“The Government Cannot Speak for Peace” American Sentinel 14, 41, pp. 641, 642.

A STRONG effort has been made, through mass meetings and petitions, to induce the Chief Executive of this Government to offer its services to Great Britain as arbitrator to avert war in the Transvaal.

It is felt by very many that the influence of this Government exerted in such a way might be the means of averting a terrible war, a war that would be one of the greatest disasters and horrors of the century.

The Government, in defining its position, declines to say anything in behalf of arbitration, and a semi-official statement bases the Government’s attitude upon its new “love for England,” begotten of its new policy of foreign conquest.

The Government is probably aware that it could not consistently interfere with what Great Britain is doing in South Africa, while itself conducting an [642] enterprise of precisely similar character in the Philippines. The supporters of this enterprise are aware of it, and almost without exception, so far as we have seen, side with Great Britain and the latter’s determination to extinguish the South African republics.

And there is no question but that England would view the intervention of the United States in behalf of peace, as an exhibition of gross inconsistency and insincerity; for the English people discern nothing but the spirit of their own imperialism in the course of foreign conquest upon which the American Government has entered.

More than this, the United States would be accused of gross ingratitude. For, as a London journal has said, the American bargain for Asiatic territory was made “under the protecting naval strength of England;” and (speaking for England) “we shall expect, to be quite frank, a material quid pro quo for this assistance. “It will be expected, among other things, that United States will look the other way and say nothing while Great Britain is ridding the earth of republics.

That a word for peace from the United States, spoken under other circumstances, would have weight with Great Britain, there is good reason to believe. The friendship of the United States is, from both a commercial and a political point of view, of the utmost value to the British Isles, and of this the British government has shown itself to be fully aware. Standing isolated among the nations of Europe, England is in no position to lightly turn aside from the proffered friendship of a giant power across the sea.

Who can say, therefore, that had the United States remain true to its foundation principle of government by consent of the governed, and as the mighty champion of free government, had expressed to Great Britain its wish for the preservation of peace and of republican government in South Africa, Great Britain would not have listened to its counsel, and left the settlement of Transvaal disputes to arbitration or other peaceable means? And who, therefore, can say but that the terrible war that is threatened and is even now reported as begun, will not stand in history as a fearful indictment of the American Republic for being recreant to republican principles?

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