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population, with our immense extent of territory, and variety of soil and climate, we can produce and manufacture for ourselves. We could provide for all the wants, and nearly all the luxuries of civilized life, without any foreign commerce at all. We have within ourselves the means, if we choose to use them, of providing for all our wants, of living in entire independence of all foreign commercial relations. England cannot do this, even by taking in all her colonies. A war which should interrupt our trade with Great Britain and her colonies, and throw us back on ourselves, would prove, in the long run, advantageous to us, as the present war is likely to prove advantageous to Russia, by forcing her to a more full and rapid development of her internal resources. But England has developed to the fullest extent her internal resources, ai d she cannot fight her battles without foreign mercenaries, or a subsidy to foreign states, or employ or feed her population without foreign commerce. Every year of the war would weaken her, while it would strengthen us. The two nations cannot, therefore, go to war on equal terms; for the one has to draw its supplies, in a great measure, from abroad, while the other draws them from its own resources at home, increasing in proportion to the drafts made. We can lose our foreign trade, not without present injury of a very serious nature indeed, but without ruin, and even with some ultimate advantage, while the loss of her foreign trade would be the inevitable destruction of England.
We are far from believing that the modern industrial and coinmercial system, inaugurated by the treaty of Utrecht, 1713, and at the bead of which is Great Britain, is a system really advantageous to the world, or destined in fact, to be a permanent system. We believe it impoverishes more than it enriches nations, while it favors their moral degradation. It multiplies luxuries to an enormous extent, as we can see by simply looking about us in our own city, but it does not render a people really wealthier, or render it more easy for them to obtain a living. Expenses are increased at a greater ratio than gains. The general style of living requires an income larger than can possibly be obtained in the slow and regular way of business or industry. Hence the rage for speculation, the reliance on a lucky hit, in which few can be successful, to make a fortune. Hence the innumerable failures, bankruptcies, insolvencies, frauds, dishonest contrivances which are the disgrace of modern states, and are fast destroying all confidence of man in man.
We sometimes think that Great Britain, by carrying with her everywhere this demoralizing system, more than overbalances the good she does by her advocacy of the great principles of civil freedom and constitutional government. A war with her that should break up this system, and force is to become less a commercial and more an agricultural people, would, we have no doubt, in the long run, prove an advantage to us, both under an economical and a moral point of view. But as long as the system remains, each nation must in self-defence adopt it, defend it, and draw from it all the advantage it can. Therefore, though disliking the system, we still urge our government to guard it with vigilance.
We had hoped before concluding this article to have received the president's message; but the delay in organizing the house has prevented us. We know not what measures the president will recommend, or what measures the new congress may be disposed to adopt; but we trust that congress will not adjourn without providing for a large increase of the army and navy, for both are now far below what we need for an effective peace establislıment. The extent of our territory, the various points needing protection, and the necessity of a national police, so to speak, every year becoming more and more necessary, require a large increase of our regular army, even if we paid no attention to the rule, in time of peace prepare for war. Our extended and rapidly extending commerce requires still more imperiously for its protection a large increase of our navy. We are not likely to need any very large land forces, for we have no powerful neighbors. Mexico is too weak and distracted to give us any trouble, and England would never undertake to defend Canada against is, any further, perhaps, than to hold the citadel of Quebec, while Canada herself, as much as we respect her spirit, and wish her prosperity, could bring no force, worth naming, against us. Whatever forces we are to guard against are and will be naval forces. The hostile powers we may have to encounter can reach us, or be reached by us, only by sea. It is therefore always to the sea we must look, for on the sea is our only serious battlefield.
This fact determines what should be our policy. We know not why there is in many parts of the conntry a prejudice against creating and sustaining a respectable navy. It is true, Mr. Jefferson was said to be opposed to it, althongh he maintains to the contrary in his correspondence with John Adams; but even if he had been, and justly so, it would not follow that we ought to be now, for times and circumstances have much changed. We remember well a conversation with Mr. Calhoun, certainly one of our greatest and most enlightened statesmen, in which le maintained that we onght to rely chiefly on our navy for the defence of our coasts, and that our true policy is to keep in commission at all times, a fleet large enough to cope with any that Great Britain can ordinarily bring against ns.
