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plete, unembarrassed by congressional interference, is daily coming to be recognized as a public misfortune. The dexterity of Presidents is repeatedly called upon to overcome the deficiencies of the constitution. By a master stroke of state-craft a former President, Mr. Cleveland, at an even more critical moment, obtained the necessary command of the situation. The Venezuela excitement was rapidly approaching a dangerous height. It was important to tide over the danger of the hour by means of a dilatory diplomatic commission. It was equally necessary, to make the expedient effective, that the President should acquire sole power of determining the personnel of the commission, free from the confirmatory control which the constitution vests in the Senate. To attain this end Mr. Cleveland paralyzed Congress by a message, so unexpected in its fierceness and boldness, that the Senate, in the surprise of the moment and under compulsion of popular enthusiasm, was obliged to surrender its control, and confer on the President the untrammelled power he demanded. He seized the opportunity to carry out his plan by selecting a commission of the learned, diplomatic and judicial quality he had intended, in place of one composed of furious politicians. The calculated deliberation of this commission carried the nation past the danger point, and delivered civilization from an imminent peril. In issuing his startling and apparently violent proclamation, the President was simply borrowing the device of the North American Indian, when threatened by a prairie fire. He set fire to leeward, and made a place of safety, in advance of the approaching conflagration. I hope that history will render belated justice to Mr. Cleveland, and that future generations of English-speaking nations will acknowledge their debt to his statecraft and courage. To his sole premeditated act it was owing that the war guns of the United States did not wake from their silence three years earlier, to spend their thunders in a more atrocious and unnatural war, against a thousand-fold more formidable foe.
Mr. McKinley appears to have sought to maintain the higher traditions of Presidential statemanship. It is evident that the President recognized, as a statesman, that, in a conflict with a European nation, other European nations might at some time or other claim a voice. He, therefore, with prudent foresight, desired to fortify the action of his country by keeping as closely as possible to European precedent. Such precedent was to be found in the action of the concert of Europe in the case of Crete. That action
no doubt was of a very extraordinary kind. It would have puzzled a jurist to define or defend it, upon any hitherto known principles of international law. The great Powers intervened in Crete without invitation, either from the acknowledged sovereign—the Sultan of Turkey-or from any constituted insurgent government, or even from any party among the inhabitants. Without declaring war, the Powers committed nearly all the overt acts of • While acknowledging the Porte's sovereignty, they practically annihilated it. They surrounded the coasts of his subjects' territory with their fleets; they forbade admission to his own fleets and armies. They landed their own troops upon his soil, and marched them at their pleasure through the Island. They interposed their own military cordon as a protection to the insurgents. They established police, and, when necessary, fired upon the subjects of the acknowledged sovereign. The Powers undertook to prescribe to the Sultan the form of Government which he should establish in his territory; and but for their own disagreements they would have made the necessary appointments to set it in motion. All these proceedings were covered by the magic term-Pacification.
The treatment of Crete was the model which Mr. McKinley proposed to follow in the case of Cuba. The circumstances in Cuba were, at least by allegation, substantially parallel to those which had existed in Crete. The United States, as an intervening power, was relatively in a position equivalent to that of the great Powers operating in the Mediterranean. The only other great power in America was the Empire, of which Canada is the integral representative on this continent. Our Empire was tacitly consenting to action by the United States, without desiring to participate in it. Mr. McKinley aimed at making his imitation of the action of the European Powers as close as possible. The purpose of intervention was to be not conquest but pacification. Mr. McKinley was as scrupulous as the Powers in leaving the nominal foreign sovereignty untouched. No independent local Government of Cuba was treated with or to be acknowledged; but local liberty was understood to be pressed for, and the acknowledged sovereign was required to leave the inhabitants to work out the autonomy Spain herself instituted, free from the shadow of a Spanish army. The work of police, if found necessary, was no doubt to be undertaken by the forces of the United States. Like the Powers, Mr. McKinley desired to refrain from any declaration of war, leaving that act to be taken by Spain, if she dissented from these arrangements.
While Mr. McKinley desired to put an end to every tangible grievance and to secure substantial liberty for the Cuban people, the aspiring leaders at the head of the rival factions in Congress had quite different aims. They put themselves at the head of the popular cry for the formal independence of Cuba. At the last the President appears to have suffered his hand to be forced. There is an unfortunate resemblance to the methods which brought about the miserable and fruitless war of 1812. Peremptory resolutions, inviting war, passed Congress, were confirmed by the President, and became the national ultimatum.
