The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, January 26, 1912, Page 7, Image 7

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The Commoner,
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enough to present, inquire and indict, but not
to act as a trial "jury, that is, to give fair and
adequate expression to the voice of the county
as to the guilt or innocence of the accused. Ac
cordingly, it was enlarged by including .repre
sentatives of "the four villa" and the jury of an
other hundred, also, at times; by coroners,
knights and others of representative character.
The principle of representative government as a
whole was cherished and preserved chiefly in the
jury, and parliament itself arose in the form of
a great, national, representative jury. It is
entirely fitting, therefore, that the international
grand jury, at least in the initial stages of its
growth, shall be representative in the large
sense of the nations concerned, and that tho
senate shall share with the executive the re
sponsibility of its appointment. Indeed, since
the national grand juries are summoned by
courts of sufficient criminal jurisdiction, the
supreme court of the United States may well
claim its share in the appointment af the inter
national grand jury especially since the jury
is to perform an . essentially judicial function.
But the senate's claim to a share in this judi
cial function of the international grand jury
can not be thus readily granted. It does not
appear to be well founded on constitutional
interpretation, and it is certainly most repug
nant to the ideals of justice and fair play
cherished by the old world members of tho
family of nations. At the second Hague con
ference, for example, the Austrian and other
delegations persistently and almost tauntingly
iriquired of our American delegation how tho
United States government could possibly enter
into any world treaty of genuine obligatory arbi
tration if the United States senate must exercise
the right of approving, not only the general
treaty itself,, but also a special treaty determin
ing the object, scope, etc., of the arbitration
of every individual dispute. Although Great
Briain and France have agreed that the senate
shall ratify the compromise (that is, the agree
ment for the arbitration of each specific dis
pute), as well as the general treaty, it can not
be expected that all other nations will be thus
complacent, or that they or any other nations
would make a general treaty submitting all
justiciable cases to arbitration, and at the same
time assigning to the United States senate the
right tof deciding on the justiciability of each
case as it arose. Evidently, if such be the con
"" stltutlonal limitation of our' government in in
ternational affairs, it, like the power of the na
tional government over the state in such inter
national matters as the treatment of resident
aliens, is greatly in need of revision. In some
way, by constitutional interpretation or consti
tutional amendment, the United States govern
ment must haye the shackles stricken from' its
limbs, so that it may fulfill unhampered its
duties toward the other members of the family
of nations.
But In regard to the joint high commission's
duty of determining "the-justiciability of specific
disputes, It does not appear that the senate Is
vested by the constitution with any right or
duty. This is clearly either an administrative
or a judicial measure. If it is an administrative
measure, .it must be performed, not by the
senate, but by a commission acting linder the
executive, even as tariff boards pass upon the
dutiabllity of imports under a treaty of recipro
city. If it .is a judicial function, it must a
fortiori be performed, not by the senate, but
by a commission vested with judicial powers, in
the appointment of which the senate may con
cur, but In the performance of whose judicial
duties neither the senate nor the executive may
interfere. It is not to be tolerated, under the
rules of fair play, that a government may act
as the judge or the petit jury In Its own case;
and it is no more to be tolerated that a govern
ment shall act as its own grand jury, and insist
on the control of inquest, indictment or present
ment' of only such cases, as may suit its pleasure
or convenience.
Of course, the Ideal International grand jury
would bo one, not only composed of "good and
lawful men," whose interest in any particular
case does not transcend that common Interest
which every good member of society feels in the
enforcement of law and justice, and who would
therefore pass upon it with faithful impartiality,
but it would be one also fairly representative,
not of the governments Interested in the par
ticular case at issue, but of the family of nations
as a whole. The senate's committee has criti
cised the proposed treaties on the ground that
they "are not in the direction of an advance, but
of a retreat from The Hague provisions, because
they revive ttie idea of confining, membership
In the commission, if insisted upon by eithe
party, to nationals instoad of to wholly dis
interested outsiders." "While this criticism Is
entirely just from tho point of view of tho ideal,
it does not como with peculiar propriety from a
branch of tho legislative department of tho
government which demands for itself tho right
of withholding from arbitral adjudication caBos
in which It is vitally interested, especially since,
immediately after this criticism of the treaties,
it strenuously objects to vesting in an outside
commission the power to decide on the justici
ability of disputes. Prom the point of view of
tho practical, we can not expect to create im
mediately an Ideal international grand jury;
and it should be remembered that national
grand jury; and It should be remembered that
national grand juries grew slowly in representa
tive character and In scope of jurisdiction, being
summoned at first only to inquire for the body
of the county, pro corpore coraltatus.-whllo down
until 1548 (2 and 3 Edw. VI,' c. 24) It was the
rule that, when a man was wounded in one
county and died in another, the offender was
at common law indictable in neither county, be
cause a complete act of folony had beon com
.mltted in neither. It is evident from past his
tory and present human nature alike that too
rapid progress can no, be hoped for in the
development of the newly born grand jury of
the nations; it Is evident also, from the senate's
vigorous opposition to the alleged radical char
acter of the president's proposal, that this pro
posal marks a decided step toward the ideal.
