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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 be 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.
" 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 realize, in the fullest manner possible, the generous views of the august initiator of the conference and the intentions of their governments, the conference has agreed, for submission for signature by the plenipotentiaries, on the text of the conventions and declarations enumerated below nd annexed to the present act:
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.
I. Convention for the peaceful adjustment of international differences.
II. Convention regarding the laws and customs of war on land.
III. Convention for the adaptation to maritime warfare of the principles of the Geneva Convention of August 22, 1864. IV. Three declarations:
1. To prohibit the launching of projectiles and explosives from balloons or by other similar new methods.
2. To prohibit the use of projectiles, the only object of which is the diffusion of asphyxiating or deleterious gases.
3. To prohibit the use of bullets which expand or flatten easily in the human body, such as bullets with a hard envelope, of which the envelope does not entirely cover the core, or is pierced with incisions.
These conventions and declarations shall form so many separate acts. These acts shall be dated this day, and may be signed up to December 31, 1899, by the plenipotentiaries of the powers represented at the International Peace Conference at The Hague.
Guided by the same sentiments, the conference has adopted unanimously the following resolution:
“The conference is of opinion that the restriction of military charges, which are at present a heavy burden on the world, is extremely desirable for the increase of the material and moral welfare of mankind.”
It has, besides, formulated the following wishes:
1. The conference, taking into consideration the preliminary steps taken by the Swiss federal government for the revision of the Geneva Convention, expresses the wish that steps may be shortly taken for the assembly of a special conference having for its object the revision of that convention.
This wish was voted unanimously.
2. The conference expresses the wish that the questions of the rights and duties of neutrals may be inserted in the program of a conference in the near future.
3. The conference expresses the wish that the questions with