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Empire with which we are not likely, until centuries to come are gone, to be in competition to cause friction generating heat. We refer to Russia. That Empire has a new ally in France. The two are one in diplomacy outside Europe, because they have nothing so clearly in common that there can readily be policies in conflict.
When we have named Russia and France, England and Germany, there are no other powers so important that we can classify them with ourselves, and there is a qualification to make in regard to France. It is remarkable that while Germany and England have antagonisms, they are bestowing upon us marks of good understanding and high estimation. England and Germany are the powers that compete with us in seeking markets for manufactures, and we find them on the coasts of Asia and South America. England was our friend in the war with Spain, and so was Germany, though she had an admiral at Manila whose tentative policy was too enterprising. The exchange of courtesies between England and the United States has been constant and sincere for several years, and there has been no show of the continuance of the aggregation of former irritations. Now it happens that the special United States Embassy to the coronation of King Edward VII. will be at the front and head of the representatives of the powers, and we have with us those who weep that this is so, and, indeed, sorrow over England's friendly offices.
We have so many chances to come in contact with German adventures and expansiveness, that there has been an occasional rub expressive of a certain rivalry, but evidently we are growing in the opinion of the greater armed Nation of modern times. The occasion of the launching of a royal German yacht in an American shipyard, is attended by an exchange of cables between the German Emperor and the American President, of a character that partakes of mutual admiration; and the Emperor's brother, the German Admiral, with others of great distinction, visit us, while the President personally participates in honoring the visitors from Germany, who are to be personages of the highest representative quality in the Empire, with the exception only of the Emperor.
The White House has not often been an object of interest so great as at present, from standpoints beyond seas. The exceedingly strong character, wide and elevated purposes, clearly made out and resolutely held policies of the President, is history that is fascinating as a romance, his personality that is of the highest type of public integrity, his peculiar power and candor surpassing that of Bismarck, whose keenest weapon in statesmanship was truth, commands consideration unusual in all the capitals of the Nations and centralizations of the people, no less in South America and 'Asia than in Europe.
The prominence of the principles of the Administration, upon which it is certain the President will proceed with unfaltering steps, attracts extraordinary attention by all observers representative of governments or the governed. Even the misapprehensions abroad about the Roosevelt Administration are exaggerations of that which is the executive Americanism representative and characteristic.
First comes the confirmation of expansion; second, the urgency of the capacities of the Government, that we shall enter upon tasks more imposing and calling for greater outlay and more extensive views of that which is to come; third, to ignore the race, sectional and colonial issues, so far as there are the conditions of prejudice involved, and outgrow the weaknesses of sentiment as it has put aside timidity in making impression according to insight upon the affairs international.
These matters are so prominent, that the course of the country has ceased to be an uncertainty. The paths we are to traverse are high roads. We are for reciprocity, as that policy was declared by the President and Vice-President on September 2nd and 5th, 1901. The meaning is that we want for the creative labor in our shops the markets abroad, as we have at home; and that the productive labor in the fields shall enter upon equality of protection, and altogether maintain hand in hand the pre-eminence of the farmers with the mechanics. If there are industrial wars, they will be confined to peaceable methods, and we have the advantage of the richest of the continents, and the most accomplished artisans.
Reciprocity is for the farmers as well as the manufacturers, to confirm protection with the expansion of commerce. We have a home policy for the augmentation of the area of our fertile lands, making the thousand streams that flow from the Rockies, with the artesian and wind mill wells. We shall have States fat as irrigated Egypt at the feet of our mountains, that the winters heap with vast reservoirs of snows, that the summer suns may send forth the waters to redeem the deserts. At the same time, we are to save the forests, and restore them where the wild fires have scathed the lands to be made prosperous, if we can join with the bounties of nature the arts of science and the wisdom of manhood that have pushed forward our boundaries, to give the living waters of our greater mountain range in the heart of our country, to the soil that was fire-swept until the principle of life was scorched away.
That we should join to this home work the patronage of the Government, given by those who go forth in ships to carry our commerce under our flagthis is the logic of the growth of the Nation, and there goes with it, in the Pacific Ocean, cables to unite us with the islands that are ours forever-islands that are the citadels that command the sunset gates, that are to be open doors for us. Relevant to this and expressive of it, is the Isthmian canal, with which we shall presently provide a channel for commerce by the route of the two Mediterranean oceans—that between Africa and Europe, and that between the two Americas-circumnavigating the globe, where the winds blow out of the morning into the sunsets on the tropical seas, and “our flag is still there” in “the dawn's early light,” and “the twilight's last gleaming," with purple and gold-and the lands and seas where it waves, are free.
American citizens who visited Cuba before the Spanish War—the real citizens of the United States, not the Key West product, the purpose of whom was to be protected by the United States in hostility to Spain-were in the time of Weyler impressed with the magnetic attractive influence of the great Northern Republic. The most important Cubans, not personally engaged in the guerrilla skirmishing, and the cane mill burning, hoped to be "somehow taken under the wing of the United States." We refer to the business men, not to the politicians, whose desire was to succeed the Spaniards as the ruling class of the island. The prevalent business idea was that there was liberty and safety with certainty only under the flag of the United States. The gigantic mass of the "Northern Republic” could be felt across the narrow dividing waters. No one felt it more strongly than the Spaniards, and the mad men who blew up the Maine, and were themselves blown across the seas. Then happened the event that the Americans had often seen in their dreams—the stars and stripes floated from the scarred and stained tower of the Morro Castle; and Cuba has become one of the problems.
