Изображения страниц

Lord of the Universe: shield us and guide us,
Trusting Thee always, through shadow and sun!
Thou hast united us, who shall divide us?
Keep us, O keep us the MANY IN ONE!
Up with our banner bright,
Sprinkled with starry light,

Spread its fair emblems from mountain to shore,
While through the sounding sky

Loud rings the Nation's cry



Story: About the Alabama Claims.

It is a long while since the United States has had any war with England. People over there use the same language that we do. We have the same literature. We feel that we have something of the same history. We talk of that nation over there as our mother-country. And yet there has been one time within the last fifty years when it seemed as if there was to be a terrible war between Great Britain and the United States. The story of the circumstances is interesting in the extreme, because it illustrates what can be done by means of arbitration. It was the application of this principle which perhaps saved thousands or hundreds of thousands of lives. The trouble had its beginning, as you know, back in the days of our great Civil War. It seems that a number of vessels had been fitted out in shipyards in England and had been launched on the high seas as privateers, making attacks on the commerce of the people of this country in support of the South. The vessels, of course, carried the flag of the Confederacy. The one which attracted the most attention went under the name of the Alabama.

It is not to be assumed that the British Government had anything to do with all this. The vessel had been ordered from one of the ship-building firms there. But it was felt that_the_authorities should not have permitted it to sail from an English seaport. The United States' representative in London warned the English government concerning it. Furthermore, it was pretty well known that this vessel was being built for the Confederacy, and would be used on the high seas to do service for the South in our Civil War. It was felt that this was contrary to the Laws of Nations; that in a way it was a form of assistance being rendered by Great Britain to the Southern Confederacy. The excitement was intense on the part of the North at the time. It was looked upon almost as an act of open warfare on the part of Great Britain. But the Alabama escaped just while a decision had been rendered by the English Courts, ordering the vessel to be detained. It went forth on the high seas, capturing

vessels in great numbers which were carrying the Stars and Stripes. With the assistance of a few other privateers, it practically drove the commerce of the United States from the ocean. The loss to the people of the North was great in the extreme. Vessels could no longer safely carry the American flag. And when at last the war was over and the North had triumphed, it had to be determined what blame rested upon Great Britain for the evils inflicted through the Alabama, which had been fitted out over there. People in America felt that it was equivalent to an act of war on the part of England and there was a demand for reparation of some kind. The British Government would not admit that there had been any violation of International Law. For a time it looked as if there was to be another great war between England and this country.

A principle of immense consequence was involved. The English Government did not wish to give in and admit a mistake. The American people felt that if they did not insist on reparation, it would be a surrender of the honor of their country. And I tell you this story because it has become a part of the world's history. At the very time when the feeling was running the highest and war seemed inevitable, it was agreed between the two countries that the dispute should be submitted to arbitration. There were to be five persons chosen, one by the King of Italy, one by the President of the Swiss Confederation, one by the Emperor of Brazil, one by the President of the United States, and one by the Queen of England. These men assembled in the City of Geneva, over in Switzerland. It was one of the most eventful assemblages in human history. If by this means war could be averted, it would be a precedent established for all future times. We are not so much concerned with the decision as it was finally rendered. It is true that it went against Great Britain in favor of the United States. The English Government was found responsible for the escape of the Alabama and was asked to pay upwards of fifteen million dollars damages because of the injuries which had been done by that vessel to the commerce of this country. We are not to assume that all the people over there had been to blame.

But what comes home to us is the fact that the decision was accepted by Great Britain and the United States alike, as a final settlement of the dispute about the Alabama Claims. A great war had been averted by means of the principle of Arbitration. They had placed their decision in the hands of impartial judges as nearly as this could be done. It was the method of settling a disagreement by humane, rational methods instead of resorting to the methods of the savage or the brute. For years to come, the story of the Arbitration Commission at Geneva over the Alabama Claims will be told to the honor of these two countries. What is more,

we have reason to hope that other great nations may follow this example. Other possible wars may be averted in the same way. And our two countries can look back with pride and satisfaction on the fact that their citizens were able to exercise self-control at a time of passionate excitement. It will be a lasting instance going to show that nations as well as individuals may exercise self-restraint in order to avert the horrors of war.

Classic for Reading or Recitation.

"Of all the principles of foreign policy which I have enumerated, that to which I attach the greatest value is the principle of the equality of nations; because, without recognizing that principle, there is no such thing as public right, and without public international right, there is no instrument available for settling the transactions of mankind, except material force. Consequently the principle of equality among nations lies, in my opinion, at the very basis and root of a Christian civilization, and when the principle is compromised or abandoned, with it must depart our hopes of tranquillity and of progress for mankind. * I think (it) an arrogant and a dangerous assumption that we are entitled to withhold from others, and to claim on our own part, authority to do things which we would not permit to be done by others. * Modern times have established a sisterhood of nations, equal, independent, each of them built up under that legitimate defense which public law affords to every nation, living within its own borders, and seeking to perform its own affairs; * * the sound and the sacred principle that Christendom is formed of a band of nations who are united to one another in the bonds of right; that they are without distinction of great and small; that there is an absolute equality between them. I hold that he who by act or word brings that principle into peril or disparagement, however honest his intentions may be, places himself in the position


* *

of one inflicting-I won't say intending to inflictI ascribe nothing of the sort-but inflicting injury upon his own country, and endangering the peace and all the most influential interests of Christian society."-William Gladstone.

Further Suggestions to the Teacher.

If thought advisable, the last point could be omitted, without having a discussion as to the possibility of settling every kind of international disagreement by arbitration. It is a delicate problem in ethics as to whether war is ever ideally justified. Theorists on this point are not agreed. The advocates of a compulsory system of arbitration are insisting that war should be absolutely abolished. Others, equally consistent or conscientious, are convinced that on issues of tremendous importance, the readiness to sacrifice one's life may be the only method for securing a final decision. The instance which will come at once to mind, will be that of the great Civil War in the United States. It is at least doubtful whether the issue then at stake would have been settled in another hundred years, if it had not been by the great conflict which once for all ended the dispute. This general subject of arbitration may seem rather abstract to the young people. But if care is taken to draw the illustrations from well-known, every-day life, it can still be made interesting. The pupils ought to be made to grasp the significance of the state in the larger sense. We need to discourage the interest or enthusiasm for war on the part of the average young mind. It is vital that we should encourage the coming citizen to be looking toward a higher method for the settlement of difficulties. Furthermore, the state must not be regarded by them as a dim or distant abstraction, as if somehow international arbitration had no rela

tion to themselves as individuals. They must somehow feel that when a dispute arises between another country and their own, they each are involved in it and in the way it is to be settled. When arbitration as a method is employed, they, as citizens, are individually employing this method. It is their personal act by which they consent to have the difference disposed of in a rational and judicial way, instead of disposing of it by bloodshed and war. Make the young people feel that it is the citizen who arbitrates, every time that the whole nation submits a dispute to arbitration.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »