
frictions and misunderstandings between ourselves and the English, I
mustn't omit to give instances of divergence, where an Englishman will
speak of matters upon which we are silent, and is silent upon subjects
of which we will speak.

You may present a letter of introduction to an Englishman, and he wishes
to be civil, to help you to have a good time. It is quite possible he
may say something like this:

"I think you had better know my sister Sophy. You mayn't like her. But
her dinners are rather amusing. Of course the food's ghastly because
she's the stingiest woman in London."

On the other hand, many Americans (though less willing than the French)
are willing to discuss creed, immortality, faith. There is nothing from
which the Englishman more peremptorily recoils, although he hates well
nigh as deeply all abstract discussion, or to be clever, or to have you
be clever. An American friend of mine had grown tired of an Englishman
who had been finding fault with one American thing after another. So he
suddenly said:

"Will you tell me why you English when you enter your pews on Sunday
always immediately smell your hats?"

The Englishman stiffened. "I refuse to discuss religious subjects with
you," he said.

To be ponderous over this anecdote grieves me--but you may not know that
orthodox Englishmen usually don't kneel, as we do, after reaching
their pews; they stand for a moment, covering their faces with their
well-brushed hats: with each nation the observance is the same, it is in
the manner of the observing that we differ.

Much is said about our "common language," and its being a reason for our
understanding each other. Yes; but it is also almost as much a cause
for our misunderstanding each other. It is both a help and a trap. If we
Americans spoke something so wholly different from English as French is,
comparisons couldn't be made; and somebody has remarked that comparisons
are odious.

"Why do you call your luggage baggage?" says the Englishman--or used to

"Why do you call your baggage luggage?" says the American--or used to

"Why don't you say treacle?" inquires the Englishman.

"Because we call it molasses," answers the American.

"How absurd to speak of a car when you mean a carriage!" exclaims the

"We don't mean a carriage, we mean a car," retorts the American.

You, my reader, may have heard (or perhaps even held) foolish
conversations like that; and you will readily perceive that if we didn't
say "car" when we spoke of the vehicle you get into when you board a
train, but called it a voiture, or something else quite "foreign," the
Englishman would not feel that we had taken a sort of liberty with his
mother-tongue. A deep point lies here: for most English the world is
divided into three peoples, English, foreigners, and Americans; and
for most of us likewise it is divided into Americans, foreigners, and
English. Now a "foreigner" can call molasses whatever he pleases; we
do not feel that he has taken any liberty with our mother-tongue;
his tongue has a different mother; he can't help that; he's not to be
criticized for that. But we and the English speak a tongue that has
the same mother. This identity in pedigree has led and still leads
to countless family discords. I've not a doubt that divergences in
vocabulary and in accent were the fount and origin of some swollen
noses, some battered eyes, when our Yankees mixed with the Tommies. Each
would be certain to think that the other couldn't "talk straight"--and
each would be certain to say so. I shall not here spin out a list of
different names for the same things now current in English and American
usage: molasses and treacle will suffice for an example; you will be
able easily to think of others, and there are many such that occur in
everyday speech. Almost more tricky are those words which both peoples
use alike, but with different meanings. I shall spin no list of
these either; one example there is which I cannot name, of two words
constantly used in both countries, each word quite proper in one
country, while in the other it is more than improper. Thirty years ago
I explained this one evening to a young Englishman who was here for a
while. Two or three days later, he thanked me fervently for the warning:
it had saved him, during a game of tennis, from a frightful shock, when
his partner, a charming girl, meaning to tell him to cheer up, had used
the word that is so harmless with us and in England so far beyond the
pale of polite society.

Quite as much as words, accent also leads to dissension. I have heard
many an American speak of the English accent as "affected"; and our
accent displeases the English. Now what Englishman, or what American,
ever criticizes a Frenchman for not pronouncing our language as we do?
His tongue has a different mother!

I know not how in the course of the years all these divergences should
have come about, and none of us need care. There they are. As a matter
of fact, both England and America are mottled with varying accents
literate and illiterate; equally true it is that each nation has its
notion of the other's way of speaking--we're known by our shrill nasal
twang, they by their broad vowels and hesitation; and quite as true is
it that not all Americans and not all English do in their enunciation
conform to these types.

One May afternoon in 1919 I stopped at Salisbury to see that beautiful
cathedral and its serene and gracious close. "Star-scattered on the
grass," and beneath the noble trees, lay New Zealand soldiers, solitary
or in little groups, gazing, drowsing, talking at ease. Later, at the
inn I was shown to a small table, where sat already a young Englishman
in evening dress, at his dinner. As I sat down opposite him, I bowed,
and he returned it. Presently we were talking. When I said that I was
stopping expressly to see the cathedral, and how like a trance it was to
find a scene so utterly English full of New Zealanders lying all about,
he looked puzzled. It was at this, or immediately after this, that I
explained to him my nationality.

"I shouldn't have known it," he remarked, after an instant's pause.

I pressed him for his reason, which he gave; somewhat reluctantly,
I think, but with excellent good-will. Of course it was the same old

"You mean," I said, "that I haven't happened to say 'I guess,' and that
I don't, perhaps, talk through my nose? But we don't all do that. We do
all sorts of things."

He stuck to it. "You talk like us."

"Well, I'm sure I don't mean to talk like anybody!" I sighed.

This diverted him, and brought us closer.

"And see here," I continued, "I knew you were English, although you've
not dropped a single h."

"Oh, but," he said, "dropping h's--that's--that's not--"

"I know it isn't," I said. "Neither is talking through your nose. And we
don't all say 'Amurrican.'"

