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be the sooner ready for peace ; but this argument proves
too much, since it would oblige us, if logically carried out,
to go back to the marauding and atrocities of the Thirty
Years' War.

June 20.

Went to the session of one of the committees at the
"House in the Wood," and showed Mr. van Karnebeek
our private-property memorial, which he read, and on
which he heartily complimented us.

I then made known to him our proposal to lay a
wreath on the tomb of Grotius, and with this he seemed
exceedingly pleased, saying that the minister of foreign
affairs, M. de Beaufort, would be especially delighted,
since he is devoted to the memory of Grotius, and de-
livered the historical address when the statue in front
of the great church at Delft was unveiled.

A little later submitted the memorial, as previously
agreed upon, to Count Minister, who also approved it.

Holls telegraphs me from Berlin that he has been ad-
mirably received by the chancellor, Prince Hohenlohe,
and by Baron von Billow, and that he is leaving for Ham-
burg to see the Emperor.

At four P.M. to a meeting of the full conference to
receive report on improvements and extension of the Red
Cross rules, etc. This was adopted in a happy-go-lucky,
unparliamentary way, for the eminent diplomatist who
presides over the conference still betrays a Russian lack


of acquaintance with parliamentary proceedings. So
begins the first full movement of the conference in the
right direction ; and it is a good beginning.

Walked home through the beautiful avenues of the park
with Mr. van Karnebeek and Baron d'Estournelles, who
is also a charming man. He has been a minister pleni-
potentiary, but is now a member of the French Chamber
of Deputies and of the conference.

June 21.

Early in the morning received a report from Holls,
who arrived from Hamburg late last night. His talks
with Billow and Prince Hohenlohe had been most
encouraging. Billow has sent to the Emperor my long
private letter to himself, earnestly urging the acceptance
by Germany of our plan of arbitration. Prince Hohen-
lohe seems to have entered most cordially into our ideas,
giving Holls a card which would admit him to the Em-
peror, and telegraphing a request that his Majesty see
him. But the Emperor was still upon his yacht, at sea,
and Holls could stay no longer. Billow is trying to make
an appointment for him to meet the Emperor at the close
of the week.

Early in the afternoon went with Minister Newel and
Mr. Low to call on M. de Beaufort regarding plans for
the Grotius celebration, on July 4, at Delft. It was in
general decided that we should have the ceremony
in the great church at eleven o'clock, with sundry
speeches, and that at half -past twelve the American dele-
gation should give a luncheon to all the invited guests
in the town hall opposite.

Holls tells me that last night, at the dinner of the presi-
dent of the Austrian delegation, he met Miinster, who
said to him, "I can get along with Hohenlohe, and also
with Billow, but not with those d d lawyers in the For-
eign Office" ("Mit Hohenlohe kann ich auskommen, mit
Billow auch, dber mit diesen verdammten Juristen im
Auswdrtigen Ami, nicht").


June 22.

Up at four o 'clock and at ten attended a session of the
first section at the * ' House in the Wood. ' ' Very interest-
ing were the discussions regarding bullets and asphyx-
iating bombs. As to the former, Sir John Ardagh of
the British delegation repelled earnestly the charges
made regarding the British bullets used in India, and of-
fered to substitute for the original proposal one which
certainly would be much more effective in preventing
unnecessary suffering and death; but the Eussians
seemed glad to score a point against Great Britain, and
Sir John's proposal was voted down, its only support
being derived from our own delegation. Captain Cro-
zier, our military delegate, took an active part in sup-
porting Sir John Ardagh, but the majority against us
was overwhelming.

As to asphyxiating bombs, Captain Mahan spoke at
length against the provision to forbid them: his ground
being that not the slightest thing had yet been done look-
ing to such an invention; that, even if there had been,
their use would not be so bad as the use of torpedoes
against ships of war; that asphyxiating men by means
of deleterious gases was no worse than asphyxiating them
with water; indeed, that the former was the less dan-
gerous of the two, since the gases used might simply in-
capacitate men for a short time, while the blowing up of
a ship of war means death to all or nearly all of those
upon it.

