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Abbott, Lyman, 1835-

Clergyman and editor; born in Roxbury, Mass., Dec. 18, 1835; third son of Jacob; was graduated at the University of the City of New York in 1853; was admitted to the bar there, and for a time practised in partnership with his brothers Benjamin Vaughan and Austin. Subsequently he studied theology with his uncle, John Stevens Cabot, and was ordained as a Congregational minister in 1860. He was secretary of the Freedmen's Commission in 1865-68; became editor of the “Literary record” in Harper's magazine, and conductor of the Illustrated Christian weekly; and for a time was associated with Henry Ward Beecher (q. v.) in the editorship of The Christian Union., In 1888 he succeeded Mr. Beecher as pastor of Plymouth Church, Brooklyn. In 1898 he resigned and took full editorial charge of The outlook, formerly The Christian Union. Among his publications is A dictionary of religious knowledge. See Indian problem, the.

An Anglo-American understanding.

Dr. Abbott in 1898 suggested the following as the basis of an Anglo-American understanding:

The American people wisely attach great importance to Washington's Farewell address, and give deserved weight to his counsels. Not one of those counsels has been more influential and more safe-guarding than his admonition to his countrymen to avoid entangling alliances with European nations. Yet Americans must not forget that changes wrought by human progress make inapplicable in one century advice which was wise in the preceding century; that if there be peril to a nation in recklessly advancing along strange paths to an unknown future, there is also danger to a nation in fastening itself too firmly to its past traditions, and refusing to itself permission to recognize changes of conditions which necessitate changes of policy. It is because Spain adheres to the traditions of the sixteenth century, and England has from time to time departed from those traditions, using them as a guide towards the future, not as a prohibition to progress, that Spain has sunk from a first-class to a fourth-class power, while England still remains a leader among the nations of the world.

When Washington issued his Farewell address, the United States was a feeble [4] nation, composed of thirteen colonies, just emancipated from foreign domination. It took as many weeks to go from the northern to the southern border of this nation as it now takes days. The States had not yet been welded into a united nation, and were separated from one another not only by time and distance, but by jealousy and rivalry. The union of the States had not passed beyond the experimental stage. The Constitution of the United States was still on trial. All west of the Alleghanies was an untrodden, and for the most part unknown, wilderness. The population, even along the seaboard, was scanty; the cities were few and small; there was no commerce and little manufactures. In 1809 Jefferson presented to the country his ideal on the subject of manufactures and commerce: “Manufactures sufficient for our consumption, of what we raise the raw material (and no more) ; commerce sufficient to carry the surplus produce of agriculture beyond our own consumption, to a market for exchanging it for articles we cannot raise (and no more).” A vast and little-known and little-travelled ocean separated us from Europe. Under these circumstances to engage in European strifes, to aid France against Great Britain, to concern ourselves with the balance of power, to undertake, directly or indirectly, to promote the battles of democracy in the old world, to assume to judge that our as yet unproved institutions were the best for countries other than our own, and to rush into the hazard of a foreign war by the unrestrained expression of our sympathies with democratic uprisings would have been foolish indeed. These were the entangling alliances against which Washington admonished his countrymen, and we may say that his admonition against such entangling alliances it were well for us to heed, if necessity should arise, even now.

