Illustrations from the Illustrated London News, September 1, 1849
showing the President of the Congress, Victor Hugo and Marie-Dominique Auguste, the Arch-Bishop of Paris (above)
and the meeting hall (below)
[One could image the figure at the rostrum is Frédéric Bastiat or Richard Cobden]
[See a larger version of these images JPG]
Source: Report of the Proceedings of the Second General Peace Congress, held in Paris, on the 22nd, 23rd and 24th of August, 1849. Compiled from Authentic Documents, under the Superintendence of the Peace Congress Committee. (London: Charles Gilpin, 5, Bishopsgate Street Without, 1849). [PDF 3.4 MB]
There is a French version of this book with the added bouns of a short essay on the history of the peace movement by Joseph Garnier, the editor of the Journal des Économistes:
Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850)
Richard Cobden (1804-1865)
Joseph Garnier (1813-1881)
Having been entrusted by the Peace Congress Committee with the task of preparing a Report of the proceedings of the Peace Congress, held in Paris in August last, we have endeavoured, whilst presenting a full and accurate record of the speeches delivered, and the most important documents laid before the Congress, to avoid unnecessarily extending the Report by lengthened narrative or comment.
The speeches, in nearly all cases, have been translated or copied from the manuscripts furnished by the speakers themselves; the remainder have been collated from the reports which appeared in the various French and English newspapers. The Essays are printed without any abbreviation, and the Letters nearly so.
The lists of American, Belgian, and British Delegates and Visitors, are as full and correct as it was possible to make them, but we regret that we have been unable to obtain a list of the French, German, and Italian members of the Congress.
The question as to the most suitable place for holding the next Congress having been fully discussed, both in the English and French Committees, Frankfort has been unanimously fixed upon as combining the greatest advantages, both from its central situation, and the sympathy felt in the movement by many of the leading minds of Germany.
It is hoped that the Congress of 1850 will demonstrate equally, if not in a still higher degree, the growing interest felt in this important effort to promote and consolidate the permanent peace of nations.
A. R. Scoble.
15, New Broad Street, London,
October 25th, 1849.
Introduction. Preliminary Observations—Formation of a Peace Society in Paris—Visit of Messrs. Pmrritt and Richard to Paris—Circular issued by the Peace Congress Committee—Letter from M. Dufaure— Preparations in England—Meeting at Radley's Hotel—Journey to Paris 1—8
First Session Of The Congress. Constitution of the Bureau—M. Victor Hugo's Inaugural Address—Adoption of Rules—Letter from the Archbishop of Paris—Resolution thereon—Speech of M. Visschers—Award of prizes for essays on Peace—Dr. Godwin's treatise on International Arbitration—Speeches of Messrs. Bonnelier, Burnet, De Gueroult, Peut, Mahan, Journet, Vincent, Guyard, and Cobden—Adoption of the first resolution ............ 9—32
Second Session. Preliminary Business — Speeches of Messrs. Coqnerel, Suringar, Bouvet, Vincent, Avigdor, Girardin, Ewart, Bastiat and Cobden —Adoption of the second, fifth, sixth and seventh resolutions . . 33 54
Third Session. Preliminary Business—Letters from Messrs. B6ranger and Barbier—Mr. Burritt's Essay on a Congress of Nations—Speeches of Messrs. Deguerry, Walker, Bodenstedt, Billecoq, Hindley, Miall, and Brown—Adoption of the third resolution—Speeches of Messrs. Cobden, Feline, Girardin, Sturge, D'Eichthal, and Pyne—Adoption of the fourth and eighth resolutions—Proposition of M. Visschers—Resolution thereon —Speeches of Messrs. Durkee and Pennington—Proposition and adoption of Votes of Thanks—M. Victor Hugo's closing address . . . 55—88
Conclusion. Soiree at M. de Tocqueville's—Religious services on Sunday —Visit to Versailles—Meeting there—Speeches of Messrs Cobden, Bowly, Godwin, Allen, Clark, Davis, Cordner, Clappand Burritt—Poem by Rev. E. Davis—Speech of M. Aries Dufour—Visit to Saint Cloud— Return to London .......... 89—97
Appendix A. List of the American, Belgian and British Delegates and Visitors 99—100
Appendix B. Letters and Addresses received by the Congress . 107—119
Appendix C.— Interview with the President of the French Republic . 120
The Congress which was held at Brussels in 1848, did much to shake the incredulity of those who regarded the Peace Movement as an impracticable utopia. Many who had looked with contempt or indifference upon the educational efforts of committees at home, were startled into something like respectful attention to an international deliberation of such a character as that presented by the Peace Congress at Brussels. It dispelled one of the supposed necessities of the war-system—namely, the want of a guarantee that other nations would reciprocate our efforts to establish permanent and universal peace. The reception which the friends of peace met with, both from the Government and people of Belgium, was such as to refute most decisively the idea that no reliance could be placed upon our continental neighbours for sympathy and support in efforts to overthrow the war-system, and to place our international relations upon such a footing, that any disputes arising between governments might be adjusted by peaceful arbitrement, without any appeal to the sword. The public character of this demonstration, and the marked success with which it was conducted, brought the Peace Movement prominently into notice. It was discussed extensively in the newspapers, not only in this country, but throughout the Continent, and with a much larger measure of approval than could have been anticipated. Doubts and objections were still advanced by some, but in almost every case, the motives and objects of those who conducted the movement were approved and applauded.
Encouraged by the success of the 'first attempt to erect a continental platform for the discussion of this great question, it was resolved, at a conference of the friends of peace, held in London, immediately after the Brussels Congress, to prepare for a second Congress, to be held in Paris, in the month of August, 1849. The winter of 1848 was spent by the friends of Peace in this country in active operations to sustain Richard Cobden's motion in the House of Commons, for International Arbitration as a substitute for War. Upwards of 150 public meetings were held in different parts of the kingdom in support of this movement, and at most of these meetings allusion was made to the proposed Peace demonstration in the City of Paris. Everywhere the proposition was received with approbation so cordial and enthusiastic, that it was evident the popular sympathy went entirely with it; and although doubts and fears were occasionally expressed as to the obstacles which might be presented from the political condition of France, yet no opposition was offered calculated to retard for a moment the preliminary operations which it was resolved to institute.
Communications were opened with M. Francisque Bouvet, Member of the French National Assembly, and Ernest Lacan, both of whom had attended the Congress at Brussels, and who warmly approved of the object contemplated in the proposed Congress at Paris. Through their influence, the subject was brought under the notice of several men of high standing in Paris, and their interest excited in this effort to promote permanent international peace. Early in January, Ernest Lacan had an interview with Lamartine, who expressed his entire approval and sympathy in the Peace Movement.
The question of Peace was brought under the notice of the House of Assembly, on the 12th of January, by M. Bouvet, in a motion proposing the establishment of a Congress of Nations as a substitute for War. A Committee of the House was appointed to consider M. Bouvet's proposition, which deliberately recorded its conviction that "war was a violation of the laws of morality and charity, and that the suggestion of Arbitration, mutually agreed upon by all Governments, and their simultaneous disarmament, were only in accordance with the dictates of common sense." At the same time, the committee decided that in the then disturbed state of the Continent, it would not be expedient for France to attempt to carry out M. Bouvet's proposition.
The interchange of friendly excursion visits between large parties of the French National Guards and of individuals from this country, tended much to predispose the French people in favour of the Peace Movement, one result of which was the formation of a Society in Paris, which first assumed the title of " The Society of the Union of the Peoples," but shortly exchanged that name for the more expressive one, of "The Society for the Promotion of Universal Peace," the following being one of its regulations :—
"This Society shall have for its object the peace, conciliation, and brotherhood of all peoples. Among the means to be employed, one is, to promote great international Congresses, at which shall be laid down, at some future time, the definitive basis of permanent and universal peace."
Of this Society, M. Bouvet was elected the president.
On the 18th of April, the Secretaries of the Peace Congress Committee (the Pvev. Henry Richard and Elihu Burritt) proceeded to Paris to make the necessary arrangements for the formation of a Committee of Organization, to whose care should be confided the preparations required in France for the proposed Congress, in August, and they were joined by M. Auguste Visschers, who, as President of the Brussels Congress, had most cordially identified himself with this movement. The first object to be attained was to secure the confidence and co-operation of some of the most influential men in Paris—and for this purpose, interviews were had with Lamartine, Victor Hugo, Emile de Girardin, Horace Say, P. Bastiat, the Abbe Deguerry, M. Coquerel, and many other of the leading minds of France.
These gentlemen having been fully informed of the purposes and character of the proposed Congress, gave in their adhesion with great cordiality, consented to act upon the committee, and rendered very valuable assistance in giving weight and character to the demonstration.
At this time, public attention was so entirely absorbed in France in the approaching elections, that it was found necessary to suspend active operations in that country for a time; the secretaries, therefore, returned to London on the 8 th of May, and an extensive correspondence was immediately opened with friends in various parts of America, urging upon them the importance of using every effort to send a large and influential Delegation from the United States to attend the Congress in Paris.
In the month of June, there was a renewal of violent political excitement in Paris, occasioned by the French attack upon Rome. An insurrectionary movement was attempted on the 14th, which was, however, speedily suppressed by military force, and Paris was declared in a state of siege. At the same time, the cholera made its appearance, and prevailed fearfully in the city, the deaths amounting, at one period, to six hundred a-day. This combination of circumstances created much anxiety in the minds of the committee and friends of the movement in this country, lest it should present insuperable barriers to the holding of the Congress in Paris; and it was found, from correspondence with the friends there, that in the then excited state of public feeling, there would be no hope of retaining the active co-operation of those gentlemen who had engaged to act upon the Committee of Organization. In this country, however, the feeling was strong that much of the moral influence of the Congress would be lost, if it were held in any other locality than Paris; and although for a time the prospect seemed clouded and discouraging, the committee resolved to prosecute their high enterprise with renewed vigour, and to allow no obstacles to interfere for the removal of the Congress elsewhere, provided the authorization of the French Government were not withheld. Happily there was a speedy restoration of order in the capital, and the cholera so far abated in its violence, that confidence became quickly renewed, and the preparations proceeded without any further serious obstacle.
The committee at this time derived much important aid from their valuable coadjutor, George Sumner, Esq., an American gentleman residing in Paris, who came over from Paris purposely to assist in the deliberations of the committee, and to unite in opening an extensive correspondence with persons whom it was thought desirable to interest in the movement in Germany, Holland, and other European states, explaining to them the character and objects of the Congress, and soliciting their co-operation in securing the attendance of a good delegation from their respective countries.
On the 23rd of June, the following circular was issued by the committee, and sent to a very large number of the friends of peace throughout Great Britain.
"Peace Congress Committee,
"15, New Broad Street, June 26th, 1849.
"Dear Sir,—We are instructed by the Peace Congress Committee to inform you, that the deputation which recently visited Paris for the purpose of making arrangements for the great Congress to be held there in the month of August next, was received with the utmost cordiality. A number of very influential gentlemen, including several leading members of the National Assembly, and eminent writers and philanthropists, fully approving of the proposed measure, have heartily responded to the invitation to unite in a committee, for the purpose of making the approaching demonstration in favour of International Peace as effective as possible. From communications recently received from the United States, we learn that our American friends are exerting themselves with great zeal and success in securing a large delegation to represent them on this important occasion. The committee, therefore, deem it indispensable, that the attention of the friends of Peace throughout the United Kingdom should be immediately directed to the selection and appointment of proper persons as their representatives in the Paris Congress.
"As it is of great importance that the principle affirmed at the Brussels Congress should be the basis of the one to be held in Paris, it is to be taken for granted, that every gentleman elected as a delegate holds that principle, which is thus embodied in the first resolution adopted as the foundation of the proceedings on that occasion:
"' That an appeal to arms for the purpose of effecting the settlement of differences between nations, is a custom condemned alike by religion, reason, justice, humanity, and the interest of peoples; and that it is therefore the duty of the civilized world to adopt measures calculated to bring about the entire abolition of war.'
"The committee respectfully suggest that, other qualifications being equal, it would be desirable to appoint gentlemen of local influence, whose character, abilities, and position, may give weight to the delegation.
"It is also suggested that the following parties would be peculiarly eligible :—
"Officers or representatives of Auxiliary Peace Societies, or branches of the League of Universal Brotherhood, who may be appointed by their respective societies.
"Ministers of religion, or members of christian churches, who may be deputed by the congregations with which they are connected.
"Delegates chosen and appointed at public meetings called for that purpose, in any city, town, or district.
"Representatives of religious and philanthropic associations, whether for local, national, or foreign operations.
"Persons specially nominated by the vote of the Peace Congress Committee.
"The representatives of civic, municipal, and literary bodies, agreeing in the principles and objects of the Congress.
"As there may be gentlemen, however, in every way suitable, and who are prepared also, to take part in the Congress, but who may not be appointed by any public body, the committee will be happy to receive proposals from such parties, in order to arrange for their admission into the general delegation.
"Tickets of admission as visitors will be provided for the ladies and gentlemen who may be disposed to accompany the delegation, and to be present at the Congress.
"The committee hope soon to be able to announce the precise time of holding the Congress, the arrangements for the journey, and the expense to each delegate, dec, &c. In the mean time they would be happy to receive suggestions from, or to give information to, their friends in the country, in reference to the visit to Paris, as it is their anxious desire to consult the personal convenience and comfort of the delegation, as far as it may be compatible with the great object in view.
"In conclusion, the committee cannot refrain from expressing the hope, that all those who may visit Paris on this great occasion, will bear in mind that their deportment will very materially influence the opinion formed of the cause of peace by the French, and other inhabitants of the Continent. The importance, at this juncture, of a right impression is too evident to require a single comment; and the fervent desire of the committee is, that the delegation may be so conducted, that the visit to Paris, shall, under the Divine blessing, stimulate the French to vie with us in spreading ' Peace on earth, and good-will towards men.'
"We remain, Dear Sir,
"For the Committee,
"Henry Richard, "Elihu Burritt."
On the 5th of July the secretaries again repaired to Paris, and in concert with the members of the Paris committee, entered vigorously upon the arrangements necessary to prepare for the Congress: interviews were sought and obtained with M. de Tocqueville, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and M. Dufaure, the Minister of the Interior,—they were fully informed of the nature and purposes of the proposed Congress, of which they very warmly expressed their approval, and promised to render every facility that the Government could afford, to enable the friends of peace to carry out the intended demonstration. The following official letter of authorization on the part of the French Government, was received by the committee.
"Gentlemen,—Conformably with the verbal explanations which you have done me the honour of making to me, and with the written request which you addressed to me on the 21st of July. I authorize the assembling of the Peace Congress in Paris, during the month of August.
"The object which this Congress has in view, is too philanthropic for me to refuse to give my consent;—besides the names of the members who form part of the Committee of Organization, give me an additional guarantee that the Congress will confine itself within the limits of its programme, and will not permit any infraction of order or of the laws.
"Receive gentlemen, the assurance of my most distinguished consideration.
"The Minister of the Interior,
The choice of a suitable room in which to hold the Congress was felt to be a subject of considerable importance, and the committee, after careful examination, selected the Hall of St. Cecilia, (Salle de St. Cecile,) situated in the Rue de la Chaussee d'Antin, a spacious and elegant concert-room, capable of accommodating nearly 2000 persons.
As soon as these preliminary proceedings were complete in Paris, the most active measures were instituted by the committee in London, through the metropolitan and provincial press, and by correspondence, to excite an interest in this country, and to secure a large and influential attendance of delegates; a circular was issued, announcing that arrangements had been made for conveying the party from England by railway and steamer, vid Folkestone and Boulogne, at a charge of £6. 10s. first class, and £5. 10s. second class, for each person, from London to Paris and back, including good hotel accommodation in Paris for one week. Arrangements were made to provide accommodation on the same terms for friends who might desire to attend the Congress as visitors, without any official character as delegates, and this privilege was also extended to ladies. The delegates and visitors were requested to assemble in London, on Monday, the 20th of August, and to meet at Radley's Hotel, at seven o'clock that evening, to receive final instructions respecting the journey, and the arrangements for the Congress. As the day drew near, names began to pour rapidly in to the committee, from various parts of the country. In many of the larger towns and cities, public meetings were held for the appointment of delegates: several of which were presided over by the Mayors, and were attended by a large number of the most respectable and influential inhabitants of the respective towns. Very gratifying accounts were also received from America, of the interest which the subject had excited in that country; and although the notice had been too short to conduct an effective agitation for delegates, yet it was expected that many earnest and enlightened men would come over to represent the United States.
Special invitations were sent from the London Committee, accompanied by a similar invitation in French, issued by the Committee of Organization in Paris, to all the members of parliament who voted in favour of Mr. Cobden's motion for arbitration, and to some other of the leading liberal members of the House of Commons, many of whom, though unable to attend the Congress, wrote to express their high approval of the movement, and their desire for its success.
On the evening of the 20th, the number of tickets issued and paid for, amounted to 670; and at seven o'clock, a very crowded meeting of the delegates and visitors assembled at Radley's Hotel, in Bridge Street, Blackfriars. The chair was taken by Joseph Sturge, Esq., and full information was afforded as to the regulations for the journey, and the preparations made for the reception and accommodation of the parties at Paris. It was also announced, that arrangements had been made for those who might wish to breakfast together before starting, at Burrell's Bridge House Hotel, opposite the London Bridge Station. Accordingly, about 200 friends assembled soon after seven o'clock, on the morning of the 21st, and partook of a substantial meal. At eight o'clock the whole party assembled at the station, and were conveyed by two special trains of great length to Folkestone, which town was reached about twelve o'clock; and the Queen of the Belgians and Princess Clementine steamers being ready, with their steam up, the party at once embarked, and had a very pleasant run across to Boulogne. The sea being smooth, and the day beautifully fine, few suffered from sea-sickness.
On drawing near to the French coast, the quays and shore at Boulogne were observed to be crowded with the inhabitants, who greeted the English party with loud cheers, and gave them a cordial welcome to the country— these greetings, it is needless to say, were responded to with hearty goodwill by the English. On landing, the party were received officially by the authorities of the town assembled in an adjoining building, the mayor
stating that he had received instructions from the French Government to render every facility to the delegation in landing and proceeding to Paris: for this purpose the Government had dispensed with the ordinary regulation, requiring a passport, and had also exempted the baggage of the travellers from any custom-house examination—a mark of confidence unexampled in the intercourse between the two countries. A brief acknowledgment having being tendered on the part of the delegation—the friends dispersed to the various hotels, where dinners were prepared, and at five o'clock the journey was resumed by railway in two trains, via Amiens. The party did not reach Paris until about one o'clock in the morning, and the arrival of a much larger number than had been anticipated, caused some delay in procuring sufficient omnibus accommodation, but by degrees the whole party were drafted off to the various hotels, where accommodation had been secured, and by day-break all were settled in their respective quarters.
Shortly after ten o'clock, on the morning of the 22nd, the friends repaired in large numbers to the Salle Sainte-Cecile, where the meetings of the Congress were to be held. The hall had been tastefully decorated for the occasion with faisceaux of the flags of various nations, intertwined with the tri-colour of France. The doors were opened at a little after eleven o'clock, and shortly after twelve, the whole of the vast hall was completely filled. About half the body of the hall was reserved for the delegates : the remainder, together with the galleries, was allotted to the visitors, of whom there was a very large number, both French and English. At a quarter to one o'clock, the members of the Committee of Organization, with some other gentlemen, mounted the platform, and were received with loud cheers by the audience.
M. Joseph Garnier, the secretary of the committee, then ascended the tribune, and was proceeding to read the list of the names of the French members of the Congress, when
A Member rose and said : Begin by the names of the foreign members ; it is a duty of hospitality.
The Rev. Henry Richard, Secretary of the London Peace Society, then read the list of the British delegates.* [* These lists will be found in the Appendix. We need not say that the names of many of the principal members were greeted with loud applause.]
M. Garnier then read the French list.
Mr. Elihu Bubritt read the names of the American members.
M. Garnier read the list of the Belgian members. He then stated that the Bureau would be thus constituted :—
President, M. Victor Hugo, Member of the French National Assembly.
Vice-Presidents: For France, M. l'Abbe Deguerry, cure of the Madeleine, and M. Athanase Coquerel, protestant minister, and member of the French National Assembly.
For England: Richard Cobden, Esq., M.p., and Charles Hindley, Esq., M.p., President of the London Peace Society. For the United States: the Hon. 0. Durkee, member of the American Congress, and Mr. Amasa Walker, member of the Massachusetts Legislature. For Belgium: M. Auguste Visschers, President of the Peace Congress held in Brussels last year. For Holland: Mr. W. H. Suringar, of Amsterdam. For Germany: Dr. Carove of Heidelberg.
Secretaries: The Rev. Henry Richard, and Messrs. Joseph Garnier, Elihu Burritt, and J. Ziegler.
The announcement of these names was received with loud and prolonged applause.
M. Victor Hugo, the President of the Congress then rose and delivered the following inaugural address :—
Gentlemen: Many of you have come from the most distant points of the globe, your hearts full of holy and religious feelings. You count in your ranks men of letters, philosophers, ministers of the Christian religion, writers of eminence, and public men justly popular for their talents. You, gentlemen, have wished to adopt Paris as the centre of this meeting, whose sympathies, full of gravity and conviction, do not merely apply to one nation, but to the whole world. You come to add another principle of a still superior—of a more august kind—to those that now direct statesmen, rulers, and legislators. You turn over, as it were, the last page of the Gospel—that page which imposes peace on the children of the same God ; and in this capital, which has as yet only decreed fraternity amongst citizens, you are about to proclaim the brotherhood of mankind.
Gentlemen, we bid you a hearty welcome! In the presence of such a thought and such an act, there can be no room for the expression of personal thanks. Permit me, then, in the first words which I pronounce in your hearing, to raise my thoughts higher than myself, and, as it were, to omit all mention of the great honour which you have just conferred upon me, in order that I may think of nothing else than the great thing which we have met to do.
Gentlemen, this sacred idea, universal peace, all nations bound together in a common bond, the Gospel for their supreme law, mediation substituted for war—this holy sentiment, I ask you, is it practicable? Can it be realized? Many practical men, many public men grown old in the management of affairs, answer in the negative. But I answer with you, and I answer without hesitation, Yes! and I shall shortly try to prove it to you. I go still further. I do not merely say it is capable of being put into practice, but I add that it is inevitable, and that its execution is only a question of time, and may be hastened or retarded. The law which rules the world is not, cannot be different from the law of God. But the divine law is not one of war—it is peace. Men commenced by conflict, as the creation did by chaos. Whence are they coming? From wars—that is evident. But whither are they going? To peace—that is equally evident. When you enunciate those sublime truths, it is not to be wondered at that your assertion should be met by a negative ; it is easy to understand that your faith will be encountered by incredulity ; it is evident that in this period of trouble and of dissension the idea of universal peace must surprise and shock, almost like the apparition of something impossible and ideal ; it is quite clear that all will call it utopian ; but for me, who am but an obscure labourer in this great work of the nineteenth century, I accept this opposition without being astonished or discouraged by it. Is it possible that you can do otherwise than turn aside your head and shut your eyes, as if in bewilderment, when in the midst of the darkness which still envelopes you, you suddenly open the door that lets in the light of the future?
Gentlemen, if four centuries ago, at the period when war was made by one district against the other, between cities, and between provinces—if, I say, some one had dared to predict to Lorraine, to Picardy, to Normandy, to Brittany, to Auvergne, to Provence, to Dauphiny, to Burgundy,—" A day shall come when you will no longer make wars—a day shall come when you will no longer arm men one against the other—a day shall come when it will no longer be said that the Normans are attacking the Picards, or that the people of Lorraine are repulsing the Burgundians :—you will still have many disputes to settle, interests to contend for, difficulties to resolve ; but do you know what you will substitute instead of armed men, instead of cavalry and infantry, of cannon, of falconets, lances, pikes and swords:— you will select, instead of all this destructive array, a small box of wood, which you will term a ballot-box, and from which shall issue—what ?—an assembly—an assembly in which you shall all live—an assembly which shall be, as it were, the soul of all—a supreme and popular council, which shall decide, judge, resolve everything—which shall make the sword fall from every hand, and excite the love of justice in every heart—which shall say to each,' Here terminates your right, there commences your duty: lay down your arms! Live in peace!' And in that day you will all have one common thought, common interests, a common destiny ; you will embrace each other, and recognise each other as children of the same blood, and of the same race ; that day you will no longer be hostile tribes,—you will be a people ; you will no longer be Burgundy, Normandy, Brittany, or Provence,—you will be France! You will no longer make appeals to war—you will do so to civilization." If, at the period I speak of, some one had uttered these words, all men of a serious and positive character, all prudent and cautious men, all the great politicians of the period, would have cried out, "What a dreamer! what a fantastic dream! How little this pretended prophet is acquainted with the human heart! What ridiculous folly! what an absurd chimera!" Yet, gentlemen, time has gone on and on, and we find that this dream, this folly, this absurdity, has been realized! And I insist upon this, that the man who would have dared to utter so sublime a prophecy, would have been pronounced a madman for having dared to pry into the designs of the Deity. Well, then, you at this moment say—and I say it with you—we who are assembled here, say to France, to England, to Prussia, to Austria, to Spain, to Italy, to Russia—we say to them, "A day will come when from your hands also the arms you have grasped will fall. A day will come when war will appear as absurd, and be as impossible, between Paris and London, between St. Petersburg and Berlin, between Vienna and Turin, as it would he now between Rouen and Amiens, between Boston and Philadelphia. A day will come when you, France—you, Russia—you, Italy—you, England—you, Germany—all of you, nations of the Continent, will, without losing your distinctive qualities and your glorious individuality, be blended into a superior unity, and constitute an European fraternity, just as Normandy, Britanny, Burgundy, Lorraine, Alsace, have been blended into France. A day will come when the only battle-field will be the market open to commerce and the mind opening to new ideas. A day will come when bullets and bomb-shells will be replaced by votes, by the universal suffrage of nations, by the venerable arbitration of a great Sovereign Senate, which will be to Europe what the Parliament is to England, what the Diet is to Germany, what the Legislative Assembly is to France. A day will come when a cannon will be exhibited in public museums, just as an instrument of torture is now, and people will be astonished how such a thing could have been. A day will come when those two immense groups, the United States of America and the United States of Europe shall be seen placed in presence of each other, extending the hand of fellowship across the ocean, exchanging their produce, their commerce, their industry, their arts, their genius, clearing the earth, peopling the deserts, improving creation under the eye of the Creator, and uniting, for the good of all, these two irresistible and infinite powers, the fraternity of men and the power of God." Nor is it necessary that four hundred years should pass away for that day to come. We live in a rapid period, in the most impetuous current of events and ideas which has ever borne away humanity ; and at the period in which we live, a year suffices to do the work of a century.
But, French, English, Germans, Russians, Sclaves, Europeans, Americans, what have we to do in order to hasten the advent of that great day? We must love each other! To love each other is, in this immense labour of pacification, the best manner of aiding God! God desires that this sublime object should be accomplished. And to arrive at it you are yourselves witnesses of what the Deity is doing on all sides. See what discoveries are every day issuing from human genius—discoveries which all tend to the same object—Peace! What immense progress! What simplification! How Nature is allowing herself to be more and more subjugated by man! How matter every day becomes still more the handmaid of intellect, and the auxiliary of civilization! How the causes of war vanish with the causes of suffering! How people far separated from each other so lately, now almost touch! How distances become less and less; and this rapid approach, what is it but the commencement of fraternity? Thanks to railroads, Europe will soon be no larger than France was in the middle ages. Thanks to steam-ships, we now traverse the mighty ocean more easily than the Mediterranean was formerly crossed. Before long, men will traverse the earth, as the gods of Homer did the sky, in three paces! But yet a little time, and the electric wire of concord shall encircle the globe and embrace the world. And here, gentlemen, when I contemplate this vast amount of efforts and of events, all of them marked by the finger of God—when I regard this sublime object, the well-being of mankind—peace,—when I reflect on all that Providence has done in favour of it, and human policy against it, a sad and bitter thought presents itself to my mind. It results, from a comparison of statistical accounts, that the nations of Europe expend each year for the maintenance of armies a sum amounting to two thousand millions of francs, and which, by adding the expense of maintaining establishments of war, amounts to three thousand millions. .Add to this the lost produce of the days of work of more than 2,000,000 men—the healthiest, the most vigorous, the youngest, the elite of our population—a produce which you will not estimate at less than one thousand millions, and you will be convinced that the standing armies of Europe cost annually more than four thousand millions.
Gentlemen, peace has now lasted thirty-two years, and yet in thirty-two years the enormous sum of one hundred and twenty-eight millions has been expended during a time of peace on account of war! Suppose that the people of Europe, in place of mistrusting each other, entertaining jealousy of each other, hating each other, had become fast friends—suppose they had said, that before they were French, or English, or German, they were men, and that if nations form countries, the human race forms a family; and that enormous sum of 128,000,000, so madly and so vainly spent in consequence of such mistrust, let it be spent in acts of mutual confidence—these 128,000,000 that have been lavished on hatred, let them be bestowed on love —let them be given to peace, instead of war—give them to labour, to intelligence, to industry, to commerce, to navigation, to agriculture, to science, to art ; and then draw your conclusions. If for the last thirty-two years this enormous sum had been expended in this manner, America in the meantime aiding Europe, know you what would have happened? The face of the world would have been changed. Isthmuses would be cut through, channels formed for rivers, tunnels bored through mountains. Railroads would cover the two continents; the merchant navy of the globe would have increased a hundred-fold. There would be nowhere barren plains, nor moors, nor marshes. Cities would be found where there are now only deserts. Ports would be sunk where there are now only rocks. Asia would be rescued to civilization; Africa would be rescued to man ; abundance would gush forth on every side, from every vein of the earth, at the touch of man, like the living stream from the rock beneath the rod of Moses. Misery would be no longer found ; and with misery, what do you think would disappear? Revolutions. Yes, the face of the world would be changed! In place of mutually destroying each other, men would pacifically extend themselves over the earth. In place of conspiring for revolution, men would combine to establish colonies! In place of introducing barbarism into civilization, civilization would replace barbarism.
You see, gentlemen, in what a state of blindness war has placed nations and rulers. If the 128,000,000 given for the last thirty-two years by Europe to the war which was not waged had been given to the peace which existed, we positively declare that nothing of what is now passing in Europe would have occurred. The continent in place of being a battlefield would have become an universal workshop, and in place of this sad and terrible spectacle of Piedmont prostrated, of the Eternal City given up to the miserable oscillations of human policy, of Venice and noble Hungary struggling heroically, France uneasy, impoverished, and gloomy ; misery, mourning, civil war, gloom in the future—in place, I say, of so sad a spectacle, we should have before our eyes, hope, joy, benevolence, the efforts of all towards the common good, and we should everywhere behold the majestic ray of universal concord issue forth from civilization. And this fact is worthy of meditation—that revolutions have been owing to those very precautions against war. All has been done—all this expenditure has been incurred, against an imaginary danger. Misery, which was the only real danger, has by these very means been augmented. We have been fortifying ourselves against a chimerical peril; our eyes have been turned to all sides except to the one where the black spot was visible. We have been looking out for wars when there were none, and we have not seen the revolutions that were coming on. Yet, gentlemen, let us not despair. Let us, on the contrary, hope more enthusiastically than ever. Let us not allow ourselves to be daunted by momentary commotions—convulsions which, peradventure, are necessary for so mighty a production. Let us not be unjust to the time in which we live—let us not look upon it otherwise than as it is. It is a prodigious and admirable epoch after all; and the 19th century will be, I do not hesitate to say, the greatest in the page of history. As I stated a few minutes since, all kinds of progress are being revealed and manifested almost simultaneously, the one producing the other—the cessation of international animosities, the effacing of frontiers on the maps, and of prejudices from the heart — the tendency towards unity, the softening of manners, the advancement of education, the diminution of penalties, the domination of the most literary languages—all are at work at the same time—political economy, science, industry, philosophy, legislation ; and all tend to the same object—the creation of happiness and of goodwill, that is to say—and for my own part, it is the object to which I shall always direct myself—the extinction of misery at home, and the extinction of war abroad. Yes, the period of revolutions is drawing to a close—the era of improvements is beginning. The education of people is no longer of the violent kind ; it is now assuming a peaceful nature. The time has come when Providence is about to substitute for the disorderly action of the agitator the religious and quiet energy of the peace-maker. Henceforth the object of all great and true policy will be this—to cause all nationalities to be recognised, to restore the historic unity of nations, and enlist this unity in the cause of civilization by means of peace—to enlarge the sphere of civilization, to set a good example to people who are still in a state of barbarism—to substitute the system of arbitration for that of battles—and, in a word—and all is comprised in this—to make justice pronounce the last word that the old world used to pronounce by force.
Gentlemen, I say in conclusion, and let us be encouraged by this thought, mankind has not entered on this providential course to-day for the first time. In our ancient Europe, England took the first step, and by her example declared to the people " You are free!" France took the second step, and announced to the people "You are sovereigns!" Let us now take the third step, and all simultaneously, France, England, Germany, Italy, Europe, America—let us proclaim to all nations " You are brethren!"
At the close of this address, which was frequently interrupted by outbursts of applause, the whole assembly rose and greeted the speaker with three cheers given after the English fashion.
M. Jean Journet then rose and said: I request to be allowed to make an important communication.
The President. Our first business will be to adopt a series of rules for the government of our proceedings.
The following rules were then read in French by M. Coquerel, and in English by the Rev. H. Richard :—
"I. The committee shall be composed of the president, vice-presidents, and secretaries of the Congress, with power to add to their number.
"II. The secretaries to propose the business for each day, to receive communications relative to the business of the Congress, to keep full minutes of its proceedings in French and English, and to have the care of all documents properly belonging to it.
"III. Every proposition which either one or more members of the Congress wish to bring before it, must, in the first instance, be submitted in writing to the committee, who are empowered to decide upon its relevancy, and to fix the time when it may be brought on.
"IV. The members of the Congress who wish to speak on any proposition before the chair, must send up their names to the president to be inscribed on his list, and will be heard in the order in which they stand on such list.
"V. No speaker will be allowed more than fifteen minutes, except by special leave of the Congress ; when that period is past, the president will intimate the same to the speaker.
"VI. No speaker will be allowed to speak more than once on any proposition, unless in the way of explanation. The opener of the discussion will, however, have the right of reply.
"VII. The object of the Congress being one of general and permanent interest, no speaker can be allowed to make any direct allusion to the political events of the day, or to discuss any questions of local interest. In case of any infraction of this rule, the speaker will be called to order, and should he persist, the president will withdraw from him the right to speak.
"VIII. At the close of each session, the committee will meet for consultation on all matters that may require their attention.
"IX. The resolutions proposed for the adoption of the Congress shall be decided by a majority of votes.
"X. The resolutions adopted shall be signed by the president and secretaries of the Congress.
"XI. The several resolutions adopted shall form the basis of an address or addresses that may be agreed to by the Congress, such address or addresses to be signed on behalf of the Congress, by the president, vice-presidents and secretaries.
"Note.—The members of the Congress are respectfully and urgently requested to be in their places at the commencement of the proceedings of each session ; and in case any question on a point of order should arise during the proceedings, to keep perfect silence, leaving it to the president and committee to take the necessary steps for disposing of the same."
The President: I beg the assembly to vote the adoption of the rules without any unnecessary discussion, as we have no time to lose.
The rules were thereupon adopted unanimously.
M. Jean Journet: I request to be allowed to speak upon the rules.
The President: No discussion of the rules can now be permitted: they have just been unanimously adopted. M. Gamier, one of the secretaries of the Congress, will read several important adhesions to the Congress.
M. Joseph Q-arnier then read the following letter from the Archbishop of Paris, who had been invited to act as president of the Congress :—
"Paris, August 17th.
"To The Members Of The Congress Op Universal Peace.
"Gentlemen,—I have been profoundly touched by the visit which Messrs. de la Kochefoucald Liancourt, Victor Hugo, Coquerel, and Elihu Burritt were good enough to pay me, and by the letter you have just written to me, to offer me the Presidency of the Congress of Universal Peace. This, gentlemen, is an honour, the full value of which I feel, and for which I should never be able adequately to express my gratitude. I think with you gentlemen, that war is a remnant of ancient barbarism ; that it is accordant with the spirit of Christianity to desire the disappearance of this formidable scourge from the face of the earth, and to make strenuous efforts to attain this noble and generous end. Perhaps, alas! the time has not yet come when it will be completely possible for the nations to enter upon this path. Perhaps war will continue for many years to be a cruel necessity. But it is proper, it is praiseworthy, it is excellent to labour to make the people understand that they, like individuals, ought to endeavour with the least possible delay to terminate their differences by pacific means, and that humanity and civilization will have made immense progress on the day when an end shall have been put to these fratricidal contests. I beg you therefore, gentlemen, to inscribe my name amongst the friends of the Congress of Peace ; but it is to me a source of deep regret that I cannot, on account of my health, accept the honour which you have so generously offered me of presiding over you. If my physician, who urges me to go on a journey to avoid a dangerous state of health, would nevertheless consent to let me put it off for some days, and if my neuralgic pains are not too violent, it will afford me real pleasure to be present at one of your sessions. Receive, gentlemen, together with the expression of these sentiments, the assurance of my most distinguished consideration.
"Marie Dominique Auguste
"Archbishop of Paris."
The President: I propose that the thanks of the Congress be presented to the Archbishop, and that he be nominated honorary president of the Congress.
