« PreviousContinue »
established there. We decided at once that the Bureau must be assembled. On the day after our arrival a telegraph call went off to all the members of the Peace Bureau, and to other leaders of the international peace movement, and on Tuesday at ten o'clock we had fifty or sixty there to confer on the situation in Europe, and we met in a place which was indicated to us as a propitious one by one of the followers of this Club. I mean Mr. Edward A. Filene. He happened to be at the hotel when we conferred with Senator Lafontaine, and he said, 'Why not at this hotel?' And the Senator accepted it, and the place was designated in that happy way by a member of the Club, and the conference was held. It was a very lively affair. I think that the international men who were gathered there-half a dozen from London, as many more from Paris, and the Secretary of the Bureau came up from Berne; there were men there from other countries of Europe, including a big delegation from The Hague, and a splendid local delegation from Belgium, and we conferred there during the morning and the evening. I shall not tell you all that we did. I think that the international men gave a good account of themselves, and, in a singularly dangerous and critical time reminded warring men, at least, that they existed. We sent off telegraphic addresses to some conspicuous people in Europe. We sent one to Count Berthold, the author of this Austrian ultimatum, who had agreed to become the honorary president of the International Peace Conference in September, which was our ultimate goal; and he was reminded in very drastic language of the incongruity of the two rôles for which he stood. We sent off telegraphic messages to the Czar and to the Kaiser of Germany, and I assure you they were rather drastic, because I was entrusted with the work of preparing them. It was the first time I had ever addressed, in my own capacity or in any other, the Kaiser of Germany, but not the first time I had addressed the Czar of Russia. I sent to him a very drastic message, and had the great satisfaction to learn that it was delivered and had a good effect. But that is another story.
"We were headed for the International Church Peace Conference at Constance, and also for Cologne; but before we started we received news that Belgium had begun to mobilize her troops, and we passed through the frontier where the mobilization was going on. Instead of reaching Cologne at ten o'clock we were passing through Louvain and the country which has become so well known to you as the scene of the first invasion, and at eleven o'clock we fetched up at the Belgian frontier and had to leave our train and walk for a mile over the frontier and take a Germain train into Cologne, spending a few hours at Aix-laChapelle. We arrived at Constance in the evening, and eighty of the delegates, in spite of the gathering clouds, also came. We were expecting to spend a few days and move on into Switzerland, but on Sunday night we were informed that it would be dangerous to stay there longer. And I want to speak of the courtesy with which we were treated everywhere. We suffered no personal hardship, and received nothing but the utmost courtesy. (Applause.) On Sunday night, when in session,
we were informed that we must leave at nine o'clock on Monday morning, or that there would be no machines that we could get going out, because on Monday night all the roads were to be taken for mobilization. So on Sunday night we started down the Rhine, reaching the end of our journey late in the evening, riding all night, and took a train to London, where we continued the session of our conference the next day and the day following at the Westminster Palace Hotel; and on the very evening on which we arrived war was declared by England; and I assure you that there was not an Englishman on the train or steamer whom we saw who had on that day anticipated the possibility of that act on the part of his government by reason of the precipitancy with which the terrible situation, involving all the governments and people of Europe, was brought about.
