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fully. The difference is due to the care with
which complaints are investigated and grievances
redressed, while Indian affairs are conducted by
officials who understand the business, instead of
by the first adventurer who can bribe the wire-
pullers of Washington to give him office.

Although the duties to be performed by the
United States army are few, and would be
nominal were the Indian Bureau administered
with ordinary honesty and discretion, it must not
be imagined that its cost is at all proportional to
its work or numbers. In 1881, the war ex-
penditure, in a time of profound peace, was
$40,500,000 ; and the number of regular
troops was 20,000. For i larger expenditure,
Germany maintains, on a peace footing, 419,650,
men : for an expenditure i|- greater, France
maintains 470,600 men, and England, whose

M 2


military expenditure is, from obvious reasons,
exceptionally heavy, for f greater expenditure
maintains (exclusive of India) 133,720 men.

For Englishmen, and especially for those who
look ignorantly and blindly across the Atlantic to
the great Republic of the West, and who, in their
simplicity, imagine that the adoption of republican
institutions would make the burthen of life in
England less heavy, there can be no more whole-
some course of study than the financial statistics of
the United States during the present century. I
will attempt, most briefly, to explain their general
features so far as military and naval expenditure is
concerned, in order that the cost of democracy may
be fairly realised.

The year 1801 found the young Republic at
peace, under the Presidency of Thomas Jefferson.
The strength of the regular army, as fixed by
Congress, was 5,144, and the cost $1,672,000. The
expenditure declined for some years, and the war
with England then raised it to an average of
$16,000,000 during the years 1812 to 1816. It fell
to one half of this the following year ; to $2,500,000
in 1820; and fluctuated from $3,000,000 to
$6,000,000 until the year 1836, when it suddenly
rose to $12,000,000, at which point it remained till
1839, when stringent and successful efforts at reduc-


tion were made, expenditure falling to 89x300,000 in
1839, and to 83,000,000 in 1843. With the year
1845, the first and economical period of war ex-
penditure ceased for America ; and the second
phase commenced with war with Mexico and the
annexation of Texas, and an annual expenditure
which between 1846 to 1860 averaged $17,000,000.
The period 1862 to 1866 must be excluded from
the calculation, as the enormous cost of the civil
war would make the statistics of normal expendi-
ture valueless.

In 1867, the military expenditure on peace estab-
lishments was 895,250,000, and it was not till 1871
that the effect of the war no longer appeared
directly in the estimates. The charges were
then some 835,750,000, and they have averaged
40,000,000 during the present decade.

The naval expenditure must now be considered.
This, in 1801, was considerably larger than that on
the army, and amounted to $2,111,424. It was,
however, kept below this sum until 1812, when
war being declared with Great Britain, the cost of
the navy at once doubled. But at no period of the
war, in which the American navy was most dis-
tinguished for gallantry and enterprise, did the
expenditure exceed $8,500,000. This was in 1815
With the conclusion of peace the naval budget


fell to $4,000,000 ; during the period 1817 to 1846 it
fluctuated between $3,000,000 and $6,000,000. The
second phase of naval as of military finance then
set in. From 1 846 till the civil war, some $ 1 2,000,000
were spent annually on the navy ; the year suc-
ceeding the civil war, 1867, found the expenditure
$31,000,000 ; in 1874, it was the same, and the last
year, 1881, for which we have figures, the naval
expenditure was $15,686,671.

These results may be best thrown into the
tabular statement on p. 167, showing the ex-
penditure at different periods of the history of
the past century on both the army and navy, and
the number of troops maintained at the several
dates. For convenience the sums are given in
thousands of dollars, smaller sums being omitted.