M. Charles Duvetrier desired that the Archbishop's letter might be translated into English, for the benefit of the English and American delegates.
Mr. Cobden rose and said: The request just made appears to me to be a reasonable one, and I will myself read the letter which we have received from the Archbishop of Canterbury—I mean the Archbishop of Paris. The honourable gentleman then read the letter, and finished by proposing the nomination of the Archbishop of Paris as honorary president of the Congress.
This proposition was carried by acclamation.
Joseph Stubge, Esq., of Birmingham, then rose and said, he hoped the English friends present would not insist on having the various speeches and papers translated, as such a course would involve a needless waste of time. This proposition was received with loud cheers by the English and American delegates.
M. Joseph Garnier then proceeded to read letters from MM. Tissot and Augustin Thierry, members of the French Academy, declaring their adhesion to the principles and objects of the Congress.* [* Translations of these and many other important letters will be found in the Appendix.]
M. Visschers, president of the Brussels Peace Congress, then made the following statement of the progress of the Peace cause during the past year :—
Gentlemen, the year which has just elapsed has been marked by important labours on the part of the friends of Universal Peace, notwithstanding that Europe has been convulsed by political revolutions. In my capacity of President of the Congress which met at Brussels last year, I have to submit to you a report of the steps which have been taken to carry into effect the various measures determined on by that assembly ; and then, as some of my audience are imperfectly acquainted with the objects of peace societies, I shall give a brief account of tjjeir purpose, and of the results which have crowned their efforts. After having improved, and carried to a high degree of perfection, their various charitable and benevolent institutions, it was worthy the friends of humanity in England and the United States to extend the circle of their religious and philanthropic sentiments. Already all civilised nations have united in efforts to suppress the slave trade ; already has slavery been abolished in many countries. But other evils have awakened their solicitude, invoking the divine law and the interest of nations, they come to our homes and hearths, to shake us by the hand as friends, and to propose to us to draw closer the bonds which should unite together all the creatures of God. The Brussels Congress, held in September, 1848, was the first movement of the apostles of peace on the European continent. Four resolutions were there discussed and agreed on, for the condemnation of war, the establishment of an international jurisdiction, the adoption of an universal code of laws, and finally a general disarmament. Conformably with the wishes of the Congress, the president and the vice-presidents of the Congress repaired to London, and had the honour of presenting to the Prime Minister of England an address embodying the resolutions. The reception given to the Bureau of the Congress by Lord John Russell displayed the sentiments of sympathy which the English cabinet entertains with regard to the cause of universal peace. A few months' afterwards the doctrines of the friends of peace, introduced, in some sort, into the official sphere, made another step forward—they passed the threshold of the British Parliament. A man of persevering and active genius, the victor in a struggle in which were involved the most important interests of England, Richard Cobden, whom we number with pride amongst our vice-presidents, appeared in parliament as the promoter of a system of international arbitration. Already, on a previous occasion, in the United States of America, the committee of Congress on foreign affairs, whose spokesman was the Honourable M. Legar£, whom we have known both at Paris and Brussels, had proclaimed that the idea of an universal peace, existing under the aegis of the laws, was the ideal perfection of the social state, and that the aspiration of all minds and of all institutions already presaged its future accomplishment.
The legislature of the State of Massachusetts solemnly declared, in 1844, that arbitration ought to take the place of war ; it invited, at the same time, the central government to recommend to all the governments of Christendom the formation of a General Convention, or Universal Congress, to lay down the principles of international laws, and to institute a supreme court invested with the necessary powers for settling those differences between nations which might be submitted to its decision. Last winter the Honourable Amos Tuck, whom we hoped to have seen amongst us on the present occasion, but whom a severe indisposition detained at Boston, brought a similar proposition before the American Congress, which was earnestly supported by public opinion in America. The Constituent Assembly of France has also heard, gentlemen, the noble and sympathetic words of one of our colleagues, M. Francisque Bouvet, demanding the formation of an Universal Congress, whose object should be to secure a proportional disarmament of the various European powers, to abolish the laws of war, and to substitute in their place an international jurisdiction. The equality of nations, respect of their laws, the triumph of justice—these are the objects contemplated by the friends of peace. The means they wish to employ are the creation of international institutions, the development of international law, the increase of friendly intercourse between nations. To secure these results, the friends of peace propagate their doctrines by means of Congresses—of numerous public meetings ; they propose prizes for essays, and favour by all means in their power popular education. I have been present, gentlemen, at large public meetings in London, in Birmingham, and in Manchester. Everywhere public opinion greets with ardour the approach of the English and American apostles of peace. Large public subscriptions have been raised in support of the work. To support the motion of Mr. Cobden the friends of peace held, during a few weeks, more than 150 public meetings in various towns of the United Kingdom. On the day on which this motion was brought forward, more than a thousand petitions, signed by about 200,000 names, were laid on the table of the House of Commons. The motion was supported by seventy-nine members of that house; whereas only fourteen supported the motion for the repeal of the Corn-laws when it was first brought before parliament. Shall I pronounce the names of the leaders of this great movement who are not members of the house? I will only name one gentleman, because he is the ring of that chain which will indissolubly unite the old and the new continents. I need hardly say, I refer to Elihu Burritt.
Why can I not, gentlemen, relate to you the history of these peace societies, the origin of which is distant only a third part of a century? You will see them originating in the United States and in England, in modest habitations—in simple cottages. I will not speak to you of the peace societies of Paris, of Geneva, and of Brussels. But I would wish to teach you to bless the names of the first founders of these societies, Worcester, Channing, William Ladd, William Allen, De Sellon, De Gerando, and some others who are living at the present day. Marvellous power of a great idea! To answer our appeal, hundreds of English citizens have crossed the channel. What do I say? Our friends of the United States have traversed the ocean ; and one of them travelled two thousand miles to reach a port whence he might sail for England. France has felt a generous inspiration; the whole tiniverse applauds it. It is everywhere felt that these ideas supply a want of civilization. To traverse Europe, as our President has so well remarked, we need at the present day less time and money than were necessary two centuries ago to visit the provinces of France. The facility of communication incessantly increases ; commercial relations and the reciprocal duties of man to man multiply. We know one another better, and esteem one another more. The interests of the people are everywhere consulted ; or rather, at least, governments will see themselves obliged to consult them. This augmentation of relations necessitates a corresponding progress and development of international and commercial law.'
This sketch, gentlemen, will show you that in opening the competition, the result of which, I shall have the honour to announce to you, we have not sought merely the improvement of the condition of humanity—the supply of the wants of modern societies. We wish to arrive at the abolition of war by means of a closer federation of the peoples, and of the amelioration of their moral, commercial, and industrial relations. The liberality of the representatives of the Anglo-American societies at the Congress of Brussels had proposed a prize of 1,000 francs for the best essay on the questions discussed in that assembly. They at the same time had offered a second sum of 1,000 francs for the second and third best essays. The permanent committees of the Peace Congress, at London and at Brussels, drew up a programme and fixed the object of the competition: "The exposition of rational and practical means for attaining the abolition of War." The term fixed for sending in the essays was June 1, 1849. Twentyfive essays were forthcoming; but three arrived too late. The class of Literature and Moral and Political Sciences of the Belgian Royal Academy kindly accepted the office of adjudicators of the prizes. The remarkable report of these adjudicators analyzes each of these twentytwo essays which were sent in. The class unanimously adopted the conclusions of its commissioners. You do not expect of me an analysis of the essays which more particularly engaged the attention of the academy. The distinguished rank of the adjudicators could not fail to inspire the competitors with entire confidence. Besides the shortest analysis would require some development, and would perhaps provoke a discussion which will immediately open in reality. The essay to which the first prize was adjudged has for its motto: "The success of an enterprise depends upon the manner in which a man sets about it." On opening the letter which accompanied it, it was found that the author was M. Louis Bara, advocate, born at Lille, and living at Mons, Belgium. The second rank belongs to the essay whose motto is: "Love one another." The author is M. Alexandre Henry Clochereux, student of law in the University of Liege. The third rank is assigned to an essay bearing as its motto a quotation from Lamartine: "The ideal is only the truth seen at a distance." The author is M. E. Morhange, of Brussels.
Other essays contain thoughts worthy of notice ; but many of the competitors did not confine themselves to the exact terms of the programme: the search of means for abolishing war. On the other hand, while rewarding the authors of the best essays, neither the Academy nor the permanent committees of London and of Brussels adopt as their own all the ideas which are therein expressed. The course was open without limit. The young victors boldly availed themselves of this license. In an arena where many have fallen, and where the greatest geniuses have hesitated to tread, we cannot expect that ideas scarcely conceived should have already attained maturity.'
If this saying of the amiable philosopher Montaigne be true, that it is better to put a little lead on the imagination than to give it wings, let us leave to the future to destroy the pleasing illusion produced by our golden dreams.
I conclude, gentlemen, with a thought which brings me back to my starting-point: our object, our labours are legitimate and serious. Wo do not aspire to add a new page to the Republic of Plato, to the Utopia of Thomas More. But for the honour as well as for the safety of humanity, we hope to see arise many other pastors such as Fenelon, many such friends of humanity as Benjamin Franklin and William Ladd ; and many such learned men as Bacon, Hugo Grotius, and Montesquieu, who will write in favour of an international code.
At the conclusion of M. Visschers' speech, the president presented to M. Bara, a case containing bank notes of the value of 1,000 francs. The other two gentlemen were absent. The president then announced that a prize of 500 francs would be awarded to the author of the best collection of extracts from ancient and modern authors upon the horrors and evils of war : and that the Societe de la Morale Chrétienne would give another prize of the same value, for the best collection of extracts upon the benefits of peace. These two prizes will be awarded at the Peace Congress, to be held next year.
The President then observed, that as all the preliminary business had been disposed of, it would be well to proceed at once to the discussion of the first of the resolutions to be proposed to the Congress. It is to the following effect :—" As peace alone can secure the moral and material interests of nations, it is the duty of all governments to submit to Arbitration all differences that arise between them, and to respect the decisions of the arbitrators whom they may choose."
Mr. L. A. Chamerovzow, Assistant Secretary of the Aborigines' Protection Society, then read a French translation of the following essay by the Rev. Dr. Godwin, of Bradford, on—
That war is attended with evils of a fearful magnitude, cannot be denied. That appeals have been made to the sword by all nations from the earliest ages, is one of the most lamentable facts which the annals of our race record. That which originated in barbarism, has been continued through every stage of civilization. The vast aggregate of the mischiefs produced by all the earthquakes, storms, floods, famines, plagues, pestilences, which have afflicted the world, are insignificant when compared with the tremendous results of war. Can any means be devised to obviate so great an evil, and to prevent its recurrence 1 The object of this paper is to shew, that long and general as the practice of war has been, it is not necessary and unavoidable; that there is a principle, long known, and often applied, in the ordinary concerns of life, on which differences have been adjusted and strife terminated, which nations may adopt with unspeakable advantage, whenever differences arise which endanger their friendly intercourse.
The limits assigned to this paper will not admit of elaborate discussion. It is, therefore, a favourable circumstance, that the subject is so completely within the range of common sense, that though it admits of ample illustration, a few words, we hope, may suffice to render our meaning clear, and to establish our position.
In all the relations which men sustain to each other, differences will arise, which, unless terminated by amicable adjustment, may lead to serious consequences. In judging of any question which comes before them, individuals, classes, and communities take different points of view. Their interests, whether really or seemingly, are often opposed. Misunderstandings ensue,—offence is taken,—estrangement is succeeded by strife,—and strife often leads to vindictive measures.
This is the general process with nations. War for the sake of conquest, or national aggrandisement, or the love of glory, is, by all civilized nations of modern times, denounced. No state now assigns such reasons for making war. But occasions of misunderstanding will still arise, respecting commercial regulations, territorial or maritime rights, the interpretation of treaties, or other interests, by which friendly relations are disturbed, and peace is endangered.
There are three modes in which these differences have been treated, whether existing between individuals, or collective bodies of men; recourse has been had to Force, to Law, or to Reason.
In a barbarous state of society, Force generally prevails. The question of right obtains but little attention. The offence received is speedily followed by violence, not according to the measure, but according to the power of the party provoked. In the progress towards civilization, personal hostilities become regulated by established usages; hence the single combat, and the wager of battle, of which the modern duel is a miserable relic. A similar progress may be observed in nations. At an early period of civilization, Force was the only, or the principal means, employed to settle a disputed point; in the use of which no sovereign or chief respected any law but his own will,—acknowledged any limit but his own power. As society advanced, general usage gradually introduced certain regulations, which, still recognizing the right of states to make war on each other, required that a casus belli should be established, and that certain forms should be observed.
In highly civilized communities, Law is the interposing power which decides differences. Appeals are made to the constituted tribunals, which have authority to decide, and means to enforce their decisions. Among nations, however, no such tribunal exists, no such authoritative interference is recognized.
Abjuring Force, and declining Law, as attended with serious inconveniences, men have often appealed with advantage to Reason. They have endeavoured to convince and explain; to remove mistakes, to obtain concessions, and have sometimes had recourse to mutual compromise; or the mediation of a friend has been effectively employed. By such means amicable relations have been restored, and friendship has been renewed, between individuals or nations. In many of the transactions of life, recourse has been had to another expedient. Men are bad judges in their own cause. Few are competent to form an impartial judgment when their own interests are concerned, or their passions excited. An umpire, or arbitrator has been selected; or, if necessary, several have been chosen, men of undoubted integrity, and fully competent to understand the subject, and fairly to pronounce on its merits; and both parties have entered into an engagement to abide by the decision. The principle of Arbitration was sanctioned by the Roman law, is recognized in modern jurisprudence, recommended in the Christian scriptures, and is often resorted to in private life. It has proved the means of terminating many an unhappy difference, and of preventing litigation, by which one, or both parties might have been ruined. Nor are there wanting cases in which nations have adopted this method, or something like it, with great advantage.
Now of all the modes to which nations have recourse to decide their disputes, war is certainly the worst. It is a practice as absurd as it is unchristian and barbarous. How can a question of right be decided by the employment of brute force 1 The only problem which war can solve is, which of the contending parties is the stronger. It would be quite as rational to determine a point in morals by a throw of the dice, or a fact of history by the "science" and bravery of two prize-fighters. After all the blood and treasure expended in a long war, the question of right remains just where it was. The justice of the case cannot be in the least affected by either a victory or a defeat. How often does it happen, that after myriads have perished on the battle-field, leaving bereaved parents, brokenhearted widows, and helpless orphans to bemoan their irreparable loss; after miseries, varied and manifold, have been entailed on both the contending parties, the quarrel has been terminated by a negociation, which, except the injuries mutually inflicted and suffered, has restored things to much the same position as that in which they stood at the commencement of the war, leaving, perhaps, the original dispute entirely unnoticed.
But still it may be said, all must deprecate the miseries of war; and none but those in whose breasts a fierce ambition has extinguished the feelings of humanity, can be pleased with its occurrence; but wars are unavoidable—they are among the evils which all must deplore but which none can prevent; as they necessarily arise from the conditions of man's nature and relations, every project to abolish war, or effectually to prevent its recurrence, is a mere utopian theory, which may be beautiful, but must be useless. Merciful Father of the human race, is it possible that such is the unalterable doom of thy children; that so tremendous a curse should ever, and necessarily lie on them! The idea is intolerable; religion and reason, justice and expediency, alike call on us utterly to repudiate it. Might we not as well say, that all the crime and misery which spring from the malevolent passions of our nature are inevitable, to which no antidote can be applied, for which no remedy can be found?
We ask then, with confidence, might not every national dispute which could not be adjusted satisfactorily by negociation, be referred to the judgment of an impartial umpire, or a court of arbitration, appointed by mutual consent 1 And might it not be a standing article in every international treaty, that, instead of having recourse to war on any account, every disputed point, which could not otherwise be settled, should be determined by such Arbitration?
That the adjustment of national differences in this peaceful way, on the principle of what is just and right, is infinitely preferable to all the risks and sacrifices of war, it would be a waste of words to attempt to prove; the only reasonable ground of inquiry is, Is it practicable?
Is it not, then, a strongly favourable presumption, that this mode of settling differences has been often so successfully adopted in private life; and that the employment of it, or any approximation to it, in international disputes, has, in several recent instances, been so conducive to the peace of the world? And what war might not have been prevented in this way 1 One of the most prominent statesmen in Europe recently and publicly declared, that "on looking at all the wars which had been carried on during the last century, and examining into the causes of them, he did not see one of those wars, in which, if there had been proper temper between the parties, the questions in dispute might not have been settled without recourse to arms."
That there are difficulties in the adoption of any plan for the effectual prevention of war, must be admitted. How could it be otherwise, since the practice has been so general—since, like a garnished sepulchre, its horrid realities have been covered with so much visible ornament and splendour—since poets, orators, historians, and statesmen have contributed to surround the destructive fiend with a halo of glory, which has attracted the ardent, the ambitious, and the aspiring, to seek fame and fortune in its train,—and since so many in various ways are interested in its continuance 1 But still, it is of such ineffable importance to the interests of humanity, that the tremendous mischiefs of war should be avoided, that no plan which gives a fair promise of accomplishing this end should be pronounced impracticable, unless attended with difficulties in themselves essentially and necessarily insurmountable. And this few, we imagine, would venture to affirm respecting international arbitration.
No insuperable difficulty would be encountered in the selection of suitable persons for the office of arbitrators. Sovereigns of the greatest power, and statesmen of the highest rank, would not, we imagine, deem a trust so honourable beneath their attention. But monarchs, or the chief ministers of state, may not, perhaps, on some accounts, be deemed the most eligible. They may, from their official station, from being bound to a certain line of politics, from reasons of state, be thought less free than private individuals from such a previous bias as might interfere with a completely impartial decision. But are there not men to be found in every station, not only of acknowledged competency to understand the merits of any question of dispute which might arise, but who are also so generally known and esteemed for their high honour, their sense of justice, and their unimpeachable integrity, that not the least apprehension need be entertained in leaving to their decision affairs of the highest moment? And, admitting their liability to mistake,—which must be the case in a far higher degree with the interested and excited disputants themselves, it is scarcely possible to imagine a mistake, which, after mature deliberation, judicious and honourable men may make, the mischievous results of which could be compared with the consequences of a war.
As to the number of such umpires—the manner in which they should be chosen—whether they should constitute a board of appeal for a given time, or whether the choice should be only pro tempore, as occasions might arise,—these, with many other questions of mere arrangement, might well be left to the consideration of the contracting powers. If the principle were fully recognised, the details would present no serious difficulty.
The objection on which the greatest stress is sometimes laid, is, the impracticability of enforcing the decision of an international arbitration. But is not this impracticability more imaginary than real t Nations, as well as individuals, have a character to maintain, and with its due maintenance is connected, not only the national honour, but also the national interests. Among all civilized nations such are the reciprocal relations and the mutual intercourse, that every state is, to a certain extent, dependent on others. What nation can afford to lose its character for good faith and fair dealing? The anxiety of every government to sustain its honour in the eyes of the civilised world, is apparent from the laboured manifestoes which are drawn up and circulated when it is about to enter on war, or to do anything which may be deemed contrary to the existence of a treaty, or the general usage of states. And if a regard for integrity were insufficient of itself to prevent a breach of faith, is not the known dependence of a nation's interests on the maintenance of an honourable character an additional guarantee 1 And does not this constitute the great security which nations have for all their treaties 1 What reason is there to suppose, that while the binding nature of all other engagements is practically acknowledged, the solemn contracts of an arbitration would be disregarded?
It has been objected, that cases may occur, in which the national honour may be palpably injured, or the vital interests of a state so deeply affected, that, to submit to arbitration would be a degrading and dangerous concession. We reply, first, that it would be a dangerous admission, that on a provocation received, it is right for a state to plunge at once into war, without any effort to prevent so dire a calamity. And the objection would apply with nearly or quite as much force to negociation of any kind after the affront received. Secondly, such a procedure, as that which the objection supposes, could not with safety be adopted by any but a state quite equal in power to that of the aggressor. What could be expected from rushing into an unequal contest, but an aggravation of the wrong already received? And even in the case of an equality of power, such are the contingencies of warfare, that the probability is not small, that by staking the issue on a trial of strength, the state so jealous of its honour as to disdain an arbitration, might, after a ruinous contest, be compelled to abandon all its high pretensions, and to submit to the most mortifying terms of peace. But, thirdly, take the strongest case of this kind: a state of power and resources, such as would secure it from the probability of ultimate defeat, whatever force were brought against it, has received the provocation; would there be either danger or dishonour in having recourse to arbitration instead of war? If the wrong be so great and flagrant, and the offended state have right so clearly on its side, what need is there to fear the honest judgment of wise and friendly umpires? And instead of suffering in the estimation of other nations from this dignified moderation, would not the character of such a state, for justice and magnanimity be more fully established? And thus, while the nation might be saved, by the calm and deliberate judgment of an arbitration, from rushing into a war, which, in its cooler moments, it might deplore, its moral power would be increased, its influence throughout the civilized world strengthened, and consequently, its interests would be promoted.
It is, perhaps, scarcely to be expected, that a great number of states would at once become pledged to this pacific mode of settling their differences; but if a few—if only two of the leading powers were to form an engagement of this kind, is there not reason to believe, that the advantages so numerous and important, as they necessarily must be to the nations which had entered such a compact, would be so apparent, that the example would soon be followed, and that, at length, war would be universally desecrated as a monstrous and cruel barbarism 1 All honour to that state which shall lay the first stone in this temple of Peace; which, by a frank and cordial overture to other powers, shall take the initiative in substituting arbitration for war! A crown of glory, more radiant and imperishable than ever graced a conqueror's brow, awaits her; and unborn generations shall bless her memory!
The sum of our argument is this. Disputes among nations as well as individuals will arise. In every case of dispute, there is a truth, a right, somewhere. Brute force cannot discover where this truth or right lie3; deliberation may. Parties immediately interested cannot always settle their own differences. A reference of the disputed point to the decision of able and upright men is, therefore, the most likely means of coming to a correct judgment. There is no valid reason why nations should not adopt the principle of arbitration. No insurmountable difficulty exists. All that is requisite, is, that governments should be sincerely and cordially willing, in this rational way, to prevent future wars.
As, then, enlightened public opinion has, and must have, a strong influence on governments, the advocates of peace must bend all their efforts to create, and strengthen, and direct this power, and success will finally reward their labours.
Friends of the human race, go forward in your holy enterprise! The signs of the times encourage you. Pacific principles are rapidly gaining ground both in Europe and America. The demon visage of war has been unmasked, and the illusions which for ages gained for it admiration and honour, are, to a great degree, dispelled. The numbers who, in both hemispheres, condemn war, who long for universal peace, who believe that all national differences may be adjusted, and ought to be adjusted, without an appeal to arms, are constantly increasing. Whatever scorn, or sneers, or temporary failure attend your efforts, let them never cease, till the great object be accomplished; till that moral power which is stronger than the sword shall, under the guidance of Providence, and the blessing of heaven, entirely subdue the ferocious spirit of war, and "beat its swords into ploughshares, and its spears into pruning hooks!"
M. Hippolyte Bonnelier: The first question submitted to your consideration is that of arbitration, and I must confess that my position at this tribune is rather a difficult one, since I have always been an opponent of free-trade. The speaker then entered into some general remarks on the subject of peace, and concluded his oration in these words :—
Whatever may be the difference of opinions, it is my conviction that this Congress, assembled for the discussion of questions so important, will be a mighty precedent, a warning to all governments, a reproach to all ages which have not made sufficient efforts to. secure the welfare of the masses and the equitable distribution of the good things of life. We must boldly combat all those thoughts of egotism and systematic ignorance which will oppose our efforts. Now that progress is the order of the day, that the whole world is in motion, we have no right to remain behindhand. Be sure of this, gentlemen, that, by steady perseverance, you will succeed in crossing these social Alps, the last barrier of barbarism, and in instituting fraternal and universal association. Your assembly will remain a sublime precedent, whence will issue a ray of light which will lighten the whole world.
The Rev. John Burnet, of London, then rose and said :—
I rejoice to see so large an assembly collected in this great capital, on such an .important occasion as that which has brought us together to-day. This is a practical refutation of the slander so often circulated that France and England are natural enemies. [This remark drew forth loud cheers from the English, and when repeated in French by M. Coquerel, was met by enthusiastic applause.] You now perceive that both nations understand me, and that both nations understand each other. I have myself always regarded, and shall always regard, France and England as natural friends—and why should they not be so. Who likes to have, as next door neighbours, natural enemies? No one, unless he be a fool. Now France is not a fool—England is not a fool. No, they are two wise nations, and two near neighbours, and they are beginning to learn and to value the importance of living in brotherly friendship with one another. I like to see my plain-faced English brethren here, and my bearded French brethren here—and the more we have of this international communion, the more speedily shall we erase war from the face of Europe—for once let the combined opinion of France and of England be enunciated with one determined voice, that war is the great evil it is, and I should like to know what nation of Europe would go to war. France and England combined, not with force of arms, but with force of opinion, would stand the world. When people come to look at this question, we have been very frequently asked, " What is it you propose to do? Do you propose to disarm all the nations of those arms which have hitherto been sanctioned by public authority, and then to leave them to settle matters with those arms which individuals resort to in their street quarrels?" By no means ; we desire a recourse to no arms at all; we are quite as much opposed to battles with the fist as to battles with the bayonet; what we want is arbitration—we are not wild enough to suppose that human nature, just yet at all events, is likely to attain that state of pure perfection which would render even arbitration unnecessary— and therefore we say, let us have an arbitration for nations as for individuals—an arbitration in the hands of a selected tribunal, in whom the parties, in whom the world, have confidence, not whom, as in the case of war, men dislike, and fear, and distrust—a tribunal fair and honest, and well skilled in the affairs of the world, and in whose hands all reasonable men, however or by whomsoever aggrieved, shall be ready to leave the settlement of their differences. In what way can we justify the claim of war to superiority over arbitration in the settlement of national differences? In war the result depends upon the skill of the commanders and upon the courage of the troops, much more than upon the statesmanship of the cabinet or upon the justice of the case ; nay, it depends very often indeed upon the speed of the horses—yes, many a time have the affairs of a nation been settled by horse-flesh. Now, nothing can be more absurd, more unreasonable, less a test of right than this—strength is the real theory and practice of war, not justice; lesson after lesson has shown that, whatever the right sought to be asserted, the wrong sought to be redressed, war has generally very little to do with the vindication of justice. Is there anything new in this proposition to refer disputes to arbitration? By no means; even among barbarous nations it is the established practice for the chieftains to settle differences between their individual subjects by, perhaps strange, but still pacific means; in all civilised nations, I need hardly remind you, the civil disputes of individuals are settled as a matter of course by arbitration, the arbitration of the recognised tribunals. What we want to know is, why the disputes of nations should not be settled in like manner by arbitration, the work of a tribunal appointed by common consent, and sacred by common respect. Do the individual members of any nation desire that its tribunals should be set aside, and that their quarrels among themselves should thenceforward be settled by a recourse to arms, by an appeal to mere muscular strength, to brute courage? Surely not. No; we all venerate the tribunals of our countries; we wish them to continue ; we should tremble should they by any convulsion be overthrown or even menaced. In our civil affairs, in our private differences, we all have recourse to arbitration, and find arbitration to produce the desired result; this is a test of the intrinsic merit and value of arbitration, and we say simply this; let us enlarge the principle, and apply to nations that which has been so universally and so successfully applied to the individuals of whom nations are composed. Arbitration is the common cause of mankind: it is the course pointed out by the great Creator of us all, who manifestly designed not man to be a warlike being. Had he designed man to be a destructive animal he would have given him the claws of the lion, the teeth of the tiger. But, as it is, we cannot war, in the ordinary sense of the term, till we apply to the struggle artificial means, artificial skill, artificial weapons. Therefore, when we go to war, we not only war with one another, but we war with our great Creator. He made of one blood all the nations of men, designing us to dwell together in harmony on the broad and beautiful face of the earth as brethren, cherishing and cherished, and not as wild beasts, in antagonism.
This great peace question—this great constitutional question—has been taken up by some persons in a certain point of view, as though those who go the whole extent in it were resolved to admit no modification, and rather to give up the principle than to listen to any modification in others of the details. I myself am for peace, in the fullest sense of the word; I go the whole length of peace; I would not fight, whether I were able or not ; I would rather see arbitration take a wrong course in any particular instance ; I would infinitely rather have it decided against myself, in my own case, than be called upon to fight with the weakest adversary that might be presented to me. Yet, at the same time, there are many persons who cannot at present go with me this length, many who look forward to the wakening of public opinion to effect the ultimate triumph of the principle, but who cannot now commit themselves to it fully, out-and-out, in all its bearings. What are we to do with these friends? Are we to say that, because they will not go the whole way with us just now, they shall not stir an inch with us in the right path. Would this be a proper course—a kind course? No; let us rather welcome them the full distance they will go with us now, and rely upon the pleasantness of the road, as it developes itself, to induce them by-and-bye to accompany us throughout. Let there be no division of opinion among us so far as we walk together. In considering this question, we wish to consider it wholly and entirely upon the broad basis of a war question, and not as one relating to this or to that particular nation. We know that Europe has again and again been lit up with the hideous flame of war, but we wish to take none of the illustrations of our principle or of our views or proceedings from any particular war or wars. It is not necessary to go into a single detail, or refer to a single battle ; it is quite sufficient to know that great masses of mankind have lived hated by and hating one another; that war has from home to home spread its devastation throughout the nations of the world. We desire not to point to any particular nation or case that would create and leave feelings of a national kind in any man's mind, or arouse the associations of the politician or patriot. The question is a peace question here as well as on the field. We no more desire to create a conflict of opinion than we desire a conflict of arms. Our object is to take peace as it is, and to promote its extension to the utmost possible degree. Most glad and grateful are we to find France and Belgium joined with us in the noble work. Their two capitals have now entertained with hospitable welcome the members of this society: most certain are we that the capital of England will hold out a hand of welcome not less cordial. The peace men of England are bound to give you a hearty welcome ; we publicly pledge ourselves to it—and we trust that when the time shall come you will cordially accept the invitation. Let the peace principle, then, be regarded as our common standard ; let us cleave to it with all our hearts, determined to carry it through to its peaceful victory. It pleases me much to see the representatives of so many nations collected here together in the work of brotherly union—and it is of good auspice to look round on these flags of the nations, not raised against each other, but entwined in token of mutual kindness, peace, and trust, emblematic of that common friendship which here and elsewhere binds together the true friends of peace in all the lands which these colours picture forth.
I will not occupy more of your time. If, sir, I could command the French language as you command it—I should have been most glad to have addressed my French brethren in their own language, and would have expressed, as I now do in my own tongue, the delight I feel to see the two greatest nations in the world, aided by others, great, but not quite so great, the great and the small, the old and the young, the weak and the powerful, the rich and the poor, the forces of the sea and of the land, giving the aid of morals, of education, and science, to the advancement of peace, of morals, and of civilization.
At the conclusion of Mr. Burnet's speech, the session was suspended for ten minutes; after which,
M. De Guerroult rose and said :—
Gentlemen, I am not come hither to make a speech against war. Already an apology has been made for peace by orators whose language has rendered it unnecessary for me to make any further observations on that subject ; and all I wish is to make a few remarks on the first resolution, in the hope that this meeting will adopt some positive resolution calculated to bring about a practical result. Our honourable president has traced out for us the history of war, and led us to hope that the age of conquests is past. I have but one feature to add to the portrait he has drawn. In my opinion, the spirit of conquest has completely disappeared; and if a single nation of Europe still cherishes this spirit, it is carefully dissimulated. Nevertheless, war still exists in Europe: for the last eighteen months, the roar of artillery has been heard in many countries: and therefore the spirit of conquest cannot be the only cause of wars. At the present day, no one constituted government threatens another ; no constituted government seeks to enlarge its territories: and the causes of war must, therefore, necessarily be less numerous than they formerly were. The wars of the present day are not wars of ambition, they are wars of ideas ; they are no longer wars of nations agajnst nations, they are wars of peoples against governments. Mention has been made of arbitration: but this arbitration must be effected either by governments, or by specially appointed persons ; and if arbitration is entrusted to governments, what will be the result? The number of absolute governments being greater than that of free governments, the nations will be chained to servitude, condemned to an eternal slavery. If, on the other hand, arbitration be entrusted to commissioners, these will not have sufficient authority to carry into execution the decision they have pronounced. What, then, will be the practical solution? There is but one, gentlemen; there is but one method of putting an end to war, and that is the triumph of the principle of absolute governments, or of the principle of popular governments, and on the day when the people shall have definitively triumphed, on that day wars shall cease for ever.
Permit me, gentlemen, to sum up my opinion in two words. I ask the Congress of the friends of Universal Peace to invite the governments of France, England, Belgium, and America, to declare that the principle of the independence of nations shall henceforth serve as a basis for all future negotiations and treaties, and that these nations will use all their efforts to maintain this principle, and, in case of necessity, to maintain it by force. [Disapprobation.] I hear cries of disapprobation: the words, "by force," appear to be contrary to the spirit which has assembled us here ; but you will permit me this simple observation: If no nation ought to interpose in the conduct of other nations, I grant my words would be strange: but is this neutrality of which men speak, which men would impose upon us, is it observed by all? Is it observed by the government which recommends it? No: it is everywhere present, either by its armies or by its advisers. Ought we, shall we then remain passive spectators of an open intervention, observing alone a sterile neutrality. No, gentlemen: I am anxious to have peace, but I do not want it at any price: I wish to have peace founded on justice and on liberty.
M. Hippolyte Peut :—
Gentlemen, 1 have come hither deeply impressed with the conviction, that if you do not give a more practical character to your deliberations, you will never succeed. Without organization, the most beautiful speeches will be completely ineffective : and to act effectively you must employ efficacious means of action. You desire to destroy the organization of war, oppose to it the organization of peace. To secure the end we have in view, I beg leave to submit the following proposition :—
1. Every year, a Congress of the friends of Universal Peace shall assemble in some town in Europe which shall have been fixed upon, three months previously, by a permanent central committee. This central committee shall be elected, at the conclusion of each general Congress by the members present; and its business shall be to carry into execution the resolutions and decisions of the Congress.
2. Societies shall be immediately formed under the direction of the central committee in all the states of the civilized world, and in all the principal cities and towns of Europe.
3. These societies shall be arranged in district associations, and'each of them shall have its executive committee to attend to the business of the association. All these societies shall correspond with one another, but it shall be more particularly the duty of the district associations to correspond with the central committee.
4. Each member, on joining the association, engages to contribute, by all means in his power, to the development of the principles of the association, which are as follows: 1. The restoration of the religious principle in the public instruction and private life of citizens ; 2. The diffusion of knowledge by education, the dissemination of sound economic notions, and the press ; 3. The general, progressive and simultaneous disarmament of civilized nations; 4. The reform of custom-house duties, and the consecration of scientific, artistic, literary and industrial property ; 5. The extension of railroads, of the electric telegraph, and of all means of communication ; 6. The uniformity of weights and measures, coinage and postal duties; 7. The recognition and propagation of an universal language ; 8. The generalization and multiplication of all instruments of credit ; 9. The settlement of all international differences by mean's of arbitration.
5. To hasten the accomplishment of the object and the realization of the principles of the association, the following means shall be employed: 1. A premium shall be awarded to the inventor of the most powerful and rapid means of destruction ; 2. A tax of five centimes a week shall be levied upon each of the members of the society to pay the expenses incurred in correspondence, publications, and other charges.
6. The central committee shall have the administration of the funds of the association, to make use of them in the interest of the association, and shall give an account of the manner which they have employed them at the meetings of the general Congress.
The President: In accordance with our third rule, this proposition will be considered by the members of the Bureau. I may however observe, that M. Peut has done nothing more than reproduce the original programme of the Congress with some few additions.
Rev. Asa Mahan, President of the Oberlin Institute, Ohio, said :—
The object of the friends of peace is, as I understand the subject, not merely to abolish war, but to substitute in its place measures better adapted to secure the ends professedly sought by a resort to war, to wit, justice among nations. War has no tendency to serve this high end, and should therefore be wholly set aside as a means of adjusting questions of dispute between nations The great question before the Congress is, What are the measures which we, as a Peace Congress, shall recommend to the attention of nations as best adapted to secure the ends of justice, and thus constitute a sure basis for permanent and universal peace? The resolution under consideration recommends arbitration as the measure which nations shall adopt for obtaining the ends under consideration. Arbitration is a measure infinitely preferable to war, and would therefore receive my hearty commendation should the resolution under consideration be adopted by this Congress. Still there are, in my view, objections of fundamental importance against arbitration as the permanent and exclusive means of securing peace among nations. I would beg leave, on my own responsibility exclusively, and without committing at all any of my American associates to any sentiment I may express, to allude to some of these objections. Should any two nations assent to this measure as the means of adjusting any question in difference between them, the executive department of the government to whom the question is referred will of course be selected as the tribunal of adjudication in the case. This always has been the tribunal selected, and from the nature of the relations of governments to each other, always will be. The dignity of the governments at issue, as well as of that selected as the arbitrator, would be compromised by any departure from this principle. From the nature of its functions the executive is, of all other departments of government, best qualified to realise in its adjudications the only idea to be realized in the circumstances supposed to exist—the idea of justice among nations. The judiciary is the only department of government that represents this idea, and that is, from the nature of its high functions, qualified to do it. A tribunal equivalent to a judiciary, and having for its exclusive ends the realization of the idea of justice in its decisions, must be elected by the governments of the civilized world as the tribunal of appeal for the adjustment of questions in difference between them, if they would lay a sure foundation for permanent peace among themselves. The executive, on the other hand, is, and must be, chiefly controlled by other ideas than those of finance and of national policy. It would naturally be controlled by these ideas in its adjudications, rather than by the idea which, in the circumstances, ought to exclude all others—the idea of justice. In its relations to foreign powers, it is the treaty-making and treaty-executing power. Such relations are altogether unfavourable to adjudication upon our exclusive principle of the idea of justice. If the government selected s the tribunal of adjudication was at the time contemplating, as it might very probably be, the formation of an important treaty with one of the parties concerned, would it not be very strongly tempted, to say the least, to avoid giving offence to that party, even though justice would require it? Can we rationally hope that justice and peace can be secured by resort to a tribunal which, from the nature of its functions and relations, must be subject to such influences? Against the executive department of government, also, foreign power, if it exist at all, exists more than against all others. This, from the nature of its functions and relations, must be the case. This is a well-known and undeniable fact. It is the department, then, of all others, least adapted to secure the respect of nations in its adjudication when made, or confidence in it, as adapted to realise, as a tribunal of appeal, the ends of justice among nations Such are some of the objections existing in my mind against the principle of arbitration, excepting in a form in which some permanent tribunal of appeal shall be erected by the nations entering into a compact for permanent and universal peace among themselves—a tribunal whose exclusive functions shall be to adjust questions in difference between such nations in harmony with the idea of justice.
