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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/174

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

tional commerce will presently bring the English-speaking people of the world into one homogeneous body governed by the same common law, the same common principles of action, and the same policy in the collection of revenue. When thus united, there can be no competition in the commerce of the world on the part of the continental states of Europe under their present burdens—the blood tax of standing armies and navies and the money tax of debts that can never be paid. There have been within a few months two witnesses to the growing influence and power of the English-speaking people when united for the maintenance of commerce and for the conduct of the works of peace, order, and industry: one is the warning of the Chancellor of the Austrian Empire, calling upon the states of middle Europe to unite their forces in order to remain capable of maintaining government by privilege and taxation by force of arms; the other, the recent manifesto of the enlightened ruler of Russia, calling upon the states of continental Europe to disarm, lest they should hereafter be incapable of competition with the English-speaking people of the world when they become bound together by a union of mutual service and by community of interest which without any formal alliance will give to them the chief control in rendering service by the exchange of product for product to all other states and nations, to the mutual benefit of all who are thus joined in the bonds of peace.

On my visit to Russia last year, to meet the leading economists and statisticians of Europe, it was stated to me by well-informed men that a plan had been considered by several continental states in the event of war to change the present international custom by making food products contraband of war, the purpose being to cripple England. To such desperate conditions have some of the European states been brought under the burden of the policy of blood and iron. My comment upon this insane proposal was that I hoped it might become a matter of public discussion, since nothing could so surely and quickly bring about a commercial union of the English-speaking people, to the end that, even if no other alliance were made, their navies might at any moment be combined for the protection of their commerce, and for the total cessation of any interference by war vessels or privateers with their traffic.

The prime motive of this article is to remove from the minds of our English friends many false impressions which I have constantly met in my intercourse even among men who hold important positions, of which the address of Sir William Crookes is but an extreme expression, and to bring into common view a comprehension of the resources of this country and of the mutual dependence of the United Kingdom and the United States in the supply and consumption not only of wheat, but of all the other necessaries of life.