However dull statistics may ordinarily be, no
one can deny that these figures are both in-
structive and amusing. Many curious financial
phenomena may be discovered within them. It
will be observed that while in the year 1850, 10,000
men of the regular army cost $9,000,000 annually,
they could not be procured in 1881 for less than
$20,000,000 ; that reduction in the number of the
troops signifies an increase in the total expendi-
ture on the army, and that 20,000 men cost more,
by many millions, than 27,000, or than 35,000. In



return for this enormous annual expenditure on
the army there are 20,000 men on paper. Whether



Navy. Regular




2,III,OOO 5,144


II,8l7,OOO! 3,957,000 11,831 ' \-ir , -p. i


14,794,000 8,660,000 9,413 /



3,314,000 9,980 ;



4,263,000 6,184



3,864,000 7,198



6,646,000 Do.



6,182,000 12,539 Florida War.



3,727,000 8,613



7,900,000 17,812 Mexican War.



7,904,000 10,320



13,327,000 Do.




14,690,000 -12,931 ...
11,514,000 Do. Peace ^Establish-



12,387,000 Do.





Civil War.





Peace Establishment.

























































they really exist or not is unknown, and I have
never met any one who has seen them. They are
supposed to be quartered in remote districts of


New Mexico, Indian Territory, and Arizona, where
they probably are the only inhabitants, and where,
at any rate, there are no critics to count their
numbers on parade.

Before leaving military expenditure, there is
another item to which I would invite the attention
of English Radicals and the editor of the Financial
Reform Almanack. This is Pensions. Ini86i,the
charge for pensions was $1,034,000; in 1862,
$852,000. At the close of the war, 1867, it had
risen to $21,000,000; in 1868, to $23,750,000 ; in
1871, to $34,500,000; in 1878, it had fallen to
027,000,000; in 1879, it again rose to $35,000,000;
in 1880, it reached the prodigious total of
$56,750,000; and in 1881 it again sank to
$50,000,000, exceeding by $10,000,000 the total
expenditure on the army. The physiological
phenomenon which these figures present is start-
ling enough. At the close of a war, and when the
distribution of pensions has been once made, the
Treasury would expect the ordinary laws of mor-
tality to reduce annually the pension charges. But
the veterans of the civil war appear to renew their
strength like the eagles. Not content with im-
mortality themselves, they have the power of
dividing and multiplying their individuality like
zoophytes ; and, unless some check on their


power of reduplication be discovered, these honest
warriors will, in twenty years, absorb the whole
revenue of the United States.

The expenditure which falls under the head of
Indians is remarkable. These interesting savages
cost President Jefferson $31. 22c. in the* year 1 800.
It was not till thirty years later that their charges
had reached $1,000,000 annually. Like the army,
and unlike the pensioners, their numbers have been
continually decreasing, and, as above noted, they
only number at the present time 66,407 souls. Yet,
like the army and the veterans, their cost con-
stantly increases. For the decade preceding the
war, they cost some $3,000,000 annually. They
now cost $6,000,000, and a few years ago they cost
between 88,000,000 and $9,000,000. Every Indian
family should thus receive from the benevolent
Government about $500 a year, for no " Indian
war " expend'ture is excluded in the item now
under discussion. Perhaps if it be roughly esti-
mated that of the $56,500,000 which are annually
paid under the head of pensions and Indians,
$40,000,000 represent unblushing robbery from
the United States Treasury, we shall be well
within the truth. At least half of the $40,000,000
of war expenditure may be assumed to disappear
in a similar fashion.


In the year 1814, when the young Republic
disputed, not without glory, the dominion of the
sea with the powerful British Empire, its navy cost
one-half of what it does to-day. Its peace expen-
diture was, in 1818, some $2,000,000 or $3,000,000,
compared with the $15,000,000 which is now wasted
on a navy which has neither ships nor guns. Ad-
miral D. Porter, and other authorities as respect-
able, declare that the American navy consists of
officers and water without any ships. It is true
that the protective tariff has annihilated the mer-
chant shipping, so that the navy is no longer
required to protect American commerce abroad,
but its naval weakness is unworthy the dignity of
a great country. It is certainly not for the advan-
tage of England that America should adopt free
trade and again cover the sea with merchant ships,
but the day will probably come when the farmers
of the West and the artisans of the East will unite
in refusing to pay double prices for almost every
necessary of life in order to swell the profits of the
manufacturers. But under a Republic, where the
minority rule and the majority suffer, the hour of
deliverance may be far distant In the meantime,
the United States can, as a naval power, be hardly
reckoned in the third rank. Congress appears to
have awakened to the fact that this state of things