But he stuck to it. "All the same there is an American voice. The train
yesterday was full of it. Officers. Unmistakable." And he shook his

After this we got on better than ever; and as he went his way, he gave
me some advice about the hotel. I should do well to avoid the reading
room. The hotel went in rather too much for being old-fashioned. Ran it
into the ground. Tiresome. Good-night.

Presently I shall disclose more plainly to you the moral of my Salisbury

Is it their discretion, do you think, that closes the lips of the French
when they visit our shores? Not from the French do you hear prompt
aspersions as to our differences from them. They observe that proverb
about being in Rome: they may not be able to do as Rome does, but they
do not inquire why Rome isn't like Paris. If you ask them how they like
our hotels or our trains, they may possibly reply that they prefer their
own, but they will hardly volunteer this opinion. But the American in
England and the Englishman in America go about volunteering opinions.
Are the French more discreet? I believe that they are; but I wonder if
there is not also something else at the bottom of it. You and I will say
things about our cousins to our aunt. Our aunt would not allow outsiders
to say those things. Is it this, the-members-of-the-family principle,
which makes us less discreet than the French? Is it this, too, which
leads us by a seeming paradox to resent criticism more when it comes
from England? I know not how it may be with you; but with me, when I
pick up the paper and read that the Germans are calling us pig-dogs
again, I am merely amused. When I read French or Italian abuse of us,
I am sorry, to be sure; but when some English paper jumps on us, I hate
it, even when I know that what it says isn't true. So here, if I am
right in my members-of-the-family hypothesis, you have the English and
ourselves feeling free to be disagreeable to each other because we are
relations, and yet feeling especially resentful because it's a relation
who is being disagreeable. I merely put the point to you, I lay no dogma
down concerning members of the family; but I am perfectly sure that
discretion is a quality more common to the French than to ourselves or
our relations: I mean something a little more than discretion, I mean
esprit de conduits, for which it is hard to find a translation.

Upon my first two points, the right to privacy and the mother-tongue, I
have lingered long, feeling these to be not only of prime importance and
wide application, but also to be quite beyond my power to make lucid in
short compass. I trust that they have been made lucid. I must now get
on to further anecdotes, illustrating other and less subtle causes of
misunderstanding; and I feel somewhat like the author of Don Juan
when he exclaims that he almost wishes he had ne'er begun that very
remarkable poem. I renounce all pretense to the French virtue of

Evening dress has been the source of many irritations. Englishmen did
not appear to think that they need wear it at American dinner parties.
There was a good deal of this at one time. During that period an
Englishman, who had brought letters to a gentleman in Boston and in
consequence had been asked to dinner, entered the house of his host in a
tweed suit. His host, in evening dress of course, met him in the hall.

"Oh, I see," said the Bostonian, "that you haven't your dress suit with
you. The man will take you upstairs and one of mine will fit you well
enough. We'll wait."

In England, a cricketer from Philadelphia, after the match at Lord's,
had been invited to dine at a great house with the rest of his eleven.
They were to go there on a coach. The American discovered after arrival
that he alone of the eleven had not brought a dress suit with him. He
asked his host what he was to do.

"I advise you to go home," said the host.

The moral here is not that all hosts in England would have treated a
guest so, or that all American hosts would have met the situation so
well as that Boston gentleman: but too many English used to be socially
brutal--quite as much so to each other as to us, or any one. One should
bear that in mind. I know of nothing more English in its way than what
Eton answered to Beaumont (I think) when Beaumont sent a challenge to
play cricket: "Harrow we know, and Rugby we have heard of. But who are

That sort of thing belongs rather to the Palmerston days than to these;
belongs to days that were nearer in spirit to the Waterloo of 1815,
which a haughty England won, than to the Waterloo of 1914-18, which a
humbler England so nearly lost.

Turn we next the other way for a look at ourselves. An American lady who
had brought a letter of introduction to an Englishman in London was in
consequence asked to lunch. He naturally and hospitably gathered to
meet her various distinguished guests. Afterwards she wrote him that
she wished him to invite her to lunch again, as she had matters of
importance to tell him. Why, then, didn't she ask him to lunch with her?
Can you see? I think I do.

An American lady was at a house party in Scotland at which she met a
gentleman of old and famous Scotch blood. He was wearing the kilt of
his clan. While she talked with him she stared, and finally burst out
laughing. "I declare," she said, "that's positively the most ridiculous
thing I ever saw a man dressed in."

At the Savoy hotel in August, 1914, when England declared war upon
Germany, many American women made scenes of confusion and vociferation.
About England and the blast of Fate which had struck her they had
nothing to say, but crowded and wailed of their own discomforts, meals,
rooms, every paltry personal inconvenience to which they were subjected,
or feared that they were going to be subjected. Under the unprecedented
stress this was, perhaps, not unnatural; but it would have seemed less
displeasing had they also occasionally showed concern for England's
plight and peril.

An American, this time a man (our crudities are not limited to the sex)
stood up in a theatre, disputing the sixpence which you always have to
pay for your program in the London theatres. He disputed so long that
many people had to stand waiting to be shown their seats.

During deals at a game of bridge on a Cunard steamer, the talk had
turned upon a certain historic house in an English county. The talk was
friendly, everything had been friendly each day.

"Well," said a very rich American to his English partner in the game,
"those big estates will all be ours pretty soon. We're going to buy
them up and turn your island into our summer resort." No doubt this
millionaire intended to be playfully humorous.

At a table where several British and one American--an officer--sat
during another ocean voyage between Liverpool and Halifax in June, 1919,
the officer expressed satisfaction to be getting home again. He had gone
over, he said, to "clean up the mess the British had made."

To a company of Americans who had never heard it before, was told the
well-known exploit of an American girl in Europe. In an ancient church
she was shown the tomb of a soldier who had been killed in battle three
centuries ago. In his honor and memory, because he lost his life bravely
in a great cause, his family had kept a little glimmering lamp alight
ever since. It hung there, beside the tomb.

