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Savannah and Brunswick all cut off from inland connection with the North. Moreover, while torpedo boats and submarines may now pass inland from Norfolk to Beaufort, they cannot get from the latter port to Charleston, the chief naval station south of the Chesapeake, without navigating the open ocean for nearly two hundred and fifty miles along a dangerous coast.
FROM THE CAROLINAS TO TEXAS To fill this gap with a suitable waterway would not be a formidable task. From Beaufort to Cape Fear, nearly half the distance, natural thoroughfares exist which need nothing but deepening and connecting with short stretches of canal. From Cape Fear to the confluence of the Waccamaw and Great Pedee rivers, in South Carolina, would be the hardest part of the undertaking, but army engineers have estimated that a canal could be constructed between those points for only $3,000,000. Then from Winyah Bay, at the mouth of the Great Pedee, to Charleston, to Savannah, to Brunswick, to Fernandina, to Jacksonville and so on to Key West, nature has provided passages which need nothing but a little improvement. From the St. John's River across upper Florida a canal may readily be constructed giving access to the Gulf near or at Apalachee Bay, whence St. George's Sound, Choctawatchee Bay and other coastal waters give natural passage to Pensacola, to Mobile Bay, to Mississippi Bay and to New Orleans; while from the latter city nature has provided an inland thoroughfare along almost the entire Louisianian and Texan coast, to Galveston and thence to the Rio Grande.
THE VALUE OF THE SCHEME The value of such a waterway, from Boston Harbor to the Rio Grande, is to be estimated from two points of
view. One is the commercial. In connection with that, a few figures will be pertinent. In the first ten years of the present century, along the very stretch of coast which this inland waterway is to serve, 1,675 vessels with a tonnage of 483,743 were lost and 4,040 with a tonnage of 3,289,200 were more or less seriously damaged. The loss to vessels was more than $30,000,000, and the loss to cargoes was more than $10,000,000. The number of lives lost was 2,223. Now it is not to be contended that all these losses would have been spared if the intracoastal waterway had been in existence and operation. But if we reckon that only half of them would have been spared, which is a most conservative estimate, we shall have a saving of $20,000,000, or $2,000,000 a year, which is as much as it would cost to open the entire route to navigation; not to mention the saving of more than 1,100 human lives. Surely it would be better to spend the money for the canal than to send it to the bottom of the sea.
FOR COAST DEFENSE
So much for the utility of the intracoastal waterway in time of peace. It should not be an objection to the project, not even to the most extreme pacifist, that it would be of still greater, vastly greater, utility in time of war, particularly as its military usefulness would be entirely for defensive and not at all for aggressive purposes. Such a waterway would not be of sufficient capacity to accommodate great battleships, and these indeed would have no occasion to use it. But its utility for the mosquito fleet, the functions of which are exclusively defensive, -would be simply inestimable. It would enable submarines, torpedo boats, and small gunboats, transports, and tenders, to move freely from one part of the coast to another without being
exposed to the perils of the open and stormy ocean, or to attack or even observation by the enemy. It would enable them to be concentrated swiftly and secretly at any point on the coast where they might be needed; to swarm out of the nearest inlet to repel an approaching enemy. It would make any attempt to blockade any port of our coast futile, since that port would be in inland communication by water with all other ports along the coast. An enemy's fleet approaching any part of our coast would be confronted by a mobile fleet. There has been talk of the possibility of an enemy making a landing in force upon some remote and undefended part of our shores. That might readily be done, in present circumstances, if our battle-fleet were evaded or defeated. It would be impossible if the coast were lined at all points with a navigable inland waterway swarming with submarines and destroyers. And of course the peaceful commerce of this route could be maintained in time of war in a security which would be impossible outside of the coast line.
PANAMA AND THE CARIBBEAN The great need of the Panama Canal was felt at the beginning of our Spanish War; and its immense potential utility in war as well as its actual utility in peace is now increasingly obvious. It would enable our fighting fleet to be quickly transferred from one coast to the other, as danger threatened. In proportion to its value, however, is the need of protecting it from hostile seizure or destruction. Such protection is not to be afforded by mere fortifications at the terminals, though of course these are essential and the wisdom of our government in securing the treaty right to construct them is manifest, The security of the Canal depends upon our dominance in
the adjacent waters, and particularly the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. It was in order to have a foothold from which to attack the Canal that Germany so persistently intrigued for the possession of territory, if only a naval station, somewhere about the Caribbean, and it was to hamper us in our plans for defense of the Canal
that she opposed, on one occasion successfully, our acquisition of the Danish West Indies. Her extreme desire a few years ago to inveigle Holland into becoming a member of the empire was partly, of course, in order to gain Holland's frontage on the North Sea, but it was also in no small measure in order to be able to plant the German flag upon the Dutch Islands in the Caribbean. There is no more essential feature of our scheme of national defense than the maintenance of American dominance in those waters.
THE MEANING OF THE WAR
War Means War The Initial Preparations — Increase of the Army and Navy Appropriating a War Budget Seizure of German and Austrian Vessels which Had Been Interned— Arrest of German Spies and Conspirators —Warnings and Orders to Alien Enemies — Government Confiscation of Wireless Telegraphy The Nation Placed upon a War Footing - The Coming of War Commissioners from the Allies - Our Practical Alliance with European Powers — A New Era in the Foreign Relationships of the United States.
WAR MEANS WAR. That fact was not instantly grasped by the American nation upon our declaration of war with Germany. The scene of the conflict was far away. Surely we should not actually be mingled in the fighting. We should lend money to the allies, of course, and use our ships for conveying to them the supplies which they needed. But that would be all. It did not take long, however, for a truer conception of the situation to dawn upon even the easiest-going American mind. More than half a century ago Lowell wrote
“It's war we're in, not politics;
It's systems wrastlin' now, not parties;"
and in the fateful month of April, 1917, the American people began to realize the fact.
Immediately upon the declaration of war, bills were introduced in Congress for the prosecution of the conflict. A war loan of $7,000,000,000, the largest single appropriation ever made by any government in the world, was passed without a dissenting vote in either House. Later an Urgent Deficiency bill, appropriating $2,827,000,000