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by the right honorable gentleman. Could it be wondered at if the latter Government in the full consciousness of the additional strength which its opponent's fatuous display of weakness has afforded them, should, without betraying any show of irritated feeling, simply reply to our “friendly communication" by announcing their determination to leave the whole matter, upon its merits, in the hands of the arbitrators! This we are inclined to believe that they actually did “by return of cable," though Mr. Gladstone, in reply to an inqniry a few days ago, stated that the governinent had not received any official reply, and did not expect to receive one till the 1st of March ; which would thus enable them and the country to tide over the " Thanksgiving Day" in peaceful insouciance,
But, indeed, even had Mr. Gladstone, doing violence to bis nature, been ever so courteous and conciliatory in tone, and the Washington Government ever so generously disposed, low could the latter, with any regard to their responsibilities and tbe dignity of statesmanship, make any other reply than we presume them to have done? Individuals acting on their own account, and rulers of states, having the interests of their constituent members in their hands, are very differently situated, and must act upon different principles in respect of enforcing claims, or demanding reparation for injuries-a subject very clearly treated of by the highest juridical authorities. An individual, acting on his own account, may permit motives of kindness or weakness to influence liim in abstaining from pressing to the fullest extent his just claims, and even in pardoning an injury received. But the sovereign of a state, who is but the trustee of the rights of his subjects, may not exercise a discretion of this sort, unless justified by special considerations, rendering it, in his opinion, expedient in the general interests of the state. There is always, in the case of states, in addition to the consideration of the simple material advantages in dispute, the character of the nation for honor and magnanimity, which must not be suffered to be brought in question.
And this brings us to the reflection that there are other parties beside the actual litigants who are entitled to honorable consideration in this matter, but who, unfortunately, have been by implication subjected to unexampled indignity through the irreg. ular discussions which have been permitted to take place, namely, the worthy members of the Geneva court of arbitration and the sovereign states, who, at the joint request of the contending parties, have nominated them.
It need scarcely be pointed out that in matters in litigation before an ordinary tribunal the discussion of a case out of court is justly visited and resented as an act of
contempt." Sovereign states cannot commit one another to “durance vile" for breach of discipline; and so long as the discussions of the points of disagreement in the Washington treaty were contined to the columns of the newspapers, the members of the Geneva arbitration court had, perhaps, nothing to complain of, or, at any rate, no ground of complaint upon which they would deem it necessary to seek redress. But the case is different when the legislature of one of the states in disagreement takes up the discussion, and when the prime minister of that state insists upon laying down the law in the case, and, by necessary logical interference, precluding the court of arbitration from giving any decision other than that which he has dictated. It is, moreover, a flagrant breach of the good faith which should exist between states, to even hint at retiring from an arbitration, or repudiating its award, in caso it should be in any way at variance with one's own notions. There is no department of its functions in which a sovereign state takes more pride than in the exercise of its “good offices,” whether in the way of mediation or arbitration, and any show of recusancy against them, once they have been accepted, becomes a grave offence before the world, susceptible of being visited by any form and any amount of resentment.
"As the case stands, the country is clearly in the hands of the arbitrating powers, to abide their award, whatever it inay be. And however stupid, howevever . scandalous' in blundering,' our representatives may have been in drawing up this dismal treaty, let us hope, in Mr. Gladstone's despite, that there may be sufficient ambiguity in it to enable the arbitrators, having regard to the rules which regulate the reasonable and equitable interpretation of treaties, baving regard also to the supreme interest of peace, of which they are guardians, to give an award favorable to, or at least not so disastrously prejudicial to us as bas been anticipated by alarmist specnlators, who, there is too much reason to apprehend, have not been altogether free from stock-jobbing influences.'
Extract from Fraser's Magazine, June, 1872.
All the vast social power which the governing classes of England possess was thrown into the scale against whatsoever remained of the American Republic, and in favor of those wbo were striving to bring part of it at least into accordance with the decrees of that Providence in which governing classes believe.