To this it was answered and, as it seemed to me, with
force that asphyxiating bombs might be used against
towns for the destruction of vast numbers of non-combat-
ants, including women and children, while torpedoes at
sea are used only against the military and naval forces
of the enemy. The original proposal was carried by
a unanimous vote, save ours. I am not satisfied with
our attitude on this question; but what can a layman
do when he has against him the foremost contempo-
rary military and naval experts? My hope is that the


United States will yet stand with the majority on the

I stated afterward in a bantering way to Captain
Mahan, as well as others, that while I could not support
any of the arguments that had been made in favor of
allowing asphyxiating bombs, there was one which some-
what appealed to me namely, that the dread of them
might do something to prevent the rush of the rural
population to the cities, and the aggregation of the poorer
classes in them, which is one of the most threatening
things to modern society, and also a second argument
that such bombs would bring home to warlike stay-at-
home orators and writers the realities of war.

At noon received the French translation of our me-
morial to De Staal, but found it very imperfect through-
out, and in some parts absolutely inadmissible; so I
worked with Baron de Bildt, president of the Swedish
delegation here, all the afternoon in revising it.

At six the American delegation met and chose me for
their orator at the approaching Grotius festival at Delft.
I naturally feel proud to discharge a duty of this kind,
and can put my heart into it, for Grotius has long been
to me almost an object of idolatry, and his main works
a subject of earnest study. There are few men in his-
tory whom I so deeply venerate. Twenty years ago,
when minister at Berlin, I sent an eminent American
artist to Holland and secured admirable copies of the
two best portraits of the great man. One of these now
hangs in the Law Library of Cornell University, and
the other over my work-table at the Berlin Embassy.

June 23.

At work all the morning on letters and revising final
draft of memorial on immunity of private property at
sea, and lunched afterward at the " House in the Wood"
to talk it over with Baron de Bildt.

At the same table met M. de Martens, who has just
returned by night to his work here, after presiding a


day or two over the Venezuela arbitration tribunal at
Paris. He told me that Sir Richard "Webster, in opening
the case, is to speak for sixteen days, and De Martens
added that he himself had read our entire Venezuelan
report, as well as the other documents on the subject,
which form quite a large library. And yet we do not in-
clude men like him in l ' the working-classes ' ' !

In the evening to a reception at the house of M. de
Beaufort, minister of foreign affairs, and was cordially
greeted by him and his wife, both promising that they
would accept our invitation to Delft. I took in to the
buffet the wife of the present Dutch prime minister,
who also expressed great interest in our proposal, and
declared her intention of being present.

Count Zanini, the Italian minister and delegate here,
gave me a comical account of two speeches in the session
of the first section this morning ; one being by a delegate
from Persia, Mirza Riza Khan, who is minister at St.
Petersburg. His Persian Excellency waxed eloquent over
the noble qualities of the Emperor of Russia, and espe-
cially over his sincerity as shown by the fact that when
his Excellency tumbled from his horse at a review, his
Majesty sent twice to inquire after his health. The whole
effect upon the conference was to provoke roars of

But the great matter of the day was the news, which
has not yet been made public, that Prince Hohenlohe, the
German chancellor, has come out strongly for the arbi-
tration tribunal, and has sent instructions here accord-
ingly. This is a great gain, and seems to remove one
of the worst stumbling-blocks. But we will have to pay
for this removal, probably, by giving up section 10 of
the present plan, which includes a system of obligatory
arbitration in various minor matters, a system which
would be of use to the world in many ways. While
the American delegation, as stated in my letter which
Holls took to Biilow, and which has been forwarded to
the Emperor, will aid in throwing out of the arbitration



plan everything of an obligatory nature, if Germany in-
sists upon it, I learn that the Dutch Government is much
opposed to this concession, and may publicly protest
against it.

