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THE WORLD IN ARMS
The aspect of the world at large is as portentous of destructive wars today as at any period of its history.
England, resting securely in her island home, a republic in fact, a monarchy in form, and an empire in the vast extent of her possessions, is rocking with internal agitation. Ireland is almost a unit in determined aim and desperate plans to disfranchise the owners of her soil, and to free herself from British rule. Distress, terror, and pauperism mark her whole population, and assassinations, the most atrocious, are the exhibition of her weakness and her hate. The „no rent” cry is to some extent echoed through England, and communism is ripe through all the British realms.
France is constantly changing her cabinets, and her Republican Government is hated by rival claimants to the crown, of Napoleon, of Orleans,
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or of the Bourbon. Communism, crushed out a few years since in seas of blood, is lifting again its defiant head, while the national revenge is nursed against Germany, and the determination fostered, to wipe out the disgrace of Sedan, and recover Alsace and Lorraine. At the same time, her designs on Tunis, and her precarious hold on Algiers, awaken the suspicions of Italy and Turkey, and cause divisions amongst her people.
Germany, under the rule of Bismarck, the man of „Iron and Blood,” is restive. His tendency to absolute government, his disregard of the political and civil rights of the people, his far-reached policy, and almost satanic WILL, make him hated and feared by his countrymen, and to a great extent by the surrounding nations. Old Kaiser William is in his eighty-fourth year. His throne, in the nature of things, must soon become vacant. It is doubtful
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whether either in Germany or in England, another monarch will occupy the throne. Republicanism, if not communism, abide their time in both countries, to assert their rights and show their power.
Russia is a dark waste where terror reigns. The crushed worms turn on the iron-heeled oppressors, and plot in secret and stab in darkness, and drive the tyrant and his minions into their guarded palaces, haunted by horrors.
Italy has a dread skeleton in the midst of her capital. The Pope is a continual menace to her stability as a nation, and the security of her government. At any hour papal fanaticism may burst forth like a cyclone and spread desolation through all his domain. The votaries of the Pope, in almost all Catholic countries, are ready at the call of the „Holy Father” to rush to his rescue—or, in other words, drive out the Italian king and government, and place the Pope on the throne of his predecessors.
In the meantime, Egypt, the most ancient of kingdoms, and, as predicted of her when at the height of her power, „the meanest of nations” starts to the forefront and arrests the attention of the world. The Khedive, a foreign prince, under the nominal sovereignty of the Sultan of Constantinople, trembles on his throne, and „bows to the will of the nation.” That will is the exaltation of Arabi Bey, his enemy, to the control of all the citadels and forces of Egypt. „Egypt for the Egyptians,” is the war cry of the natives, and for once in thousands of years the foreigner is flying from the Egyptian.
England and France have sent their war ships to the mouth of the Nile. But menace has had no effect on the leaders of the Egyptian army. Torpedoes have been laid along the channel of the harbor of Alexandria, and resistance to all foreign intervention has been fiercely avowed.
But while England and France have undertaken to settle the affairs of Egypt, the Sultan of Turkey has been playing a double game. He has given public assurances to the Khedive of support, while he has secretly encouraged the insurgents. And then Russia, Germany, Austria, and Italy, claim to have a voice and a part in the settlement of Egyptian affairs as a European question—indeed a world-wide one.
What the outcome of all this will be, no human foresight can determine. But a half million of soldiers, armed with breech-loading rifles, in each of the countries named—all ready for action—the rulers of those countries anxious to divert the discontented peoples by forcing wars—the mutual jealousies of these rival powers, and the difficulties of adjusting the „Eastern Question,” now centered in the Egyptian crisis—all are portentous. The world is in arms. A crisis is impending. Lord, haste the day when he whose right to reign shall come, and peace and joy and righteousness shall clothe the earth in beauty.—Christian Repository.
— September, 1882 —