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The Man Without a Country

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Love of country is a sentiment so universal that it is only on such rare occasions as called this book into being that there is any need of discussing it or justifying it. There is a perfectly absurd statement by Charles Kingsley, in the preface to one of his books, written fifty years ago, in which he says that, while there can be loyalty to a king or a queen, there cannot be loyalty to one's country.

This story of Philip Nolan was written in the darkest period of the Civil War, to show what love of country is. There were persons then who thought that if their advice had been taken there need have been no Civil War. There were persons whose every-day pursuits were greatly deranged by the Civil War. It proved that the lesson was a lesson gladly received. I have had letters from seamen who read it as they were lying in our blockade squadrons off the mouths of Southern harbors. I have had letters from men who read it soon after the Vicksburg campaign. And in other ways I have had many illustrations of its having been of use in what I have a right to call the darkest period of the Republic.

To-day we are not in the darkest period of the Republic.

This nation never wishes to make war. Our whole policy is a policy of peace, and peace is the protection of the Christian civilization to which we are pledged. It is always desirable to teach young men and young women, and old men and old women, and all sorts of people, to understand what the country is. It is a Being. The LORD, God of nations, has called it into existence, and has placed it here with certain duties in defence of the civilization of the world.

It was the intention of this parable, which describes the life of one man who tried to separate himself from his country, to show how terrible was his mistake.

It does not need now that a man should curse the United States, as Philip Nolan did, or that he should say he hopes he may never hear her name again, to make it desirable for him to consider the lessons which are involved in the parable of his life. Any man is "without a country who, by his sneers, or by looking backward, or by revealing his country's secrets to her enemy, checks for one hour the movements which lead to peace among the nations of the world, or weakens the arm of the nation in her determination to secure justice between man and man, and in general to secure the larger life of her people." He has not damned the United States in a spoken oath.

All the same he is a dastard child.

There is a definite, visible Progress in the affairs of this world. Jesus Christ at the end of his life prayed to God that all men might become One, "As thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us."

The history of the world for eighteen hundred and seventy years since he spoke has shown the steady fulfilment of the hope expressed in this prayer.

Men are nearer unity—they are nearer to being one—than they were then.

Thus, at that moment each tribe in unknown America was at war with each other tribe....