At the head of the volunteers of our army of invasion of Cuba, was Theodore Roosevelt, supposed, according to professional standards, to know nothing about war, but as turned out “a very apt scholar,” and he knew not only how to get there, but how and when to get away; and he saved more in retreating from the Yellow Fever, than in the advance under the visible death sleet of the smokeless rifles of the Spaniards. The probability is that if Roosevelt had been in the War Department instead of that of the Navy, our Regulars would have landed in Cuba with smokeless powder cartridges for our magazine rifles; but in that case Dewey would have had but a short supply of ammunition, and the men behind the guns would not all have been trained marksmen.
There are traditions in our country, represented to excess in Congress, that the Executive Power in our form of Government should be reduced rather than expanded, and the duty of limitation that the country shall be equipped chiefly with fint lock smooth bores, is one a considerable class of Congressmen feel they have sworn to take upon themselves. Very often we are told a President of the United States should not be eligible to re-election. However, when the people want it, they can limit Presidential terms to one, as they have to two terms. The real beauty and strength of our Government is that when the people have a want they know it and can find the way, and the Constitution glows the stronger for the unwritten articles. The Constitution will hardly ever be so amended, that a President succeeding a President dying in office, shall be made ineligible. We give our Presidents vast powers because they are ours to give, and the givers can take away.
James G. Blaine thought if there was any amendment respecting Presidential terms, that the term of office should be the same as that of a Congressman, and that if we were called upon to elect a President every two years, there would be a reduction of the volume of excitement, and the incentives of disturbance.
Within a few weeks of Theodore Roosevelt's accession to the great office, there were reports that have not been contradicted, to the effect that he stated without hesitation or reserve which was his way if he stated it, that he would consider it a great honor to be elected President of the United States. Whether the President said it or not, it was a true and proper thing to say. It would be an unprecedented honor if Theodore Roosevelt should be elected President in 1904—one hundred years from the re-election of Thomas Jefferson.
Already it is clear if Roosevelt is a Presidential candidate, his ways are his own, and it is himself who is in the field, just as he was when Governor of New York and is now. If the people give him another term, it will be as plain to them for whom and what they are voting, as when the majority re-elected Andrew Jackson. That which Theodore Roosevelt says is precisely as intelligible as what he does. Whatever is his following, his leadership is his own. He is a man of principles, but he does not follow fashions, if fashion is imitation. If he had been a common Presidential candidate, he would have been at pains to dull the edge of the Civil Service Reform reaping hooks, and to cultivate the politicians accustomed to a peculiar deference of the States that do not by any chance cast Republican electoral votes; but are on hand with full force when National Conventions meet and know where the corn cribs are. If he had been playing to the galleries, he would not have invited a black man to luncheon, or have been cordial in the reception of royal German courtesies. His civilities to the German Emperor and the British King, would have been perfunctory, and not with the “By George, I am glad to see you," that has the Montana breeze in it. If he had been seeking the Clan-na-Gael dynamite influence, he would have had an unparalleled opportunity to insult the descendant of the Georges, in repelling the invitation to an American deputation to attend the coronation of Edward VII.; and wild horses could not have drawn from him permission for his daughter to christen the Kaiser's yacht, and to go with her aunt to witness the pageantry of putting a glittering “bauble” on a king's head. If the President had been going “into the swim” as a candidate for President, he knew exactly the feeling of the people of the United States, of all parties and sections, that Admiral Schley was and is the hero of the Santiago naval battle; and that Sampson, brilliant officer as he was, and invalid as he became, was as innocent of the destruction of Cervera's fleet as the King of England was of the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, because Wellington served under him. The President could have had a stormy ovation of approbation, music in the ears of a candidate for the great office, by simply agreeing with the Presiding Officer of the Naval Court, dissenting from the opinion; but the President consents to nothing more than in his own conviction is mere justice, and he has all along a grim way of staying with his friends, as Grant did when his friends were “under fire,” as he called it.
After all, we must love a man who likes the fire when his friends are in it.
Two years from the Spring of 1902, the believers in the Great Republic, the World Power—the friends of Expansion, Protection, Reciprocity, Fair Play, readiness for war as a peace measure, the honor, glory and splendor of the Army and Navy, with power added by the discipline, equipment and instruction of the troops and the construction of war ships to assert our sea power, for an Isthmian canal as a highway for our Navy and spread of our commerce; for the redemption of the heart of the continent from a cancer; for the discipline of the Civil Service; for the justice of wisdom and the victories of peace in the work shops, and the equal rights of men of labor and men of capital, and for the equalities in taxation, the elevation of work and the preservation of propertythe ceaseless labors of energetic manhood—those to whom high qualities and many accomplishments are attractive, and good works well done are a recommendation; if the embodiment of independence and of Americanism has filled the great place with the success that attended him and the growth he has shown, has been a distinction in his career has continued; if a candidacy that has appealed to deeds courageous and noble, instead of the weaknesses and complacencies and subserviences that cause our public life to represent the facile and uncertain, the evasive, faltering elements, and the country cares for the progressive continuance of great things—why, we may, with confidence, forecast another unanimous nomination of President, and an election that will be a triumph of majorities in all the sections of the country, a continuance of our prosperities, and the assurance of statesmanship worthy that of which our National magnificence is the matchless expression.