The hate-breeding and worse than brutal cruelties and devastations of the war, with their inevitable moral and physical degradations, ought to shock mankind into attempting a great step forward. Europe and America should undertake to exterminate the real causes of the catastrophe. In studying that problem the coming European conference can profit by the experience of the three prosperous and valid countries in which public liberty and the principle of federation have been most successfully developed—Switzerland, Great Britain, and the United States. Switzerland is a democratic federation which unites in a firm federal bond three different racial stocks speaking three unlike languages, and divided locally and irregularly between the Catholic Church and the Protestant. The so-called British Empire tends strongly to become a federation; and the methods of Government both in Great Britain itself and in its affiliated Commonwealths are becoming more and more democratic in substance. The war has brought this fact out in high relief. As to the United States, it is a strong federation of forty-eight heterogeneous States which has been proving for a hundred years that freedom and democracy are safer and happier for mankind than subjection to any sort of autocracy, and affords far the best training for national character and national efficiency. Republican France has not yet had time to give this demonstration, being incumbered with many survivals of the Bourbon and Napoleonic regimes, and being forced to maintain a conscript army.
It is an encouraging fact that every one of the political or Governmental changes needed is already illustrated in the practice of one or more of the civilized nations. To exaggerate the necessary changes is to postpone or prevent a satisfactory outcome from the present calculated destructions and wrongs and the accompanying moral and religious chaos. Ardent proposals to remake the map of Europe, reconstruct European society, substitute republics for empires, and abolish armaments are in fact obstructing the road toward peace and good-will among men. That road is hard at best.
The immediate duty of the United States is presumably to prepare, on the basis of its present army and navy, to furnish an effective quota of the international force, servant of an international tribunal, which will make the ultimate issue of this most abominable of wars not a truce, but a durable peace.
In the meantime the American peoples cry with one voice to the German people, like Ezekiel to the House of Israel: “Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die?”
CHARLES W. ELIOT.
Cambridge, Mass., Dec. 8, 1914.
By JOSEPH B. GILDER.
“He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh.”
The warring hosts that gather
To ravage, burn, and slay,
Turn first to that dread Father
To whom the nations pray: