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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/36

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

terest of landlords and capitalists. With all our labor-saving machinery and all our command over the forces of Nature, the struggle for existence has become more fierce than ever before, and year by year an ever-increasing proportion of our people sink into paupers' graves.

When the brightness of future ages shall have dimmed the, glamour of our material progress he says that the judgment of history will surely be that our ethical standard was low and that we were unworthy to possess the great and beneficent powers that science had placed in our hands, for, instead of devoting the highest powers of our greatest men to remedy these evils, we see the governments of the most advanced nations arming their people to the teeth and expending most of the wealth and all the resources of their science in preparation for the destruction of life, of property, and of happiness.

He reminds us that the first International Exhibition, in 1851, fostered the hope that men would soon perceive that peace and commercial intercourse are essential to national well-being. Poets and statesmen joined in hailing the dawn of an era of peaceful industry, and exposition following exposition taught the nations how much they have to learn from each other and how much to give to each other for the benefit and happiness of all.

Dueling, which had long prevailed, in spite of its absurdity and harmfulness, as a means of settling disputes, was practically abolished by the general diffusion of a spirit of intolerance of private war; and as the same public opinion which condemns it should, if consistent, also condemn war between nations, many thought they perceived the dawn of a wiser policy between nations.

Yet so far are we from progress toward its abolition that the latter half of the century has witnessed not the decay, but a revival of the war spirit, and at its end we find all nations loaded with the burden of increasing armies and navies.

The armies are continually being equipped with new and more deadly weapons at a cost which strains the resources of even the most wealthy nations and impoverishes the mass of the people by increasing burdens of debt and taxation, and all this as a means of settling disputes which have no sufficient cause and no relation whatever to the well-being of the communities which engage in them.

The evils of war do not cease with the awful loss of life and destruction of property which are their immediate results, since they form the excuse for inordinate increase of armaments—an increase which has been intensified by the application to war purposes of those mechanical inventions and scientific discoveries which,