There has always been a tendency to take the prattle of London society, and the prating of the press which delights to repeat it, as the public opinion of the country. It is not surprising, therefore, that the government of the day should have been affected by this influence. But what is surprising is, that they should have shown soch utter recklessness and want of cantion in publishing to the world their appreciation of the merits of the struggle, and their opinion as to its issue. That Mr. Gladstone, who had adopted Mr. Jevon's opinion that coal was coming to an end in England, should have adopted society's opinion that republic was coming to an end in America, is not strange; but it is strange that he did not keep his opinion a little more to himself. How positive be was in the matter way be judged from these words, uttered by him in October, 1862:
“There is no doubt that Jefferson Davis and other leaders of the South have made an army; They are making, it appears, a navy; and they have made what is more than either—they have made a nation. We may anticipate with certainty tbe success of the Southern States so far as regards their separation from the North. I cannot but believe that that event is as certain as any event yet future and contingent can be."
Mr. Gladstone was still of this opinion in June, 1863, when he said : “I do not believe that the restoration of the American Union by force is attainable.
I do not believe that a more fatal error was ever committed than wlien men-of high intelligend I grant, and of the sincerity of whose pbilanthropy I for one will not venture to whisper the smallest doubt-came to the conclusion that the emancipation of the negro race was to be sought, although they could only travel to it by a sea of blood."
There spoke the spirit of the Liverpool slave-trader avd the coufederate bondholder rather than of the English statesman and chancellor of the exchequer. Lord Russell had already said, in October, 1861: “We now see the two parties (in the United States) contending not upon the question of slavery-though that I believe was probably the original cause of the quarrel—but contending, as so many States in the Old World have contended, the one side for empire, and the other for independence.” These specches have, no doubt, since been repented of, but they are good evidence to show the views which existed at that time in the cabinet. Not that they existed alone either. Sir George Cornewall Lewis, Mr. Charles Villiers, and Mr. Milner Gibson, had from the first struggled against them, and had been regarded with the respectful pity accorded to clever men for once in the wrong. They were, however, in a hopeless minority of three out of fifteen, and it is not too much to say that, as a body, the government looked, and was known to look with confidence and without displeasure to a disruption of the American Union.
At the conference of March 8, the American commissioners formally advanced their claim for losses both direct and indirect, stating, however, that “in the lope of an amicable settlement no estimate was made of the indirect losses, without prejudice, however, to indemnification on their account, in the event of no such settlement being made." And they proposed that the joint commission should “agree upon a sum which should be paid by Great Britain to the United States in satisfaction of all the claims.” This offer, if accepted, would have effectually and forever ended the whole matter; it was, however, refused, and the English commissioners renewed their proposal for arbitration. Now, it has been said that, in proposing arbitration, they did, in effect, assent to an“ amicable settlement," and that the treaty is in fact that, and nothing more. To which the reply is obvious, that the payment which the Americans proposed was an absolute settlement, whereas the treaty settles nothing absolutely, providing only machinery for an amicable wraugle, in order to a settlement.
The difference is obvious. In making an “amicable settlement” as proposed, we must have admitted our faults and paid for them; in agreeing to the treaty we admitted no fault, and merely exposed ourselves to the risk of payment in case the arbitrators decided against us. In the first case the United States would have gained everything; in the second they run the risk of losing everything. The Americans agreed, however, to arbitration on condition that the principles to govern the arbitrators should be laid down. Thereupon were elaborated the famous three rules as to which the British gorernment is made in the treaty to assert that they were first invented for this occasion, and are not a correct "statement of the principles of international law.” The most careful examination of the rules fails, however, to show in what they differ from those principles as universally enunciated, and as admitted by England at the time. The second rulo indeed, apparently, extends the obligations of the neutral power to the extent of requiring it absolutely“ not to permit or suffer” the use of its ports or waters as a base of naval operations, or for the renewal or augmentation of military supplies or arms; but this must be read by the light of the third, which prescribes “due diligence" as the measure of fulfillment of the obligations in question. The fact is that these rules are so hopelessly vague that they would cover almost any view of international law ever propounded, and the danger of them is that they may casily be so interpreted as to increase to an endurable extent the obligations of neutral powers. This, hostever, is a small matter compared with what follows.
Having committed their country to judgment by principles declared to be false, the commissioners probably asked themselves to what subject those principles were to be applied. This brings us to the question of the national or indirect claims. Those claims were well known to the commissiouers to exist. They had been made not once or twice but repeatedly. They had been advanced by Mr. Adams as early as 18j2, by Mr. Seward in 1863, and more distinctly by Mr. Reverdy Johnson, by Mr. Motley and by Mr. Fish, in 1869. They had been cominented upon by Lord Clarendon. The absence of any provision for them bad been made the ground of rejection of the Johnson-Clarendon convention.