M. Coquerel gave a short summary in French of the Rev. Mr. Mahan's speech.
M. Jean Journet, a disciple of Fourier, delivered a speech marked by occasional bursts of eloquence, but which, as a whole, was so rambling and unconnected with the question under consideration, that it is not worthy of reproduction here. In consequence of the numerous political allusions made by this speaker, the president was frequently obliged to call him to order, and eventually to withdraw from him the right of speaking any longer.
Mr. Henry Vincent, of London :—
I am so overwhelmed by this magnificent demonstration, that I should not have ventured to address you at this time, had I not felt the importance of calling upon you to adhere closely to the resolution under discussion. But I cannot resist the opportunity of congratulating you upon this demonstration in favour of peace, held in the midst of civilized France, and in the noble city whose influence is felt in all parts of Europe. And it is well we are here—we who are a portion of the old Saxon race—to blend our influences with France in the noble effort now making to diffuse pacific principles throughout the world. This Congress represents two powerful parties—those who, like myself, hold that war, under all circumstances, is opposed to Christianity, and those who, from commercial, economical, and political reasons, and from motives of general philanthropy, regard it as the greatest social curse that can afflict the nations. We wish to gather the moral and intellectual influence of these two parties, and direct it into practical movements in favour of our noble principles. The arbitration question is now before you, and I regard it as a proposition that may be safely adopted by this Congress. We wish the quarrels of governments to be settled without an appeal to arms, and we think there is nothing utopian in this wish. Now, I caution you against discussing probabilities and difficulties that may or may not occur in the present state of public opinion. It is because difficulties exist that we are thus assembled in this Congress. Our design is to convince the governments and peoples that "arbitration" is more Christian, more humane, and more economical than war. This sentiment once created and diffused will soon devise the most effective method for accomplishing its object. I differ from my American friend who thinks we must necessarily discuss the details of our system here. That is the business of a smaller meeting. Our duty is simply to demonstrate the value of our principles ; and whenever governments are disposed to adopt them, other difficulties will immediately vanish. And may we not appeal to some extent to the practice of nations, civilised and savage? Arbitration always exists in one form or another ; but it is seldom used in time. I ask the illustrious orators and senators around me, whether war ever settled a single dispute? War complicates a quarrel, extinguishes a sense of justice, inflames old national animosities, creates new antipathies, enkindles unholy passions, wastes the resources of nations, and always retards rather than hastens the re-establishment of order. But arbitration must commence before peace can be restored. We say, therefore, that arbitration should precede a war, not follow it. We say that if but a small proportion of the effort expended upon war were expended upon the policy of arbitration, our victory would be complete. Our progress too, is so encouraging that we have the strongest faith in our future success. Already in the National Assembly of France—and in the Parisian press—are voices raised in response to our own. In the English Parliament our distinguished countryman, Richard Cobden, raised this question amid general sympathy. In spite of sneers from a few, he succeeded in fixing the idea in the mind of parliament, and in securing for it the most respectful attention at the hands of the existing ministry; and I, who know something of the spread of public opinion, know of no cause that has lately made more way in England than this. Encouraged by what we have done, let us advance. Let this great Congress influence our zeal. Let those who believe in the essential sinfulness of all war rejoice with me in the rapid diffusion of our principles, and in the fact that the great moral unsectarian truths of the gospel are at the basis of this movement, and see how all the intellectual and material influences of the age are working with us. Education aids in the work of civilization, and makes inroads upon the domain of brute force. Science, in ministering to the wants and comforts of man, aids us in our great endeavour. The free-trade policy, that everywhere growa in public esteem, calls the commercial and industrious spirit to our side. That steam power that wafted us in one day from London to Paris is our friend—it breaks down the barriers of distance and time—it runs nation into nation, annihilating and scattering national hatreds around it. Take courage, then: all modern influences are with us; and this Congress will aid in blending the moral power of France and England together until these great nations are united in the holy resolve to give, by the force of their example and teaching, civilization and peace to the world. Through the power of our glorious principles we shall outlive the cry of " Utopian," and prove that nothing can be Utopian that is based upon the eternal laws of God, and upon the progressive characteristics of one common race.
M. Guyard then read a speech, in which he developed the numerous advantages of peace, and expressed the hope that for the future, the friends of universal peace would use no other arms than persuasion.
R. Cobden, Esq , M.p., then rose and said in French: I wish to make a few remarks upon an observation made by the Rev. Mr. Mahan, of America, who has just addressed the Congress. I shall, however, speak in English, as I am anxious that the Americans present should perfectly understand what I have to say. The honourable gentleman then continued in English :—
With regard to the objection made by Mr. Mahan to arbitration on account of the difficulties of detail, and his proposition for the establishment of a permanent tribunal to decide all questions of dispute, I would wish to observe that his proposal is based upon a wrong supposition. We do not proposa to constitute the executive department of government arbitrators in differences between nations. We should wish to appoint arbitrators to suit each particular case ; for instance, in a question of military or naval etiquette a general or an admiral might be selected, in a commercial matter a merchant, and so on. For my own part, I can see no objection whatever to arbitration under these circumstances; and I hope these few remarks will serve to remove some of the difficulties anticipated by our friend, who I am glad to find aoes not object to arbitration, if it be practicable.
The President then said, as no other persons had requested to be allowed to speak on this question, he would put the resolution to the meeting, and thus terminate the proceedings for the day.
The first resolution was then adopted unanimously, and the meeting dissolved.
The President took his seat at half-past twelve o'clock.
The President, after declaring that the proceedings of the day had now commenced, said: I have received from Mr. Bodenstedt, a German member of the Congress, addresses of sympathy with the Congress from the six following towns of Germany: Berlin, Breslau, Dantzic, Cassel, Calvet, and Lansberg.* [* See Appendix.] These addresses will be printed in the report of our proceedings. I have now to propose that the thanks of the Congress be voted to the six towns above-named.
Thanks were voted unanimously.
M. Coqtjerel announced that by order of the Minister of Public Works, all the national palaces and other public establishments in Paris, would be thrown open to the foreign members of the Congress on presentation of their cards.
This announcement was received with loud acclamations, and the thanks of the Congress were immediately and unanimously voted to M. Lacrosse for his kindness.
The President announced that three propositions had been laid on the table. The first was made by M, Gueroult to the following effect: "The Congress will invite all governments to proclaim the principle of the independence of nationalities, and to cause it to be respected by all means in their power." The second by M. Feline was as follows: "Governments will be invited not to interfere in the internal affairs of nations." The third by M. Gustave d'Eichthal was in these terms: "The Congress will invite the Governments of the European States, and of the Ottoman Empire, to take the necessary steps for constituting Jerusalem a neutral city, open for all kinds of religious worship." These propositions will be submitted to the Bureau for examination.
The President then announced that the discussion would open on the second resolution, viz :—" It is of the highest importance to call the immediate attention of governments to the necessity of a general and simultaneous disarmament, not only as a means of reducing the vast expenditure devoted to the support of standing armies and navies, but also of removing a permanent cause of disquietude and irritation from among the nations."
M. Athanase Coquerel, member of the French National Assembly, and vice-president of the Congress :—
The question submitted to us for discussion to-day is that of the general, simultaneous, and progressive disarmament of the nations of Europe. Before proceeding to an examination of its merits, permit me to give utterance to a deep feeling of surprise and emotion which for the last two days has filled my whole mind. We behold assembled within these walls, between seven and eight hundred citizens of England or of the United States, many of whom are members of the legislatures of those great countries: they have come hither, across the Atlantic Ocean or the British Channel, for the purpose of holding a Peace Congress amongst us, the most warlike nation of the old world,—in the midst of a city which contains some of the proudest monuments ever erected to military glory,—under the shadow, as it were, of that column, which we simply call the column, because that name is sufficient to designate it,—not far from the most prodigious triumphal arch which exists in the whole world, and which is covered on every side with souvenirs of immortal victories. Certainly, you will agree with me, that our English and American friends have performed an act of true courage; it required courage to come and propose to Frenchmen a project for permanent and universal peace; it required courage to speak to a nation against a thing that it loves, and our reputation as lovers of war is universal. But whence have the friends of peace derived this courage? From faith. They have faith in their idea, and they know its mighty power ; they can believe, and the strength* of their convictions has supplied them with energy to cross the seas and to come and sound the praises of peace in ears so long accustomed to listen to nought but panegyrics of war. They can believe, and, pardon me for saying it, this is a quality in which France is very deficient; we believe but little, and that, feebly ; we do not believe with firmness and perseverance; we have not sufficient faith in an idea, even though it appear just, or in a principle, even when we allow it to be true ; and from this feebleness, this indecision of our persuasions, it results that we treat our principles just as we treat our public buildings—we begin, but we rarely finish. Let us imitate the noble example that is set before us; let us have confidence in the thought, which, though new to our country, is in theory and in fact irresistible and impregnable, which we have met in this building to proclaim, and let us not abandon it. This thought, thrown out like the grain from the hand of the sower, will become fruitful, provided we let it take root, provided we plough the furrow to the end ; and then, with time, the little seed, though long invisible to the prejudiced eyes of men, will grow under the influence of the sun's rays, and become a magnificent tree, under the shade of which all nations shall dwell together in peace.
One of the most certain means to ensure the fructification of the ideas advocated by this Congress, is that which is indicated by the question now under discussion: a general disarmament of the European nations. The history of our country furnishes in support of this clause of the resolutions to be submitted to you, an argumentand a precedent which appear to me of great force. We have invented many things in France, and, amongst others, we invented standing armies. Now that which constitutes a regular, disciplined, standing army, is not merely the courage of the soldiers, or the skill of the generals, or the military spirit of the nation; money is, in many different senses, the sinews of war, and that which constitutes a standing army is the pay, the wages furnished from the national exchequer, and put down under the head of national expenditure. This pay is also a French invention. It was during the reign of Charles VII.,—and I ought perhaps to beg the pardon of my British audience for recalling this circumstance,—at the States General of Orleans, in 1439, that the first funds, destined to retain under their standards the thenceforward regular troops, were voted ; and from this moment we date the existence of standing armies in Europe. Now, what is the true character of this measure? Do not say that I speak paradoxically, before I have had time to explain my meaning. This measure was the first disarmament. Before this epoch, every man was a soldier ; every vassal was bound to serve under the banners of his feudal lord; all the feudal lords, issuing forth from their strongly-fortified castles, were incessantly at war either with their neighbours or with foreign enemies, and their serfs had to fight in their train ; so that war was continually waged between province and province, between nation and nation, and sometimes between race and race. Now, wars are waged only between army and army ; now, war, at least as it is understood, permitted, and practised by civilized and Christian nations, involves in its terrible necessities none but military men, and nothing but military munitions.—(Question.) The institution of permanent armies then had the effect of disarming nations ; we have now to enter upon a new path, to make a great step forwards, and to disarm armies. But if this progress were made with prudent slowness, if it were unanimously agreed on by all nations, would it induce the perilous result of leaving our frontiers without defence, and depriving us of all means for maintaining internal order? Not at all: if progressive and simultaneous, disarmament would entail neither of these fatal consequences, and I do not fear to say that France ought to set this example to the world, because, of all nations, France can most easily brave the risks, if any, attendant on such a measure, and avert them in time. A very simple reason will suffice to prove this.
We have all learnt many things in these eventful days; the times in which we live are times in which instructions and apprenticeships are rapidly gone through, in which we are often forced to form an idea or an opinion upon a subject with which we thought we should never have any thing to do. I have learnt very little of strategy and tactics; but I have received a few easy lessons in the art of war from men well acquainted with it, and I have learnt this, that a man and a gun do not make a foot soldier any more than a man and a horse make a horse soldier ; and that consequently men and cannon do not constitute artillery, neither do men with axes, gabions, fascines, and so on, form an engineering corps. What is it that is required? Instruction, practice, discipline, taste for the occupation, love of the standard, and of all people in the world the French can most quickly become soldiers. A Frenchman understands and learns the art of war sooner than any other man ; sometimes even he knows it by intuition. All our history attests the truth of this statement, and without going very far back into the annals of our country, call to mind only the events that took place when the whole of Europe was leagued against us and conspired to crush our rising liberties ; remember how, at that time, our country improvised fourteen armies at once, and with these soon contrived to improvise immortal victories which saved at once our country and its liberty. What France has done, France can do again; she could again summon to her aid this warlike promptitude, if it were needful; and therefore France would be the least exposed to danger by giving the initiative to a movement of simultaneous and progressive disarmament; and when this principle had once been carried into effect, if, which Heaven forefend, the world wished to re-arm, to leave the system of peace, and return to the sad method of war, to re-establish those immense military forces whose maintenance crushes her, and appeal again to the chance and the judgment of battles, France, you may be sure, would be the first to have her army in the field. If these arguments and these provisions are correct, what scruples of patriotism can prevent our adopting the principle contained in the resolution? If we have confidence in the moral, religious, and even political value of the principle of a permanent and universal peace, let us have confidence in the future. Without staying to consider one by one the various methods which might be suggested for carrying it into execution, I will just make a few observations upon that baneful objection which is incessantly being urged against us, I mean impossibility. To this objection the entire history of humanity in all ages furnishes a most striking answer; we may say, that history is its best refutation; I defy you to cite to me a single instance, in all the annals of this world, in which a great social or religions amelioration was not called impossible when it first appeared. Look at Christianity ; in the midst of ancient idolatry and pagan materialism, it was necessary to implant in all minds the profound, immense, and incomprehensible idea of the existence of a single Godhead—a pure, eternal, infinite spirit—and to convince mankind that man is not simply material, but that his true existence is not the life which he lives here, but the immortality which awaits him after his death. It was declared that it would be impossible to popularise such lofty doctrines: look around you; men who know nothing else, know that there is a God, and the youngest of orphans, when he seeks for his father or mother, raises his eyes to heaven, and doubts not his cherished parents are awaiting him there. Take another instance, look at slavery: the two greatest philosophers of Greece, Plato, and Aristotle, in their ideal republics, introduced slavery as an indispensable element of political order; and at Rome, the elder Cato, that austere representative of all the progress of his age, proclaimed in the senate that social order could not exist without slavery. That which was impossible has come to pass; who now defends slavery? And do you not think that it will speedily disappear from the world which its existence dishonours? All the conquests of our first revolution, all those liberties without which we cannot conceive of the possibility of political life, were declared at their origin as nothing but impracticable utopias. And religious tolerance, liberty of conscience, mutual respect of religious belief, how many times, in the midst of the most horrible religious wars, in the midst of all forms of persecution, in the midst of scaffolds and stakes, has it not been maintained that all these peaceful conquests were impossible? At the present day, I need quote neither the code of our laws nor the articles of our constitution ; it suffices for me to cast a glance beside me and to tell you that at this moment a Protestant minister is speaking in the presence of one of the most distinguished of Catholic ecclesiastics. Peace in the world will one day be impossible just in the same way as Christianity, as liberty, as the right of serving God according to our conscience. To these assertions, to these hopes, it is answered, not without disdain, that we are not practical men ; objectors always come back to the idea of impossibility, they delight in it, they cherish it, they return to it by a thousand ways; they make a sort of apotheosis of it; they make of it a fatal divinity, and adore it, and we must confess it is a very goodnatured deity, and its worship is easy and convenient; but it is not a God whom we would serve. According to our profound conviction, nothing is impossible but that which is false, which is bad, which is anti-human and anti-christian. But everything that is true and good, everything that is Christian and Divine is possible ; if it were not so, we could do nothing but despair, the way of progress would be closed for ever to man, and to sum up all in one word, man would be no longer man, and God no longer God.
On leaving the tribune M. Coquerel cordially shook hands with M. Deguerry, an act which elicited much applause.
Mr. W. H. Suringar, of Amsterdam, vice-president of the Congress :—
It is one of the wise ordinances of Divine Providence that the present generates the future, just as the past has brought forth the present. We should therefore, before commencing any new enterprise, carefully study the past, that we may avoid its errors, and profit by its example. I reside in Holland, the country of Hugo Grotius, and of the learned Gabinus de Wal. The latter, some forty years ago, published a dissertation in the Latin language, " On the alliance of nations for the promotion of perpetual Peace." A copy of this work has been given to me for presentation to the Congress, by the son of the author, Mr. John de Wal, Professor of Jurisprudence at Ley den. The few remarks which I have to submit to you will be of a practical nature, and I shall briefly touch upon the various topics contained in the resolutions to be submitted to your consideration. Although I am sceptical with regard to the possibility of the total abolition of war, and the establishment of permanent and universal peace, I nevertheless feel persuaded that the efforts made by the friends of peace will exercise a great moral influence all over the world, and that if their ideas be propagated and popularised extensively, they will at length succeed in convincing the nations and their rulers that peace is one of the precious bounties of the Almighty, that it confers the greatest blessings on mankind, and that therefore peace must henceforth become the general rule, and war only an exception. I fully concur in the proposition for a general, simultaneous and progressive disarmament. To this plan it will be probably objected that governments are anxious to disarm, that our efforts are unnecessary, and that our rulers are the best judges of the proper time for effecting so desirable a change. We answer, that our respective governments are all inclined to keep up strong armies, and that, even supposing they admitted our principle to be a correct one, they certainly would wait until Europe were in a less disturbed state than at present. In the mean time, we must prepare the way for peace ; we must send the olive-branch and dove to all parts of the world, we must use constant and unremitting exertions, or the desirable moment for disarming will be adjourned sine die. With regard to arbitration, I readily admit that it is attended with many and serious difficulties ; that cases may arise in which nations will refuse to submit to the decisions of the arbitrators. But, notwithstanding all this, every reasonable and reflecting man must, on viewing the waste of life and treasure caused by war, be convinced, that even a disadvantageous treaty is better than the most splendid victory. Besides, a good cause is frequently overcome by superior force, for war is but the right of the strongest. Whilst advocating arbitration, therefore, we should earnestly pray that its decisions may ever be on the side of justice and of truth. A great obstacle to the progress of our cause at the present day is the bad education which, in this respect, is given to our youth. They are shown the glorious trophies of victories by sea and land ; warriors are held up to them as the most worthy models for their imitation; and they are told that to die on the field of battle, is the most glorious and enviable lot that can befal a mortal. This is a melancholy fact, gentlemen ; but the evil can be remedied, and this one of the first points to which we should direct our attention. The New Testament commands us to love one another ; the God whom we serve is a God of peace and mercy. All the duties imposed on us as regards our neighbours and our fellow-men, are summed up in love ; and our Divine Master, when on earth, declared, "Blessed are the peace-makers!" Our prayers for the advent of peace upon the earth will come up before his throne with more acceptance than those which are offered up to implore His blessing on a nation's arms, and grant them success in battle. In conclusion, we are here assembled in large numbers to promote peace ; let us remember, at this solemn moment, the words of our Saviour, and may they find an echo in our hearts: "This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. Ye are my friends, if ye do "whatsoever I command you." May the Almighty bless us, and crown our labours with success!
M. Francisque Bouvet, member of the French National Assembly, and vice-president of the Brussels Peace Congress :—
Gentlemen, one of the rules of this Congress forbids all allusion to the politics of the day. This is perhaps requiring the physician to heal the wound without either seeing or touching it. I asked of my conscience whether, by conforming strictly to this regulation, I could, on the one hand, speak advantageously in this assembly, and on the other hand, whether in my capacity of a politician and representative of a sovereign people, I ought to submit my independence to so rigorous a rule, and thus furl the flag of my opinion. My conscience answered me in the negative. I will not therefore dissimulate the embarrassment which I feel in reconciling my personal position with the circumstances in which I am placed. If I succeed in doing so, it will be with the indulgence of the Congress, and I will strive to deserve your favour by my moderation. I will never be a subject of discord to the friends of peace. Yesterday, under the painful impression of a melancholy piece of intelligence, I declined the honour of opening the discussion on the question of arbitration. I must confess that, for a moment, it appeared to me impossible for a French tongue to pronounce the holy words of peace on the day when the news arrived at Paris, that the Hungarians had been forced to give up the noble and heroic struggle they were maintaining for the legitimate independence of their country, while at the same time Venice is writhing in the agonies of certain death, and the Roman Republic, stricken to the heart, is perishing together with the last hopes of Italy. If, therefore, I present myself at this tribune, it is out of deference to those friends who thought that I ought not to abstain from the discussion, since I was the first to bring the question before the parliament of this country, and make it descend from the intellectual heights of philosophy, into the domain of positive legislation and social practice. And besides, however deplorable may be the events that can retard the pacification of the world by reviving a species of authority which only reigns during the dissensions of nations, I grant this is no reason why the friends of peace should give up their work of propagation. This work remains stedfast as their convictions, and the instruction which proceeds from this Congress is another protest on the part of justice and equity, against despotism and brute force. But it is plain that peace cannot exist where a nation is enslaved : peace is to be found nowhere but in human liberty, and a community of interests. Our honourable vice-president, M. Coquerel, is correct in his statement that France was the first to have standing armies; he might have added that since the time of Louis XIV. these armies have continually increased in magnitude. The illustrious Montesquieu early observed this fatal tendency, which was called the balance of power and the maintenance of the political equilibrium of Europe. "The princes of our days," said he, "are seized by a fatal madness. They vie with one another in maintaining large standing armies, and by following such a course must infallibly end by ruining their peoples." This prediction is only too true; the enormous debts of the states of Europe, and the immense sums annually expended for warlike purposes, are a melancholy proof of its correctness. But I do not agree with M. Coquerel when he says that France ought to give at once the precept and the example of disarmament. I think that disarmament should be simultaneous on the part of the various powers, and that it can only be effected under the protection of a general Congress of international jurisdiction.
Gentlemen, the idea of an international jurisdiction is simple in its nature. A very little reflection will convince us that where no justice exists, there we shall always meet with the strife of passions and the clash of individual interests. "A tribunal for the nations!" says some one ; "that surely is an utopian idea! a dream!" But it appears to me, that it must have been much more difficult to organize the administration of civil justice, during the times of barbarism, than it would be now to constitute a court to secure the peace of nations if governments would only assist in its constitution. "There are insurmountable obstacles in the way," adds the objector. But where are these obstacles? Are they to be found in any natural hostility of nations to one another? Are they concealed in any antagonism of national interests? For my own part, I think not. If the peoples destroy each other, it is the fault of the governments, which do not wish to have a supreme court of justice set over them. The fundamental cause of every war consists in the necessity in which all unintelligent despots are placed, of maintaining bodies of soldiers on their frontiers for the purpose of keeping within the interior of their states that progress of minds and of institutions which they ought to favour, and to direct constantly towards the amelioration of the condition of mankind.
This, gentlemen, in my opinion, is the principal cause of war, and I deduce from it this consequence,—that where the cause of democracy is lost, there also is lost the sacred cause of peace. M. Suringar frequently repeated that you must be respectful in giving your advice to governments. I agree with him in this. But you will address yourselves with much more profit to the peoples themselves ; for, believe me, sovereigns will only yield to the spirit of peace under the pressure of public opinion from without. Does any one wish to prove that I am in error? I earnestly entreat him to try to disprove my opinion. But I have seen the whole world for many long centuries in the hands of the governments to which I allude; they have made it a continually bleeding victim, and the peace which they gave it, when they were tired of war, was, alas! the peace of the tomb. The least sceptical of our opponents allege another objection to the establishment of an international jurisdiction. According to these, the proposition is always unseasonable ; above all, we must never speak of peace during a time of war. You, gentlemen, do not participate in this opinion. Shall we delay to declare which party is in the right, until the blind fortune of battles has shewn which party is the strongest? For my part, I think not; it is precisely when arms are taken up on both sides, when dreadful war displays her bloody banner, and prepares to ravage the earth, that we should step in and settle the dispute by the moral authority of justice and of reason. "The time has not come yet," it is said: "the era of peace is reserved for a brighter and better period." To this I answer, that justice and equity belong to all times. Truly there are circumstances more or less favourable to the attainment of such a grand result; such opportunities have been presented to France at times when God seemed to place in her hands the destinies of the world, and France,—I say it with grief,—France neglected to use them; she abandoned the cause of the peoples, and perhaps committed the crime—but a French tongue may not pronounce the word which presents itself to my mind, for the word would be a curse. We ought, after the revolution of February in particular, we ought to have been inspired by that grand providential event, by the spirit of peace and fraternity which was its soul, to propose to the peoples to make their governments accept a means of general and definitive pacification. This means should have been the establishment of an international jurisdiction, based upon public universal law. Yes! it was then the duty of a great nation, of a generous people, a powerful initiator, the same whom Shakspeare has called the true soldier of God, to make the armed Sicambrian of the North, if necessary, bow his haughty head before this imposing device: Justice for the nations! Was this result judged impossible? It was because we are devoid of conviction ; because scepticism and the spirit of intrigue are the moving principles of our statesmen; because material interest and personal pride sway their actions. Ah! if we had faith in the destiny promised to the human family, in the reign of the Father, we should not think it impossible to wage a holy crusade on behalf of the living justice of Christ, in the country whence formerly proceeded the armies of crusaders who went to secure the simple conquest of his sepulchre and his cross.
However, gentlemen, let the friends of civilization be on their guard for European society; at this moment it is in the greatest danger. The prophecy of the Emperor Napoleon is something more than a chimera ; it is the presage of genius ; it is a luminous lighthouse erected on the horizon, and enlightening the vast battle-field on which, perhaps, will soon be fought the last fight between the barbarism of the North and the civilization of the West. This is, I repeat, a double and fearful danger, for moral authority may be forced to yield together with liberty, and both may behold themselves hurled down into an abyss similar to that of the middle ages, but without their unsophisticated infancy and without their religion. This is the extremity which we should foresee,and from which European society can escape only by means of a common jurisdiction, which, acting as their pivot and their light, should maintain their unity, and prevent them from falling foul of one another in that road along which we see them dragged towards an unknown future.
Some governments, of late, seem to understand the necessity of which I speak; this supreme necessity for union which gives strength by disciplining the faculties; but if they understand the necessity, they desire union for their own benefit, and against other nations. This is the work, which at this very moment, they are trying to do, by setting up at Rome a phantom of temporal papacy made in their image, in the monarchic image of those princes of the earth, who, according to the words of Scripture, "govern the nations with empire." Such is not the unity destined to secure the salvation of the world! What we need for the salvation of society is not unity in the flesh of a man, but unity in the represented mind of all men. We need a grand, majestic, and intelligent institution, endowed with a moral authority, capable of obtaining the homage and commanding the respect of modern nations. If the governments of Europe are willing to unite heartily to secure the peace of the world, if they are desirous of beholding the reign of true moral authority, let them convoke the oecumenical councils of Christendom, the faithful and universal representatives of the nations, which they have suppressed, in order to materialize the spirit of Christianity in the person of a mighty and crowned pontiff. Shall I tell you, gentlemen, where wars and internal revolutions will find their grave? In oecumenical councils. Wars and revolutions have proceeded, by way of desertion, from the very bosom of the last councils of the Catholic church, in which liberty of discussion was prohibited. We have seen them issue from the obscurity of the middle ages, by the light of the stakes erected for the punishment of heresy in the sixteenth century. Since that period, the spirit of life has been separated from the spirit of order. The one has gone through the world scattering abroad a frequently uncertain light, creating religious reform and philosophy, and thus giving rise to revolutions always incomplete and often deceptive in their results. The other has remained isolated in its see of Rome, sustained by the pagan arm of political monarchies, growing feebler every day, like a tree without sap, whose foliage has dropped off through old age, and whose trunk may indeed still offer some resistance to the storm, but can no longer yield a tutelary shelter to society. The question being thus stated, the solution of the problem is clearly indicated. We must restore with the elements of modern civilization, those grand, deliberative, and judicial assemblies, which foimerly existed in Christendom, and thither we shall see returning from all sides, like bees laden with booty to the common hive, the different elements of social order, religious, scientific and economic, to form, in a holy association, the positive religion of nations. Then will an universal disarmament take place—then will be founded permanent peace among all nations!
Mb. H. Vincent then came forward and addressed the meeting as follows:—
Mr. President, ladies, and gentlemen,—The proposition before the Congress involves the question of a general disarmament, and I rejoice to be able to give this proposition my support, because I regard the great question of giving efficacy to moral power, as contradistinguished from the reign of brute force, to be the grand design of this assembly. But I feel that in attempting to attain this great result we have to controvert not only the general opinion of mankind, but we have to run counter to the general teaching of history, and to some of the grandest associations that have ever been thrown around the past life of nations. But feeling that in the development of the great moral principles of Christianity lies our strength—feeling that in the diffusion of those moral principles we have a certain guarantee for the ultimate triumph of our cause—feeling that just in proportion as civilization spreads among mankind, and as intelligence diffuses itself among the masses of the people, just in that proportion must brute force decline,—I have confidence in the future, and believe that the grand idea inaugurated in this Congress will one day reign supreme in the universal heart, and preside over the legislation of all nations. For, friends, what is it that we do when we maintain the existence of large armies in these great civilized countries? We not only overburthen the citizens with large and oppressive taxes—we not only embarrass the diplomacy of governments, by keeping in existence masses of men whose interests must run to some extent in a military direction—but we help to keep alive the passion of war, and to inflame the public mind with grand military displays. We put our faith in the sword as the ultimate arbitrator between nation and nation. We indoctrinate our young people with this baneful philosophy; we inflame even the ardent imaginations of women—those imaginations that ought to be centred around all that is lovely, and holy, and generous. We inflame, I say, the ardent imaginations of the tenderest and most lovely portion of the human race, until the earth is impregnated with the bloody philosophy, and until peoples and rulers are alike infected by the common insanity. Good citizens must alter the public sentiment, and try to impregnate the minds of men with the holy spirit of our common Christianity, to garland philosophy, literature, poetry, and all the holy domestic associations around that grand cause and effect the general disarmament of the civilized world. And, friends, do not tell me that I announce an utopian idea. What! is the brotherhood of humanity utopian? Is it utopian to believe in the spirit of love? Is it utopian to believe in the principles of justice? Is it utopian to believe in the spirit of equity? Is it utopian to believe in the spirit of commerce? Is it utopian to believe in the power of science? Is it utopian to believe in the power of education? I say, these things will destroy the brute power of the world. We are preaching by the pen and book against the bayonet. An ounce of intellect shall be better than a pound of shot. Well, then, my wish is, in the first place, that you should assent to this proposition for a general disarmament, because hitherto nations and governments have argued that it is necessary to maintain a force in their respective countries, that shall counterbalance the force that exists in other countries. Well, then, here we come with a practical proposition; we say to the government of England—we say to the governments of Europe—reduce the number of your armed men; enable an additional number of men to be engaged in the works of productive industry ; for remember an army is not only mischievous because it influences the public passions with an attachment to the detestable spirit of war, but every soldier maintained, even according to the policy of our warlike statesmen, beyond what is absolutely necessary for the preservation of peace, is so much labour subtracted from the useful, healthy pursuits, of industrial life. Whence come the debts and taxes of the world? Have they not all come from war? Tell me not of our militar)' trophies. I never gaze upon any in England without feeling that they are standing mementos of the folly of my countrymen. I long for the time when those traces of past folly may be effaced, and when a more Christian civilization shall take their place. And I say, dear friends, that our first duty is, for the sake of the over-burthened and overtaxed people of the world, to reduce the number of our armed men. I do not believe that it is possible that you and the other nations can be maintained in the condition of peace which ought to exist, unless both governments and peoples with a true, large, catholic spirit of generosity, embrace this proposition ofreduciug the number of their armed men.
Friends, it is impossible to estimate the loss that the world suffers because of the maintenance of the soldiery system. It is not merely the building of barracks and castles, it is not merely the erection of fortifications, it is not merely the clothing and feeding of the men engaged, it is the damage done to trade and commerce that strikes us in the tenderest place. And, gentlemen, it will indeed be glorious if this Congress results in the general application to the governments of Europe ; and if the storm that has lately threatened the nations should pass away, it will be one of the holiest and grandest and noblest designs that can be afforded, if the rSign of partial peace shall affirm and consolidate that peace upon a firmer and more enduring basis, by adopting the proposition now submitted for consideration. And, friends, we believe that in England we have made large advances in this direction ; and I trust I may say, which I do with great deference in the presence of the hon. gentlemen who surround me, that if only France and England can combine on this great question, we may set an example to the world that will be universally followed. Yes, we have faith in the generous sensibility of the French nation. We have faith in the noble civilizing tendencies of this country ; and this important Congress is a proof that the civilized citizens of Paris, those at least who have thought upon this great subject, are willing not only to give us audience, but to ratify with their ardent applause the sentiments we have the honour to propound. For the sake, then, of religion, for the sake of social order, for the sake of liberty, for the sake of economy, for the sake of trade and commerce, I ask you to pass this resolution with earnest enthusiasm. And if you are charged with advocating anything ntopian, if men come to you and say, " You cannot succeed, you will not succeed," why ask them, who can succeed until he tries? Who can obtain success but the man who deserves it by the rectitude of his principles and the earnestness of his advocacy? If we hold right principles we must succeed; if our policy is in unison with these principles we must succeed. I have seen, in my own country, one distinguished gentleman, who is now on the platform surrounded by others, who is a proof of what can be done by the force of public opinion. Need I remind you that one of the grandest economical aud commercial movements ever accomplished in England, was achieved by the power of the book and the pen, by the earnest simplicity, the noble-hearted zeal, of Richard Cobden and his colleagues? And that, gentlemen, indicates the hour it is upon the world's clock. It proclaims, that henceforth whatever impediments may lie in our way, the true policy of the nations is to mingle their sympathies, to mingle their interests, to mingle their affections, until a fusion shall take place, that shall end in promoting the fusion of all races and all towns. Not succeed! We must succeed ; and they who suppose we have not contemplated the difficulties, know not the men who have undertaken this great cause. We see the difficulties, and are resolved to encounter them. We must, to do this, have the full aid of public opinion. For understand this: the fault has not been exclusively with governments; the people have been wrong too ; for rely upon it, that the people must be wrong, or the governments would be right. Proceed on your course, and you will have with you the sympathies of all enlightened governments, as well as of those of the people.
M. Jules Avigdor, of Nice :—
So many eminent men have taken part in the discussion of the question which now occupies our attention, that I should not have ventured to speak after them, did I not feel convinced that the few observations I have to offer will be favourably received by an audience so indulgent as that which I have the honour of addressing. I may as well say at once that I do not entirely concur in all the resolutions which are to be proposed to us. I do not say that we are taking a wrong road, but only it is rather a round-about one. Whilst occupied in the discussion of the theoretical aspect of the question, we seem to be forgetting the practical part of it. It is proposed to avoid war, that barbarous custom, condemned alike by religion, philosophy and interest, by the substitution of international arbitration in its place, and the compilation of a code of laws for the adjustment of disputes between nations. This is an excellent proposition ; but it appears to me, that before we seek for means to abolish war, we should teach men of all nations to detest it. If the people do not unite to condemn war, the governments will not attempt to put an end to it; and our first business should therefore be to extinguish that love of war which is so prevalent amongst mankind. We should endeavour to make the nations understand that it is their interest to live in peace; that not only do philosophers and moralists inveigh against the horrors and the evils of war, but that great commanders after the glory of victory has ceased to dazzle their eyes, regret the success which has attended their arms, when they consider the waste of life and property which has attended it. What man can behold the miseries which war is even now bringing on Hungary and Italy, without feeling an ardent desire spring up within him to prevent the return of such terrible calamities? Let us raise the standard of agitation in every part of the world. Let us call the pen and the press to our aid. Let subscriptions be opened, and committees be organized in all our cities and towns: and finally, let all our moral and industrial efforts tend towards the accomplishment of our holy and sublime object, and in a few years, the victory will be on our side. The means of success which are in our hands are numerous. We must advise governments to grant to their subjects all such liberties as are compatible with the spirit of order and of internal progress. We must bring al out a reduction of our public expenditure ; and we must have every nation restored to its true nationality. Our present systems of taxation must be reformed ; and we must advocate the creation of establishments for the maintenance of man in infancy and old age. When we have done this, we shall have given a death-blow to war ; murder and pillage will not then be transformed, as they have been in days gone by, and even at the present time, into virtue and glory. Let us content ourselves then, without embarrassing ourselves with tracing out exact theories of pacific legislation, with the promulgation of useful truths amongst men, and let us strive to support these truths by practical facts. Political liberty for all nations ; liberty of religious belief; the most generous public assistance for all men ; the extension of all material progress, such are the foundations upon which we may hope to erect that monument of peace, which will crown the civilization of the nineteenth century.
