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Tribunal, or printed for the information of Agents and Counsel, as a resolution of the Tribunal, adopted on his own motion, required,—he presents this Argument as his “Reasons for dissenting from the Decision of the Tribunal of Arbitration.” The title of the document is a false pretense, as we shall conclusively show 'in due time: the act was a dishonorable imposition on the Tribunal, and on both Gov. ernments, Great Britain as much as the United States.
In point of fact, the document filed by Sir Alexander was in large part of such a character that, if it had been offered for filing at any proper time, and with opportunity to persons concerned to become acquainted with its contents, it must [as declared by the Secretary of State of the United States in his dispatch to the American Agent of October 22, 1872] have been the plain duty of the American Agent to object to its reception, and of the Tribunal to refuse it, as calculated and designed to weaken the just authority of the Arbitrators, as insulting to the United States in the tenor of much of its contents, and as injurious to Great Britain by its tendency to raise up obstacles to the acceptance of the Award, and to produce alienation between the two Governments.
The document consisted, in part, of the opinions of Sir Alexander Cockburn on the several vessels, copies of which he ought to have delivered in print to the Agent and Counsel of the United States, in conformity with his own resolution, but which he failed to do, thus depriving the American Government of ad
vantages in this relation to which it was entitled, and which the British Government in fact enjoyed by reason of the more loyal conduct of the other Arbitrators.
He discusses these vessels with great prolixity, so as to fill 180 pages folio letter-press, while the correspondent opinions of all the other Arbitrators united occupy only 66 pages, the difference being occasioned partly by the number of letters and other papers
interjected into his opinions, and partly by the diffuseness and looseness of his style and habit of thought, as compared with theirs.
The residue of Sir Alexander's document, consisting of 116 pages, is devoted partly to the discussion of the special questions, in all which he is inordinately prolix, and partly to a general outpouring of all the bile which had been accumulating on his stomach during the progress of the Arbitration.
SIR ALEXANDER COCKBURN'S “REASONS."
Let me dispose once for all of these “Reasons” and their author, in order to arrive at subjects of more importance and interest. The matter of the document, and the consideration it has received in En. gland, require that it should be examined and judged from an American stand-point.
Apart from the unjudicial violence and extravagance of these “Reasons,” it is remarkable how in. consistent, how self-contradicting, how destitute of logical continuity of thought, how false as reasoning, as well as irrelevant, is most of the matter.
The Reasons are on their face, and as the London Press could not fail to perceive and admit,“ an elaborate reply to the American Case” (that is to say, an advocate's plea], “ rather than a judicial verdict.” [Telegraph, September 25.]
It is, in truth, a mere nisi prius argument, not up to the level of an argument in banc; inappropriate to the character of a judge; and which might have been quite in place at Geneva as an “Argument" in the cause, provided any British Counsel could have been found to write so acrimoniously and reason so badly as Sir Alexander.
To establish these positions, it would suffice to cite some of the criticisms of the London Press.
The Telegraph [September 26] argumentatively demonstrates the palpable fallacy of the reasoning by which Sir Alexander endeavors to excuse the admitted violation of law and the want of due dili
. gence of the British Government in the case of the Florida, especially at Nassau.
The News [September 26] condemns and regrets the declaration made by Sir Alexander in his “Reasons” twice, where he speaks of himself “sitting on the Tribunal as in some sense the representative of Great Britain,” and contrasts this with the sounder view of his duty expressed in Parliament by Lord Cairns.
Compare, now, this observation of the News with certain pertinent remarks of the Telegraph [September 25]. Speaking of Mr. Adams, it says: “He put aside the temper of the advocate when he took his
seat on the Bench, and he performed the difficult duty with the impartiality of a jurist and the delicate honor of a gentleman.” And this well-merited commendation of Mr. Adams is prefatory to the exhibition of Sir Alexander Cockburn retaining still “the temper of an advocate when he took his seat on the Bench," and not performing his duties “with the impartiality of a jurist and the delicate honor of a gentleman,” but to the contrary, as shown by his deportment at Geneva, and authenticated under his own hand in these “ Reasons.”
There is no escape from the dilemma: it was hon.orable to Mr. Adams to act as a “judge” at Geneva; and, of course, to act as a mere “advocate” was dishonorable to Sir Alexander Cockburn.
And thus we may comprehend at a glance, what seems so remarkable to the Telegraph [September 26], that when we pass from the printed opinions of the three neutral Arbitrators, whose “fairness" nobody disputes, and from those of the impartial “jurist” and honorable “gentleman,” Mr. Charles Francis Ad. ams, to the “Reasons” of Sir Alexander Cockburn, “We seem to go into another climate of opinion. ... We find different premises, a different bias, a different logic, and we might almost say different facts.” So it is, indeed; and the explanation is obvious. The “climate” of Count Sclopis, Baron d'Itajubá, Mr. Stæmpfli, and Mr. Adams, was that. of fairness, judi. cial dignity, impartiality, gentlemanly honor, such as belonged to their place as Arbitrators: the “climate" of Sir Alexander Cockburn was that of a self-appoint
ed “advocate," making no pretensions to “fairness" or “impartiality,” but, with the “premises," “ bias,” “log. ic,” and “facts” of such an advocate, drawing up a passionate, rhetorical plea, as the officious “representative of Great Britain."
As such “representative of Great Britain,” if he be not promptly disavowed by the British Government, it will be found that his “Reasons” lay down many positions which may somewhat embarrass present or subsequent Ministers.
The News notices numerous contradictory opinions or conclusions which appear in the “Reasons." In one place Sir Alexander complains that any Rules are laid down by the Treaty, and in another place expresses the conviction that it is well to settle such questions by Treaty Rules. “He complains ... that the Arbitrators have not been left free to apply the hitherto received principles of international law, and that they have; that rules have been laid down, and that they have not; that definitions have been framed, and that they have not been framed.” Here is most exquisite confusion of ideas. It is the very same extraordinary and characteristic method of thinking and writing which Mr. Finlason had exhibited at length, and which Mr. Gathorne Hardy pointed out in the case of the Queen against Norton: the “inflammatory statements,"—the extra-judicial denunciation,” the “extra-judicial declamation," the going “from one side to another," and the say. ing “it is” and “it is not” upon every point of law. The perfect similitude of these repulsive features of