Page images
[ocr errors]

trines which declare that the human being is but a collection of atoms, conscience and the mind merely an association of ideas; now that I have protested, I say that we must avoid another form of materialism. I mean that ecclesiastical materialism which converts the ministers of Christ into Carlists, which makes Mount Esquinza an altar, and which blesses the infamous gems of the Curate of Santa Cruz.

Yet, on the other hand, it is most necessary that sincere belief should have its foundation in the intellect, for we may be sure that if the soul is left free it will seek God as its centre of gravity.

Gentlemen, do you know what are the faults of Catholicism? That is to say, the faults of the practice of Catholicism (it would be a profanation to say that. Catholicism in itself has faults). Do you know wherein it fails? In its form and ritual. For men go to Mass without understanding the prayers that are said, and to the Communion without realizing why they participate. They worship with their lips but not with their hearts.

Gentlemen, the longer we live the more we become convinced that there are no new revelations. The longer we live the more we are convinced that no new religious ideas are necessary; but what we do need is that the people of the Latin race should spiritualize the old ones. We find our selves in a position analogous to that which characterized the sixteenth century. We of the nineteenth century need an ideal as they needed it then, when Martin Luther kindled the fires of the glorious Reformation; that great and extraordinary man, the successor of Armenius, educated, as he was, in a monastery, and so prone to mysticism that he saw angelic visions and imagined that the devil himself came to tempt him, this great man, I say, believed that as an antidote to ecclesiastical materialism it was needful to read but one book, necessary only to follow the inspiration of conscience.

Luther recoiled from the marble cloisters surrounded with luxurious gardens, from incongruous groups of virgins and fawns, from elegant Ciceronians speaking classic Latin, which they were so anxious to retain that instead of praying to God they invoked the heathen deities of Rome.

Thus Luther brought forth that religious idea which in Germany has substituted the leadership of Protestant Prussia for the leadership of Catholic Austria, which has given to the world, instead of the Spanish colonial empire, the British colonial empire. And this new religion penetrates to the very heart of the people, and has made them more orthodox, because it has given them free thought and has proclaimed the great principle of the sacredness, the individuality, and the spirituality of conscience.

We need Christian unison; well, let us seek for it in our hearts. Do not demand a formal and liturgical oath; but instead take for an example the spontaneous prayer of gratitude which you offer God every day in return for his gracious gift of life.

I do not rise with a spirit of antagonism, gentlemen, but with a spirit of conciliation. I have no objection as long as they do not humiliate my conscience, my life, my traditions.

Why should I have any objections to using the name of God, gentlemen of the Congress? I see him in the realm of nature; I listen to him in the harmony of the spheres. I feel him in the beauty of art.

I know him as the supreme immortal being. I proclaim him as the absolute truth in religion and in conscience.

I have no objection whatsoever to swearing by the holy

gospels, because, after having read the greatest books, I have found none more sublime than these. I have studied the greatest orators and have listened to their words, but I know of no oration so sublime, so divine as that which declares “ blessed are they that mourn,'

" “ blessed are they that are persecuted." I know of nothing equal to our Lord's Sermon on the Mount.

I have seen the great places of the world—the Capitol which was called the head of the earth; the Parthenon, which was the spring of art; and I believe that there is no loftier height than the Cross, because its arms reach the heavens.

If you wish, I swear by God and the holy gospels, in the name of all we have respected on the face of this earth, with my hand upon my heart I swear fidelity by him alone who is eternal. I swear by him whose power has placed us upon earth; I swear by him, gentlemen, an eternal and inviolable fidelity to my country.

But I will never take any other oath.

[Special translation.)


[ocr errors]

diplomat, was born at Homer, New York, November 7, 1832. He received his early education in the public schools of Syracuse and graduated at Yale College in 1853. He afterward studied at the College of France and the University of Berlin. In 1857, after serving as attaché to the United States legation at St. Petersburg, he was appointed professor of history at the University of Michigan, where he taught for seven years. In 1863 he was elected a member of the New York Senate, and sat in that body until he became president of Cornell University in 1867. In 1871 he was sent to the republic of Santo Domingo as a special commissioner, and in 1878 was appointed special commissioner to the Paris exposition. In 1879 he went to Germany as United States minister and remained there three years. In 1885 he resigned the presidency of the University, and for a time was engaged in no public capacity, but in 1892 he became ambassador to Russia. In 1897, after having rendered signal services as a member of the Venezuela commission, he was again sent as ambassador to the Court of Berlin. He was a member of the Peace commission which met at The Hague in 1899. He was regent of the Smithsonian Institute and an officer of the Legion of Honor of the French Republic. Besides many contributions in the serious magazine literature of the day, he published “A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology;" “ Lectures on Mediæval and Modern History;" “ The New Germany;" “ Studies in General History;". History of the Doctrine of Comets;' Paper Money Inflation in France," and many other books.



[ocr errors]

OUR EXCELLENCIES, Mr. Burgomaster, Gentle

men of the University Faculties, My Honored Col

leagues of the Peace Conference, Ladies and Gentlemen,-The Commission of the United States comes here this day to discharge a special duty. We are instructed to acknowledge, on behalf of our country, one of its many great debts to the Netherlands.

This debt is that which, in common with the whole world, we owe to one of whom all civilized lands are justly proud, the poet, the scholar, the historian, the statesman, the diplomatist, the jurist, the author of the treatise “ De Jure Belli ac Pacis.

Of all works not claiming divine inspiration, that book, written by a man proscribed and hated both for his politics and his religion, has proved the greatest blessing to humanity, More than any other it has prevented unmerited suffering, misery, and sorrow; more than any other it has ennobled the military profession; more than any other it has promoted the blessings of peace and diminished the horrors of war.

On this tomb, then, before which we now stand, the delegates of the United States are instructed to lay a simple tribute to him whose mortal remains rest beneath it-Hugo de Groot, revered and regarded with gratitude by thinking men throughout the world as “Grotius."

Naturally we have asked you to join us in this simple ceremony. For his name has become too great to be celebrated by his native country alone; too great to be celebrated by Europe alone: it can be fitly celebrated only in the presence of representatives from the whole world.

For the first time in human history there are now assembled delegates with a common purpose from all the nations, and they are fully represented here. I feel empowered to speak words of gratitude, not only from my own country, but from each of these. I feel that my own country, though one of the youngest in the great sisterhood of nations, utters at this shrine to-day, not only her own gratitude, but that of every part of Europe, of all the great Powers of Asia, and of the sister republics of North and South America.

« PreviousContinue »