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Friday, August 31, 2018

William Pitt, Earl of Chatham: On The Right Of Taxing America

The course of history would have been profoundly affected if George III had listened to the advice of William Pitt, Earl of Chatham [1708-1778], leading British statesman of his day. The American revolution might not have taken place, for Pitt was a friend of the colonists, as the eloquent speech partly reproduced here shows. Pitt delivered this speech in the House of Commons, on January 14, 1766.

It is my opinion that this kingdom has no right to lay a tax upon the colonies. At the same time, I assert the authority of this kingdom over

the colonies to be sovereign and supreme, in every circumstance of government and legislation whatsoever. They are the subjects of this kingdom; equally entitled with yourselves to all the natural rights of mankind and the peculiar privileges of Englishmen; equally bound by its laws, and equally participating in the constitution of this free country. The Americans are the sons, not the bastards of England! Taxation is no part of the governing or legislative power. The taxes are a voluntary gift and grant of the Commons alone. In legislation the three estates of the realm are alike concerned; but the concurrence of the peers and the Crown to a tax is only necessary to clothe it with the form of a law. The gift and grant is of the Commons alone. In ancient days, the Crown, the barons, and the clergy possessed the lands. In those days, the barons and the clergy gave and granted to the Crown. They gave and granted what was their own! At present, since the discovery of America, and other circumstances permitting, the Commons are become the proprietors of the land. The Church (God bless it!) has but a pittance. The property of the lords, compared with that of the Commons, is as a drop of water in the ocean; and this House represents those Commons, the proprietors of the lands; and those proprietors virtually represent the rest of the inhabitants. When, therefore, in this House, we give and grant, we give and grant what is our own. But in an American tax, what do we do? “We, your Majesty’s Commons for Great Britain, give and grant to your Majesty” what? Our own property! No! “We give and grant to your Majesty” the property of your Majesty’s Commons of America! It is an absurdity in terms.

The distinction between legislation and taxation is essentially necessary to liberty. The Crown and the peers are equally legislative powers with the Commons. If taxation be a part of simple legislation, the Crown and the peers have rights in taxation as well as yourselves; rights which they will claim, which they will exercise, whenever the principle can be sup­ported by power.

There is an idea in some that the colonies are virtually represented in the House. I would fain know by whom an American is represented here. Is he represented by any knight of the shire, in any county in this king­dom? Would to God that respectable representation was augmented to a greater number! Or will you tell him that he is represented by any representative of a borough? a borough which, perhaps, its own repre­sentatives never saw! This is what is called the rotten part of the constitu­tion. It cannot continue a century. If it does not drop, it must be amputated. The idea of a virtual representation of America in this House is the most contemptible idea that ever entered into the head of a man. It does not deserve a serious refutation.

The Commons of America, represented in their several assemblies, have ever been in possession of the exercise of this, their constitutional right, of giving and granting their own money. They would have been slaves if they had not enjoyed it! At the same time, this kingdom, as the supreme governing and legislative power, has always bound the colonies by her laws, by her regulations, and restrictions in trade, in navigation, in manufactures, in everything, except that of taking their money out of their pockets without their consent.

Gentlemen, sir, have been charged with giving birth to sedition in America. They have spoken their sentiments with freedom against this unhappy act, and that freedom has become their crime. Sorry I am to hear the liberty of speech in this House imputed as a crime. But the imputation shall not discourage me. It is a liberty I mean to exercise. No gentleman ought to be afraid to exercise it. It is a liberty by which the gentleman who calumniates it might have profited. He ought to have desisted from his project. The gentleman tells us America is obstinate; America is almost in open rebellion. I rejoice that America has resisted. Three millions of people, so dead to all the feelings of liberty as voluntarily to submit to be slaves, would have been fit instruments to make slaves of the rest.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

John Wesley: God’s Love To Fallen Man

The following portions of a sermon by John Wesley [1703-1791] indicate the power and appeal of simple and direct language so characteristic of this great English divine.

How innumerable are the benefits which God conveys to the children of men through the channel of sufferings, so that it might well be said,

“What are termed afflictions in the language of men are in the language of God styled blessings.” Indeed, had there been no suffering in the world, a considerable part of religion, yea, and in some respects, the most excellent part, could have had no place therein: since the very existence of it depends on our suffering: so that had there been no pain it could have had no being. Upon this foundation, even our suffering, it is evident all our passive graces are built; yea, the noblest of all Christian graces, love enduring all things. Here is the ground for resigna­tion to God, enabling us to say from the heart, in every trying hour, “It is the Lord: let Him do what seemeth Him good.” “Shall we receive good at the hand of the Lord, and shall we not receive evil?” And what a glorious spectacle is this! Did it not constrain even a heathen to cry out, “Ecce spectaculum Deo dignum!” See a sight worthy of God: a good man struggling with adversity, and superior to it. Here is the ground for confidence in God, both with regard to what we feel and with regard to what we should fear, were it not that our soul is calmly stayed on him. What room could there be for trust in God if there was no such thing as pain or danger? Who might not say then, “The cup which my Father had given me, shall I not drink it?” It is by sufferings that our faith is tried, and, therefore, made more acceptable to God. It is in the day of trouble that we have occasion to say, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him. And this is well pleasing to God, that we should own him in the face of danger; in defiance of sorrow, sickness, pain, or death.

Again: Had there been neither natural nor moral evil in the world, what must have become of patience, meekness, gentleness, long-suffering? It is manifest they could have had no being: seeing all these have evil for their object. If, therefore, evil had never entered into the world, neither could these have had any place in it. For who could have returned good for evil, had there been no evil-doer in the universe? How had it been possible, on that supposition, to overcome evil with good?

Will you say, “But all of these graces might have been divinely infused into the hearts of men.” Undoubtedly they might: but if they had, there would have been no use or exercise for them. Whereas in the present state of things we can never long want occasion to exercise them. And the more they are exercised, the more all our graces are strengthened and increased. And in the same proportion as our resignation, our confidence in God, our patience and fortitude, our meekness, gentleness, and long- suffering, together with our faith and love of God and man increase, must our happiness increase, even in the present world.

Yet again: As God’s permission of Adam’s fall gave all his posterity a thousand opportunities of suffering, and thereby of exercising all those passive graces which increase both their holiness and happiness: so it gives them opportunities of doing good in numberless instances, of exercising themselves in various good works, which otherwise could have had no being. And what exertions of benevolence, of compassion, of godlike mercy, had been totally prevented! Who could then have said to the lover of men—

Thy mind throughout my life be shown, 
While listening to the wretches’ cry, 
The widow’s or the orphan’s groan; 
On mercy’s wings I swiftly fly, 
The poor and needy to relieve; 
Myself, my all for them to give? 

It is the just observation of a benevolent man— 

All worldly joys are less, 
Than that one joy of doing kindnesses. 

Surely in keeping this commandment, if no other, there is great reward. “As we have time, let us do good unto all men”; good of every kind and in every degree. Accordingly the more good we do (other circumstances being equal), the happier we shall be. The more we deal our bread to the hungry, and cover the naked with garments; the more we relieve the stranger, and visit them that are sick or in prison: the more kind offices we do to those that groan under the various evils of human life,—the more comfort we receive even in the present world; the greater the recompense we have in our own bosom.

To sum up: As the more holy we are upon earth, the more happy we must be (seeing there is an inseparable connection between holiness and happiness); as the more good we do to others, the more of present reward redounds into our own bosom: even as our sufferings for God lead us to rejoice in him “with joy unspeakable and full of glory ; therefore the fall of Adam first, by giving us an opportunity of being far more holy; secondly, by giving us the occasions of doing innumerable good works which otherwise could not have been done; and, thirdly, by putting it into our power to suffer for God, whereby ‘ the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon us”; may be of such advantage to the children of men even in the present life, as they will not thoroughly comprehend till they attain life everlasting.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Sir Robert Walpole: On A Motion For His Removal

Sir Robert Walpole, Earl of Oxford, [1676-1745] had a spectacular career, rang­ing from being convicted of bribery to being twice Prime Minister.
Here are parts of his speech of defense against a motion for his re­moval from Parliament, delivered in 1741.

It has been observed by several gentlemen, in vindication of this motion, that if it should be carried, neither my life, liberty, nor estate will be affected. But do the honorable gentlemen consider my character and reputation as of no moment? Is it no imputation to be arraigned before this House, in which I have sat forty years, and to have my name trans­mitted to posterity with disgrace and infamy? I will not conceal my sentiments, that to be named in Parliament as a subject of inquiry is to me a matter of great concern. But I have the satisfaction, at the same time, to reflect, that the impression to be made depends upon the consistency of the charge and the motives of the prosecutors.