"And that's never gone out in all this time?" asked the American girl.

"Never," she was told.

"Well, it's out now, anyway," and she blew it out.

All the Americans who heard this were shocked all but one, who said:

"Well, I think she was right."

There you are! There you have us at our very worst! And with this plump
specimen of the American in Europe at his very worst, I turn back to the
English: only, pray do not fail to give those other Americans who were
shocked by the outrage of the lamp their due. How wide of the mark would
you be if you judged us all by the one who approved of that horrible
vandal girl's act! It cannot be too often repeated that we must never
condemn a whole people for what some of the people do.

In the two-and-a-half anecdotes which follow, you must watch out for
something which lies beneath their very obvious surface.

An American sat at lunch with a great English lady in her country-house.
Although she had seen him but once before, she began a conversation like

Did the American know the van Squibbers?

He did not.

Well, the van Squibbers, his hostess explained, were Americans who lived
in London and went everywhere. One certainly did see them everywhere.
They were almost too extraordinary.

Now the American knew quite all about these van Squibbers. He knew also
that in New York, and Boston, and Philadelphia, and in many other places
where existed a society with still some ragged remnants of decency
and decorum left, one would not meet this highly star-spangled family

The hostess kept it up. Did the American know the Butteredbuns? No?
Well, one met the Butteredbuns everywhere too. They were rather more
extraordinary than the van Squibbers. And then there were the Cakewalks,
and the Smith-Trapezes' Mrs. Smith-Trapeze wasn't as extraordinary as
her daughter--the one that put the live frog in Lord Meldon's soup--and
of course neither of them were "talked about" in the same way that
the eldest Cakewalk girl was talked about. Everybody went to them, of
course, because one really never knew what one might miss if one didn't
go. At length the American said:

"You must correct me if I am wrong in an impression I have received.
Vulgar Americans seem to me to get on very well in London."

The hostess paused for a moment, and then she said:

"That is perfectly true."

This acknowledgment was complete, and perfectly friendly, and after that
all went better than it had gone before.

The half anecdote is a part of this one, and happened a few weeks later
at table--dinner this time.

Sitting next to the same American was an English lady whose conversation
led him to repeat to her what he had said to his hostess at lunch:
"Vulgar Americans seem to get on very well in London society."

"They do," said the lady, "and I will tell you why. We English--I mean
that set of English--are blase. We see each other too much, we are
all alike in our ways, and we are awfully tired of it. Therefore it
refreshes us and amuses us to see something new and different."

"Then," said the American, "you accept these hideous people's
invitations, and go to their houses, and eat their food, and drink their
champagne, and it's just like going to see the monkeys at the Zoo?"

"It is," returned the lady.

"But," the American asked, "isn't that awfully low down of you?" (He
smiled as he said it.)

Immediately the English lady assented; and grew more cordial. When
next day the party came to break up, she contrived in the manner of
her farewell to make the American understand that because of their
conversation she bore him not ill will but good will.

Once more, the scene of my anecdote is at table, a long table in a club,
where men came to lunch. All were Englishmen, except a single stranger.
He was an American, who through the kindness of one beloved member of
that club, no longer living now, had received a card to the club. The
American, upon sitting down alone in this company, felt what I suppose
that many of us feel in like circumstances: he wished there were
somebody there who knew him and could nod to him. Nevertheless, he was
spoken to, asked questions about various of his fellow countrymen, and
made at home. Presently, however, an elderly member who had been silent
and whom I will designate as being of the Dr. Samuel Johnson type, said:
"You seem to be having trouble in your packing houses over in America?"

We were.

"Very disgraceful, those exposures."

They were. It was May, 1906.

"Your Government seems to be doing something about it. It's certainly
scandalous. Such abuses should never have been possible in the first
place. It oughtn't to require your Government to stop it. It shouldn't
have started."

"I fancy the facts aren't quite so bad as that sensational novel about
Chicago makes them out," said the American. "At least I have been told

"It all sounds characteristic to me," said the Sam Johnson. "It's quite
the sort of thing one expects to hear from the States."

"It is characteristic," said the American. "In spite of all the years
that the sea has separated us, we're still inveterately like you, a
bullying, dishonest lot--though we've had nothing quite so bad yet as
your opium trade with China."

The Sam Johnson said no more.

At a ranch in Wyoming were a number of Americans and one Englishman, a
man of note, bearing a celebrated name. He was telling the company what
one could do in the way of amusement in the evening in London.

"And if there's nothing at the theatres and everything else fails, you
can always go to one of the restaurants and hear the Americans eat."

There you have them, my anecdotes. They are chosen from many. I hope
and believe that, between them all, they cover the ground; that, taken
together as I want you to take them after you have taken them singly,
they make my several points clear. As I see it, they reveal the chief
whys and wherefores of friction between English and Americans. It is
also my hope that I have been equally disagreeable to everybody. If I am
to be banished from both countries, I shall try not to pass my exile in
Switzerland, which is indeed a lovely place, but just now too full of
celebrated Germans.

Beyond my two early points, the right to privacy and the mother-tongue,
what are the generalizations to be drawn from my data? I should like
to dodge spelling them out, I should immensely prefer to leave it here.
Some readers know it already, knew it before I began; while for others,
what has been said will be enough. These, if they have the will
to friendship instead of the will to hate, will get rid of their
anti-English complex, supposing that they had one, and understand better
in future what has not been clear to them before. But I seem to feel
that some readers there may be who will wish me to be more explicit.