But since Washington's Farewell address the world has moved, and America has moved most rapidly of all the world. It takes us little, if any, longer to cross from our eastern seaboard to Europe's western seaboard than from our eastern to our western boundary. The cable enables us to converse with Liverpool as readily as with Chicago or San Francisco. The prices of wheat in Liverpool determine the prices in our produce exchanges. Commerce, though unfortunately under foreign flags, is carrying the produce of our country into all the markets of the world. Our manufacturers compete with those of the oldest civilizations. The question whether we can establish a currency of our own, disregardful of the financial standards of the civilized world, has been raised and answered emphatically in the negative. Our territory has extended until it nearly equals in dimensions that of the old Roman Empire in its palmiest days. Our population has not only increased in numbers, but become heterogeneous in character. We are no longer an Anglo-Saxon colony, emerging into statehood. We are Scandinavian, German, Hungarian, Pole, Austrian, Italian, French, and Spanish; all the nations of the earth are represented, not only in our population, but in our suffrages. Whatever interests Norway and Sweden, Holland and Belgium, Germany, Italy, France, or England, interests our people, because from these countries respectively multitudes of our people have come. Meanwhile, our growth, and still more the test to which we have been subjected by foreign war and by civil war, have done much to demonstrate the stability of institutions which, a hundred years ago, were purely experimental and largely theoretical. Other lands have caught inspiration from our life; the whole progress of Europe has been progress towards democracy-whether in England, Spain, Italy, Austria-Hungary, Germany, France, or Scandinavia. The difference in the history of these nationalities, during the nineteenth century, has been a difference not in the direction in which their life has tended, but in the rapidity with which it has moved. The yoke of Bourbonism is broken forever; the Holy Alliance will never be reformed. Politically, socially, industrially, and even physically, the United States and Europe have been drawn together by the irresistible course of events.

We are identified with the civilized world, interested in its problems, concerned in its progress, injured in its disasters, helped by its prosperities. The time has therefore passed when the United States can say, “We are sufficient unto ourselves; we will go our way; the rest of [5] the world may go its way.” The question is not, “Shall we avoid entangling alliances?” We are entangled with all the nations of the globe; by commerce, by manufactures, by race and religious affiliations, by popular and political sympathies. The question for us to determine is not whether we shall live and work in fellowship with European nations, but whether we shall choose our fellowship with wise judgment and definite purpose, or whether we shall allow ourselves to drift into such fellowships as political accident or the changing incidents of human history may direct.

I am glad of the opportunity to urge on American citizens the former course. I believe that the time has come when we ought, as a nation, to recognize the fact that we are not merely an American nation, but a world nation; when we ought to take our place, with clear and definite understanding that we are doing so, among the nations of the world; when we ought to form clearly to ourselves our national purpose, and seek such affiliations as will promote that purpose. It is for this reason that, though I am, on principle and after much consideration, a bimetallist, I believe that the nation did wisely in rejecting the free coinage of silver, and is doing wisely in attempting to conform its currency to the currency of the other commercial nations of the globe. It is for this reason that I think Mr. Blaine proved himself statesmanlike in his organization of a Pan-American Congress, although its immediate results appear to have been comparatively insignificant. It is for this reason I think the nation should foster by appropriate measures every attempt to unite the New World with the Old, whether by cable, for the transmission of intelligence, or by commercial lines for the transmission of the products of our industry and our mails. It is for this reason I think we ought to seize the opportunity offered to us to constitute a permanent tribunal to which international questions might be referred, as of course, for settlement, and especially ought to have seized the opportunity for the organization of such a tribunal for the determination of national questions between Great Britain and the United States. It is for this reason I urge the establishment of a good understanding between the United States and England, in the hope that in time it will grow to a more formal alliance — civic, commercial, and industrial, rather than naval or military — and yet an alliance that will make us, for the purposes of our international life, one people. though not politically one nation. There are three reasons which suggest the wisdom of the establishment and maintenance of such good understanding and the hope of such possibly more formal alliance with our kin beyond the sea.