If my whole administration is to be scrutinized and arraigned, why are the most favorable parts to be omitted ? If facts are to be accumulated on one side, why. not on the other? And why may not I be permitted to speak in my own favor? Was I not called by the voice of the King and the nation to remedy the fatal effects of the South Sea project, and to support declining credit? Was I not placed at the head of the treasury when the revenues were in the greatest confusion? Is credit revived, and does it now flourish? Is it not at an incredible height? and if so, to whom must that circumstance be attributed? Has not tranquillity been pre­served both at home and abroad, notwithstanding a most unreasonable and violent opposition? Has the true interest of the nation been pursued, or has trade flourished? Have gentlemen produced one instance of this exorbitant power; of the influence which I extend to all parts of the nation; of the tyranny with which I oppress those who oppose, and the liberality with which I reward those who support me? But having first invested me with a kind of mock dignity, and styled me a prime minister, they impute to me an unpardonable abuse of that chimerical authority which they only have created and conferred. If they are really persuaded that the army is annually established by me, that I will have the sole disposal of posts and honors, that I employ this power in the destruction of liberty and the diminution of commerce, let me awaken them from their delusion. Let me expose to their view the real condition of the public weal. Let me show them that the Crown has made no encroach­ments, that all supplies have been granted by Parliament, that all questions have been debated with the same freedom as before the fatal period in which my counsels are said to have gained the ascendancy—an ascendancy from which they deduce the loss of trade, the approach of slavery, the preponderance of prerogative, and the extension of influence. But I am far from believing that they feel those apprehensions which they so earnestly labor to communicate to others; and I have too high an opinion of their sagacity not to conclude that, even in their own judgment, they are complaining of grievances that they do not suffer, and promoting rather their private interest than that of the public.

What is this unbounded sole power which is imputed to me? How has it discovered itself, or how has it been proved?

What have been the effects of the corruption, ambition, and avarice with which I am so abundantly charged?

Have I ever been suspected of being corrupted? A strange phenomenon, a corrupter himself not corrupt! Is ambition imputed to me? Why then do I still continue a commoner? I, who refused a white staff and a peerage? I had, indeed, like to have forgotten the little ornament about my shoulders [the garter], which gentlemen have so repeatedly mentioned in terms of sarcastic obloquy. But surely, though this may be regarded with envy or indignation in another place, it cannot be supposed to raise any resentment in this House, where many may be pleased to see those honors which their ancestors have worn, restored again to the Commons.

Have I given any symptoms of an avaricious disposition? Have I obtained any grants from the Crown since I have been placed at the head of the treasury? Has my conduct been different from that which others in the same station would have followed? Have I acted wrong in giving the place of auditor to my son, and in providing for my own family? I trust that their advancement will not be imputed to me as a crime, unless it shall be proved that I placed them in offices of trust and responsibility for which they were unfit. 

But while I unequivocally deny that I am sole and prime minister, and that to my influence and direction all the measures of the Government must be attributed, yet I will not shrink from the responsibility which attaches to the post I have the honor to hold; and should, during the long period in which I have sat upon this bench, any one step taken by Government be proved to be either disgraceful or disadvantageous to the nation, I am ready to hold myself accountable.

To conclude, sir, though I shall always be proud of the honor of any trust or confidence from His Majesty, yet I shall always be ready to remove from his councils and presence when he thinks fit; and therefore I should think myself very little concerned in the event of the present question, if it were not for the encroachment that will thereby be made upon the prerogatives of the Crown. But I must think that an address to His Majesty to remove one of his servants, without so much as alleging any particular crime against him, is one of the greatest encroachments that was ever made upon the prerogatives of the Crown. And therefore, for the sake of my master, without any regard for my own, I hope all those who have a due regard for our constitution, and for the rights and prerogatives of the Crown, without which our constitution cannot be preserved, will be against this motion.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Oliver Cromwell: On The Dissolution Of Parliament

In the struggle between parliament and king, Oliver Cromwell [1599-1658] , son of a farmer and brewer, emerged as the brilliant commander of the rebellious forces. Cromwell decisively defeated the armies of Charles I, and personally signed the warrant for his execution. After conquer­ing Scotland and Ireland, Cromwell dissolved parliament, formed a new parliament entirely under his control, and then made himself Lord Protector of England. Following are parts of his famous speech on the dissolution of parliament, which he delivered on January 22, 1655.

This government called you hither; the constitution thereof being limited so—a single person and a Parliament. And this was thought most agree­able to the general sense of the nation;—having had experience enough, by trial, of other conclusions; judging this most likely to avoid the extremes of monarchy on the one hand, and of democracy on the other;— and yet not to found dominium in gratia “either.” And if so, then certainly to make the authority more than a mere notion, it was requisite that it should be as it is in this “frame of” government; which puts it upon a true and equal balance. It has been already submitted to the judicious, true and honest people of this nation, whether the balance be not equal? And what their judgment is, is visible—by submission to it; by acting upon it; by restraining their trustees from meddling with it. And it neither asks nor needs any better ratification? But when trustees in Parlia­ment shall, by experience, find any evil in any parts of this “frame of” government, “a question” referred by the government itself to the con­sideration of the Protector and Parliament—of which evil or evils time itself will be the best discoverer:—how can it be reasonably imagined that a person or persons, coming in by election, and standing under such obligations, and so limited, and so necessitated by oath to govern for the people’s good, and to make their love, under God, the best under-propping and only safe footing:—how can it, I say, be imagined that the present or succeeding Protectors will refuse to agree to alter any such thing in the government as may be found to be for the good of the people? Or to recede from anything which he might be convinced casts the balance too much to the single person? And although, for the present, the keeping up and having in his power the militia seems the hardest “condition,” yet if the power of the militia should be yielded up at such a time as this, when there is as much need of it to keep this cause (now most evidently impugned by all enemies), as there was to get it “for the sake of this cause”:—what would become of us all! Or if it should not be equally placed in him and the Parliament, but yielded up at any time—it deter­mines his power either for doing the good he ought, or hindering Parliaments from perpetuating themselves; from imposing what religion they please on the consciences of men, or what government they please upon the nation. Thereby subjecting us to dissettlement in every Parlia­ment, and to the desperate consequences thereof. And if the nation shall happen to fall into a blessed peace, how easily and certainly will their charge be taken off, and their forces be disbanded! And then where will the danger be to have the militia thus stated? What if I should say: If there be a disproportion, or disequality as to the power, it is on the other hand!

And if this be so, wherein have you had cause to quarrel? What demonstrations have you held forth to settle me to your opinion? I would you had made me so happy as to have let me know your grounds! I have made a free and ingenuous confession of my faith to you. And I could have wished it had been in your hearts to have agreed that some friendly and cordial debates might have been toward mutual conviction. Was there none amongst you to move such a thing? No fitness to listen to it? No desire of a right understanding? If it be not folly in me to listen to town talk, such things have been proposed; and rejected, with stiffness and severity, once and again. Was it not likely to have been more advantageous to the good of this nation? I will say this to you for myself; and to that I have my conscience as a thousand witnesses, and I have my comfort and contentment in it; and I have the witness too of divers here, who I think truly would scorn to own me in a lie: That I would not have been averse to any alteration, of the good of which I might have been convinced. Although I could not have agreed to the taking it off the foundation on which it stands; namely, the acceptance and consent of the people.

I will not presage what you have been about, or doing, in all this time. Nor do I love to make conjectures. But I must tell you this: That as I undertook this government in the simplicity of my heart and as before God, and to do the part of an honest man, and to be true to the interest— which in my conscience “I think” is dear to many of you; though it is not always understood what God in His wisdom may hide from us, as to peace and settlement:—so I can say that no particular interest, either of myself, estate, honor, or family, are, or have been, prevalent with me to this undertaking. For if you had, upon the old government, offered me this one, this one thing—I speak as thus advised, and before God; as having been to this day of this opinion; and this hath been my constant judgment, well known to many who hear me speak:—if, “I say,” this one thing had been inserted, this one thing, that the government should have been placed in my family hereditary, I would have rejected it. And I could have done no other according to my present conscience and light.

I will tell you my reason;—though I cannot tell what God will do with me, nor with you, nor with the nation, for throwing away precious opportunities committed to us.

Now to speak a word or two to you. Of that, I must profess in the name of the same Lord, and wish there had been no cause that I should have thus spoken to you! I told you that I came with joy the first time; with some regret the second; yet now I speak with most regret of all!

I look upon you as having among you many persons that I could lay down my life individually for. I could, through the grace of God, desire to lay down my life for you. So far am I from having an unkind or unchristian heart towards you in your particular capacities! I have this indeed as a work most incumbent upon me; this of speaking these things to you. I consulted what might be my duty in such a day as this; casting up all considerations. I must confess, as I told you, that I did think occasionally, this nation had suffered extremely in the respects mentioned; as also in the disappointment of their expectations of that justice which was due to them by your sitting thus long. “Sitting thus long;” and what have you brought forth? I did not nor cannot comprehend what it is. I would be loath to call it a fate; that were too paganish a word. But there hath been something in it that we had not in our expectations.

I did think also, for myself, that I am like to meet with difficulties; and that this nation will not, as it is fit it should not, be deluded with pretexts of necessity in that great business of raising of money. And were it not that I can make some dilemmas upon which to resolve some things of my conscience, judgment and actions, I should shrink at the very prospect of my encounters. Some of them are general, some are more special. Suppos­ing this cause or this business must be carried on, it is either of God or of man. If it be of man, I would I had never touched it with a finger. If I had not had a hope fixed in me that this cause and this business was of God, I would many years ago have run from it. If it be of God, He will bear it up. If it be of man, it will tumble; as everything that hath been of man since the world began hath done. And what are all our histories, and other traditions of actions in former times, but God manifesting Himself, that He hath shaken, and tumbled down and trampled upon, everything that He had not planted? And as this is, so let the All-wise God deal with it. If this be of human structure and invention, and if it be an old plotting and contriving to bring things to this issue, and that they are not the births of Providence—then they will tumble. But if the Lord take pleasure in England, and if He will do us good—He is very able to bear us up! Let the difficulties be whatsoever they will, we shall in His strength be able to encounter with them. And I bless God I have been inured to difficulties; and I never found God failing when I trusted in Him. I can laugh and sing, in my heart, when I speak of these things to you or elsewhere. And though some may think it is a hard thing to raise money without Parliamentary authority upon this nation; yet I have another argument to the good people of this nation, if they would be safe, and yet have no better principle: Whether they prefer the having of their will though it be their destruction, rather than comply with things of necessity? That will excuse me. But I should wrong my native country to suppose this.

