When I first visited New
York, some three years since, I was warned not to know a man,
because he was a "politician." We in England define a man of a
certain class as a blackleg. How has it come about that in American
ears the word politician has come to bear a similar signification?
The material growth of the States has been so quick that the
political growth has not been able to keep pace with it. In
commerce, in education, in all municipal arrangements, in mechanical
skill, and also in professional ability the country has stalked on
with amazing rapidity; but in the art of governing, in all political
management and detail, it has made no advance. The merchants of our
country and of that country have for many years met on terms of
perfect equality; but it has never been so with their statesmen and
our statesmen, with their diplomatists and our diplomatists.
Lombard Street and Wall Street can do business with each other on
equal footing, but it is not so between Downing Street and the State
office at Washington. The science of statesmanship has yet to be
learned in the States, and certainly the highest lesson of that
science, which teaches that honesty is the best policy.
I trust that the war will have left such a lesson behind it. If it
do so, let the cost in money be what it may, that money will not
have been wasted.