They had been presented to the commissioners themselves as a distinct special point. They could not be disregarded; nay, they alone were worth regarding at all, for they were then the sole and only point in dispute. The course of action upon everything el-r was already decided. England had already agreed to refer the direct claims tv arbitration, and had signed a convention for that purpose. America had alrea:ly agree to leave out of cousideration the question of recognition of southern belligerency. There remained absolutely nothing but these national claims on which any agreement was necessary. The whole question was here; the one point on which it was absolutely indispensable to be precise and clear was this; for failing precision and clearness here, the whole matter would be left no further advanced than it alreally was. It national claims were to be excluded, it was necessary that they should be excluded by the treaty: if not excluded by the treaty, it was manifest that they would have to be met under it.
The English cominissioners, however, knew that they were expected to return with a treaty in their pockets, and either they did not understand what they were about, or they determined to return with a treaty leaving the one material point donbtful rather than with none at all. They did not, however, even succeed in leaving the point only doubtful, for they agreed to a detinition which, if there is any sense in words, dors cover the indirect claims. It is declared in the first article that "in order to remove and adjnst all complaints and claims on the part of the United States": " the high contracting parties agree that all the said claims, growing out of acts committed by the aforesaid vessels" shall be referred. How it can be said that "in all the claims ” those called indirect are not includled, is a mystery. Nevertheless, the English commissioners, it would appear, say it and believe it still ; for, as late as the 2341 of April last, we have Sir Edward Thornton telling the Americans at a public dinner that " he believed no one supposed that the Britislı joint high commissioners had any ideathe slightest idea—that the indirect claims were included in the treaty.” After this confession it is superfluous to ask what title those gentlemen have to be cousidered men of ordinary intelligence and judgment. It has, indeed, been whispered that they had at the last moment doubts as to this point, and that, in answer to their questions npon it, the English government telegraphed “Sign at once.” If so, Sir Edward Thornton's declaration does some injnstice to himself and his colleagnes.
Extract from the Pall Vall Gasetle, February 2, 1872. "Now if we look at all this fairly, and in due order, we shall see that it establishes the following points :"
1. That the American commissioners vlid formally set forth a demand for indirect damages, and that they preferred it in the very language of the case subsequently drawu up for the court of arbitration.
2. That at the same time and in the same breath they offered to present no estimate of damage for indirect loss, in hope that an amicable settlement would be made for certain direct losses: this amicable settlement being explained (or explainable) as meaning the concession of an expression of regret, and that the joint commission should proceed to agree upon a lump sum to be paid in satisfaction of all the claims (meaning direct claims) with interest. Further that in this suggestion the withdrawal of claims for indirect loss was stated to be “ without prejudice” to their revival.
3. That the British commissioners made no protest against the demand on account of indirect loss, nor in any way attempted to separate that class of claims from the other class, nor in any way manifesteci hostility to the presentation of those claims; but refusing to admit responsibility on account of all the claims withont distinction, they oftered, for the sake of maintaining friendly relations with the United States, 10 adopt the principle of arbitration in disposing of the claims.
4. That ihe American Commissioners then expressed their regret at this decision;"
therely showing or seemivg to show that in their minds a distinct proposal had been considered and rejected. Having thus expressed regret, they consented to submit the question of our liability” to arbitration, on condition that certain rules were drawn up and agreed to for the guidance of the arbitrators. That after demur and reference to the British government this condition was accepted. That accordingly rules were drawn up by the American commissioners, (apparently,) and that after some points had been referred by the British commissioners to their government, these rules were agreed to as binding on the court of arbitration.
Next, (though that does not appear in that we have quoted above,) the joint high commissioners“ proceeded to consider the form of submission,” and the formation of a tribunal.
** Subsequently, the apology, or expression of regret, was asked for and conceded. And then at various sittings those articles of the treaty were agreed to which refer to the settlement by arbitration of “all the said claims growing out of acts committed by the aforesaid (i. e., several) vessels, and generically known as the Alabama claims."
It is of the utmost importance that in dealing with so critical a matter as this we allow no prejudice nor any sense of wrong to operate in our minds unfairly; and that we make no attempt to misread facts and statements upon which the other side can even plausibly rely. Therefore it is that we privt this recital. It shonld be added, perhaps, that the statement above quoted was drawn up conjointly, and is signed by both parties."