For I look at the people of these nations as the blessing of the Lord: and they are a people blessed by God. They have been so; and they will be so, by reason of that immortal seed which hath been, and is, among them: those regenerated ones in the land, of several judgments; who are all the flock of Christ, and lambs of Christ.

We know the Lord hath poured this nation from vessel to vessel till He poured it into your lap, when you came first together. I am confident that it came so into your hands; and was not judged by you to be from counterfeited or feigned necessity, but by Divine providence and dispensa­tion. And this I speak with more earnestness, because I speak for God and not for men. I would have any man to come and tell of the transac­tions that have been, and of those periods of time wherein God hath made these revolutions; and find where he can fix a feigned necessity! I could recite particulars, if either my strength would serve me to speak, or yours to hear. If you would consider the great hand of God in His great dispensations, you would find that there is scarce a man who fell off, at any period of time when God had any work to do, who can give God or His work at this day a good word.

“It was,” say some, “the cunning of the Lord Protector”—I take it to myself—“it was the craft of such a man, and his plot, that hath brought it about!” And, as they say in other countries, “There are five or six cunning men in England that have skill; they do all these things.” Oh, what blasphemy is this! Because men that are without God in the world, and walk not with Him, know not what it is to pray or believe, and to receive returns from God, and to be spoken unto by the Spirit of God—who speaks without a Written Word sometimes, yet according to it! God hath spoken heretofore in divers manners. Let Him speak as He pleaseth. Hath He not given us liberty, nay, is it not our duty to go to the law and the testimony? And there we shall find that there have been impressions, in extraordinary cases, as well without the Written Word as with it. And therefore there is no difference in the thing thus asserted from truths generally received—except we will exclude the Spirit; without whose concurrence all other teachings are ineffectual. He doth speak to the hearts and consciences of men; and leadeth them to His law and testimony.

There is another necessity, which you have put upon us, and we have not sought. I appeal to God, angels and men—if I shall “now” raise money according to the article in the government, whether I am not com­pelled to do it! Which “government” had power to call you hither; and did;—and instead of seasonably providing for the army, you have labored to overthrow the government, and the army is now quarter! And you would never so much as let me hear a tittle from you concerning it. Where is the fault? Has it not been as if you had a purpose to put this extremity upon us and the nation? I hope this was not in your minds. I am not willing to judge so:—but such is the state into which we are reduced. By the designs of some in the army who are

now in custody it was designed to get as many of them as possible— through discontent for want of money, the army being in a barren country, near thirty weeks behind in pay, and upon other specious pretences—to march for England out of Scotland; and, in discontent, to seize their General there [General Monk], a faithful and honest man, that so another [Colonel Overton] might head the army. And all this opportunity taken from your delays. Whether will this be a thing of feigned necessity? What could it signify, but “The army are in discontent already; and we will make them live upon stones; we will make them cast off their governors and discipline?” What can be said to this? I list not to unsaddle myself, and put the fault upon your backs. Whether it hath been for the good of England, whilst men have been talking of this thing or the other, and pretending liberty and many good words—whether it has been as it should have been? I am confident you cannot think it has. The nation will not think so. And if the worst should be made of things, I know not what the Cornish men nor the Lincolnshire men may think, or other counties; but I believe they will all think they are not safe. A temporary suspension of “caring for the greatest liberties and privileges” (if it were so, which is denied) would not have been of such damage as the not providing against free-quarter hath run the nation upon. And if it be my “liberty” to walk abroad in the fields, or to take a journey, yet it is not my wisdom to do so when my house is on fire!

I have troubled you with a long speech; and I believe it may not have the same resentment with all that it hath with some. But because that is unknown to me, I shall leave it to God;—and conclude with this: That I think myself bound, as in my duty to God, and to the people of these nations for their safety and good in every respect—I think it my duty to tell you that it is not for the profit of these nations, nor for common and public good, for you to continue here any longer. And therefore I do declare unto you, that I do dissolve this Parliament.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Aristide Briand: Naval Disarmament

Many times Premier of France, Briand [1862-1932] was noted for his strong advocacy of international peace and disarmament. He was a vigorous supporter of the League of Nations and took a leading part in its ses­sions. Here is part of his address delivered on November 21, 1921, at the Washington Conference on Naval Disarmament, which he attended as the French representative.

We know there is one part of Germany that is for peace. There are many people, especially among the working classes, who want to work, who have had enough of this war, who have had enough of war altogether, and are most anxious to settle down in peace, and also to set to work. We shall do everything to help that Germany, and if she wants to restore her balance in the bosom of a pacific republic and democratic institutions, then we can help her, and we shall be able to contemplate the future with feelings of security.

But, gentlemen, there is another Germany, a Germany which has not changed her mind and to which the last war has taught no lesson. That Germany keeps thoughts in the back of her mind; she has the same designs which she entertained before the war; she has kept the same preoccupations and she cherishes the same ambitions as the Hohenzollerns did. And how can we close our eyes to this? How can we ignore this state of things?

This, gentlemen, is happening at our very doors; we have only got to look. This is happening but a few miles from us, and we follow the thoughts of the Germans, or certain Germans, and the evolution which is taking place. And more than that, we have witnessed certain attempts to return to the former state of things.

What is Germany but a vast country of industry—industrially organized? Germany always had two aims. The first was trade, commerce. And that is only natural. The second was war. All her industries, all her manu­factures, have been working to the full during the war, and they have developed since.

Everything is ready in Germany, the plans, the designs and calibers. Everything is there ready to insure a steady manufacturing of guns, machine guns and rifles. Suppose that during a period of diplomatic tension, purposely protracted for a number of weeks, certain of the manufactures, certain of the works, begin to fabricate, just at the begin­ning, just to start the war, just to set the war going, and then go on manufacturing guns and rifles and artillery; what would happen? It is not only in Germany that industry can work to the full. You can make prepara­tions outside. In fact, preparations have actually taken place. In fact, great captains of industry or great industrial magnates have bought important firms in Scandinavia and in other parts of Europe.

It is easy enough to fabricate these guns without our seeing it, outside of our supervision. You know very well that it is possible to build great railroads. You know very well that it is impossible to bring here the proof that Germany is not actually making or purchasing war materials.

It is different from the navy. It is rather difficult to lay the keel of a ship in the stocks, to prepare the dockyards without the world knowing it. But suppose that was possible, do you think you could launch a capital ship without somebody being on the spot and knowing what was happen­ing? But the guns, the rifles, the machine guns—any instruments used on the field of battle—they can be manufactured and cannot be controlled with any measure of certainty.

Ah, gentlemen, this is not the first time in history that France has had to face a situation of this kind. We have known Prussia disarmed. And disarmed by whom? By Napoleon. Well, that Prussia, which seemed prac­tically disarmed, which was harmless to all intents and purposes, we found her again on the battlefield and we were nearly bled white. How can we forget that?

Of course, we know what is often said of the French people. It is often said that we are a frivolous nation and that naturally, when the danger is past, we turn our minds to other things—just as befits a frivolous people. Evidently, gentlemen, we are not the sort of men to keep our eyes steadily fixed on whatever is sad and depressing.

We have not been doing that since the war, but we have been too deeply wounded, I might almost say murdered, to forget the direful lesson which has just been taught us. Gentlemen, there are too many homes in mourning in the country, there are too many men in the streets that are disabled and maimed. Even if we wanted to forget, we could not.

Therefore, we have not the right and we do not intend to leave France defenseless. France must, to all intents and purposes, protect herself.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Marshal Ferdinand Foch: Napoleon

This is the closing part of a tribute from one great French soldier to another. The address was delivered before the tomb of Napoleon in Paris, on the one hundredth anniversary of his death, by Marshal Ferdinand Foch [1851-1929], on May 5, 1921.

If one considers that Napoleon revealed his powers in 1796 at the age of twenty-seven, it is plain that nature endowed him extraordinarily. These talents he applied unceasingly through the whole length of his prodigious career.

Through them he marks out his way along a resplendent path in the military annals of humanity. He carries his victorious eagles from the Alps to the Pyramids, and from the banks of the Tagus to those of the Moskova, surpassing in their flight the conquests of Alexander, of Hanni­bal and of Cæsar. Thus he remains the great leader, superior to all others in his prodigious genius, his need of activity, his nature, ardent to excess, which is always favorable to the profits of war but dangerous to the equilibrium of peace.

Thus he lifts the art of war far above all known heights, but this carries him to regions of dizziness. Identifying the greatness of the country with his own, he would rule the destinies of nations with arms, as if one could bring about the prosperity of the people from a succession of victories at grievous sacrifices. As if this people could live by glory instead of by labor. As if the conquered nations, deprived of their independence, would not rise some day to reconquer it, putting an end to a régime of force and presenting armies strong in numbers and invincible in the ardor of outraged justice. As if in a civilized world, moral right should not be greater than a power created entirely by force, however talented that force might be. In attempting this Napoleon himself goes down, not for lack of genius, but because he attempted the impossible, because he undertook with a France exhausted in every way, to bend to his laws a Europe already instructed by its misfortunes, and soon entirely in arms.