At the conclusion of M. Avigdor's speech, the session was suspended for ten minutes. When the president had resumed his seat, M. Emile de Girardin ascended the tribune.
M. Emile De Girardin :—
Soldiers of peace: Be not astonished at this name: the conclusion of a peace is the sole object of war: consequently, the only difference which I can perceive between the soldier of war and the soldier of peace, is that the latter arrives soonest at the common end of both; that he arrives there at once ; that he arrives at peace without passing through war. It was my intention to be present at your second session, and, if a discussion arose on the question of a reduction of standing armies, perhaps to take part in it: but I had no intention whatever to make a speech: for I like superfluous harangues as little as I like excessive armaments. Your illustrious president, by announcing yesterday, without my knowledge, that I was going to speak, deprived me of the possibility of keeping silence to-day, without appearing to fail to perform the duties of hospitality, and to render due respect to those gentlemen whom the greatest distances to be traversed have not deterred from coming hither. By their conduct, these new Crusaders in a new and holy cause have proved that peaceful courage can exist in the same degree as warlike courage. Among their ranks, I perceive the garb of the priest and the minister. This is a good sign. At the voice of the hermit Peter, 260,000 Crusaders marched from Germany and France to Palestine. The Crusaders of Peace will, I hope, be soon no less numerous. Jerusalem. Delivered had its great poet, Torquato Tasso: Victor Hugo will sing the praises of Organized Peace. His speech of yesterday is the canvas of the picture, the block of the statue, the argument of the poem.
Victor Hugo, you yesterday engaged me to speak: to-day, I return the engagement. Organized Peace awaits its epic poem: and it is you who must compose this poem.
Friends of Peace, you decided yesterday that peace alone can secure the moral and material interests of nations: to-day, you think it "of the highest importance to call the immediate attentions of governments to the necessity of a general and simultaneous disarmament, not only as a means of reducing the vast expenditure devoted to the support of standing armies and navies, but of removing a permanent cause of disquietude and irritation from among the nations." Such a step is extremely necessary, for the third part of the general revenue of the States of Europe is absorbed by their military budget. This will appear from the following statement:—
GENERAL BUDGET. MILITARY BUDGET.
France francs 1,411,000,000 386,0n0,000/raBc«.
Austria 440,000,000 135,600,000
Prussia 235,000,000 86,947,000
Russia 452,000,000 195,800,000
England 1,585,000,000 234,000,000
Spain 195,000,000 54,000,000
Sweden 55,000,000 31,000,000
Naples 92,000,000 44,000,000
Sardinia : 77,000,000 31,000,000
Belgium 99,000,000 29,000,000
Holland 93,000,000 26,000,000
Germany 259,000,000 54,000,000
Denmark 33,000,000 15,000,000
Turkey 383,000,000 95,000,000
Portugal 59,000,000 26,000,000
Total 5,437,000,000 1,401,347,000
That is, more than a fourth of the general revenue without the marine, and more than a third including the marine.
Is it, then, impossible for society, for States to exist without standing armies? Have standing armies always existed? No. The institution of standing armies, in France, dates from the year 1444: their origin was a treaty of alliance concluded with the Swiss Cantons, by the Dauphin of France, son of Charles VII. In 1600, no power of Europe had either a permanent army, or a regular military system. Troops were not levied until war was declared. From 1600 to 1609, the troops of Henry IT. of France did not exceed the number of 6,737 men, viz.: 2,637 cavalry, and 4,100 infantry. The largest garrison, Calais, consisted of 400 men. At this time, the annual warlike expenditure was 6,000,000 of francs, or 13,000,000 of our present money. Sully, for twelve years superintendent of the finances and grand master of the artillery, gives the following detail:—Expenses of war, 13,000,000 of francs ; 400 pieces of cannon ; 200,000 bullets ; 4,000,000 pounds of gunpowder; 60,000 arms for the use of the infantry; 16,000 arms for the use of the cavalry. The organization of the infantry into battalions, and of the cavalry into squadrons, dates from the year 1635. It belongs to the reign of Louis XIII. The first levy of a permanent militia dates from the year 1688, from the reign of Louis XIV., and the ministry of Louvois.
The conscription of men by lot was instituted by the ordinance of 1701, at the time when France, distracted by the insurrection of the Camisards, found herself engaged, in regard to the Spanish succession, in a war in which France had to defend herself and Spain against the whole of Europe. Those who did not wish to run the risk of this lottery, paid seventy-five francs. Passing over nearly the whole of a century, in December, 1792, France had 160,232 effective men, and 139,500 men under arms. The Constituent Assembly fixed the effective force of the army at 150,000 men in time of peace. Under the French Republic, in the year VI., the war budget showed an expenditure of 95,000,000. In 1818, under the Restoration, at a time when Europe still trembled at the mere name of war, when the smoke of the powder had scarcely had time to dissipate, when the echoes still resounded with the thunder of the cannon, when the wounds received at Waterloo had scarcely had time to heal, the peace complement of the army was 240,000 men, and the annual levies amounted to 140,000 men. In 1823, the peace army had increased to 360,000 men,and the annual levies amounted to 60,000. General Foy, rising to oppose the contingent of 60,000 men, voted on the occasion of the war in Spain, exclaimed at the tribune: "What enemies, then, menace France? What continental or maritime enterprises, near or remote, occupy the attention of our government?" At the present day, after thirty-three years' peace, the French army consists of 560,000 men, and the annual levies vary from 40,000 to 80,000 men. Eighty thousand men annually torn from their families, from their trades, from their professions! Drawn in a lottery! Subjected to the most minute examination of their bodies! Eighty thousand men to whom the word liberty is a lie! Five hundred and sixty thousand men who cost France 888,000,000 francs per annum! An army which has cost tax-payers, from 1831 to 1849, 6,850,000,000 francs! Surely, such a state of things cannot, must not last. Montesquieu has said: "Europe makes war by means of her capital." He might have said with good reason: "Europe makes war against her capital." Does France impose such sacrifices on herself for the sake of glory? No; it is to reap misery that she thus sows taxation, that she thus sows the money of the poor! Does she fight to extend her territory? Nay rather to impoverish it. Let France then hasten to give Europe the example of a reduction of her army to the lowest possible number. This number might be fixed at a two-hundredth part of the population of each State. The adoption of this basis would be so simple a measure that it would not even be necessary to convoke a Congress of nations for its adoption. It would be sufficient for one statesman to take the initiative. All nations that are interested in the reduction of taxation and in the abolition of compulsory military service, that blood-tax during war, and that tax on time during peace, would echo his voice, and associate themselves with his design and his work by their wishes and their petitions. Would that some one would make the attempt! We must make our choice between the reduction of our armies or national bankruptcy. Can we, ought we to hesitate. Already, in 1848, England has reduced her infantry by 10,000 men, a number which is equivalent to a reduction of 70,000 on the part of France. In doing so, England did well! The farther we remove from a time of war, the more we increase our effective military force. Such a system leads us to bankruptcy and perpetuates misery. No! you have no right to take the money of the poor ; you have no right to maintain with that money an army of 500,000 men for the purpose not of extending, but of impoverishing, our territory. But, M. Francisque Bouvet has observed, France cannot disarm unless Europe reduces her effective military force. Ah! if this objection had any weight, commercial reform, the champion of which is present amongst us to-day, would yet be unobtained. Cobden would not have accomplished his work of reform, and Sir Robert Peel would not have acquired immortal renown. I am of opinion that France ought to take the initiative, that she should be the first to give up her army of 560,000 men, the maintenance of which leads to bankruptcy and perpetuates misery.
Gentlemen, I am addressing you in a very unconnected strain. I am not an orator; I am a man of facts and not a man of eloquence. I will confess that I had prepared a speech ; but when I saw a man, who appears to be a simple English workman, Henry Vincent, ascend this tribune, and deliver himself with admirable facility, I threw aside my written oration. I envied for my country the liberty which produces such men ; and I bowed my head in shame when I reflected that we distrusted such productive freedom. Permit me then, gentlemen, to continue to speak in the disorderly way in which I have been addressing you hitherto. I am not making a speech, but merely giving utterance to my thoughts as they arise in my mind. I insist upon the imperious necessity which exists for all nations to reduce their armies. I would, however, make an exception in the case of two nations, England and the United States of America. And why are these two nations more prosperous than others? Because England, comparatively richer than France,has a less burden to bear, and because the United States are contented with a standing army of 8,000 men— the same number as was kept up in France in the time of Henry IV. Yes! it is with 8,000 that the American Union, the land of liberty (for all who have a white skin), maintains order. And, in reality, numerous armies are not a safeguard of order; on the contrary, order is menaced by them, and they are a fertile source of disturbances. Heaven forbid that I should say anything to the dishonour of my country's flag: for no one can mistake my language. I attack neither the courage nor the character of our soldiers: I attack only the military institu- tion as it exists. The day on which we obtain a reduction of standing armies will settle the whole question, not only as regards France, but with respect to all other countries. Friends of peace! It may be, that some governments will be deaf to your voice when you speak to them of submitting their differences to arbitration, but all people will listen to you when you propose to them the reduction of armies to a two-hundredth part of the population of each State ; the abolition of compulsory military service; the liberty of every man to follow his vocation ; the reduction of taxation ; the extension of institutions of credit; the liberation of mortgaged property ; the improvement of circulation under all its forms ; the union of the peoples, by the progress of unity, reciprocity of exchanges, and the consolidation and community of efforts for the well-being of mankind. All this is contained in these two words, Organized Peace, which we must not confound with the expression: Peace at any price. Peace at any price is to organized peace what danger is to security, what ignorance is to knowledge, what weakness is to strength, what servitude is to liberty. But I hear an objection raised by some one who says: Strong armies are necessary for the maintenance of order. I answer: Does not order reign in England, and in the United States? Ask the English and Americans, who are present here to-day. In the United States, the standing army never exceeds 10,000 men. In England they have an army of 105,000 men ; but this mighty force is so scattered in all parts of the world, that we may almost say, that it is no- where to be found. But I add: Do you not expect to gain something from the marvellous invention of railroads? Hasten to complete, in France, the railroads now in progress ; place Lyons in communication with Paris, Marseilles with Havre, Strasburg with Nantes, and 100,000 men will be as useful then as a million were in times gone by. But in what way? By increased rapidity of motion. A regiment requires ten days to march 250 miles. By means of railroads, we can travel more than that distance in a single day. We can thus re- duce the expense of our armies without diminishing their force: and order would gain as much by this step as liberty. The question, therefore, may be regarded as settled with respect to the interior. Let it be said no longer that an army is necessary to maintain order and pre- vent revolutions. Were there not 500,000 men under arms when the revolution of February broke out? Armies cannot prevent an explosion taking place in the political atmosphere. Revolutions can be prevented only by good administration, by a proper employment of the revenue obtained from that sovereign of modern times, the tax-payer. Again, are armies necessary to preserve our influence over other nations? Does France wish to conquer Europe? has she not given up the idea of conquest? If our government does not aim at the conquest of the world, what is the use of 560,000 men? It is nonsense—it is an anachron-ism! At the present day, the governments are the people who cause revolutions: for it is by the maintenance of two numerous armies that revolutions are occasioned!
A Voice :—You cannot be serious.
M. Db Girardin :—Some one says that I cannot be serious—
Another Voice :—It is the interrupter who is not serious.
M. De Girardin :—What! not serious! not serious to take the savings of the poor, and thus deprive them of the necessaries of life! not serious to snatch young men from their families and their professions! Let the man who maintains this doctrine come forward to the tribune and explain himself.
A Voice :—He does not dare to do so.
M. De Girardin :—What! you take a man from his profession, you keep him for five years in the army, and then restore him to society, without compensation, without troubling yourself what becomes of him. What! you take a young Frenchman from his home and introduce him to all the vice which abounds in towns. You thus run the risk of making him an instrument of revolution, and you say that this is not serious. For my part, all I can say is, that if there be any thing serious in the world, it is this. You cannot imagine the innumerable efforts that are made to escape from military service in time of peace: I say in time of peace, for, to the honour of our country be it spoken, as soon as ever a war breaks out, France never is in want of soldiers. But military service in time of peace is a chain which keeps a man far from his family, far from his business; and thus becomes the most serious question in the world, as it is intimately connected with all questions of credit, of commerce, and popular instruction. Why is France compelled to protect her industry by excessive tariffs? Because a false policy has diverted from the public wealth the elements necessary for its proper development. If we had taken six thousand millions of francs from production in order to apply them to the army—if we had consecrated two thousand millions only to the maintenance of our military force, and if four thousand millions had been employed in the execution of necessary public works, in the establishment of institutions of credit, in facilitating the access of the labourer to credit, that veritable right of labour, the question of free-trade would have been settled as regards France; we might have been able to shake hands with England across the channel; I might have been able to put my hand in that of Mr. Cobden, and our industry would have had nothing to fear from any rival in the world. Thus the question of disarmament interests at once credit, commerce, the amelioration of the condition of the poor, and popular instruction. Popular instruction! but for the last sixty years gratuitous instruction has been promised to France. And this debt, the most sacred, the most legitimate of all, which ought to have been paid so many years ago, is still unpaid! And yet people cry out for order, and insist upon the necessity of public tranquillity! But the day after an outbreak, when the legislature affixes its proclamations on the walls, they speak to men who cannot read ; they speak to deaf men, for ignorance is the deafness of intelligence. This state of things cannot last. I see here a large number of Americans. Let their presence serve as a lesson to us; let us imitate the excellent example afforded us, in this respect, by the United States. I hear it said that efforts made by this Congress will produce no effect, on account of the resistance of our governments; but governments now-a-days never head a great movement, but always lag behind. Let us insist, gentlemen, let us insist upon the necessity of disarmament; let us appeal not to the passions, but to the intellects and the interests of men ; let us show the effect of war upon the purses of the tax-payers, for that is a sensitive point. And by doing this, be convinced that we shall soon behold the triumph of this great question which, I regret to say, I have treated in so incomplete a manner. There is no room for hesitation ; and I therefore support with all the energy of my convictions the second resolution of our programme.
When M. de Girardin left the tribune the whole assembly rose, and greeted him with enthusiastic cheers.
W. Ewart, Esq., M. P., said :—
In addressing the president and members of the Congress in French instead of in my native tongue, I must entreat your attention to understand, and your indulgence to endure me. But I believe that in a country like this, neither the one nor the other will be denied me: and I trust that I shall not abuse either the one or the other. I will endeavour to be brief and clear. In the first place, having the honour to represent the friends of peace, inhabiting the greatest commercial town in England, almost the greatest commercial town in the world, my native town of Liverpool, I venture to say on their part and my own, that, in the probable results of the present Congress we hail the consummation of our wishes and our efforts on the great question of Free trade. But of what use is it to preach the doctrines of peace if we continue to pursue the practical tendencies of war? We close the temple of Janus; but we keep its walls fortified with cannon Let us at all events be consistent. Let us be practical. Let us begin with a reduction of our military and naval power. Such a reduction would render us all, but especially France, more tranquil, more rich and more powerful. Particularly "more powerful," because this is the only road which leads to real power in modern times. The days are gone by, when an enormous army, or an enormous navy, were the symbols of power. They were never so unless sustained by these other powers behind them,—labour commerce and capital. If this is true of former times, it is far more so of the present. Where is to be found the power, in case of war, of the immense population of our relations in the United States? Neither in the barracks nor in dock-yards. Yet what country could pour forth, if necessary (which God forbid) more energetic and gigantic power? And of us English, who maintain a military and naval force, wherein consists the real power? In our commerce, in our manufactures, and in our capital. Our navy always depended indirectly on our commerce ; but it now depends, for one main arm of its power, directly upon it. Instead of building war-steamers, our government now contracts with powerful companies, the possessors of merchant steamers, to construct their vessels so as to be convertible, whenever they may be so required, into vessels of war. They are adopting the same system in the United States of America. What country would then have the most powerful steam navy in case of war? The country which had the largest fleet of commercial steamers. I point out this fact to shew the dependence of national power on commerce. I turn towards France. Great as is the number and undaunted as is the courage of her people, does France possess, to the extent she ought, the elements of real national power, adapted to modern times? No, she does not. Blest far beyond England with natural resources, have they ever been developed? They are not only undeveloped; they are buried. There are only these means of developing them: economy, commerce, and peace. Let the commerce of France increase, she will become really powerful and really great. Let her land be covered with railways, her energies will be multiplied. This truth France must submit to learn some day or other. The sooner she learns it, the better. The better for her prosperity, her power, and her happiness. You have already heard from this place, you have already proved in England, that the English people entertain the most friendly feelings towards the people of France. How long, in past times, have these sentiments prevailed! It might have been said of the two countries, (as had been said of Home and Carthage by Virgil):—
"Littora littoribus contraria, fluctibus undas, arma armis."
But the time has arrived when the sea, which had been said to divide, might be only used to unite them. Let me here cite the words of a man who has been deemed an enemy of France, I mean Mr. Pitt ; and I will just quote his speech on the former commercial treaty of 1787Mr. Pitt "strenuously denied the doctrine that France could be the natural enemy of England. His mind revolted at the idea, as monstrous and impossible. To suppose that one nation was necessarily the enemy of another, was weak and childish. It was neither founded on the historical experience of nations nor in the natural condition of man. Indeed, it implied the existence of diabolical malignity in the original frame of man."
But it is not Prance alone that we hail in this assembly. It is the whole family of nations. Diplomatic unions, unless based on national feelings, are unions of paper. Unions such as these, among the people themselves, are unions of the heart. These will be unions of strength. These will be unions of duration. You know that the motto which our tickets bear is derived from an ode (for it is an ode, rather than a song) of your immortal poet, BSranger. The verse is now European as well as French. It is almost too familiar to your ears for me to quote:—
"Peuples, formez une sainte alliance,Ett donnez vous la main!"
I will give you a quotation from another poet, a Scotch poet, who seems to have anticipated the thoughts of Beranger. Burns thus concludes a well-known poem, (as I will conclude my speech)—
"Then let us pray, that come it may,
And come it will, for a' that,
That man to man, the wide world o'er,
Shall brothers be, and a' that."
Let us welcome this strain, whether it proceed from the brilliant civilization of Paris or from the distant mountains of Scotland ; and let us add, in the words of Paul Sarpi, (when speaking of his country) "Esto perpetua."
Gentlemen, our excellent and learned colleague, M. Coquerel, spoke to us a little while since, of a cruel malady with which French society is afflicted, namely, scepticism. This malady is the fruit of our long dissensions, of our revolutions which have failed to bring about the desired end, of our attempts without results, and of that torrent of visionary projects which has recently overflowed our policy. This strange evil will, I hope, be only temporary: at all events, I know of no more efficacious remedy for it, than the extraordinary spectacle which I have now before my eyes, for if I consider the number and the importance of the men who now do me the honour of listening to me, if I consider that many of them do not act in their individual capacity, but in the name of large constituencies, who have delegated them to this Congress, I have no hesitation in saying that the cause of peace unites to-day in this assembly, more religious, intellectual, and moral force, more positive power, than could be brought together for any other imaginable cause, in any other part of the world. Yes, this is a grand and magnificent spectacle, and I do not think that the sun has often shone on one equal to it in interest and importance. Here are men who have traversed the wide Atlantic: others have left vast undertakings in England, and others have come from the disturbed land of Germany, or from the peaceful soil of Belgium or of Holland. Paris is the place of their rendezvous. And what have they come to do? Are they drawn hither by cupidity, by vanity, or by curiosity, those three motives to which are customarily attributed all the actions of the sons of Adam? No ; they come, led on by the generous hope of being able to do some good to humanity, without having lost sight of the difficulties of their task, and knowing well that they are working less for themselves, than for the benefit of future generations. Thrice welcome then, ye men of faith, to the land of France. Faith is as contagious as scepticism. France will not fail you. She also will yield her tribute to your generous enterprise. At the present stage of the discussion, I shall only trespass on your time to make a few observations on the subject of disarmament. They have been suggested to me by a passage in the speech of our eloquent President, who said yesterday, that the cause of external peace was also that of internal order. He very reasonably based this assertion on the fact that a powerful military state is forced to exact heavy taxes, which engender misery, which in its turn engenders the spirit of turbulence and of revolution. I also wish to speak on the subject of taxes, and I shall consider them with regard to their distribution. That the maintenance of large military and naval forces requires heavy taxes, is a self-evident fact. But I make this additional remark: these heavy taxes, notwithstanding the best intentions on the part of the legislator, are necessarily most unfairly distributed ; whence it follows that great armaments present two causes of revolution—misery in the first place, and secondly, the deep feeling that this misery is the result of injustice. The first species of military taxation that I meet with is, that which is called, according to circumstances, conscription or recruitment. The young man who belongs to a wealthy family, escapes by the payment of two or three thousand francs ; the son of an artizan or a labourer, is forced to throw away the seven best years of his life. Can we imagine a more dreadful inequality? Do we not know that it caused the people to revolt even under the empire, and do we imagine that it can long survive the revolution of February?
With regard to taxes, there is one principle universally admitted in France, namely, that they ought to be proportional to the resources and capabilities of the citizens. This principle was not only proclaimed by our last constitution, but will be found in the charter of 1830, as well as in that of 1814. Now, after having given my almost undivided attention to these matters, I affirm that in order that a tax may be proportional, it must be very moderate, and if the state is under the necessity of taking a very large part of the revenues of its citizens, it can only be done by means of an indirect contribution, which is utterly at variance with proportionality, that is to say, with justice. And this is a grave matter, gentlemen. The correctness of my statement may be doubted, but if it be correct, we cannot shut our eyes to the consequences which it entails, without being guilty of the greatest folly. I only know of one country in the world where all the public expenses, with very slight exceptions, are covered by a direct and proportional taxation. I refer to the State of Massachusetts. But there also, precisely, because the taxation is direct, and every body knows what he has to pay, the public expenditure is as limited as possible. The citizens prefer acting by themselves in a multitude of cases, in which elsewhere the intervention of the state would be required. If the government of France would be contented with asking of us five, six, or even ten per cent of our income, we should consider the tax a direct and proportional one. In such a case, the tax might be levied according to the declaration of the tax-payers, care being taken that these declarations were correct, although, even if some of them were false, no very serious consequences would ensue. But suppose that the treasury had need of 1,600 or 1,800 millions of money. Does it come directly to us and ask us for a quarter, a third, or a half of our incomes? No: that would be impracticable ; and consequently, to arrive at the desired end, it has recourse to a trick, and gets our money from us without our perceiving it, by subjecting us to an indirect tax laid on food. And this is why the Minister of Finance, when he proposed to renew the tax on drinks, said that this tax had one great recommendation, that it was so entirely mixed up with the price of the article, that the tax-payer, as it were, paid without knowing it. This certainly is a recommendation of taxes on articles of consumption: but they have this bad characteristic, they are unequal and unjust, and are levied just in inverse proportion to the capabilities of the tax-payer. For, whoever has studied these matters, even very superficially, knows well that these taxes are productive and valuable only when laid upon articles of universal consumption, such as salt, wine, tobacco, sugar and such like; and when we speak of universal consumption, we necessarily speak of those things on which the labouring classes spend the whole of their small incomes. From this it follows, that these classes do not make a single purchase which is not increased to a great extent by taxation, while such is not the case with the rich.
Gentlemen, I venture to call your close attention to these facts. Large armaments necessarily entail heavy taxes: heavy taxes force governments to have recourse to indirect taxation Indirect taxation cannot possibly be proportionate, and the want of proportion in taxation is a crying injustice inflicted upon the poor to the advantage of the rich. This question, then, alone remains to be considered: Are not injustice and misery, combined together, an always imminent cause of revolutions? Gentlemen, it is no use to be wilfully blind. At this moment, in France, the need which is most imperious and most universally felt, is doubtless that of order, and of security. Rich and poor, labourers and proprietors, all are disposed to make great sacrifices to secure such precious benefits, even to abandon their political affections and convictions, and, as we have seen, their liberty. But, in fine, can we reasonably hope, by the aid of this sentiment, to perpetuate, to systematize, injustice in this country? Is it not certain that injustice will, sooner or later, engender disaffection? disaffection all the more dangerous because it is legitimate, because its complaints are well-founded, because it has reason on its side, because it is supported by all men of upright minds and generous hearts, and, at the same time, is cleverly managed by persons whose intentions are less pure, and who seek to make it an instrument for the execution of their ambitious designs. We talk about reconciling the peoples. Ah! let us pursue this object with all the more ardour, because at the same time we seek to reconcile the classes of society. In France because, in consequence of our ancient electoral laws, the wealthy class had the management of public business, the people think that the inequality of the taxes is the fruit of a systematic cupidity. On the contrary, it is the necessary consequence of their exaggeration. I am convinced that if the wealthy class could, by a single blow, assess the taxes in a more equitable manner, they would do so instantly. And in doing so, they would be actuated more by motives of justice than by motives of prudence. They do not do it, because they cannot, and if those who complain were the governors of the country, they would not be able to do it any more than those now in power; for I repeat, the very nature of things has placed a radical incompatibility between the exaggeration and the equal distribution of taxers. There is, then, only one means of diverting from this country the calamities which menace it, and that is, to equalize taxation ; to equalize it, we must reduce it; to reduce it, we must diminish our military force. For this reason, amongst others, I support with all my heart the resolution in favour of a simultaneous disarmament.
I have just uttered the word " disarmament." This subject occupies the thoughts and the wishes of all ; and nevertheless, by one of those inexplicable contradictions of the human heart, there are some persons, both in France and England, who, I am sure, would be sorry to see it carried into effect. What will become, they will say, of our preponderance? Shall we allow the influence which, as a great and powerful nation, we possess, to depart from us? Oh, fatal illusion! Oh, strange misconception of the meaning of a word! What! can great nations exert an influence only by means of cannon and bayonets? Does the influence of England consist not in her industry, her commerce, her wealth, and the exercise of her free and ancient institutions? Does it not consist, above all, in those gigantic efforts, which we have seen made there, with so much perseverance and sagacity, for obtaining the triumph of some great principle, such as the liberty of the press, the extension of the electoral fran. chise, Catholic emancipation, the abolition of slavery, and free-trade. And as I have alluded to this last and glorious triumph of public opinion in England, as we have amongst us many valiant champions of commercial liberty, who, adopting the motto of Cassar,—
"Nil actum reputans, dum quid superesset agendum,"
have no sooner gained one great victory than they hasten to another still greater, let me be permitted to say for how immense a moral influence England is indebted to them, less on account of the object, all glorious as it was, which they attained, than on account of the means which they employed for obtaining it, and which they thus made known to all nations. Yes! from this school the peoples may learn to ally moral force with reason ; there we ought to study the strategy of those pacific agitations which possess the double advantage of rendering every dangerous innovation impossible, and every useful reform irresistible.
By such examples as these, I venture to say, Great Britain will exercise that species of influence which brings no disasters, no hatreds, no reprisals in its train, but, on the contrary, awakens no feelings but those of admiration and of gratitude. And with regard to my own country, I am proud to say, it possesses other and purer sources of influence than that of arms. But even this last might be contested, if the question were pressed, and influence measured by results. But that which cannot be taken away from us, nor be contested for a moment, is the universality of our language, the incomparable brilliancy of our literature, the genius of our poets, of our philosophers, of our historians, of our novelists, and even of our feuilletonistes, and, last though not least, the devotedness of our patriots. France owes her true influence to that almost unbroken chain of great men which, beginning with Montaigne, Descartes, and Pascal, and passing on by Bossuet, Voltaire, Montesquieu and Rousseau, has not, thanks to heaven, come to an end in the tomb of Chateaubriand. Ah! let my country fear nothing for her influence, so long as her soil is not unable to produce that noble fruit which is called Genius, and which is ever to be seen on the side of liberty and democracy. And, at this moment, my brethren, you who were born in other lands, and who speak another language, do you not behold all the illustrious men of my country uniting with you to secure the triumph of universal peace? Are we not presided over by that great and noble poet, whose glory and privilege it has been to introduce a whole generation into the path of a renovated literature? Do we not deplore the absence of that other poet-orator, of powerful intellect and noble heart, who, I am sure, will as much regret his inability to raise his voice amongst us, as you will regret not to have heard it? Have we not borrowed from the songs of our national bard the touching device,—
"Peuples, formez une sainte alliance,
Et donnez vous la main!"
Do we not number in our ranks that indefatigable and courageous journalist, who did not wait for your arrival to place at the service of absolute non-intervention the immense publicity, and the immense influence which he has at his command? And have we not amongst us, as fellow-labourers, ministers of nearly all Christian religions? Amidst this illustrious galaxy, permit me to claim a humble place for my brethren, the political economists ; for, gentlemen, I sincerely believe that no science will bring a more valorous contingent to serve under the standard of peace than political economy. Religion and morality do not endeavour to discover whether the interests of men are antagonistic or harmonious. They say to them: Live in peace, no matter whether it be profitable or hurtful to you, for it is your duty to do so. Political economy steps in and adds: Live in peace, for the interests of men are harmonious, and the apparent antagonism which leads them to take up arms is only a gross error. Doubtless, it would be a noble sight to behold men realize peace at the expense of their material interests; but for those who know the weakness of human nature, it is consoling to think that duty and interest are not here two hostile forces, and the heart rests with confidence upon this maxim: "Seek first after righteousness, and all things shall be added unto you."
Richard Cobden, Esq. M.p., next came forward,
and was received with the most enthusiastic cheering, which lasted a considerable
time. He expressed his intention to speak in French, first, because such a
respect was due to their hospitable friends in France; secondly, because he wished the meeting to be as much French as possible. He then delivered first in French, and then in English, the following speech :—
I join with all my heart in the wish expressed by one of the preceding speakers in favour of an universal language. Nevertheless, I am a little afraid that there might be a dispute, even amongst the friends of peace, as to which of the thousand dialects of the world ought to prevail, and that oceans of ink at least would be shed before it was decided. In the meantime, let every country enjoy in peace its own dictionary and grammar; and it is on this principle, recollecting that I am in the metropolis of France, that I prefer to throw myself upon the well-known politeness of a French audience, whilst I address to them a few words in broken French, rather than be guilty of an act of foreign intervention even in the matter of language. So much has been said, and so well said, by the eloquent speakers who have preceded me, that I do not feel it necessary to add a word to the general argument; but should wish to draw your attention for a moment to the manner in which the governments of your country and mine have augmented their standing armaments in mutual rivalry and defiance of each other. I speak only of our navies and coast defences, for we do not pretend to enter into competition with you in respect to your army. Do not be alarmed, Mr. President, I am not going to infringe upon the wise regulations of the Congress, which forbid our alluding to the politics of the day. Unfortunately, my subject extends back for many years, and implicates several ministries in both countries, although your present government must certainly be exempted from all responsibility in the matter. During the last thirteen years, you and we have been constantly increasing our navies, adding to our coast defences, enlarging our arsenals, building new basins for steam-vessels, and constructing fresh harbours of refuge. No sooner is the keel of another line-of-battle ship laid down in your dockyards than forthwith fresh hammers begin to resonnd at Plymouth; a new forge has hardly begun to work at Cherbourg, when immediately the sparks are seen to fly from fresh anvils at Plymouth, and nice versa. The consequence has been that the cost of our navies has been increased 50 per cent, in a time of peace. My first objection to this is its supreme folly— for, as both countries increase their naval strength in equal proportions, neither party has gained anything by the change, the only result being a pure waste to the amount of the augmentation. My next objection is the extreme hypocrisy of the system; for, at the very time that all this increase of armament has been going on, our respective governments have been exchanging assurances of mutual feelings of friendship and goodwill. If these professions were made in sincerity and truth, where was the necessity for more ships of war and more coast defences? An individual does not cover himself with armour in the presence of his friends, unless, indeed, he happen to be mad. But my greatest objection to these vast armaments is, that they tend to excite dangerous animosities between two nations, and to perpetuate fear, hatred, and suspicion, passions which find their gratification instinctively in war, and here is the great reason why this Congress desires, in the terms of the motion now before it, to bring the nations into a system of disarmament. Now, how shall this be accomplished? Why, by teaching our respective governments this little arithmetical problem, of which, in times past, they seem to have been ignorant, namely, that if two nations are both armed in a time of peace up to a certain point, say six, they are not relatively stronger than if their armaments stood both at three, and that they would be equally strong if they disarmed altogether? But you, the tax-payers of France, will see that there is an immense difference to your pockets. Do not, however, let us deceive ourselves with the idea that we shall easily succeed in teaching this little arithmetical lesson to our governments. I speak from long experience when I say that none are so difficult to teach as professional statesmen. They are so devoted to routine, and so fortified in self-sufficiency, that they do not easily believe that any wisdom exists in the world excepting that which radiates from their bureaux. Do you then suppose that they will listen readily to the advice of this Congress? On the contrary, they are at this moment laughing at us as utopians, theorists, and dreamers. And yet I think the result of their system, in a financial point of view, ought to make them more modest. I ask the governments of Europe, Can you continue your present financial system for ten years longer? With scarcely one exception, they must answer, " No." Is it then utopian on the part of this Congress to arouse their attention to the subject, to point to the great gulf which yawns before them—to show that the danger of financial ruin, which they lose sight of, is far more imminent than the risk of foreign attack, which they so constantly dread and so diligently provide against? Even in this, the lowest point of view, as a question merely of finance, you stand justified before the world for holding this Convention of Nations. It is time that the people interfered, and the governments of the world ought to tender you their thanks for having, by this fraternal shaking of hands across the Atlantic and the Channel, facilitated that process of disarmament which is called for alike upon every principle of humanity and sound policy.
At the conclusion of Mr. Cobden's speech, as no other names had been sent up to the president, the resolution before the meeting was put to the vote and adopted unanimously.
The President then said: The third and fourth resolutions will be discussed to-morrow, but as it is probable that the Congress will not sit after that day, the Committee have judged it advisable to submit to you at once the fifth, sixth, and seventh resolutions, upon which no discussion is likely to arise.
This course was agreed to, and the following resolutions were adopted without a dissentient voice :—
5. "The Congress recommends all its members to endeavour to eradicate from the minds of all, in their respective countries, both by means of a better education of youth, and by other practical methods, those political prejudices and hereditary hatreds, which have so often been the cause of disastrous wars.
6. "The Congress addresses the same invitation to all ministers of religion whose sacred mission it is to encourage feelings of good-will among men; as well as to the various organs of the press, which exercise so powerful an influence over the progress of civilization.
7. "The Congress earnestly hopes for the improvement of the means of international communication, for the extension of postal reform, for the universal adoption of the same standard of weights, measures, and coinage, and for the multiplication of peace societies which shall keep up a correspondence with each other."
The meeting then separated.
The number of persons present was, if possible, larger on this than on either of the two preceding days. The president took his seat at about half-past twelve o'clock.
M. Garnier, one of the secretaries, announced that a variety of pamphlets and papers, bearing more or less upon the peace question, had been received by the committee and distributed amongst the members. He then stated that several important adhesions had been received that morning, one of which he would read. It was from the illustrious poet, Beranger :—
"Passy, August 23rd, 1819.
"I thank you, my dear sir, for your kindness in sending me a card of admission to the Peace Congress. I should have made use of it, at all the sessions, had I not unfortunately been detained at home by an attack of illness which, I hope, will not last long. You cannot doubt, my dear sir, that I most earnestly desire the success of this generous assemblage of distinguished men, from different parts of the world, and that I heartily give my approbation to the initiative which they have had the courage to take, at a time apparently so little disposed for peace. This act, at such a period, is a proof of the holiness of the cause you advocate. Receive my best thanks for your kindness, and believe me yours,
Rev. Henry Richard explained the motives which had induced the committee to propose the adoption of the fifth, sixth and seventh resolutions without any discussion, on the preceding day. It was not through any desire to slur over the subjects contained in those resolutions, but, because the time of the Congress was so short, and such a multitude of persons had requested to be allowed to speak upon the third and fourth resolutions. Consequently, as it was supposed that no one would dispute the propriety of the three resolutions aforesaid, it was determined to put them to the vote at once.
M. Coquerel: I wish to draw the attention of the Congress to the interesting circumstances connected with the volume which I hold in my hand. [The speaker here held up a little book, bound in black.] It is an essay on the best means of bringing about peace in Europe, written in the year 1693, by the celebrated William Penn, one of the founders of the Society of Friends. It bears two mottoes : Beati Pacifici and Cedant arma togae. I received it yesterday, with the following letter from M. A. J. Barbier, one of our most distinguished poets :—
"Paris, August 23rd, 1849.
"Sir,—The idea first entertained by Henry IV. inspired William Penn, at the close of the wars of Louis XIV., to write an Essay ore the Peace of Europe. Permit me to have the honour of offering you a copy of this work for the library of the Oratoire in Paris. No one better than yourself would be able to explain its merits to an assembly partly composed of the followers of its author. The small size of the volume has doubtless contributed to its rarity; and its intrinsic value will, perhaps, appear to you to be enhanced by its binding, which indicates that it a was a present made by Penn to Queen Anne, (as her initials A. R., Anne Regina, are marked upon its covers,) at a time when a false accusation prevented the execution of his projects in favour of America.
