That is about all that can be said for the moral justification of
England's abandonment of what, from eve ethical point of view,
‘ should have had no less value in her eyes an a treaty ‘not merely
signed but also duly sanctioned and ratified.
The abandonment of the Declaration of London means a reversion
to medieval conceptions of right which England now has further
supplemented by an Order in Council, the chief office of which seems
to be to set a collective seal of finality upon all that was lawless in
the various Orders in Council that preceded it.
What does the new "situatioti that we, as a neutral country, are
facing, amount to in its chief aspects? ’
The most important achievement" of the world, when it drew up.
the Declaration of London, was to devise lists of goods which under
no circumstances, and such which only conditionally were to be
treated as contraband. The motive was chiefly humanitatian and
England not only subscribed to, but promoted this aim, because she
was then thinking of the possibility of being herself threatened in
. the freedom of her imports. At present, of course, the case is re-
versed. Germany, with a comparatively small fleet, shorn of the
use of her submarines, does not constitute a danger to England.
It is Germany's supplies that are inlquestion. Therefore, humanity,
as well as precedents, go definitely by the board. '
Under the rule of the British Orders in Council it is difficult to
find any ‘articles not contraband, at least not conditionally contra-
band. What is not on the British black list is of no great importance
for the sustenance of the German people or for the foreign trade
of the neutral world. But it will be said that there is a difference
between conditional contraband and absolute contraband. The an-
swer to this is that ifgBritish practice or malpractice had not virtual-
ly removed the difference long ago the abolition of that enlightened
‘instrument of law, the Declaration of London, will do it. For in
this agreement for the first time that distinction was established.
The abandonment of the Declaration of London removes it.
There is today in truth-silk ribbons for ladies’ hats and gentle-
men's neckties perhaps excepted-practically no such a thing as
non-contraband. Everything that goes to Germany is contraband
and everything that goes elsewhere to Europe is in the same cate-
gory. That sounds incredible and yet it is so by reason of the re-
vival of the principle of continuous voyage. The reversion to the
principle of continuous voyage, disputed severely in theory and prac-
tice and not supporte ‘by the United States, gains a particularly
barbarous aspect when regarded in the light of the British method
[of handling the contraband question.
But, you will answer, all you have to do is to say that your goods
are not going to Germany or any place from where they would reach
Germany and let the English prove their contention that they are.
You are right, dear reader, that is law. But then the Briton is
lawless and when at sea a pirate. You are right if you assume that
the act of ‘carrying contraband goods is in itself nothing illegal.
Any neutral has a right to carry whatever goods he pleases, from
milady’s face powder to baby’s food and high explosives. If the
belligerent intercepts nneutral on the way to a blockaded port or '
while otherwise carrying contraband to the farmer's enemy it is, by
:1 fundamental principle acknowledged in all the laws ever written,
incumbent uppn the belligerent captor to prove that the ship was
going to the blockaded port or that the goods were destined for the
enemy's use. The United States’ contention is and has always been
that the burden of proof is on the captor. Great Britain finds the
other way more convenient and more profitable. Hence it becomes
law by decision of “The Kings Most Excellent Majesty in Council.”
We said above that the neutral has a right to carry what he
pleases. If he carries bullets straight to Hamburg the English, if
they get them, may take them. But they cannot punish you for
carrying them. You have not committed a criminal act. You for-
feit your goods and that is all according to international law even
before the Declaration of London. If the English do not catch you
in flagranli you are free. No law of God or man can punish you.
What does the Englishman do? He ordains that a ship which has
broken a blockade-a thing which the English have yet to learn
how to establish-and has returned from its cruise can thereafter be
confiscated in punishment. The United States has never recognizcd
this rule of terrorism nor the other principle saying that a ship
containing goods more than half of which are contraband is for-
feited to its captor. In this latter principle there might ,be some
justification under equitable laws of contraband and fair rules of
proof. But with the present rules, established by British municipal
law, it is practically impossible to get together a cargo half of
which consists of things that have escaped being placed‘on the
British black list. ‘-4 a
What is to be done against these intolerable conditions?
You will answer: Let us assert our rights as neutrals by escort-
ing our trade and let us see whether the British will dare to infringe
the sanctity of an armed convoy. The law says that a convoy has to
be Passed unmolested. You are right, dear reader, the law says so.
That is to say, the law as laid down in the Declaration of London
Says 50, but that law unfortunately was killed'by the British. And
the British, daring pirates that they are, have always claimed and
executed the right of inspection of vessels even under armed convoy.
These are the main points-there are many more-of the pleasant
D355 to which the'neutrals have come owing to the invertebrate
attitude of the greatest among them, our own country.
How shall we ever be able to lift our heads again when future
conferences will try to reestablish law which has fallen in disuse
lhfoug 0111' negligence? Germany has given up all hope that the
United States will stir a finger to assert its rights. The Chancellor,
Mr. v0n‘Bethmann Hollweg, said this only a few days ago in an in-
terview with a correspondent of the New York Amcrimn. But even
in this greatest adversity-forjs there a greater adversity than to be
deserted by your friends even when you are right?--Germany, the
dauntless, is not losing courage. If you won't help me, I will help
myself, she says. And she has begun doing so in sending us her
first merchant submarine, a silent accusation of -our ineptitude. 3
milgnihcent manifestation of virile strength and fearless battle spill‘
against the unmanly warfare of the British pirates.
I-;OW SOME OF THE MOVIES POISON THE MINDS OF THE PEOPLE
0 the Editor of Tm; FATHERLAND:
Apropos of your editorial, “Victor Herbert Defends ‘The
Fall of a Nation,’ ” I have not seen the film. I'll take Mr. Herbert's
word for it that his music is not anti-German. I’ll take -Mr. Her-
bert’s word for all that Mr. Dixon has stated to Mr. Herbert about
Mr. Dixon's entirely imaginative purpose as to the invading anny
and Mr. Dixon's lofty patriotism and singleness of aim as a preach-
er of preparedness. But I have read Mr. Dixon's yarn, “The Fall
. of a Nation,” as it appeared last’winter serially in the Sunday
Magazine of the Chicago Tribune. And I would like to testify as to
that. In a word, the story, from which the photo play is obviously
an adaptation (just as that grandiose burlesque, “The Birth of a
Nation," was an adaptation from earlie; yarns of,M,-. Dixon), is
a burlesque of the German nation-reproducing in the form of the
vulgarest and crudest art the notions already popular in the Tory
press, in the twaddle of Owen Wister, and in the insane apocalypses
of Professor Royce. The officers of the invading army are made
to think, to feel, to act, to talk throughout, according to the philos-
ophy of the State currently imputed to modern Germany. The E“)?
umformsof the invaders are those of the German army; and the
“God and the Emperor" of the invaders are the familiar American
versiori of the German state religion and the German Kaiser. More-
over, the illustrations show us the German helmets and brutalized
cartoons Of lypically German faces. The whole yarn was an ex‘
cellent specimen of the German myth as it exists to-day in the un-
disciplined and excited imagination of America; and it was for this
‘"9350", indeed. that I was interested in examining it attentivelY-
Mr. Dixon knows, and Mr. Herbert certzgnly 'should know, that the
invading army of Mr. Dixon's yam -was meant for the German
i“'Iny.. I am not a German-American (leave the hyphen in the com-
Doundl), made sensitive and suspicious by two years of insult 10
an ancestral land, but a simon pure American of an English stock
that came to Massachusetts in 1640 and that fought beside a certain
General Washington and that handed down to the undersigned. I
trust, some relics of its sense of truth, independence and justice.
' VVILLIAM Eumv LEONARD.‘