Decidedly, duty is common to all. Higher than commanding armies victoriously, there is our country to be served for her good as she under­stands it; there is justice to be respected everywhere. Above war there is peace.

Assuredly, the most gifted man errs who, in dealing with humanity, depends upon his own insight and intelligence and discards the moral law of society, created by respect for the individual, and those principles of liberty, equality and fraternity, the basis of our civilization, and the essence of Christianity.

Sire, sleep in peace; from the tomb itself you labor continually for France. At every danger to the country, our flags quiver at the passage of the Eagle. If our legions have returned victorious through the triumphal arch which you built, it is because the sword of Austerlitz marked out their direction, showing how to unite and lead the army that, won the victory. Your masterly lessons, your determined labors, remain indefea­sible examples. In studying them and meditating on them the art of war grows daily greater. It is only in the reverently and thoughtfully gathered rays of your immortal glory that generations of the distant future shall succeed in grasping the science of combat and the management of armies for the sacred cause of the defense of the country.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Vladimir Lenin: The Dictatorship Of The Proletariat

Leader of the Bolshevist party and first dictator of Soviet Russia, Vladimir Lenin [1870-1924] was also a great orator. The following defense of pro­letarian dictatorship was made by Lenin before the Communist Inter­national Congress in 1919.

The growth of the revolutionary movement of the proletariat in all coun­tries has called forth convulsive efforts of the bourgeoisie and its agents in workmen’s organizations, to find ideal political arguments in defense of the rule of the exploiters. Among these arguments stands out particu­larly condemnation of dictatorship and defense of democracy. The false­ness and hypocrisy of such an argument, which has been repeated in thousands of forms in the capitalist press and at the conference of the yellow International in February, 1919, Berne, are evident to all who have not wished to betray the fundamental principle of socialism.

First of all, this argument is used with certain interpretations of “democracy in general” and “dictatorship in general” without raising the point as to which class one has in mind. Such a statement of the question, leaving out of consideration the question of class as though it were a general national matter, is direct mockery of the fundamental doctrine of socialism, namely, the doctrine of class struggle, which the socialists who have gone over to the side of the bourgeoisie recognize when they talk, but forget when they act. For in no civilized capitalist country does there exist “democracy in general,” but there exists only bourgeois democ­racy, and one is speaking not of “dictatorship in general” but of dictator­ship of the oppressed classes, that is, of the proletariat with respect to the oppressors and exploiters, that is, the bourgeoisie, in order to over­come the resistance which the exploiters make in their struggle to preserve their rule.

History teaches that no oppressed class has ever come into power and cannot come into power, without passing through a period of dictatorship, that is, the conquest of power and the forcible suppression of the most desperate and mad resistance which does not hesitate to resort to any crimes, such has always been shown by the exploiters. The bourgeoisie, whose rule is now defended by the socialists who speak against “dictator­ship in general” and who espouse the cause of “democracy in general,” has won power in the progressive countries at the price of a series of uprisings, civil wars, forcible suppression of kings, feudal lords, and slave owners, and of their attempts at restoration. The socialists of all countries in their books and pamphlets, in the resolutions of their congresses, in their propaganda speeches, have explained to the people thousands and millions of times the class character of these bourgeois revolutions, and of this bourgeois dictatorship. Therefore the present defense of bourgeois democracy in the form of speeches about “democracy in general,” and the present wails and shouts against the dictatorship of the proletariat in the form of wails about “dictatorship in general,” are a direct mockery of socialism, and represent in fact going over to the bourgeoisie and denying the right of the proletariat to its own proletariat revolution, and a defense of bourgeois reformism, precisely at the historic moment when bourgeois reformism is collapsing the world over, and when the war has created a revolutionary situation.

All socialists who explain the class character of bourgeois civilization, or bourgeois democracy, of bourgeois parliamentarism, express the thought which Marx and Engels expressed with the most scientific exact­ness when they said that the most democratic bourgeois republic is nothing more than a machine for the suppression of the working class by the bourgeoisie, for the suppression of the mass of the toilers by a handful of capitalists. There is not a single revolutionist, not a single Marxist of all those who are now shouting against dictatorship and for democracy, who would not have sworn before the workmen that he recognizes this fundamental truth of socialism. And now, when the revolutionary prole­tariat begins to act and move for the destruction of this machinery of oppression, and to win the proletarian dictatorship, these traitors to socialism report the situation as though the bourgeoisie were giving the laborers pure democracy, as though the bourgeoisie were abandoning resistance and were ready to submit to the majority of the toilers, as though there were no state machinery for the suppression of labor by capital in a democratic republic.

Workmen know very well that “freedom of meetings,” even in the most democratic bourgeois republic is an empty phrase, for the rich have all the best public and private buildings at their disposal, and also sufficient leisure time for meetings and for protection of these meetings by the bourgeois apparatus of authority. The proletarians of the city and of the village, and the poor peasants, that is, the overwhelming majority of the population, have none of these three things. So long as the situation is such, “equality,” that is, “pure democracy,” is sheer fraud.

The capitalists have always called “freedom” the freedom to make money for the rich, and the freedom to die of hunger for workmen. The capitalists call “freedom” the freedom of the rich, freedom to buy up the press, to use wealth, to manufacture and support so-called public opinion. The defenders of “pure democracy” again in actual fact turn out to be the defenders of the most dirty and corrupt system of the rule of the rich over the means of education of the masses. They deceive the people by attractive, fine-sounding, beautiful but absolutely false phrases, trying to dissuade the masses from the concrete historic task of freeing the press from the capitalists who have gotten control of it. Actual freedom and equality will exist only in the order established by the Communists, in which it will be impossible to become rich at the expense of another, where it will be impossible either directly or indirectly to subject the press to the power of money, where there will be no obstacle to prevent any toiler from enjoying and actually realizing the equal right to the use of public printing presses and of the public fund of paper.

Dictatorship of the proletariat resembles dictatorship of other classes in that it was called forth by the need to suppress the forcible resistance of a class that was losing its political rulership. But that which definitely distinguishes a dictatorship of the proletariat from a dictatorship of other classes, from a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie in all the civilized capitalist countries, is that the dictatorship of the landlords and of the bourgeoisie was the forcible suppression of the resistance of the overwhelming majority of the population, namely, the toilers. On the other hand, the dictatorship of the proletariat is the forcible suppression of the resistance of the exploiters, that is, of an insignificant minority of the population—of landlords and capitalists.

It therefore follows that a dictatorship of the proletariat must neces­sarily carry with it not only changes in the form and institutions of democracy, speaking in general terms, but specifically such a change as would secure an extension such as has never been seen in the history of the world of the actual use of democratism by the toiling classes.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Leon Trotzky: To The Red Army

Leon Trotzky [1877-1940], associated with Lenin in establishing the Communist government, was a leading figure in Soviet Russia until shortly after Lenin’s death in 1924. He took an active part in organizing the Red Army. The following speech was made by Trotzky to the Red Army in April 1919, when it was engaged in fighting the White Guard led by Kolchak. Trotzky was exiled by Stalin in 1929, and slain by an assassin in Mexico City in 1940.

These spring months become the decisive months in the history of Europe. At the same time this spring will decide definitely the fate of the bourgeois and rich peasant, anti-Soviet Russia.

In the east, Kolchak has mobilized all his forces, has thrown in all his reserves, for he knows definitely that if he does not win immediately then he will never win. Spring has come, the spring that decides. Of course the partial victories of Kolchak are insignificant in comparison with the general conquests of Soviet authority in Russia and in the whole world. What does the temporary loss of Ufa mean in the face of the occupation of Odessa, the movement into the Crimea and especially the establishment of the Bavarian Soviet Republic? What does the evacuation of Belebey, caused by military considerations, mean in the face of the powerful growth of the proletarian revolution in Poland and in Italy? Nevertheless, it would be criminal frivolity on our part to disregard the danger repre­sented by the White Guardist bands of Kolchak on the east. Only stubbornness, steadfastness, watchfulness, and courage in the military struggle have guaranteed till now to the Russian Soviet Republic its international success. The victorious struggle of the Red Army on all fronts aroused the spirit of the European working class, and has made possible the establishment and strengthening first of the Hungarian and then of the Bavarian Republic. Our work has not yet been completed. The bands of Denikin have not been definitely defeated. The bands of Kolchak continue to move toward the Volga.

Spring has come; the spring that decides; our strength is increased ten­fold by the consciousness of the fact that the wireless stations of Moscow, Kiev, Budapest, and Munich not only exchange brotherly greetings but business agreements respecting common defensive struggle. But at home, on our own territory, we must direct the main portion of our increased strength against the most dangerous enemy—against the Kolchak bands. Our comrades of the Volga district are well aware of this. In the province of Samara all Soviet institutions have been put on a war footing, and the best forces have been diverted to support the army, to form reserve regi­

ments to carry on agitation of an educational character in the ranks of the Red Army. Party, Soviet, and trade union organizations in Syzran have unanimously responded to the appeal of the central authority to support the eastern front. A special shock regiment is being organized from the workmen and popular elements, which only recently were groan­ing under the heel of the White Guardist. The Volga district is becoming the center of attention of all Soviet Russia. To carry out our international duty we must first of all break up the bands of Kolchak in order to support the victorious workmen of Hungary and Bavaria. In order to assist the uprising of workmen in Poland, Germany, and all Europe, we must establish definitely and irrefutably the Soviet authority over the whole extent of Russia.