1. Though our commercial interests are not identical with those of Great Britain, our commercial principles are. England and the United States are competitors and rivals in the markets of the world; but commerce is full of demonstration of the fact that men may be competitors and rivals and yet friends and allies. What is true of men is true of nations. All that the people, either of England or the United States, ask, is a free field and no favors. We have proved ourselves quite competent to compete with any nation, if only the chance for competition is offered us. The great amorphous, ill-organized empire of China is dropping to pieces; Germany, France, England, and Japan, are all seeking ports of entry through which to push, by commercial enterprises, the products of their industry upon people hitherto so little civilized as to want but little. In this competition between foreign nations, England and Japan have stood, apparently alone, for a free and untrammelled commerce. If the official statements in Parliament may be trusted, England has won by diplomacy this commercial freedom, which perhaps Germany, and almost certainly Russia, would have been disinclined to grant. It is impossible that there is no need for us to join formally in a commercial alliance with Japan and Great Britain to insist upon this principle of untrammelled commerce: but if we need not do so, it is only because there is force enough in England to secure it without our aid. In the endeavor to secure it. England is entitled not only to our sympathy, but to the expression of our sympathy. She is entitled not only to our good wishes, but to our moral support. The United States is quite as much interested as England in the opening of trade with China, [6] if not even more interested. Our western sea-coast is as yet undeveloped; our eastern trade is yet in its infancy. When the unnumbered millions of China shall wake up, when they shall begin to feel the vivifying influence of civilization, when they begin to demand railroads and telegraphs, bicycles and buggies, elevators and electric lights, cars for their streets, mills for their water-courses, agricultural implements for their farms, carpets for their floors, pianos and cabinet organs for their boys and girls,--in short, the conveniences and comforts of modern civilization for their awakening population, it will be alike our interest, our right, and our duty to have a free opportunity to share in the work of providing them with this equipment of a higher life. What is so evident respecting China that the dullest of vision may see it, is equally, though as yet less evidently, true of other great unreached populations. The United States is only less interested than Great Britain in the larger life of India; and in the civilization of Africa, which still seems remote, but not so remote as it did before the travels of Livingstone and Stanley, and which, when it comes, will add a new incentive to the fruitful industry of our mills, as well as of English mills, if we are wise in our statesmanship to forecast the future and to provide for it. If England and America join hands in a generous rivalry, they can lead the world commercially. On that road lies our highway to national prosperity.

2. Political advantages as well as commercial advantages call on us to establish and maintain a good understanding with Great Britain, and to be ready to formulate that good understanding in a more definite alliance whenever the occasion shall arise which necessitates it. The Cuban revolution and the consequent embroglio with Spain, threatening as I write to break out any hour into war, illustrate the difficulty of avoiding altogether collisions with foreign powers. This is the most pressing and immediate illustration. but not the only one. We have interests in Turkey which have been strangely disregarded, though not overlooked. American property has been destroyed, the peace of American citizens disturbed and their lives threatened. Turkey is far away, and it has been difficult, perhaps impossible. so to press our claims upon the Porte as to secure satisfaction for the outrages perpetrated with its connivance, if not by its authority. The injuries to our commerce inflicted by Algerine pirates, our long endurance of those injuries, and our final naval warfare against the marine marauders, are matters of familiar American history. With Americans not only travelling everywhere on the globe, but settling and engaging in business wherever there is business to be done, no one can foresee when an international complication may arise, involving strained relations between ourselves and some other nationality. It would be no small advantage under such circumstances to have established such relations with Great Britain that she would be our natural friend, would give to us her moral support, and would, perhaps, in case of exigency, lend support that would be more than moral. I am not considering in this article the practicability of such a relationship. I do not stop to discuss the question whether Great Britain would be likely to enter into it with us, or whether we should be likely to enter into it with Great Britain. Writing for American, not for English, readers,. I do not attempt to point out the advantages to Great Britain as well as to ourselves. My object is simply to show that there would be a. real, a tangible, a practical advantage, one that can he measured in dollars and cents, in the establishment of such relationship between these two great Anglo-Saxon communities, that they would be recognized by the civilized world as standing together in amity, making a common cause, not against the rest of the world, but in favor of one principle to which they are alike committed, and in which they are alike interested — the principle expressed by the one word, liberty.

It may be assumed that the United States will never desire to encroach upon the territory of any European power; that, if it comes into the peril of war, it will be not through its desire to colonize on uncivilized territory, nor its desire to seize upon some fragment of civilized territory belonging to another nation, but from its passion for liberty; a passion sometimes exhibited in strong national sympathy for a struggling people such as the Cubans, sometimes in the strong determination to [7] preserve the liberty of our own people, as in our war against the Algerine pirates. If England and America were thus to stand together for liberty it would be difficult to form a combination which could withstand them so long as they were moderate, just, and rational in their demands.

