England and America
( Originally Published 1927 )
BY JAMES BRYCE
This is a memorable day to Englishmen as well as to Americans. It is to us a day both of regret and of rejoicing : of regret at the severance of the political connection which bound the two branches 0f our race together, and of regret even more for the unhappy errors which brought that severance about, and the unhappy strife by which the memory of it was embittered. But it is also a day of rejoicing, for it is the birthday of the eldest daughter of England — the day when a new nation, sprung from our own, first took its independent place in the world. And now with the progress 0f time, rejoicing has prevailed over regret, and we in England can at length join heartily with you in celebrating the beginning of your national life. All sense of bitterness has passed away, and been replaced by sympathy with all which this anniversary means to an American heart.
England and America now understand one another far better than they ever did before. In 1776 there was on one side a monarch and a small ruling caste, on the other side a people. Now our government can no longer misrepresent the nation, and across the ocean a people speaks to a people. We have both come, and that most notably within recent months, to perceive that all over the world the interests of America and of England are substantially the same.
The sense of our underlying unity 0ver against the other races and forms of civilization has been a potent force in drawing us together. It is said that the Fourth Of July is a day of happy augury for mankind. This is true because on that day America entered on a course and proclaimed principles of government which have been of profound significance for mankind. Many nations have had a career of con-quest and of civilizing dominion : but to make an immense people prosperous, happy, and free is a nobler and grander achievement than the most brilliant conquests and the widest dominion.