Patriotism Through Education Scries
Noted Labor Lawyer Under the Auspices of
The National Security League
Chicago, November 1, 1917
THE NATIONAL SECURITY LEAGUE 19 WEST 44th STREET NEW YORK CITY >11
Ladies and Gentlemen :
The pro-German is fond of carrying back the causes of this war until they are lost in the mists of doubt. It is of little use to go back to the fall of Babylon or the Fall of Man. No doubt every fact in this world is linked with every other tact, and the fall of Babylon had some influence upon the Great European Wan But this influence is so remote and uncertain that it is not a proper topic of discussion in a busy world in which the human race has not eternity at its disposal.
.In fixing the responsibilities, it is of little value to delve far into the past. No doubt all countries have been aggressors, and the history of none of them can be defended in all their acts. Still the fact remains that in the summer of 1914 Europe was at peace. Fifty years before, Germany had wrested Alsace-Lorraine from France. However, reluctant, France had accepted the situation, and the lines of the great countries were well established and had remained so for years. On the 28th of June, 1914, an Austrian prince and princcss were killed in Serbia. This murder grew out of political differences that were not new. The assassination of the prince and princess caused little comment in the world. The death of a prince to the most of us was no more than the death of any other man. Had it been a brakeman, it would probably have attracted the same attention, for a brakeman is of some service to the world, but a prince—is a prince. This incident seemed to have been forgotten until July 23, when Austria sent her demand to Serbia. At that time all Europe, except Austria and Germany, believed that any serious trouble over the death of a prince had passed. Even the Kaiser was absent in Norway secrctly preparing an alibi for the most terrible assassination the world has ever known.
Serbia was an independent state, and this demand called on her to suppress all anti-Austrian propaganda and all Serbian papers hostile to Austria; to disband the national society, to dismiss teachers and officials connected with anti-Austrian propaganda and, lastly, to give up her own sovereignty and become a vassal of Austria! The note gave Serbia forty-eight hours in which to yield up her independence to a foreign state! Immediately, England, France, Russia and Italy, feeling the impending danger, used every effort to prevent the striking of a match that should kindle a fire in Europe that might consume civilization itself I Austria and Germany alone refused to even negotiate for a settlement of the grave affair. Serbia at the urgent request of all the great nations in Europe, humiliated herself to the la^t degree. She acccpted every demand except the one requiring her to be a vassal of Austria, and this she did not refuse but asked for more explicit instructions as to what Austria really wished. At once Austria commenced to mobilize to send her army into Serbia. Then, Russia, the big brother of all the Slavs, the natural protector of Serbia, served notice on Austria that she would protect Serbia, England called upon Germany to help settle the trouble over Serbia with Austria, and asked all the European nations to help, and all but Austria and Germany at once met the request of England and did their best to avert the impending calamity. At the last moment, on July 31st, Austria yielded to the pleadings and thrcatcnings of Russia and Europe and consented to reopen the case. Thereupon, Germany spoke honestly for the first and last time, and demanded that Russia should cease her preparations for war within twenty-four hours or Germany would act.
The twenty-four hours passed by and Germany declared war on Russia. The whole responsibility of this war is fixed by the public documents that passed between the nations for the twelve days following the 23rd day of July. There is no excuse for any human being who wishes to be right to make the slightest mistake as to the responsibility for the present war. No sane person, not moved by blood, by sympathy or by hate, can doubt for a moment but what this war was made in Germany; and all the horrors of the great struggle are rightfully upon her head.
Almost in the twinkling of an eye, the mighty army of the Kaiser was mobilized, and, on the 2nd of September, reached Belgian soil. Germany frad demanded that Russia demobilize, and on its refusal, declared war on Russia. But,
Instead of sending her mighty army east to Russia, she sent it west through peaceful, defenseless Belgium, whose neutrality she had guaranteed.