To the Urals: This is the slogan of the Red Army and of the whole Soviet country.

The Urals will be the last stage in this bitter struggle. Victory in the Urals not only will give grain to the famished country and cotton to the textile industries, but will secure finally the well-earned rest of our heroic Red Army.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Alexander Kerensky: To Workingmen And Soldiers

Alexander Kerensky [1881-1970] was one of the foremost leaders in the move­ment that overthrew Czarism in Russia. He ruled that country for a short time—until the new Russian Republic was displaced by the Bol­shevist dictatorship. Here is an example of Kerensky’s oratory—a rous­ing call to the Russian people, made in March 1917.

Comrades! In entering the Provisional Government I remain a republican. In my work I must depend for help on the will of the people. I must have in the people my powerful support. May I trust you as I trust myself? [Tremendous cheers.]

I cannot live without the people, and if ever you begin to doubt me, kill me! I declare to the Provisional Government that I am a representative of democracy and that the government must take especially into account the views I shall uphold as a representative of the people, by whose efforts the old government was overthrown.

Comrades! Time does not wait, I call you to organization and discipline. I ask you to support us, your representatives, who are prepared to die for the people and have given the people their whole life.

Comrades! In my jurisdiction are all the premiers and ministers of the old régime. They will answer before the law for all crimes against the people. [Cries of “No mercy for them.”]

Comrades! Regenerated Russia will not resort to the shameful means utilized by the old régime; without trial nobody will be condemned. All prisoners will be tried in the open court of the people.

Comrades, soldiers and citizens! All measures taken by the new govern­ment will be published.

Soldiers! I ask your cooperation. Free Russia is born and none will succeed in wresting liberty from the hands of the people. Do not listen to the promptings of the agents of the old régime. Listen to your officers. Long live free Russia!

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Georges Clemenceau: One Aim: Victory

“The Tiger," as Georges Clemenceau [1841-1929] was known, was made Pre­mier of France when the fortunes of the World War were going against the republic. His will and energy helped to turn the tide against the Germans. This militant speech was delivered by Clemenceau in the Chamber of Deputies on June 4, 1918, in reply to opposition socialists.

When I accepted the premiership offered to me by the President of the Republic I could not ignore the fact that we were at the most critical period of the war. I remember that I told you we should pass together through difficult and exacting times; I remember I spoke of “cruel hours.” No one protested when I announced that they would come. They are coming and the only question is whether we can stand them. [Applause and interruptions.]

When Russia’s desertion occurred, when men who believed that it was only necessary to will a democratic peace to obtain it from William II, had given up their country, unwittingly I prefer to think, to the army of the invader, what one of you here could believe that the million German soldiers who were thus liberated would not be turned against us? This and more is what happened. For four years our forces have been wearing themselves out. Our front was guarded by a line of soldiers which was becoming thinner and thinner, with our allies who had themselves suffered enormous losses. And at that moment you saw arrive against you a fresh mass of German divisions in good condition when you were far from your best strength.

Is there any one of you who did not realize that under the shock of this enormous mass our lines had to give way at some points? Certainly not, for in all the conversations which I had with members of this assembly, the question asked me was, how much we had to give way.

The recoil was very serious for the English army, which had suffered

formidable losses. It was grave and dangerous for the French army. I said dangerous, serious, but nothing more, and there is nothing in that to shake the confidence we should hdve in our soldiers. [Applause and interruptions.]

Our men are engaged in the battle, a terrible one. They fought one against five without sleep for three and four days together. [Applause and interruptions.] These soldiers, these great soldiers, have good and great leaders: worthy of them in every way. [Applause and interruptions.] I have seen these leaders at work and some of them against whom I will not deny that I was prejudiced, struck me with admiration. [Applause.]

Is that saying that there are nowhere mistakes? I cannot maintain that. I know it too well; my duty is to discover these mistakes and correct them. In this I am supported by two great soldiers,—General Foch and General Petain. [Applause.] General Foch enjoys the confidence of our allies to such a degree that yesterday at the conference of Versailles they wished to have their unanimous confidence in him expressed in the communiqué given to the press. [Applause and interruptions.]

These men are at this moment fighting in the hardest battle of the war, fighting it with a heroism which I can find no phrase worthy to express. [Applause.] And it is we who for a mistake made in such and such a place, or which may not even have been made, demand explanations, on the field of battle of a man worn with fatigue. It is of this man that we demand to know whether on such and such a day he did such and such a thing! Drive me from this place if that is what you ask, for I will not do it. [Applause.]

I came here with the desire to find simple, brief and measured words to express the sentiment of the French people at the front and at the rear, to show the world a state of mind which cannot be analyzed, but which at this moment is the admiration of all civilized people. [Applause.]

I accuse no one. I am the leader of these men and it is my duty to punish them if I consider it of general benefit to do so; but it is also my greater duty to protect them if they have been unjustly attacked. [Applause.] The army is better than we could ever have expected and when I say “the army” I mean men of all ranks who are under fire. That is one of the elements of our confidence, the main element. Although faith in a cause is an admirable thing, it will not bring victory; men must die for their faith to assure victory and our men are dying. We have an army made up of our children and our brothers—what can we say against it? Their leaders too have come from among us; they too are our brothers, they too are good soldiers. They come back covered with wounds when they are not left on the field of battle. What can you say against them? [Applause.] We have yielded ground, much more ground than either you or I should have wished. There are men without number who have paid for this with their blood, without reproach. I know of the deeds of a group of lost men, Bretons, surrounded in a wood all night. The next day, still resisting, they sent a carrier pigeon to their corps to say “We are here. We have promised not to yield. We shall fight to the end. If you can come to find us, come; we can hold out half a day longer.” [Applause.]

Those men make and safeguard the country of which you are so proud. They die for the greatest and most noble ideal—to continue a history which shall be the foremost among all the histories of civilized peoples.

Our own duty is very simple, very tame. We run no danger. We are at our posts, you here, I with my cabinet—posts which are not dangerous as are those of the soldiers, but which are nevertheless where the capital interests of the country are decided.

As long as you remain calm, confident in yourself, determined to hold out to the end of this hard struggle, victory is yours. It is yours because our enemies, who are not as intelligent as they are said to be, have only one method—to throw their whole force into the venture and risk every­thing. They tried it at Verdun and on the Yser, at Dunkirk and at Calais. They were checked—by whom? First by the English and then by the French. After that they appeared in Champagne; they advanced. Do you think it possible to make a war in which you never have to retreat? There is only one thing that matters, the victorious issue, the final success. Our men can only give their lives; but you through patience, firmness and determination can give them what they deserve—victory. [Applause.]

You have before you a government, which, as it told you at the very beginning, never conceived of the possibility of negotiating without vic­tory. [Applause.] You know what you are doing. You can keep us in power or send us away; but as long as you keep us, whatever may happen, you can be sure that the country will be defended to the death and that no force will be spared to obtain success. [Applause.] We will never consent to anything but peace with victory. That is the watchword of our government. [Applause and interruptions.]

The Germans are once more staking all. The “coup” which they are attempting is to terrorize you, to frighten you so that you will abandon the struggle. [Applause.] One must be ignorant of German tactics to doubt this. Why did they suddenly throw all their forces on the Yser? It was to gain Calais, to separate us from England and force us to surrender. For what was the dreadful march on Paris? To take Paris and through terror force us to surrender. Why are they beginning again to-day? To secure this effect of terror which they have never yet achieved.

The decision is in your hands for the simple reason that it is not a matter of mere reasoning but a question of action. The Americans are coming. The forces of the English and the French, as well as of our enemies, are worn out; but we have allies who are coming as a decisive factor. I have said from the beginning that American cooperation would decide the issue of the war. The point is this: events in Russia have allowed a million of the enemy’s men to appear on the Franco-British front. We have allies, whom we did not have in 1870, when we yielded because we were alone. We have allies, who represent the foremost nations of the world, who have pledged themselves to continue the war to the end, to the success which we hold in our grasp, which we are on the point of achieving if we have the necessary tenacity. [Applause.]

I declare, and it must be my last word, that victory depends upon us. The civil forces must rise to the height of their duty; it is not necessary to make this demand of the soldiers. Send me away if I have been an unworthy servant; drive me out, condemn me, but at least take the trouble to formulate criticisms. As for me, I assert that the French people have in all ways done their full duty. Those who have fallen have not fallen in vain, for they have made French history great. It remains for the living to complete the magnificent work of the dead. [Applause.]

Friday, August 17, 2018

Cardinal Mercier: Coronation Day Sermon

Here is the celebrated sermon of Cardinal Mercier on the day of the 'National Vête, July 21, 1916, at Brussels, delivered in defiance of the German Governor of Belgium. At the close of the service the crowds, unable to control their emotion, cried “Long live Belgium,” “Long live Liberty." The sermon and the demonstration that followed cost the city 1,000,000 marks—this was the fine collected by the German authorities.

Jerusalem was made an habitation of strangers; 
Her festival days were turned into mourning. 

1st Book of Maccabees, 
Chapter 1, verses 40, 41. 

Beloved brethren: We ought to have met together here to celebrate the 86th anniversary of our national independence.

