Page images



[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]



[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors][merged small]

Two reasons stand forth why the time demands such a book as this. One is historical. In the progress of events certain international conferences have been held. In the beginning those conferences were for the purpose of settling some specific subject of international complication. Latterly they have looked higher than the specific to the general. At the second conference at The Hague, that of 1907, there was distinctly before the minds of the delegates the prospect of future conferences upon broad lines, sufficient to include all of the nations with organized governments; and out of that development promises to come the organized political unity of mankind. A work covering the ground which this covers, or similar. ground, is a necessity in keeping up with the development of the times. Though no person perhaps will wish to read it all, any more than he wishes to read all of his encyclopedia, yet any person who wishes to be well informed upon the political progress of the world must have the main facts at his command and be familiar with the specific lines of progress. Certain things have been done; certain records have been made in history; certain principles have been established in the progress of humanity. To be ignorant of these things is as unthinkable for all who keep informed upon human growth in civilization and organization, as ignorance of progress in physics is unthinkable on the part of a specialist in that department.

Of even more importance as a motive for action is the political reason. When gunpowder was applied to war, warfare entered sharply upon a new era. In like manner, and with almost equal sharpness, a new era has opened in the relations of nations. No man is in his correct environment who does not recognize the truth and adjust himself to it. The second conference at The Hague, following that of 1899, which established the Hague court of arbitration, and characterized by the establishment of an international prize court, which promises to be the historical germ of the world's judiciary, was


followed by the London Conference of 1908-1909, attended by delegates of ten of the leading nations of the earth, called for the purpose of promoting true judicial methods in case of naval warfare. These gatherings have inaugurated, beyond reverse, a new era. The propositions for arbitration and for a true system of world courts are officially and practically before the world. Henceforth a new standard of official speech and action is imperative for all men in public life, in all nations. Whatever any statesman's personal views regarding the present practicability of disarmament or of checking military expenditure, he is inexcusable if he does not officially, as earnestly and as often as official occasion permits, urge upon the people within his influence the importance of working for the attainment of the ideal standard of international justice through legal methods, as opposed to the old injustice of the robber-might of strong nations and the horrors of war. Otherwise it is a fair judgment that he prefers slaughter to justice and personal glory to the peace and prosperity of all.

The spirit of world progress is more active, more insistent, and more severely critical than ever before. When men say that there is no progress, that the world is still in the bloody and barbaric era of international war, the spirit points to the Hague court of arbitration and charges the apologists with willful blindness, if not even willful falsehood, for the facts are too well known to permit mistake. When they say that the sword is the ultimate arbiter, she points to the world judiciary, now coming out of its germ, and commands them to make the most of the light and the opportunities they have. When they profess their fear of national, race, religious, or commercial conflict, she replies that they are false to what is highest and most natural in the modern man, — that fraternity among labor organizations, among scientific associations, and among business bodies is spreading to all parts of the earth, to promote intercourse and commerce, and that the solidarity of mankind is a growing motive, stronger than ever before. Every public official, therefore, is under the strongest obligations, by the very fact of his position, to spread the spirit of peace and justice; and every official who uses his high position and power to encourage ideas of armament and of conflict, without recognition of the higher plane of action, fails miserably to rise to the duty and opportunity of the times.

« PreviousContinue »