The story of the first few days of this terrible struggle must be fresh in the minds of all. We remember how the world stood aghast at the impending calamity. We watched while Germany mobilized its vast army, the greatest machine for war that the world has ever known—a machine fifty years in the making, and thoroughly equipped to the last detail for its bloody work—the greatest instrument of force and violence and murder that the sun ever shone upon. We watched while this German army reached the Belgian border and asked the young, devoted, patriotic King of Belgium to let it pass in pcace on its mad way to France. We heard King Albert reply: "Belgium is a nation, not a road." We watched this great, endless, living river of green-gray men moving on and on by day and by night, across little Belgium. We saw the soldiers and the civilians of that heroic country rise to the last man to meet this mighty host and hold it back until France could mobilize to save the liberties of the world. We watched this German army as it swept across Belgium and into northern France, laying waste provinces, burning cities, killing combatants and noncornbatants, and, turning back upon a desolate country of ruined towns and villages, levy unconscionable tribute on the people that were left. We saw this army go through this peaceful land, singing as it went! A holiday picnic for the Prussian murder machine that had no thought that there was any power on earth that could compass its defeat.
This great Germany army is now slowly going back to the Fatherland, and the world cannot help rejoicing that the soldiers do not sing as they return! We watched this mighty host while the devoted French rallied to protect their native land* while England sent its "contemptible little army" to help. We watched them on their mad rush for Paris. We saw the French patriots rally, and under the great Joffre, turn back the invaders at the Marne. And the world rejoiced that for a time at least this blind and cruel force was stayed.
We listened to the boasting of the Kaiser as he urged his pawns to give their lives for the Fatherland! We listened to his disgustingly familiar talks of God, as if God, too, was made in Germany. We heard him prate of his love for the Fatherland. He loved the Fatherland more than he loved his people. The Germans' talk of the Fatherland has a certain appeal for all. I respect it so deeply that I would be glad to sec every able-bodied man outside Germany arm himself with sabre and gun and help drive the German army back to its beloved Fatherland.
After the defeat at the Marne, the German army dug itself in to prevent annihilation. A long series of indecisive months passed by until Germany felt the desperation of her case, and turned to the sea. Before this time England's fleet had driven the German ships from the ocean. Her men-of-war and ships of commerce had found safe refuge in her own and the neutral harbors of the world. There was only one way that she could make war on the seas and that was by the submarine. She built her submarines and sent them out on the ocean beneath the waves to attack ships of war and ships of commerce alike, and destroy them without a chance to save the life of a single human being, or to save a dollar's worth of property.
Germany knew about the sailing of the Lusitania from New York Harbor, a boat of commercc unarmed, and carrying some fifteen hundred passengers, more than one hundred and fifty American men, women and children, bound on a peaceful voyage which they had the right to take under all the rules of war. She watched this ship as it sailed out into the Atlantic and at the proper time she fired a torpedo, sinking the ship and giving no passenger or member of the crew a chance to save their lives. The civilized world stood aghast at this dastardly deed, while Germany decorated the commander of tiie submarine.
Letters and protests followed. Germany finally admitted this act and half-way promised that this unforgivable violation of the laws of humanity and the laws of war should not occur again.
Had an English submarine been guilty of such an atrocity, the American people with one voice would have cried for
war and no protest of Congress or the President could have * held our hands. Germany's promises, like her guarantee of Belgium's neutrality, were made only to be broken. Again and again, she sunk neutral ships and destroyed American lives. Again and again our demands were made until finally. Germany promised that no more ships should be sunk without giving passengers and seamen a safe place to land. For some time Germany kept her word, until finally in her desperation she served notice upon the United States, that after the first day of February, 1917, every boat, whether man-of-war or ship of commerce, whether bearing passengers or freight, should be sunk without notice and without a chance to save a human life. She, however, graciously granted the right of America to sail one ship a week to Europe, loaded in a certain way and going down a certain lane and painted in a manner designated by the German government. These rights Germany granted to a great, proud, free government upon the Atlantic— no, the German ocean. And yet, after the first day of February, there were men and women in America who said that we had no cause for war! Let us examine this question in the light of such International Law as we have, and in the light of such humanity as Prussia has left us after almost four years of war.
"Seat are Free."
The seas are the great highways of the nations. They are free for the trade and commerce of any lands whose shores touch the water. The United States has more coast line than any other nation. We are a commercial people, whose trade touches every countiy in the world; whose citizens travel to every port on earth, and have used the seas for commerce ever since America became an independent nation among the other countries of the earth. We were told by Germany that we could no longer sail the seas.
The attack of Germany upon the Lusitania and other ships of commerce was not warfare; it was murder and piracy upon the high seas. What was the duty of the United States? We were then an independent nation of one hundred million souls; stronger than, at least, twice over, than Germany; ten times richer than Germany; so far removed from Germany
that we did not need to fear it nor any land; and peopled by as devoted a band of men as ever rallied to protect the liberties of the world. We were not like Holland, a nation of five million people, under the Kaiser's heel. We were not like any neutral European state, defenseless, with the horrible example of Serbia, Belgium and Poland standing as a frightful lesson to those who might meet the wrath of Germany.