"I have the honour to be, Sir,
"Your most obedient and humble servant,
"Ahdbe J. Barbies."
According to the wish of the donor, this volume will be placed in the library of the Protestant Church of the Oratoire, and remain there as a memorial of the meeting of the Peace Congress at Paris. I have now another announcement to make. By order of M. Lacrosse, the Minister of Public Works, the grandes eaux of Versailles will play on Monday next, in honour of the foreign members of the Peace Congress. This exhibition usually takes place four times a year, and always on a Sunday. Next Sunday is one of these days; but as the English and American visitors could not go to visit any mere sight on the Sabbath, the Minister of Public Works has been so considerate as to fix a second day to suit the religious scruples of the persons to whom he wished to show politeness.
This announcement was received with three cheers, and the thanks of the Congress were immediately voted to M. Lacrosse.
The President : This is the last session of the Peace Congress. In its preceding sittings, the Congress unanimously adopted resolutions upon the important questions of arbitration and disarmament. To-day will be discussed the resolutions upon the formation of a Congress of Nations, and upon loans in support of war. As our time is very short, the committee has decided that no written speeches shall be read at the tribune, unless a foreign member wishes to read one in French. An exception will, therefore, be made in favour of an essay by Mr. Elihu Burritt, a translation of which will now be read to you by M. Athanase Coquerel, junior, son of the vice-president of the same name.
M. A. Coquerel, Jun., then read a French translation of the following essay, by Mr. Elihu Burritt, on—
A CONGRESS OF NATIONS.
To-day are fulfilled the aspirations of that man of courageous faith and extended philanthropy, William Penn. More than 200 years have elapsed since he penned his parting words of peace to a distant posterity. Assembled from both sides of the Atlantic, speaking different languages, and living under different governments, we are here to honour with our remembrance that early friend of peace and humanity. The project which he elaborated we now bring back almost in its original integrity. It has been subjected to the changing opinions and conditions of society. Able writers in different countries have made it the theme of learned dissertations; yet it has not incurred any fundamental change. The friends of peace in America have concentrated their efforts upon its development and adoption. More than fifty essays have been written upon it; and hundreds of public meetings have been held for the purpose of interesting the public mind in its favour. Petitions, numerously signed, have been addressed to the legislative assemblies of different states, asking them to induce the federal government at Washington to propose to the other governments of the civilized world the convocation of a Congress of Nations, for the purpose of establishing a welldefined code of international law, and a high court of adjudication, to interpret and apply it, in the settlement of all international disputes, which cannot be satisfactorily arranged by negociation. A similar form of proposition emanated from this metropolis more than two centuries ago. Its author had no works on international law to consult. Neither Grotius, nor Puffendorf, nor Vattel had published anything upon the subject. The great tribunal which he proposed was a perpetual court of equity, composed of a representative from every recognised kingdom or government in the world. The only material difference between the original and the present form of the project, is not a change, but an addition. The friends of peace in America, who, perhaps, have devoted more attention to this particular measure than their brethren on this side of the Atlantic, have believed it indispensable for the order and peace of nations, that there should not only be established a court of equity or arbitration, but also a well-defined authoritative code of international law, which should govern the decisions of that tribunal, in settling the disputes referred to it. And, indeed, they have deemed the establishment of such a code as the first and most important step to be taken, in organizing permanent and universal peace. In this conviction they are sustained by the testimony of profound writers, and by evidence derived from the painful experience of nations, still suffering from the murderous wars and animosities of the past. "The law of nations," says Vattel, "is as much above the civil law in its importance, as the proceedings of nations and sovereigns surpass in their consequences those of private persons." How plain, how explicit, then, ought the law of nations to be! How guarded at every point! How fixed and acknowledged its principles! And yet, strange to say, this law, all important as it is, has never been put into the form of a code, and many of its principles remain matters of dispute, and have been the frequent occasion of war. To adopt the language of an able writer on this subject, "We have no such law, and what passes under that name is the unauthorized work of irresponsible individuals, at different periods, who frequently disagree among themselves. Neither Grotius nor his commentators have furnished an international code. They possessed not the requisite authority; and they have given us only a compilation of precedents, opinions, and arguments. It is the work, not of legislators, but of scholars; no lawmaking power was ever concerned in enacting any of its statutes; and all its authority has resulted from the deference spontaneously paid to the genius, condition and wisdom of its compilers. It is not law, but argument; not decrees, but rules; not a code, but a treatise: and the nations are at liberty, except from the force of custom and public opinion, to adopt and reject it, as they please." The first work prescribed for a Congress of Nations would be to revise and reconstruct the present code of international law, as it has been called, and then to present it for the ratification to the different national assemblies represented in the Congress. To effect an object of this vast importance, we might assume that each nation would send to the Congress its most profound statesmen, or juris-consuls, so that all the legal wisdom and experience of the age would be brought to bear upon its deliberations. The basis of representation and the mode by which the different national delegates should be elected are matters of detail, which, it has been thought, might be referred to a more advanced stage of the project. But, merely to supply the proposition with all its requisite elements, let us suppose that one delegate should be apportioned to every million of the population of a country. If all the nations of the civilized world should come into this arrangement, then we should have an assembly of about 300 members, of whom, perhaps, thirty-six would represent France, thirty Great Britain, thirty Germany, twenty the United States. If this basis were adopted, such a representation would be sufficiently popular, if appointed by the legislatures of the different constitutional governments. Even if a few absolute monarchies should send delegates to the Congress, their votes and voices would not modify the popular character and constitution of the assembly. For such a Congress would represent the principle of universal suffrage applied to nations, in the same manner as it is applied to individuals under a republican or constitutional form of government. The votes that Prussia might be entitled to give, would be subject to the rigid condition of the democratic principle. They would be of no more avail upon the decision of a question than the same number of votes cast by the United States or the smallest republic. Therefore, a people possessing universal or limited suffrage could have nothing to fear even from the association of one or two despotic powers in such an assembly, for they would inevitably constitute a small minority in it, and be unable to modify its conclusions. Besides, the task prescribed to the Congress would be so specific, and the materials so natural and abundant, that there would be little danger of the introduction and discussion of extraneous topics. They would not be obliged to launch into a new and unexplored field of speculations. Their first great work would be, merely to revise a system of principles, precedents, practices and opinions, which had already acquired the name, and even a part of the authority, of an international code. All that Grrotius, Puffendorf, Vattel, and other men of great erudition have produced, would be in their hands. The experience of past ages, the present and future necessities of international society, would be available to guide their deliberations. Nor would this be all. Every step they took would be directed by the wisdom of the nations which they represented. For instance, the Congress might be in session at the same time as the different national assemblies by which it had been constituted, in order that its proceedings might be ratified step by step. Let us suppose, then, that it should meet at some convenient town in Switzerland, or in some other central territory, which should be considered neutral ground, or free from any local influence which might affect its conclusions. They would immediately proceed to revise and adopt the international code, clause by clause. And clause by clause it might be transmitted to the national legislatures in session at Paris, London, Frankfort, Washington, and other capitals. At the end of six months, perhaps, the last paragraph has been elaborated and adopted by the Congress, and ratified by all the national assemblies represented in it. We have now a well-digested code, created, sanctioned, and solemnized by all the moral prestige and authority that can be acquired from human legislation. The august senate which constructed it was composed of delegates chosen by the representatives of the peoples. The most sublime legislative assembly that ever met on earth, they gave the result of the deliberations of their respective national assemblies for revision, amendment, and adoption. Here, again, the people took part in the enactment of this code. Here, again, they affixed to its statutes the seal of their suffrage, and it became the common law of nations, invested with all the moral authority that human legislation can give to law. On arriving at this result, we have taken the first great step in organizing peace in the society of nations. We have established a basis upon which their intercourse may be regulated by clearly-defined and solemnly-recognised principles of justice and equity. The next step, and of equal importance, is to constitute a permanent international tribunal, which shall interpret and apply this code in the adjudication of questions submitted to its decision. The illustrious assembly, therefore, enters upon the second department of its labours, and projects a plan for the establishment of this High Court of Nations. And this plan is adopted, also, in the same manner as the code itself. Let us suppose that it prescribes the appointment of two judges, for life or otherwise, by the government or legislature of each nation represented in the Congress. This number is suggested by the constitution of the senate of the United States, which is composed of two delegates, elected by the legislature of every state, great or small. If it is deemed necessary that this tribunal shall immediately replace the Congress, then the latter, we will suppose, continues its sessions until the judges are appointed. Having accomplished the two great objects for which it was convoked, it is instructed to apply its attention to matters of minor international interest, until the judges arrive, to open the High Court. For instance, they digest a plan for establishing throughout the civilized world a uniformity of weights, measures, moneys, rates of postage, and for creating other facilities for the social and commercial intercourse of nations; thus preparing them for that relation to each other which should exist between the members of a vast and peaceful commonwealth. We now reach the grand consummation of our system. The High Court of Nations is opened with all the imposing solemnities befitting the occasion. Each nation, we may believe, has selected two of its most profound and eminent men to fill the seats allotted to it in this grand tribunal. Occupying the sublimest position to which the suffrage of mankind could raise them, they will act, we may presume, under a proper sense of the dignity and responsibility of their high vocation. Constituting the highest court of appeal, this side of the bar of Eternal Justice, they will endeavour to assimilate their decisions, as nearly as possible, to those of unerring wisdom. Here, then, we complete the chain of universal law and order. Here we organize a system which is to connect the great circles of humanity, and regulate the mutual deportment of nations by the same principles of justice and equity as govern the intercourse of the smallest communities of men. We establish an order of society, by which great nations, without deposing a single prerogative of their legitimate sovereignty, accept the condition of individuals who are amenable to law. For our system, if adopted, would not trench upon the complete independence of the different states. Neither the Congress nor the High Court of Nations would pretend to exercise any jurisdiction over the internal affairs of a country, or exert any direct political influence upon its institutions. Neither would they be designed to confederate the different states of the civilized world in a political union, like the United States of America. The great international tribunal which we propose would not be like the Supreme Court of the United States, to which not only the thirty little republics, but every inhabitant of the union, may appeal for 'its decision in any case which cannot be settled by inferior authorities. The different nations would still retain all the prerogatives of their mutual independence. Even if differences arose between them, they would endeavour to settle them as before, by negociation. But if that medium failed to effect an honourable and satisfactory adjustment, they would then refer the matter in dispute to the arbitration of this High Court, which, in concert with other nations, they had constituted for that purpose. The existence of such a last court of appeal would inevitably facilitate the arrangement of these questions by negociation, which is now often embarrassed and thwarted by its dangerous proximity to an appeal to arms. Whenever a difficulty arose between two countries, the last resort, after negociation had failed, would not suggest to the mind of either party the terrible trial of the battle-field, but the calm, impartial, and peaceful adjudication of the High Tribunal of the Peoples. And when once the idea of war has been displaced in the minds of nations, by the idea of a quiet administration of justice and equity, preparations for war, and all the policies which it requires and creates, will gradually disappear from international society. The different nations would soon accustom themselves to refer their cases to this High Court of Appeal with as much confidence as the different states of the American Union now submit their controversies to the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States. On the list of cases brought before that court may be found sometimes one entitled "New York v. Virginia," or " Pennsylvania v. Ohio and however heavily the verdict may bear upon one of the parties, scarcely a murmur is heard against it. In like manner we might see reported, among other decisions of this international tribunal, the case of France v. England," "Denmark v. Prussia," or " Mexico v. the United States."
The brief space within which this exposition must be compressed will permit but a slight notice of the objections which are frequently opposed to the system under consideration. Among the most prominent of these objections, it is declared that the different governments and peoples are not yet prepared for such a condition of society as we would establish : that in their present disposition they would not be willing to submit their differences to such a tribunal; that there would be no military power to enforce obedience to its authority ; and that all the nations of the civilized world could not be induced to come into this arrangement. Group all these objections together, we would merely reply to them, en masse, that we are not compelled to rest the practicability of our project upon the present state or disposition of the different governments and peoples. The edifice of international society which we would erect must be the work of years of unremitting labour. Stone by stone would we build this temple of universal peace, and when the last is fitted to its place, and all is prepared for opening its portals for the fraternization of the peoples, they will be ready to give each other the hand, and form a holy alliance, to banish war and all its suite of animosities and miseries from the community. The means which we propose to employ will tend to prepare the popular mind throughout the civilized world, to espouse with delight that condition of international fraternity which our system would organize. We will allude to but one class of these means, and that is, a series of congresses like the one which is now convened in this hall and in this metropolis of civilization. What do we need to enable us to organize permanent peace by instituting a High Court of Nations? We need, in the first place, the sympathy and support of the popular mind. In the next place, we need the adhesion of governments, and their adoption of a system which public opinion has universally demanded. Well, for twenty years, the friends of peace on both sides of the Atlantic, had disseminated their principles through their respective communities. In 1843 they held a Congress in London, at which there were present about twenty-five delegates from the United States, and several from France and other continental countries. Here they deliberated upon the best measures for establishing universal peace. Several members of Parliament took part in the proceedings of this Congress, and gave to its object their complete approbation and support. This demonstration proved that the legislative as well as the popular mind of different countries had become interested in the organization of universal peace: the members of that Congress returned to their respective communities, inspired with new zeal and activity, and instituted more extensive operations for disseminating their principles. After labouring five years, with encouraging success, they resolved to hold another Congress, not only to give a new impetus to the cause, but to ascertain the force of public opinion which had been acquired in its favour. They believed that the popular mind in England and the United States was in an advanced state of preparation, and they desired, as it were, to feel the pulse of the rest of the people of Europe in reference to the cause, and to elicit their sympathy and co-operation. Consequently, last year they ventured to raise their standard for the first time upon the continent of Europe. Although the contemporaneous circumstances of the epoch were inauspicious, the success which attended their pacific demonstration surpassed all their anticipations. There were present about 150 delegates from England and the United States, and an equal number from Belgium and other continental countries. The Belgian Government accorded every facility and courtesy which the hospitality of a generous nation could inspire, and many of its eminent men took part in the Congress and assisted at its organization. The president, the Hon. Auguste Visschers, a gentleman high in the estimation of the government and people of Belgium, was supported on one side by a member of the French National Assembly, as vice-president for Prance, and on the other by a member of the British Parliament, as vice-president for England. Several other members of different national assemblies were present, and took part in the deliberations of the Congress. The proceedings were conducted in the most excellent spirit, and its conclusions were clear and unanimous. The AngloAmerican delegates were surprised and delighted to find that there were so many on the continent ready to unite with them in their enterprise. The Congress was a proof to them that the popular mind everywhere was fast preparing for the fraternization of the peoples under a system of organized peace. Nor was this all. The presence and co-operation of members of different national assemblies proved also that they might rely upon the adhesion of the legislative mind of Europe, just in proportion as they acquired the suffrage of enlightened public opinion. Encouraged by these new indications of progress, the Anglo-American delegates returned from the Congress, and commenced a series of operations on a larger scale than they had ever attempted before. In England there were 150 public meetings held in different parts of the country, and 1000 petitions were presented to Parliament in favour of international arbitration—one of the measures proposed at the Brussels Crogress.
This proposition was brought before the House of Commons on the 12th of June, by Mr. Richard Cobden, and he and other able statesmen pleaded for its adoption with irresistible arguments. The discussion lasted for six hours, and was conducted with excellent spirit, the two parties appearing to understand that they were in the presence of a sacred principle, worthy of the veneration of the human race. Eighty-one members voted with Mr. Cobden for the proposition, and these were the representatives of the largest electoral districts in the kingdom. Besides other manifestations of popular sympathy, there were 200,000 persons in England who, during the last six years, have, in their petitions, entreated the British Government to adopt a measure adapted to banish war for ever from the family of nations. There have been more persons in England who have this year petitioned Parliament for universal peace, than for all the other necessities of the nation put together. Does not this fact indicate, that the popular mind in England is preparing to support any practical measure for the abolition of war 1 And were not the eighty votes in Parliament, of members representing the largest electoral districts in the kingdom, a proof that the legislative mind of Great Britain is in an advanced state of preparation to adopt such a measure? But is not the presence of this great and solemn assembly an evidence more illustrious still that the great peoples of the civilized world, and their legislators too, are even ready now to co-operate in establishing peace as a fundamental and permanent system of society 1 Here are 500 men, representing all the considerable towns of Great Britain, from Land's end to John O'Groat's, who have left their homes and crossed the Channel to assist at this great demonstration. What does their presence testify if not to the complete preparation of the popular mind in England to support any measure which shall expel the enormous suicide of war for ever from the society of nations 1 And is not the presence of the illustrious Richard Cobden and his colleagues of the British.Parliament a proof that the legislative mind of England will follow, if not lead, the will of that people in the path of peace 1 And here, too, are men from different parts of the United States, who have left their homes and crossed the ocean, to testify by their presence that America is ready and willing to fraternize with the peoples of the Old World, in the organization of universal peace. And one of these delegates is a member of the Congress of the United States, who travelled 2,000 miles before he could reach a port at which he could embark for Europe. And what may we say for France 1 Here we meet her distinguished legislators, jurists, writers, her conductors of the press, and teachers of religion. May we not believe that she is ready to accept the Anglo-American hand which is proffered to her this day, and to associate herself with the great peoples which that hand unites in establishing perpetual peace in the family of nations 1 Comparing this demonstration with the two which have preceded it, is it too much to believe that we are advancing by a ratio of geometrical progression toward the Congress of Nations which we propose? In the Peace Congress of 1843 there were about 150 delegates, including two or three members of the British Parliament. In this assembly, the third in our series, we have more than 600 delegates, including twenty or thirty members of different national assemblies. If this demonstration should set on foot more extensive operations for disseminating the ideas of peace during the next twelve months, may we not believe that in our next Congress we shall have 1,000 delegates, including 100 of the most enlightened statesmen, representing all the national assemblies of the civilized world? If it should be concluded to hold the next Congress at Frankfort in 1850 or 1851, the friends of peace in America would undertake to send a delegation of 100, including twenty-five or thirty members of the Congress of the United States. Thus, in four or five years, these periodical demonstrations would draw into the movement the most liberal statesmen in every country, who would urge upon their respective governments the adoption of the system under consideration. In the meantime, we should have prepared the different peoples to espouse that system, and to sustain it with that enlightened public opinion, which, according to the authority of Lord Palmerston, is stronger than armies.
The Chairman next read the third resolution, which was then to be discussed, and which ran thus :—" The Congress recommends all the friends of peace, to prepare public opinion in their respective countries, for the formation of a Congress of Nations, whose sole object it should be, to frame a code of international laws, on just principles, and to constitute a supreme court, to which should be submitted all questions relating to the reciprocal rights and duties of nations."
The Abbe Deguerry then came forward, and was received with loud cheers. He spoke as follows :—
Gentlemen, after having voted upon international arbitration, in our session of Wednesday; after having assisted yesterday at the almost total destruction of the establishment of permanent armies, by the ardent, and at the same time mathematically precise, oration of an illustrious journalist, (M. de Girardin,) and also by the language, not broken, but simple and majestic, as well as elegant and luminous, of one of our colleagues, (Mr. Cobden,)—we naturally come to the discussion of the means by which disarmament may be obtained, and arbitration constituted, as they are stated in the third article of our programme. No one will doubt, that if we could establish a Congress of Nations—if we could secure the formation of an assembly to settle all difficulties that might arise—if we could constitute a supreme court to whose decision all questions of dispute should be submitted—the idea of universal peace would triumph finally and for ever. But the difficulty is precisely here, and by some it is looked upon as insuperable ; but nevertheless, it has already been partially resolved ; for the idea which animates us is not of recent conception ; and the progress to which reference was made in our preceding sessions, has been obtained by this idea of universal pacification. Means have been found for the establishment of this arbitration between citizens of the same nation by the institution of tribunals of justice ; and war between individuals has entirely ceased. It has also been established between provinces, by means of national assemblies, in which the general interests of the same state are guarded and promoted. We have only to take a third step in advance, and to obtain for states that which has already been obtained for individuals and provinces. Why should we not take this third step? It is the most difficult of all, it is true ; but the idea which has already obtained the two results which I just now mentioned, will also obtain the third; for this idea is truth itself, and it is no more possible to escape from truth than from the rays of the sun. Truth is the idea of God; and its progress cannot be stayed any easier than we can arrest the course of a furious torrent, which dashes onward, bearing away all before it. The idea of God, to use a metaphor taken from the sacred scriptures, which I am glad to quote in the presence of so large a number of English and Americans, who make them their habitual study, may be compared to Samson carrying away the gates of his prison. Well! I repeat it, universal pacification is the idea of God, the voice of God. I find it inculcated in the New Testament,—that restoration and extension of human reason. Listen then to the voice of reason. Is there a man among you who would dare to maintain that a state of war is the thought of God? The eloquent orator to whom I referred at the commencement of my speech, told us yesterday that war is a state of supreme folly, and of extreme hypocrisy, since, even whilst they are arming against one another, governments interchange mutual assurances of friendship; that it is the ruin of commerce and of the arts ; that there is not a single state in Europe which could maintain its present armament for ten years longer without becoming bankrupt before that time. And is this the idea of God? Is that situation the idea of God, in which men assembled upon the field of battle, vie with one another in taking away life? Is that state the idea of God, in which men adorn with the title of" hero," the man who kills with the greatest strength and ability, in which they designate by the name of "glory," that fleeting meteor whose light displays nought hut ruins and blood? No! this is not, cannot be the idea of God. He is a father, and never could a father witness without sorrow the strifes of his children. He is a father and he has given us liberty; and I say to the heads of governments, if they have not favoured the development of associations such as this, if they have not assisted in their propagation, they have not taken the best measures for preventing civil and international wars. Besides, as I said before, the idea is not new. It is to be found in a work which has been already mentioned, and whose author sought unknown lands beyond the seas for the execution of his great idea. He found slavery in those lands, and he has immortalized himself by his condemnation of the subjection of man to his fellow-man. Amongst us this idea is making rapid progress. It has entered into the national assemblies of the United States ; it has crossed the threshold of the British Parliament, into which it was introduced by that admirable man, whose heart is even larger than his genius and intellect are powerful. In that august assembly it was treated with respect.
M. Franctsque Bouvet :—We, also, treated it with respect.
M. Deguerry :—Wait a moment! It has also been introduced, but with more timidity, into the legislature of our own country. We were then too much occupied by our intestine divisions to attend properly to this important question. But now it is advocated in this vast meeting, it is defended by men endowed with the most overpowering eloquence, and its success is certain. I have already said that all the progress which we have made is due to the idea of universal peace ; the communes restored to the possession of their independence, the peoples recovering their sovereignty, and that great conquest which my colleague referred to so opportunely in a speech which it did me good to hear, the existence of religious liberty— all may be ascribed to the idea of universal peace. This preliminary triumph met with enormous difficulties; it was a long time before men could be persuaded not to shed blood in the name of Christ; but the Gospel assures us that faith with love can remove mountains, and faith will therefore remove all difficulties. I am well aware that we Frenchmen (pardon me, my dear countrymen, for confessing your weakness,) do not like to wait; we want to have our thoughts realized as soon as they are conceived ; we forget that time is the first minister of the Council of God. Men, according to the times in which they live, are called to different destinies. Those who plough the furrow and sow the seed are not always called upon to reap the harvest; those who lay the foundations and build the walls of a house, are not generally to be its inhabitants. And what man among you, if the choice were given to him, would not prefer the labour and the trouble to the enjoyment. Contemplate for a moment by thought the edifices which adorn our cities, and our honourable president has admirably described those of the capital in which we are now assembled : think you that the men who erected them ever hoped to pray and to worship in them? not at all; they knew well that they were labouring for future generations, but they did not work less hard on that account. Such is the spirit of Christianity; it makes humanity to have only one soul and one heart. [A piece of paper was here handed to the speaker.] I have just had given to me a paper containing a name—a word—a date: a date of which this day is the anniversary, a melancholy, a fearful date, since it calls to mind the wholesale massacre of Saint Bartholomew! I will not dwell upon this terrible event, further than to ask: Could a more striking example be given of the advantages of peace and the evils of war? Yesterday one of the speakers alluded to the temporal power of the Papacy ; after having said a few words, he quitted the subject, perhaps out of regard for me. Now permit me to give you my ideas on this subject. I do not like restorations by the intervention of foreign nations: neither do I, on the other hand, approve of revolutions effected in a country by foreigners. Revolutions effected by foreigners give to a nation, whose political education is as yet unfinished, a species of nourishment which it is not fitted to receive; restorations made by foreign arms necessitate the employment of a force which cannot be always maintained, and which while it lasts, only increases the violence of the volcano, which, sooner or later, will burst forth, and scatter far around tears, blood, and ruins. With regard to the means which we should employ for the attainment of our object—if I may be allowed to return to the point from which I have just digressed—I would simply remark that they are most clearly indicated in the fifth article of our programme.
As far as concerns myself, and I think I am speaking in the name of all who hold the same high office, my life, my thoughts, all my resources are consecrated to this one object—the diminution of misery upon the earth. And, in order that there may be less misery, what is it we need? We must have lighter taxes, and, consequently, less public expenditure. If we do not put a check upon our expenditure, and look well to it, the men who are most opposed to socialism, which I assuredly do not wish to defend, will finish by taking so much from the citizens, under the form of taxes, that there will soon be only one proprietor, viz., the state. To secure the triumph of the cause which we advocate, we have the power of speech, eloquent voices and pens, the tribune and the press: let us use them with perseverance and we shall succeed. Already I salute, at no very distant future, the success of universal pacification. The idea which assembles us together is now making greater progress than ever. You were told yesterday that the statesmen who preside over the destinies of nations, look upon us with pity, but with a certain undefined admiration. But I call to mind that saying of the New Testament: Everything that is true will meet with opposition, and I believe in the ultimate success of our cause. Every day we gain new proselytes. A few more efforts—a few more steps in advance—and we shall be able to say that the combat has ceased through want of combatants. Yes! I behold, close at hand, the idea of universal peace seated upon a throne of glory, around which all the nations of the world are united in a fraternal embrace. Instead of those triumphal arches, which only recall to our minds the recollections of battles, we shall see establishments consecrated to industry ; statues will no longer be erected to any but those who have been benefactors of mankind, and the most magnificent will be raised to those who have been the most beloved. Yes! I see the idea of universal peace seated on a throne, and I hear these words re-echoing through the universe: Egotism is overcome, and Christ at length reigns upon the earth!
Amasa Walker, of Massachusetts, then rose and said :—
Mr. President, I feel much embarrassed in rising to address this assembly, after the eloquent speech of the distinguished gentleman, Abbe Deguerry, who has preceded me, but the great interest felt by the friends of peace in the United States in a Congress and High Court of Nations, as contemplated in the resolution now under consideration, induces me to ask the indulgence of the Congress, while I present, as briefly as possible, the views of my constituents on this important proposition.
A Congress of Nations has long been contemplated in the United States. It early attracted attention, and for more than twenty years has been a constant theme of discussion. A prize of 1,000 dollars was offered several years since, and several of the essays it called forth, were published in a volume, which has been widely circulated in America and Europe. It has also been a subject of legislation. The legislature of the State of Massachussetts, with great unanimity, passed a series of resolutions at one of its sessions, commending the matter to the attention of the National Congress, and in that body, a resolution in favour of the measure was introduced at its last session. I can assure the gentlemen present, that the more this question is considered, the more important it appears to the friends of peace, until they have come to regard it as entirely indispensable to the fall attainment of their great object, the permanent and universal pacification of the world. In their view it is the great want of mankind. To them it seems absolutely necessary that the different nations of the civilized world should come together by their representatives, and discuss the question and see what can be done by union and associated effort to attain that most desirable result. It seems to them, that this is the next step towards a higher and more christian civilization ; that union and co-operation have become necessary to the improvement and elevation of the human race. To this conclusion they have arrived by a long and patient examination of the subject—by looking at the history of the past, and the tendencies of the present. The time was when private disputes were settled by private combat, by trial by battle, by the irrational arbitrament of the sword; but that absurd and barbarous system has given place to courts of law, to trial by jury.
In the feudal ages, almost every country in Europe was divided into numerous petty sovereignties, which were constantly making war upon each other, and destroying the property and lives of the people—now these feudatories are united into great nations, and all wars between rival chiefs and clans are done away with. This result has been brought about by the evident necessities of mankind. Self-preservation, and the prosperity of the nations demanded this unity, and it has been accomplished. This is one of many illustrations that might be given, of the tendency of mankind to unity, and its beneficent effects. And now, in view of what unity has already achieved, we ask why this unity may not be still further extended, and all civilized nations agree upon a code of international law, and a grand umpirage for the settlement of disputes, and thus terminate all hostile contentions between the different peoples, and all necessity for consuming their wealth in keeping up large standing armies and warlike establishments?
The convictions of the friends of peace in the United States, have become so strong, and their views so clear on this subject, that they do feel an urgent desire that this measure should receive the attention of this Congress, and that a resolve like that now under consideration, should receive its deliberate sanction. And, sir, I feel bound, not merely to state these facts, but also to give our views in regard to the feasibility of the measure, and the process by which it may be realized.
First, then, as contemplated in the present resolution, we would say that the friends of peace in each country should do all in their power to form a correct public sentiment in relation to this matter, and make the people see that it is both necessary and feasible ; and when this much is accomplished, they should unite their exertions, and petition their several legislatures or governments to take immediate measures to form a grand preliminary Congress, to take the whole subject under consideration, and lay the results of their deliberations before their constituents.
If such a public sentiment were formed, and such a measure earnestly demanded by the people, it would not be long resisted by the governments. The preliminary Congress would soon be agreed upon, the ratio of representation fixed ; which might, we will suppose, be one delegate to every million of inhabitants.
When such a Congress had been thus formed, and the question how can the peace of nations be preserved, came up for discussion, one of the first difficulties to be encountered, would doubtless be the fact, that there was not existing any well-defined and duly authorised code of international law. The law of nations, so called, to which the different governments of the civilized world have yielded a partial assent, would be seen on examination, to be but an imperfect collection of precedents, opinions, and arguments, the work of philosophers, rather than statesmen, of scholars, rather than jurists ; that it had never been formally enacted or sanctioned by any of the governments of the earth, and was rather the expression of a vague and uncertain public sentiment, than a well digested and systematic code of international law. It would be seen that the want of such a code had given rise, and must ever give rise, to disputes between different governments, and that the first and most indispensable measure to the attainment of peace must be the removal of this difficulty. And how could that be accomplished? Evidently, only by a Congress of Nations, assembled for the purpose.
But another difficulty would present itself to this preliminary Congress. After the code of international law shall have been enacted, how shall the questions arising under it be adjusted? The obvious answer to this would be, by a reference of the matter in dispute to some competent tribunal, duly qualified and commissioned for that purpose ; in other words, to a High Court of Arbitration, or Adjudication. No other result is conceivable. If the arbitrament of war is to be dispensed with, then there must be, according to all analogy and experience, some common tribunal to which all parties can appeal, and by whose decisions all parties will abide.
These two points being settled, viz., the necessity of a Congress to enact laws, and a High Court of Equity to adjudicate in accordance with those laws, it would now be requisite to form, between the different contracting nations, a compact, which should recognize and provide for these institutions, and settle the principles on which they should be constituted. And this would be the most important part of the labours of this preliminary Congress. This would doubtless require great deliberation, a spirit of toleration and compromise ; but if the object were sincerely and earnestly sought, it could scarcely fail of being secured.
The provisions of such a compact or constitution must be, we suppose, in brief and general terms, something as follows:—
Preamble.—It is the object of this confederation to secure permanent peace and fraternal intercourse between the parties hereto subscribing, and thus for ever prevent the waste of property, the destruction of human life, and the demoralizing influence of war. For this purpose the contracting parties hereby agree,—
First.—To appoint delegates, in the proportion of one for every million of inhabitants, to meet at the time and place hereinafter designated, for the purpose of enacting a full and complete code of international law.
Second.—Said Congress shall adjourn when it shall have completed such a code ; and shall
assemble thereafter once in two, (or three, or five years, as may be thought best) on the
day of , and remain in session so long as may be necessary to enact such laws -and regulations as the exigency of the confederated nations, and the changing circumstances of the times, may require.
Third.—The said Congress shall legislate only on matters appertaining to the external relations of nations ; with their internal affairs, with the forms of government, or the existing institutions of the confederated nations, it shall have no power whatever to interfere.
Fourth.—This article may provide for the organization of this Congress, the tenure of office, &c.
Fifth.—Each nation shall also elect, in such manner as its government shall deem best, two (or more) suitable persons, as members of a High Court of Adjudication, which shall, on the
day of in each year, meet in the place hereinafter designated, for the purpose of
deciding all matters in dispute between any of the parties hereto.
Sixth.—The powers of this Court thus constituted shall extend only to matters appertaining to the external relations of states, and their intercourse with each other; and it shall in no case adjudicate on any question relating to the internal regulations or institutions of said states.
Seventh.—This article may provide for the organization of this Court, the tenure of office, &c., &c .
Eighth.—Whenever amendments to this compact, or constitution, are required, they shall be submitted to the Congress herein contemplated ; and when approved by a majority of two-thirds of that body, and ratified by the several governments, shall become a part of this instrument.
Ninth.—This compact or constitution shall be submitted to the several governments, and when ratified by two-thirds, (or any specified number of them,) shall become binding upon all who thus ratify it, and go into immediate operation.
Tenth.—The last article may solemnly pledge the national honour of each of the contracting parties, to carry out in good faith all the provisions of the compact.
And now, this preliminary Congress having done its work, is dissolved, and the result of its labours, the grand compact is submitted to the several governments for their consideration. If approved, if ratified according to the terms of the instrument, it becomes binding, and measures will be taken to carry out its provisions, by electing both the members of the Congress, and of the High Court of Nations.
Such then, Mr. President, is a brief and general outline of what we suppose to be a rational and practicable mode of securing the permanent peace and harmony of nations, and at the same time, of preserving to each its separate and independent existence and institutions s and the right of changing those institutions at pleasure, provided they do not interfere with the interests and just rights of other nations.
And now, sir, we ask, is there any thing chimerical or utopian in this proposal? Is there any thing in this plan which is not perfectly feasible, as human nature is, as human society now exists? Is any thing more needed, then that the public sentiment contemplated in the resolution, shall demand of the several governments the carrying out of this measure? We, sir, the friends of peace in America, feel assured there is not; and I ask you, sir, if the people of France should earnestly and unitedly ask its government to take measures to realize this object, would it refuse to do so? And I ask our English friends on this floor, if the people of Great Britain were to ask their government to take measures to participate in this grand preliminary Congress, would the ministry long hesitate to do so? We believe, sir, that after the remarkable success « hich has attended the efforts of the people of that country to obtain the abolition of the Corn laws, led on so gallantly as they were by the distinguished gentleman (Mr. Cobden,) who now occupies the chair of vice-president of this Congress, they must now feel, that any thing which the people of the United Kingdom earnestly demand they will certainly obtain. And sir, cannot the people of Prussia, of Austria, of Belgium, of Holland, and of most other nations of Europe do the same? We think they can. We think that the popular demonstration of the last two years abundantly proves, that the voice of the people is beginning to be heard, and regarded too, wherever and whenever they ask for that which is in strict accordance with reason and right.
On what ground, sir, could the government of Great Britain, or France, or the United States, refuse to appoint delegates to a preliminary Congress, whose sole object was to devise measures for securing peace and harmony among nations? Would either of those governments take the ground, that it would not even deliberate on the subject; that it would not even entertain a proposition for harmonizing the jarring interests of nations, and fusing them into one peaceful brotherhood? And yet, sir, this is all that is asked. The proposed preliminary Congress is merely a body created to deliberate on the subject of international concord, and submit the results of its deliberations to the several governments represented. We ask, sir, how can Russia, or Turkey, or any other government in the civilized world refuse to join in such a deliberative body as this?
But, sir, I am aware that many objections have been made to a Congress of Nations, and these I propose now to consider. The first I will notice is, "that nations will never bind themselves beforehand to the uncertain legislation of such a congress." To this we reply that the form in which we now present the project entirely obviates the objection ; we do not ask nations to come under obligations, until they know distinctly the nature and extent of the responsibilities they incur. By this preliminary Congress, which determines the conditions of the compact, and presents the whole in the form of a written mutual agreement or constitution, which distinctly points out all the powers and duties of the proposed Congress and High Court of Nations, and the limitations of each, no nation can be laid under any uncertain or unwilling obligation, or hesitate to bind itself in a compact which, by its express terms, can only ensure peace and justice, and promote the general interests of all, without interfering with the private interests of any. Now if the constitution proposed be of this character, each nation will be ready to ratify it, and be willing to bind itself to a faithful observance of it ; if not, it will not ratify, and of course not be included in the confederacy.
A second objection that has been stated is, that different nations having diverse and conflicting institutions, their antagonisms and mutual jealousies must prevent their acting together. But this objection, sir, like the first, is fully met by the provisions of the compact, which so define and limit the powers of the Congress and High Court contemplated, confining them to specific objects of international concern, and forbidding all interference with the domestic institutions of any of the confederated states, that however great might be the differences in their institutions, and however odious those of one nation might be in the eyes of another, those institutions being beyond the legislation of the Congress and the jurisdiction of the Court, no difficulty or reasonable objection could possibly arise on that account. Thus, if the United States, as a people, saw fit to disgrace themselves by tolerating a system of chattel slavery, it would not be a matter with which the Congress or High Court could interfere.
