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- The Duel Between France and Germany - 10/13 -

so that he made it his own. Rousseau, in his treatise on the subject, [Footnote: J. J. Rousseau, Extrait du Projet de Paix Perpetuelle de M. l'Abbe de Saint-Pierre; avec Lettre a M. de Bastide, et Jugement sur la Paix Perpetuelle: Oeuvres, (edit. 1788-93,) Tom. VII. pp. 339-418.] popularized Saint-Pierre. But it is to Germany that we must look for the most complete and practical development of this beautiful idea. If French in origin, it is German now in authority.

The greatest minds in Germany have dealt with this problem, and given to its solution the exactness of science. No greater have been applied to any question. Foremost in this list, in time and in fame, is Leibnitz, that marvel of human intelligence, second, perhaps, to none in history, who, on reading the "Project of Perpetual Peace" by the Abbe de Saint-Pierre, pronounced this judgment: "I have read it with attention, and am persuaded that such a project is on the whole feasible, and that its execution would be one of the most useful things in the world." [Footnote: Observations sur le Projet d'une Paix Perpetuelle de M. l'Abbe de Saint-Pierre: Opera, ed. Dutens, (Genevae, 1768,) Tom. V. p. 56.] Thus did Leibnitz affirm its feasibility and its immense usefulness. Other minds followed, in no apparent concert, but in unison. I may be pardoned, if, without being too bibliographical, I name some of these witnesses.

At Goettingen, renowned for its University, the question was opened, at the close of the Seven Years' War in 1763, in a work by Totze, whose character appears in its title, "Permanent and Universal Peace in Europe, according to the Plan of Henry IV." [Footnote: Der ewige und allgemeine Friede in Europa, nach dem Entwurf Heinrichs IV.] At Leipsic, also the seat of a University, the subject was presented in 1767 by Lilienfeld, in a treatise of much completeness, under the name of "New Constitution for States," [Footnote: 2 Neues Staatsgebaeude.] where, after exposing the wretched chances of the battlefield and the expense of armaments in time of peace, the author urges submission to Arbitrators, unless a Supreme Tribunal is established to administer International Law and to judge between nations. In 1804 appeared another work, of singular clearness and force, by Karl Schwab, entitled "Of Unavoidable Injustice," [Footnote: Ueber das unvermeidliche Unrecht.] where the author describes what he calls the Universal State, in which nations will be to each other as citizens in the Municipal State. He is not so visionary as to imagine that justice will always be inviolate between nations in the Universal State, for it is not always so between citizens in the Municipal State; but he confidently looks to the establishment between nations of the rules which now subsist between citizens, whose differences are settled peaceably by judicial tribunals.

These works, justly important for the light they shed, and as expressions of a growing sentiment, are eclipsed in the contributions of the great teacher, Immanuel Kant, who, after his fame in philosophy was established, so that his works were discussed and expounded not only throughout Germany, but in other lands, in 1795 crave to the world a treatise entitled "On Perpetual Peace," [Footnote: Zum ewigen Frieden.] which was promptly translated into French, Danish, and Dutch. Two other works by him attest his interest in the subject, the first entitled "Idea for a General History in a Cosmopolitan View," [Footnote: Idee zu einer allgemeinen Geschichte in weltburgerlicher Absicht.] and the other, "Metaphysical Elements of Jurisprudence." [Footnote: Metaphysische Anfangsgrunde der Rechtslehre.] His grasp was complete. A treaty of peace which tacitly acknowledges the right to wage war, as all treaties now do, according to Kant is nothing more than a truce. An individual war may be ended, but not the _state of war_; so that, even after cessation of hostilities, there will be constant fear of their renewal, while the armaments known as Peace Establishments will tend to provoke them. All this should be changed, and nations should form one comprehensive Federation, which, receiving other nations within its fold, will at last embrace the civilized world; and such, in the judgment of Kant, was the irresistible tendency of nations. To a French poet we are indebted for the most suggestive term, "United States of Europe"; [Footnote: Victor Hugo, Discours d'Ouverture du Congres de la Paix a Paris, 21 1849: Treize Discours, (Paris, 1851,) p. 19.] but this is nothing but the Federation of the illustrious German philosopher. Nor was Kant alone among his great contemporaries. That other philosopher, Fichte, whose name at the time was second only to that of Kant, in his "Groundwork of the Law of Nature," [Footnote: Grundlage des Naturrechts.] published in 1796, also urges a Federation of Nations, with an established tribunal to which all should submit. Much better for civilization, had the King at Konigsberg, instead of grasping the sword, hearkened to the voice of Kant, renewed by Fichte.