is discreditable, and extra grants of large amounts
are now being proposed to increase the navy. But
a creeping paralysis has attacked the Executive, and
Congress votes money in vain. Three and a half
millions of dollars have been passed for building
four steel cruisers, one of which, the Dolphin, is
almost complete. But experts declare the type an
inferior one ; the engines are unsuited to the ships,
and there is no authority with power to prevent a
barren experiment being indefinitely repeated.
Since the close of the civil war, some $385,000,000
have been spent upon the navy, more than it
cost from the foundation of the Republic to
1860, when it was able to make itself everywhere
respected. This money might, as Congress has
itself declared, have been as profitably thrown
into the sea.

Can it be matter for surprise that, having regard
to the profligate expenditure of the past, Mr.
Randall and the Democratic party he leads in Con-
gress are opposing the proposed grants to the navy,
and would even refuse to complete the monitors
without which the ports are defenceless, or to
purchase the guns without which the new steel
cruisers cannot put to sea.

Such is the cost of Democracy. Up to the date
of the civil war, some decency was observed in the


public expenditure. The result of that unfortunate
struggle was like a typhoid fever, which alters the
whole constitution of the sufferer, and not un-
frequently results in rapid -consumption. The
resources of the United States are too vast, and
the people too energetic, for the one to be speedily
exhausted or for the other to be vitally affected.
But the rapid consumption has set in, and has first
attacked the Treasury. The reckless extravagance
and robbery of the war demoralised the entire com-
munity. The people discovered how easy it was to
rob the national exchequer, and everyone hastened
to become rich at the public expense. The highest
officials seem powerless to stem the torrent of cor-
ruption. Few of them attempt to do so. They
recall the Cornish parson of Peter Pindar's poem,
who was preaching when the cry, " A wreck, a
wreck ! " was heard without the church. For a
moment he attempted vainly to restrain his con-
gregation, but, finding them beyond control

" ' Stop, stop,' cried he, ' at least one prayer":
Let me get down, and all start fair.' "



IT has been seen, in the last chapter, that the
United States are in no position to take an active
part in foreign policy, even should they be disposed
to do so. Their army, costly though it be, is
only sufficient for home requirements; while the
navy could not meet on equal terms that of a
fourth-rate European power. But of the latent
power of America there can be no doubt : and its
attitude is so different from that of the French
Republic, whose restlessness and insolent
aggression in every quarter of the world is incon-
veniently conspicuous, that it would be interesting
to inquire whether apathy or truculence were
the normal effect of republican institutions. Es-
pecially is such an inquiry interesting and im-
portant for England with her tangle of foreign
relations, and she cannot wisely adopt American
institutions without determining what effect they
would have on her foreign policy.



We have the most exact descriptions in history
of the sentiments and conditions of the fighting
republics of Athens, Sparta, Florence, and Venice ;
and we must allow its due importance to the fiery
enthusiasm which carried France triumphantly
through Europe at the close of the last century.
But the more attentively these instances are re-
garded, the more probable does it appear that the
fierce and aggressive spirit which animated the
policy of the Greek and Italian republics was
rather oligarchical and aristocratic than democratic
in the modern sense of the word. This was
certainly the case with Italy ; and although it
cannot be denied that in the little wild-cat republic
of Athens every freeman had as much opportunity
cf voting and talking as if he had been a member
of the British Parliament, yet the prevailing temper
was aristocratic, as was inevitable where a minority of
freemen rule a majority of slaves. As for France,
the excitability and restlessness of her people are
such as to make her an unsafe illustration of normal
political phenomena ; yet it may be asserted that,
while the new-born republican fury had its un-
doubted effect during the early days of the
Revolution, chiefly stirred to action by the
unwarrantable attempt of the European monarchs
to crush a movement the success of which mi'sfht