To-day, in fourteen years’ time, our restored cathedrals and our rebuilt churches will be thrown widely open; the crowds will surge in; our King Albert, standing on his throne, will bow his unconquered head before the King of Kings; the Queen and the Royal Princes will surround him; we shall hear again the joyous peals of our bells, and throughout the whole country, under the vaulted arches of our churches, the Belgians, hand in hand, will renew their vows to their God, their Sovereign, and their lib­erty, while the bishops and the priests, interpreters of the soul of the nation, will intone a triumphant Te Deum in a common transport of joy­ous thanksgiving.

To-day the hymn of joy dies on our lips.

The Jewish people in captivity at Babylon, sitting in tears on the banks of the Euphrates, watched the waters of the river flow by. Their dumb harps were hung on the willows by the bank. Who amongst them would have the courage to sing the song of Jehovah in a strange land ? “O Jerusa­lem,” cried the Psalmist, “if ever I forget thee, let my right hand wither, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember thee; if thou art no longer the beginning of my joys.”

The Psalm ends in imprecations: but we do not allow ourselves to repeat them: we are not of the Old Testament, tolerating the laws of retaliation: “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” Our lips, purified by the fire of Christian charity, utter no words of hate. To hate is to make it one’s object to do harm to others and to delight in so doing. Whatever may be our sufferings, we must not wish to show hatred towards those who have inflicted them. Our national unity is joined with a feeling of universal brotherhood. But even this feeling of universal brotherhood is dominated by our respect for the unconditional justice, without which no relationship is possible, either between individuals or between nations.

And that is why, with St. Thomas Aquinas, the most authoritative teacher of Christian Theology, we proclaim that public retribution is commendable.

Crimes, violation of justice, outrage on the public peace whether enacted by an individual or by a group must be repressed. Men’s minds are stirred up, tortured, uneasy, as long as the guilty one is not put back in his place, as the strong, healthy, colloquial expression has it. To put men and things back in their places is to reestablish order, readjust the balance and restore peace on a just basis.

Public retribution in this sense may distress the affected sentimentality of a weak nature; all the same, it is, says St. Thomas, the expression and the decree of the highest, the purest form of charity, and of the zeal which is its flame. It does not make a target of suffering, but a weapon where­with to avenge outraged justice.

How can one love order without hating disorder; intelligently wish for peace without expelling that which is destroying it; love a brother, that is to say wish him well, without desiring that willingly, or by force, his will shall bend before the unalterable edicts of justice and truth?

It is from these heights that one must view the war in order to under­stand the greatness of its extent.

Once more, perhaps, you will find yourself face to face with effeminate natures for whom the war means nothing beyond explosions of mines, bursting of shells, massacres of men, spilling of blood, piling up of corpses. You will meet politicians of narrow vision who see no further stake in a battle beyond the interest of one day, the taking of so much ground, of a stretch of country, or of a province.

But no! If, in spite of its horrors, war, I mean a just war, has so much austere beauty, it is because war brings out the disinterested enthusiasm of a whole people, which gives, or is prepared to give, its most precious possession, even life itself for the defense and the vindication of things which cannot be weighed, which cannot be calculated, but which can never be swallowed up: Justice, Honor, Peace, Liberty! ^

Do you not feel that, in these two years, the war, the ardent unflagging interest which you give to it, purifies you, separates your higher nature from the dross, draws you away to uplift you towards something nobler and better than yourselves?

You are rising towards the ideals of justice and honor. They support you and draw you upwards.

And, because this ideal, if it is not a vain abstraction, which evaporates like the phantasies of a dream, must have its foundation in a living subject, I am never tired of maintaining this truth, which holds us all under its yoke. God reveals Himself as the Master, the Director of events, and of our wills, the holy Master of the universal conscience.

Ah, if we could clasp in our arms our heroes who are fighting for us over there, or are awaiting anxiously in the trenches their turn to go under fire; if we could take them by surprise, and feel the beating of their hearts, would not each one of them say to us: I am doing my duty, I am sacrificing myself on the altar of justice?

And you, wives and mothers, tell us in your turn of the beauty of these tragic years; wives, whose every thought goes, sad, but resigned, towards the absent one, bringing him your hopes, your long expectation, your prayers. Mothers, whose divided existence is consumed in unceasing anguish, you have given your sons, and you will not take them back; we stand breathless with unceasing admiration before you.

The head of one of our noblest families wrote to me: “Our son in the 7th Line Regiment has fallen; my wife and I are broken-hearted; and yet, if it had to be, we would give him again.”

One of the curates of the capital has been condemned to twelve years penal servitude. I was allowed to go into his cell to embrace and to bless him. “I have three brothers at the front,” he said, “and I think I am here chiefly because I helped the youngest, he is only seventeen—to rejoin the elder ones; one of my sisters is in a neighbouring cell, but, thank God, my mother is not left alone; indeed she has sent us a message to say so; she does not weep.”

Is it not true that our mothers make us think of the mother of the Maccabees ?

What lessons of moral greatness there are to be learnt here around us, and in exile and in the prisons, and in the concentration camps, in Hol­land and in Germany!

Do we think enough of what those brave men must be suffering, who since the beginning of the war, from the morrow of the defense of Liège and Namur, or the retreat from Antwerp, saw their military career shattered, and now chafe and fret under their inability to bear arms; these guardians of our rights, and of our communal liberties, whose valor has reduced them to inaction?

It needs courage to throw oneself forward, but it needs no less to hold oneself back. Sometimes it is more noble to suffer in silence than to act.

And what of these two years of calm submission by the Belgian people before the inevitable; this unshakable tenacity, which moved a humble woman, before whom the possibilities of an approaching conclusion of peace were being discussed, to say: “Oh, as for us, we must not worry; we can go on waiting.” How beautiful is all this, and how full of instruc­tion for the generations to come.

This is what you must look at, my brothers, the greatness of the nation in her sacrifice; our universal and enduring brotherhood in anguish and in mourning, and in the same unconquerable hope; this is what you must look at to appraise your Belgian fatherland at its true value.

Now the first exponents of this moral greatness are our soldiers.

Until that day when they return to us, and when grateful Belgium acclaims the living, and places a halo of glory about the memory of her dead, let us build up for them in our hearts a permanent monument of sacred gratitude.

Let us pray for those who are no more. Let us exclude no one from our commiseration; the blood of Christ was shed for all. Some of them are atoning in Purgatory for the last remnants of their human weakness. It is for you to hasten their entry into Paradise. Succor the poor in distress, both the poor who are known to you and those who are ashamed to beg. Give of your abundance to those who are in need of the necessities of life. Be present at the Mass, which is celebrated every week in your parish churches for our dead soldiers; take your children with you, encourage them to communicate, and communicate with them.

Let us also pray for those who are still holding the firing line on the field of battle. Remember that, even at this moment, while I am speaking to you, some of them are in the agony of death. The prospect of eternity stretches out before them. Let us think of them, let us mortify ourselves for them, resign ourselves to God for them, and obtain for them a holy death.

“Our soldiers are our masters,” wrote a French Academician yesterday; “they are our leaders, our teachers, our judges, our supporters, our true friends; let us be worthy of them, let us imitate them, so that we may not do less than our duty; they are always ready to do more than their own.”

The hour of deliverance approaches, but it has not yet struck. Let us be patient. Let us not suffer our courage to waver. Let us surrender to Divine Providence the work of making perfect our national probation.

Young women, young girls, let me ask if you are thinking seriously enough about the gravity of this present time? I entreat you not to turn aside from the mourning of your country. There are attitudes, there are ways of behaving which are an insult to grief.

For your modesty is at all times a virtue and a halo of glory; but to-day it is in addition a patriotic duty.

You, also, must think of the privations and of the endurance of our soldiers.

Let us all try to adopt the great principle of austerity in our lives.

“How much,” continues the patriot whom I have just quoted, “how much ought we, in the relatively easy conditions and the less exposed districts, which are ours, and which do not deserve the name of fire zones, to endeavor to reduce and simplify our needs, and like the soldiers, though in our own sphere, to show more concentrated energy. Let us not allow ourselves a moment’s distraction or relaxation. Let us devote every minute in our lives to the magnificent cause for which our brothers are so devoutly sacrificing theirs.

“And, just as our heroes at the front show us a wonderful and consoling spectacle of indissoluble unity, of a brotherhood in arms which nothing can destroy, even so, in our ranks, less compact and well-disciplined though they may be, we shall earnestly strive to maintain the same patriotic sense of union. We will respect the truce imposed on our quarrels by the one great Cause which alone ought to use and absorb all our powers of attack and combat; and if there are any godless or unfortunate people, who fail to understand the urgency and the beauty of this national pre­cept, and insist, in spite of all, on keeping alive and fomenting the passions which divide us when other matters are concerned, we will turn aside our heads, and continue without answering them, to remain faithful to the pact of fellowship, of friendship, of loyal and true confidence which we have concluded with them, even in spite of themselves, under the great inspiration of the war.”

The approaching date of the first centenary of our independence ought to find us stronger, more intrepid, more united than ever. Let us prepare ourselves for it with work, with patience and in true brotherhood.

When, in 1930, we recall the dark years of 1915-1916, they will appear to us as the brightest, the most majestic and, if, from to-day we resolve that they shall be so, the happiest and the most fruitful in our national history. Per crucem ad lucem—from the sacrifice flashes forth the light!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

René Viviani: The Spirit Of France

One of the most stirring speeches of the First World War was the address of René Viviani [1863-1925], Premier of France, before the Chamber of Deputies on December 22, 1914. It follows.

