« AnteriorContinuar »
BISHOP POTTER :
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: There are two large meetings within a block or two of this hall, to one of which I have been appointed to go and speak; therefore I shall take the opportunity of saying at this moment a few words which I had hoped to say a little later. I am glad to say them now, because I am sure that I express the mind of everybody within this hall when I say to Rabbi Hirsch that he has struck the precise keynote which ought, I think, and I am sure you think, to dominate a great meeting like this. And I beg you all to believe, ladies and gentlemen, that your presence here to-night has a very high and august significance. We are not here merely for our own pleasure, we are here as representing the people of the United States of America, to say to the whole round world that we are on the side of peace, and shall use our endeavors so far as we can to make it a realization. In the family, in the school-room, in the street— wherever we can make our example or our speech understood of our fellowmen, our aim shall be in the direction of that high purpose, which is the purpose of the World's Peace Conference.
I had the pleasure,-if one can describe it in that way,of hearing this afternoon, by an eminent Divine of my own. Communion, a sermon in the interest of war. I had the pleasure of sitting under the eloquence which baptized your purpose and mine in coming here to-night as "hysterical sentimentalism." I hope it is something more sacred and more ennobling than that!
I have been profoundly thankful to our dear brother, Rabbi Hirsch, for the line of his remarks this evening, because he had pointed out the steady growth and progress of a great people, out of such elementary ideas such as were the elementary ideas of Israel to the time of Isaiah, when the noblest prophecy that the prophet could utter was that men should beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruninghooks, and that the time should come when nations should not learn war any more. Do you realize what that word means? Have you recognized that the progress of invention, and machinery, and the ingenuity of men, married to the cleverness of mechanism, has made every war, and every instrument of war, infinitely more destructive and more menacing than it was one hundred years ago? Father Lavelle was just telling me a moment ago of an invention that either has been or is to be completed
that would destroy two hundred and fifty thousand men in fifteen minutes! Stop and reflect, ladies and gentlemen, upon the appalling picture which that presents. Try to realize that every soldier in the land, and I am a brother of two men who served in the late Civil War, and am not likely therefore to underestimate the value of the soldier or of his service, but remember that every soldier here, or in Russia, or in Germany, or in France, or anywhere else, represents first of all a non-producer, of whom there are more than a million in Germany;-a non-producer who must be clothed, fed and generally cared for by you and me;— that out of our pockets come the taxes, and out of our funds the resources to build a great iron cruiser that costs eight millions of dollars, or that supports the troops in any garrison in any country. God forbid that we should recklessly precipitate the abandonment either of the garrison or the armed cruiser. But, my dear sir, no achievement in the history of the Communion you represent, in South America, approaches that of those two bishops in Argentina and Chili who, when these two great peoples were expending every dollar at their command to build ships of war, and collecting men at arms, succeeded at length in having the question of the boundary line between Chili and the Argentine Republic, which was about to be fought out because of the question of the right of possession to some eighty thousand acres of land, referred to a sovereign,-the sovereign of Great Britain,-who, in turn, appointed a commission of arbitration, whose decision was accepted by both the great peoples concerned. If that can be attained, ladies and gentlemen, if the questions which have made nations, like wild beasts, fly at each other's throats for the last two hundred and fifty years, can be referred to peaceful arbitration, let us thank God for the Hague Conference!
And, let us feel a proper pride that the man who built the structure in which that conference is to meet is an American citizen, and let us by our determined hostility to every note of war hasten the triumph of universal peace! (Great applause.)
Right Rev. Monsignor M. J. Lavelle, V.G., Rector of St. Patrick's Cathedral, will now give us Archbishop Farley's message. MONSIGNOR LAVELLE:
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: Archbishop Farley, although not with you to-night in body, has neither forgotten nor been lost.
(Laughter.) He was obliged to go to Washington on Wednesday last to attend the annual meeting of the archbishops of the country that is held in the National Capitol every year in the second week after Easter. He fully expected to have returned last night, but he found on Friday that his business would not be finished in time for him to reach here before Tuesday or Wednesday of this week. Consequently he sent on the address which he had prepared, and asked me as his representative vicar to come before you to-night and "rattle" in his shoes as well as I might be able to, and to present his greeting, his compliments, and his regrets for not being present, also his hearty hope and prayer that the result of this Congress in New York will have the effect of strengthening the arms and the influences of the Hague Tribunal, and bring about at the earliest possible moment the peace of the whole world. (Great applause.)