endanger their own stability, the victories of
France were mostly won under the Napoleonic
despotism. The danger to the world from French
republicanism chiefly arises from the enormous
proportion of vanity in the character of the people,
demanding in the national policy constant grati-
fication. It is a jealous deity destroying those
who do not burn incense on its altar. Con-
sequently, Republican France, directed by states-
men whose ephemeral existence depends on
popular caprice, is more likely to be aggressive in
her foreign policy than when controlled by a ruler
who can sit careless above the thunder of the mob.
Even he is never safe. The French tiger devours
his tamer the moment he makes a mistake in
the performance ; as Napoleon III. discovered to
his cost. England has never tried a republic ; for
the experiment between 1650 and 1660 was
a strict military despotism barely veiled by con-
stitutionalism. To-day the English are more
democratic than of old, in that the people have a
larger voice in the national policy ; but it is difficult
to say that the country is less loyal, less conser-
vative, or less disposed to fight for a reasonable,
or, indeed, an unreasonable, cause. If public
utterances were to be regarded, it might seem that
the Tory party were more in favour of a bold and


active foreign policy than the Liberals ; but this is
extremely questionable, and in opposition to it is
the fact that among the Liberals themselves, putting
aside certain eccentric members of Parliament
who in no way represent the national feeling, the
advanced Left is far more thorough, aggressive,
and imperialistic in matters of foreign policy than
the moderate Liberals or Whigs, who would seem
to have adopted the policy of quieta non movere.

If the case of America be now considered it will
be seen that her epoch of aggressiveness in foreign
policy was while she was practically governed by
an aristocratic oligarchy. This was previous to the
war, when the slaveowners of the South dominated
the political situation ; and they might have retained
their supremacy till to-day, so weak and spiritless
was the Northern majority, had they not, in sheer
wantonness, bullied the North into the war which
naturally ended in their own destruction. In those
days the United States were certainly accustomed
to bounce and bluster a good deal ; but, endeavouring
to look at their political action with impartial eyes,
it had about it an air of patriotism and genuine
national spirit which is less conspicuous under a
more popular administration. It is true that the
war, with all its demoralisation, had a tranquillising
effect upon the American temper. The people felt


that they had at last done a very big thing. They
had killed and wounded as many men as would
have satisfied Caesar or Napoleon, and had spent
on the ennobling operation some six thousand
eight hundred millions of dollars. It mattered
little whether the half a million of men who had
been killed in battle or who died of wounds or
disease knew for what they had been fighting ; or
whether the money had, for the most part, gone
into the pockets of thieves and swindlers who built
their fortunes on the calamity of the nation. The
Americans had fairly bought, in fire and blood, the
right to hold up their heads among the down-trodden
peoples of the Old World. Like them, they had
been driven to battle and death for the lying schemes
of shifty adventurers ; like them, they were heavily
taxed in order that saloon keepers and shoddy
contractors might cover their vulgar wives and
daughters with diamonds. If such glorious results
do not consolidate and dignify a nation, the political
theories of England and Europe must be mistaken.
The Monroe doctrine which was, previous to the
war, the most generally accepted exposition of
American foreign policy, as stated by its founder
in his seventh annual message, in December, 1823,
was a wise and reasonable declaration of policy.
It was directly aimed at Spain and Portugal, whose
colonial policy is, and ever has been, obnoxious to



