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and “the discourteous tone and minatory intimations of the Ministry,” imposed on the United States a dif. ferent line of action from that, which might have been adopted by them in response to a calm presentation by the British Government of its construction of the Treaty.
In this relation there is another class of facts which, as it seems to me, deserves mention.
Of the five American Commissioners engaged in the negotiation of the Treaty of Washington, two, the Secretary of State [Mr. Fish] and our Minister at London [General Schenck], were officially occupied in discussing the question on the American Case raised by the British Government. The published dispatches show with what signal ability they discharged this delicate duty. Meanwhile, the three other Commissioners, Mr. Justice Nelson, Mr. Hoar, and Mr. Williams, although impliedly accused on the other side of taking some advantage of the unsophisticated innocence and simplicity of the British Commissioners, yet maintained perfect self-control in the matter, speaking only when officially called upon to speak, and otherwise leaving the subject where it belonged,—in the hands of their Government.
The conduct, on the other hand, of some of the British Commissioners was less reserved than that of the American Commissioners. Professor Bernard got completely off the track of reason and sense in a lecture which he delivered at Oxford. Sir Stafford Northcote let off a very inconsiderate speech at Exeter. And Sir Edward Thornton made a not very considerate one at New York. But Earl de Grey and Ripon, who had now become Marquess of Ripon, deported himself with admirable dignity. It was,
in. deed, wittily said, or reported to have been said, by Mr. Lowe, that Lord Ripon was going about very
sick at the stomach of a marquisate, which he would be glad to throw up; but the reproach was wholly undeserved. Lord Ripon manfully maintained silence while to speak would have been unwise; when at length it became expedient to speak, he did so with discretion and with judiciousness, beyond what appeared in the speeches of some other members of the Government.
ACTION OF THE AMERICAN AGENT AND COUNSEL.
Whilst all these discussions were going on in Great Britain and the United States, we, the Agent and Counsel of the United States, were busily occupied, partly at Washington but chiefly at Paris, in the study of the British Case and the preparation of the American Counter-Case. We had fixed on Paris for our head-quarters, as a neutral city, as a great centre of international jurisprudence and diplomacy, and as a place in easy communication with London and with Washington.
From this ground of vantage we could observe and estimate correctly the current of discussion in America, in Great Britain, and on the Continent of Europe.
Speaking for myself, at least, let me say, it appear. ed to me that much of what was being said in En
gland, whether in Parliament or in the Press, was un. seasonable or indiscreet; much of it factious toward the British Government itself; much of it disrespectful to the American Government; but none of it of any ultimate importance or consequence in regard to either Government, for the following reasons:
1. Both Governments sincerely desired Britain could never have retreated from the Arbitration in violation of the Treaty, whatever the Press might say, and whoever should be in power as Minister.
2. Freedom of debate is essential to freedom of in. stitutions. To be sure, the Press in Great Britain, and somewhat, but less so, in the United States, is prone to take upon itself rather lofty airs, and to speak of public affairs quite absolutely, as if it were the Government. But nobody is deceived by this, not even the Press itself. We, the English-speaking nations, thank heaven, possess the capability of living in the atmosphere of oral and written debate. It was safe to predict that howmuchsoever Mr. Gladstone and Lord Granville might feel annoyed by the din of words around them, it would not induce them to break faith with the United States.
3. It was not the voice of the English Press which could seriously affect us. We looked rather to the state of opinion in the French, German, and Italian speaking countries of Europe, which, on the whole, though differing as to the legal right of the United States to recover on the national claims, yet decisively agreed with us in affirming that those claims were
comprehended within the scope of the Treaty as maintained by the United States.
What Europe dreaded, what all European opinion sought to prevent, was a rupture between Great Britain and the United States, to disturb the money. market of Europe, and impede the payment by France of the indemnity due to Germany. And all men saw that the United States must and would resent the refusal by Great Britain to observe the stipulations of the Treaty of Washington.
PRESENTATION OF COUNTER-CASES.
Such were the circumstances, in the presence of which arrived the time, namely, the 15th of April, at which the two Governments were to file at Geneva their respective Counter-Cases.
The British Government was so solicitous to fulfill on its part all the stipulations of the Treaty, that it caused special inquiry to be made whether the Amer. ican Government had any objection to Great Britain filing her Counter-Case without prejudice to her position regarding consequential damages; to which Mr. Fish replied that. the British Government was bound to file its Counter-Case, but its doing so would not prejudice any position it had taken, nor affect any position of the United States.
Accordingly, on the 15th of April, 'the CounterCases of Great Britain and the United States were duly filed, with express reservation of all the rights of both Governments.
The British Counter-Case, consisting of four volumes folio, contains little new matter, being in part, at least, defensive argument in response to the Amer. ican “Case.”
The American Counter-Case, consisting of two volumes folio, replies argumentatively to the British “ Case,” and brings forward a large body of docụ. mentary proofs, responsive to matters contained in that “ Case," which, although utterly foreign to the question at issue, required to be met, because considered material by Great Britain, namely, allegations of default on the part of the United States in the execution of their own neutrality laws, to the preju. dice of other Governments.
The introduction of all this matter into the British Case, the iteration of it in the British Counter-Case and the British Argument, and the extreme promi. nence given to it, as we shall hereafter see, by the British Arbitrator, serve to illustrate the singular unreasonableness and injustice of the angry complaints emitted in England against the American Case.
The American Case contains no suggestion which is not strictly pertinent to the issues raised by the Treaty. It discusses the conduct of the British Government relatively to the United States during our · Civil War, with strict application to the “Alabama
Claims.” It charges that, in those transactions, the ! British Government was guilty of culpable omission
to observe the requirements of the law of nations as respects the United States, and with responsible negligence in the non-execution of the neutrality laws of