But again, it has been objected that the tribunal we propose might not be impartial. Why not? The same objection might be made, doubtless was made, when it was proposed to abolish trial by battle and substituting trial in courts of law, or by juries. If such a tribunal as we speak of would not be impartial, what tribunal would be? If the dreadful arbitrament of war is ever to be dispensed with, to what safer tribunal could the disputes of nations be referred, than to one composed of two (or more) members, chosen by each of the associated states, which tribunal, if there were twenty states confederated, would consist of at least forty members; men, selected for their sound judgment, their legal erudition, and high moral principles? This objection can be made by those, and those only, who have not deliberately considered the subject, and reflected upon the character and composition of such a court.
Again, it has sometimes been urged that a Congress of Nations would involve the creation of a great central power, which might become dangerous to the liberties, perhaps to the independence, of the weaker states. Those who make this objection seem to forget that it is not a centralization of physical force, but a concentration of moral power, that we propose. The magnificent scheme, advocated with so much ability and earnestness by Henry IV., that excellent monarch, of whom France is so justly proud, was fairly obnoxious to the objection we speak of, for it did contemplate a great central executive and a military power, which might well be the dread of smaller states. It was such a proposal as the ideas of such an age would naturally suggest. It was founded upon the great idea that brute force alone could bind nations together. An omnipotent public sentiment was then unknown, the mighty energies of the press had not then been developed. We live in a different age, and the measure we propose is, we trust, in perfect accordance with the genius and spirit of that age, and far from being open to the objection we have now noticed.
Again, sir, it has been said that it is impossible to form a compact which shall, for any considerable time, answer its original purpose, owing to the changing circumstances of nations. That this difficulty might occur we admit, but the contingency is met by that clause in the compact which provides for such amendments as the wants of the times may demand.
But still another objection has been raised, viz., that some of the nations may not come in to the measure, and thus the object will be defeated, and the necessity of keeping up military establishments and making preparations for war will continue. This objection once had considerable force. When the will of governments was everything, and the interests of the people nothing—when sovereigns had absolute power, and the voice of the people was unheard and uncared for—this objection was certainly formidable. But the circumstances are changed ; now there is, as we have already said, scarce a government in Europe which dare be unmindful of the will of the people, or refuse to do that which a majority of the people believe to be just and proper, and demanded by their truest interests. In these greatly altered circumstances, what nation will stand out and refuse to enter this League of Peace? What will be the position of the nation that does this? She will place herself, sir, in antagonism to the great fraternity of nations. She will virtually declare to her people, that while the citizens of other governments have secured to themselves, by entering into the confederacy, the blessings of peace, and an exemption from that dreadful weight of taxation inseparable from standing armies and constant preparations for war, she will not allow her subjects the same immunity. That while the people of other nations are relieved from the wasteful expenditure of the war system, and are thus enabled to extend, with new power and energy, their productive industry, their commerce and manufactures, she will blindly adhere to her old policy, and go on building war ships and forging the implements of human destruction, entailing upon her own citizens a burdensome taxation from which neighbouring nations are exempt!
Now, sir, we ask with confidence, What government in Europe could do this? What people would submit to needless oppression? None, sir ; self-interest, the strongest of all motives, will compel all civilized nations to come into this fraternal league. If a few of the principal nations come into the measure, none can afford to stay out of it. What nation in Europe wishes to increase, or even continue, its present taxation? W hat government has surplus funds to waste upon the war system? But lastly, sir, it is argued that there is no power provided to coerce the decisions of the proposed Court, and therefore those decisions will be disregarded, whenever the interests of a dissatisfied party shall require it. This is generally supposed to be the strongest objection, and the one most difficult to meet. In reply to this, we say, it should be recollected, that each nation which has become a party to this compact, has voluntarily, and in full view of the circumstances of the case, and of all the consequences involved, bound itself to abide by all the decisions of this international tribunal, and before high heaven and the world, pledged its national honour to do so. Now, sir, what nation, having done this, will violate its faith, and stand out in the presence of all mankind, in the face of universal public sentiment, and declare that she will not stand by her contract? I ask what nation will do this? I ask you, Mr. President, as a Frenchman, if France would thus perjure herself, and forfeit her word of honour? You answer me, indignantly " No!" and you answer me right, for France would never do such an act. I ask the Englishman the same question, and he answers with equal truth and emphasis "No ! Great Britain will never violate her national faith." I ask the American the same question, and he too answers "No I" The Prussian, the Belgian, the Austrian, if asked, all will give the same response; a response, sir, that arises from the spontaneous feelings of the human heart, from that sense of selfrespect and regard for true national honour, which exists in every human bosom, and creates a moral sense in every civilized community, which cannot and will not set at defiance the public sentiment of mankind; on that moral sense and public sentiment we rely, and we ask, if that reliance is not well founded, and sufficient? Thus, sir, have we endeavoured briefly to answer the most popular objections made to our proposition. But it has sometimes been said, that this is an American idea. It is not. The idea originated, as we have just been told by my learned and esteemed colleague (Mr. Burritt,) in France; was first promulgated in the city of Paris, some 200 years ago, and was proposed in England by William Penn, in the reign of Queen Anne. It is not then an American idea, though it may be an American movement ; but if it were, the friends of peace here present, will bear in mind that this measure was strongly recommended to the attention of the public, by the great international Peace Convention that assembled in London in 1843, by the Peace Congress which was held in Brussels last year ; and the resolution now under consideration, was reported with great unanimity by our respected Committee of Arrangements. Wherever it may have originated, therefore, has been universally adopted by the advocates of peace on both sides of the Atlantic.
That the people of the United States should feel a greater interest, and more confidence, in this measure, than others, is certainly quite natural. They have before them a striking illustration of the advantages of a confederation which secures peace and harmony among independent states. We have in our Union thirty distinct and independent sovereignties. They are not, as some persons seem to think, mere subdivisions of a country, like the counties of England, or the arrondissements of France. Each has its own government, its own legislature, its own judicial and executive departments, and its own militia. But they have entered into a Union with each other, one object of which is to secure internal peace ; and have mutually agreed to refer all their differences to a common tribunal, the Supreme Court of the United States. And now, when, as has recently happened, Massachusetts has a dispute with the neighbouring state of Rhode Island, in regard to her boundary, instead of calling out her military forces, invading Rhode Island, bombarding her capital, devastating her fields, and murdering her inhabitants, she merely enters her suit in the Supreme Court of the United States, and employs lawyers instead of generals, to defend her rights. Rhode Island meets her antagonist before the same tribunal: the cause is heard, the verdict rendered and acquiesced in, and the whole affair is settled without ill-feeling, without bloodshed, and with an almost inappreciable expense. When the American people see, as they often have done, the perfect practicability of adjusting disputes between independent states, in this manner, it cannot be a matter of surprise that they have great confidence in the proposal for a Supreme Court of Nations.
Again, sir, our confidence in the acquiescence of the confederated nations in the decisions of a supreme tribunal, is doubtless increased, by observing that no military force, on the part of the National Government, had ever been required, in order to secure obedience to the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States. In all cases, we believe, have the mandates of that tribunal been obeyed, without resistance or dissatisfaction. Nothing can be more evident to an American, than that the Union under which he lives is one sustained by moral power, rather than physical force, that our States are bound together by ties of interest, of duty, of self-preservation. We see plainly that it is for our interest, our happiness, our prosperity, that we should be so bound together, and therefore our Union grows stronger and stronger, as the people advance in intelligence and virtue. That it is not physical force that binds the people of the United States together, and enforces the decisions of its judiciary, is apparent from the fact, that the army of the nation has been usually only about 8000 strong, while many of the states have a very numerous militia, and a great power of resistance. New York, for instance, has a militia of some 300,000. What could the United States army do in coercing such a state? Why, sir, if its militia were cannibals, they could eat up the whole United States army at a single meal.
No, sir, we are bound together in fact, as we propose to bind together the great commonwealth of nations, by such ties of interest, and by such a common sentiment of fraternity, as all the petty rivalries, and occasional differences which arise between different states,shall never be able to rend asunder. We are sometimes told, sir, that we Americans do not take into consideration the great difference between the condition of the masses in Europe and our own country in regard to intelligence, and that we are expecting too much from the former, when we suppose that they can be united into one general confederacy.
We know, sir, all the difference which exists, we know the sad effects which the institutions of the Old World have had upon the people, we realize their depression and their ignorance; we see it in the immigration that comes to our shores, we read it in the past history and present condition of the millions of Europe ; but, sir, we believe that the people have common sense, and that alone is necessary, to enable them to see and feel that such an union is most indispensable to their elevation and improvement ; that there is no other way by which they can be relieved from the crushing taxation of standing armies and military preparations. We believe, too, that the people have sufficient spirit to demand this great measure, and that, if they do so, not by threats of violence, but in the sacred name of humanity, they will not fail to obtain it.
But, sir, let it not be supposed that we expect this result instantly. We do not invoke the aid of miracles. We have learned that all salutary and permanent reforms must be gradual. Ideas must first be implanted in the popular mind. Those ideas must have time to germinate, to spring up, to bud and blossom, and then they will, in due time, bring forth the desired fruit; and therefore, in the words of our present resolution, we wish the friends of peace to endeavour *' to prepare public opinion, in their respective countries, for the formation of a Congress of Nations ;" believing that when such a public opinion is formed, this great and glorious union of the nations will be easily effected. This, Mr. President, is our faith, our ardent hope, our confident expectation, and therefore, sir, we must be pardoned for our earnestness in commending this measure to the attention of the Congress here assembled.
But, sir, we beg you to recollect that we are not exclusively devoted to the advocacy of this scheme. We heartily join in all other movements proposed by the friends of peace. We have given our votes in favour of arbitration, as a measure that may be at once adopted by any two governments which please to enter into treaty for that purpose.
We have voted, too, with high satisfaction, for the resolution for a general and simultaneous disarmament. That, sir, in our view, is a most noble, a most practicable measure ; and we wish that it might be the united and stern demand of all the friends of peace throughout the world. We would, sir, that the cry of "disarmament" might be heard in thunder tones in every court and parliament of Europe, that its echo might cross the Atlantic, and be reverberated from the Rocky Mountains,—" Disarmament! disarmament! disarmament!"
Yes, sir, in all these measures we heartily join, and yet we do look forward to that union of the peoples, which shall be effected by the establishment of a Congress and High Court of Nations, as the grand result of all our labours. We would do all in our power to realize its accomplishment, and thus hasten the time—
"When the drum shall throb no longer,
And the battle flags be furled,
In the Parliament of Man,
The federation of the world."
Dr. Frederic Bodenstedt of Berlin, then rose and said :—
I begin by thanking this assembly for the kind manner in which it yesterday received the addresses which were sent to it from Germany. Sent hither as the representative of my countrymen, I have to give them an account of my mission, and it is in their name that I now address you. I am very desirous that Germany should bear a part in this great pacific demonstration. I have listened with extreme delight to the speeches which have been delivered by Frenchmen and Englishmen, but to my deep regret I have not heard a German speaker: I raise my eyes to the various national flags which decorate this hall, but to my sincere grief I do not perceive the flag of Germany.
A Member :—You stand there yourself, a far better representative of your country than a flag, for you are a living man.
Dr. Bodenstedt continued:—And yet, gentlemen, what country sympathizes more than Germany with the noble idea of universal peace, so favourable to the development of the arts, of the sciences, and of poetry. Think you, gentlemen, that we are so much in love with pur thousand and one petty principalities, as to wish to meddle with all their quarrels? No I gentlemen, Germany is anxious to have peace; no country on the earth has a soil so suited as she for the propagation of the ideas advocated by this Congress. For the development of peace, we must have the assistance of that knowledge which is imparted by instruction. Is there any country where this knowledge is more widely diffused than in Germany? Even the children of the poor sing the stanzas of Lamartine, the songs of Beranger, and the odes of Victor Hugo; and there is not a hamlet, however obscure, where the name of Richard Cobden is not known and respected. Let us then strive to disseminate widely in Germany the doctrines of peace; for I am convinced that by peace my country will obtain all those advantages and blessings which she has been unable to acquire by discord, intestine quarrels, and wars. I thank you for the attention with which you have listened to me ; and promise you that no efforts shall be spared, by myself and my friends, to obtain the organization of Peace Societies throughout the length and breadth of my fatherland.
M. Billecoq, began to read a voluminous manuscript, the object of which was to shew that preparation for war was the best method of securing peace. A good deal of confusion ensued, in consequence of the speaker's disregard of the announcement that no speeches were to be read. When order was restored, M. de Girardin appeared in the tribune, and was greeted with enthusiastic cheers.
M. De Girardin :—I am overwhelmed with the reception which you have given me. I have only a few words to say, and they are these: one single speech only has been delivered at this Congress in defence of war, and from what I have heard of it, I do not hesitate to say, that it has presented the very strongest arguments in favour of peace.
C. Hindley, Esq., M.p., then rose and said :—
Gentlemen, I am not so much an advocate of fine language in speaking as of sound and useful sentiments. For the last thirty years there has existed in London a Peace Society, and several have also been established in America ; but these are all somewhat different from the present Peace Congress. The object of these societies has been to disseminate the principle, that war is not only a folly, as it was stated yesterday by Mr. Cobden, but that it is also much worse—a crime ; that it is, in fact, nothing better than wholesale murder. In the progress of time, when other societies had sprung up, the members of the original society conceived the idea that by uniting all our streams, we could render our efforts more effective, and extend our irrigation further. Hence has arisen this important Congress ; and when I look around me, I cannot help believing that the waters of peace will soon cover the earth. It is said that universal peace is impossible ; but any one who has seen the united happy family of animals at the foot of Westminster Bridge, and has witnessed the harmony in which they dwell together, cannot, I think, have any doubt on the subject: for it is not to be supposed that, while the lower animals of the most contrary habits can live together in concord, man is incapable of a similar agreement. But why should I not address a few words to my French friends in their native language. [The honourable gentleman then continued in French to the following effect :—
My French brethren, I must regret that I cannot speak your language with such facility as would render my speech agreeable to you and not annoying to myself. But in this circumstance I see one of the sad effects of war. W hen I was a young man, war was general between your country and mine, and, consequently, I learned French as I learned Latin or any other of the dead languages. I had never seen a Frenchman, and I never hoped to see one. It was therefore that I learned to read and not to speak French. I now see the sad consequences to myself. I cannot, on this interesting occasion, express myself as I could wish. I cannot instil my ideas into your minds and unite my heart with yours as I should wish to do. - Fortunately, however, there is a secret magnetic influence which everywhere pervades this assembly, which runs from heart to heart; and there is a language which is unheard, but which speaks in every mind with an eloquence stronger than the language which meets the ear. At this time every heart feels the power of our principles—the principles of universal charity. I do not feel that I am English or French; I know and I feel that I am a man, and I say with the old poet, "Homo sum; nil humani a me alienum puto" Yes, gentlemen, I do not any longer see in this assembly Frenchmen or Dutchmen, Englishmen or Americans, Belgians or Germans, I only consider that we are all men, that we are all brethren. But I must again return to my youthful days. We were only allowed to think that to do our duty towards our country it was necessary to hate yours. It was the fashion to despise the French. But other days have dawned upon us. At length, war has finished and peace has come to us. Visits are exchanged between the two countries, and the natives of both countries are not natural enemies, as they have been taught to consider them selves. Let this assembly declare the results. Let the voices of the 700 Englishmen tell you,—"We are brethren, farewell to hatred! farewell to war! For the future let love, charity, and peace, exist between all nations."—Accept, my dear French brethren, these simple words, which, I assure you, come from my heart.
Edward Miall, Esq., then spoke to the following effect:—
One of the previous speakers has said that the shortest way to peace is through war ; and there is undoubtedly some truth in this. But it all depends on the manner in which you understand the term "peace." The sort of peace which I contemplate, is not that which Tacitus speaks of—solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant—nor the sort of peace obtained by the contest between the Kilkenny cats. I regret, particularly on this occasion, that there is not a universal language, to give expression to ideas of universal interest, such as those which have been enforced in the discussion of the last two days. But the object is, to a most important extent, attained by that electrical sympathy which seems to pervade all the minds before me. If we have been unable to catch the precise ideas of some of the speakers, from the language they have employed, or have done so only to a very partial extent, we have learned from the oratory of the eloquent editor of La Presse, and of the Abbfi who has addressed us this morning, that it is possible to rouse emotion by the tones of the voice, by forcible gesticulation, and by the play of the countenance, nay, that it may be communicated from heart to heart, by shaking it even from the fingers' ends. I look upon this Congress not so much, as an instrument of action as a condensation of floating sentiment—a gathering into one focus of the best thoughts on the subject of peace, of the best men, that were previously diffused throughout the civilized world. I care not greatly what may be its proceedings. All that is needed is, that it do nothing inconsistent with itself. The great phenomenon in which I take an interest is this—that the Congress exists—that it is what it is, and where it is. It is a striking fact, which I believe will produce a greater effect on the world at large, than any spoken arguments, however able, that could be brought forward. It has been suggested that the Congress has no practical object. I think it very clear that the Congress, even supposing it had not reckoned upon such means as it was then employing for attaining its end, has shown that it had not reckoned without its host. What is war? It is not spontaneous combustion. Armies are not organized without thought and the application of science. Soldiers are not made so without drilling. A charge of cavalry presupposes previous discipline. Gunpowder is a manufacture, not a growth. Cannon-balls do not hang on the trees of the forest. War is the product of man's will—often of the will of but one man—seldom of the will of many. It is simply the elements of nature made to subserve man's evil passions. The way to put down war is to get at the will of man ; to get at that will by means of his reason, his understanding, his conscience, his affections. This is what the Congress wants to do. They want to drive the monster—war—home to its lair, and there to transfix it with reason and with love. War will never cease till men are indisposed to prosecute it as a means to attain their object. But is it impossible to produce that indisposition? The answer of the Congress is, No! It is not only possible, by the means we employ to achieve the end we propose—it is probable— it is certain. The masses have no interest in the promotion or prosecution of war, and therefore the Congress, addressing itself to the masses, will find their task by no means impracticable, if they are faithful to their principles, their character, and their duty. The result is no contingency ; it is as certain as any problem in mathematics. Our work is simply to get at the will of those who make war, if not by arguments operating upon themselves, at least by arguments operating upon others—to get at that will, so as to transform it by the medium of public opinion; to make governments coincident with public opinion; to surround them with such an atmosphere of public sentiment as to make it impossible for them to give expression to any will of their own inconsistent with the public will, and with the principle that war is an utter absurdity, a deep crime against God and against man ; in short, by enlightening the public mind as to the causes, the nature, and the consequences of war, to make it as difficult for rulers to plunge into hostilities, as it is in this nineteenth century for a man to kill and eat his own father for the sake of appeasing his hunger. But we are told, we cannot extinguish the natural passions of man. True! neither do we mean to try. The natural passions of man will have full play after war has utterly ceased. Man may be endowed, and largely endowed, with a propensity which we have chosen to call combativeness-—but which, in its original elements, is nothing more than a desire to overcome resistance. It is not necessary that this desire should gratify itself by having recourse to arms. It may gratify itself by moral as well as physical means. It may find expression and indulgence in conquering the difficulties which lie in the path of philanthropy and religion. War is simply a perversion of this natural impulse of humanity. Destroy war, and the passion flows into its legitimate channel. For myself, I have no doubt about the attainment of our object. We have a principle of eternal and immutable truth to stand upon—and on such a principle, once ascertained, I for one, would rather plant my feet, even if I felt the whole world sinking beneath them, than join in the temporary shout of triumph with those who embraced a falsehood. We have had sufficient evidence to-day that the cause of peace is making rapid progress. We have met here, from all parts of the world as brothers, and, spite of all resistance, we will make all nations brothers before we abandon our enterprise.
Mr. William W. Brown, an escaped slave from the United States, then spoke to the following effect:—
At so advanced a stage of the proceedings, I should not have thought of taking up the time of the meeting, were I not extremely desirous to protest, at the Peace Congress at Paris, against the existence of the war element, which condemns three millions of men in the United States to the degradation and smferings of slavery. I was myself a slave for twenty years, and I can therefore speak from experience on this point. I can utter my sentiments with perfect freedom in Paris, but if I were to do so in the United States, my life would be in danger. Slavery has now been abolished in almost every country of Europe ; but to her shame be it spoken, it still exists in America. By the revolution of 1848, France not only set her inhabitants at home free, but also emancipated the slaves in Martinique and Guadeloupe. Now, I wish to see the same thing done in the United States. But how can this be effected? It is impossible to maintain slavery without maintaining war. If therefore we can obtain the abolition of war, we shall at the same time proclaim liberty throughout the world, break in pieces every yoke of bondage, and let all the oppressed go free.
M. Coquerel gave a translation of Mr. Brown's speech.
The President then put the third resolution to the vote, and it was adopted by acclamation.
M. Coquerel read a letter from M. Lacrosse, the Minister of Public Works, in which it was stated that every facility would be afforded to the foreign members of the Congress for visiting the museums of Versailles, the park and palace of Saint Cloud, and the other public buildings of the French metropolis and its environs.
The sitting was then suspended for ten minutes. On its resumption,
The President stated that the discussion would then begin on the fourth resolution, viz :—" The Congress condemns all loans and taxes intended for the prosecution of wars of ambition and conquest."
I have the honour to submit to your consideration a motion condemnatory of loans for warlike purposes. My object is to promote peace by withholding the sinews of war. I propose that this Congress shall make an appeal to the consciences of all those who have money to lend. I do not allude to a few bankers who appear before the world as loan contractors. In reality they are the agents only for collecting funds from smaller capitalists. It is from the savings and accumulations of the merchants, manufacturers, traders, agriculturists, and annuitants of civilized Europe, that warlike governments can alone supply their necessities, and to them we would appeal by every motive of self-interest and humanity, not to lend their support to a barbarous system which obstructs commerce, uproots industry, annihilates capital and labour, and revels amidst the tears and blood of their fellow-creatures. We will do more; we will in every possible way expose the character and objects, and exhibit to the world the true state of the resources of every government which endeavours to contract a loan for warlike purposes. The time is gone by when barbarous nations devoted to war could conquer civilized Europe, unless, indeed, the latter will be so very complacent as to lend the money necessary for its own subjugation. War has become an expensive luxury. It is no longer a question of bows and arrows, swords and shields. Battles are now decided by artillery, and every discharge of a cannon costs from twelve to fifteen francs; I wish with all my heart it were ten times as much. The consequence is, that when countries behind the rest of Europe in civilization enter upon hostilities, they are obliged immediately to draw upon the resources of more civilized states—in other words, to raise a loan ; and how is the money thus borrowed from the savings of honest industry expended? What is war in our day? Has it learned any of the charities of peace? Let us see. I hold in my hand an extract from a proclamation issued at Pesth, dated 19th July, and signed " Haynau." Praying forgiveness for your outraged feelings, I will read it:—
"Any individual who shall, either by word or action, or by wearing any revolutionary signs or emblems, dare to support the cause of the rebels ; any individual who shall insult one of my soldiers, or those of our brave allies, either by words or blows; any individual who shall enter into criminal relations with the enemies of the crown, or who shall seek to kindle the flame of rebellion by reports spread for a sinister purpose, or who shall be rash enough to conceal arms, or not deliver them up within the day fixed by my proclamation, shall be put to death without the shortest possible delay, and on the spot where the crime shall be committed, without distinction of condition or sex."
This was addressed to the inhabitants of Pesth ; and a few weeks afterwards the same signature appeared to a proclamation addressed to the inhabitants of the countries of the Theiss, from which also I will read a short extract, and which I must declare to be the policy of the devil.
"Take care not to incur my vengeance by revolutionary movements. Not being able in such a case to find out the guilty party, I shall be compelled to punish the whole district. If on the territory occupied by my army, or on the rear, any offence shall be committed against my soldiers, or if any of the convoys should be stopped, or a courier, or the transport of provisions prevented, an immediate punishment shall be inflicted on the guilty commune; U shall become the prey to flames, and shall be levelled to the ground, to serve as a frightful example to other communes."
I ask you, whilst your flesh creeps and your hair bristles with horror at these quotations, has war borrowed any of the charities of Christianity? Have modern warriors repudiated the practice of the barbarians of antiquity? For my part, I can see no difference between Attila and Haynau, between the Goth of the fifth and the Goth of the nineteenth century. But we address ourselves to those who, by their loans, really hire and pay men who commit these atrocities, and we say, "It is you who give strength to the arm which murders innocent women and helpless old age; it is you who supply the torch which reduces to ashes peaceful and inoffensive villages and on your souls will rest the burden of these crimes against humanity." I shall be told that it is useless to make an appeal to the sensibilities of men who, with money lying unproductive at the bottom of their pockets, are thinking of nothing but five per cent. I will undertake to prove, though I shall not weary you with an opinion upon the subject, that peace will offer a far better field for the employment of the savings of agriculture than the field of battle, and that she will afford a much more profitable investment for the accumulations of industry than in partnership with Haynau and Co. This discussion will be raised again and again in various places. The Congress of Nations will make the tour of the civilized world. You, French men, French women, who have received with so much enthusiasm your English visitors, in whose name I thank you—who have known so well how to show the noble zeal in the cause of humanity which has prompted your American guests to cross the great Atlantic—who have welcomed the presence of Germans, Belgians, and Dutchmen, and the representatives of other nations in this hall—you have imparted to the Peace Congress a great moral power, which its members will endeavour to use for the benefit of humanity. We shall leave you with renewed hope and courage, confident that we have only to persevere resolutely, but legally, and always in a moral sense, and step by step we shall propagate the sublime idea which now reigns in this hall, till it embraces within its influence all the nations of the earth.
The President: In consequence of the advanced hour, no speaker can be allowed to occupy the tribune for more than ten minutes.
M. Adrien Féline :—
Yon behold before you a veteran in the cause which you have met to advocate ; for twenty years I have not ceased to declare that war is a work of barbarism. Nevertheless, gentlemen, we shall never attain the object which we have in view, if we do not do something besides shaking one another by the hand. Recollect the prediction of Napoleon: In fifty years Europe will be either republican or Cossack. I say, therefore, gentlemen, whilst we reject wars of conquest, let us arm in support of defensive war,—
The President called the speaker to order. The question now before the Congress relates to loans contracted in support of wars of ambition and conquest; and the speaker will, therefore, be so good as to confine his remarks to that question.
M. Féline thought that he was perfectly in order; but preferred to leave off instead of continuing his speech, as the tribune was not free.
The President: I cannot allow to pass without protest, the very undeserved charge which has just been made against me. The meeting will, I am sure, exonerate me from any intention to infringe upon liberty of speech, as I simply requested the speaker to confine his remarks to the question now under discussion.
M. Emile De Girardin :—
Friends of peace! I understand peace in its widest signification, and in my opinion, the first condition of peace is liberty of speech, and absolute respect of the right of discussion. I do not think that the preceding speaker abused the right he possessed to express his opinion, since we have the right of replying to him. He told you that the people must be able to organize defensive war—that there are certain cases which necessitate them to take up arms in their own defence. You wish to organize defensive war! but you thus perpetuate an evil which has now existed for more than thirty years, you perpetuate misery, you continue to impoverish your country. And it is thus that you propose to enable it to resist coalitions, if it were possible for any to be formed! But there are other means of defence. War is made with money.
A Voioe: And with patriotism.
M. De Girardin: I will answer this suggestion of patriotism presently: for the moment, I will confine myself to the terms of the resolution now before your notice. Let all of you who are here present, engage not to participate, under any form, in a loan contracted for the purpose of carrying on war. Make this engagement ; do more, denounce to the indignation of the people those bankers who subscribe to such loans. Brand with infamy all loans and taxes for the support of war; whoever desires the end must employ the means. But, I am told, even if you refuse to make war, that is no reason why others should not make war against you. It is easy to convince you that this objection is futile. If credit does not furnish the munitions of war, there is no nation powerful enough to cause us the least disquietude. Do you require examples of this? You have them before your eyes. During the last thirty years, two revolutions have broken out in this country, two governments have been overthrown. But has war been kindled? No. Has ambition been suddenly extinguished amongst us? Has Europe forgotten all its old hatreds? Neither the one or the other. But a great step towards peace was made when a vast amount of credit was found necessary to enable us to begin and carry on a war. Credit, then, prevented war in the instances I have alleged. If money could have been found, trust me, a war would have broken out: but the money was not to be found. If in the whole of your programme there is one clause to which I more completely adhere than to any other, it is the one which is now under discussion: if people will only bind themselves to the performance of this resolution, I do not think war can again take place. During the last eighteen months, you have seen a general war break out. Do not imagine that I have witnessed without sorrow the events which have taken place in other countries! Far from it. But take care, as soon as ever your supreme tribunal shall be established, the question will present itself, whether there was a war between sovereign and sovereign, or only a war between a sovereign and his people, and undertaken simply for the maintenance of treaties. I do not think I am wanting in patriotism, when I say that I do not fear war. I fear neither war, nor the suppression of liberty, for liberty has made some important conquests in the midst of the misfortunes of these latter days, its tribune has been raised at Vienna, at Milan, and at Turin, and the right of examination and of discussion has been established in Germany. I have confidence in the right of discussion: I have much more confidence in liberty than in battalions armed with the money of the poor. The affection of their peoples is of far more value to governments than large battalions of soldiers. Let us, then, have confidence in liberty, and we shall arrive at that pacification which progress will render definitive.
Joseph Sturge, Esq., of Birmingham, said that he understood the last speaker was in favour of a resolution condemning loans in support of wars of any kind. For his own part, he did not think that any principle would be compromised, if the words "of ambition and conquest" were omitted.
M. Gustave D'Eichthal began by expressing his surprise at not having heard the name of Henry IV. mentioned at a meeting assembled for the purpose of promoting the sacred cause of peace. He then went on to give some historical evidence that that monarch was the originator of the idea of a Congress of Nations; but, perceiving that his remarks were listened to with considerable impatience, he left that subject, and contended that the idea which presided over the formation of the Holy Alliance, in 1815, wa3 an idea of peace. Upon this so much confusion arose, that M. D'Eichthal was obliged to forego any explanation of his meaning, and to leave the tribune.
Rev. Thomas Pyne, a clergyman of the Church of England, then rose and said :—
Relying on the well-known politeness of the French to strangers, I shall endeavour to make a few remarks in your language. As an individual, I should not have spoken at all; but as an eminent and eloquent Roman Catholic priest, and a highly distinguished French Protestant minister have addressed you, I am desirous that the Church of England should not be unrepresented. What is war, I would ask, but the name of all crimes and evils in one ; and though thus opposed to humanity and virtue, it is not less so to reason and common . sense ; exposing to accident and brute force the dearest interests and the justest causes. Its evil results, alike financial, physical, and moral, it is impossible to express. Had we the money wasted in mutual slaughter, we might build a church in every village throughout the earth—we might place by its side a modest school-house—we might support teachers of religion and science for each such institution—we could give a college to every town—we could cultivate every forest, we could crown with beauty and order every island of the sea, and bless and render happy the world at large.
Why, then, is it that the human race is thus afflicted and oppressed, ground with taxes, and living in anxiety and fear? It is because the children of men have forgotten the primal law of their Creator, which is to seek his glory in their mutual love. We are even yet but half civilized, and are plunged in a night of ignorance. But the morning dawns, and the sun shall soon arise! and this vast and impressive assembly shows that the moral horizon is already brightening unto day. Happy then, privileged and honoured, are you, friends and brethren from many nations, who have begun this work of promoting peace for the world at large. Reason is on your side, the hearts of the best men, the approval of God, the promises of prophecy. "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." A time is advancing,—perhaps not so distant as some think,—in which "they shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord ; for the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Then shall nation not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."
It is not needful to touch upon the political argument, which has already been discussed. This question is a personal one. It is one for individuals and for families, for mothers especially, and for teachers. The education of men has hitherto been too martial ; not merely that of the soldier, but of every child. The books we read in youth, and the sentiments we find established as most worthy of our consideration, are full of strife and battles. Greece and Rome, which have given us models of art, have, unhappily, handed down to our ages in poetry, and with all the grace of oratory, the savage taste for war. History needs to be rewritten ; or if that is impossible, we must of ourselves begin to form anew the education of the people, and in the privacy of the family, and the hour of calm, to place before the eyes of the young, in their true colours, the horrors, the griefs and crimes of war. Every one may thus aid in bringing about the reign of peace ; and, perhaps, in no way could those before me more effectually do this, next to the immediate lessons of a beneficent example, than by forming in their respective villages and towns small associations in connexion with this great movement, and by conversation, by the press, and public discussion, seeking to show themselves the friends of man. We may be sure, should such efforts be made, sensible, suitable, and full of zeal, that, under the blessing of God, and with the teaching of his word, a great change may arise even in our day ; and if it be not immediate and plain to the eyes of all, it shall at least be as the dew, which, though silent and unperceived, yet fertilizes the world.
"I saw the expecting nations stand
To catch the coming light in turn,
I saw from ready hand to hand
The bright, but struggling, glory burn;
And each, as she received the flame,
Kindled the altar with its ray;
Then turning to the next she came,
Speeding it on its sparkling way."
The President: As the close of the discussion has been called for, I put the resolution upon loans in support of war to the vote. The resolution was then unanimously adopted.
The President: I have now to submit to the Congress, a resolution, which I think will excite no discussion. It is as follows :—" The Congress decides that the committee be instructed to draw up an address to all nations, embodying the resolutions of the Congress; and that this address shall be presented to the various governments, and that special means be taken to bring it under the attention of the President of the French Republic."
This resolution was also carried unanimously.
M. Visschers, one of the vice-presidents of the Congress, proposed that a committee should be constituted in Paris, to correspond with those already formed in England, Belgium, the United States and elsewhere, and to organize a Third General Peace Congress, to be held next year, in some city of the Continent of Europe. He would suggest that the members of the Committee of Organization of the Congress should be requested to form such committee, with power to add to their number.
This proposition met with universal approbation, and was adopted immediately.
The Hon. C. Durkee, member of the American Congress, next addressed the meeting as follows :—
I should not trespass upon the attention of the Congress at this late period, but for the remarks which have been made by a previous speaker, Mr. Brown. I fully agree with that gentleman, in thinking that slavery is a great curse to our country ; but I am happy to say, that a great struggle is now going on in America to get rid of the evil. There is, in fact, a war waging there against slavery and oppression. Since the great addition made to the American territory by the conquest of Mexico, the question has been brought into Congress, as to whether slavery should be permitted in the newly-acquired country. The question was warmly discussed, and a compromise was eventually proposed by the advocates of slavery, viz., that slavery should be allowed in one-half of it ; but, I am happy to say, that the proposition was rejected, and a declaration made, that slavery should not exist in any part. The cause of liberal principles triumphed, and I feel persuaded from what I have witnessed since the present Peace Congress has opened its proceedings, that the day is not far distant when the principles of universal peace will be equally triumphant. What, I would ask, is the result of war? It reduces nations to beggary, and their inhabitants to starvation and misery. From what I have witnessed since I came into the place in which I now address the meeting, I am convinced that ideas of peace and harmony must ultimately triumph. The smiles of sympathy which here meet the advocates of peace are a proof that their cause is acquiring strength in the minds of the people ; and the cheers which greet those who advocated the glorious cause of peace, are in my mind, a certain proof of its ultimate triumph. The day, I trust, is not far distant, when war among nations will cease, and the only rivalry between them will be in arts and civilization—a rivalry which will promote the general interest and happiness of mankind.
Rev. J. W. C. Pennington of New York, once a slave, but now a Presbyterian minister, said :—
Mr. President and gentlemen of the Congress! The sixth resolution, " invites the ministers of religion to endeavour to eradicate from the minds of all, in their respective countries, both by means of a better education of youth, and by other practical means, those political prejudices and hereditary hatreds which have too often been the cause of disastrous wars." By adopting this resolution the Congress will act wisely for the advancement of the great object it has in view, and will also pay a nattering compliment to the influence of the ministers of religion.
The Master whom we serve and of whom we teach, is styled The Prince Op Peace. He was announced to the world at his birth by the heavenly host, who sang " Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, and goodwill to all men." If goodwill existed among men there could be no war among them. War originates not so much from bad faith between nations in the keeping of treaty engagements, as it does from the existence of bad feelings. It is true, these feelings may not discover themselves until some slight cause of irritation occurs, and then the ostensible cause (bad faith) is made to stand out, and to float upon the bosom of the real cause (bad feeling,) like a bubble that just makes its appearance upon the face of the angry waters.
A war party almost always bases its movements upon the existence of political prejudices, and often seizes upon those hereditary hatreds as fuel for the flame, and then alleges that the result is inevitable. The resolution admits the premises, but denies the conclusion; or at least proposes a just remedy against it, a remedy which is founded in the gospel of peace and goodwill.
In responding to the invitation, the ministers, it is true, will meet with one or two obstacles. The first of these obstacles is the difficulty of applying the principles of peace and goodwill to nations. This can be met, however, by consistency. They go to the extent of peace principles as applied to individuals. They reprove and condemn wrath, malice, and ill-will between man and man. They solemnly enjoin and enforce forgiveness, forbearance, and love of enemies. Is it any thing more than simple consistency to apply the same principle to nations?
