Barkerville, Williams Creek, Cariboo


The suppressed feelings of rivalry and ambition on the part of the rulers of France and Prussia have burst from restraint, and the misguided people are to be plunged into the bloody abyss of war. France has declared war against Prussia. So many dispatches all corroborative of the declaration, have flashed along the telegraphic wire that there seems to be no spark of hope for an opposite announcement. The world is still at the mercy of its rulers and civilization has failed to change the barbarism of older times into a condition in harmony with its teachings. The epoch of permanent peace and goodwill amongst men seems as distant as ever. Brute instinct is still predominant.

Civilization and religion have not subdued but only modified the animal passions. The baser part of glory still governs the hearts and minds of men. War is at all times the most undesirable mode of settling matters - indeed it never does that but prepares the ground for a succession of bloody crops - and war for no principle, war for personal pride, ambition and aggression is inexcusable. Although France has made the commencement, yet it has long been apparent that if it was not desired by Prussia, the latter at least took small pains to avoid it. The blame of its actual commencement lies upon France, but the cause is attributable as much to Prussia as to France.

Prussia has shown that her military pride is as dangerous to the peace of the world as that of any other power. Her triumph over the insignificant but significantly brave kingdom of Denmark led to a contest with Austria in 1866 and that great but poorly cemented empire was shorn of its ancient prestige. Returning from Sadowa with the flushed brow of victory, Prussia repudiated her promises to France given during the struggle with Austria and bade Napoleon seek their fulfillment as best he might. No wonder that France, to whom the records of the First Empire are dear, should harbour the scorn of her former and defeated fore with a revengeful remembrance, and seize upon any pretense to vindicate her wounded spirit.

Sympathy, however, for either party is a waste of sentiment, for the contest is really a fight of the vultures over the carrion of Denmark and Austria. Let us hope that it will be confined to the original contestants and that the other European powers, regarding the war in its true light, as one without any good principle for its object, will maintain a cold and impartial neutrality. Let them allow the balance of power to regulate itself. Both parties seek aggrandizement of power at each other's expense, and let the needle-gun and Chassepot alone decide the result.

War, however, is contagious, and it is to be feared that its effect will spread beyond the field of strife and draw other armies into the contest. The whole of Germany, comprising a population of forty millions will probably regard the attack upon Prussia as an aggression upon the Fatherland, and as demanding common resistance, Austria, at least her government, will probably look on with indifference, but the bulk of the German people will regard the quarrel as their own. The Thirty Years' war, by which France carried her boundary into Germany, conquered and retained Alsace and other Germanic territory, will sway the German sympathies, if as is reported by telegraph, Prussia aims at restoring to Germany those lost provinces. Here we have an illustration of the endless fruits of war. Two centuries have passed since the termination of the Thirty Years' War between France and Germany and today France is to be held accountable for her spoliation of the Fatherland.

The war will be the most remarkable that has ever occurred, for the number and equipment of the armies to be engaged. Prussia commands a military force, including the reserve and Landwehr, of 1,020,000. The total military force, including reserves and Garde Mobile, of France is 1,058,000 men.

AUGUST 6, 1870

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