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The Great War Syndicate - Web page 1 Post by :business Category :Long Stories Author :Frank R Stockton Date :April 2011 Read :3253

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The Great War Syndicate - Web page 1

In the spring of a certain year, not far from the
close of the nineteenth century, when the political
relations between the United States and Great Britain
became so strained that careful observers on both sides
of the Atlantic were forced to the belief that a
serious break in these relations might be looked for at
any time, the fishing schooner Eliza Drum sailed from
a port in Maine for the banks of Newfoundland.

It was in this year that a new system of protection
for American fishing vessels had been adopted in
Washington. Every fleet of these vessels was
accompanied by one or more United States cruisers,
which remained on the fishing grounds, not only
for the purpose of warning American craft who might
approach too near the three-mile limit, but also to
overlook the action of the British naval vessels
on the coast, and to interfere, at least by protest,
with such seizures of American fishing boats as might
appear to be unjust. In the opinion of all persons of
sober judgment, there was nothing in the condition of
affairs at this time so dangerous to the peace of the
two countries as the presence of these American
cruisers in the fishing waters.

The Eliza Drum was late in her arrival on the
fishing grounds, and having, under orders from
Washington, reported to the commander of the
Lennehaha, the United States vessel in charge at that
place, her captain and crew went vigorously to work to
make up for lost time. They worked so vigorously, and
with eyes so single to the catching of fish, that on
the morning of the day after their arrival, they were
hauling up cod at a point which, according to the
nationality of the calculator, might be two and three-
quarters or three and one-quarter miles from the
Canadian coast.

In consequence of this inattention to the apparent
extent of the marine mile, the Eliza Drum, a little
before noon, was overhauled and seized by the British
cruiser, Dog Star. A few miles away the
Lennehaha had perceived the dangerous position of the
Eliza Drum, and had started toward her to warn her to
take a less doubtful position. But before she arrived
the capture had taken place. When he reached the spot
where the Eliza Drum had been fishing, the commander
of the Lennehaha made an observation of the distance
from the shore, and calculated it to be more than three
miles. When he sent an officer in a boat to the Dog
Star to state the result of his computations, the
captain of the British vessel replied that he was
satisfied the distance was less than three miles, and
that he was now about to take the Eliza Drum into

On receiving this information, the commander of the
Lennehaha steamed closer to the Dog Star, and
informed her captain, by means of a speaking-trumpet,
that if he took the Eliza Drum into a Canadian port,
he would first have to sail over his ship. To this the
captain of the Dog Star replied that he did not in
the least object to sail over the Lennehaha, and
proceeded to put a prize crew on board the fishing

At this juncture the captain of the Eliza Drum
ran up a large American flag; in five minutes afterward
the captain of the prize crew hauled it down; in less
than ten minutes after this the Lennehaha and the
Dog Star were blazing at each other with their bow
guns. The spark had been struck.

The contest was not a long one. The Dog Star was
of much greater tonnage and heavier armament than her
antagonist, and early in the afternoon she steamed for
St. John's, taking with her as prizes both the Eliza
Drum and the Lennehaha.

All that night, at every point in the United States
which was reached by telegraph, there burned a
smothered fire; and the next morning, when the regular
and extra editions of the newspapers were poured out
upon the land, the fire burst into a roaring blaze.
From lakes to gulf, from ocean to ocean, on mountain
and plain, in city and prairie, it roared and blazed.
Parties, sections, politics, were all forgotten. Every
American formed part of an electric system; the same
fire flashed into every soul. No matter what might be
thought on the morrow, or in the coming days which
might bring better under-standing, this day the
unreasoning fire blazed and roared.

With morning newspapers in their hands, men rushed
from the breakfast-tables into the streets to meet
their fellow-men. What was it that they should do?

Detailed accounts of the affair came rapidly, but
there was nothing in them to quiet the national
indignation; the American flag had been hauled down by
Englishmen, an American naval vessel had been fired
into and captured; that was enough! No matter whether
the Eliza Drum was within the three-mile limit or
not! No matter which vessel fired first! If it were
the Lennehaha, the more honour to her; she ought to
have done it! From platform, pulpit, stump, and
editorial office came one vehement, passionate shout
directed toward Washington.