Another obstacle will arise from the commonly received notion of patriotism. Few things are more prominent in the character of man than patriotism—love of country. He is an unfortunate man who has no country; and he is an anomaly of humanity, who having a country does not love it. It is a blessing to have a country, and it is a virtue to love it; no man wishes to be without this virtue. But this love of country is capable of great abuse. It is generally held that no man loves his country patriotically, unless he will fight for it; unless he be ready to meet all encroachments and to avenge all wrongs. This very naturally leads a man to take it for granted that others are always ready to wrong his country, and consequently that he must always be ready to fight for it. Mere politicians act upon the principle, that defensive war will be indispensable while man is man. They hold it to be certain that the occasion for war will be enforced upon us by the wrongs of others; and hence they conclude, that as patriots we must stand ready to meet them in defence of our country. Here lies their grand fallacy, Why should we take this for granted? Is it "not equal to taking it for granted that the gospel is not adapted so to change men, that they will not aggress upon each other? And what is this but infidelity? They seem to forget that it requires more moral courage to keep the peace, than it does of physical courage to break the peace and to fight battles. And the former is the kind of courage ministers of religion need to teach the principles of peace in the face of the war-spirit of the age.
My friend, Mr. W. Brown, has said that slavery in the United States is an element of war. I quite agree with him, and I moreover hold that we cannot have universal peace till that system is abolished. For in no case does the maxim of the New Testament—" First pure, then peaceable," apply more forcibly than in this. It is, and will ever be while it exists, the cause of discord, strife, and ill will among men. But this element of war is not to be found in spirit of that class of the human family which I represent here. We are wronged, but we do not wrong others. In our character you will find an element of Peace, which naturally accords with the spirit of the resolution—nay with that of the Gospel, we Endure our wrongs. We have cause of complaint, we have temptation, if not occasion, to disturb the peace of society. No class of the family of man has suffered more unqualified and unprovoked wrongs than we. We have pressing upon our minds the recollection of centuries of oppression, including the loss of time, wealth, education, character, and every thing that man holds dear. We are now, even at this moment, when all other sections of the human family are striding onward in the march of liberty, lying under the accumulation of these wrongs. Surely then, if being robbed of all of one's rights is a justification for disturbing the peace of society, we have that justification. Our wrongs are far greater than those of many who have set us the example in disturbing the peace. Nor can any one who takes a candid view of the whole subject, doubt that we have it in our power to disturb the peace of society.
Look for one moment at the numerical strength of the negro on the Western Continent, where most of his disabilities are felt. We constitute full one-fifth of the whole population of the Western Continent:—
In the United States and the British provinces of Canada ... 3,500,000
West Indies 2,500,000
Other parts of South America ... .. 1,500,000
More than one-half of this number are now in servitude to the whites. Can it bo supposed that twelve millions of men, burning with aspirations of freedom, can do nothing to disturb the peace of about 40,000,000 among whom they live? While the justice of our cause is perfectly obvious, we are not ignorant of our physical strength. The present sway is not held over us by justice, nor could it be at all secure in point of physical force, if we trusted in our own. We take a higher and broader view of the subject. That element of peace in our character gives us a more substantial ground of hope. We rely upon the immutable justice of God. We, all things considered, prefer to keep the peace, and choose God as our arbiter. The sword settles nothing. Physical force, however powerful, substantiates nothing. But the arm of God does. The noise of revolutions that has greeted our ears from all parts of the world has not moved us from our fidelity to the principles of peace. We would cultivate and adhere to the spirit of peace, even at the expense of our own peace and just claims. We believe that the human family is on the march ; and, as a grand division of the family, a firstclass division in point of numbers and intellectual intelligence, we are on the way to our proper destiny. Nor can the sword either help or yet hinder us from that destiny. The goodwill we bear to all mankind, even to our oppressors, can do more to aid us to our high destiny of civilization, than all the physical force in the world can do to hinder us.
We invite the great nations of the earth to come under the influence of this principle. Cherish goodwill to their enemies, keep the peace of the world's community ; and, so far from ever hearing the roar of the cannon again, we shall soon hear that the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our God, and of his Christ. If the gospel be true, our course is right, and must prevail. If the gospel is to make further progress, its next step must be to destroy the sword. The principle upon which the sword is used is the grand obstacle to the progress of the gospel. It is the antagonism of the gospel: it is not true that there is any evangelizing power in the sword ; on the contrary, it is the instrument of barbarity. Wherever the sword holds sway, it holds the gospel in check : every battle throws society back into the labyrinths of barbarism. The question of war and peace we consider to be a question of gospel and no gospel. If the gospel contains the highest form of civilization, and is also adapted to bring in a glorious millenial state, then the sooner and the more implicitly we entrust this great work to it the better. We do not see how it is, that we can have the gospel in all its blessed fulness, professing to believe that it is all we need for civilization and evangelization, and yet hold that the sword must be used to aid the gospel a few years. This is itself an impeachment of the truth of the gospel.
It seems to me, that those nations claiming to be Christian and civilized, lie under a weight of responsibility in reference to the interests of the peace cause. They have the Bible, and all institutions of Christianity and civilization, and yet, instead of throwing their character fully into those, so as to perfect the peace of the world, they rather throw the weight of their character and influence into the scale with the sword, thus tempting the weaker nations to do the same. But it is said that universal peace is only a question of time. Who has decided that? The Bible, the high code of civilization, decides the principle. It does not license the use of the sword up to 1849, or 1850, or to any other point of time. It decides the principle that it is wrong and wicked ; and dooms it to be beaten into a ploughshare. Who shall assume the responsibility to preserve it for five, ten, or twenty years longer? We shall not be found fighting against God, even though all the swords in the world were at our service.
"That the cordiul thanks of this Congress be respectfully tendered to the French Government, for the facilities they have afforded for convening it in this great metropolis, and for the splendid hospitalities they have shown to, and have yet in reserve for, its members.
"That the best thanks of this Congress be presented to the president, M. Victor Hugo, for the great ability, dignity, and courtesy, with which he has presided over and conducted its proceedings to a satisfactory conclusion.
"That the thanks of this Congress be tendered to the vice-presidents, for the services they have rendered to the cause of peace by their presence and assistance during its proceedings.
"That this Congress offers its sincere acknowledgments to the secretaries, for the intelligence, zeal, and industry which they have shown in the discharge of their arduous and important duties."
Joseph Brotherton, Esq., M.p., seconded the motion, and in doing so expressed his opinion that such a reception as they had met with augured well for the success of the object they had in view.
J. B. Smith, Esq., M.p., supported the proposition, and passed a high eulogium on the president for his conduct in the chair, congratulating the Congress on having such a president, and the president on having enjoyed the high privilege of presiding over an assembly whose proceedings would, beyond a doubt, be followed by the most important results.
Mr. Cobden then said that, as there appeared to be but one feeling with regard to the propositions before the meeting, he would put them to the vote at once.
Rev. Dr. Bitchie of Edinburgh, stepped forward, and said, that in the course of the proceedings England, France, Belgium, the United States, had all been severally alluded to, but not one word had been said of his poor country—Scotland: and yet there, he could assure the meeting, there were hearts as zealous in the cause of peace as were to be found in any part of the world.
M. Coqueretj could assure the learned gentleman, that if no express mention had been made of Scotland, it was not from any want of respect, but because it had been included in the general term of Great Britain.
The propositions were then severally put to the vote, and adopted with immense acclamations.
The President rose to return thanks. He spoke as follows :—
Gentlemen, you permitted me to address to you some words of welcome ; allow me now to utter some words of adieu. I shall be very brief, for it is late, and I have the fear of our third rule before my eyes ; you may therefore be 6ure that I shall not oblige the president to call me to order. We are about to separate; but we shall remain united in heart. Henceforth we shall entertain thoughts in common, and thus have, as it were, a common fatherland. Yes I from this day forth, all of us who are here are fellow-countrymen! During the last three days you have deliberated, discussed, and examined, with wisdom and dignity, questions of the highest import; and with regard to these questions, the greatest that can occupy the attention of mankind, you have nobly practised the generous manners of free peoples. You have given advice to governments, friendly counsels to which they will listen, you may be sure. Eloquent voices have been raised in your midst, generous appeals have been made to all the magnanimous feelings of man and of the people ; you have planted in the minds of men, in spite of international prejudices and enmities, the imperishable germ of universal peace. Know you what it is that we now behold? Know you what we have had before our eyes during the last three days? We have seen England shaking the hand of France, and America shaking the hand of Europe, and, as far as I am concerned, I can conceive of no sight more grand or more sublime! Return now to your homes, go back to your native lands with your hearts full of joy; say that you have returned from a visit to your fellow-countrymen of France; say that you have been laying the foundations of peace on earth; spread widely abroad this joyful news, and inculcate everywhere this noble thought! After the important speeches which have been pronounced in your hearing, I shall not recur to that which has been explained and demonstrated to you; but permit me to repeat, in closing this solemn Congress, the words which I uttered at its inauguration. Be hopeful! Be courageous! That immense definitive progress which it is said you are dreaming about, but which I say you have engendered, will be realized! Think on all the advances which have already been made by the human race! Meditate on the past, for the past often serves to enlighten the future. Open the books of history and draw from thence confirmation of your faith. Yes! the past and history, these are our points of support. This morning, at the opening of this session, at the moment when a Christian priest was enchanting you all by the spell of his sublime and soul-penetrating eloquence, at that moment, some one, a member of this assembly, of whose name I am ignorant, reminded him that the present day, the 24th of August, is the anniversary of the massacre of Saint Bartholomew. The Catholic priest turned aside his venerable head, unwilling to think upon this lamentable occurrence. Well! for my part, I accept the omenf I adopt the recollection. Yes, two hundred and seventy-seven years ago from this very day, Paris—the Paris in which we are now assembled—awoke in terror; in the midst of the night, a bell, which was called the silver bell, tolled at the Palace of Justice—the catholics ran to arms, the protestants were surprised in their sleep, and a wholesale murder, a massacre, a crime in which commingled hatreds of all kinds, both religious, civil, and political, a crime of the deepest and blackest dye, was committed. Well! to-day, on the same day, in the same town, God summons all these hatreds before him, and commands them to be changed into love! God takes away from this fatal anniversary its sinister signification ; where there had been a spot of blood, He puts a ray of light ; in the place of an idea of vengeance, of fanaticism, and of war, He substitutes an idea of reconciliation, of tolerance and of peace; and, thanks to Him, by his will, thanks to the progress which He effects and ordains in the world, precisely on this fatal day of the 24th August, and, so to speak, almost under the shadow of that tower which gave the signal for the massacre, not only English and French, Italians and Germans, Europeans and Americans, but also those who were called Papists, and those who were called Huguenots, recognise each other as brethren, and unite in a close and henceforth indissoluble embrace! Dare now to deny progress! But, know this well, the man who denies progress is a monster of impiety, the man who denies progress denies providence, for providence and progress are one and the same thing, and progress is only one of the human names of the eternal God! Brethren, I accept your acclamations, and I offer them to future generations. Yes! may this day be a memorable day, may it mark the end of the effusion of human blood ; may it mark the end of massacres and wars ; may it inaugurate the commencement of the reign of peace and concord upon earth, and may it be said: The 24th of August, 1572, is effaced and disappears before the 24th of August, 1849!
Immense and long-continued cheering followed this address. After the excitement had somewhat subsided,
Mk. Cobden said: Now, gentlemen, that our proceedings have closed, let us terminate the whole with nine English cheers. If you please, I will be fugleman.
Nine cheers were thereupon given with great strength of lungs, the French part of the audience joining most cordially in the shout. The meeting then separated.
The morning of Saturday, August 25th, was occupied by the members and visitors of the Congress in viewing the various public edifices and exhibitions in the city and its neighbourhood. In the evening they attended a grand soiree, given in honour of the Congress by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and his lady, Madame de Tocqueville. The splendid suite of reception-rooms at the Hotel des Affaires Etrangeres was thrown open to the guests, and the garden was also brilliantly illuminated for the occasion. A band of music was in attendance, and performed several fine pieces during the evening. M. de Tocqueville mingled freely with his guests, and conversed with many of the leading orators of the Congress. Among the persons present were several members of the diplomatic corps, and of the National Assembly, together with a great many public functionaries. The company dispersed shortly before midnight, all highly gratified with the courtesy and hospitality which they had met with.
On Sunday the members of the Society of Friends held two meetings for religious worship, in a large room connected with the Salle de Sainte-Gecile. At the Wesleyan Chapel sermons were preached by the Kev. Dr. Brown, and the Rev. Mr. Waddington, of London. But the greater part of the British visitors attended special services held in the Salle itself, in connexion with the Congress. In the morning, the Rev. J. W. C. Pennington, of New York, preached from Matthew xiii. 31, and the Rev. John Burnet, of London, from Luke ii. 13, 14. In the evening, the Rev. William Brock, of London, preached from Col. ii. 2, 3, and the Rev. Frederick Monod, of Paris, addressed a few words to the audience, expressive of his sympathy with the objects and proceedings of the Congress.
On Monday, the Peace Delegation left Paris for Versailles by railway, at 9
o'clock. On their arrival at the gates of the palace, they were met by a number
of officers, stationed there for the purpose of conducting them through the
picture-galleries and other apartments. After having taken a cursory view of
this magnificent display of artistic skill, they repaired to the Salle du Jeu
de Paume, a room celebrated in the annals of the first French revolution, which
had been placed at their disposal by M. Lacrosse, the Minister of Public Works.
A dejeuner had been provided there by the English members of the Congress,
in honour of their American brethren.
As soon as the meal was ended, R. Cobden, Esq., M.p., was called to the
chair, and the business of the meeting commenced.
That as the present was the first opportunity on which he had had the pleasure of speaking a few words in English, he felt gratified in expressing his perfect satisfaction in the visit of the friends of peace to Paris. Much good he was convinced had been done, and much further good would result; and whatever sneers might be indulged, and expressions of dissent uttered, in certain quarters, he had seen sufficient during his intercourse with the people of Paris to warrant him in saying that their visit had not been without due influence. The English were bound to acknowledge the kindness they had received from the French people and from the French Government. And while they thus expressed their gratitude, he must say that it was as honourable to the people and government who had rendered that tribute of respect, as it was to those who had received it. He felt gratified with the meeting in Paris, because it had afforded him the sincere pleasure of meeting with many with whom he had been associated in labours elsewhere; and he had no hesitation in saying that those who had thus come together might be regarded as a fair representation of the present state of the feeling of the country as to the great question they had met to discuss. They were concerned to promote every political movement by moral means. There was another business to which he wished to call the special attention of the audience. They felt that they ought not to allow their American friends to leave them without expressing their admiration of men who had voluntarily left their families and their homes, and had crossed the great Atlantic Ocean, for the sake of asserting their great principles. There were present individuals from Western America; one had come from Wisconsin, 1,500 miles before he reached the sea-coast, and then 3,000 miles by water, in order to reach that meeting. So sublime an instance of devotion to a good cause he had not seen recorded in history; and never since the last chapter of the Acts of the Apostles was written, was an instance witnessed at once so consistent with the spirit of the gospel, and with the genius of Christianity. The committee thought that they should not give just expression to their feelings if they allowed their American friends to depart without saying what they felt, and tendering to all the gentlemen present from America their sincere thanks, accompanied only with one regret, that they were not able to make better provision for the occasion. They had, however done the best they could on so short a notice. And now he expressed a hope that they would return to propagate with greater zeal, if possible, the principle they had assembled to promote. Oh, if he could speak as he wished, he would say to them, if they would make America what she should be—what she might be—what, he trusted, she would be—then they must crush the war-spirit before it had time to arrive at iraturity. Talk of glory! the Americans had no glory to gain by war but what they would find had been eclipsed by those who had gone before them. Were they anxious to try to rival the battle representations they had seen represented in the adjoining palace? Rather let them try to raise up patriots, philanthropists, authors, and artists; let them try to raise up and send more such men as they had sent at that season, and that would constitute a glory far, far more precious and enduring than all that could be gained by the most successful war. The committee had found it somewhat difficult to fix upon some suitable memorial of the present visit; and they had at length thought that the best proof that could be given of their respect was to present to each of the delegates from America, in the name of the Congress, a copy of the New Testament in French, with the name of each gentleman, and an inscription which he would presently read. That testimonial he hoped would be preserved by them as a proof of the estimation in which they were held by their brethren in England, and go down to their posterity as a memorial of the present meeting. The honourable chairman then referred to the room in which the present meeting was held. It was the celebrated Tennis Court in which the thunders of Mirabeau's eloquence was first heard, and where the seeds were sown of the first great revolution. That place and the great palace they had just visited were renowned in history as the theatre of great and momentous events: they would leave it with more choice memorials. Yes, he cherished the belief that recollections of the present meeting would live in the minds of hundreds, and be recorded in the pages of history as of greater moment and importance than any that had been recorded in the histories to which he had referred.
Mr. Cobden then presented, in the name of the Congress, a neatly bound copy of the New Testament in French, to each of the American delegates. The following inscription had been written on the blank leaf of each :— "Presented to the American delegates by their British colleagues, at a meeting convened at Versailles, the 27th day of August, 1849, for the purpose of expressing their respect for the zeal manifested by their brethren in crossing the Atlantic to attend the Great Peace Congress at Paris.
"On behalf of the meeting,
"Richard Cobden, Chairman."
Samuel Bowly, Esq., of Gloucester, moved the following resolution :—
"That this meeting of the English members of the Peace Congress, at Paris, rejoices in the opportunity now afforded of testifying to their American brethren present their high admiration of the zeal, courage, and devotedness which they have displayed in forsaking their homes, and travelling so great a distance for an object so purely disinterested and philanthropic ; and earnestly hopes that their visit to Europe on this occasion will contribute much to their realisation of that great idea which their writers and speakers have so long laboured to disseminate, and of which their own happy country furnishes so impressive an example, viz., the association of the various civilised states under one common international jurisdiction, which shall for ever supersede the necessity of appealing to the sanguinary arbitrament of the sword."
He moved the resolution, he said, with great cheerfulness and sincerity, because he felt deeply the gratitude they owed to their American friends for coming to the Congress. Nay, he felt gratitude to all, because their attendance gave a moral force to the meeting. Such a meeting must surely produce an effect upon the people and governments of Europe. He was glad that the resolution was accompanied with a copy of the New Testament. On that book he founded his principles; and in proportion as they founded their labours on that book, in such proportion might they hope to succeed. It was his firm belief that war should not be engaged in under any circumstances. He was not afraid to trust his body in the hands of Him to whom he had trusted his never-dying soul. Talk of conquering a country whose inhabitants would not fight! Impossible! The reason why wars were perpetuated was, because, though men had courage enough to employ brute force, they had not courage enough to submit to partial injury. He belonged to a society which was founded in peace, and he believed that their principles and actions had done much to establish and confirm the principles of civil and religious liberty. Let their friends go back determined to lift their voices, however feeble, from place to place in their native land, persuading their countrymen that the principles of peace are in consistency with, and are absolutely required by, the profession of Christianity. In passing through the streets of Paris he saw many well-dressed females with children ; and in visiting the magnificent church of the Magdaleine, he saw a mother with a sweet child upon her lap. He looked upon the child, who greeted him with a smile and a slight movement of the head, and then looked in its mother's face, as if to ask if it had done right in thus noticing a stranger. He immediately asked himself are these our natural enemies? And he felt that he could not have the heart to do anything by which they might be injured—by which that wife might be deprived of a husband, that child of a parent. Such a thing cannot, such a thing need not, and by the help and labours of those present, such a thing should not be.
Dr. Godwin, of Bradford, seconded the resolution.
He expressed the satisfaction with which he had seen persons assembling from the east, the west, the north, and the south, and shaking hands in the capital of France. He trusted they would long cherish a recollection of the reception they had met with in that metropolis. As to America, he looked at it with some degree of pride on account of its near relationship to England, and of its resemblance in its general national character. He hoped soon to see in America a new edition of England, with many improvements.
The resolution was then put to the meeting, and carried unanimously.
The Rev. Dr. Allen then rose and said :—
It was with inexpressible emotions that he acknowledged the kindness thus conferred upon himself and his brethren. He and his brethren were the descendants of the Puritans who, from Leyden in Holland, and from the chalky cliffs of England, crossed the wide ocean, to find an asylum for freedom—freedom as to civil rights, freedom to read the Bible, freedom to worship God. They had crossed the ocean and assisted in this Congress, in order to give the world freedom from war. They had come from New England, from the shores of Canada, from South Carolina, from the rich fields of Ohio, from the broad prairies of Wisconsin, and here they met, with men of their own sort—of their own hearts. They were Americans, and had been reproached with slavery ; but he came from a state which had abolished it, and by the exercise of Christian kindness they hoped to persuade other states to do so also. They had been presented with New Testaments in the French language: was that because they had met in France, and had received the kindness of the French Government? The French nation had enjoyed much of what was called the glory of arms: the monuments of it were seen in every direction ; they (the Americans) had some proofs and tokens of it. But the French had conquered them again, by their eloquence, by the power of courtesy, and by the force of exalted intellect in favour of peace. Might they ever conquer by the exhibition of all that was good and excellent! It was the wish of Henry IV. that every man might have a chicken in the pot; it was the wish of himself and his brethren, that every family, that every peasant, in France, might have the truths of the New Testament written in his heart, and its precepts and the dispositions it inculcated exemplified in his life, and at last be received to the glory, not of the warriors of this world, but of immortality and eternal life.
The Rev. J. Clark, of Boston, United States, said :—
The chairman had remarked on "the sacrifices" made by the American delegates to enable them to be present at the Congress. There had, however, been no sacrifice, but much of pleasure and honour. They rejoiced that they had steam-boats, and other modes of conveyance, to bring them thither in so short a space of time. They did not visit France for the purpose of mediating between two contending powers, but for the more importan object of laying a deep and broad foundation for permanent and universal peace. Their object was to convince the nations of the world that the system of war was futile, impotent, impious, and ruinous, and contrary to all the principles of peace and love which the nations of Christendom profess to entertain. It was their duty, therefore, to do away at once with navies, armies, and military schools, and to unite in opposing war and all preparations for it. It was objected that they ought not to go to France, for that the French were a fighting people, and that they could not live without fighting: but the friends of peace came to call them to a higher heroism. They did not preach peace to a nation of cowards: but because they were honourable, brave, and enthusiastic, they wished them to take up the cause of peace, and propagate it in the same noble spirit. He believed that they did not fight merely from a desire to shed blood, but from some mistaken views of glory and ambition. He wished to point them to a better field for the display of courage; to fields where honour, fame, and glory might be realised, which would not soon fade away. As an American, too, he remembered that England was the mother country, the home of their fathers ; and a sinking came over him when he reflected what a mischievous charm had been thrown around the whole apparatus of war. If he visited their towers and arsenals, he saw thousands of muskets and piles of warlike stores; he went to their cathedrals, to their St. Paul's and Westminster Abbey, and there he found scarcely anything but records of war—figures of men falling into the arms of victory, and monuments adorned with the trophies and emblems of war, as though in those edifices they were not taught "blessed are the peacemakers," but " blessed are the people that delight in war." That was the system, those were the views, to which the members of that Congress were anxious to put an end.
The Rev. Mr. Davis, of Massachusetts, said :—
That as the light of heaven was adapted to the eye, and the atmosphere to the lungs, so the New Testament was adapted to the heart of a Christian ; and the more its principles prevailed, the sooner would the earth be filled with the blessings of peace.
The Rev. Mr. Cordner, from Upper Canada, said :—
He stood forward to represent a certain amount of pacific feeling which prevailed amongst the people dwelling on the banks of the St. Lawrence, 3,500 miles from the present spot. He thanked the committee for the book he held in his hand ; it was a series of valuable tracts, inculcating more forcibly than any thing which had ever been written the great principle of peace. If he were arraigned before an assembled universe, he would exhibit that book, and ask, How have you regulated your conduct in this matter? And thus he would arraign all Christendom. Peace had long been preached, but war had been practised. Yes! on the very day in which peace was being preached in the temples, thousands and tens of thousands were being slain on the battle-field! He trusted that they would henceforth cease from such miserable inconsistency. Painters and sculptors had consecrated war, and its doings had been exhibited upon the walls of many a private dwelling. He hoped that, as the pioneers and preachers of peace, they would cleanse their houses from such gross inconsistencies, and no longer use as ornaments representations of such foul blots upon human character and comfort.
H. Clapp, Esq., of Massachusetts, said :—
That it was not in the power of words to give utterance to the feelings which burned in his heart and in the hearts of his American brethren. They would return home, taking with tltem the principles and sentiments which they had caught at that meeting, and determined to act in correspondence therewith, remembering that principles were effective only as they were carried out into practice. Men whom the world called enthusiasts had uttered great and nobl principles which diffused through the moral atmosphere a sweet aroma. This the friends of peace would aim to diffuse, till every continent and every nation was transformed by its influence into one universal brotherhood of peace and love.
The Chairman then called upon
Mr. Elihu Burritt, who was received with tremendous cheers, and who spoke as follows :—
Mr. Chairman, I am happy to resume my character as an American citizen, and to add my testimony to the lively sentiment of pleasure which all my countrymen must experience who have to-day been specially honoured with the generous and delicate amenities of their English brethren. Every circumstance which could impart interest to this token of their good-will, and enhance its appreciation and endear its memory, has contributed to the felicity of this novel and interesting occasion. The place of this meeting, the parties here assembled, and all the incidents and emotions of the last great week in the history of the world—a week of years—a week crowded full of those bright realities which even the most hopeful heart in our midst had deemed the inaccessible and inalienable heritage of a distant future; all these are circumstances which give a precious significance and value to this hour of kindly fellowship. I regret that so few of my countrymen are present to participate in the enjoyment of this happy occasion, and to respond to those generous and brotherly sentiments of esteem on the part of our English colleagues. But there are enough of us to accept this expression of their goodwill on behalf of all the Americans who were prevented from assisting at the great demonstration in Paris by obstacles which they could not overcome. And I am sure we may go farther still, and accept it as an evidence of that kindly feeling which is entertained by the whole people of England towards the people of the United States. And what more appropriate time or place than this could we find for connecting with a new bond of brotherhood the two great branches of the Anglo-Saxon family divided by the Atlantic? or, to use those familiar personations which a long and friendly custom has sanctioned, where and when could John and Jonathan more becomingly shake hands before the world, in token of their brotherly love, than on this very spot, and under that standard of universal peace which we have assisted to raise aloft in the great metropolis of European civilisation, to signal a better era to all the peoples of the earth? What time or place more fitting than this to unlearn the lessons that were taught them in the old years of that mutual alienation which made enemies of nations which God had made of one blood, to dwell upon all the face of the earth in the bonds of peace and amity? Among these ruinous estrangements, perhaps the most unnatural of all was the one between England and her colonial children on the other side of the Atlantic. In the course of the long struggle that ensued, the young Anglo-Saxon nation became intimately connected with France by strong bonds of friendship and alliance. The remembrance of that connexion, with all the affecting circumstances under which it was formed, has perpetuated a profound sentiment of goodwill towards France in the heart of the American nation. But it is to me a sad reminiscence that the original basis of that friendship was a common hostility to England. But if such a lasting amity could be established on such a foundation, what a condition of brotherhood may we not expect when the hands of France, England, and the United States shall be united in fraternal embrace, and when they shall go forth together to vanquish the insane and unnatural enmities which divide and embitter other nations! How it would accelerate the advent of the good time coming, if the Peace Congress in Paris should result in the union of these three great peoples, not against the rest of the world, but for its pacification, prosperity, and progress! And which of the nations which have recently submitted the highest interests of their existence to the sanguinary and unreasoning arbitrament of the sword, will lift np its bleeding head from the dust and forbid the bands of this union, and say that might shall continue to decide the right of the people? For myself, I believe that a few more Peace Parliaments of the people like the one we have just terminated under such happy auspices, will not only unite England, France, and America, but all the civilized nations of the earth, in the pacific dispositions and relations of one vast commonwealth. The hand of America is ready and warm for such an union, and we may pledge its best activities to promote a consummation so devoutly to be wished. And I beg to say, on behalf of the friends of peace on that side of the Atlantic, that no efforts within the compass of their ability will be spared to insure a large and respectable delegation to the next Congress on the continent. It is our intention to return to the United States in the course of a few weeks, and to commence forthwith to canvass the country for delegates, whose principles, talents, and position shall be worthy of their important mission to Europe. One or two of us will make the tour of the free states for this purpose, and with the prestige and precedent of the magnificent demonstration just brought to a close in Paris, we may promise ourselves and you a good measure of success. In conclusion, let me say, that we hope that most of those present on this interesting occasion may meet again next year at some town on the Rhine, to raise our white standard of peace in Germany, and to rally to its support our brethren of that portion of Europe.
Mr. Amasa Walker read the following lines in honour of the Peace Congress, written by a countryman of his, (the Kev. Elnathan Davis, of Massachusetts,) who was, as he said, too modest to read his own productions :—
There is no language, brethren, to reveal
The full emotion of our hearts to-day—
All that we think, and all we deeply feel—
Yet must we tell, as tell it best we may,
How much we love you! Nay, don't take it ill,
With or without your faults, we love you still.
Ye sturdy scions from the living tree
Which men call Saxon—we are brothers all!
And though, when once we could not quite agree,
You sent us from the homestead, weak and small,
Yet never mind it! Times are changed since then,
And you would never do the like again.
Do we not love you? Ask the ocean wide
That rolls between us and our own green land:
We came that broad waste o'er, that side by side,
Around the same high altar we might stand,
And pledge our faith, as only true hearts can,
To seek, with earnest aim, the brotherhood of man.
And now our meeting brief, but sweet, is o'er;
The staff of travel waits us—we must go;
But should we meet in Time's worn ways no more,
'Twill be a source of joy and hope to know
That, in our holy cause, a noble band
Are toiling bravely in the fatherland.
So will we labour in the Western world,
Till the old wrong before the right shall bow:
Thanks for this token! there shall be unfurled
The conquering banner ye present us now—
It is a gift above all else preferred—
A glad remembrancer—Messiah's word!
God give us strength to labour, grace to win,
With words of peace and deeds of Christian love,
The war-scath'd nations from their shame and sin
To the meek standard of the peaceful dove!
God give the cause we love a sure increase,
And fill the nations with the fruits of peace 1
Now let us pledge each other, hand and heart,
That the great nations which we call our own,
Shall learn no longer war's infernal art,
But seek their conquests by the truth alone;
Yes ! we will make these nations, sire and son—
Till Time's last sand has fallen—live as one.
And now, adieu! Be every bosom filled
With one great purpose—war shall pass away.
Let every heart with this high prayer be thrill'd—
"Oh, come the dawn of earth's millenial day!"
May God's own Spirit every breast inspire
With Cobden's tireless zeal, and Burnet's soul of fire!
M. Arles Dufour, member of the National Assembly, then spoke as follows :—
In the name of my fellow-countrymen, I feel authorised to express our deep regret that your visit has been so short ; but we hope that the seed which you have sown will grow so rapidly, that you will be induced to come next year to gather the harvest; and you may be assured that in the meantime, the friends of your cause which you leave behind will take care that the seed does not spoil. In the name of my brethren, the friends of peace in France, I bid you farewell, and a speedy return.
The meeting then broke up ; a round of hearty English cheers was given, and the company repaired to the park, followed by the bulk of the inhabitants of the town. The statues, vases and sculptures, which abound in the park and gardens of the palace, attracted much attention; but the greatest attraction was the series of fountains, which the Minister of Public Works, M. Lacrosse, had specially invited the members and visitors of the Congress to witness. The beauty and grandeur of these fountains, and the great height of several of the jets, drew forth from the spectators, and especially from those to whom they were exhibited for the first time, the most marked expressions of astonishment and delight. Each scene appeared more remarkable than the former. But the grandest display was reserved for the last. When the foreigners were conducted to "Le Bassin de Neptune," a scene was witnessed by them such as they had never before beheld, nor are likely soon to see again. It was not merely the amazing numbers who were present—amounting, according to some estimates, to 40,000, but certainly not fewer than 30,000—but the admirable arrangement of this immense mass in a sort of natural amphitheatre, so that almost every individual was distinctly seen. At a given signal the waters burst forth from upwards of a hundred jets of various powers, forming a scene of almost inconceivable magnificence and grandeur. Hearty rounds of English cheers were again given, accompanied with waving of hats and handkerchiefs; and the multitudes bent their course towards the railway station, wondering whether it was possible that anything they could behold at St. Cloud could rival in beauty or in splendour what they had seen at Versailles.
On arriving at Saint Cloud, the company formed into a procession, three abreast, and marched off to the palace. At its gates, they were received by several officers, who conducted them over a portion of the palace, and through its beautiful gardens. After admiring the taste displayed in the arrangement of the grounds, the party proceeded, at about eight o'clock in the evening, to the grand cascade, which was illuminated in their honour, and presented a spectacle of unexampled brilliancy and magnificence. None who witnessed the sight will ever be able to forget it; and when we consider the expense which these exhibitions entailed, we cannot but admire the liberality of the French Government in thus bestowing upon the Peace Congress honours conferred, in times gone by, upon none but sovereigns.
On Tuesday morning, the majority of the party left for London, where they arrived at about half-past eleven o'clock the same night, fatigued indeed, but highly delighted with their visit to the capital of France, and with the success which had attended their meetings.
[For the missing text see the facsimile PDF of Appendix B]
I. American Delegates
II. Belgian Delegates
III. British Delegates
[See p. 99 of PDF]
Brotherton, Josh. M.P.
Brock, Rev. William
Bunting, C. J. .
Burley, William .
Burlingham, D. C.
Burnet, Rev. J.
Burnett, George .
Bushfield, Joseph .
Carpenter, Rev. P. P.
Carr, J. D. . .
Cartwright, F. .
Cash, John . .
Catchpool, Thomas .
Cater, Rev. P. . .
Chamerovzow, L. A.
Charlton, G. . .
Clapp, Rev. Jerome
Clarke, Frederick .
Clarke, Thomas, jun.
Clarke, Treacher .
Clothier, J. W. C. .
Cobden, Richard, M.p.
Collins, E. F. . .
Colman, Jeremiah .
Conder, Rev. G. W. .
Coote, Thomas .
Cossham, Handel .
Cotterell, H. F. . .
Cotterell, J. F.
Crompton, Rev. Joseph
Crosfield Joseph .
Cunningham, W. A. .
Cuthbertson, Rev. R.
Fennell, Samuel .
Firth, Thomas, jun.
Fisher, J. Cowley .
Fisher, P. Moore .
Fox, Samuel .
Fox, Robert Were
Fry, Edmund .
Gait, Robert . .
Godlee, Burwood .
Godwin, Rev. B., D.d.
Gordon, Rev. A.
Grim wade, Edward
Grundy, Rev. G. .
Guillaume, Edward .
Gutteridge, Richard J.
IIaggie, R. H. .
Ham, Rev. J. P. . .
Hamilton, J. .
Hamilton, Rev. R. .
Hancock, Edward .
Harrison, G. W.
Hawkesley, Rev. J. W.
Heath, John .
Hemmings, J. J.
Heyworth, L., M.p.
Hindley, Charles, M.p.
Holdsworth, J. .
Hood, E. P. . .
Horsell, W. . . .
Horner, Joseph, jun.
Howarth, Rev. F.
Ironside, Isaac . .
Ivens, Thomas .
Jeffrey, Rev. G.
Johnstone, Rev. G.
Jones, Charles, M.d.
Kell, W. 0. .
Kennedy, W. S. .
Kitching, John .
Lamb, W. T. . .
Lee, John, Ll.d., P.b.s.
Longley, Rev. B. .
Lovejoy, G. .
Lovell, C. H., M.d. .
Marsden, Isaac .
Matthews, Rev. T.
Matthews, Rev. H.
Merrick, Josiah .
Miall, C. S. . .
Miall, Edward .
Monro, M. M.
Morland, J. .
Moore, S. W. .
Needham, Robert .
Nelson, James E.
Owen, Rev. W. .
Palmer, J. G.
Parsons, Rev. B.
Payne, R. C. . .
Pease, Thomas .
Pearce, Rev. J.
Pellatt, Apsley .
Peppercorn, J. jun., .
Perry, J. C. . .
Petrie, John .
Philp, R. K. . .
Pickering, Henry .
Portlock, Samuel .
Poulter, James .
Prentice, Archibald .
Priestman, John .
Priestman, Samuel .
Pryce, Rev. E. S., A.d.
Pullar, Rev. J. . .
Pyer, Rev. John .
Pyne, Rev. T. M.a.
Rawson, Harry .
Rawlins, E. C.
Rees, Rowland .
Renton, Rev. Henry .
Renton, William, jun.
Richard, Rev. Henry
Richardson, Henry .
Ritchie, Rev. Dr.
Ritchie, Rev. J. B.
Roper, Rev. H. I.
Rosling, Alfred .
Rutter, John .
Saies, James .
Scholefield, Rev. J. .
Scoble, John .
Scoble, Andrew Richd.
Scott, Rev. Walter .
Shaen, Rev. Richard
Shaw, C. Irving
Sibree, Rev. T. .
Sibree, Rev. P
Small, Thomas, jun. .
Smith, J. B., M.p. .
Smith, J. P., V.v.j.r.b
Smith, John .
Sowter, Rev. T..
Spender, J. C.
Stallybrass, Rev. T. .
Steven, William .
Stevens, J. L. .
Stevenson, Rev. J., A.m.
Stevenson, Rev. W. R.
Stock, Rev. John .
Stockburn, Joseph .
Stokes, Rev. W.
Syme, J. B. .