First, then. England has a thousand years of greatness to her credit.
Who would not be proud of that? Arrogance is the seamy side of pride.
That is what has rubbed us Americans the wrong way. We are recent. Our
thousand years of greatness are to come. Such is our passionate belief.
Crudity is the seamy side of youth. Our crudity rubs the English the
wrong way. Compare the American who said we were going to buy England
for a summer resort with the Englishman who said that when all other
entertainment in London failed, you could always listen to the Americans
eat. Crudity, "freshness" on our side, arrogance, toploftiness on
theirs: such is one generalization I would have you disengage from my

Second. The English are blunter than we. They talk to us as they would
talk to themselves. The way we take it reveals that we are too
often thin-skinned. Recent people are apt to be thin-skinned and
self-conscious and self-assertive, while those with a thousand years of
tradition would have thicker hides and would never feel it necessary to
assert themselves. Give an Englishman as good as he gives you, and
you are certain to win his respect, and probably his regard. In this
connection see my anecdote about the Tommies and Yankees who physically
fought it out, and compare it with the Salisbury, the van Squibber, and
the opium trade anecdotes. "Treat 'em rough," when they treat you rough:
they like it. Only, be sure you do it in the right way.

Third. We differ because we are alike. That American who stood in the
theatre complaining about the sixpence he didn't have to pay at home
is exactly like Englishmen I have seen complaining about the unexpected
here. We share not only the same mother-tongue, we share every other
fundamental thing upon which our welfare rests and our lives are carried
on. We like the same things, we hate the same things. We have the same
notions about justice, law, conduct; about what a man should be, about
what a woman should be. It is like the mother-tongue we share, yet speak
with a difference. Take the mother-tongue for a parable and symbol of
all the rest. Just as the word "girl" is identical to our sight but not
to our hearing, and means oh! quite the same thing throughout us all in
all its meanings, so that identity of nature which we share comes
often to the surface in different guise. Our loquacity estranges the
Englishman, his silence estranges us. Behind that silence beats the
English heart, warm, constant, and true; none other like it on earth,
except our own at its best, beating behind our loquacity.

Thus far my anecdotes carry me. May they help some reader to a better
understanding of what he has misunderstood heretofore!

No anecdotes that I can find (though I am sure that they are to be
found) will illustrate one difference between the two peoples, very
noticeable to-day. It is increasing. An Englishman not only sticks
closer than a brother to his own rights, he respects the rights of his
neighbor just as strictly. We Americans are losing our grip on this. It
is the bottom of the whole thing. It is the moral keystone of democracy.
Howsoever we may talk about our own rights to-day, we pay less and less
respect to those of our neighbors. The result is that to-day there is
more liberty in England than here. Liberty consists and depends upon
respecting your neighbor's rights every bit as fairly and squarely as
your own.

On the other hand, I wonder if the English are as good losers as we are?
Hardly anything that they could do would rub us more the wrong way than
to deny to us that fair play in sport which they accord each other. I
shall not more than mention the match between our Benicia Boy and
their Tom Sayers. Of this the English version is as defective as our
school-book account of the Revolution. I shall also pass over various
other international events that are somewhat well known, and I will
illustrate the point with an anecdote known to but a few.

Crossing the ocean were some young English and Americans, who got up an
international tug-of-war. A friend of mine was anchor of our team. We
happened to win. They didn't take it very well. One of them said to the

"Do you know why you pulled us over the line?"


"Because you had all the blackguards on your side of the line."

"Do you know why we had all the blackguards on our side of the line?"
inquired the American.


"Because we pulled you over the line."

In one of my anecdotes I used the term Sam Johnson to describe an
Englishman of a certain type. Dr. Samuel Johnson was a very marked
specimen of the type, and almost the only illustrious Englishman of
letters during our Revolutionary troubles who was not our friend. Right
down through the years ever since, there have been Sam Johnsons writing
and saying unfavorable things about us. The Tory must be eternal, as
much as the Whig or Liberal; and both are always needed. There will
probably always be Sam Johnsons in England, just like the one who was
scandalized by our Chicago packing-house disclosures. No longer ago than
June 1, 1919, a Sam Johnson, who was discussing the Peace Treaty, said
in my hearing, in London:

"The Yankees shouldn't have been brought into any consultation. They
aided and abetted Germany."

In Littell's Living Age of July 20, 1918, pages 151-160, you may read an
interesting account of British writers on the United States. The bygone
ones were pretty preposterous. They satirized the newness of a new
country. It was like visiting the Esquimaux and complaining that they
grew no pineapples and wore skins. In Littell you will find how few are
the recent Sam Johnsons as compared with the recent friendly writers.
You will also be reminded that our anti-English complex was discerned
generations ago by Washington Irving. He said in his Sketch Book that
writers in this country were "instilling anger and resentment into the
bosom of a youthful nation, to grow with its growth and to strengthen
with its strength."

And he quotes from the English Quarterly Review, which in that early day
already wrote of America and England:

"There is a sacred bond between us by blood and by language which no
circumstances can break.... Nations are too ready to admit that they
have natural enemies; why should they be less willing to believe that
they have natural friends?"

It is we ourselves to-day, not England, that are pushing friendship
away. It is our politicians, papers, and propagandists who are making
the trouble and the noise. In England the will to friendship rules, has
ruled for a long while. Does the will to hate rule with us? Do we prefer
Germany? Do we prefer the independence of Ireland to the peace of the

Chapter XVI: An International Imposture

A part of the Irish is asking our voice and our gold to help
independence for the whole of the Irish. Independence is not desired
by the whole of the Irish. Irishmen of Ulster have plainly said so.
Everybody knows this. Roman Catholics themselves are not unanimous. Only
some of them desire independence. These, known as Sinn Fein, appeal to
us for deliverance from their conqueror and oppressor; they dwell upon
the oppression of England beneath which Ireland is now crushed. They
refer to England's brutal and unjustifiable conquest of the Irish nation
seven hundred and forty-eight years ago.

What is the truth, what are the facts?

