Imágenes de páginas
[graphic][merged small]

Hague felicitously referred to Victoria and Wilhelmina, are strongly, almost passionately devoted to the peace ideal. The other sovereigns of Europe, the Emperor of Austria, the

King of Italy, the Queen Regent of Spain, Oscar of Sweden and Norway, and most of the rest are not, as a rule, one whit more given to love of war than their subjects. The presidents of nearly all the republics of the world are quite as advanced in their ideas of peace as the peoples whose representatives they are. When Nicholas of Russia asked for the Peace Conference, these sovereigns and presidents responded with a readiness and earnestness with which the peoples hardly kept pace.

As to Laboulaye's ministers of state, won to the ideas which he attributed to peoples, if he had been at The Hague he would have found them there. One of the most satisfactory and significant features of the conference was the evidently sincere and earnest and what, as the deliberations went on, showed itself to be the persistent wish of most of the members to do something real toward the promotion of a better understanding between the nations and toward laying the foundations of a durable peace, out of which should come ultimate disarmament. There may have

ENTRANCE TO THE HOUSE IN THE WOODS. been something of policy and self


interest in this wish; there were reputations at stake, and national honor too, though of an order somewhat novel; it would have been wholly unnatural if motives of this sort had not played their part in keeping the men of the conference up to their duty. But any one who came into contact with them and watched their course from day to day as to the objects before them, as I was permitted to do to SO considerable an extent, was forced to believe that the motives which actuated them, with exceptions, of course, were a sincere regard for the good of the world and a true desire to use the occasion before them, to the fullest extent possible, for the promotion of that good. They were representatives of the governments and peoples from which they had come; they felt deeply their responsibility to that large and growing public sentiment in all the civilized nations, which is loudly demanding durable peace and relief from the ex

ning to end; but it was true no less of a large number of the silent men who only listened, thought and voted. Hereafter, therefore, it may be expected that peoples on the one hand, and kings and ministers of state on the other, will move together in the attainment of what Laboulaye calls the blessings of peace and of labor.

It is somewhat difficult to speak of a conference which one has seen only from the outside. But the inside of a thing can often be very well judged from the outside. This is peculiarly true of assemblies of men, which in these days have no secrets. The attempt was made in the beginning to keep the proceedings of the committees and sub-committees secret. But this was found to be practically impossible. The lead



hausting burdens of incessantly growing armaments. But they were, many of them at any rate, more than this; they were representatives of themselves. They thought, spoke and acted as if the affair which they had in hand had been their own. This was distinctly true of the leaders in the deliberations, to whom was due in no small measure the admirable spirit which pervaded the conference from begin

ing speeches were, either "for substance of doctrine" or literally, in the newspapers before they were cold. Members would talk "confidentially" to their friends, and these to others.

So it came to pass that the enterprising men of the press, some of whom, in spite of the dearth of news, persisted in staying and "hunting the hard fox," to use one of Mr. Stead's phrases, succeeded in giving to the world the purport of the daily deliberations, of course with many glosses of their own. The outcome was that the secretaries of the committees were authorized to

[merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]

senators, and four members of houses of representatives, two of whom were presidents of their respective bodies; two were university presidents, and five professors of eminence. The technical delegates, of whom there were two or more connected with each of the delegations from the larger powers, were among the most distinguished in their countries, and for the most part they were in thorough sympathy with the aims of the conference.

Germany had five delegates and one secretary; the United States six delegates (Mr. F. W. Holls, the secretary, ranking as a delegate) and three secretaries; Austria-Hungary, six delegates; Belgium, three delegates; China, three; Denmark, two delegates and one attaché; Spain, three delegates and one attaché; France, six delegates, four secretaries and two assistant secretaries; Great Britain, five delegates and three secretaries; Greece, one delegate and a

[graphic][merged small]
[graphic][merged small][subsumed]
[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« AnteriorContinuar »