With these German oracles in its support, the cause cannot be put aside. Even in the midst of war, Philosophy will be heard, especially when she speaks words of concurring authority that touch a chord in every heart. Leibnitz, Kant, and Fichte, a mighty triumvirate of intelligence, unite in testimony. As Germany, beyond any other nation, has given to the idea of Organized Peace the warrant of philosophy, it only remains now that she should insist upon its practical application. There should be no delay. Long enough has mankind waited while the river of blood flowed on.


The working-men of Europe, not excepting Germany, respond to the mandate of Philosophy, and insist that the War System shall be abolished. At public meetings, in formal resolutions and addresses, they have declared war against War, and they will not be silenced. This is not the first time that working-men have made themselves heard for international justice. I cannot forget, that, while Slavery was waging war against our nation, the working-men of Belgium in public meeting protested against that precocious Proclamation of Belligerent Rights by which the British Government gave such impulse to the Rebellion; and now, in the same spirit, and for the sake of true peace, they declare themselves against that War System by which the peace of nations is placed in such constant jeopardy. They are right; for nobody suffers in war as the working-man, whether in property or in person. For him war is a ravening monster, devouring his substance, and changing him from citizen to military serf. As victim of the War System he is entitled to be heard.

The working-men of different countries have been organizing in societies, of which it is difficult at present to tell the number and extent. It is known that these societies exist in Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and England, as well as in our own country, and that they have in some measure an international character. In France, before the war, there were 438,785 men in the organization, and in Germany 150,000. Yet this is but the beginning. [Footnote: La Solidarite, 25 Juin 1870,--as cited by Testu, _L' Internationale, (me edit.,) p. 275.]

At the menace of the present war, all these societies were roused. The society known as the International Working-Men's Association, by their General Council, issued an address, dated at London, protesting against it as a war of dynasties, denouncing Louis Napoleon as an enemy of the laboring classes, and declaring "the war-plot of July, 1870, but an amended edition of the _coup d'etat_ of December, 1851." The address then testifies generally against war, saying,--

"They feel deeply convinced, that, whatever turn the impending horrid war may take, _the alliance of the working classes of all countries will ultimately kill war_." [Footnote: The General Council of the International Working-Men's Association on the War, (London, July 23, 1870.) p. iv.]

At the same time the Paris branch of the International Association put forth a manifesto addressed "To the Working-Men of all Countries," from which I take these passages:--

"Once more, under the pretext of European equilibrium, of national honor, political ambitions menace the peace of the world.

"French, German, Spanish working-men! _let our voices unite in a cry of reprobation against war!_

* * * * * *

"War for a question of preponderance, or of dynasty, can, in the eyes of working-men, be nothing but a criminal absurdity.

"In response to the warlike acclamations of those who exonerate themselves from the impost of blood, or who find in public misfortunes a source of new speculations, we protest,--we who wish for peace, work, and liberty.

* * * * * *

"Brothers of Germany!....our divisions would only bring about _the complete triumph of despotism on both sides of the Rhine._

* * * * * *

"Working-men of all countries! whatever may be the result of our common efforts, we, members of the International Association of Working-Men, who know no frontiers, we send you, as a pledge of indissoluble solidarity, the good wishes and the salutations of the working-men of France." [Footnote: Testu, L'Internationale, pp. 279-80. The General Council of the International Working-Men's Association on the War, p. ii.]

To this appeal, so full of truth, touching to the quick the pretence of balance of power and questions of dynasty as excuses for war, and then rising to "a cry of reprobation against war," the Berlin branch of the International Association replied:--

"We join with heart and hand in your protestation..... Solemnly we promise you that neither the noise of drums nor the thunder of cannon, neither victory nor defeat, shall turn us aside from our work for the union of the proletaries of all countries." [Footnote: Testu, pp. 284-85. The General Council, etc., p. iii.]

Then came a meeting of delegates at Chemnitz, in Saxony, representing fifty thousand Saxon working-men, which put forth the following hardy words:--

"We are happy to grasp the fraternal hand stretched out to us by the working-men of France.... Mindful of the watchword of the International Working-Men's Association, _Proletarians of all countries, unite!_ we shall never forget that the working-men

The Duel Between France and Germany - 10/13

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