By his bull "Laudabiliter," in 1155, Pope Adrian the Fourth invited the
King of England to take charge of Ireland. In 1172 Pope Alexander the
Third confirmed this by several letters, at present preserved in the
Black Book of the Exchequer. Accordingly, Henry the Second went
to Ireland. All the archbishops and bishops of Ireland met him at
Waterford, received him as king and lord of Ireland, vowing loyal
obedience to him and his successors, and acknowledging fealty to them
forever. These prelates were followed by the kings of Cork, Limerick,
Ossory, Meath, and by Reginald of Waterford. Roderick O'Connor, King of
Connaught, joined them in 1175. All these accepted Henry the Second
of England as their Lord and King, swearing to be loyal to him and his
successors forever.

Such was England's brutal and unjustifiable conquest of Ireland.

Ireland was not a nation, it was a tribal chaos. The Irish nation of
that day is a legend, a myth, built by poetic imagination. During the
centuries succeeding Henry the Second, were many eras of violence and
bloodshed. In reading the story, it is hard to say which side committed
the most crimes. During those same centuries, violence and bloodshed and
oppression existed everywhere in Europe. Undoubtedly England was very
oppressive to Ireland at times; but since the days of Gladstone she has
steadily endeavored to relieve Ireland, with the result that today
she is oppressing Ireland rather less than our Federal Government
is oppressing Massachusetts, or South Carolina, or any State. By
the Wyndham Land Act of 1903, Ireland was placed in a position so
advantageous, so utterly the reverse of oppression, that Dillon, the
present leader, hastened to obstruct the operation of the Act, lest
the Irish genius for grievance might perish from starvation. Examine the
state of things for yourself, I cannot swell this book with the details;
they are as accessible to you as the few facts about the conquest which
I have just narrated. Examine the facts, but even without examining
them, ask yourself this question: With Canada, Australia, and all those
other colonies that I have named above, satisfied with England's rule,
hastening to her assistance, and with only Ireland selling herself
to Germany, is it not just possible that something is the matter with
Ireland rather than with England? Sinn Fein will hear of no Home Rule.
Sinn Fein demands independence. Independence Sinn Fein will not get.
Not only because of the outrage to unconsenting Ulster, but also because
Britain, having just got rid of one Heligoland to the East, will not
permit another to start up on the West. As early as August 25th, 1914,
mention in German papers was made of the presence in Berlin of Casement
and of his mission to invite Germany to step into Ireland when England
was fighting Germany. The traffic went steadily on from that time, and
broke out in the revolution and the crimes in Dublin in 1916. England
discovered the plan of the revolution just in time to foil the landing
in Ireland of Germany, whom Ireland had invited there. Were England
seeking to break loose from Ireland, she could sue Ireland for a divorce
and name the Kaiser as co-respondent. Any court would grant it.

The part of Ireland which does not desire independence, which desires it
so little that it was ready to resist Home Rule by force in 1914, is the
steady, thrifty, clean, coherent, prosperous part of Ireland. It is the
other, the unstable part of Ireland, which has declared Ireland to be a
Republic. For convenience I will designate this part as Green Ireland,
and the thrifty, stable part as Orange Ireland. So when our politicians
sympathize with an "Irish" Republic, they befriend merely Green Ireland;
they offend Orange Ireland.

Americans are being told in these days that they owe a debt of support
to Irish independence, because the "Irish" fought with us in our own
struggle for Independence. Yes, the Irish did, and we do owe them a debt
of support. But it was the Orange Irish who fought in our Revolution,
not the Green Irish. Therefore in paying the debt to the Green Irish and
clamoring for "Irish" independence, we are double crossing the Orange

"It is a curious fact that in the Revolutionary War the Germans and
Catholic Irish should have furnished the bulk of the auxiliaries to the
regular English soldiers;... The fiercest and most ardent Americans
of all, however, were the Presbyterian Irish settlers and their
descendants." History of New York, p. 133, by Theodore Roosevelt.

Next, in what manner have the Green Irish incurred our thanks?

They made the ancient and honorable association of Tammany their own.
Once it was American. Now Tammany is Green Irish. I do not believe that
I need pause to tell you much about Tammany. It defeated Mitchel, a
loyal but honest Catholic, and the best Mayor of Near York in thirty
years. It is a despotism built on corruption and fear.

During our Civil War, it was the Green Irish that resisted the draft in
New York. They would not fight. You have heard of the draft riots in New
York in 1862. They would not fight for the Confederacy either.

During the following decade, in Pennsylvania, an association, called
the Molly Maguires, terrorized the coal regions until their reign of
assassination was brought to an end by the detection, conviction, and
execution of their ringleaders. These were Green Irish.

In Cork and Queenstown during the recent war, our American sailors were
assaulted and stoned by the Green Irish, because they had come to help
fight Germany. These assaults, and the retaliations to which they led,
became so serious that no naval men under the rank of Commander were
permitted to go to Cork. Leading citizens of Cork came to beg that this
order be rescinded. But, upon being cross-examined, it was found that
the Green Irish who had made the trouble had never been punished. Of
this many of us had news before Admiral Sims in The World's Work for
November, pages 63-64, gave it his authoritative confirmation.

Taking one consideration with another, it hardly seems to me that our
debt to the Green Irish is sufficiently heavy for us to hinder England
for the sake of helping them and Germany.

Not all the Green Irish were guilty of the attacks upon our sailors; not
all by any means were pro-German; and I know personally of loyal Roman
Catholics who are wholly on England's side, and are wholly opposed to
Sinn Fein. Many such are here, many in Ireland: them I do not mean. It
is Sinn Fein that I mean.

In 1918, when England with her back to the wall was fighting Germany,
the Green Irish killed the draft. Here following, I give some specific
instances of what the Roman Catholic priests said.