"I remained in London until the 23d of August, when feeling it was utterly impossible to get at any true idea of German party opinion, in London, as I assure you it is utterly impossible to get at any true idea of English opinion in Berlin, I packed up and went to Berlin. I want to say that when I was a youngster I was a student in Germany. I was a student at Leipsic University, and, therefore, have a great many German friends; but I do not hold any brief for Germany, or in any sense am I a friend of Germany, as in this particular exigency, I am not. I had studied before that in England, and my relation with England has been far closer and my number of personal friends in England is far greater. But I felt it important to get into the middle of Germany. We went-my young friend and myself, a friend from the World Peace Society from Boston- and we spent a day at The Hague where, through the courtesy of Dr. Van Dyke, whom I have long known, the German ambassador gave me proper papers, and reinforced the papers which I carried from our Embassy in London, and we pushed on into Germany, spending the first day at Cologne, then taking a train to Berlin, which occupied the day. The express trains had only been put We spent three days at Berlin, two days at Leipsic, then back to Cologne, another day at The Hague and then back to London. We encountered no trouble. We talked with all manner of men. We made it a point to talk with the men in the street, the men in the hotel, and the men on the railroad trains, and never have I talked with more intelligent people. At Cologne we were right in the path of the Belgium campaign. On our first day there there wasn't a quarter of an hour passed that we didn't see some motor dashing through the street carrying an officer with a bugler; trains were arriving loaded with wounded prisoners with two soldiers with big bayonets in each car, where the prisoners were packed like sardines. In Leipsic and Berlin you would not any more divine that there was war in this world than you would divine it here in Boston. There were the same great crowds everywhere, and on the Unter den Linden news of the victories were coming in; the cafés held the same large crowds, and sometimes little groups of young men would hurry along on the street singing a song, but that was all. We talked with all sorts and conditions of men. In Leipsic I spent an hour
with my old professor. I telegraphed to Professor Fried at Vienna, the great international scholar, who received the Nobel Prize three years ago. I telegraphed to him from Cologne, and he came from Berlin to Leipsic to discuss the situation. We spent a half an hour with Professors Wundt and Lamprecht and Gregory. Dr. Gregory is an American, yet he has been a professor in Leipsic for a generation. He has become naturalized. His wife is the daughter of the late Prof. J. F. Thayer of Harvard Divinity School; and dear old Gregory, whom I knew so well, took this matter so much to heart as to enlist in the ranks to show his feeling of devotion to Germany, and there he was at home at his Sunday dinner from garrison. There was a certain humor in it, as I listened to his intense talk, and the still more intense talk of his wife. We talked with Dr. Drexel, whom some of you may know, because he was two years connected with the Middlesex School at Concord. He is the head of the American Institute there. He is not only a German University man, but an Oxford graduate, and he is perfectly familiar with English and German thought.
"We talked with Edward Bernstein, known as one of the greatest democratic social leaders, the most Anglo-Saxon of all the German Socialists. I had known him a little before. I visited him at his home. We had two hours with that great social democratic leader. I did not meet Sudekum, whom you know so well here. He was away, but I had a long talk over the telephone with his wife, and I have been reading his utterances since. Sudekum and Bernstein look at the thing in the same way. They had pledged the loyalty of their party to the government for the purpose of national defense, but while thy pledged their loyalty for purposes of national defense, they voiced their protests against the whole policy of imperialism and militarism, which has deluged Europe with blood.
"Let me say this, that the moment this war is over you will see in Germany, led by the Social Democratic Party, such a campaign against militarism as Europe has never yet witnessed. (Applause.) This must be the last war. Those were the words which I heard most commonly on the part of those men. No man can condemn German militarism more than I can. but do not yield to the thought that Germany is a great ogre leading men about by the nose into any materialistic or militaristic scheme. The people of Germany will stand together so long as they believe they are threatened by a circle of enemies. But they can never be led into a military policy that would result in a sort of German empire over Europe.
"I have had far more to do with London men than with Berlin men, and let me say this-that Englishmen in this matter are far more impartial, far more open-minded on the whole than the Germans; not perhaps so completely united, but, as a whole, wonderfully united. But opinion in England is freer, and there is a far greater range of criticism. I read the other day that the news organ of the Social Democratic Party was suppressed. I read that all the time I was in Berlin, and I can assure you that it does not criticise the government, or never has, a tenth part of the severity which the Labor Leader and the Daily Herald, and the other London dailies are doing every day in England.
"I assure you that I am impartial; but there are more influential individuals and a bigger party in England than in any other country opposed to the whole system of monstrous armament, which has brought this situation upon us; and that influence of England later may at least be strong enough to secure the cutting down of armies.