We were big enough and strong enough and safe enough to defend ourselves and help protect the people of the world. Had the United States been so craven as to meekly take orders from a foreign government, it would have lost the respect of every nation on the earth. For such a people, so besotted with the love of money, or so fond of luxury and ease, there could have been nothing in store but death. And, be it said to the honor and glory and idealism of America, that she accepted the gage of battle from the German empire and prepared to fight! There is no chance for intelligent people to be mistaken as to our duty and our right. The sea is free to every nation for its commerce and its trade, subject only to the rights of belligerent nations to declare a blockade to decide what shall be contraband goods, to detain boats, search them for contraband and land the passengers and crew in a place of safety. Since piracy was driven from the high seas, no nation has ever claimed the right to destroy the life of non-combatants upon the ocean, without giving at least the last right which belongs to all, the right of surrender. But Germany decreed that the lives of men, the lives of women and the lives of defenseless babies might be taken to satisfy their mad thirst for power. .
Pacifists and pro-Germans have freely criticised the President of the United States for leading his people into war. Had the President of the United States taken orders from the German Kaiser, he would have been unfaithful to his office, and unworthy of the respect and devotion of the great people whom he serves! It illy becomes any American to criticise the President in this great crisis. The United States never had a greater, wiser, more patriotic President than Woodrow Wilson, and it is for the people of the United States, not to condemn or criticise, but to support and uphold him in this, the greatest crisis of our nation's life! I say, without the slightest hesitation, that no human being, speaking as a man,
could defend the right of Germany to destroy non-combatant' ships upon the high seas without offering a chance to save human life. And, I say again, as a lawyer, that under all the rules of international law, that Germany's submarine attacks were not warfare, but cold-blooded, premeditated murder, under the guise of war.
"Cause is Simple."
The cause of this war is so simple that a wayfaring man has no right to be deceived. We could have stood complacently by and have waxed still richer out of the miseries of suffering countries in the defense of their sacred rights. But, instead of that, wc have joined the rest, to fight in a sacred cause. Although we were slow and reluctant to do our part, still, America has drawn the sword, and that sword will not be sheathed until Prussian militarism shall be destroyed. We need but go over the battlefields of the world to know that our cause is just. Almost all the world is today at war. Some seventeen nations are actively ranged with the allies in this great contest, and many others are only waiting to strike. Yet, looking over the earth, Germany has but two allies—I do not count Austria, for Austria is Germany—owing allegiance to the German Kaiser and the German God! Since this war began, Austria has been in a receiver's hands, obeying not her own rulers, but the Prussian king. Germany has gained two allies; gained them by her frightfulness, by her money, by her intrigue! Bulgaria, whose German king betrayed her Slavic people, and Turkey, already the vassal of Germany before the war began. Germany ought to be proud of Turkey, but then, she should be able to stand it if Turkey can. Why is it that the whole world today is united against Germany? It is united because of her unrighteous stab against the freedom of man, because of her frightfulness, because of her violation of all the rules of war—because of these, she has become an outlaw among the nations of the earth.
Germany's excuses and excusers have been many. We have been told that America was never neutral, that from the beginning we sold munitions to the allies, to use against her. I agree with the Pacifists that we never should have sold munitions—we should have given them away! But, what right
has Germany to complain of the sale of powder and of guns? Germany sold munitions to England to kill the Boers and to the Boers to kill the English. She sold them to America to kill Spaniards and to Spain to kill Americans. She sold them in Mexico to wage war on the United States. She sold them with the greatest impartiality to every warring people on the earth when she did not need them for her own brutal use. And, when she sold them, 9he was well within her right; for, under the rules of war, any people have as much right to sell munitions as they have to sell food and clothes.
Germany tells us that if we had been neutral the war would have been over in two months. It would have been over, to the satisfaction of Germany and the Pacifists. As a matter of fact, we never did sell munitions to England and France. Certain manufacturers in America had powder and cannon to sell. They sold them to all who came. England could buy and France could buy and Germany could buy. We had the right to sell, but we were under no obligation to deliver what we sold. Germany could buy our munitions but whether she could ever get them home was a question between her and England, which was no concern of ours. And I, for one, am thankful that practically all the munitions that Germany ever received from the United States came by way of the English and French guns!