Tho ideal international grand jury, also,
would act for each member of the family of
nations, large or small, just as surely and po
tently as it would for any of the others. The
senate committee's warning that "If we enter
into these treaties with Great Britain and
France we must make like treaties on precisely
the same terms with any other friendly power
which calls upon us to do so," is a reflection of
the ideal and of tho senate's attitude toward it;
while the president's frank acceptance of the
alternative, his refusal to be terrified by the
fear of the subjunctive, and his loyalty to jus
tice, regardless of the sldo on which the weight
of her scales may turn, is a splendid object
lesson to the nations, and another great step
toward the ideal which declared that, just as
public wrongs are considered in every civilized
nation to be committed, not primarily against
the individual, but against the commonwealth,
so international wrongs must be considered as
committed, not primarily against the family of
nations, to whom international rights and du
ties pre-eminently pertain. In practice, again,
it should be remembered that for generations
after the introduction of indictment by means
of ' the. national grand jury, the accused, if
sufficiently powerful, would refuse "to put him
self on the county," that Is, to submit to jury
trial, and that from 1275 A. D. to 1772 A. D.
it was held necessary to punish such refusal by
imprisonment and. by the peine forte et dure.
We can not anticip'ate that the "great powers,"
' led on as at present by the wlll-o-'-the-wlsp of
territorial aggrandizement, will submit immedi
ately to be haled Into court and compelled to
make retribution for their high crimes and mis
demeanors. But we" may be profoundly thankful that our
president has thus lifted from the dust the
standard of international justice; and we may
be assured that, as the nations rally one by
one to that standard, an international public
opinion will be created, so enlightened, so just
. and so Invincible, that no international delin
quent, however great or obstinate, will refuse
to bow to that sovereign power of our time, and
to the indictment of the ideal international
grand jury which will represent it!
Standing face to face today with the great
"present crisis" in the development of interna
tional justice, holding within our grasp the
immeasurable power for good possessed by the
international grand jury which President Taft
is offering to our own and other nations, we
may well recall and ponder Lowell's heartfelt
cry In another great crisis of our country's and
the world's history:
"Once to every man and nation comes the
moment to decide,
In the strife of Truth with Falsehood, for the
good or evil side;
Hast thou chosen, O my people, on whose party
thou shalt stand,
Ere tiie Doom from its worn sandals shakes the
.dust' against our land? .
Careless seems the great, avenger; history's
pages but record . - ..
.' ' H
Ono doath-grapplo in tho darkness 'twixt old
systoms and tho Word;
Truth forover on tho scaffold, Wrong forever on
the throne,
Yet that scaffold sways tho future, and, behind
tho dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch
above his own.
New occasions teach now duties; Timo makes
ancient good uncouth;
They must upward still and onward who would
keep abreast of Truth;
Lo, before us gleam her camp-fires, wo ourselves
must Pilgrims bo,
Launch our Mayflower, and steer boldly through
the dosporato winter sea,
Nor attempt the Future's portal with Iho Past's
blood-rusted Key."
Swarthraore, Pa.
From an editorial In the Philadelphia North
American, the following is taken:
"About a week ago tho fine sensibilities of a
largo number of Americans were shocked by
the publication of a letter which had been writ
ton five years since by Woodrow Wilson. It was
not that tho letter was in any way a reflection
on the honor or tho intellectual honesty of
Doctor Wilson. For what ho had written was
but an expression of his private Judgment,
which, whether correct or otherwise, Jio had had
a perfect right to make. But he had made it
in confidence in a private letter, writton to
Adrain H. Joline, a man at that time his friend
and an associate in tho affairs of Princeton uni
versity. And five years afterward Mr. Joline
had so far forgotten the tenets of good taste and
of personal honor as to publish a letter written
to him In the confidence of intimate friendship.
- The appearance of tho letter in the newspapers
caused something of a political sensation. For
its principal feature was an opinion adverse to
William Jennings Bryan, and rather forcibly
. and idiomatically expressed In Doctor Wilson's
wish that Mr. Bryan might be "knocked Into a
cocked hat." Tho publication of this letter
after five years, during which time Doctor Wil
son had evidently changed much In his attitudo
toward political devices and leaders, though not
at all toward principles, was plainly Intended to
cause an estrangement between Mr. Bryan and
Governor Wilson, hurtful to the lattor's chances
as a presidential candidate. The bigness of Mr.
Bryan's character is forcibly reflected in his
refusal to make this letter an issue between
himself and Governor Wilson. But this fact
does not mitigate the meanness of tho spirit that
caused its publication. That was a return to
the ancient politics, which consisted in personal
abuse and betrayals and the trading on honor
and confidences. Such was the politics that
obtained in this country during a period when no
vital principle commanded the attention of the
people and when elections were only a fight for
spoils. Those who were so fortunate as to have
read William Bayard Hale's article in the Janu
ary number of The World's Work "Woodrow
Wilson, a Biography," it is entitled would
hardly have noticed the incidental reference to
a Mr. Joline. Tho article is an Inspiring story
of the translation of a great democratic mind
from the narrow field of university life Into the
broad plain of national action."
The North American then describes Dr. Wil
son's work at Princeton university, particularly
his refusad to po'rml' a donor of $500,000 to
dictate tho policy of tho college. Successful In
tills contest he was defeated in another one and
the story is told by the North American In this
, "After ho had won the fight, another endow
ment this ono of more than $3,000,000 was
left to tho graduate school. President Wilson
was beaten by tho mere weight of money. In
the hour of his defeat, he scored one Fabian vic
tory. Adrain H. Joline, who had run for alumni
trustee as an anti-Wilson candidate, was over
whelmingly beaten. That accounts for the
publication of the Joline letter. Woodrow Wil
son was defeated in the battle for democracy
in tho little world of Princeton. But his fight
had unfolded his mind. He had always been
for democracy, but he had hoped to achieve it
through the old governmental machinery. Ho
stepped from the field of defeat In Princeton
with a broader and deeper knowledge of the
problems of democracy. Out of that defeat he
was called to leadership in his state and nation."
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