That we should simply declare we will defend the neutrality of Belgium by arms in case it should be attacked. Now, the sole or single-handed defense of Belgium would be an enterprise which we incline to think quixotic; if these two great military powers [France and Prussia] combined against it—that combination is the only serious danger; and this it is which by our proposed engagements we should, I hope, render improbable to the very last degree. I add for myself this confession of faith: If the Belgian people desire, on their own account, to join France or any other country, I for one will be no party to taking up arms to prevent it. But that the Belgians, whether they would or not, should go “plump” down the maw of another country to satisfy dynastic greed is another matter. The accomplishment of such a crime as this implies would come near to an extinction of public right in Europe, and I do not think we could look on while the sacrifice of freedom and independence was in course of consummation.
AN INTERVIEW WITH ANDREW CARNEGIE.
Retired ironmaster and philanthropist; builder of the Peace Temple at The Hague; founder of the Carnegie Institution at Washington; founder and patron of a chain of libraries in the United States and Great Britain, and benefactor of many societies and institutions.
By Edward Marshall.
Here is the report of a truly remarkable statement by Mr. Carnegie. He is the world’s most notable peace advocate, and in this interview he voices the reflections suggested to him by the great European war.
They are unusual, and make this interview especially worthy of a place upon the pages of the Christmas issue of THE TIMES, although it principally deals with war, and Christmas is the festival of peace.
“Has war ever settled anything which might not have been settled better by arbitration?” I asked Mr. Carnegie.
“No; never,” he replied. “No truer inference was ever made than may be found in Milton’s query, penned three centuries ago and never answered: ‘What can war but wars breed?’
“War can breed only war. Of course, peace inevitably must follow war, but, truly, no peace ever was born of war. We all revere the memory of him who voiced the warning: ‘In time of peace prepare for war’; but, as a matter of fact, we all know that when one nation prepares for war others inevitably must follow its dangerous lead.
“Hence, and hence only, the huge armaments which have oppressed the world, making its most peaceful years a spectacle of sadness—a spectacle of men preparing and prepared to fight with one another. Sooner or later men prepared to fight will fight; huge armaments and armies mean huge battles; huge battles mean huge tragedies.
“This never has been otherwise, and never can be. Peace can come only when mankind abandons warful preparation. And so I seem to have replied to your inquiry with an answer with a tail to it; and the tail is more important than the answer, for the answer merely says that war never settled anything which might not have been settled better by arbitration, while the tail proclaims the folly of a world prepared for war.”