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proposition; he has not put in his “argument. but he has applied to the Court of Arbitration to adjourn, say for eight months, in order to afford time for the two Governments to come to an understanding. But, indeed, is he not already out of court, by his neglect to comply with the requirement of Article V; or, at any rate, has he not precluded himself from putting in any “argument' at any future time?
THE TREATY SAVED!
We had written thus far when the news arrived, that, after two or three adjournments of the Geneva Tribunal, made with a view of affording the contracting parties a last chance of coming to some sort of agreement, the arbitrators, acting on their own discretion, interfered, and “saved the treaty." The complication of Gordian 'knots which the diplomatic wisdom of the two high contracting parties could not untie—though both were desirous to do 80,—the arbitrators have cut, by the trenchant argument of common sense.
On the 19th June, these gentlemen who have throughout shown great consideration for the unfortunate and misguided litigants before them, propounded a long statement, in which, after refering to the avowed purpose with which a long adjournment had been applied for by the British Government, they proceeded to express the opinion that there was no use in making any such delay in the hope of the parties coming to an “understanding," upon a matter upon which they (the
arbitrators) had already made up their minds. . They stated that “after the most careful perusal of all that has been urged on the part of the Government of the United States in respect of these (the indirect) claims, they have arrived individually and collectively at the conclusion that these claims do not constitute, upon the principles of international law applicable to such cases, good foundation for an award of compensation, or computation of damages between nations, and would upon such principles be wholly excluded from the consideration of the Tribunal in making its award, if there were no disagreements between the two Governments as to the competency of the Tribunal to decide them.” This was a happy deliverance to both parties; the United States was satisfied at having carried their point, that the Tribunal of Arbitration should give a decision of some sort on their claims; and the British Government, although it had utterly repudiated any deliberative authority in the arbitrators in this matter, were content to accept their decision when it proved to be in their favour ; and by permission put in their summary of argument, which they had hitherto withheld. But supposing America had dissented from the dictum of the arbitrators-the inevitable result would have been a collapse. As it is, it will be observed that the dictum of the arbitrators was based upon principles of international law,” the arbitrators having, in a previous passage in this important statement, studiously guarded themselves against expressing or implying any opinion upon the
point in difference between the two Governments as to the interpretation or effects of the treaty."
Was there ever such a contemptuous dismissal of a great effort of international negociation ? Was ever such a tame conclusion to a fierce diplomatic contention of six months' duration ? Mr. Gladstone, on the 27th June, after announcing the lucky turn of affairs at Geneva, concluded by remarking: “As regards the general question involved in a great controversy of this kind (!), I cannot undertake to give a binding opinion, but it appears to me that not only we, but America, and all other countries, may derive great benefit from the discussions that have already arisen.” Undoubtedly, if they profit by this opportunity, they will derive the benefit which all signal examples of mismanagement and failure afford, as warnings for the future. As far as the people of this country are concerned, if they do their duty, “the great controversy ” which has just come to a pause, and other considerations connected with the Treaty of Washington, ought to give the death-blow to prerogative diplomacy.
On the 28th June the arbitrators adjourned till July 15th. CONCLUSION-NEGLECT OF PARLIAMENTARY ACTION IN
REGARD TO THE TREATY. BEFORE withdrawing from the consideration of this Treaty, we beg to make a few remarks upon the manner in which it has been dealt with by the Government and Parliament respectively, having regard to constitutional principles.
It evokes, at the outset, serious and painful reflections to have to remark, that throughout the entire history of our international dealings, there has never yet been a case in which the assumption of administrative authority, and the remissness and complaisance of the legislature (going to the extent of the utter abandonment of its deliberative functions), have been more signally and disastrously manifested. As has been shown in the first part of this little volume, it has been the invariable practice, even in the degenerate days of the Georges, and later still down to the Treaty of Paris, of 1856, for the ministers of the Crown to lay a copy of every treaty on the tables of the two Houses of Parliament, on the earliest convenient day after its ratification, at the same time giving notice of a day for “taking it into consideration.” On the appointed day an address to the crown was moved in each House, expressing approval of the treaty; which was followed by a debate in which the entire policy of the transaction, and the conduct of Ministers in regard to it, was discussed. In a word, the Treaty and the Ministry were both put upon their trial, to abide a deliberate vote of the House. In the case of the Washington Treaty nothing of this kind has taken place. The Treaty having obtained publicity ("surreptitiously” as the expression runs) previous to its ratification, immediately became the subject of irregular conversations, and, in the House of Lords, called from Earl Russell, in June, 1871, a resolution praying Her Majesty not to ratify any treaty which shall include "any conditions, terms, or rules, by which the arbitrator or arbitrators will be bound other than by the law of nations, and the municipal law of the United Kingdom.” This resolution, after discussion, was negatived without a division; and from that time to this the Treaty has never been made the substantive subject of debate in either House. In the House of Lords there have been frequent occasional discussions, not, indeed, as to the merits of the Treaty, but as to the manner of dealing with it, in respect of the perplexing Alabama Claims; and these discussions, although most unpalatable to the Ministry, have had some good effect, in supporting the Government, and declaring the unanimous resolve of one portion of the legislature-re-echoed afterwards throughout the country to resist at any risk the preposterous demands of the Washington Government. Earl Russell's threatened motion, in the present session, praying Her Majesty not to proceed further before the Court of Arbitration unless the indirect claims were previously withdrawn, was, after frequent postponements, at length brought forward on Tuesday the 4th June, and lasted till after midnight, when the debate on it was adjourned till the Thursday. In the interval, however, Lord Granville succeeded in obtaining a note from General Schenck to the purport that if the Supplemental Article, as amended by the United States Senate, were ratified, it would operate to the complete withdrawal and extinction of all the Indirect Claims. With this the House was satisfied, and Earl Russell consented to withdraw his motion ; Earl Granville taking care, however, at the same time, to remind