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27. GETTYSBURG ADDRESS, 1863 1
THE National Military Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, was dedicated on November 19, 1863, as a memorial of the three-days' battle there the preceding July. Edward Everett made the formal oration upon this occasion. President Lincoln then spoke briefly. His address, perfect in form and elevated in feeling, has come to be universally recognized as a classic in American literature. It is also the best short exposition of the spirit of American democracy.
GETTYSBURG ADDRESS, 1863
Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate we cannot consecrate we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
1 Abraham Lincoln, Complete Works, vol. ii, p. 439. Edited by J. G. Nicolay and John Hay. New York, 1894. Century Company.
28. PEACE CIRCULAR OF NICHOLAS II, 1898 1
On August 24, 1898, the diplomatic representatives attending the weekly reception at the court of St. Petersburg were handed the circular note reproduced below. Though signed by Count Muraviev, Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs, it expressed the aspirations for universal peace of his royal master and led to the convocation of the First Hague Conference in the following year.
PEACE CIRCULAR OF NICHOLAS II, 1898
I. The maintenance of general peace and a possible reduction of the excessive armaments which weigh upon all nations present themselves, in the existing condition of the whole world, as the ideal toward which the endeavors of all governments should be directed.
The humanitarian and magnanimous views of his Majesty the emperor, my august master, are in perfect accord with this sentiment.
In the conviction that this lofty aim is in conformity with the most essential interests and the legitimate aspirations of all powers, the imperial government believes that the present moment would
very favorable for seeking, by means of international discussion, the most effective means of insuring to all peoples the benefits of a real and lasting peace, and above all of limiting the progressive development of existing armaments.
II. In the course of the last twenty years the longings for a general state of peace have become especially pronounced in the consciences of civilized nations. The preservation of peace has been put forward as the object of international policy. In its name great states have formed powerful alliances; and for the better guaranty of peace they have developed their military forces to proportions hitherto unknown and still continue to increase them without hesitating at any sacrifice.
All these efforts, nevertheless, have not yet led to the beneficent results of the desired pacification.
1 J. B. Scott, The Hague Conventions and Declarations of 1899 and 1907, pp. XV-xvi. Second Edition. New York, 1915. Oxford University Press.
The ever increasing financial charges strike and paralyze public prosperity at its source; the intellectual and physical strength of the nations, their labor and capital, are for the most part diverted from their natural application and unproductively consumed; hundreds of millions are spent in acquiring terrible engines of destruction, which, though to-day regarded as the last word of science, are destined tomorrow to lose all value, in consequence of some fresh discovery in the same field. National culture, economic progress, and the production of wealth are either paralyzed or perverted in their development.
Moreover, in proportion as the armaments of each power increase, so do they less and less attain the object aimed at by the governments. Economic crises, due in great part to the system of amassing armaments to the point of exhaustion, and the continual danger which lies in this accumulation of war material, are transforming the armed peace of our days into a crushing burden which the peoples have more and more difficulty in bearing. It appears evident, then, that if this state of affairs be prolonged, it will inevitably lead to the very cataclysm which it is desired to avert, and the impending horrors of which are fearful to every human thought.
In checking these increasing armaments and in seeking the means of averting the calamities which threaten the entire world lies the supreme duty to-day resting upon all states.
III. Imbued with this idea, his Majesty has been pleased to command me to propose to all the governments which have accredited representatives at the imperial court the holding of a conference to consider this grave problem.
This conference would be, by the help of God, a happy presage for the century about to open. It would converge into a single powerful force the efforts of all the states which sincerely wish the great conception of universal peace to triumph over the elements of disturbance and discord. It would at the same time cement their agreement by a solemn avowal of the principles of equity and law, upon which repose the security of states and the welfare of peoples.
29. FINAL ACT OF THE FIRST HAGUE PEACE CONFER
ENCE, 1899 1
THE First Peace Conference met at The Hague on the tsar's birthday, May 18, 1899, and adjourned on July 29. Twentysix states were represented. The United States and Mexico were the only American countries to take part in the proceedings. The conference could not agree to limit armaments or military expenditures, owing to the opposition of the great powers, particularly Germany. Nevertheless, agreements were reached relating to the pacific settlement of international disputes and to the regulation of warfare by land and sea. These are summarized in the Final Act here reproduced. Work still more important was accomplished by the Second Peace Conference of 1907, in which forty-four states, or practically all the civilized world, had representation. The conventions of the preceding conference were revised, new ones were adopted, and a judicial arbitration court, commonly known as the Hague Tribunal, was created. No subsequent conference has assembled, owing to the World War, but the functions of such an organization will henceforth be assumed by the League of Nations.
FINAL ACT OF THE FIRST HAGUE PEACE
The International Peace Conference, convoked in the best interests of humanity by his Majesty the Emperor of All the Russias, assembled, on the invitation of the government of her Majesty the Queen of the Netherlands, in the Royal House in the Wood at The Hague, on May 18, 1899.2
In a series of meetings, between May 18 and July 29, 1899, in which the constant desire of the delegates above mentioned has been to real
1 J. B. Scott, The Hague Conventions and Declarations of 1899 and 1907, pp. I, 25-31. Second Edition. New York, 1915. Oxford University Press. 2 Here follows the long list of delegates to the Conference,
slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so; and I have no inclination to do so." Those who nominated and elected me did so with the full knowledge that I had made this and many similar declarations, and had never recanted them. And, more than this, they placed in the platform for my acceptance, and as a law to themselves and to me, the clear and emphatic resolution which I now read:
“Resolved, That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the states, and especially the right of each state to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of power on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend; and we denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any state or territory, no matter under what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.”
I now reiterate these sentiments; and in doing so I only press upon the public attention the most conclusive evidence of which the case is susceptible that the property, peace, and security of no section are to be in anywise endangered by the now incoming administration. I add, too, that all the protection which, consistently with the Constitution and the laws, can be given will be cheerfully given to all the states when lawfully demanded, for whatever cause as cheerfully to one section as to another.
III. There is much controversy about the delivering up of fugitives from service or labor. The clause I now read is as plainly written in the Constitution as any other of its provisions:
“No person held to service or labor in one state, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.” 1
It is scarcely questioned that this provision was intended by those who made it for the reclaiming of what we call fugitive slaves; and the intention of the lawgiver is the law. All members of Congress swear their support to the whole Constitution
to this provision as much as to any other. To the proposition, then, that slaves whose cases come within the terms of this clause “shall be delivered up," their oaths are unanimous. Now, if they would make the effort in good temper, could they not, with nearly equal unanimity, frame and pass a law by means of which to keep good that unanimous oath?
1 Article iv, Section 2.