We are here to-night in sight of a league of peace, of what I have ever regarded as the “Promised Land.” Such a war as the last is a hideous blot on our Christian civilization. The inconsistency is as foul as was slavery under the Declaration of Independence. If Christian nations cannot now be brought into a united effort to suppress a recurrence of such a contest it will be a shame to modern society.
During my administration I attempted to secure treaties of universal arbitration between this country and France and England, by which all issues depending for their settlement upon legal principles were to be submitted to an international court for final decision. These treaties were emasculated by the senate, yielding to the spirit which proceeds, unconsciously doubtless, but truly, from the conviction that the only thing that will secure to a nation the justice it wishes to secure is force; that agreements between nations to settle controversies justly and peaceably should never be given any weight in national policy; that in dealing between civilized nations we must assume that each nation is conspiring to deprive us of our independence and our prosperity; that there is no impartial tribunal to which we can entrust the decision of any question vitally affecting our interests or our honor, and that we can afford to make no agreement from which we may not immediately withdraw, and whose temporary operation to our detriment may not be expressly a ground for ending it.