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jected a stump speech into the belly of a certain bill, and Mr. Olney has certainly injected a stump speech into his letter. Its second half reads much more like an old-fashioned Fourth of July oration than like a grave and cautious diplomatic paper. This part is an exposition of the Monroe doctrine and its application to the case in hand. In advance of the present stage of this controversy, some one, with a touch of humor in a serious discussion, said that the Monroe doctrine had " no more to do with it than with the damnation of non-elect infants." That is a liberal phrase, but it is hardly an exaggeration of the fact. I am giving you my own impression, but not without the happy consciousness that I am one of many in this view, and that some of the many are persons of the greatest weight. The Monroe doctrine was announced by President Monroe in his message of Dec. 2, 1823. It had two leading positions: 1. "That our Western continents are not henceforth to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers." We have Mr. Olney's assurance that position does not concern us now. 2. "We could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing [the free and independent States of this hemisphere] or controlling in any other manner their destiny, by any European power, in any other light than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States." So cordial was the sympathy of England with this doctrine that it was published by her advice; and Charles Sumner contended that it should be called the Canning doctrine rather than the Monroe doctrine, Canning being in 1823 the king's prime minister. It was inspired by the character and conduct of the Holy Alliance, Russia, Prussia, Austria, and France,— which, violently reacting from the French Revolution, was trying everywhere to force its absolutist principles and governments upon the world. Those principles have nowhere now, except in Russia, anyone so poor as to do them reverence. It was against the attempt of the Holy Alliance "to extend its system" to our *Not necessarily entailing a retaliatory war.
hemisphere a very real danger in 1823, when we were a young nation of nine million people — that the Monroe doctrine was declared. But will any one outside a lunatic asylum maintain that Great Britain is attempting to impose the despotic system of the Holy Alliance, which she repudiated even in 1823 as earnestly as we, or any system of her own, despotic or monarchical, on Venezuela?
one maintain that we have less political sympathy with Great Britain than with a characteristic Spanish-American state, whose inhabitants have been busy for nearly twenty years out of the last fifty cutting each other's throats?
Is it not agreed to-day that the British system is practically more democratic than our own,* seeing that they could abolish their monarchy to-morrow by act of Parliament, while we could not lengthen the term of our President's office without a constitutional amendment adopted by Congress and by two-thirds of all the States? The Monroe doctrine opposed the extension of European despotism to this country as "dangerous to our peace and safety." Does any one imagine, with England already owning half the hemisphere, our neighbor from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and as good a neighbor as could be desired, that the acquisition of a few thousand square miles of territory in South America would be "dangerous to our peace and safety"? To answer this question in the affirmative would be humiliating in the extreme for a nation of seventy million people.†
Here is the sum and substance of the Monroe doctrine : We should consider the attempt of any European despotism to impose its system on a free American State as dangerous to our peace and safety. Is Great Britain a European despotism, and is she trying to impose her despotic system on any free American State in a manner that is dangerous to our free institutions? If not, the present controversy does not
*See Sir Henry Sumner Maine's "Popular Government."
† What would endanger our peace and comfort, if not our safety, would be a war that would find Canada as friendly as need be, and leave her as unfriendly as possible. Such, at any rate, was the result of the northern campaigns of 1776-77 in the Revolutionary War.
come within the scope of the Monroe doctrine. The matter in dispute is a boundary which apparently has never been. clearly defined, and therefore leaves either side free "to claim everything" within certain extreme limits. It is a monstrous shame and pity that the dispute should not be amicably settled.
That the action of our government will conduce to such a happy consummation we have little reason to believe. There was no need of any threat of war. It has encouraged evil passions abroad and at home. It has already been the ruin of much honest business; and will be of a great deal more. Our national currency, already in a precarious condition, is put in a much graver plight. But let us hope for better things. The political opposition will see to it, above all things, that no advantage inures to the President or his party from the course of events; and therein we have one powerful brake upon the flying wheels. Then, too, it may be that the finding of our commission will be favorable to Great Britain; and, if it should be so, the only thunder of the war-cloud will be the crack of a tremendous joke, the expense of which we shall share with Venezuela. If the finding tends the other way, as not improbably it may, we shall not, I trust, tender it to England as our ultimatum at the cannon's mouth, but with so much gravity and serenity and good humor that, if she does not accede to it, she will feel obliged to show us most convincingly that we are in the wrong. There are a thousand noble artifices which we must exhaust before, in a cause so complicated and obscure, we make the dread appeal that will involve us in an awful conflict with that people to whom we are allied as with no other by ties of blood and history and literature and the heritage of glorious names, and to whom, with us, have been committed in trust the largest promise and the dearest hope of human life on earth.
The final outcome of our trouble will depend upon the thought and feeling of innumerable men and women; and what I have tried to do this morning has been to contribute
something to the justice of your minds, something to the goodness of your hearts, so that your individual contributions to the common stock of better thought and feeling may be compacted of the things that make for peace.
"My song save this is little worth:
And wish you health and joy and mirth
Be this, good friends, our carol still,-
To men of gentle will!"
THE LIFE-LONG JOY.
It is hardly too much to say that the Bible has been more highly valued in the past and to this present time for what it does not than for what it does contain, for what men have put into it and taken out again rather than for what is actually there, for the mistakes of its translators rather than for the truer meanings they have missed. This state of things has been only natural, if not unavoidable, so prone are men to seek and find their own opinions in any scripture to which they go for an infallible rule, and so difficult is it for the mind of one age to enter into and interpret simply and exactly that of another far remote. The "New English. Dictionary" teaches a lesson which theologians have been very slow to learn: that the meaning of words is a continual flux, and that to treat them as if they were signs indicating fixed quantities of meaning is absurd. Do our best, and there will remain hundreds of words, ideas, thoughts, in the Old Testament and New that we can never understand, their meaning is so relative to the total intellectual, and moral outlook of the ancient world. There is much that we have recovered that is so relative to changed conditions that it has no value for us, save as a record of entirely obsolete ideas; and, with regard to much that we have not yet recovered, and may never, we may console ourselves with the reflection that, once recovered, it would have no word of counsel or encouragement for our present difficulties, doubts, and fears. At the same time there are other sentences and passages in the Old Testament and New that roll up the ages like a scroll, fill up as 'twere the gap of centuries between our time and that of the prophets and apostles, and