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figures for 1898 showed a large balance of trade in favor of the United States and against Germany. Several natural causes contributed to this result. In the first place, we had purchased an unusually small amount of sugar in 1898, because, the year preceding, we had purchased an unusually large quantity. A fact which none of our Berlin critics realized was that our imports of sugar during 1898 were the smallest in twelve years, amounting to only 2,690,000,000 pounds. Compared with the recordbreaking returns for 1897, when our imports reached the high figures of 4,919,000,000 pounds, these figures show a falling off of about 2,229,000,000 pounds. From a sugar bill of nearly $100,000,000, we dropped with a thud to a sugar bill of $60,000,000. Germany, in common with other sugar-producing countries, shared the loss. Having the previous year enjoyed this prosperity, the complaint was unreasonable and only indulged in by the Agrarian organs. The following table shows the imports from and exports to Germany from 1889 to 1899:
1889 1890. 1891 1392 1893 1894. 1895. 1896. 1897 1898 1899.
Exports to Germany from United States.
$68,002,594 85,563,312 92,795,456 105,521,558 83,578,988 92,357,163 92,053,753 97,897,197 125,246,088 155,039,972 155,772,279
Here we have a view of our German trade for eleven years. It will be noted that, while the exports to Germany remain practically the same in 1899 as in 1898, the imports from Germany into the United States have increased, roughly speaking, about $15,000,000. This should encourage our German friends. Long before the figures were published I told them we should import more goods from Germany this year, but they said that was only a forecast and could cut no figure in the serious facts which were facing them. We imported $8,000,000 worth more sugar this fiscal year than last, with the strong probability that the calendar year will make a better showing. The balance of trade in favor of the United States in the fiscal year 1899 was $71,529,476, against $85,342,594 in 1898, $14,035,474 in 1897 and $3,656,364 in 1896.
During the decade 1890-1899 there have been seven occasions on which the balance of trade was favorable to the United States, and three in which the balance was against us. The total imports into the United States from Germany in the decade 1890-1899 were $885,065,402, and the total exports from the United States to Germany $1,085,826,756, the balance of trade in favor of the United States in the full decade being $200,761,354. This total of 800,000,000 marks is really not a serious matter to the Germans, when we consider the commodities imported. The balance of trade against England is twice this amount, or exceeding $100,000,000 every year. England, however, is in no way disturbed. Why? Because England has learned that three-quarters of all these imports means cheap food for her factory operatives, raw material for her mills, and commodities transported in British ships to be reshipped to other countries. In fact, this balance represents a source of wealth, not a loss, as the Agrarian statesman of Germany assumes. Cut off from Germany, the supply of American cotton, of mineral oils, of fertilizers, of tobacco, of copper, of lumber, of builders' material, of turpentine, of heavy machinery, and German industries would suffer. Reduce the supply of cheap breadstuffs, lard, bacon and meats, and the people must eat more horse-flesh and black bread, paying just as much for the inferior nourishment. Three-quarters of this so-called "balance against Germany" is a balance in favor of German industries, and simply indicates that Germany is fulfilling her mission as a great industrial nation. It represents the basis of her wealth, and is in no sense a sign of decadence. A considerable portion of this “adverse balance” is altogether fictitious, and merely indicates the great prosperity of the German shipping interests of Hamburg, Bremen and other minor ports. Quantities of these goods find their way via German ports and German railways to Russia, Belgium, Austria-Hungary and other European countries—a source of wealth to the German Empire rather than of discouragement.