April 21st. After mass at Castletown, Bear Haven, Father Brennan ordered
his flock to resist conscription, take the sacrament, and to be ready to
resist to the death; such death insuring the full benediction of God
and his Church. If the police resort to force, let the people kill
the police as they would kill any one who threatened their lives. If
soldiers came in support of the draft, let them be treated like the
police. Policemen and soldiers dying in their attempt to carry out the
draft law, would die the enemies of God, while the people who resisted
them would die in peace with God and under the benediction of his

Father Lynch said in church at Ryehill: "Resist the draft by every means
in your power. Any minion of the English Government who fires upon you,
above all if he is a Catholic, commits a mortal sin and God will punish

In the chapel at Kilgarvan Father Murphy said: "Every Irishman who helps
to apply the draft in Ireland is not only a traitor to his country, but
commits a mortal sin against God's law."

At mass in Scariff the Rev. James MacInerney said: "No Irish Catholic,
whatever his station be, can help the draft in this country without
denying his faith."

April 28th. After having given the communion to three hundred men in the
church at Eyries, County Cork, Father Gerald Dennehy said: "Any Catholic
who either as policeman or as agent of the government shall assist in
applying the draft, shall be excommunicated and cursed by the Roman
Catholic Church. The curse of God will follow him in every land. You can
kill him at sight, God will bless you and it will be the most acceptable
sacrifice that you can offer."

Referring to any policeman who should attempt to enforce the draft,
Father Murphy said at mass in Killenna, "Any policeman who is killed in
such attempt will be damned in hell, even if he was in a state of grace
that very morning."

Ninety-five percent of those Irish policemen were Catholics and had to
respect the commands of those priests.

Ireland is England's business, not ours. But the word
"self-determination" appears to hypnotize some Americans. We must not
be hypnotized by this word. It is upon the "principle" expressed in
this word that our sympathies with the Irish Republic are asked. The
six northeastern counties of Ulster, on the "principle" of
self-determination, should be separated from the Irish Republic. But the
Green Irish will not listen to that. Protestants in Ulster had to listen
in their own chief city to Sinn Fein rejoicings over German victories.
The rebellion of 1916, when Sinn Fein opened the back door that
England's enemies might enter and destroy her--this dastardly treason
was made bloody by cowardly violence. The unarmed and the unsuspecting
were shot down and stabbed in cold blood. Later, soldiers who came home
from the front, wounded soldiers too, were persecuted and assaulted. The
men of Ulster don't wish to fall under the power of the Green Irish.

"We do not know whether the British statesmen are right in asserting a
connection between Irish revolutionary feeling and German propaganda.
But in such a connection we should see no sign of a bad German policy."
Thus wrote a Prussian deputy in Das Grossere Deutschland. That was over
there. This was over here:--

"The fraternal understanding which unites the Ancient Order of
Hibernians and the German-American Alliance receives our unqualified
endorsement. This unity of effort in all matters of a public
nature intended to circumvent the efforts of England to secure an
Anglo-American alliance have been productive of very successful results.
The congratulations of those of us who live under the flag of the United
States are extended to our German-American fellow citizens upon the
conquests won by the fatherland, and we assure them of our unshaken
confidence that the German Empire will crush England and aid in the
liberation of Ireland, and be a real defender of small nations." See the
Boston Herald of July 22, 1916.

During our Civil War, in 1862, a resolution of sympathy with the South
was stifled in Parliament.

On June 6, 1919, our Senate passed, with one dissenting voice, the
following, offered by Senator Walsh, democrat, of Massachusetts:

"Resolved, that the Senate of the United States express its sympathy
with the aspirations of the Irish people for a government of its own

What England would not do for the South in 1862, we now do against
England our ally, against Ulster, our friend in our Revolution, and in
support of England's enemies, Sinn Fein and Germany.

Ireland has less than 4,500,000 inhabitants; Ulster's share is about one
third, and its Protestants outnumber its Catholics by more than three
fourths. Besides such reprisals as they saw wrought upon wounded
soldiers, they know that the Green Irish who insist that Ulster belong
to their Republic, do so because they plan to make prosperous and
thrifty Ulster their milch cow.

Let every fair-minded American pause, then, before giving his sympathy
to an independent Irish Republic on the principle of self-determination,
or out of gratitude to the Green Irish. Let him remember that it was the
Orange Irish who helped us in our Revolution, and that the Orange Irish
do not want an independent Irish Republic. There will be none; our
interference merely makes Germany happy and possibly prolongs the
existing chaos; but there will be none. Before such loyal and thinking
Catholics as the gentleman who said to me that word about "spoiling the
ship for a ha'pennyworth of tar," and before a firm and coherent policy
on England's part, Sinn Fein will fade like a poisonous mist.

Chapter XVII: Paint

Soldiers of ours--many soldiers, I am sorry to say--have come back from
Coblenz and other places in the black spot, saying that they found the
inhabitants of the black spot kind and agreeable. They give this reason
for liking the Germans better than they do the English. They found the
Germans agreeable, the English not agreeable. Well, this amounts to
something as far as it goes: but how far does it go, and how much does
it amount to? Have you ever seen an automobile painted up to look like
new, and it broke down before it had run ten miles, and you found its
insides were wrong? Would you buy an automobile on the strength of the
paint? England often needs paint, but her insides are all right. If our
soldiers look no deeper than the paint, if our voters look no further
than the paint, if our democracy never looks at anything but the paint,
God help our democracy! Of course the Germans were agreeable to our
soldiers after the armistice!

Agreeable Germany!--who sank the Lusitania; who sank five thousand
British merchant ships with the loss of fifteen thousand men, women,
and children, all murdered at sea, without a chance for their lives; who
fired on boat-loads of the shipwrecked, who stood on her submarine and
laughed at the drowning passengers of the torpedoed Falaba.