Temperley, W. A. . Hexham
Thomas, Rev. D. . . Stockwell
Thompson, Metford Bridgewater
Thorburn, Rev. W. R.
Titley, James .
Tomkins, M. T. .
Turnbull, Rev. J.
Tyler, Rev. W.
Tyler, J. T.
Urquhart, F. .
Vieusseux, F. T.
Visick, R. G. .
Wackrill, Thomas .
Waddington, Rev. J.
Ward, John .
Webb, Richard D. .
West, William, F.b.s.
White, J. C. .
Whitehead, P. .
Whitehead, J. B.
Whyatt, John .
Williams, Rev. F. G.
Wilkes, G. P. .
Wood, Alfred .
Aldham, Miss Susan
Andrews, Mrs. P. .
Andrews, Charles J. .
Angus, Jonathan .
Armitage, Sir Elkanah
Armitage, William .
Ashby, Mrs. Bella .
Atkins, Edward .
Atkinson, Joseph .
Baker, Mary .
Barry, Michael, M.d.
Barton, J. Webb .
Bassett, James .
Bassett, Miss C.
Bassett, Miss M. A.
Bearn, Mrs. A.
Bendall, Mrs. E. K.
Betts, J. Yeldham .
Bishop, Alfred .
Blenkinsop, Ellen .
Candler, J. W.
Cash, Miss M. A.
Cash, Miss E. .
Cater, Mrs. Sarah
Caught, Gilbert .
Chancellor, Rev. H. J. Battersea
Chillingworth, John . Oxford
Chilton, R. H.. .
Clapp, Mrs. M. .
Clarence, Miss E. R.
Clarke, Mrs. P. .
Clarke, Miss P.
Clarke, Miss H. .
Clarke, Miss E.
Cliffe, Miss Frances
Cockburn, J. A.
Cole, Mrs. H.
Cole, Alfred .
Collen,S.I. . .
Coote, Mrs. .
Creighton, Miss Jane Settle
Cudworth, Mary . . Darlington
Cunliffe,Miss Elizabeth Camden Town
Delany, Mrs. .
Derry, Rowland Hill
Derry, Richard .
Dickenson, Miss E
Dicksee, J. R.
Digby, G. W. .
Digby, Alfred W.
Digby, Miss R.
Digby, Arthur .
Dixon, Robert S.
Dixon, R.,jun. .
Dunn, Miss Ann
Dunn, Miss Sarah
Dunn, A. K. .
Dunn, Mrs. S.
Dunn, Miss Rhoda
Dunn, Master Bryan
Edmett, George .
Ellis, Mrs. J.
Elster, J. G. . .
Evans, R. P. .
Eveleigh, Miss A. M.
Palkner, J. P.
Panant, Robert .
Fox, M. A.
Froud, James .
Fry, Sarah .
Freeman, Richard .
Gallaway, Rev. J. C.
Godlee, Mrs. P.
Godlee, Miss M. A. .
Godlee, Rebecca .
Goodier, Miss M.
Goodier, Miss E. .
Green, J. W. . .
Grindrod, J. N. .
Grinton, Miss A. .
Guest, James .
Guillaume, Mrs. .
Hadfield, G. H. . . Warrington
Hagan, Mrs. M.
Hallett, Henry . .
Harris, John .
Harrisson, W. L. .
Hawkes, Benjamin .
Hester, J. Cook .
Heywood, Robert .
Hey worth, John
Hickson, Mrs. Maria
Hill, Thomas . .
Hill, Mrs. Sarah .
Hill, William Henry
Hoe, Rev. Benaiah .
Holdsworth, Mrs. M.
Holds worth, Samuel
Holland, Rev. J. K. .
Hooper, Mrs. M. .
Hooper, Mrs. Mary .
Hooper, Miss C. .
Hooper, Miss C. J. .
Jenkin, John .
Jecks, Charles .
Jeffries, S. A. .
Johns, Mrs. Mary .
Johns, Miss Emma
Jones, Rev. Maurice
Jones, Miss M. .
Jurneaux, Miss Julia
Knight, Miss Ann
Lamb, Richd. Snowdon Southwark
Leake, Mrs. Jane . Maidenhead
Leake, Miss Mary . Ditto
Leishman, James . Edinburgh
Lewis, John . . . Stroud
Longley, Mrs. . . Oldham
Lucas, Thomas . . High Wycombe
Owen, David .
Paddison, Samuel .
Palmer, Mrs. A. .
Parkinson, Robert .
Partridge, J. A. .
Partridge, S. W. .
Payne, J. 11.
Pearse, Ellen .
Pechell, A. H. .
Peek, Mrs. James .
Peek, Miss Julia .
Pellatt, Mrs. Mary .
Pellatt, Miss A. M.
Pellatt, Mrs. E. M. .
Penrice, A Ivan .
Penrice, Mrs. M. .
Petrie, Miss .
Pewtress, Miss S.
Picken, Samuel .
Pike, Mrs. Matilda
Plant, Mrs. Robert
Prentice, Samuel .
Prentice, Mrs. S.
Pryor, Miss Caroline Bath
Randall, J. M. .
Randall, Mrs. L. . .
Relfe, Miss .
Reynolds, William .
Reynolds, Mrs. Maria
Richardson, Mrs. H.
Riches, Mrs. C. .
Richmond, Luke .
Rickman, Mrs. C. .
Rickman, Miss S. H. .
Ridley, John R. .
Ridley, John, jun. .
Ridley, Joseph .
Ritchie, Miss Agnes B.
Ritchie, Miss B. B.
Roberts, W. P. . .
Roberts, Mrs. Mary
Robson, James .
Rutter, A. Elizabeth
Spyer, William .
Stead, B. M. .
Steedman, Miss E.
Stephenson, Mrs. C.
Spicer, Miss .
Stockburn, Mrs. J.
Sturge, CD.. .
Thomas, Rev. A. C. .
Thompson, Miss C. .
Thompson, T. W. .
Titley, William .
Tranter, Rev. William
Tyler, William W.
Underhill, Michael . Oxford
Wait, G. J.
Wallis, Edward .
Wallis, Mrs. E. .
Watson, Thomas .
Weeks, Rev. E. W.
Waterhouse, Henry .
West, Mrs. Jane .
White, Edward . .
White, Sarah J. .
Whitehead, Mrs. B.
Whitehead, Miss S. .
Whitehead, Mrs. E.
Whitehead, J. B. .
Whitehead, Miss M.
Whyatt, Mrs. L. .
Whyatt, Miss L.
Wight, Mrs. . .
Wilmshurst, B. C.
Wilson, J. H. . .
Windsor, Mrs. M. A.
Windsor, Miss Isabella Ditto
Wise, Robert . . Malton
Witcombe, C. . . Paris
Withers, Nicholas . Edenbridge
Wight, Mrs. Robert Sunderland
Wood, Miss Lucy M. Nottingham
Wornum, Alfred N. London
Wranghain, G. R. . Bridlington
Wrangham, Francis Ditto
Wrangham, John . Ditto
Wrangham, Joseph . Bridlington
Wright, Edward . Oxford
Yates, J., M.a., P.r.s. Highgate
Yates, Mrs. James . Ditto
Yrigoyti, F. Be . . London
IV. FRENCH AND OTHER MEMBERS.
We are extremely sorry that we cannot give a list of the names of the French and other foreign members of the Congress. We learn, however, from an article in the Journal des Economutes, a magazine edited by M. Garnier, one of the secretaries of the Congress, that there were about a hundred French, and thirty German and other foreign members present at the sittings of the Congress.
From a multitude of letters and addresses received by the Congress Committee, we have selected the following as demonstrative of the interest taken in the peace movement by several of the most influential men in the different countries of Europe.
I. —From M. Dufaure.
Paris, August 15th, 1849.
Gentlemen,—I understand from you that about five hundred Englishmen propose to visit Paris during this month, for the purpose of attending the meetings of the approaching Peace Congress, and you express a desire that they may be exempted from the necessity of obtaining passports, and from the examination of their luggage at the Custom-House.
I am disposed to facilitate, as far as lies in my power, the accomplishment of a mission which lias so high a character of international utility, and I give my consent to your request with regard to passports. I yield to your desire, Gentlemen, upon the guarantee of your assurance that this altogether exceptional tolerance shall not be abused.
Receive, Gentlemen, the assurance of my most distinguished regard.
J. Dufaure, Minister of the Interior.
II. —From M. Lacrosse.
Paris, September ISth, 1849.
Gentlemen,—I have received from you, in the name of the English and American members of the Peace Congress, a copy of a work entitled, Prize Essays on a Congress of Nations. I beg you to receive my best thanks for this interesting publication.
/ applaud most heartily the efforts which you and your colleagues are making for the propagation of the noble idea of universal peace; and I most sincerely desire to behold the time of, at least, its partial realization. This time will, I hope, be hastened on by the numerous international relations which are being daily created by the vast development of means of communication all over the face of Europe.
Receive, Gentlemen, the assurance of my high consideration.
T. Lacrosse, Minister of Public Works.
Sir,—The deplorable state of my health, which for many long years has kept me a prisoner at home, prevents my answering in person to the invitation which you have done me the honour of sending me in the name of the Congress of the friends of universal peace. I beg you to receive, together with the expression of my deep regret at not being able to attend your meetings, my complete and sincere adhesion to the noble enterprize you have undertaken.
Accept, Sir, the assurance of my distinguished consideration.
Augustin Thierrt, (Member of the Institute of France, and author of several celebrated historical works.)
IV.—Prom M. Ferdinand De Lesseps.
Paris, August 1Sth, 1849.
Sib,—I have received the invitation which the committee of the Peace Congress were kind enough to address to me. At a time when certain great European powers are seeking more than ever to settle questions of nationality by the abuse of force, and when the principle of non-intervention is being so lamentably violated, I hasten to associate myself with the manifestation in which the friends of universal peace will take part at the Congress which is to be held in Paris on the 22nd of this month.
Receive, Sir, the assurance of my very distinguished consideration,
Ferdinand De Lesseps, (Ex-Minister Plenipotentiary at Rome.)
V.—From M. Tissot.
Paris, August 19th, 1849.
Gentlemen,—To endeavour to establish the reign of universal peace upon earth, is assuredly a grand and useful enterprize. After having, during fifty years, beheld the constant effusion of human blood, I had cherished th« hope of seeing a long peace heal all wounds. But the awful work of bloodshed has recommenced, and causes me the deepest grief. I need say no more than that I most heartily associate myself with your holy league. May it succeed in taking away their arms from the hands of peoples and of kings, and in securing the triumph of the cause of humanity. It is an impious act to mow down whole generations of men with the sword, just as we reap the harvests with the sickle; at least we wait until the crops have attained their full maturity, but it is the youth and the flower of our population that war mercilessly destroys. Besides, man has so little time to live; why hasten his already rapid progress towards death 1
Accept, Gentlemen, the tribute of all my respect, and of all my sympathy,
(Member of the French Academy, and Professor at the College de France.)
VI.—From M. Barthelemy Saint-Hilaire.
Paris, August 10th, 1849. Gentlemen,—If it were possible for me to remain in Paris, I should have considered it my duty to attend the meetings of the Congress of the friends of universal peace. I sympathize with all the energy of my soul with the noble projects which you advocate. Your object is worthy of the efforts of the most generous and intelligent hearts: I hail its accomplishment with delight, although I cannot but regret that it is still so distant. But, in proportion to the difficulties and the length of the road, we should honour the courage which leads you to traverse it. Although I shall be away from Paris during the prorogation of the Assembly, I shall not follow with less interest the recital of your discussions and of your labours.
Receive, Gentlemen, the expression of my sincere admiration of the great work you have undertaken.
Your devoted fellow-worker,
Barthelemy Saint-Hilaire, (Member of the National Institute of France, and Representative of the People.)
Bagneres, August 22nd, 1849.
Gentlemen,—It is with the most lively regret that I find myself detained at a distance from Paris, at the time of your important meeting. One of the most cherished desires of my heart was to associate myself with you, to salute in you the worthy representatives of the civilized nations of the earth, the firm supporters of true progress.
What a noble object, Gentlemen, is that of a consolidated peace, of a calm and pacific peace, if I may use the expression, in the stead of that ruinous armed peace, in which the governments of Europe have persisted during the last third of a century, from 1815 to the present time, after that national hatred had been extinguished in the torrents of blood shed from Valmy to Waterloo.
How many evils have issued, and continue to issue every day, from this system of large standing armies! In the first place, an exaggerated taxation is necessary for its support. The nations have continued to groan under excessive imposts. It would have been in accordance with a popular policy, or to change the expression, with the only true conservative policy, to free from all taxation the food of the people, and the unwrought materials of labour. In every country of Europe, with one exception alone, food and unwrought materials are at the present day increased immensely in price by the taxes laid upon them. And wherefore 1 To satisfy the wants of that detestable vampire, the system of great standing armaments.
Capital, that lever without the aid of which human activity is impotent to effect anything, was tending to increase by the exertions of the populations, which on every hand are becoming industrious, but scarcely has it begun slightly to accumulate, than it is devoured by the same monster, the system of an armed peace.
The nations of Europe thus remain with a tremendous disproportion between capital and population, that to say, they remain miserable, notwithstanding their hard labour—notwithstanding their desire to elevate themselves by their exertions. And then people are astonished that the masses of the people, in sombre discontent, in the exasperation of their despair, should almost everywhere receive, with a species of transport, any project for the overthrow of the state!
Yes, if demagogues and factious malcontents have for a moment found favour to so lamentable a degree in the eyes of the multitude, it is, in part, to the system of an armed peace that we must attribute it.
The great thought which, ever since 1789, has filled the minds of the nations of Europe, and which is now being slowly realized, in spite of many disasters occasioned by the blind passions of some, and the imprudence, the pride and the folly of others,—this thought of liberty and equality, to which you, Gentlemen, are all devoted, because you know it is in conformity with the eternal will of God, and the revelation of Christ,—this thought, the success of which we all desire to obtain by none but honest, regular, legal, honourable and Christian means,—this thought, the definitive triumph of which is certain, has for its determined adversary the system of great armies, and the evil sentiments which this system engenders.
Great armies, kept up in peace as well as in war, give to military authority a pre-eminence which is incompatible with liberty. The enormous expense which they necessitate, keep our population in a state of misery and abjection ; and for this reason, civil equality can be nothing more than a falsehood.
Aristocracies, of which the war-spirit was the soul, and the power of which Europe has at length overturned, could not but approve of great armies, national rivalries, and separations of all kinds among nations. This was, in reality, the secret of their existence. The peoples, emancipated, and belonging to no one but themselves, could not, on the contrary, do less than energetically disapprove of large armies, of national rivalries, and of factitious separations and divisions amongst nations. This can be done without at all abjuring our nationality, which gives to each man his distinction and his glory.
The day on which the peoples have fully acquired a knowledge of their interests, they will consider as their most dangerous and inveterate enemies, in whatever colours they may be clad, the men who stand up as the apologists of large standing armies, who, under some pretext or other, feed the fire of national enmities, or who, with their mouths full of false patriotism, strive to excite a feeling that the interests of nations are opposed to one another.
I honour and respect the brave man who, when war has broken out, covers his country with his breast, and protects it with his arms. I reserve for him the homage of my most lively gratitude. But when I see commoners, the sons of commoners who had attained to wealth, disdain and despise the honourable labours of their fathers, who were agriculturists, manufacturers, or tradesmen, and consider no profession worthy of their notice but that of arms, simply because that profession was adopted by the aristocracy of the past, I fancy I can see Moliere's Bourgeois Gentilhomme, the ridiculous M. Jourdain, come to life again out of the tomb which, since 1789, we thought had been well fastened down.
What do I say? This melancholy inclination, against which we shall have to invoke all the power of public education, is something more than ridiculous. It is a desertion—an apostacy.
In the name of true progress, of the only liberalism which deserves to excite the attention of men, pursue, my friends, each in your own country, with the influence which you have so justly acquired, your generous and holy enterprize.
Let our watchword be the reduction, to the lowest limit indicated by public safety, of the system of large standing armaments both on land and sea; the eradication of the last traces of national hatred ; the fusion into one of the interests of different peoples; the adoption of every administrative or political measure which may be calculated to bring together the inhabitants of the various civilized countries; and finally, the overthrow of that system of custom-houses which we imagine to be protective, but which is in reality nothing but the resuscitation of an abuse practised in the happy days of feudalism, when some powerful barons, lance in hand, exacted the payment of debts which had never been incurred.
If we maintain this noble cause with resolution and perseverance, it will be impossible for the most generous-minded men, the most intelligent friends of order, the purest liberals, not to give us their cordial support; and then we shall have, at least, the hope of a pleasure similar to that of Moses, when, from the top of the mountain, he at length perceived, with his own eyes, the promised land.
As far as I am concerned, Gentlemen, my most ardent and devoted assistance is vowed to the standard which you unfurl; I only regret that my contingent will be so ineffective. In times such as these, I do not think I can better prepare for presenting myself, in a manner calculated to find indulgence and mercy, before the throne of Him who has placed us on the earth that we may strive for the good and the just, and may show our fellow-men that we love them.
I am, Gentlemen and friends, your devoted fellow-labourer,
Michel Chevalier, (Professor of Political Economy at the College de France.)
VIII.—From Samuel Gurney, Esq.
London, Eighth Month 23rd, 1849.
My Dear Friend,—I incline through thee to express my warm interest in the Convention now being held in Paris to promote peace and good-will upon the earth, and for the prevention of war and its consequences, bloodshed, cruelty, misery, and sin. I trust the Convention will adopt the principle, that all War is inconsistent with the benign doctrines of Christianity—that man slaying his fellow-man, cannot be consistent with doing to others as we would be done unto—with blessing those who curse us— with doing good to those who despitefully use us—or with "Loving our enemies." These great and clear principles certainly do not lead to the destroying of men; but rather to suffer, if such be the will of God, than to be guilty of so great iniquity.
May we not also look a little at the prophecy, "They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not rise against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." No one will deny that this blessed state of peace predicted in the Scriptures will be bestowed upon the world through the medium of Christianity carried out into practice in its perfectness—in fact, that it is a picture of the results of true, genuine, unadulterated Christianity. If so, can any step, however small, towards so great an end, be other than based in wisdom and sound policy?
It is my deliberate judgment, that would any nation thus throw itself on Christian principle, and learn war no more, He who ruleth in the hearts of men, would, in his gracious providence, extend his arm of protection over such a land, that the very windows of heaven would be opened, that prosperity and happiness would be showered down upon it, quite beyond all experience in the previous history of the world.
Permit me to call thy attention to the standing armies and navies of the nations of Europe : I trust the Congress will come to some strong resolution on the subject. The argument that one nation must pursue the practice because another does, is fallacious, and mutual agreement to the contrary destroys the argument, if there be any force in it. I venture to throw before thee, however, some considerations on the subject, on grounds undoubtedly political, but certainly consistent with Christian propriety. In round numbers, I presume that not far short of two millions of the inhabitants of Europe, in the prime and strength of their lives, have been abstracted from useful and productive labour, and are made consumers only of the good gifts of the Almighty, and of national wealth. The cost of the maintenance of these armies and navies cannot be very much less than two hundred millions of pounds sterling per annum, taking into consideration the subject in all its collateral bearings. Does not this view of the subject, in a large degree, expose the cause of such masses of poverty, distress, and sin, which at present pervade many of the districts of Europe? Is not such the legitimate result of so vast a waste of labour, food, and wealth?
Moreover, I venture to give it as my decided judgment—a judgment formed upon some knowledge of monetary matters, that, unless the nations of Europe adopt an altered system in this respect, many of them will inevitably become bankrupt; and will have to bear the disgrace and evils of such a catastrophe. I could particularize the financial state of many of these nations, but will confine myself to those of France and England, Of the former I speak with great delicacy, seeing the generous reception she has given to the Congress; but, deeply interested as I am in her welfare, I should rejoice to see her take possession of the benefits and prosperity that must arise to her in a financial point of view, as well as in other respects, by adopting an opposite course than that she has hitherto done in respect of military establishments. I acknowledge I tremble for her if she persists in the plan hitherto pursued.
In reference to my own country, I more boldly assert that it is my judgment, that unless she also wholly alters her course in these respects, bankruptcy will ultimately be the result. We have spent from fifteen to twenty millions sterling per annum, for warlike purposes, since the Peace of 1815. Had that money been appropriated to the discharge of our National Debt, by this time it would have been nearly annihilated; but, if our military expenditure be persisted in, and no reduction take place of our National Debt at a period of our history certainly characterised by very fair prosperity and by general political calm, how is it to be expected that the amount of our revenue will be maintained in a time of adversity, which we must from time to time anticipate, in our future history? Should such adversity come upbn us with severity and continuance, I venture to predict that our revenue will not be maintained, nor our dividends paid, unless more efficient steps are taken to prevent such a catastrophe in these days of our prosperity and peace.
Excuse my thus entering at large upon the great principles of love good-will, and peace; and with a good hope that the Convention will promote their advancement,
I subscribe myself, very sincerely thy friend,
To Joseph Sturge. Samuel Gurney.
IX.—From M. F. Molina, And Others.
Paris, August 23rd, 1849.
Gentlemen,—Aware of the important objects contemplated by the association which you so worthily represent, we beg you to insert our names on the list of members of the Congress, assuring you that we unreservedly admit all its principles.
Receive the assurance of our very distinguished consideration, with which we have the honour to be,
Your very humble Servants,
(Minister Plenipotentiary from Costa Rica.)
Leonce De Nar,
Juan J. Echeverria, (Citizens of Costa Rica.)
X.—From M. Fontaine, Mayor of Boulogne.
Boulogne, August 17th, 1849.
Gentlemen,—I have just received your letter of the 13th instant, and have taken measures that all the members of the Peace Congress shall receive proper attention on their arrival at Boulogne. The honourable mission which they have undertaken entitles them to universal respect and consideration.
I should have been glad if it had been possible for me to come to Paris, and take part in the proceedings of the Congress. I regret much that public affairs will not permit me to do so.
Receive, Gentlemen, the assurance of my perfect consideration,
(Mayor of Boulogne.)
XI.—From M. Armand De Perceval.
Malines, August 5th, 1849. Gentlemen,—I send you my most hearty adhesion to the principles which animate the Congress of the friends of universal peace. The empire of the spear and sword, and consequently of battles, must disappear. Let us give to the empire of ideas, to the empire of universal peace, the glory of establishing among all nations, which ought to look upon one another as brethren, children of a common mother, humanity, the ascendancy which they deserve.
I associate myself with all your pacific manifestations, and be kind enough to consider me as one of your most fervent and devoted adherents.
Armand De Perceval,
(Member of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives.)
XII. —Ffom Professor Walter.
Bonn, August 5th, 1849.
Gentlemen,—Accept my thanks for your kind invitation. I have followed with the deepest interest the development of your enterprize, consecrated to one of the most important questions which concern humanity and civilization. The ideas which you are endeavouring to realize, are the same which I have advocated for many years in my lectures on canonical law, and the philosophy of law.
But while I express my cordial adhesion to your efforts on behalf of so holy and noble a cause, I must also regret that my duties will not permit me to attend your meetings in Paris.
Receive the assurance of the very high consideration with which I have the honour to be,
Your very devoted servant,
(Professor of Law at the University of Bonn, and Member of the Legislative Chamber of Prussia.)
XIII. —From Professor David.
Copenhagen, August 15th, 1849.
My Dear Sir,—As I thought I should be able to attend the Peace Congress, to be held in Paris during this month, and to associate myself with that great and solemn manifestation, I did not reply to the letter of invitation which you sent me on June 23rd. But, prevented by unsurmountable obstacles from assisting in your labours, I do not think I ought to omit to thank you for your kindness, and to say how heartily I desire that success may attend your efforts to secure the triumph of the interest of humanity over brute force, which hitherto has been the arbiter of international differences. The object of the friends of universal peace cannot be obtained without the concurrence of the most influential men in Europe, and of an enlightened public opinion. I do not expect that we shall gain a rapid or easy victory; but I am convinced that our cause will triumph universally, when those who desire the prosperity of nations persevere with constancy and wisdom in the course upon which they have entered. May God protect you and your friends, in your noble and courageous work! This is the wish of a man who can only offer, in this pacific combat, in this difficult but glorious enterprize, his own energies, small indeed, but sincerely devoted to the great cause of humanity.
Receive, sir, the assurance of my very distinguished consideration, and be kind enough to number me amongst the friends of universal peace, and to send me information with regard to the labours and the resolutions of the Congress,
C. N. David.
XIV.—Prom Professor Karl Rosenkranz.
Berlin, August lith, 1849.
Gentlemen,—The task which you have proposed to yourselves, is so grand and sublime in general, and so useful and beneficial in its particular consequences, that every man who is not behind the civilization of the age in which he lives, must hail your labours with a hearty acclamation.
War is still the mark of Cain, with which we dishonour the forehead of humanity; it is the factitious confession of the imbecility of thought, the signal of brutal egotism, and the practical negation of that love of our neighbour, which constitutes the very soul of Christianity.
Our time has surprised us with sanguinary wars full of atrocities, which, when we consider her principles and doctrines, we could not have believed the men of the present day capable of committing. It is exactly at such a time that all efforts for the realization of universal peace should be concentrated together, to renew, to popularize and afiirm the truth, that men were not brought into the world to murder one another, but to live together in harmony and love.
Gentlemen, I have had the honour, for the last fifteen years, of occupying the chair of that great philosopher, Immanuel Kant, at Koenigsberg. He wrote his golden book on Eternal Peace in the midst of the troubles and warfare occasioned by the first French revolution. I have adopted his theory, taught it in my lectures and my writings, and I consequently can declare myself an enthusiastic adherent to the principles of the Congress of the friends of universal peace.
Imperative duties prevent my leaving Berlin, where I am at present residing. I therefore beg the Congress to excuse my absence, and I hope, though at a distance from them, to participate in the noble labours of the friends of peace.
Receive, Gentlemen, the assurance of my most distinguished consideration with which I have the honour to subscribe myself,
(Professor at the University of Koenigsberg.)
XV.—From Professor Aokersdyck.
Utrecht, August 14iA, 1849.
Gentlemen,—I have just received your invitation and hasten to reply to it. As great a friend of peace as any man, I deeply regret that I shall not be able to attend the meetings of the Congress. I should have wished to submit to the judgment of its members, some doubts and difficulties which I find are not mentioned in the programme, but whose solution appears to me of high importance. The programme speaks only of differences between nations. It appears to me that this is an illusion. It is not the nations that make war; it is the sovereigns and the governments; the nations or the parts of nations who engage in war, are only the instruments made use of. Even in civil wars, we find the same principle, one part of a nation is used against the other part, either by a despot, or by a demagogue. The contest is not international.
The task of the friends of peace appears to me, therefore, to be enlarged. To find a means for settling international differences without an appeal to arms, would not be to abolish war. When we seek for a remedy, we must not conceal from ourselves the whole extent of the evil; and I fear that hitherto the friends of peace have not sufficiently taken into account all the causes which induce the employment of brute force.
Applauding with all my heart every effort that is made for the purpose of rendering mankind better and happier, I hope that you will consider these few observations as a proof of my true sympathy with the noble sentiments which have called you together.
Accept, Gentlemen, the assurance of my high esteem,
XVI.—From Professor Mittermaier.
Basle, August 2\st, 1849.
Gentlemen,—I received your kind letter just as I was setting out for Switzerland; and I hasten to express my regret that I shall not be able to accept your invitation. I rejoice, however, to give you my adhesion to the noble object of your association, and to express the desire I feel to contribute to the efforts of the members of the Congress, at which I cannot personally be present.
I am convinced that the meeting together of so many persons, who unite to the love of humanity, the energy and the determination to strive against existing prejudices, cannot fail to produce a favourable impression upon public opinion.
The means which we have at our disposal are only moral, but they are irresistible. The association of the friends of peace is, at the same time, the grand union of all men who desire to force legislators to be just towards all, to moralize the people, and to procure for all classes of society the means of developing their moral and physical strength, of instructing themselves, and of obtaining a fair remuneration for their labour. My most ardent desires are devoted to this noble object: and I shall, therefore, feel happy to join my efforts to those of the friends of peace.
Receive, Gentlemen, the assurance of my profound respect and esteem.
XVII.—Prom Professor Schmid.
Jena, August 16th, 1849.
Gentlemen,—I should have accepted with the greatest pleasure your invitation to be present at the important discussions of the Peace Congress, if circumstances had permitted me. But at all events, I do not wish to be behind-hand in presenting you with my cordial and entire adhesion to the elevated and generous views which form the basis and the object of your meeting. This adhesion I give with all the more pleasure, because the principles which you advocate are the same as those which I have maintained, for more than half a century, as a writer, as a professor, and as a public functionary. I am strongly convinced that the time has now come, when the philosophical idea of a perpetual peace, which has so long occupied the thoughts of the most profound thinkers in the world, can be realized and will be realized of itself, by the external force of things.
I have a further reason for giving you my adhesion in, that I find in your meeting a fresh confirmation of my ideas, of the true and only efficacious means of accomplishing any solid progress of humanity. Can we for a moment doubt the immense superiority of intellectual over physical force? Can we believe in the possibility of subjecting spirit to matter 1 Neither the will of a king nor that of a people can divert nations from their destination, or alter their duties. It is not by the universal suffrage of the people that we can infallibly discern the true from the false, the just from the unjust, the good from the evil; but it is from the general suffrage of enlightened minds, of men accustomed to think, instructed at once by science and experience, whence will be formed in the course of time, that true public opinion to which belongs the final direction of all human affairs.
And what assembly could offer to the civilized world more pledges of universal confidence than yours, which contains so many illustrious names, dear to science, renowned for their skilful management of business—so many tried friends of the people, and of that true liberty which is nothing else than peace, founded on the laws of truth, of justice, and of love.
Receive, Gentlemen, the assurance of my hearty co-operation
Charles Ernest Schmid. (Doctor and Professor of Law at the University of Jena, Judge at the Court of Appeal, Perpetual President of the Faculty of Law.)
XVIII.—From Professor De Felice.
Montauban, August 1Qth, 1849.
Mr Dear Sir,—If I listened only to the sympathy which I feel for the cause of peace, I would not hesitate to accept your kind invitation. But circumstances in connexion with my family prevent my taking such a long journey, and my health, I fear, would present another obstacle. But if I cannot be amongst you personally, I shall be with you in thought, and by my most sympathetic wishes. It is an excellent idea in my opinion, to have transported the Peace Congress into the capital of France. Every thing that is said and done in Paris, is heard and felt throughout the whole of Europe, and the distinguished men who have promised you their assistance will also serve to make widely known the noble principles which you meet to advocate.
Our country, it must be confessed, has long remained almost entirely a stranger to the question of peace. One of our old writers, the Abbe de Saint-Pierre, pleaded its cause, it is true, and his book was published in a new dress by Jean Jacques Rousseau. But their writings have been considered rather as curious theses, than as the expression of a serious duty. The mass of the nation are ignorant of the Scriptures; their Christianity does not impose upon them the obligation of universal peace, and the military spirit which characterizes the French people, shows to it the glory of war, rather than the violence and the calamities which it entails.
It will, therefore, be a long, laborious and difficult task to secure the prevalence amongst us of the principles of peace. But whatever obstacles may be in your path, you and your friends do quite right to go forward without hesitation and delay; the God of the Bible, reason, justice, and the interest of the peoples will be with you, and with such mighty supporters as these you cannot fail to triumph.
Receive, dear Sir, the assurance of my affectionate esteem,
G. De Felice,
(Professor of Theology and of Pulpit Eloquence at the Protestant College of Montauban.)
XIX. — From The Rev. M. Vaurigaud.
Nantes, August 19<A, 1849.
Sir,—In answer to the letter of invitation which you were kind enough to send me, I have the honour to express to you my entire and cordial adhesion to the Christian and philanthropic object which you have in view, namely, to secure the cessation of the employment of brute force in the settlement of international disputes. I add that, in my opinion, political and economical measures will never exercise any more than a secondary influence in destroying the causes of war, and that the most efficacious means for obtaining this result will be the propagation and universal diffusion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ our Divine Saviour.
Receive, Sir, the assurance of my respectful esteem,
(President of the Consistory of the Reformed Church of Nantes.)
XX.—Prom The Rev. F. Monod.
Paris, August 20tk, 1849.
Gentlemen,—I beg you will excuse my having so long delayed replying to your first communication, regarding the Peace Congress. I have been prevented by the preparatory labours of a Synod of the evangelical churches of France which commences to-day, and will continue its sessions during the whole of the week. This unfortunate coincidence will prevent my expressing to the Congress, otherwise than by these few lines, my cordial adhesion to every effort whose object is to combat the principle of war under its different forms, and to effect the solution of international differences by peaceable means. I am, at the same time, persuaded that this great and noble end can be obtained only by the influence and the power of the Gospel.
I offer up my most sincere wishes that it may please God to bless the meetings of the Congress, and to render it a means of advancing the cause of universal peace, and of delivering the nations from the scourge and the sin of war.
Receive, Gentlemen, the assurance of my respect and esteem,
XXI.—From The Rev. Dr. Allen.
Paris, August 2ith, 1849.
Gentlemen,—I received last evening from London a letter, dated August 20th, from the Rev. John Wheeler, D.D., late President of the University of Vermont, appointed a delegate to this Congress by the General Convention of Congregational Ministers of Vermont, in which he mentions the illness of his daughter as the reason of his not being present at this time. He says,—" You can state, if you deem it proper, in speaking of the interest felt in the United States in regard to the object of the Congress, that the General Convention of the Congregational Ministers of Vermont took the matter into consideration, and appointed a delegate, who was providentially prevented from attending; and that our earnest prayers are offered up, that the labours of the Convention may aid, in an eminent degree, in promoting peace among the nations of the earth, and of extending the reign of the Prince of Peace."
I belong myself to the great body of Congregational Ministers of the State of Massachusetts ; and they also feel a deep interest in the design of promoting universal peace.
I am, very respectfully, etc.,
(Late President of Bowdoin College.)
In addition to the preceding letters, addresses were received from the six towns of Berlin, Breslau, Dantzic, Lansberg, Calvet and Cassel; two from Leipzic, one signed by Dr. Victor Jacobi, and twenty-six others, the other by Dr. Zille and fifteen others; one from the Berlin Free-Trade Society, signed by its President, Vice-Presidents, and Secretary; one from Dr. De Leonhardi, Professor of Philosophy in the University of Prague; one from Dr. Manecke, of Vogelsang, in Mecklenburg; one from Messrs. Frank, Louis, and Armand Courtois, of Toulouse; and one from M. Felix Frias, of Buenos Ayres.
Letters were also received from Professor Rittinghausen, of Cologne; M. Juillerat, President of the Consistory of the Reformed Church at Paris; M. E. Ducpetiaux, Inspector of Prisons, Brussels; M. Duffour-Dubergier, late Mayor of Bourdeaux; M. Charles Faider, Member of the Royal Academy of Belgium, Brussels; M. Recappe, Member of the Council-General of the Department of Seine and Oise, and Mayor of Argenteuil, France; M. Doupot, Protestant Minister at Poitiers; M. G. Dupuynode, Member of the Society of Political Economists, Paris; and many others.
On the 1st of September last, the President of the Republic granted an audience to such of the members of the Peace Congress Committee as were still in Paris. The deputation consisted of M. Victor Hugo, President of the Congress; Messrs. Hindley, Visschers, Deguerry, Suringar, and Carove, vice-presidents; and Messrs. Gamier and Ziegler, secretaries. With these gentlemen were associated, M. Emile de Girardin and M. de Cormenin.
M. Victor Hugo presented the President with a copy of the resolutions passed at the Congress, and addressed to him a few words in which he shewed the absolute necessity in which governments were placed, of entering upon a system of disarmament. To re-establish equilibrium in the finances of France, he must choose between a great reduction of the expenses of the army, or the imposition of new taxes which would be excessively unpopular. All governments, in fact, would sooner or later be compelled to choose between disarmament and bankruptcy.
M. Emile De Girardin cited the sums which Prance has to pay annually for the support of her army and the liquidation of her public debt. He supported all the observations of M. Victor Hugo; and expressed his opinion that the measures proposed by the government for equalizing the receipts and the expenditure, were insufficient. When in 1852, the President again proposed himself as a candidate for the high office which he now fills, he would do so with better hope of success, if he were now to grant that which has been unceasingly demanded of the government, a reduction of the taxation.
The President acknowledged that it was necessary to enter upon some plan for reducing the army; but the time had not yet come. The state of Europe, and the late disturbances of France, both presented obstacles to the execution of such a measure.
M. Visschers then remarked that Peace Congresses and Peace Societies could give great assistance to governments, by enlightening the people, with regard to their true interests, and by promoting popular education. Governments now vie with each other in increasing their military expenditure: France is a country whose inhabitants are extremely warlike in their habits and propensities, and France should therefore set an example which would soon be followed by all nations.
Mr. Hindlet spoke of the progress which had been made by peace principles in England. An alliance between France and England for that purpose would secure the peace of the world, and at the same time, disarmament would be to these two powers a source of benefit to their industry and their commerce.
The President then entered into conversation with several of the members of the Congress deputation. He expressed his concurrence with the views of the Congress, but said that their execution must be deferred to some more seasonable opportunity.
Messrs. Hindlet and Visschers thanked the Presiderit for the kindness with which the French Government had acted towards the foreign members of the Congress ; and the deputation withdrew.
Printed For Charles Gilpin-, 5, Bishopsgate Street, Without.