This communication is not the customary declaration in which a Govern­ment, presenting itself to Parliament for the first time, defines its policy. For the moment there is but one policy—a relentless fight until Europe attains definite liberation guaranteed by a completely victorious peace. That was the cry uttered by all when, in the sitting of August 4, a sacred union arose, as the President of the Republic has so well said, which will throughout history remain an honor to the country. It is the cry which all Frenchmen repeat after having put an end to the disagreements which have so often embittered our hearts and which a blind enemy took for irremediable division. It is the cry that rises from the glorious trenches into which France has thrown all her youth, all her manhood.

Before this unexpected uprising of national feeling, Germany has been troubled in the intoxication of her dream of victory. On the first day of the conflict she denied right, appealed to force, flouted history, and in order to violate the neutrality of Belgium and to invade France, invoked the law of self-interest alone. Since then her Government, learning that it had to reckon with the opinion of the world, has recently attempted to put her conduct in a better light by trying to throw the responsibility for the war upon the Allies. But through all the gross falsehoods, which fail to

deceive even the most credulous, the truth has become apparent. All the documents published by the nations interested and the remarkable speech made the other day at Rome by one of the most illustrious representatives of the noble Italian nation, demonstrate that for a long time our enemy has intended a coup de force. If it were necessary, a single one of these documents would suffice to enlighten the world. When, at the suggestion of the English Government, all the nations concerned were asked to sus­pend their military preparations and enter into negotiations in London, France and Russia on July 31, 1914, adhered to this proposal. Peace would have been saved even at this last moment, if Germany had conformed to this proposal. But Germany precipitated matters. She declared war on Russia on August 1 and made an appeal to arms inevitable. And if Ger­many, by her diplomacy, killed the germ of peace, it is because for more than forty years she had untiringly pursued her aim, which was to crush France in order to achieve the enslavement of the world.

Since, in spite of their attachment to peace, France and her Allies have been obliged to endure war, they will wage it to the end. Faithful to the signature which she set to the treaty of September 4 last, in which she engaged her honor—that is to say, her life—France, in accord with her Allies, will not lay down her arms until she has avenged outraged right, regained forever the provinces torn from her by force, restored to heroic Belgium the fullness of her material prosperity and her political inde­pendence, and broken Prussian militarism, so that on the basis of justice she may rebuild a regenerated Europe.

This plan of war and this plan of peace are not inspired by any presump­tuous hope. We have the certainty of success. We owe this certainty to the whole army, to the navy which, in conjunction with the English Navy, gives us the mastery of the sea, to the troops which have repulsed in Mo­rocco attacks that will not be repeated. We owe it to the soldiers who are defending our flag in those distant colonies of France, who, on the first day that war broke out, turned with patriotic affection towards the mother country; we owe it to our army, whose heroism in numerous combats has been guided by their incomparable chiefs, from the victory on the Marne to the victory in Flanders; we owe it to the nation, which has equaled that heroism with union in silence and quiet trust in critical hours.

Thus we have shown to the world that an organized democracy can serve by its vigorous action the ideal of liberty and equality which con­stitutes its greatness. Thus we have shown to the world, to use the words of our Commander-in-Chief, who is both a great soldier and a noble citi­zen—that “the Republic may well be proud of the army that she has pre­pared.” And thus this impious war has brought out all the virtues ot our race, both those with which we were credited, of initiative, élan, bravery and fearlessness, and those which we were not supposed to possess —endurance, patience, and stoicism. Let us do honor to all these heroes. Glory to those who have fallen before the victory, and to those also who through it will avenge them to-morrow. A nation which can arouse such enthusiasm can never perish.

Everything serves to demonstrate the vitality of France, the security of her credit, the confidence which she inspires in all, despite the war which is shaking and impoverishing the world. The state of her finances is such that she can continue the war until the day when the necessary reparation has been obtained.

We should honor also those innocent civilian victims who hitherto had been safe from the ravages of war, and whom the enemy, in the effort to terrify the nation which remains and will continue immovable, has cap­tured or massacred. The Government hereby takes a solemn engagement, which it has already partly discharged, in asking you to open a credit of three hundred million francs ($60,000,000). France will rebuild the ruins, anticipating the indemnities that we shall exact and the help of a contri­bution which the entire nation will pay, proud to fulfill its duty of national solidarity, in the hour of distress for a portion of its sons.

Gentlemen, the day of final victory has not yet come. Till that day our task will be a severe one, and it may be long drawn out. Let us stiffen our will and courage. Destined to uphold the heaviest burden of glory that a people can carry this country is prepared for every sacrifice.

Our Allies know it. Those nations who have no immediate interest in the fight know it too, and it is in vain that an unbridled campaign of false news has attempted to rouse in them the sympathy which has been won by us. If Germany, at the beginning of the war, made pretense to doubt it, she doubts no longer. Let her recognize once more that on this day the French Parliament, after more than four months of battle, has renewed before the world the spectacle that it gave on the day on which our nation took up the challenge.

In order to conquer, heroism on the frontier does not suffice. There must be union within. Let us continue to preserve this sacred union intact from every attempt made upon it. To-day, as it was yesterday, and as it will be to-morrow, let us have only one cry—Victory; only one vision before our eyes—“La Patrie”; only one ideal—Right. It is for Right that we are striving, for which Belgium has poured out her blood, for which unshak­able England, faithful Russia, intrepid Serbia, and the gallant Japanese Navy are still striving.

If this is the most gigantic war that history has ever known, it is not be­cause nations are in arms to conquer new lands, to obtain material advan­tage or political and economic rights; it is because they are fighting to settle the fate of the world. Nothing more grand has ever appeared before the eyes of men. Against barbarism and despotism, against a system of provocation and methodical menace which Germany called peace, against the system of murder and universal pillage which Germany calls war, against the insolent military caste which has unchained this scourge, France, the liberator and avenger, with her Allies, has raised herself at one bound. The stakes are more than our own lives. Let us continue, then, to work with a single mind, and to-morrow, in the peace of victory, when politics have been freed from the restraints which we have voluntarily placed upon them, we shall recall with pride these tragic days, for they will have made us more valiant and better.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Jean Jaurès: Last Speech

The great French Socialist leader and orator, Jean Jaurès [1859-1914], fought to his last breath in an heroic effort for peace when the first dark clouds of the World War began to settle over Europe in 1914. On July 29 he addressed a meeting of many thousands at Brussels, called by the International Socialist Bureau. This speech, given here, was his last; for two days later he was assassinated in Paris by a pro-war fanatic.

The diplomats negotiate. It seems that they will be satisfied to take from Serbia a little of its blood. We have, therefore, a little rest to insure peace. But to what lessons is Europe submitted? After twenty centuries of Christianity, after one hundred years of the triumph of the rights of men, how is it possible that millions of persons, without knowing why, can kill each other?

And Germany? If she knew of the Austrian note it is inexcusable to have allowed such a step. And if official Germany did not know of the Austrian note what is her governmental wisdom? You have a contract which binds you and drags you into war and you don’t know why you have been dragged? I ask, what people have given such an example of anarchy? [Applause.]

Nevertheless the authorities hesitate. Let us profit thereby and organize. For us, socialists, our duty is simple. We do not need to impose upon our government a policy of peace; our government is practising it. I, who have never hesitated to bring upon my head the hatred of our patriots by my obstinate will and by my desire to bring about a Franco-German understanding, have the right to say that the French government desires peace. [Applause.]

The French government is the best ally for peace of the English government which has taken the initiative in conciliation and gives Russia advice of prudence and patience. As for us, it is our duty to insist that the government shall speak to Russia with force so that she will refrain. If unfortunately Russia pays no heed, it is our duty to say, “We know of but one treaty; the treaty which binds us to the human race.” [Applause.]

This is our duty, and in expressing it we find ourselves in accord with our German comrades who demand that their government see to it that Austria moderates her acts. It is possible that the telegram of which I spoke is due partly to that desire of the German workers. One cannot go against the wish of four millions of enlightened consciences.

Do you know what the proletarians are? They are the men who have collectively an affection for peace and a horror of war. The chauvinists, the nationalists, are men who have collectively a love for war and slaughter. When, however, they feel over their heads the menace of conflicts and wars which may put an end to their capitalistic existence, then they remind themselves that they have friends who seek to reduce the storm. But for the supreme masters, the ground is mined. In the drunkenness of the first battles they will succeed in pulling along the masses. But gradually as disease completes the work of the shells, as death and misery strike, these men will turn to German, French, Russian, Austrian and Italian authorities and demand what reasons they can give for all the corpses. And then revolution let loose will say, “Go and beg grace from God and man.”

Friday, August 10, 2018

Kaiser Wilhelm II: Address To The German People

This was the call to arms which developed into the First World War (1914—18). It was made by Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany [1859-1941] on August 6, 1914.