The President's policy was perhaps at fault in not more thoroughly taking the cue from President Cleveland's eminently successful method. He might have definitely pressed the Maine case as a conditional casus belli in his diplomatic communications with Spain. He would thereby have given expression to the real popular feeling animating the irresistible cry for war. By not doing so, the President played into the hands of the party whose object was war at all events. So distinct an issue was the last thing desired. Arbitration was sure to be tendered and the United States could not with decency repudiate the application of their own favourite principle, if it appeared that a substantial issue of fact as well as of international responsibility was in question. But it was clear to the war party that if the Maine incident was put forward, as the special issue, and met by a tender of arbitration, the United States Government would then be foreclosed from afterwards falling back upon any former grievance as a reasonable pretext of war. A definite prior grievance it would have been difficult to find. The large measure of autonomy already conceded to the Cubans promised that more would be obtained in time under continued pressure. The armistice which the United States required had been offered to the insurgents. The evil and suffering under the system of reconcentration were being alleviated. Congress carefully evaded making the destruction of the Maine its casus belli. The war has been commenced on other grounds and on these grounds must now proceed to its conclusion.
Mr. McKinley has been over-ruled as to the time of action, and, to some extent, as to the form of the justificatory declaration of the motive of the war. The position he desired to take was confused by the interference of Congress. Nevertheless the lines of the original Presidential policy are still discernible under the Congressional palimpsest; and they may yet govern the future interpretation of the position. The struggle between the President and Congress resulted in a compromise, which has made of the Congressional ultimatum, conveyed by the President to Spain, as extraordinary a document as is to be found in Parliamentary or diplomatic records. Beginning with a recital of grievances, some of them no longer operative, and many of them based on disputed allegations, there follows, not a request for remedy, but a declaration of the incapacity of the responsible power, and a demand that it should cease from attempting the remedy, and resign that task to the United States. Waiving doubts as to the facts, the proceedings so far, though undiplomatic in form, were hardly more so than the action of the Powers towards Turkey in the case of Crete. So far, the declaration departs little from the President's policy and the precedent he was seeking to imitate. The same policy is further followed by a paragraph disclaiming in advance the intention of conquest. For the purpose only of restoring order, it is declared, the forces of the United States are to be employed; and when that object is accomplished they are to be withdrawn, and the Government of the island left to its own people. Thus due place is given to the magic word-Pacification.
The chief battle between the President and the Houses was over a clause which the Senate desired to insert, recognizing the insurgent Government of Cuba, and declaring the Cuban people to be free and independent. This was the principal subject of the final compromise. It resulted in eliding the words which recognized the independent Government, but left standing the remainder of the clause, asserting that the people of Cuba "are and of right ought to be free and independent.” The premises of the syllogism remained after the conclusion had been struck out.
As applied to the existing conditions in Cuba, the statement that the people of Cuba are in fact free and independent, unaccompanied by recognition of any existing independent Government, is meaningless for any diplomatic or legal purpose. Under international law, and of practical necessity, the recognition of de facto Governments is as necessary to the maintenance of the society of nations as the theory of vested ownership of all visible private possessions is to the national law property.
The clause as it stands is copied from a paragraph in the declaration of independence of the United States. The famous document is not much honoured by such an inappropriate plagiarism. The formula that the people “are and of right ought to be free and independent,” contains two distinct statements. In both model and copy, an assertion of fact is coupled with an assertion of right. The virtue of the assertion of fact must depend upon its truth. Parliaments and Congresses are omnipotent within their own domain; but they have not the power to make that a fact which is contrary to fact; nor to impose a recognition of their assertions upon the outer world, at least in respect to matters happening beyond the national boundaries. The assertion of right has no validity whatever, because it is made by a stranger, not by those for whom the right is claimed.
The whole statement lacks the dignity and force which the same language had when it proceeded from the .pen of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. The parties in that case were the regularly constituted de facto representatives of the Colonies to whom their declaration related. They were sufficiently de jure representatives to be authorized to fling down that gage on behalf of their constituents. Their constituents, the people of the United Colonies, had the right to join in such a declaration, because they were prepared to ratify it by their own actually organized and efficient force. Their success ripened a de jure claim into a lawful fact.
On the termination of the war, the United States Government will be called upon to face a number of perplexing questions, in respect to which the terms of this declaration may involve important consequences.
Although coupled with this clause was another which called on Spain to withdraw her Government and authority from the Island of Cuba, yet the wording of the whole ultimatum, as finally settled, is susceptible of an interpretation which may leave the victory with the President. The nation may not find itself concluded from carrying out the President's policy in the final arrangements respecting the status of Cuba. This suggestion will be discussed in the part of this paper dealing with the probable result of the
The nation was hurried into war, greatly to its disadvantage from a military point of view, and scarcely less to its disadvantage in a moral sense. Foreign observers are left to doubt whether war with Spain was necessary. If it was unnecessary, unless war be regarded as an end in itself, it was a premature and prejudicial