Ertracts from the continental presx
Neither in the course of the debates on the joint high commissiou, wlieli sat for two months, nor in any of the clauses of the treaty intended to define the mode of the proceedings and the functions of the tribunal of arbitration, as well as the principles, to guide it in its decision, has England raised the least objection against any of the clauses of reclamations presented by the United States. She has rejected all, same way, without making any distinction, and has declared herself really to refer to the decision of a tribunal. - Vémorial Diplomatique.
The fact is that the pretensions of America were perfectly well known). Mr. Gladstone, with his habitual want of foresight, counted upon luck to relieve him from the embarrassments in which the future might entangle him.- Gazette de France.
We can say, without separating ourselves from the truth, that there is no inconven)ience in submitting the American claims for indirect damages to the tribunal of arbitration at Geneva. No one doubts tbat they are exaggerated in the American case; bout their introduction into pleadings is not contrary to the text of the convention at Wasbington.- Moniteur.
It is not, we hasten to say, that the calculations of the American anthorities are not marked with a certain exaggeration; but the essential point to discover is whether the arrangements preparatory to the assembling of the tribunal of arbitration at Geneva exclude the question of indirect damages. We think that they do not exclude them.Soir.
The text of the treaty is formal, aud the protocols leave still less doubt than the treaty, as to the understanding of the claims and the principle by the United States. The tribunal will decidlo what claims are presentable, and what are the questions to be discussed. The American Government demands neither more nor less. It has stated ity claims before the court, and awaits the decision. England ball better do the same. ller irritation is that of a bad pleader who doubts his own right and the impartiality of the court.-Journal de l'aris.
It is evident that the actual state of the question does not so much concern the nature of the pretensions of the United States, as the refusal of England to submit to the arbitrators all the complaints and all the claims, as the terms of the treaty of Washington seem to require.- Liberté.
It is our opinion, given with the utmost impartiality, that there are wrongs on both sides. The Government of the United States attempts to introduce into international law an unacceptable doctrine, that of making the costs of war obligatory npon the powers which are not responsible for it, and which are even the first victims of it in their interests. We understand very well that it is not necessary to take in earnest the pecuniary claims presented by the Americans for the prolongation of the war, for the increased rates of insurance, and other pretexts equally elastic and equally impossible to calculate, claims which exceed the amount we owe to a victorious foe. The Americans understand perfectly the value of these claims, and have not the slightest idea of pressing them. But, at the same time, they insist, and with a show of reason, upon their rigbt to interpret the treaty, and it must be acknowledged that the English government has entered upon this aftair with a degree of imprudence and levity whichi may soon re-act upon it, and produce a change of ininistry.- Journal des Débats.
Does this treaty authorize the American Government to submit to the tribunal at Geneva the claim for indemnity for indirect losses? The Americans say yes; the Eog. lish say no. Impartial persons say that the clause in the treaty does not exclude the American interpretation, and, therefore, they are of the opinion that the difference ought to be brought before tlie tribunal. * The refusal of England to accept arbitration on all the American demands, implies a doubt in the justice of her cause, or in the impartiality of the arbitrators.—Constitutionnel.
The wisest course to adopt is to abide by the decision of the Geneva arbitration. It is disinterested in the matter, and it can thus re-establish harmony and peace between the parties better than the parties themselves.- Indépendance Belge.
The stipulations of the treaty leave no one to doubt that the American commissioners expressly reserve the right to present such claims, although nothing was said about the amount of the claims, the decision in that respect being left to the tribunal of arbitration.- Allgemeine Zeitung.
If this tribunal is incompetent to decide without the advice of the newspapers whether or not the American demands are preposterons and absnrd, then its appoint ment was a mistake. It is, however, not to be supposed that such one-sided and illtimed arguments would exert any influence upon it.- Basler Nachrichten.
The general opinion that the American demands were absurd has changed, and people are commencing to see that they are justified in the treaty, and the storm is now turning against the British commissioners.— Basler Nachrichten.
The treaty justifies in a formal manner the tribunal at Geneva, in which, as we know, Switzerland is represented by Mr. Staemptli, in considering all the claims, of whatever kind, growing out of the acts of the cruisers. The question is only to know to what point the tribunal will aclmit these claims, and if England will abide by its de cision. -- Berner Heliélie.
The British cabinet, led by national pride and governed by popular opiniou, have change their entire opinion of the question, and put matters in such a light, that all