Then, too, so long as nations war, which may be forever, it is best that a warring nation shall buy its munitions where it can. If this were not true, then every country must have its stores of powder and of guns; must take the time of its people from the peaceful walks of life, to prepare material for death; it means that the weak nations must build up armaments that shall be sufficient to defend against the strong; it means a greater number of soldiers rather than a less; more wars instead of fewer; more armed men and more armed camps; it must mean that every nation on earth must make Germany her guiding star, and that war shall be the trade of men. It is likewise true, that the fact that munitions are sent as cargo upon a Ship gives no more right for destruction of the ship than if it were loaded with cotton and with grain. It
gives the right of search and seizure, but nothing else. It • gives no right to destroy non-combatants, men, women and children. And all the clergymen and all the metaphysicians of Germany cannot maintain this right.
For almost three years, while the German machine of violence and murder was assaulting the world, the United States stood dumb and neutral as if she cared not who won. While we as a nation were neutral, I was one of millions who was never neutral; from the time Germany drew her sword 1 knew which side I was on. I did not need to think. I simply felt. The same impulse that would move me to rescuc a child in danger or a helpless human being struggling with the waves, drove me to feel with Belgium and France, and to hope that somehow the world would awaken and come to the rescue of these suffering ones. I was never neutral on anything. I have often been wrong but never neutral. And, in a grave question, if one takes sides, he has at least one chance out of two of being right, while if he remains neutral, he has no chance whatever.
Where is the human being who can stand neutral between Germany and France? Where is the man of emotion, of feeling, of imagination, who could look at Germany and France and not hope that in some mysterious way France would win? If this great war had been waged on German soil against a French invader, the world would have been and should have been with Germany, fighting for her Fatherland. But all of the professors in all of the German universities cannot make the world believe that they fought in self-defense when their murderous cannons were thundering at the gates of Paris.
Germany and the Pacifists now turn from the horrors wrought by Prussian militarism to the world, and point the finger of scorn to England and Belgium and even France,
England, no doubt, has been guilty of many wrongs. Wrongs against the Irish; wrongs against India; wrongs against other peoples of the earth. Belgium, no doubt, sinned in the Congo. France may have wronged Morocco. But, what is all this to do with the question of whether Germany was right
in invading Belgium and overrunning France and striking a deadly blow at liberty in the year 1914? In the language of the lawyer, all these charges are incompetent, irrelevant and immaterial. If one of you should find your pocket had been picked and tomorrow the culprit should be brought to court, he could not escape by pleading that your grandfather was a pickpocket, too. Whatever England may have been in the days of her growth and aggression, she is another England now. The England of the Tories has no semblance to the England of today. The Prime Minister of Britain, who guides her destinies, is as wise, as humane, as democratic as Abraham Lincoln or Woodrow Wilson.
I am aware that America has fought England more than any other foreign foe, and for years our politicians have abused England to round a period or catch a vote. I know too much of the history of Britain and the history of the United States, not to rcspect the greatness and inherent worth of England. For two hundred years she has been mistress of the sea; for seventy-five years at least, she has allowed every vessel and every pound of commerce to freely enter England from any nation on the earth; and while she has been mistress of the waves she has protected and defended the freedom of the seas. I know that in spite of all her faults, England has stood for at least .a hundred years as the world's greatest defender of the individual rights of men. It is not for America to condemn England from whom we drew our laws, our language, our institutions and the deep devotion for civil and religious liberty which have placed us amongst the freest people in the world. England, that entered this war, not for glory or for conquest, but to fight with France for the right to live upon the earth; England, who has pledged her last dollar and all her sons to defend the world against a ruthless military power; England, whose mighty fleet through the summer heat and the winter cold, in the day and night, has silently patrolled all the seas of the earth and defended her liberties and ours, while we slept; England, today, is our ally. And, he, who in this war, condemns our allies, is guilty of moral treason to the United States.
And what of Belgium? Where is the human heart that does not beat quicker at the thought of Belgium? Belgium, the Arnold Winkelreid of this great war; Belgium that met
the invading German hosts and held their sabers fast in her bleeding heart until France and England could rally to save the liberties of man I I had rather be the young King of Belgium, looking over a devastated empire with its ruined provinces, its burning cities, its stricken people, and know that I had kept the faith, than be the ruler of the greatest and richest nation on the earth*
"What of France?"