Disagreeable England!--who sank five hundred German ships without
permitting a single life to be lost, who never fired a shot until
provision had been made for the safety of passengers and crews.

Agreeable Germany!--who, as she retreated, poisoned wells and gassed
the citizens from whose village she was running away; who wrecked the
churches and the homes of the helpless living, and bombed the tombs
of the helpless dead; who wrenched families apart in the night, taking
their boys to slavery and their girls to wholesale violation, leaving
the old people to wander in loneliness and die; who in her raids upon
England slaughtered three hundred and forty-two women, and killed or
injured seven hundred and fifty-seven children, and made in all a list
of four thousand five hundred and sixty-eight, bombed by her airmen;
whose trained nurses met our wounded and captured men at the railroad
trains and held out cups of water for them to see, and then poured them
on the ground or spat in them.

Disagreeable England!--whose colonies rushed to help her: Canada, who
within eight weeks after war had been declared, came with a voluntary
army of thirty-three thousand men; who stood her ground against that
first meeting with the poison gas and saved not only the day, but
possibly the whole cause; who by 1917 had sent over four hundred
thousand men to help disagreeable England; who gave her wealth, her
food, her substance; who poured every symbol of aid and love into
disagreeable England's lap to help her beat agreeable Germany. Thus
did all England's colonies offer and bring both themselves and their
resources, from the smallest to the greatest; little Newfoundland, whose
regiment gave such heroic account of itself at Gallipoli; Australia who
came with her cruisers, and with also her armies to the West Front and
in South Africa; New Zealand who came from the other side of the world
with men and money--three million pounds in gift, not loan, from one
million people. And the Boers? The Boers, who latest of all, not twenty
years before, had been at war with England, and conquered by her, and
then by her had been given a Boer Government. What did the Boers do? In
spite of the Kaiser's telegram of sympathy, in spite of his plans and
his hopes, they too, like Canada and New Zealand and all the rest,
sided of their own free will with disagreeable England against agreeable
Germany. They first stamped out a German rebellion, instigated in their
midst, and then these Boers left their farms, and came to England's aid,
and drove German power from Southwest Africa. And do you remember the
wire that came from India to London? "What orders from the King-Emperor
for me and my men?" These were the words of the Maharajah of Rewa;
and thus spoke the rest of India. The troops she sent captured Neue
Chapelle. From first to last they fought in many places for the Cause of

What do words, or propaganda, what does anything count in the face of
such facts as these?

Agreeable Germany!--who addresses her God, "Thou who dwellest high above
the Cherubim, Seraphim and Zeppelin"--Parson Diedrich Vorwerck in his
volume Hurrah and Hallelujah. Germany, who says, "It is better to let a
hundred women and children belonging to the enemy die of hunger than to
let a single German soldier suffer"--General von der Goltz in his Ten
Iron Commandments of the German Soldier; Germany, whose soldier obeys
those commandments thus: "I am sending you a ring made out of a piece
of shell.... During the battle of Budonviller I did away with four women
and seven young girls in five minutes. The Captain had told me to
shoot these French sows, but I preferred to run my bayonet through
them"--private Johann Wenger to his German sweetheart, dated Peronne,
March 16, 1915. Germany, whose newspaper the Cologne Volkszettung
deplored the doings of her Kultur on land and sea thus: "Much as we
detest it as human beings and as Christians, yet we exult in it as

Agreeable Germany!--whose Kaiser, if his fleet had been larger, would
have taken us by the scruff of the neck.

          "Then Thou, Almighty One, send Thy lightnings!
Let dwellings and cottages become ashes in the heat of fire. Let the
people in hordes burn and drown with wife and child. May their seed be
trampled under our feet; May we kill great and small in the lust of joy.
May we plunge our daggers into their bodies, May Poland reek in the glow
of fire and ashes."

That is another verse of Germany's hymn, hate for Poland; that is her
way of taking people by the scruff of the neck; and that is what Senator
Walsh's resolution of sympathy with Ireland, Germany's contemplated
Heligoland, implies for the United States, if Germany's deferred day
should come.

Chapter XVIII: The Will to Friendship--or the Will to Hate?

Nations do not like each other. No plainer fact stares at us from the
pages of history since the beginning. Are we to sit down under this
forever? Why should we make no attempt to change this for the better in
the pages of history that are yet to be written? Other evils have been
made better. In this very war, the outcry against Germany has been
because she deliberately brought back into war the cruelties and
the horrors of more barbarous times, and with cold calculations of
premeditated science made these horrors worse. Our recoil from this deed
of hers and what it has brought upon the world is seen in our wish for a
League of Nations. The thought of any more battles, tenches, submarines,
air-raids, starvation, misery, is so unbearable to our bruised and
stricken minds, that we have put it into words whose import is, Let
us have no more of this! We have at least put it into words. That such
words, that such a League, can now grow into something more than words,
is the hope of many, the doubt of many, the belief of a few. It is the
belief of Mr. Wilson; of Mr. Taft; Lord Bryce; and of Lord Grey, a quiet
Englishman, whose statesmanship during those last ten murky days of
July, 1914, when he strove to avert the dreadful years that followed,
will shine bright and permanent. We must not be chilled by the doubters.
Especially is the scheme doubted in dear old Europe. Dear old Europe
is so old; we are so young; we cause her to smile. Yet it is not such a
contemptible thing to be young and innocent. Only, your innocence, while
it makes you an idealist, must not blind you to the facts. Your idea
must not rest upon sand. It must have a little rock to start with. The
nearest rock in sight is friendship between England and ourselves.