This he thought would require a naval force one-third or one-half as large as hers. We agreed with him then, and we agree with him now. The true policy of the government, in our judgment, is to provide for the annual increase of our navy, till it is equal to any naval force which the greatest maritime power of Europe can detach against us. With our three thousand miles and more of sea-coast, we are a maritime nation, and must be a maritime power of the first class. We must have a large navy to secure us the rank and respect abroad to which we are entitled, and which our commercial interests demand. We cut now a sorry figure beside the maritime powers of Europe. Even Sardinia has a naval force superior to ours. It is mortifying to be obliged to say this, but so it is. We hope this subject will receive the attention from the administration and congress that it deserves. If we had had such a navy as we ought to have, our offer to mediate between Russia and the allies would have been treated with respect; the British minister at Washington would never have said that the failure of a single house in Liverpool would make the whole Union tremble, and Great Britain would never have undertaken to recruit her armies on our territory. Lord Palmerston, most likely, would not have sent the British fleet to winter in the West Indies. We should find such a fleet saving us from many insults and mortifications, and tending strongly to the maintenance of peace between us and all nations. The expense of such a fleet is not worth mentioning, and we should be a hundredfold indemnified for it, by the effect it would have on the national spirit and character. We can now afford to do something for the national spirit, for the promotion of high, chivalric, and noble character, to which nothing more than a good military and naval education and command will contribnte.
In connection with this subject of the navy, it would be well if the government would cast an eye over our mercantile marine, and take some measures, if any are practicable, to induce a larger number of native Americans to take up a seafaring life. We have nothing to say against the foreigners in our mercantile marine. They are no doubt good sailors, and were they to enter the United States service would, we fear not, be true to our flag. But it does not comport with our national character, or national interests, to depend mainly on foreign sailors. At present the great body of the sailors in our mercantile marine, if we are riglitly informed, are foreigners, and while it remains so, comparatively few natives of the country, hardly enough to be officers, will enter our ships. Something must be done to remedy this evil, or our own people will lose their maritime character, and we shall be entirely dependent on foreigners for the defence of our country,—for manning our fleets as we are now for filling up the ranks of our army. This comes from the false estimate in which we have of late years held the army and navy, and the senseless cant of the peacemen against war and the military character. The evil will soon be past remedy, and we shall soon, if we do not bestir ourselves, have only the virtues of shopkeepers left. The rural population ought always to afford recruits for the army, and would do so in case of war; but where, if we pursue our present policy, are we to obtain recruits for our navy, and our mercantile marine? We must do something to elevate the common sailor, to render the sailor's life more honorable and more attractive, or all we have been saying of our national character and strength will turn out a vain boast.
MONTALEMBERT ON ENGLAND.*
[From Brownson's Quarterly Review for April, 1856.)
THERE is nothing that we have been more accustomed to hear from our youth up than predictions of the speedy ruin and downfall of England, and some of our friends do not hesitate to say, that she has already lost the high rank which she held a few years ago, and must now be regarded as a second-rate power. In most cases the wish, we apprehend, has been father to the thonght. We are as strongly opposed to British preponderance as any of our friends, but we are not able to detect at the present moment any sure signs of the approaching downfall of the British empire. In the beginning, we were foolish enough to think that she had been drawn into the eastern war by France, although we never doubted but she would be the chief gainer by it, in case the allies were successful; but later developments prove that the war is principally hers, and that she has had the address to make Napoleon fight her battles, and to pour out French blood and French treasnre for the promotion of her in
We shall be much mistaken, if the French alliance does not turn out to have been formed in British much more than in French interests; and if we do not find, providing the allies succeed in humbling Russia, England in a few years more powerful than we have ever before known her, and standing still inore decidedly at the head of modern commercial and industrial nations.
Napoleon, we take it, wished to be emperor, and to establish his dynasty on the throne of France. He could accomplish this latter object only by means of an alliance either with Russia against England, or by an alliance with England against Russia, backed, or not opposed by the rest of Europe. We suspect he preferred the former, but was defeated by the coldness of Russia, and the efforts of British diplomacy; nothing then remained for him but the latter. The Derby ininistry conciliated Austria, and Nicholas preferred union with England, the last power in the world he wished to
* De l'Atenir Politique de l'Angleterre. Par M. Le Comte DE MON
Paris: Le Correspondant, 1855.