And what of France? Is there any American or any human being on the earth who does not love France ? France, the beautiful, the gay; France, of song and poetry and sculpture, and of every art that enriches life; France of joy and of laughter; France, who gave the world the philosophers of the 18th century who pointed the way to human freedom and human rights; France, from whose devoted land came that pure stream of democracy which quenched the fires of bigotry and superstition and fertilized the waste places of the earth. France left her theatres and her boulevards; her shops and her stores; forgot her music and her gaiety and love of life, and, at the bugle's call, calmly, heroically, faithfully and without complaint or boast, offered herself to save the world, France, who almost lost her life, but who saved her soul. And, what is France to America? France, not our mother but our midwife; France, who gave her money and her blood that our Republic might be born. I have faith to believe that if there were no other reason for this war, that in these dark days of glorious France, we would repay her for all she did for us, with compound interest, since Seventeen Seventy-six.
All these allies are worthy of our respect. If England or France or Belgium have sinned in the past, the blood of their devoted sons freely shed on the hallowed battlefields of France has washed those sins away.
I am aware that in this country there are many pacifists. No doubt a large number of these are honest and sincere, and not in the least lacking in cither physical or moral courage. But the pro-German has suddenly become a pacifist, and most pacifists content themselves with criticising America and her allies, and pass no judgment on the many atrocities of Germany and her clear responsibility for this war. The pacifist speaks with the German accent. Even if his words are not against America, the import of all he says is to aid Germany against America and its allies in the war. Pacificism is a religious and philosophical theory which has no relation to life and no practical place in the world of today. Whether it can be realized in a million years is a matter that might afford an interesting discussion, but so long as there is any such human nature as is now incident to man, non-resistance is a theory and all people witfh red blood in their veins will protect their right, when need be, by force.
The pacifists' excuses for Germany have been many. They excuse Germany's submarine warfare on the ground that England was starving Germany. Before Germany broke the peace of the world she knew the rules of war; she knew that she had a right to fight men-of-war on the seas, either by warships or by submarines; she knew that she had no right to sink ships of commerce and destroy the lives of non-combatants without the chance of escape. Starvation gave no cxcusc. Starvation is a well-established means of war. In the days of the Rebellion the North blockaded Southern ports and starved the South into surrender. In 1871 Germany drew her armies around Paris, denying her people the chance to get food. Paris pleaded for the right to let her women and children go outside the gates and be fed. Germany replied that they should "fry in their own fat." Paris was starved and surrendered, and in this Germany was well within her rights.
Two prizefighters, who enter the ring under the Marquis of Queensbury rules, must abide by the rules. If one sees that in a fair fight he must lose, it gives him no excuse to strike below the belt, and if he does, every non-combatant looking on will see that he does not win.
A neutral world looked at Germany as over and over again she struck below the belt. It knew that civilization could not tolerate such a power, and so the world united to put her down.
We are told that this is a rich man's war; that we have joined with the allies against Germany to make dollars for Wall Street. I have no love for Wall Street, and no desire to defend her selfishness and greed, but the statement that this is a Wall Street war is a slander which has no foundation in the truth. Whatever I might think of Wall Street, I have never yet believed that the capitalists of this country would lead America into war, sacrificing the lives, perhaps of a million of our young men, for the sake of gold. If I believed that this was true I would never again speak for justice or the betterment of man. I should believe that the human race was so sodden and brutal that it ought to die, either by fair means or foul. But no person who respects fact or logic can say that this is a Wall Street war. It was not Wall Street that made Germany violate the Belgium treaty; that made her sink the Lusitania; that made her engage in inhuman submarine warfare against the commerce and life of the world; that was responsible for her intrigues with Mexico and Japan; that converted the German embassy in Washington into a nest of criminal conspirators to destroy railroads, factories, and munitions while we were still a neutral land. It was not Wall Street that caused Germany to send her note declaring her purpose of ruthless submarine warfare after February 1. It was the brutal, insistent, lawless, Prussian military machine that brought America slowly, reluctantly, and against her will, into this mad carnage of blood and desolation!
Since this war began every neutral nation has been the fair field for all sorts of German intrigue; for force, violence, corruption and every kind of scheming that might help Prussian power. Amongst the last efforts is a demand upon the part of many Americans to ask our Government why we are in the war and what shall be our terms of peace.
