FRIDAY, May 13, Right Honorable Joseph Chamberlain, Secretary of State for the Colonies of the British Empire, in a public speech at Birmingham, Eng., used the following words:—
“The time has arrived when Great Britain may be confronted by a combination of powers, and our first duty, therefore, is to draw all parts of the empire into close unity, and our next to maintain the bonds of permanent unity with our kinsmen across the Atlantic.” [Loud cheers.]
“There is a powerful and generous nation,” said Mr. Chamberlain, “speaking our language, bred of our race, and having interests identical with outs. I would go so far as to say that, terrible as war may be, even war itself would be cheaply purchased if in a great and noble cause the Stars and Stripes and the Union Jack should wave together over an Anglo-Saxon alliance.” [Prolonged cheers.]
“It is one of the most satisfactory results of Lord Salisbury’s policy, that at the present time these two great nations understand each other better than they ever have done since, over a century ago, they were separated by the blunder of a British government.”
Of course this remarkable statement has attracted attention, as undoubtedly it was intended to do, in all the nations. As might be expected, Spain was the first to remark especially upon it. Senor Gullon, of the Spanish government, said that the speech has “real importance, not only for Spain, but for the future of Europe.”
Everyone may say that this speech has importance not only for Spain, and not only for Europe, but for the whole world. For if such an alliance shall be formed, which indeed we do not doubt will be, it will assuredly mean much for the whole world.
At present, however, we do not purpose discussing the meaning and effect of such an alliance when it might be formed; but rather the prospect that there is of its being accomplished.
Strictly, Mr. Chamberlain’s words can hardly be reckoned to be more than an open reply, in the hearing of all the world, to suggestions to the same effect from the American side. In an interview, published in the New York Herald, April 17, Hon. E. J. Phelps, who was formerly U. S. Minister to Great Britain, said:—
“The Chinese question has assumed an importance that under all the circumstances makes it necessary for us to look seriously upon the suggestion of an alliance with England. I am not prepared to say that we should or should not form an alliance so far as individual questions are concerned. The only point of view from which we can now consider the matter is on the basis of the  broad principle itself—on the broad ground of general advisability.”
Among the reasons given by Mr. Phelps in favor of an alliance are the following:—
“It seems to me there are several reasons, the first and most important being one which I fancy may not meet altogether with the approval of the masses—the benefit England would be to us under such circumstances. She is a far older nation, and therefore more experienced, possessing the calm wisdom that comes with age and the power to judge dispassionately. We should be to her like the young partner to the old one, and as in the case of such a partnership the younger always gains through the ripe knowledge of his elder. The calm, firm, wise policy of England results in the settlement of difficulty, where often the ephemeral passages of our diplomacy accomplish little or nothing.
“Another reason which might weigh in favor of an alliance is the presence of our great neighbor to the north, that stretches from sea to sea—Canada. But for the presence of Canada nothing would confront us at home which would make it possible that we might have serious difficulty with England, but no man can foresee what will happen. There are difficulties between nations under such circumstances just as there are between landowners or in business life. Therefore I say that just so long as Canada exists, so long is there a possibility of difficulty which an alliance would be very apt to remove.
“Again, there is the moral strength that we should enjoy through an alliance with England. I means the moral strength resulting from the effect of such an alliance upon other nations. It is not to be supposed for a moment that any power would attack the United States and England if those two nations presented a solid front. For that reason an alliance might be advantageous.
“Still another fact we must consider when surveying the field or reason opened by the question of an Anglo-American alliance is the effect upon commerce. We are not a nation of seamen: England is. Our marine is not developed; hers has gained with every year. It is as a sea power that she holds her high position. Were it otherwise she would never be able to maintain her dignity and power in all parts of the world. On the sea an alliance would be of unquestioned advantage to us.”
Three days later, April 20, Hon. John Hay, present United States ambassador to Great Britain, in a speech at the Easter Banquet at the Mansion House, London, said:—
“The good understand between us is based on something deeper than mere expediency. All who think cannot be see there is a sanction like that of religion which binds us in partnership in the serious work of the world.
“Whether we will or not, we are associated in that work by the very nature of things, and no man and no group of men can prevent it. We are bound by ties we did not forge and that we cannot break. We are joint ministers in the same sacred mission of freedom and progress, charged with duties we cannot evade by the imposition of irresistible hands.”
About the same time Lord Charles Beresford, Vice-Admiral, and Member of the British Parliament, said:—
“Such an alliance is natural, and I believe the mere fact of its conclusion would deter others from attacking any adequately defended interests of either country. Now is the time to accomplish it, when advantages are apparent to both countries…. And Anglo-American alliance would be the most powerful factor in the world for peace and the development of commerce.”
This suggestion by such representative men has been widely discussed in the press, both secular and religious, of both countries, and even in the pulpit in the United States, with the vast majority of voices in its favor. For instance, at the conference of Methodist bishops lately held at Albion College, said:—
“The time will come—and may it come—when the Stars and Stripes and the Union Jack will fly from the same staff and American and Englishmen will fight should to shoulder for liberty and against the cause of oppression and barbarism. England is our natural ally, and the time is past when America can live its own life in and of itself. We are competent to take a part in the affairs of the great world of nations, and we are proving our right to such a course.”
And now that such a high representative of Great Britain, as is Mr. Chamberlain, has so plainly announced to all the world that such an alliance would be “cheaply purchased” even by war, it may be counted as a foregone conclusion that such an alliance will be accomplished.
This is an exceedingly important matter, and we shall have more to say upon it.
A. T. J.