Page images

and beautiful and good,---may we not piously believe that the mighty and beneficent shade of William of Orange recognized with joy the birth-hour of Grotius as that of a compatriot who was to give the Netherlands a lasting glory? May not that great and glorious spirit have also looked lovingly upon Grotius as a boy lingering on this spot where we now stand, and recognized him as one whose work was to go on adding in every age new glory to the nation which the mighty Prince of the House of Orange had, by the blessing of God, founded and saved; may not, indeed, that great mind have foreseen in that divine light, another glory not then known to mortal ken? Who shall say that in the effluence of divine knowledge he may not have beheld Grotius, in his full manhood, penning the pregnant words of the “ De Jure Belli ac Pacis," and that he may not have foreseen-as largely resulting from it—what we behold to-day, as an honor of the august Monarch who convoked it, to the Netherlands who have given it splendid hospitality, and to all modern states here represented,the first conference of the entire world ever held, and that conference assembled to increase the securities for peace and to diminish the horrors of war.

For, my honored colleagues of the Peace Conference, the germ of this work in which we are all so earnestly engaged lies in a single sentence of Grotius's great book. Others, indeed, had proposed plans for the peaceful settlement of differences between nations, and the world remembers them with honor: to all of them, from Henry IV, and Kant, and St. Pierre, and Penn, and Bentham, down to the humblest writer in favor of peace, we may well feel grateful; but the germ of arbitration was planted in modern thought when Grotius, urging arbitration and mediation as preventing war, wrote these solemn words in the “ De Jure Belli ac Pacis” : “ Maxime autem christiani reges et civitates tenentur hanc inire viam ad arma vitanda."1

My honored colleagues and friends, more than once I have come as a pilgrim to this sacred shrine. In my young manhood, more than thirty years ago, and at various times since, I have sat here and reflected upon what these mighty men here entombed have done for the world, and what, though dead, they yet speak to mankind. I seem to hear them still.

From this tomb of William the Silent comes, in this hour, a voice bidding the Peace Conference be brave, and true, and trustful in that Power in the Universe which works for righteousness.

From this tomb of Grotius I seem to hear a voice which says to us, as the delegates of the nations: “Go on with your mighty work: avoid, as you would avoid the germs of pestilence, those exhalations of international hatred which take shape in monstrous fallacies and morbid fictions regarding alleged antagonistic interests. Guard well the treasures of civilization with which each of you is entrusted; but bear in mind that you hold a mandate from humanity. Go on with your work. Pseudo-philosophers will prophesy malignantly against you; pessimists will laugh you to scorn; cynics will sneer at you; zealots will abuse you for what you have not done; sublimely unpractical thinkers will revile you for what you have done; ephemeral critics will ridicule you as dupes; enthusiasts, blind to the difficulties in your path and to everything outside their little circumscribed fields, will denounce you as traitors to humanity. Heed them not,-go on with your work. Heed not the clamor of zealots, or cynics, or pessimists, or pseudo-philosophers, or enthusiasts, or fault-finders. Go on with the work of strengthening peace and humanizing war; give greater scope and strength to provisions which will make war less cruel; perfect those laws of war which diminish the unmerited sufferings of populations; and, above all, give to the world at least a beginning of an effective, practicable scheme of arbitration.”

1“ But above all, Christian kings and states are bound to take this way of avoiding recourse to arms."

These are the words which an American seems to hear issuing from this shrine to-day; and I seem also to hear from it a prophecy. I seem to hear Grotius saying to us : “Fear neither opposition nor detraction. As my own book, which grew out of the horrors of the Wars of Seventy and the Thirty Years' War, contained the germ from which your great Conference has grown, so your work, which is demanded by a world bent almost to breaking under the weight of ever-increasing armaments, shall be a germ from which future Conferences shall evolve plans ever fuller, better, and nobler.”

And I also seem to hear a message from him to the jurists of the great universities who honor us with their presence today, including especially that renowned University of Leyden which gave to Grotius his first knowledge of the law; and that eminent University of Königsberg which gave him his most philosophical disciple: to all of these I seem to hear him say: "Go on in your labor to search out the facts and to develop the principles which shall enable future Conferences to build more and more broadly, more and more loftily for peace.”

And now, your excellencies, Mr. Burgomaster, and honored deans of the various universities of the Netherlands, a simple duty remains to me. In accordance with instructions from the President and on behalf of the people of the United States of America, the American Commission at the Peace Conference, by my hand, lays on the tomb of Grotius this simple tribute. It combines the oak, symbolical of civic virtue, with the laurel, symbolical of victory. It bears the following inscription:




JULY 4, 1899"

—and it encloses two shields, one bearing the arms of the House of Orange and of the Netherlands, the other bearing the arms of the United States of America; and both these shields are bound firmly together. They represent the gratitude of our country, one of the youngest among the nations of the earth, to this old and honored Commonwealth,-gratitude for great services in days gone by, gratitude for recent courtesies and kindnesses; and above all they represent to all time a union of hearts and minds in both lands for peace between the nations.

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

" DO

JORNSTJERNE BJORNSON, a celebrated Norwegian dramatist, novel.

ist, and orator, was born at Krikne, in northwestern Norway, December 8, 1832. He was the son of a Lutheran clergyman, and, after studying at the Latin school at Molde, was sent to the University of Christiania. His attention was early given to literature, and his first book, Solbakken," a novel of Norwegian peasant life, appeared in 1857. It was almost immediately popular and was followed within the next ten years by the novels “ Arne" (1858); En Glad Gut" (" A Happy Boy ") (1859); “ Fiskerjenten (“ The Fisher Lass ") (1868). During this period he was engaged also in producing dramas, which did not so quickly win their way to favor, the first of them being a tragedy, “ HalteHulda" (1858). To this succeeded “ Kong Sverre' (1861); Sigurd Slembe' (1862), a masterly trilogy which showed him at his best; Nygifte" (" The Newly Married ") (1865), a comedy; “Maria Stuart" (1867), a tragedy. After 1870, Björnson devoted himself assiduously to the study of foreign thought and literature, with the result that by 1874 he came into prominence as an advocate of republican ideas, and free thought in religion. Besides declaring his new views in various pamphlets and addresses, he gave utterance to them in a notable series of dramas bearing upon the problems of the 'time, such as “ Redakteren (" The Editor") (1874); “En Fallit” (“ Bankruptcy ") (1875); “ Det ny System (“ The New System) (1875); " Kongen (" The King ") (1879); “ Leonarda" (1879); En Hanske” (A Glove ") (1883); Over Evne (“Overstrained ") (1883). Among other works of his are: Magnhild" (1877); “ Kaptejn Mansana" (1879); “ Arnljot Gelline " (1892); " Johanne" (1898). Björnson was for many years the most popular as well as the greatest Norwegian orator, and his influence as a political leader was as marked a feature of his career as his literary success.


[ocr errors]

LE BULL was loved,—that has been shown at his

grave to-day. Ole Bull was honored; but it is more

to be loved than to be honored. If we wish to understand the origin of this deep affection for Ole Bull—to understand Ole Bull himself, what he was, and what he now is for us-we must go back to the time when he first came before the public.

« PreviousContinue »