The American who does not know why we are in the war cannot now be told. There is no excuse for intelligent people not knowing why America is in the war! And as to terms of peace, it is idle to talk of peace until we begin to fight This is the last argument to confound our friends; to separate allies, to sow discord, wtfiere there should be union and strength, to raise issues that will be hard enough to settle when the time shall come. When Germany is beaten the world will know it, and when that time comes, no doubt the working out of terms of peace will be hard indeed, but the nations who fight the battle to victory will find the way.
What terms of peace can we propose today? We entered this war because of the ruthless attacks of Germany upon our commerce and our people. France and Belgium entered this war to defend their native lands. Belgium, without any sort of fault, has suffered beyond repair. The civilized world can never again look itself in the face unless Belgium shall be restored so far as money can restore her. And this tribute should be made by Germany and no one else!
Two fair provinces were wrested from France in 1871. These have never yet become a part of the German Empire, but are held as vassals of Germany. Although France accepted the fate of war, she has ever looked with longing eyes to liberate these provinces and bring them back to their fatherland! She has suffered grievously by this unjust and cruel war. Shall we say to France today that if Germany shall stop her submarine warfare with the United States, we will desert our allies and do nothing to help France in her high and just demands? If we say we will help France recover Alsace-Lorraine, we are then asked the question why we should fight to change the map of Europe. If we say that we will not, we serve notice on our allies that when we get what we want we will desert them in their hour of trial.
Germany, under the rules of war, has forfeited her colonies. These colonies would not indemnify the captors for the blood and treasure spilled in the defense of democracy and freedom. Shall we say now that however grievous are Germany's sins, that when she shall get ready to stop fighting, whether now or five years from today, we will place her back where she was before she made her assault upon the world?
To say this, again, would be to desert our allies. To say something else, would be to bring the reproach of the pacifists that we are fighting England's battles. And what of Italy who joined the allies in this war, from the deep feeling and sentiment of the Italian people to stand by France in the hour of her tribulation, and who are now trying to recover the Italian provinces wrested from them by Austrian arms? Can we tell Italy that when we have got, for ourselves, what we want that we are ready to furl our flag? Can we, at this time, eay to any people in the world when and where we shall stop ? The allies will stop when victory comes 1 And when k comes these serious problems affecting the future peace and security of the world must be settled by the victorious allies, and it is for us to keep alive the noble purpose that we had in the beginning,—that America wants no money, and no land, but that she will use her power and influence in the world to have a righteous settlement in the end.
Working for Germany*
Those who oppose this war are working for the most despotic, arbitrary government that the civilized world has known. A government whose Kaiser openly says to his people that he owes no allegiance to any power except his German god. He, of all the monardhs of the western world, openly professes to believe in the divine right of kings as against the divine right of man. I have no idea that the Lord ever whispered any wisdom into the ear of the German Kaiser. When He speaks the world can understand, and if He has any message to give to any special king or potentate on earth, I am quite sure that in the presence of the terrible calamity that afflicts the world He would not whisper it in the German tongue.
The divine right of kings belongs to the dead and buried past; and when this war is done no ruler in Europe or America will ever again claim any God-given right to do with his people as he will. He who pretends to obey only the will of God, obeys his own. The Kaiser is not the mouth-piece of God to express the Almighty's will; but the Kaiser puts his own will and commands into the mouth of God I
The future world will be ruled by men. It will he ruled by the living, not the dead! It will be ruled in the open light of day, and not from any secret commands which the world can not hear.
We are not waging this war to make the world democratic in the sense that our enemies use the word. If Germany wants a monarchy she has a right to a monarchy, and k is no concern of ours. We entered this war because of the unbearable aggressions of the German Empire upon our native land, because the path of Prussia was marked with broken treaties, with unkept promises, with cruelty and shame. And while we could not and did not enter this war to change Germany's form of government, we still have the right to say that when the terms of peace shall come, we will not take the word of a military power that has broken all the obligations of humanity and law! But when the war shall end and the terms of settlement shall come, we will insist that the pledge of Germany shall be given by the German people, who, in spite of our differences, we still respect as our fellowmen.
