R0977-8 A Seething Continent

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A perusal of Saturday’s usual collection of European cablegrams cannot fail to impress the reader with the fact that the continent of Europe is literally seething with social seditions and political acerbities which seriously threaten not only its peace but in many places the very existence of society.

France is not only threatened with war at the hands of her old enemy, but her social condition presents some most profound problems for the solution of capable statesmen, whom it will be difficult to discover among her would-be political leaders. Already the anti-rent agitation has appeared in Paris after a fashion ominously threatening to the rights and interests of landlords, while many other cities of the republic are anticipating serious street riots on account of the rise in the price of bread caused by the late legislation protective of agricultural products.

Of the condition of Ireland the American public are already too well aware. That country is rapidly moving in the direction of an agrarian revolution, the limits of which cannot at present be defined.

It is, however, in eastern and central Europe that the most threatening aspect of social and political affairs and the angry strife of race is graphically presented. Russia is making war on the most important industries of a country with which a year since she had been in the closest political alliance. Already this war has destroyed the iron industry of Silesia, shutting up numerous works in that and other provinces of Germany. Germany retaliates by preparing a bill again raising the duties on grain and wool. Later, the St. Petersburg press propose as a reprisal for Germany’s increase of the duties on cereals a poll-tax on German workingmen in Russia. Nor is the Russian government backward in this social and commercial war. The czar has issued an edict suppressing the German language in the colleges and schools of the Baltic provinces. And so the contest goes on in every leading country on the continent, each individual nation apparently laboring commercially for the destruction of the trade of all the others and politically for the extirpation of the nationality of some offending neighbor.

At present the entire continent presents the appearance of a seething mass of different and opposing materials in the crucible of the chemist anticipatory of crystallization. But whether such crystallization will bring peace or war is an open question. If the outcome of the present unparalleled turmoil proves to be a peaceful one certainly it will not be because the efforts of the leading powers and the leading statesmen tend in that direction.—Daily Journal.


— September, 1887 —