all liberal and enlightened principles, and warned
them that the great Republic of the West would
not tolerate their continued efforts to re-conquer
those South American countries which had, most
happily, escaped from their rapacious clutches.
Further, the President of the United States cate-
gorically informed those Powers that his Govern-
ment would consider any attempt on their part to
extend their system to any portion of the Western
Hemisphere as dangerous to the peace and safety
of the United States. The policy thus enunciated
was as successful as it was wise, and Englishmen
who condemn it may be sure that any British
Government, under similar circumstances, would
not only have done as much, but more, for Cuba and
Hayti would long ago have been annexed to the
Empire. England would not wish the Monroe
doctrine to be used, as has sometimes been
attempted by too zealous Secretaries of State at
Washington, against herself, and this is natural
enough. Nor was the Monroe doctrine so designed ;
and the most ardent Republican could not pretend
that freedom and civilisation were in danger from
the extension of the political influence of England.
The doctrine is one which the two branches of the
Anglo-Saxon race would do well to preserve and
fortify rather than contemn and deny. The British
States of Australia, which a wise statesmanship


would cease to term or treat as colonies, have
lately proclaimed the same principle for the South
Pacific, with the full and cordial approval of the
majority of their fellow-countrymen in England.
It is not a paltry question of the transportation to
New Caledonia of a few thousand French convicts
that is at issue : this the Australians could easily
settle for themselves; it is the claim/which will yearly
be more loudly pressed, that the whole of the South
Pacific has fallen by fortune to the Anglo-Saxon
race, which alone has the power to hold and civilise
it and that other nations who choose to dispute
this claim must do so by force of arms.

The Monroe doctrine, as originally designed, was
explained by Mr. President Adams in 1826. He
desired to summon a Congress of American States,
who should agree to take independent measures
against the establishment of any future European
colony within their borders, and thus secure and
develop the freedom of the new and struggling
Republics of South America, with which the United
States were naturally in strong sympathy. This
authoritative declaration of what the Monroe
doctrine really was, by a member of President
Monroe's Cabinet, differed very materially from its
later and more aggressive development, binding the
United States to resist all colonisation or inter-
ference by any European Power within the New


World. The idea of the founders of the doctrine
was evidently to strengthen the hands of the
Southern Republics, and to invite each State in
North or South America to take steps to protect
itself from foreign intrusion. But the intention of
a formula which has been altogether changed in
practical application has little beyond historical
interest ; and the Monroe doctrine in any shape
has fallen out of fashion. It was lately dragged
forth by Mr. Secretary Elaine to frighten the pro-
moters of the Panama Canal scheme, but was not
very effective, and was relegated to obscurity. So
little does the passion for foreign annexation now
animate Americans, that the occupation of the
Sandwich Islands by England or Germany would
not form the subject of remonstrance, though it was
once a burning question ; and were these islands
offered to the United States as a free gift, it is doubt-
ful whether they would be accepted by Congress.

There is in the foreign policy of America nothing
unfriendly to England. The good feeling between
the two countries is fortunately increasing year by
year, and so long as the States confine their atten-
tion exclusively to the American continent our
interests are not likely to clash. Canada is not a
source of anxiety ; for while, on the one hand, this
dependency is exceedingly loyal to the Crown
there is, on the other, no desire on the part of the


States to absorb it. Should a policy of annexation,
contrary to the wish of the Dominion, be ever
launched, England and Canada will be quite able
to take care of themselves.

The large and rapidly increasing German popula-
tion of the States may have a tranquillising effect
on American relations with England, and to some
extent neutralise the Irish element ; for there can
be little doubt that English sentiment is tending
towards the natural alliance with Germany as op-
posed to France, who, since she has adopted repub-
lican institutions, has proved herself worthless as an
ally. We can have no true sympathy with France,
whose attitude towards us is uniformly unfriendly,
and whose interests are opposed to ours in every
quarter of the world ; while with Germany we have
the bond of a common origin, creed, and interests.

The sentimental regard for the Russian Govern-
ment, which was once so strongly and fre-
quently expressed in America, has died out. It

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Online LibraryLepel Henry GriffinThe great republic → online text (page 10 of 11)