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A STRAIGHT DEAL (chapter19)

2006-08-28 14:08

    CHAPTER XIX: Lion and Cub

    My task is done. I have discussed with as much brevity as I could the three foundations of our ancient grudge against England: our school textbooks, our various controversies from the Revolution to the Alaskan boundary dispute, and certain differences in customs and manners. Some of our historians to whom I refer are themselves affected by the ancient grudge. You will see this if you read them; you will find the facts, which they give faithfully, and you will also find that they often (and I think unconsciously) color such facts as are to England's discredit and leave pale such as are to her credit, just as we remember the Alabama, and forget the Lancashire cotton-spinners. You cannot fail to find, unless your anti-English complex tilts your judgment incurably, that England has been to us, on the whole, very much more friendly than unfriendly——if not at the beginning, certainly at the end of each controversy. What an anti-English complex can do in the face of , is hard to imagine: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, the Boers, all Great Britain's colonies, coming across the world to pour their gold and their blood out for her! She did not ask them; she could not force them; of their own free will they did it. In the whole story of mankind such a splendid tribute of confidence and loyalty has never before been paid to any nation.

    In this many-peopled world England is our nearest relation. From Bonaparte to the Kaiser, never has she allowed any outsider to harm us.

    We are her cub. She has often clawed us, and we have clawed her in return. This will probably go on.

    Once earlier in these pages, I asked the reader not to misinterpret me, and now at the end I make the same request. I have not sought to persuade him that Great Britain is a charitable institution. What nation is, or could be, given the nature of man? Her good treatment of us has been to her own interest. She is wise, farseeing, less of an opportunist in her statesmanship than any other nation. She has seen clearly and ever more clearly that our good will was to her advantage. And beneath her wisdom, at the bottom of all, is her sense of our kinship through liberty defined and assured by law.

    If we were so far-seeing as she is, we also should know that her good will is equally important to us: not alone for material reasons, or for the sake of our safety, but also for those few deep, ultimate ideals of law, liberty, life, manhood and womanhood, which we share with her, which we got from her, because she is our nearest relation in this many-peopled world.

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