Since the founding of the Empire, during a period of forty-three years, it has been my zealous endeavor and the endeavor of my ancestors to preserve peace to the world and in peace to promote our vigorous development. But our enemies envy us the success of our toil. All professed and secret hostility from East and West and from beyond the sea, we have till now borne in the consciousness of our responsibility and power. Now, however, our opponents desire to humble us. They demand that we look on with folded arms while our enemies gird themselves for treacherous attack. They will not tolerate that we support our ally with unshaken loyalty, who fights for its prestige as a great power, and with whose abasement our power and honor are likewise lost. Therefore the sword must decide. In the midst of peace the world attacks us. Therefore up! To arms! All hesitation, all delay were treachery to the Fatherland. It is a question of the existence or non-existence of the Empire which our fathers founded anew. It is the question of the existence or the non-existence of German might and German culture. We shall defend ourselves to the last breath of man and beast. And we shall survive this fight, even though it were against a world of enemies. Never yet was Germany conquered when she was united. Then forward march with God! He will be with us as He was with our fathers.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Bethmann-Hollweg: Germany And The War

On August 4, 1914, Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg [1856-1921], Chancellor of Germany, made a vigorous address before the Reichstag, in which he attempted to justify the loosing of the great war on the world. This historic address follows.

A tremendous crisis threatens Europe. Since we won for ourselves the German Empire and earned the respect of the world for forty-four years we have lived in peace and have protected the peace of Europe. By peaceful labor we waxed strong and mighty and consequently aroused envy. With firm endurance we have seen how, under the pretext that Germany was eager for war, enmity was fostered in the East and West and chains were forged against us. The wind thus sown now rises in storm. We wished to live on in peaceful labor and from the Kaiser to the youngest soldier went the unexpressed vow: Only in defense of a just cause shall our sword fly from its scabbard. [Applause.] The day when we must draw it has come upon us against our will, against our honest efforts. Russia has set the torch to the house. [Stormy shouts of “Quite right!”] We are forced to war against Russia and France.

Gentlemen, a series of documents put together in the stress of events which are crowding upon one another, has been placed before you. Allow me to bring out the facts which characterize our attitude.

From the first moment of the Austro-Serbian crisis we declared that this affair must be restricted to Austria-Hungary and Serbia and we worked to that end. All the cabinets, especially that of England, represent the same point of view. Russia alone declared that she must have a word in the settlement of this dispute. With this the danger of European entanglements raised its threatening head. [“Very true!”] As soon as the first definite reports of military preparations in Russia were received, we stated to St. Petersburg in a friendly but emphatic way that warlike measures against Austria would find us on the side of our ally [Stormy applause] and that military preparations against ourselves would compel us to take counter measures [Renewed applause]; but mobilization is very near wan Russia gave us solemn assurances of her desire for peace. [Stormy cries Hear, hear! ] And that she was making no military prepa­rations against us. [Excitement.] In the meantime England sought to mediate between St. Petersburg and Vienna, in which she was warmly supported by us. [ Hear, hear!] On July 28th the Kaiser besought the Czar by telegram to bear in mind that it was the right and duty of Austria- Hungary to defend herself against the Pan-Serbian agitation, which threatened to undermine Austria-Hungary’s existence. [Hearty assent.] The Kaiser drew the attention of the Czar to the fact that the solidarity of monarchical interests was threatened by the crime of Sarajevo. [“Hear, hear!”] He begged him to give his personal support in clearing away the differences. At about the same time, and before the receipt of this telegram, the Czar on his side begged the Kaiser for his help, and asked him to advise moderation in Vienna. The Kaiser undertook the rôle of mediator. But scarcely had the action ordered by him been started, when Russia mobilized all her forces directed against Austria-Hungary. [“Hear, hear!”] Austria-Hungary, however, had only mobilized those army corps which were directly aimed at Serbia [“Hear, hear!”]; only two army corps toward the North, far away from the Russian frontier. [Renewed cries of “Hear! Hear!”]

The Kaiser immediately called the Czar’s attention to the fact that by reason of this mobilization of the Russian forces against Austria, his rôle of mediator, undertaken at the Czar’s request, was rendered more difficult if not impossible. Nevertheless, we continued our work of mediation in Vienna, going to the utmost bounds—permitted by our treaty relations. [“Hear! Hear!”] During this time Russia, of her own accord, renewed her assurances that she was not taking any military measures against us. [Great excitement.]

July 31st arrived. In Vienna the decision was to be made. By our efforts up to that time we had succeeded in bringing it about that Vienna again took up the discussion with St. Petersburg through direct conversations which had ceased for some time. [“Hear, hear!”] But even before the final decision had been reached in Vienna, came the news that Russia had mobilized her entire military force against us as well. [“Hear, hear!”] The Russian government, which knew from our repeated representations what mobilization on our frontier meant, did not notify us of this mobilization, nor did it give us any explanation of it. [“Hear, hear!”] Not before the afternoon of the 31st did a telegram come from the Czar to the Kaiser, in which he guaranteed that his army would take up no provocative attitude against us. [“Hear, hear!” and laughter.] But mobilization on our frontier had been in full progress since the night between July 30th and 31st. [“Hear, hear!”] While we, at the request of Russia, were meditating in Vienna, the Russian forces drew up along our long and almost entirely open frontier; and France while not yet mobilizing nevertheless admits that she was taking military measures.

And we—up to that moment—we purposely had not called a single re­serve, for the sake of European peace. [Energetic applause.] Were we still to wait patiently until perhaps the powers between whom we are wedged chose the time to strike? [Many cries of “No, no!”] To subject Germany to this danger would have been a crime! [Stormy, long-continued assent.] For that reason, still on the 31st we demanded Russian de­mobilization as the only measure which could still preserve the peace of Europe. [“Quite right!”] The Imperial Ambassador in St. Petersburg was furthermore instructed to declare to the Russian government that, in case of a rejection of our demand, we should have to consider that a state of war existed.

The Imperial Ambassador carried out these instructions. How Russia has replied to our demand for demobilization, we still do not know to-day. [Cries of “Hear, hear!”] No telegraphic communications in regard to this have reached us [“Hear, hear!”] although the telegraph has delivered many less important messages. [Renewed cries of “Hear, hear!”]

Thus, when the time limit expired, the Kaiser saw himself forced on August 1st, at 5 o’clock in the afternoon, to order the mobilization of our forces. [Energetic applause.]

At the same time we had to assure ourselves as to what France’s position would be. To our definite question as to whether she would remain neutral in case of a German-Russian war, France replied that she would do as her interests demanded. [Laughter.] This was an evasive reply to our question, if not a refusal. [“Quite true.”]

The Kaiser nevertheless gave the order to respect the French frontier absolutely. This order was strictly carried out with a single exception. France, who mobilized at the same time that we did, declared that she would respect a zone of 10 kilometres from the frontier. [“Hear, hear!”] And what actually occurred? Aviators throwing bombs, cavalry patrols, French companies breaking into our territory! [“Hear, hear!”] In this manner France, although no state of war had yet been declared, had violated the peace, and actually attacked us. [“Quite true.”]

In regard to the one exception mentioned I have the following report from the Chief of the General Staff: “Of the French complaints in regard to the violation of the frontier from our side, we admit only one. Against express command, a patrol of the 14th Army Corps, apparently led by an officer, crossed the frontier on August 2nd. This patrol was apparently shot down—only one man has returned. But long before this single case of frontier infringement, French aviators penetrated into Southern Germany and threw bombs on our railways and at the ‘Schlucht Pass’ French troops have attacked our frontier patrols. Up to now our troops, according to order, have confined themselves entirely to defensive action.” This is the report of the General Staff.

Gentlemen, we are now in a state of necessity [Energetic assent], and necessity knows no law. [Stormy agreement.] Our troops have occupied Luxemburg [Applause]; perhaps they have already entered Belgian territory. [Renewed applause.] Gentlemen, this violates the rules of international law. The French government declared in Brussels that it was willing to respect the neutrality of Belgium as long as the enemy respected it. But we knew that France stood ready to invade. [“Hear, hear.”] France could wait, we could not. A French attack on our flank on the lower Rhine might have been fatal to us. [Applause.] We were thus forced to ignore the just protests of the Luxemburg and Belgian governments. [“Quite right.”] The wrong—I speak openly—the wrong that we do now, we will try to make good again, as soon as our military ends have been reached. [Applause.] Whoever is threatened as we are, and battles for all that is sacred, dares think only of how he can hack his way out! [Long, stormy applause and clapping from all sides of the house.]

Gentlemen, we stand shoulder to shoulder with Austria-Hungary. As to England’s attitude, the declarations which Sir Edward Grey made yesterday in the House of Commons make clear the standpoint adopted by the English government. We have declared to the English government that, as long as England remains neutral our fleet will not attack the north coast of France and that we will not injure the territorial integrity and independence of Belgium. This declaration I now repeat before the whole world. [“Hear, hear!”] And I may add that as long as England remains neutral we shall be ready, if equal assurances are given, to take no hostile measures against French merchant vessels. [Applause.]

Gentlemen, this is what has happened. I repeat the words of the Kaiser, “Germany enters the fight with a clear conscience!” [Applause.] We battle for the fruits of our peaceful labors, for the inheritance of a great past and for our future. The fifty years have not yet passed in which Moltke said we should have to stand armed, ready to defend our inheritance, and the conquest of 1870. Now the great hour of trial has struck for our people. But we meet it with a clear confidence. [Stormy applause.] Our army stands in the field, our fleet is ready for battle backed by the entire German people. [Long enthusiastic applause. All the members rise.] The entire German people to the last man! [Renewed applause.]

You, gentlemen, know the full extent of your duty. The bills before you need no further explanation. I beg you to pass them speedily. [Stormy applause.]