A curious part of the means used in bringing about
this change of opinion was the pastoral letter, elsewhere
referred to, issued by the Protestant Episcopal bishop
of Texas, calling for prayers throughout the State for
the success of the conference in its efforts to diminish
the horrors of war. This pastoral letter, to which I re-
ferred in my letter to Minister von Billow, I intrusted
to Holls, authorizing him to use it as he thought fit. He
showed it to Prince Hohenlohe, and the latter, although
a Roman Catholic, was evidently affected by it, and es-
pecially by the depth and extent of the longing for peace
which it showed. It is perhaps an interesting example
of an indirect " answer to prayer," since it undoubtedly
strengthened the feelings in the prince chancellor's mind
which led him to favor arbitration.

June 24.

Sent to M. de Staal, as president of the conference, the
memorial relating to the exemption of private property,
not contraband of war, from capture on the high seas.
Devoted the morning to blocking out my Grotius address,
and afterward drove with Holls to Delft to look over
the ground for our Fourth-of-July festival. The town
hall is interesting and contains, among other portraits,
one which is evidently a good likeness of Grotius; the
only difficulty is that, for our intended luncheon, the
rooms, though beautiful, seem inadequate.

Thence to the church, and after looking over that part
of it near the monuments, with reference to the Grotius
ceremony, went into the organ-loft with the organist.
There I listened for nearly an hour while he and
Holls played finely on that noble instrument ; and as I sat
and looked down over the church and upon the distant
monuments, the old historic scenes of four hundred years


ago came up before me, with memories almost overpow-
ering of my first visit thirty-five years ago. And all then
with me are now dead.

June 25.

At nine in the morning off with Holls to Rotterdam,
and on arriving took the tram through the city to the
steamboat wharf, going thence by steamer to Dort. Ar-
rived, just before the close of service, at the great church
where various sessions of the synod were held. The
organ was very fine; the choir-stalls, where those wretched
theologians wrangled through so many sessions and did
so much harm to their own country and others, were
the only other fine things in the church, and they were
much dilapidated. I could not but reflect bitterly on the
monstrous evils provoked by these men who sat so long
there spinning a monstrous theology to be substituted
for the teachings of Christ himself.

Thence back to The Hague and to Scheveningen, and
talked over conference matters with Count Minister. Re-
ceived telegrams from Count von Billow in answer to
mine congratulating him on his promotion, also one
from Baron von Mumm, the German minister at Luxem-
burg, who goes temporarily to Washington.

June 26.

At work all the morning on my Grotius address.
Lunched at the " House in the Wood," and walked to
town with sundry delegates. In the afternoon went to
a "tea" at the house of Madame Boreel and met a num-
ber of charming people ; but the great attraction was the
house, which is that formerly occupied by John De Witt
that from which he went to prison and to assassination.
Here also Motley lived, and I was shown the room in
which a large part of his history was written, and where
Queen Sophia used to discuss Dutch events and person-
ages with him.

The house is beautiful, spacious, and most charmingly


decorated, many of the ornaments and paintings having
been placed there in the time of De Witt.

June 27.

At all sorts of work during the morning, and then,
on invitation of President Low, went with the other mem-
bers of the delegation to Haarlem, where we saw the
wonderful portraits by Frans Hals, which impressed
me more than ever, and heard the great organ. It has
been rebuilt since I was there thirty-five years ago; but
it is still the same great clumsy machine, and very poorly
played, that is, with no spirit, and without any effort
to exhibit anything beyond the ordinary effects for which
any little church organ would do as well.

In the evening dined with Count Zanini, the Italian
minister and delegate, and discussed French matters with
Baron d'Estournelles. He represents the best type of
French diplomatist, and is in every way attractive.

Afterward to Mr. van Karnebeek's reception, meet-
ing various people in a semi-satisfactory way.

June 29.

In the morning, in order to work off the beginnings of
a headache, I went to Eotterdam and walked until noon
about the streets and places, recalling my former visit,
which came very vividly before me as I gazed upon the
statue of Erasmus, and thought upon his life here. No
man in history has had more persistent injustice done
him. If my life were long enough I would gladly use
my great collection of Erasmiana in illustrating his ser-
vices to the world. To say nothing of other things, the
modern "Higher Criticism" has its roots in his work.

June 30.

Engaged on the final revision of my Grotius speech,
and on various documents.

