"But," asked Emperor William, "what is to become of the fixed property of war, — for example, the forts at Strassburg and Belfort?"
"They will be preserved as historical curiosities, — a sort of public museum of archeology. The entrance fee will be applied toward paying interest on war debts."
"And the guns of the fortresses?”
"Well, many of those mounted are wooden. Oh, do not start up! General Andre told me confidentially, on the way here, that such is the case on the French side, and I have my own reasons for believing that the Germans have their share of the same sort of Quaker artillery. Well, the wooden guns may remain. They will do perfectly to set the gullible agape. The rifles of real metal will of course be melted and used for ship's plates."
"But there are the barracks," objected M. Delcassé. "We have erected them at great expense; what shall we do with them when there are no soldiers to occupy them?"
"They would make splendid factories and storehouses. The Steel Trust would be glad to take most of them oil your hands."
"You surely forget, however, interposed General Wood, "the moral side of war. I am here at the especial request and as the personal representative of President Roosevelt, and you can imagine what he will say if the discipline and manly development of the fighter are overlooked or thrown away. How are we going to prevent the fiber of our youth from growing flabby, how are we."
"I have taken all that into consideration,” said Mr. Morgan, with an impatient gesture. "We shall let the children have military toys. They can lay about them valiantly with wooden swords in the nursery. The kindertgarten will be just the place for drum and trumpet. In the schools there will be military organizations, each vying with the other in plumes and feathers and padded coats and precision of drill and terrible front. I am not so foolish to think at once to exorcise the spirit of martial vanity from boys. In them it will doubtless persist for a long time. But we are looking at the subject as tall-grown men, who have put away those childish things, who know what life is and what the modern world really bands, and who want to capitalize the wicked waste of war."
There was a pause. Then Admiral Tirpitz and Captain Mahan spoke up as one man: "You say nothing about power."
But I have thought of it. Knock the turrets and military masts, and your battleships would make admirable grain carriers. I have for some time had my eye on the cruisers as a coal fleet. In fact, all this matter of the rivy you may safely leave tome. When certain plans of mine are matured, I shall be in a position to take over all the war fleets in the world, for the Shipping Trust, at a handsome profit to the various nations."
"I have still an objection," remarked Secretary Hay. "How are you going to bring over public opinion?"
"Ah," replied Mr. Morgan, "I count upon the power of the press. You know something about that, Mr. Hay?"
"Yes, as an ex-journalist I suppose I am entitled to say, et ego militavi."
"Very good. Then you are aware of the moral influence of a full-page advertisement. I shall arrange to place the prospectus of our proposed Disarmament Trust in all the leading newspapers of all the countries concerned, and I assure you that there will follow most able and eloquent advocacy of our plan. I do not say that it will be propter hoc,— to cap your Latin, Mr. Hay,— but it will surely be post hoc. That prospectus, in fact, seems to me the only detail now left to arrange. But I shall have it ready by the time we reach New York."
Here it is, in a reduced facsimile of the full-page advertisement which appeared in all the New York papers simultaneously:—
INTERNATIONAL DISARMAMENT TRUST. OFFICE OF J. P. MORGAN & Co.,
23 WALL STREET, NEW YORK.
TO THE CITIZENS OF GREAT BRITAIN, FRANCE, GERMANY, RUSSIA, SPAIN, ITALY, AND THE UNITED STATES.
THE INTERNATIONAL DISARMAMENT TRUST has been organized under the laws of the state of New Jersey, with power, among other things, to acquire the armies and navies of the countries above named.
A SYNDICATE, comprising leading financial interests throughout the world, of which the undersigned are managers, has been formed by subscribers to the amount of $2,000,000,000 to carry out the arrangement.
For every $100 of its military budget each of the several countries will be entitled to $125, Preferred Stock, and $107.50, Common Stock of the Trust. On this basis may be exchanged the annual military expenditures of Great Britain, placed by our expert accountants at $460,000,000, France at $213,000,000, Germany $126,000,000, Russia $203,000,000, Spain $35,000,000, Italy $76, 000, 000, and the United States $204,000,000. This would leave the Trust a balance of working capital of nearly $700,000,000.
In addition to the immediate extinction of over $1,000,000,000 in yearly taxation for the purposes of national defense,—all to be cared for by the. Trust,—there would be the return to productive industry of at least 2,500,000 men. The Trust will arrange for the allotment of additional preferred shares for each 100,000 men disbanded. Useless flags will be taken over at the rate fixed by the management for such "commercial assets." With all these obvious advantages, and others that will appear as the work of disarming goes on, we have no hesitation in recommending the stock of the Trust at par and accrued interest. It is proper to state that J. P. Morgan & Co. are to receive no compensation for their services beyond a share in any sum which ultimately may be realized by the Syndicate.
J. P. MORGAN & Co.,