Page images

the war let them not prefer one party to the other and this is the only proper conduct for neutrals.'"

This rule applies, of course, with much stronger force to the obligations of neutrality in the case of a war between a friendly nation and her revolting subjects.

Glenn formulates the principle in this way:

"When, in a revolutionary contest, the party struggling for independence has, as a matter of fact, established its independence so as to leave the chance of the opposite party to recover dominion, utterly desperate, recognition of its independence may be properly and safely accorded to it. When a sovereign has a reasonable hope of maintaining his authority over the insurgents, the acknowledgment would be an act of intervention — an international wrong.' (Page 34.) Taylor in his work says at page 192: "Difficulty often arises when a foreign State desires to recognize the independence of the struggling community before the parent State is ready to do so, because a premature or unjustifiable recognition, either of belligerency or independence, is really an act of intervention which the parent State may meet by a declaration of war." He then cites with approval the action of the United States in its conservative procedure in recognizing the South American Republics and Texas. See, also, to the same effect Woolsey on International Law, sections 40 and 42.

Gentlemen, to the true citizen, it matters little by whom the affairs of the Nation are administered, so long as the principles and ideals of government established by the founders of the Republic are substantially adhered to. I believe the people of this country have absolute confidence in the honesty, justice and integrity of our President. I believe that the policy he has adopted in this Panama dispute has been with a sincere conviction that

he was doing right and, as he says, advancing "the interests of the civilized world."

But it has been the policy of this Nation in its foreign relations of the past to be liberal and magnanimous in its dealings with the weak, and firm and defiant when its

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed]

rights were interfered with by the strong. It has always shown a desire to fulfil its engagements with perfect good faith and to observe them in the spirit as well as in the letter. To commit an international wrong against a weak sister Republic because her Congress refused to ratify a treaty and because, in the language of the President, we

have "received a mandate from civilization" to build an interoceanic canal, is a wide departure from the advice of Washington, who exhorted us to be "always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence," the fruits of which course he assured us would, in the course of time and things, "richly repay any temporary advantages which might be lost by a steady adherence to it."

What makes our country great in the eyes of the most advanced civilization of the world is not our army or our navy; is not that we have the wealth and the power and the ability to benefit the commerce of the globe by building an interoceanic canal; it is the fact that the acquirement of all these things has been brought about under a form of government that has at the same time established justice and secured to every citizen the blessings of freedom and of liberty.

The commission of an international wrong by a Republic that for more than a century has been the hope and the inspiration of mankind in the experiment of selfgovernment, will be much more of an injury to civilization, in its true sense, than will the postponement for a few years, more or less, of the construction of a canal between the Atlantic and Pacific.

The following paper was presented by Wilbur Larremore, of New York:


Cato, the younger, who is probably the most illustrious of suicides, upon the eve of his act discoursed with much vehemence in justification of the right "to set himself at liberty." In all nations and tribes that have not received. a strong influence from Christianity, Cato's view has been assumed as self-evidently true. Shall a man not be per

mitted to do as he wills with his own? And what is more essentially his own than his life? In American constitutional law nothing is more jealously guarded than personal liberty. A sane person may not be imprisoned save for crime or coerced except in respects obviously necessary for the public weal. How, then, may the State assume to interfere with the most radical act of self-liberation? How, with any semblance of consistency, may one be deterred from abandoning a life of suffering, or abject despair, or hopeless ennui? Undoubtedly the logic of the situation is with Cato and the pagans to whom suicide itself never suggested any idea of turpitude, it being held immoral only if, and in so far as, some collateral feature, such as cowardice, characterized it. The sentiment against suicide which generally prevails among Christians and Mohammedans constitutes one of the most signal moral accomplishments of Christianity, or rather of the Christian church. It is nowhere condemned in the Bible, though it is expressly inhibited in the Koran, Mohammedanism having "on this, as on many other points, borrowed its teaching from the Christian church, and even intensified it." "The Christian theologians introduced into the sphere we are considering new elements, both of terrorism and of persuasion, which have had a decisive influence upon the judgments of mankind. They carried their doctrine of the sanctity of human life to such a point that they maintained dogmatically that a man who destroys his own life has committed a crime similar both in kind and magnitude to that of an ordinary murderer, and they at the same time gave a new character to death by their doctrines concerning its penal nature and concerning the future destinies of the soul" (Lecky's Hist. of European Morals, Vol. 2, p. 45). To the many illustrations given by Mr. Lecky of the effectual inculcation by

the church of its absolute policy there may be added the history of the Jesuits in North America, graphically narrated by Parkman. In their mission of converting the North American Indians many priests of that order were subjected to lingering death by unspeakable torture, which certainly, without the presence of the strongest kind of arbitrary scruples, would have led to numerous suicides. The anti-suicide sentiment generated by the Christian church very naturally was embodied in the English common law. Blackstone states the legal attitude as follows: "The law of England wisely and religiously considers that no man hath a power to destroy life, but by commission. from God, the author of it; and, as the suicide is guilty of a double offense, one spiritual, in invading the prerogative of the Almighty, and rushing into his immediate presence uncalled for; the other temporal, against the King, who hath an interest in the preservation of all his subjects; the law has therefore ranked this among the highest crimes, making it a peculiar species of felony, a felony committed on one's self. * * But now the question follows, what punishment can human laws inflict on one who has withdrawn himself from their reach? They can only act upon what he has left behind him, his reputation and fortune; on the former, by an ignominious burial in the highway, with a stake driven through his body; on the latter by a forfeiture of all his goods and chattels to the King; hoping that his care for either his own reputation or the welfare of his family would be some motive to restrain him from so desperate and wicked an act" (Blackstone's Commentaries, Book IV, chap. 14).

Conceding that self-destruction is not necessarily and unexceptionally a wicked act, that under at least one set of circumstances to be hereafter adverted to it would even now be justified by public opinion, and conceding also

« PreviousContinue »