At noon to the "House in the Wood" for lunch, and
afterward took a walk in the grounds with Beldiman, the


Roumanian delegate, who explained to me the trouble
in Switzerland over the vote on the Red Cross Confer-

It appears that whereas Switzerland initiated the Red
Cross movement, has ever since cherished it, and has
been urged by Italy and other powers to take still fur-
ther practical measures for it, the Dutch delegation re-
cently interposed, secured for one of their number the
presidency of the special conference, and thus threw out
my Berlin colleague, Colonel Roth, who had been pre-
viously asked to take the position and had accepted it,
with the result that the whole matter has been taken out
of the hands of Switzerland, where it justly belonged,
and put under the care of the Netherlands. This has pro-
voked much ill feeling in Switzerland, and there is
especial astonishment at the fact that when Beldiman
moved an amendment undoing this unjust arrangement
it was, by some misunderstanding lost, and that therefore
there has been perpetuated what seems much like an in-
justice against Switzerland. I promised to exert myself
to have the matter rectified so far as the American dele-
gation was concerned, and later was successful in do-
ing so.

In the evening dined at Minister Newel's. Sat between
Minister Okolicsanyi of the Austrian delegation, and
Count Welsersheimb, the chairman of that delegation, and
had interesting talks with them, with the Duke of Tetuan,
and others. It appears that the Duke, who is a very
charming, kindly man, has, like myself, a passion both
for cathedral architecture and for organ music ; he dwelt
much upon Burgos, which he called the gem of Spanish

Thence to the final reception at the house of M. de
Beaufort, minister of foreign affairs, who showed me
a contemporary portrait of Grotius which displays the
traits observable in the copies which Burleigh painted
for me twenty years ago at Amsterdam and Leyden.
Talked with Sir Julian Pauncefote regarding the Swiss


matter; he had abstained from voting for the reason
that he had no instructions in the premises.

July 2.

In the morning Major Allen, military attache of our
embassy at Berlin, arrived, bringing the Grotius wreath.
Under Secretary Hay's permission, I had given to one
of the best Berlin silversmiths virtually carte "blanche,
and the result is most satisfactory. The wreath is very
large, being made up, on one side, of a laurel branch
with leaves of frosted silver and berries of gold, and, on
the other, of an oak branch with silver leaves and gold
acorns, both boughs being tied together at the bottom
by a large knot of ribbon in silver gilded, bearing the
arms of the Netherlands and the United States on en-
ameled shields, and an inscription as follows:

To the Memory of HUGO GROTIUS ;

In Reverence and Gratitude,

From the United States of America ;

On the Occasion of the International Peace Conference

of The Hague.

July 4th, 1899.

It is a superb piece of work, and its ebony case, with
silver clasps, and bearing a silver shield with suitable
inscription, is also perfect : the whole thing attracts most
favorable attention.



July 4.

ON this day the American delegation invited their
colleagues to celebrate our national anniversary
at the tomb of Grotius, first in the great church, and
afterward in the town hall of Delft. Speeches were made
by the minister of foreign affairs of the Netherlands,
De Beaufort ; by their first delegate, Van Karnebeek ; by
Mr. Asser, one of their leading jurists; by the burgo-
master of Delft ; and by Baron de Bildt, chairman of the
Swedish delegation and minister at Rome, who read a
telegram from the King of Sweden referring to Grotius 's
relations to the Swedish diplomatic service; as well as
by President Low of Columbia University and myself : the
duty being intrusted to me of laying the wreath upon
Grotius 's tomb and making the address with reference
to it. As all the addresses are to be printed, I shall give
no more attention to them here. A very large audience
was present, embracing the ambassadors and principal
members of the conference, the Netherlands ministers of
state, professors from the various universities of the
Netherlands, and a large body of other invited guests.

The music of the chimes, of the organ, and of the royal
choir of one hundred voices was very fine ; and, although
the day was stormy, with a high wind and driving rain,
everything went off well.

After the exercises in the church, our delegation gave



a breakfast, which was very satisfactory. About three
hundred and fifty persons sat down to the tables at the
town hall, and one hundred other guests, including the
musicians, at the leading restaurant in the place. In
the afternoon the Americans gathered at the reception
given by our minister, Mr. Newel, and his wife, and in
the evening there was a large attendance at an "Ameri-
can concert" given by the orchestra at the great hall in

July 5.