Before I begin, if one who is only a representative might be allowed a word on his own part, I would add a gloss, or an explanation to an incident that I related to Bishop Potter just before he arose to address you, and which he quoted in the course of his speech. Some four or five years ago it was narrated in one of the daily papers that a Frenchman had claimed the discovery of an implement of war,-a machine,-that would kill two hundred and fifty thousand men in fifteen minutes, and the newspaper account related that he had offered it to his own government, which refused to accept it at the price which he put upon it, but that he sold it afterward to the German Government. Eventually, I think, it has been proved that the device, if it were attempted at all, was a failure, but it might not be such a very great evil for the cause of peace if it were really a positive success, because as I can conceive it there are three ways in which the peace of the world can be brought about. One of these is by the arbitration of which the Hague Tribunal is the exponent and promoter, and through the consent of men to the decisions of a competent tribunal. That is the nearest, and as we stand at the present time, the most hopeful aspect of prospective peace that has come before the world as yet.
The second possible way is by that means to which Rabbi Hirsch alluded so eloquently, which reproduces the words of
Tennyson at the close of Locksley Hall, when he dreamed of the time:
"Till the war-drum throbb'd no longer, and the battle-flags were
In the Parliament of man, the Federation of the world."
The third means might be,-and if it would come, considering human nature as it is, it might be the surest and most permanent certainty of peace; that is, the day when war would become an absolute impossibility; when there would be no danger of people breaking away from an arbitration tribunal; no possibility of rebellion in this federation of the world, because each party would have in its hands a weapon that would make it as strong for destruction as the other. Through a mighty engine of that kind the weakest would be as strong as the strongest, and the bully and the robber-leaders of the world would be cowed before those who, though weak, were right. It is not at all impossible that this might be the real and most complete solution of the question of universal peace that could come upon this world, which has suffered so long from the dread atrocities of war. With your kind permission I will now read to you the Archbishop's address:
MOST REVEREND JOHN M. FARLEY, D.D.,
War is so great an evil that one of the world's greatest generals described it with laconic eloquence as the most perfect state of human misery. There is wanting to it no horror, moral or material.
Its benefits, if any, are indirect and uncertain; its evils are immediate, inevitable and universal-vitiation of human character, waste of life and gain, arrest of human progress, injustice to the helpless and innocent, the permanent legacies of hate, and all the fiercest and most ruinous passions of the human breast. Its genuine symbol is the storm that blots out in a brief space the harvest, the home, even life itself, leaving behind it. desolation, despair, and death.
So true is this that, at all times, men have imagined perfect happiness to be some state of universal peace, a golden age long past or to dawn. "Peace on earth to men," the complement of "Glory to God on high," was the greeting which heaven sent to
earth in the most solemn hour of the world's history. Could we abolish war in the twentieth century we should hand down to posterity an earth made perfect as a dwelling place for man.
We owe a debt of gratitude, therefore, to all who devote themselves to this Christlike purpose. It is the duty of every citizen to respond to their generous appeal, and to contribute what is in him to the accomplishment of their aim. It is an aim that uplifts and ennobles all human nature, and tends to reveal in man spiritual heights and depths that get obscured in those brutal conflicts, from which he emerges always more shattered in his spiritual than in his physical life.
We must all admit that even if we cannot totally abolish war, much can be done and is being done to mitigate its horrors. The people of the world should be grateful to all who have in any way contributed, as individuals, rulers, or associations to improve the conditions of warfare, i.e., to strip it of its barbarian character, and emphasize the dignity and rights of man even on the field of battle.
I am not prepared to say that we shall ever entirely remove that dread scourge from society; but I believe it can be notably diminished in frequency and mitigated in its conduct. If this mitigation of the brutalities of war is to continue and is one day to cease among men, it will be through the influence of two great moral forces, Education and Religion.
We are told by the wise men in the daily press and in our universities that the only true and sufficient cause for war in modern times is the desire to retain areas of commercial influence, or acquire new ones, or to oust others from such as we have learned to desire. If this be the case, whatever will serve to appease the root of desire, to create a spirit of moderation and contentment, to enlarge the horizon of the heart, and show it new regions of enjoyment, certain and abiding, must prove a universal benefit. If in all the nations that make up modern Christendom the youthful generations were taught in all earnestness the law of Christian holiness and rectitude of life, and made to know the divine exemplar of that life, we should have begun the formation of a Christian Public Opinion that would in time discredit many of the motives and occasions from which wars have in the past originated.
I am of the opinion that we ought to appeal more directly to