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England and the Fourth of July

( Originally Published 1927 )



BY W. T. STEAD

(From The Independent.)

I WISH with all my heart that we could adopt the Fourth of July as the Festival Day of the whole English-speaking race. If this suggestion should seem strange to Americans, it is not unfamiliar to many Englishmen. We consider that the triumph of the American revolt against George III was a vindication of the essentially English idea of democratic self-government, and we believe that we have benefited by it almost as much as the Americans. It taught us a lesson which made the British Colonial Empire a possibility, and if we are now involved in a suicidal war in South Africa, it is largely because our Government has forgotten the principles of George Washington, and has gone back to the principles of George III.

For some years past I have presided at a distinctly British celebration of the Fourth of July at my brother's settlement in Southeast London, at Browning Hall, and I have always repudiated the idea that Americans should be allowed to monopolize the Fourth of July. It is one of the great days of the English-speaking race in the celebration of which all members of the English-speaking nations should participate.



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