Congress was in session, and in its halls the fire
roared louder and blazed higher than on mountain or
plain, in city or prairie. No member of the
Government, from President to page, ventured to oppose
the tempestuous demands of the people. The day for
argument upon the exciting question had been a long
weary one, and it had gone by in less than a week
the great shout of the people was answered by a
declaration of war against Great Britain.

When this had been done, those who demanded war
breathed easier, but those who must direct the war
breathed harder.

It was indeed a time for hard breathing, but the
great mass of the people perceived no reason why this
should be. Money there was in vast abundance. In
every State well-drilled men, by thousands, stood ready
for the word to march, and the military experience and
knowledge given by a great war was yet strong upon the

To the people at large the plan of the war appeared
a very obvious and a very simple one. Canada had given
the offence, Canada should be made to pay the penalty.
In a very short time, one hundred thousand, two hundred
thousand, five hundred thousand men, if necessary,
could be made ready for the invasion of Canada. From
platform, pulpit, stump, and editorial office came the
cry: "On to Canada!"

At the seat of Government, however, the plan of the
war did not appear so obvious, so simple. Throwing a
great army into Canada was all well enough, and that
army would probably do well enough; but the question
which produced hard breathing in the executive branch
of the Government was the immediate protection of the
sea-coast, Atlantic, Gulf, and even Pacific.

In a storm of national indignation war had been
declared against a power which at this period of her
history had brought up her naval forces to a point
double in strength to that of any other country in the
world. And this war had been declared by a nation
which, comparatively speaking, possessed no naval
strength at all.

For some years the United States navy had been
steadily improving, but this improvement was not
sufficient to make it worthy of reliance at this
crisis. As has been said, there was money enough, and
every ship-yard in the country could be set to work to
build ironclad men-of-war: but it takes a long time to
build ships, and England's navy was afloat. It was the
British keel that America had to fear.

By means of the continental cables it was known
that many of the largest mail vessels of the British
transatlantic lines, which had been withdrawn upon the
declaration of war, were preparing in British ports
to transport troops to Canada. It was not impossible
that these great steamers might land an army in Canada
before an American army could be organized and marched
to that province. It might be that the United States
would be forced to defend her borders, instead of
invading those of the enemy.

In every fort and navy-yard all was activity; the
hammering of iron went on by day and by night; but what
was to be done when the great ironclads of England
hammered upon our defences? How long would it be
before the American flag would be seen no more upon the
high seas?

It is not surprising that the Government found its
position one of perilous responsibility. A wrathful
nation expected of it more than it could perform.

All over the country, however, there were
thoughtful men, not connected with the Government, who
saw the perilous features of the situation; and day by
day these grew less afraid of being considered
traitors, and more willing to declare their convictions
of the country's danger. Despite the continuance of
the national enthusiasm, doubts, perplexities, and
fears began to show themselves.

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The Great War Syndicate - Web page 2 The Great War Syndicate - Web page 2

The Great War Syndicate - Web page 2
In the States bordering upon Canada a reactionaryfeeling became evident. Unless the United States navycould prevent England from rapidly pouring into Canada,not only her own troops, but perhaps those of alliednations, these Northern States might become the sceneof warfare, and whatever the issue of the contest,their lands might be ravished, their people suffer. From many quarters urgent demands were now pressedupon the Government. From the interior there wereclamours for troops to be massed on the Northernfrontier, and from the seaboard cities there came a cryfor ships that were worthy to be called men-of-war,--ships to defend the harbours

The Phantom Of The Opera - Bonus Chapter - The Paris Opera House The Phantom Of The Opera - Bonus Chapter - The Paris Opera House

The Phantom Of The Opera - Bonus Chapter - The Paris Opera House
THE SCENE OF GASTON LEROUX'S NOVEL, "THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA"That Mr. Leroux has used, for the scene of his story, the ParisOpera House as it really is and has not created a building outof his imagination, is shown by this interesting description of ittaken from an article which appeared in Scribner's Magazine in 1879,a short time after the building was completed:"The new Opera House, commenced under the Empire and finished underthe Republic, is the most complete building of the kind in the worldand in many respects the most beautiful. No European capitalpossesses an opera house so comprehensive in plan