The statesmanship which would seek to destroy these conditions is antiquated and not, I am happy to say, in harmony with the broader policy mapped out by Caprivi and approved by the Emperor. In the seven treaties already made, the idea was to assist the development of commerce. Let us hope our own Government will be able to negotiate a treaty along similar lines,
and stop the commercial friction which every now and then breaks out, threatening to upset our relations with our second most important trading nation. The main object of this treaty should be similar to the main objects of the other treatics, to secure for Germany cheaply, as imports, the necessaries of life and of the raw materials for industries, in return for which Germany might secure certain reciprocal reductions in duty on her exported industrial products. It may be urged that the reciprocal clause of the Dingley Tariff Law, giving the President the power to reduce the duty twenty per cent. on products entering the United States, has expired. The next Congress, being Republican, would undoubtedly extend this power for twelve months. If this were done, and a little more energy put into our negotiations, we could tie up a considerable amount of our foreign trade for several years to come. This should be done, and now is the time to do it. It should be borne in mind that, when our commercial relations with Great Britain, Germany and France are satisfactory, four-fifths of our European trade is covered, for, roughly speaking, of the $1,250,000,000 representing our total European trade not over $250,000,000, or one-fifth, remains to be distributed among the minor European countries.
ROBERT P. PORTER.
A FRENCH GENERAL'S DEFENSE OF THE BOERS. BY GENERAL COUNT DU BARAIL, FORMERLY FRENCH MINISTER
• THE present war in the Transvaal is certainly one of the most extraordinary events of the nineteenth century, which has been so fertile in staggering and theatrical surprises.
It is indeed amazing to see this little people of the Boers (that being the name commonly given to the citizens of the South African Republics) hold out so long against powerful England. There was a general disposition to believe that the British Government had not rushed into such an undertaking without being perfectly sure of success. Had not Mr. Chamberlain solemnly declared in the House of Commons that a simple military promenade would suffice to bring to reason those factious Dutch peasants who were foolish enough to believe themselves free and independent in that African land which they had conquered at the greatest perils ? Who, then, would have dared to cast doubt upon the official utterance of the fiery and adventurous Colonial Secretary, whom, however, tragic events were swift to contradict most cruelly.
Not only was it speedily discovered that much greater efforts were needed to accomplish the purpose in hand than had at first been imagined, but after four months of a terrible struggle and the most distressing reverses the question arises whether the entire strength of Great Britain can avail to overcome the stubborn resistance displayed with such heroic energy by the Boers.
The truth is, that without an army, without a budget, without arsenals, without commissary stores, without any of those scientific preparations so indispensable to a Power threatened with war, President Krüger, strong in the right and trusting in the patriotism of his valiant little people, bravely accepted the challenge of the unjust aggressor and began the fight by boldly carrying the war into the enemy's territory.
It must be acknowledged that this audacious offensive movement of the Boers was fully successful and that the first phase of the campaign was entirely in their favor. They laid siege to three places—Ladysmith, Kimberley and Mafeking—which the English generals have not yet succeeded in relieving, notwithstanding their energetic efforts and serious losses.
At this point the English Government, persisting in its policy of absorption, decided to mobilize the entire military force of England and to put her most famous generals in command of their army of invasion.
To-day Great Britain has on the African continent under the orders of her Commander-in-Chief, Lord Roberts, the most numerous army that she has raised since the wars of the First Empire.
Let us pause a moment to examine a situation which, so far, has disappointed all expectations.
One cannot help looking back and comparing the speedy termination of the Spanish-American War with the apparently insurmountable difficulties encountered by Great Britain in her unjust aggression in the Transvaal. Here we must make no mistake. The Boers were indeed the first to attack; that is to say, they boldly took the offensive, when, notwithstanding all concessions on their part, war seemed inevitable to them, as England was bent upon it; but the real aggressor was undoubtedly England, upon which the crushing weight of this responsibility will rest, whatever be the outcome of this deplorable conflict.
The Spanish-American War was undertaken by the United States without their having a standing army. They trusted in the valor and the patriotism of their hastily organized volunteers, commanded by officers most of whom were entirely unfamiliar with military art and science.
Their adversary, Spain, once the greatest military Power in the world, was brave, disciplined and commanded by experienced generals. Notwithstanding the misfortunes of their country, they were animated by martial pride and the desire to show themselves worthy of her past.
It was generally believed in Europe that the fight would be long and hotly contested, because even if the United States could command the sea with their powerful fleet, the Spaniards would prevail on land, as a matter of course, and show their ancient