The will to friendship--or the will to hate? Which do you choose? Which
do you think is the best foundation for the League of Nations? Do you
imagine that so long as nations do not like each other, that mere words
of good intention, written on mere paper, are going to be enough? Write
down the words by all means, but see to it that behind your words there
shall exist actual good will. Discourage histories for children (and for
grown-ups too) which breed international dislike. Such exist among us
all. There is a recent one, written in England, that needs some changes.

Should an Englishman say to me:

"I have the will to friendship. Is there any particular thing which I
can do to help?" I should answer him:

"Just now, or in any days to come, should you be tempted to remind us
that we did not protest against the martyrdom of Belgium, that we were a
bit slow in coming into the war,--oh, don't utter that reproach! Go back
to your own past; look, for instance, at your guarantee to Denmark, at
Lord John Russell's words: 'Her Majesty could not see with indifference
a military occupation of Holstein'--and then see what England shirked;
and read that scathing sentence spoken to her ambassador in Russia:
'Then we may dismiss any idea that England will fight on a point of
honor.' We had made you no such guarantee. We were three thousand miles
away--how far was Denmark?

"And another thing. On August 6, 1919, when Britain's thanks to her land
and sea forces were moved in both houses of Parliament, the gentleman
who moved them in the House of Lords said something which, as it seems
to me, adds nothing to the tribute he had already paid so eloquently.
He had spoken of the greater incentive to courage which the French and
Belgians had, because their homes and soil were invaded, while England's
soldiers had suffered no invasion of their island. They had not the
stimulus of the knowledge that the frontier of their country had been
violated, their homes broken up, their families enslaved, or worse. And
then he added: 'I have sometimes wondered in my own mind, though I have
hardly dared confess the sentiment, whether the gallant troops of our
Allies would have fought with equal spirit and so long a time as they
did, had they been engaged in the Highlands of Scotland or on the
marches of the Welsh border.' Why express that wonder? Is there not here
an instance of that needless overlooking of the feelings of others, by
which, in times past, you have chilled those others? Look out for that."

And should an American say to me:

"I have the will to friendship. What can I personally do?" I should say:

"Play fair! Look over our history from that Treaty of Paris in 1783,
down through the Louisiana Purchase, the Monroe Doctrine, and Manila
Bay; look at the facts. You will see that no matter how acrimoniously
England has quarreled with us, these were always family scraps, in which
she held out for her own interests just as we did for ours. But whenever
the question lay between ourselves and Spain, or France, or Germany, or
any foreign power, England stood with us against them.

"And another thing. Not all Americans boast, but we have a reputation
for boasting. Our Secretary of the Navy gave our navy the whole credit
for transporting our soldiers to Europe when England did more than half
of it. At Annapolis there has been a poster, showing a big American
sailor with a doughboy on his back, and underneath the words, 'We put
them across.' A brigadier general has written a book entitled, How the
Marines Saved Paris. Beside the marines there were some engineers. And
how about M Company of the 23rd regiment of the 2nd Division? It lost
in one day at Chateau-Thierry all its men but seven. And did the general
forget the 3rd Division between Chateau-Thierry and Dormans? Don't be
like that brigadier general, and don't be like that American officer
returning on the Lapland who told the British at his table he was glad
to get home after cleaning up the mess which the British had made.
Resemble as little as possible our present Secretary of the Navy. Avoid
boasting. Our contribution to victory was quite enough without boasting.
The head-master of one of our great schools has put it thus to his
schoolboys who fought: Some people had to raise a hundred dollars. After
struggling for years they could only raise seventy-five. Then a man came
along and furnished the remaining necessary twenty-five dollars. That is
a good way to put it. What good would our twenty-five dollars have been,
and where should we have been, if the other fellows hadn't raised the
seventy-five dollars first?"

Chapter XIX: Lion and Cub

My task is done. I have discussed with as much brevity as I could the
three foundations of our ancient grudge against England: our school
textbooks, our various controversies from the Revolution to the Alaskan
boundary dispute, and certain differences in customs and manners. Some
of our historians to whom I refer are themselves affected by the ancient
grudge. You will see this if you read them; you will find the facts,
which they give faithfully, and you will also find that they often (and
I think unconsciously) color such facts as are to England's discredit
and leave pale such as are to her credit, just as we remember the
Alabama, and forget the Lancashire cotton-spinners. You cannot fail to
find, unless your anti-English complex tilts your judgment incurably,
that England has been to us, on the whole, very much more friendly
than unfriendly--if not at the beginning, certainly at the end of each
controversy. What an anti-English complex can do in the face of 1914, is
hard to imagine: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, the Boers, all
Great Britain's colonies, coming across the world to pour their gold and
their blood out for her! She did not ask them; she could not force them;
of their own free will they did it. In the whole story of mankind such a
splendid tribute of confidence and loyalty has never before been paid to
any nation.

In this many-peopled world England is our nearest relation. From
Bonaparte to the Kaiser, never has she allowed any outsider to harm
us. We are her cub. She has often clawed us, and we have clawed her in
return. This will probably go on. Once earlier in these pages, I asked
the reader not to misinterpret me, and now at the end I make the same
request. I have not sought to persuade him that Great Britain is a
charitable institution. What nation is, or could be, given the nature of
man? Her good treatment of us has been to her own interest. She is wise,
farseeing, less of an opportunist in her statesmanship than any other
nation. She has seen clearly and ever more clearly that our good will
was to her advantage. And beneath her wisdom, at the bottom of all, is
her sense of our kinship through liberty defined and assured by law. If
we were so far-seeing as she is, we also should know that her good will
is equally important to us: not alone for material reasons, or for the
sake of our safety, but also for those few deep, ultimate ideals of law,
liberty, life, manhood and womanhood, which we share with her, which we
got from her, because she is our nearest relation in this many-peopled

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Straight Deal - or The Ancient Grudge" ***

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