« ZurückWeiter »
AMERICAN HISTORY TOLD BY CONTEMPORARIES.
No subject is presented with more satisfactory fullness of illustrative material than the formation and inauguration of the Constitution. These pages also give the data for a comprehensive and non-partisan understanding of the beginnings of the conflict over slavery.
Two minor topics will have their especial timeliness. The first of these is the group of excerpts relating to “National Expansion." Here is President Jefferson's statement of the importance which the possession of New Orleans would have for the future of the United States. There follows Lucien Bonaparte's spirited account of Napoleon's discussion with his two brothers in regard to the sale of Louisi
Mr. Henry Adanis has already made excellent use of this in his “Administrations of Jefferson and Madison.” It is to be regretted that the translation especially prepared for this volume should be so wretchedly unidiomatic. To take a sentence almost at random,– “Joseph, splashed to the extent of the immersion of his clothes and his face, had received all over him the most copious injection,” will hardly rank as classic English. Senators' objections to the annexation of Louisiana have a decidedly modern ring, while the petition of Louisiana inhabitants for representative government brings out clearly the early phases of the question whether the Constitution fol. lows the flag. Of like timeliness is the group of papers relating to foreign policy, especially in connection with the early statements and interpretations of the Monroe Doctrine. (Nos. 142-150.)
It is a matter of course that each user of this book will regret particular omissions. It seems hardly fair, for example, that in a controversy at once so bitter and so abounding in precedents as that which arose over the charter of the first Bank of the United States, only the Federalist side should be presented, while Jefferson's vigorous counter-argument must be sought elsewhere. Again, it seems unfortunate that in the whole group of papers relating to Federal Supremacy” there should be no hint of the influence of John Marshall and of the courts in establishing that supremacy. Of course this is no careless oversight; the editor is here consistently observing his self-imposed limitation in avoiding “constitutional documents, both because they are not self-explanatory, and because good collections of them now fortunately abound.” But neither court reports nor even digests are in the hands of the majority of those to whom these volumes will render their chief service; it is therefore to be regretted that scope could not have been allowed for the presentation of so dominant an influence.
GEORGE H. HAYNES. Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
The Peace Conference at the Hague, and Its Bearings on International
Law and Policy. By FREDERICK W. HOLLS, D. C. L. Pp. 572.
phia: Allen, Lane & Scott, 1900.
All who are interested in efforts to secure the peace of the world, must feel grateful to Mr. Holls for his work. He has given us what we must consider a trustworthy account of the Peace Conference at the Hague in 1899, with comment and interpretation of great value. In advance of the official record, the work is invaluable to readers of English, as it frees the subject from popular misapprehensions fostered by sensational newspapers. It shows clearly just what was attempted, and it gives one the right basis for forming an opinion as to what is likely to result from the deliberations of this august body, in which nearly all civilized nations were represented.
The book is a handsome octavo, the type large and clear and the external dress all that could be desired. The author treats of the calling of the Peace Conference and its opening on the birthday of the Czar of Russia May 18, 1899. Most appropriately it was held at the Hague, in the House in the Wood, which was built as a memorial tribute to the great irenic stadholder Federick Henry. In his life and by his personal power this republican ruler did much to consolidate the United Netherlands, and to heal political and theological quarrels; to his country, he gave such a unity of mutual interests and benignant power that William Penn found in it a type of what he hoped to see in a universal family of nations.
Other chapters in Mr. Holls's work treat of the work of the first, second and third committees, each of which was charged with practical issues, and of the various discussions of principles and methods calculated to bring about peace. One descriptive chapter pictures the conference from day to day. In conclusion the author discusses the bearing of the conference upon international law and policy. The appendices covering over one hundred and fifty pages, give the text of the final act, the treaties and declarations adopted by the Peace Confer. ence, and the general report of the American commission, with an account of the celebration in honor of Hugo Grotius at Delft, on July 4. On this occasion the American ambassador delivered the chief address, and in the name of the Government of the United States laid a silver wreath upon the grave of the great jurist. There is also a good index.
To certain classes of persons, the peace convention proved a profound disappointment. Even yet it is the butt of those who are impatient of slow processes and demand immediate results. Others,
especially those of extreme partisan views, looking at recent events in South Africa, the Philippines and China, declare the conference a total failure. Such persons cannot be very familiar either with history or with human nature. It is easy to read on the printed page of triumphs in the past and imagine that they were quickly produced. The magic of reading deceives us as to the slow process of growth. From such a conference as that of May, 1899, one need not expect much more than seed, certainly neither a consummate flower nor the rapid ripening of fruit. Nevertheless, when one sees an Asiatic nation like Japan cabling the entire text of the arbitratiou treaty to Tokio, and entering so heartily into the spirit, and so promptly acting upon the reconimendation of the conference, he reads a happy augury for the future. Furthermore, to find such unanimity in the treaty on the laws and customs of war, mitigating its horrors for wounded and prisoners, is very cheering
If Great Britain clings to the dum-dum bullets and China does not ratify the treaty on the laws and customs of war, it does not follow that progress in civilization has not been made. Even the United States did not for a whole generation, that is until the Spanish-American war of 1898, accept the recommendations of the Congress of Paris to abolish privateering. Judging from the past and seeing what fruits the peace literature produced by Éméric Crucé, Grotius, William Penn, Kant and others, and the previous peace congresses have borne, one must believe that vast good will yet come out of the deliberations of the Hague Congress and the acceptance of its principles by the nations.
