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The Seven Vials Of Wrath
by [?]

But all the danger of an international complication does not come from across the sea. The war spirit is well-nigh as rife in this country as at Barcelona and Cadiz. The great mass of the American people would welcome a controversy with any country, with or without good cause. “The glory of the young man is in his strength,” and Uncle Sam is young and strong. He longs to grapple with his contemporaries, to demonstrate his physical superiority. He has a cypress shingle on either shoulder and is trailing his star-spangled cutaway down the plank turnpike. While a few mugwumps, like Josef Phewlitzer and Apollyon Halicarnassus Below, and tearful Miss Nancys of the Anglo- maniacal school, are protesting that this country wants peace, Congress, that faithful mirror of public opinion, if not always the repository of wisdom, proves that it is eager for war. And just so sure as the Cleveland interpretation of the Monroe Doctrine is insisted upon, we are going to get it, and that before babes now nursing wear beards. And the “Doctrine,” as applied by the administration, will not only be insisted upon, but public opinion will force the hands of our public servants and compel them to push it further. The fact that it is distasteful to our transatlantic brethren makes it ridiculously popular with a people determined to burn gunpowder. Aside from the epidemic of murder which seems to have girdled the globe, the spirit of petty jealousy and assumed superiority with which Americans are treated in many European countries, has imbued this people with the idea that the quickest way to win the respect of their supercilious neighbors is to slaughter them. Uncle Sam is in an ugly humor and will suffer no legitimate casus belli to be side-tracked by arbitration. He is “dead tired” of having the European ants get on him–of being harried by petty powers whom he knows full well he could wipe from the map of the world. He is just a little inclined to do the Roman Empire act–to take charge of this planet and run it in accordance with his own good pleasure. Some of these days he’s going to drive his box-toed boot under John Bull’s coat-tails so far that the impudent old tub of tallow can taste leather all the rest of his life.

We may deplore this spirit of contention, but to deny its existence were to write one’s self down an irremediable ass. It is in evidence everywhere, from the American senate to the country clown. To argue against the war spirit were like whistling in the teeth of a north wind. You cannot alter a psychological condition with a made-to-order editorial. It is urged that we should sing small, as we are “not prepared for war.” We are always prepared. Hercules did not need a Krupp cannon–he was capable of doing terrible execution with a club. Samson did not wait to forge a Toledo blade–he waltzed into his enemies with an old bone and scattered their shields of iron and helmets of brass to the four winds of Heaven. The mighty armaments of Europe are costly trifles; whenever America has been called to fight she has revolutionized the science of destruction. It hath been said, “In time of peace prepare for war.” Europe bankrupts herself to build steel cruisers and maintain gigantic standing armies; America prepares by strengthening her bank account and developing her natural resources. When the crisis comes she has “the sinews of war,” and brains and industry quickly do the rest. It was not necessary for Gulliver to sleep in the land of the Lilliputs with a gun at his side.

Vast armies and costly fleets of battleships in time of peace are indication of conscious weakness. The Western Giant goes unarmed; but let the embattled world tread upon his coat-tails if it dares! The American does not have to be educated to soldiership–he’s to the manner born. Those who can build are competent to destroy. Our Civil War was fought by volunteers; yet before nor since in all the struggles of mankind were such terrible engines of destruction launched upon land or sea. Never did so many bullets find their billets. Never did men set their breasts against the bayonet with such reckless abandon. Never were the seas incarnadined with such stubborn blood. The “Charge of the Six Hundred” was repeated a thousand times. The Pass of Thermopylae was emulated by plowboys. The Macedonian Phalanx was as nothing to the Rock of Chickamauga. The Bridge of Lodi was duplicated at every stream. The spirit of the Old Guard animated raw recruits. The Retreat of the Ten Thousand became but a holiday excursion. Sailors fought their guns below the water line and went down with flying colors and ringing cheers.