"Now, I must not trespass longer. We are none of us here to make long speeches, and I am not here to discuss the causes of the war, but I should like to reinforce one thing said by our eloquent friend from Cambridge University (Dr. Powys) that the causes of this thing are utterly deeper than the things which the newspapers are talking about. The utterance of this man and that man in the various colored books are balanced painfully against each other, but the situation is far deeper that that. Bring it right home, the area and population of the United States with reference to Japan is not strikingly unlike that of Germany to that of Great Britain. Germany has two-thirds the population of the United States in an area essentially the same as that of Texas. That is the situation. We get up a scare once in a while about Japan. Imagine that Japan was only three hundred miles away, and that she was a great ocean kingdom, maintaining always a navy twice as big as ours; suppose that in a few years twenty or thirty years as Germany's war with France resulted in the stealing of AlsaceLorraine, we had a war with Mexico and we stole New Mexico, Arizona, and California; and supposing that Mexico had been a country with twice the population; and that when we took Arizona and New Mexico she had said, 'You have done it because we are helpless and cannot stop it, but we will have it out with you when we become strong enough'; suppose that when we stole California we made it neutral and that would cut us from the Pacific Ocean, leaving us access only by the Columbia River and Puget Sound; supposing that on the north of us instead of California we had a country like Russia, with 160,000,000 of people with an ambition to dominate the country, with no access to the ocean (sooner or later, my friends, Russia has got to have access to the sea; sooner or later that thing is going to happen). But suppose in the illustration that up in Canada, as is not true in Canada, Labrador, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, and the lower shores of the St. Lawrence did not belong to Canada, but were separate and belonged to the Balkans and Turkey — what this war is about is to determine whether Russia or the Germanic people shall control the Balkans and Constantinople and Turkey.
"Now, I say that in such a situation, my friends, with Canada another Russia, and Mexico another France, and Arizona, New Mexico, and California another Alsace-Lorraine, and Canada bound to go through New Brunswick to the sea -I am bound to say, my friends, that war would happen.
"I want to say these are geographical facts, and I am glad to say that the Englishman downstairs reminded us of it; and statesmanship, my friends, consists, not in butting your head against the rock, but in providing channels through which inevitable streams must flow, and this war has got to operate somehow in a magnanimous and in a cooperative way. No matter how the war ends, the people are going
to be there, and this great economical, geographical problem must remain, and the 70,000,000 Germans to-morrow will be a hundred million. "Now, while I hope I am neutral (laughter), I want to express my sympathy, my friends, with both Russia and Germany, as I have expressed my sympathy with the argument and position of England.
"I would like to tell you of the marvelous liberal democratic movement in Russia, and the whole thing is making for liberalization and the smashing up of autocracies and militarism in Europe. That is what the whole thing is working for. Why is it that all the Germans believe sincerely in their cause, that the Englishmen believe sincerely in their cause, that the Americans who know English people best believe in the English cause, and the Americans who know Germans best believe in the German cause? My friends, it is a wonderful testimonial of human nature. They act according to their instinctiveness, and trust to the point of view of the men whom they know best.
"The next thing is that I ask you to remember not simply the government. After I have seen those young fellows going out from London, going forth to do their duty as they understand it, I tell you, my friends, I cannot listen with very much satisfaction to the men who say they hope the slaughter will go on until they are exhausted. It is a question of humanity, and the sooner this is stopped and men exercise. their reason, instead of their guns, the better off Germany will be, the better off England will be, and it will be better for the United States, and better for mankind." (Prolonged applause.)
Tuesday Evening, October 20
AMBASSADOR STIMSON'S SEND-OFF
Hon. FREDERIC J. STIMSON, recently appointed Ambassador of the United States to the Argentine Republic, was the guest of honor at a dinner given by the Club.
At the head table, with the guest of the evening, were seated President Frederick P. Fish, Vice-President James W. Rollins, Vice-President William T. A. Fitzgerald, Ex-Mayor Josiah Quincy, Moses Williams, Esq., Joseph B. Russell, Esq., and Civic Secretary Addison L. Winship, who were later joined by His Honor, Mayor Curley.
President Fish, in introducing the speakers, said: "I think it is a very pleasant thing indeed to be here to-night to express our appreciation of the fact that the President of the United States has honored the city of Boston and the State of Massachusetts by selecting as the first ambassador to the great Argentine Republic a Boston citizen whom we all honor and respect. Moreover the President of the United States has done his duty in selecting a man whom we are glad to recognize as having all the qualifications of a good citizen and a good American, who we know will succeed in the delicate and difficult functions which always attach to a diplomatic post to a foreign country."
Speakers who followed President Fish were Vice-President W. T. A. Fitzgerald, ex-Mayor Josiah Quincy, Col. T. L. Livermore, Mr. George