Early in the morning to the second committee of the
conference, where I spoke in behalf of the Beldirnan
resolution, doing justice to Switzerland as regards the
continuance of the Eed Cross interests in Swiss hands;
and on going to a vote we were successful.

Then, the question of a proper dealing with our memo-
rial regarding the immunity of private property on the
high seas coming up, I spoke in favor of referring it to
the general conference, and gave the reasons why it
should not simply be dropped out as not coming within
the subjects contemplated in the call to the conference.
Though my speech was in French, it went off better than
I expected.

In the afternoon, at the full conference, the same sub-
ject came up ; and then, after a preface in French, asking
permission to speak in English, I made my speech, which,
probably, three quarters of all the delegates understood,
but, at my request, a summary of it was afterward given
in French by Mr. van Karnebeek.

The occasion of this speech was my seconding the mo-
tion, made in a very friendly manner by M. de Martens,
to refer the matter to a future conference ; but I went into
the merits of the general subject to show its claims upon
the various nations, etc., etc., though not, of course, as
fully as I would have done had the matter been fully
under discussion. My speech was very well received,
and will, I hope, aid in keeping the subject alive.


In the afternoon drove to Ryswyck, to the house of
M. Cornets de Groot, the living representative of the
Grotius family. The house and grounds were very pleas-
ant, but the great attraction was a collection of relics of
Grotius, including many manuscripts from his own hand,
among these a catechism for his children, written in
the prison of Loewenstein ; with official documents, signed
and sealed, connected with the public transactions of his
time; also letters which passed between him and Oxen-
stiern, the great Swedish chancellor, some in Latin and
some in other languages; besides sundry poems. There
were also a multitude of portraits, engravings, and docu-
ments relating to Olden-Barneveld and others of Gro-
tius 's contemporaries.

The De Groot family gave us a most hearty reception,
introducing their little girl, who is the latest-born de-
scendant of Grotius, and showing us various household
relics of their great ancestor, including cups, glasses,
and the like. Mr. De Groot also gave me some curious
information regarding him which I did not before pos-
sess ; and, among other things, told me that when Grotius 's
body was transferred, shortly after his death, from Ros-
tock to Delft, the coffin containing it was stoned by a mob
at Rotterdam; also that at the unveiling of the statue
of Grotius in front of the church at Delft, a few years
ago, the high-church Calvinists would not allow the chil-
dren from their church schools to join the other children
in singing hymns. The old bitterness of the extreme
Calvinistic party toward their great compatriot was thus
still exhibited, and the remark was made at the time,
by a member of it, that the statue was perfectly true to
life, since "its back was turned toward the church";
to which a reply was made that " Grotius 's face in the
statue, like his living face, was steadily turned toward
justice." This latter remark had reference to the fact
that a court is held in the city hall, toward which the
statue is turned.

In the evening to a dinner given by Mr. Piersoon, min-


ister of finance and prime minister of the Netherlands,
to our delegation and to his colleagues of the Dutch
ministry. Everything passed off well, Mr. Piersoon
proposing a toast to the health of the President of the
United States, to which I replied in a toast to the Queen
of the Netherlands. In the course of his speech Mr.
Piersoon thanked us for our tribute to Grotius, and
showed really deep feeling on the subject. There is no
doubt that we have struck a responsive chord in the
hearts of all liberal and thoughtful men and women of
the Netherlands; from every quarter come evidences of

A remark of his, regarding arbitration, especially
pleased us. He said that the arbitration plan, as it had
come from the great committee, was like a baby: ap-
parently helpless, and of very little value, unable to do
much, and requiring careful nursing ; but that it had one
great merit: it would grow.

This I believe to be a very accurate statement of the
situation. The general feeling of the conference becomes
better and better. More and more the old skepticism has
departed, and in place of it has come a strong ambition

Online LibraryAndrew Dickson WhiteAutobiography of Andrew Dickson White (Volume 2) → online text (page 29 of 54)