« PreviousContinue »
In 1864, after much blood had been shed, Alexander H. Stephens of Georgia, wrote to Mr. Lincoln on the same subject, inclosing a letter signed "Jefferson Davis, President of the Southern Confederacy”. This letter Mr. Lincoln returned, saying he could not entertain a paper signed in that way. The next year the trouble was settled at Appomatox.
The question had been fought out gallantly by both sides, and when the end came there was no exultation on one side, nor humiliation on the other, but mutual respect and the unity of the States was established, and our hope is, that the benefit conferred upon our nation and the world, may atone for the blood and treasure that it cost. The records at Washington can show the value of the treasure lost, but not of the heartache and suffering nor the blood that was shed.
It was estimated in 1861 that there were 3,000,000 slaves in the South, which at $400 each would aggregate $1,200,000,000 (One Billion, Two Hundred Million Dollars). All this, if accepted, would have been distributed in the South. The financial cost of the war as shown aggregated $8,000,000,000 (Eight Billions of Dollars), nearly seven times the estimated value of the slaves without counting the terrible destruction of property to which the South was subjected.
In addition to this, is the increased cost of the military system it is now considered necessary to maintain, including a standing army, costing annually
$93.000,000; a navy, $125,000,000; and pensions at present $150,000,000. This last will decrease, but the military expense is likely to increase unless we change our military policy.
Military science has so changed since the intro duction of improved weapons, that less time is needed in the drill and manual of arms. This was illustrated in the South African War where the untrained Boers so often proved too much for the well drilled soldiers of the British Army.
Now that our Indian wars are over, our standing army should be kept at the lowest limit. Professional soldiers are not citizens. They do not vote. They form a class by themselves whose chief ambition is a strong army. The officers incline to a guild of their own which tends to an aristocracy. In successful wars they are looked upon by the masses as heroes, and their leaders are elevated to the head of the government. This, in the world's experience, is dangerous to a republic and tends to monarchy. The rise of the Roman Republic and the downfall of the Roman Empire is a well known illustration.
A powerful navy is a grave and expensive responsibility, needed principally to protect our lately acquired dependencies, thrown on our hands accidentally by our navy. While these Islands furnish a good field for our missionary work, they are likely to complicate our relations with other nations and require an extensive navy to protect them.
Our inland ownership covers the heart of a continent lying between two Oceans, forming the East and West boundaries, with 3000 miles of land between.
The grandeur of its mountains, with the wealth of its minerals and the fertility of its soil will make attractive homes for our descendants for centuries. We can afford to let the crowded nations of Europe quarrel among themselves over their boundary lines and extend their possessions among the Islands of the sea, we do not need them. It is the Eagle and not the Sea gull that is the emblem of our nationality.
With the Panama canal under our control, we will not need a double navy to defend our east and west coasts. The money required to build one modern battleship, which is out of data in about ten years, would build 20 submarines to defend our coast, any one of which could sink a battleship in half an hour, or it would build 1,000 miles of first-class highway the distance from New York to Chicago at a cost of $15,000 per mile: and half the money spent every year on our war equipment, militarism and allied expenses would, according to our best engineers, construct a continental highway from Baltimore to San Francisco over a grade not exceeding 27%, with roadbed 25 ft. wide, surfaced with asphalt, with stone bridges and culverts, free to the public, and still have enough left for branch roads.
We have at present 48 states in the Union, all happily under one general government. Land grants have been given by Congress to all of the states and territories with a provision that military instruction be included in the college curriculum. The Ohio State University has at present 1600 young men under military instruction. Physical as well as mental training is required. They are divided into four battalions in charge of a West Point officer, capable not only of giving instruction in modern drill but in engineering and mechanics during at least two years of their college course. In addition to this, it might be provided that a military teacher, named by the Secretary of War, be added to the faculty of every college having at least 400 students subject to military instruction This would prepare at least 200,000 young men every two years, all of them made familiar with a soldier's life and duties and most of them well qualified to assume the duties of a commissioned officer when ever needed. By this means the nation would be assured of more than a million of well equipped young men, ready at its call to meet any emergency. This, added to the militia of the different states subject to the call of the president, would give us as much influence among
the nations of the world as if we were supporting a standing army of half a million men, and this without the cost of maintaining them until needed.
We would thus create a powerful influence in preparing the way for the more perfect work of the Hague Tribunal for the suppression of war among the nations, and make the incidents as recorded in the following pages, read like a strange story of a bygone age.