3. Both the commercial and the political advantages of such a good understanding, growing into a formal alliance as is here suggested, are dependent upon the moral advantage to the world which would grow out of it. It is true that in a sense the United States is neither a Christian nor an Anglo-Saxon nation. It is not officially Christian, if thereby is meant a nation which gives political or financial advantage to one religion or another. It is not Anglo-Saxon, if thereby is meant a nation which sets itself to confer political power upon one race over another. But though it is officially neither Christian nor Anglo-Saxon, it is practically both. Its ethical standards are not those of Mohammedanism or Confucianism, but those of Christianity. Its ruling force in the country, educational, political, and, on the whole, commercial, is not Celtic, nor Sclavic, nor Semitic, nor African, nor Mongolian, but Anglo-Saxon. Thus in its religious spirit, though not altogether in its religious institutions. in its practical leadership, though not in the constituent elements of its population, and in its national history and the genesis of its political institutions, the United States is of kin to Great Britain. The two represent the same essential political ideals; they are both democratic; they both represent the same ethical ideals; they are Christian; and they both represent the same race leadership: they are Anglo-Saxon. In so far as their conjoint influence dominates the world, it will carry with it a tendency towards liberty in the political institutions organized, a tendency towards Christianity in the ethical spirit of the society created, and a tendency towards that energy, that intelligence, and that thrift which are the characteristics of the Anglo-Saxon race in the life promoted. It is from the combination of these three elements in society — political liberty, Christian ethics, Anglo-Saxon energy — that what we call civilization proceeds. And it is out of this civilization thus inspired by Anglo-Saxon energy, thus controlled by Christian ethics, and thus given opportunity for growth by political liberty that industrial prosperity. commercial wealth, and human earthly well-being are founded. Thus the moral advantages of such a good understanding between Great Britain and the United States as is here suggested are more important than the commercial and political advantages, because the commercial and political advantages are dependent upon the moral. It is indeed impossible to separate them, except in statements and for the convenience of clear thinking. Great Britain and the United States cannot combine to promote the commercial prosperity of either nation, or the political protection of the citizens of either in communities less free than their own, except as they combine to promote that world civilization which is founded on political liberty, Christian ethics, and Anglo-Saxon energy. Let Great Britain and the United States work together for the world's civilization, and, on the one hand, no reactionary forces can withstand their combined influence; and on the other, no imagination can estimate the pecuniary and the political advantages, first to these two nations, and next to the whole world, which would come from such a combination. Whoever in either country sows discord between the two is, whether he knows it or not, the political and commercial enemy of both countries, and the enemy of the world's civilization.

Thus far I have suggested only “a good understanding,” because this is immediately practicable, yet I have in my imagination an ideal towards which such a good understanding might tend, but which would far transcend anything suggested by that somewhat vague phrase. Let us suppose, then, that Great Britain and the United States were to enter into an alliance involving these three elements: first, absolute reciprocity of trade; second, a tribunal to which should be referred for settlement, as a matter of course, all questions arising between the two nations, as now all questions arising between the various States of this Union are referred to the Supreme Court of the United States; third, a mutual pledge that an assault on one [8] should be regarded as an assault on both, so that as towards other nations these two would be united as the various States of this Union stand united towards all other States. Such an alliance would include not only our own country and the British Isles, but all the colonies and dependencies of Great Britain-Canada, Australasia, and in time such provinces in Asia and Africa as are under British domination and administration. It would unite in the furtherance of a Christian civilization all the Anglo-Saxon peoples, and all the peoples acting under the guidance and controlling influence of Anglo-Saxon leaders. It would gradually draw into itself other peoples of like minds though of foreign race, such as, in the far East, the people of Japan. It would create a new confederation based on principles and ideas, not on tradition, and bounded by the possibilities of human development, not by geographical lines. It would give a new significance to the motto “E Pluribus Unum,” and would create a new United States of the World, of which the United States of America would be a component part. Who can measure the advantage to liberty, to democracy, to popular rights and popular intelligence, to human progress, to a free and practical Christianity, which such an alliance would bring with it? Invincible against enemies, illimitable in influence, at once inspiring and restraining each other, these two nations, embodying the energy, the enterprise, and the conscience of the Anglo-Saxon race, would by the mere fact of their co-operation produce a result in human history which would suppress all that present imagination can conceive or present hope anticipate. See Anglo-American League.

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