Finally, we are told that we may gain the freedom of the seas, but we are losing our liberties at home; that we are destroying free speech and a free press, and striking a blow at that ancient heritage of the American people which is largely responsible for her growth and power. I confess that this has given me concern. I well know the doubts and fears of our government, with enemies within and enemies without; with no chance to know whom it could trust in the grave and serious danger that confronts us all. It may be that we have gone too fan Our President is the last man in the United States to say that he can tell just where the line of freedom of speech and the press should be drawn, either in times of peace or war. All we can do is to preserve, so far as possible, the liberty of speech and the press as one of the priceless heritages of the world. It is a mistake to believe that freedom rests in constitutions or in laws. It rests in the minds and hearts of the people, and so long as the people are tolerant and free liberty will be preserved. When they are blind or sodden, or insane from any cause, liberty can not survive.
Peace Not War.
Times of war are not times of sanity and cannot be. The rules of war are not the rules of peace. Before America joined in this fight any American citizen had a clcar right to choose his side. But today we are at war. It cannot be thought that anyone in America could recruit a German army in the United States! This would be to strike a blow against our common country. It can no more be thought that an American may indirectly aid Germany against his native land; and whether the law is this or that, our boys at the front, and when the news of the death toll shall come home to us, those who are suffering the losses and bearing the burdens will not permit disloyal people to fight us at home. When the written law of a country fails, men make their own laws as they go along and the history of every warring country and the history of ours, in the American Revolution, and the War of the Rebellion, shows conclusively that all men alike will act to-
gether in times of stress and trouble whether supported by law or not. And he, who, today gives aid and comfort to the enemy, however indirectly, is playing with fire. It is for those who love liberty of specch and the press, who believe in it as one of the corner stones of American institutions, to resolve that when this war is over we will see that all the old protections and safeguards shall remain secure.
I am the last one to pretend that America has always been right. I have often criticized many of its laws, its customs and its institutions. I reserve the right to criticise them again when the time shall come. But, today, there is but one question in the world, and that is the preservation of such poor civilization as we have! There is but one question in America, and that is to protect the integrity of the United States, and every other issue must wait until this is done!
When the war is finished we can take up once more our old quarrels and our old differences if we will. But, first of all, America must survive! For in spite of all of our shortcomings, the fact remains that the United States is the land of liberty and the freest nation on the earth, and it is our duty not to destroy it, but make it better than it ever was before!
"Still Have Hope."
Although I am not a professional optimist, I still have some hope and some faith. I do not know whether this will be the last great war or not. I trust that never again will any nation ruthlessly bring ruin on the world. But no man can tell. Long ago it was written down in the constitution of things that "Without the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sins."
It seems to me that this old world will never be the same again. We are learning new things; finding each other out. Men who have not been friends meet and commune in a great universal cause. We are learning to know each other and ourselves. We are working together, looking into each other's eyes; living together; dying together in the supreme struggle of the human race. We have found that mutual helpfulness alone can bring victory in times of war. And I have faith at least to hope that as we find that we can help each other in times of war, we may learn that we can help each other in times of peace.
THE NATIONAL SECURITY LEAGUE
is a non-political* non-partisan league of American men and women who are earnestly working for PATRIOTIC EDUCATION AND UNIVERSAL MILITARY TRAINING AND SERVICE.
Honorary President*-EUHU ROOT, New York.
[Notk—Mr. Joseph H. Choate was Honorary President from dale of onranisatloa
until his death. May 14.1917.]
Honorary Vice-President— Ai,ton B. Parkhr, New York. President—S. Stanwood Mknkkn, New York. Vice-Presidents—George Wharton Pepper, Philadelphia willet M. Spooner, Milwaukee. Luke E. Wright, Memphis. Frederic L. Huidekoper, Washington. Franklin Q. Brown, New York.
Secretary—Herbert Barry, New York. Treasurer— Edward H. Clark, New York.
Chairman, Board of Directors—Char les E. Lydkcxsr, New York. Chairman, Finance Committee—Alexander J. Hemphill, New York. Educational Director—Robert McNutt McElroy, New Jersey. Director of Speaker's Bureau—Thomas J. Preston, Jr., New Jersey. Executive Secretary— Henry L. West, New York. Assistant Secretary—Emerson Smalley, New York.
The National Security League is supported by small contributions of the public. It is not endowed and finds that the work of raising sufficient funds for the distribution of its literature is a matter of most serious difficulty.
All those who believe in forwarding its work are earnestly urged to support it and aid in securing new members.