Already the permanent court of arbitration, provided by the convention, has been organized and is now ready to consider any international dispute that may be presented. It is easily the highest tribunal in the world, with the most numerous and eminent bench of any court ever projected. Fifteen nations, embracing all the mari. time powers, have appointed their members. In the Hague, “the house of all pations”-an old palatial mansion in outward form-rep
3 resents the spirit of united Christendom. The administrative council consists of the niinisters of foreign affairs in the Netherlands and the diplomatic representatives at the Hague of the ratifying powers.
Even though wars will go on, who can believe but that these will be less frequent, and be shorn of their savagery, as the years pass by? Certainly, unless the great nations were willing to engage in a costly farce, they have by their action delegated the right of force to a secondary place as a rule of practice for the world. Coming as this conference did right after the United States had, in a new sense, become a world-power, it is interesting to see from Mr. Holls's account,
as well as the patent facts, that the United States found their new station fully recognized by all the great nations. No delegation exercised more influence than did that of the United States in the conference.
In one respect, this world's convention will have a direct inflence in modifying our national constitution. Unless we are much mistaken the future will show, even if Mr. Holls's narrative does not, that our acceptance of a place in the Tribunal of International Arbitration has tended powerfully to increase the power of the President of the United States. While in our other treaties and conventions with foreign nations, the United States of America have been named as the contracting party, the Hague Convention nominates our chief executive only. Hence we find President McKinley, in accordance with Article XXIII of the convention, appointing without consultation or consent of the Senate, the four persons (one already deceased) who are to act in the international court. These appointees to a world-court are not officers of the United States, but are supposed to be impartial judges. Should our country invoke the action of this court, the President of the United States would in all probability settle the terms of the subject to be brought before the court and the extent of jurisdiction conferred. Again, he must stand in place of the United States for the fulfilment of the award.
Mr. Holls has not stated this as his opinion. In fact in another place he expresses a view rather to the contrary. His book does not, so far as we have seen, touch upon the subjects of the President's powers or his limitations in this matter. The future has yet to show whether in such a world-court the President will lead or follow American public opinion. It seems very certain, however, that the President has always been the real director of our foreign policy. It seems also certain that the United States is better fitted than most republics to play the part of a great power in questions of world diplomacy. Technically dangerous as this new world-court may seem, in its bearings upou American freedom, we doubt not that the character of the American people will, for the most part at least, place our country on the right side in questions of war or peace, and that our constitution will receive no serious shock because of this new means of securing peace for the world.
In connection with the Hague Conference, attention should be called to a very valuable pamphlet on Éméric Crucé, by Thomas Willing Balch, in which this Philadelphia author names Crucé, a French scholar, as the originator of modern international arbitration. In his little book, “ Le Nouveau Cynée," Paris, 1623, copious extracts from the single known extant copy of which, in the Bibliothèque Nationale, are published in Mr. Balch's pamphlet, it is shown that nations might unite for arbitration. The Frenchman was ahead of the Dutch writer Grotius by two years, for the latter did not publish his work until 1625. The court of arbitration which Crucé suggested was to be permanent. Certainly, in connection with this record of the Peace Conference at the Hague, the name of Crucé should be held in high honor.
If to-day earnest men feel discouraged at the slow advance of peace, let them remember that Crucé's work quickly fell into oblivion, and that even Grotius's book was in the main unheeded at first, while at Rome it was put on the index of books prohibited to be read by Christians. Indeed, Hugo de Groot had been three years in his tomb before even the treaty of Munster which ended the thirty years' war was signed. Mr. Holls's book cheers those who look for “the steady gain of man.”
WILLIAM ELLIOT GRIFFIS. Ithaca, N. Y.
A History of Colonization, from the Earliest Times to the Present
Day. By HENRY C. MORRIS. 2 vols. Pp. xxiv, 459 ; xiii, 383. Price $4.00. New York : The Macmillan Company, 1900.
It is perhaps unfortunate that most of our American works on colonial subjects have been prepared in the rush and hurry incident to the abruptness with which we have acquired colonial possessions. Various writers have pointed out that the immediate occasion of England's sudden rise as a colonial power is to be found in her wars with Spain and France. Similarly, the United States has acquired colonial territory with a suddenness not entirely justified by the extent or direction of her trade expansion, and this fact will excuse many of the shortcomings in our literature on colonies. The task which Mr. Morris set for himself was a difficult one. As is stated in the preface, he has accepted the results already obtained by other writers in the field. Much of the matter presented is therefore a summary of other works. The book begins with a preliminary chapter on “General Principles of Colonization.” This chapter is one of the best parts of the work. It is to be regretted that, with the exception of the parts dealing with Great Britain, the high standard could not be maintained. The author announces a general outline to be followed throughout the book, including the following points : “ Causes of Colonial Origin,"
Objects of Colonization,” Requisite Conditions in Parent State and Colony," “Methods of Colonization,"