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[366]

Chapter 36: Outlook.

Is there no writing on the wall?

The wounds inflicted on America by the civil war were fresh and bleeding, even before they were reopened by the grave events in New Orleans. The two sides seem as bitter as they were a month before the fall of Richmond. Cincinnati, where I write these words, is a great city, chief market of a Free State, looking across the Ohio river into the streets and squares of Covington, her sister of Kentucky. These cities lie as close together as Brooklyn and New York, as Lambeth and Westminster. They are connected by a bridge and by a dozen ferries. Trains and street cars cross the river night and day; the citizens buy and sell, dine and house, marry and live with each other, like neighbours and Christians; yet a plague like the Black Death has broken out between Covington and Cincinnati, and the fanatics [367] on both sides of the Ohio river hate their neighbours with the dark and strained malignity which springs from no other source but fratricidal war. Not many minutes since, an aged and respected minister of the Gospel called on me to gloat over the prospect of a new war in the South. When I tried to rouse in him some sense of proportion, so that, in seeking full justice for his African brother, he might not wholly forget the rights of his European brother, he expressed his hope and conviction that the White race would never again prevail against the Black.

“The coloured people of the South,” said this minister of the gospel, in amazing ignorance of the facts in Richmond and Raleigh, Charlestown and New Orleans, “are saving their money, putting their children to school, and doing the duties of good citizens; while their old tyrants are wallowing in riot and drunkenness, threatening our country with a new secession, and lifting up their heads against the will of God. It never will be well with America until these gentle and pious coloured people have obtained a fixed and lasting mastery in the Southern States.”

Yet there are signs that this bad state of feeling [368] is becoming more and more confined to circles, coteries, and clubs. Massachusetts has invited deputations from Charleston, Atlanta, and New Orleans to Boston, and the Southern soldiers have been heartily received throughout the North. The women, more tenacious and conservative than men, have seized the occasion of this visit to hold out hands to their Southern sisters. A meeting has been called in Boston. A thousand ladies of Massachusetts, including nearly all the best and highest ornaments of the State, have agreed to purchase and present mementoes of this visit of the Southern chivalry to Boston, as a peace offering, to a thousand ladies in the South, whose fathers and husbands played a part in the war.

Americans begin to cry-“ close ranks!”

The tale of a Hundred Years of White Progress is a marvellous history.

The European races are spreading over every continent, and mastering the isles and islets of every sea. During those hundred years, some powers have shot ahead, and some have slipt into the second rank. Austria, a hundred years ago the leading power in Europe, has been rent asunder [369] and has forfeited her throne in Germany. Spain, a hundred years ago the first colonial empire in the world, has lost her colonies and conquests, and has sunk into a third-rate power. France, which, little more than a hundred years ago, possessed Canada, Louisiana, the Mississippi valley, the island of Mauritius, and a stronghold in Hindoostan, has lost all these possessions and exchanged her vineyards and cornfields on the Rhine for the snows of Savoy and the sands of Algiers. Piedmont and Prussia, on the other hand, have sprung into the foremost rank of nations. Piedmont has become Italy, with a capital in Milan and Venice, Florence and Naples, as well as in Rome. Still more striking and more glorious has been the growth of Prussia. A hundred years ago Prussia was just emerging into notice as a small but well-governed and hard-fighting country, with a territory no larger than Michigan, and a population considerably less than Ohio. In a hundred years this small but well-governed and hard-fighting Prussia has become the first military power on earth. Russia, during these hundred years, has carried her arms into Finland, Crim Tartary, the Caucasus and the Mohammedan Khanates, [370] extending the White empire on the Caspian and the Euxine, and along the Oxus and Jaxartes into Central Asia. Vaster still have been the marches and the conquests of Great Britain, her command of the ocean giving her facilities which are not possessed by any other power. Within a hundred years, or thereabouts, she has grown from a kingdom of ten millions of people into an empire of two hundred and twenty millions, with a territory covering nearly one-third of the earth. Hardly less striking than the progress of Russia and England has been that of the United States. Starting with a population no larger than that of Greece, the Republic has advanced so rapidly that in a hundred years she has become the third power as to size of territory, the fourth as to wealth of population, in the world.

Soil and population are the two prime elements of power. Climate and fertility count for much; nationality and compactness count for more; but, still, the natural basis of growth is land, the natural basis of strength is population. Taking these two elements together, the Chinese were, a hundred years ago, the foremost family of mankind. They [371] held a territory covering three millions of square miles, and a population counting more than four hundred million souls. But what a change has taken place! China has been standing still, while England, Russia, and America have been conquering, planting, and annexing lands. Look at the group of powers which occupy areas of surface counting above a million square miles each:--

Great Britain 8,000,000 square miles224,000,000 souls.
China3,000,000420,000,000 souls.
Russia 7,000,00074,000,000 souls.
Unites States3,000,00040,000,000 souls.

The British Empire has a larger territory than Russia, a population second only to that of China. America is treading in the footsteps of her parent, taking up her own, as a loadstone takes up its own. The greater draws, annexes, and absorbs the less. Some months ago, Lord Dufferin, Governor-General of Canada, annexed the whole region, known and unknown, stretching from the recognised frontier of British America towards the North Pole; and, some months hence, either President Grant or his successor at the White House, will annex the great provinces of Lower California, Sonora, and Chihuahua, with [372] parts of Cinaloa, Cohahuila, and Nueva Leon, to the United States. The present boundaries of the Republic will be enlarged by land enough to form six or seven new States, each State as big as New York.

The surface of the earth is passing into Anglo-Saxon hands.

Yet, glorious and inspiring as this story of White Conquest is, the warning on the wall is brief and stern. The end is not yet come. The peril of the fight is not yet past, and the White successors of the Creeks and Cherokees are unhappily still wasting some of their best strength and noblest passion on internal feuds.

Disaster in the past, menace in the future, warn us to stand by our common race; our blood, law, language, science. We are strong, but we are not immortal. A house divided against itself must fall. If we desire to see our free institutions perish, it is right that we should take the part of Red men, Black men, and Yellow men against our White brethren. If we wish to see order and freedom, science and civilization preserved, we shall give our first thought [373] to what improves the White man's growth and increases the White man's strength.

So many foes are still afield that every White man's cry should be “ Close ranks!” and when the ranks are closed, but not till then-“ Right in front --march!”

the end. [374]

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