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the House that the Supplemental Article was not yet signed, and that all would depend upon whether it should be so eventually. But in the House of Commons the latitude of inquiry and discussion, so boldly assumed by the Lords, has not been permitted. In this branch of the legislature, owing to the immense mass of business with which the Minister habitually loads the Notice paper of the House, and his arbitrary disposal of the business arrangements, it is at all times almost a matter of impossibility to bring any subject before the House, for the purpose of discussion, without the consent of the Government. This permission Mr. Gladstone, in reply to repeated applications, has always persistently refused. Even so late as Thursday, the 6th June, when Earl Russell was having it all his own way in the House of Lords, with the full discretion of pressing, or withdrawing his resolution (which was looked upon as one involving "confidence”), Lord Bury was peremptorily denied, by the Premier, the oppor'tunity of introducing a similar resolution in the House of Commons.
The representatives of the people are thus placed at an obvious disadvantage as compared with the members of the Upper House; and it would be curious to know what the feeling of the country would be on its arriving at a knowledge of this humiliating fact; if it could be ascertained by a plebiscite, or general ballot.
But, however unsatisfactory, because inconclusive, the result of the desultory discussions which have taken place on this subject, they are not without im
portance as signally illustrating the inconveniences and absurdity inseparably attendant upon our modern system of diplomacy, and the attempt to enforce the pretensions of prerogative and secresy in affairs of international policy, which we denounced upon constitutional grounds in the first part of this work. It is, surely, not without significance, that Earl Russell, a nobleman who has seen nearly sixty years of public life, during many of which he acted as Foreign Secretary, and who was therefore fully aware of the prescriptions and supposed requirements of that office, should have stood forward to interpose parliamentary authority between a treaty and its ratification by the crown. It was something, also, to find Lord Redesdale, a man of routine, and well versed in precedents, expressing himself to the effect that “this case was an exceptional one, inasmuch as the arbitration might result in the adjudication of payments which would have to be made by vote of Parliament; and that under such circumstances it was right that Parliament should express an opinion on the Treaty before it was ratified.” These facts afford practical and undeniable evidence against the theory of state policy which it has been our purpose to condemn, which cannot fail to have weight with the public when the matter comes to be properly appreciated.
In conclusion it is confidently submitted that, irrespective of earlier precedents and all other considerations, the recent Treaty of Washington together with the negociations connected with it, and the perilous novelties in international law proposed to be established by it, afford ample evidence to condemn the modern practice of secret diplomacy, and to enforce the necessity for the resumption by Parliament of its legitimate consultative and controlling authority in all such matters. To this end no statutory provision is necessary; Parliament has already ample power, by address to the crown, or by the refusal of supplies if necessary, to enforce its rights, its authority, and the will of the people in what regards the conduct of public affairs; and it may be insisted that no exercise of those powers could be considered overstrained, or unjustifiable, when employed to arrest such “misunderstandings, such scandals, such ruinous responsibilities, as those which have been incurred to us by the Treaty of Washington of 1871.
It is hardly to be believed possible that Parliament--after its experience of six months of wearisome and humiliating anxiety in connection with this last Diplomatic miscarriage, should, through party influences, or unworthy apathy, neglect the occasion of reassuming the honourable and responsible functions they have too long neglected: but, if they should so fail in this duty, the duty of the country is plain. Let the constituencies throughout the empire, disregarding for the nonce little party and sectarian questions in which they are habitually too much engrossed, make Diplomatic Reform their one great test question, and Great Britain will once more take her proper place amongst nations and be freed from the dangers and disgrace with which she has been recently assailed.
SUPPLEMENTAL NOTE TO PAGE 179.
THE GENEVA SETTLEMENT, EXCLUDING THE
It was considered by us, at the time of writing, that the account given in the text of the declaration of the Arbitrators at Geneva, on the 19th June, in regard to the Indirect Claims, and what afterwards followed on the part of the contracting parties, might have been sufficient as establishing the effectual withdrawal of those claims on the part of the United States. Some hesitating remarks uttered in Parliament, however, which have been followed by more outspoken observations in some portions of the press, lead to the belief that some doubts are entertained by many intelligent persons upon the subject. The Pall Mall Gazette,' for instance, in an article published on the 29th June, distinctly declares it to be its “ duty to point out that the assumption that the Indirect Claims are finally extinguished is a mistake;" and after a long and ingenious argument, based upon the statements of the Arbitrators and of the President of the United States, respectively, insists that “the claims are not withdrawn; they are held in abeyance (or so the American Government may hold, if they please), contingent on the fulfilment of a certain condition: namely, that the declaration of the Arbitrators shall be taken and agreed to as determinative of an important question of public law involved.”
Under the circumstances, we consider the matter to be of sufficient importance to entitle it to more careful and elaborate attention than has been given to it in the preceding text.
It must be admitted, without reserve, that the extra-judicial interposition of the Arbitrators was not in accordance with
precedent, nor with the regulations laid down for their conduct in the articles of the Treaty. The British Government, not having put in their “ argument” within the time prescribed, were strictly out of court, or at least, out of the power of putting in their “argument" at any later period. They had not, it is true, carried out the threat they had darkly suggested in their note “covering ” their Counter-case, as to certain steps they might resolve to take in the case of their not coming to an agreement with the United States before the 15th June, the day fixed for the reassembling of the Tribunal; but it would appear that by the first article of the Treaty the functions of the Tribunal might at any moment be invalidated and its existence destroyed by the retirement of the Arbitrator appointed by them. It was under these circumstances, —the complete arguments on both sides not being in their hands, and it being questionable whether one of the parties was still before the Court,—that the Arbitrators volunteered a "statement," intended to remove an apparently insurmountable difficulty, in which they went to the extent of prejudging an important issue with which, strictly speaking, they were not as yet “seised.” There is no doubt, as stated by us in the text, that the United States Government might have repudiated this proceeding, disavowed all cognizance of the opinion on the “principles of international law” propounded by the Arbitrators, and insisted upon the Tribunal proceeding to examine and determine the merits of the matter, as set out in their case, counter-case, and argument. But they did not adopt this course.
Yet, there were strong grounds upon which the United States might have so refused all consent to the exceptional course adopted by the Arbitrators, and its consequences, if they had thought proper. In the first place, the Arbitrators sought to prejudge the question as to indirect claims, “ upon the principles of international law applicable to such cases,” abstaining from expressing or embodying “any opinion
as to the interpretation or effect of the treaty:"—whereas they were charged to consider the claims as affected by certain “ rules," propounded for the purpose by the treaty, and in con