5.15.2017 Doc of the Day


1. Lyman Frank Baum, 1907.

2. Czeslaw Milosz, 1980.

3. John Sutherland, 1986.

4. Ove Bring, 2000.

Numero Uno“‘Turn him over, Tom,’ said I, softly, and the sailor clambered into the canoe and obeyed—rather gingerly, though, for no one likes to touch a dead man.


The bearded face and staring eyes that confronted us were those of one of our own race, a white man who had been shot through the heart with an arrow that still projected from the wound.  His clothing was threadbare and hung almost in rags, while his feet were protected by rude sandals of bark laced with thongs of some vegetable fibre.  He was neither a Mexican nor a Spaniard, but I judged him a North American of German descent, if his physiognomy could be trusted.

The arrow must have killed him instantly.

The man had not long been dead, that was quite evident, and the arrow that had pierced his heart must have killed him instantly.I pulled out the weapon and found it of skillful construction,—a head of hammered bronze fastened to a shaft most delicately shaped and of a wood that resembled yew It differed materially from any Indian arrow I had ever before seen.

The mystery of this man’s life and death seemed impenetrable, and I ordered the canoe attached to our stern and towed it in our wake down to the ship.

A sailor’s burial ground is the sea; so I decided to sew the corpse in sacking, weight it heavily, and sink it in the deepest water of the river.

Before doing this one of the men searched the pockets of the tattered clothing and drew out a small book that looked like a diary, a pocket-knife, several bits of lead-pencil and a roll of thin bark tied with wisps of the same material.

These things I took charge of, and then watched the obsequies. These were quickly performed, Ned reading a short prayer from his Bible by way of ceremony while all our company stood with bared heads. Then the men rowed the body out to the deepest part of the river, and as I watched them from the deck I noticed they were thrown into a state of sudden excitement and heard cries of anger and alarm. Lifting my glass into position I discovered the cause of this. The boat was surrounded by sharks, their dark heads and white bellies alternating as they slowly swam round and round, attracted by the scent of prey. I yelled to the men to bring the body back, but they were too excited to hear me and the next instant had dumped the weighted sack overboard and begun to row back to the wreck at racing speed.

It was just as well, however. I am quite sure the poor fellow reached bottom before a shark could seize him, and once on the bottom they would be unable to either see him or grasp him in their jaws.

Seated on the deck with the others and shaded from the sun by a heavy awning, I glanced at the diary and found that the murdered man had not made a daily record, but had written upon the pages a sort of narrative, which seemed likely to prove interesting. So I asked Duncan Moit to read it aloud, which he did. I have it beside me now, and copy the following word for word as it was first read to us that day in the tropics with the wilderness all around us.

My name is Maurice Kleppisch,” it began, “by profession an engineer and mining expert residing at Denver, Colorado, at those times when I am at home.

Nine years ago I was sent to the Republic of Colombia to examine a mine, and while there I joined myself to a party that was formed to visit the San Blas Country, at the south of Panama, and trade with the Indians who are the masters of a vast territory there. I am no trader, but my object was to take advantage of this opportunity to investigate the mining possibilities of the wild and unknown region of San Blas, thinking that should I fall in with traces of gold my fortune would be made.

But, when we arrived at the border, the arrogant Indians would not allow us to enter their country at all, commanding us, with imperious scorn, to stand at a respectful distance and display our wares. The traders obeyed without demur, but I was angry and vengeful, and for88 a time considered my journey a failure. The Indians, however, exchanged their cocoanuts and sheep-skins—with such other things as their land produced—with great willingness and absolute honesty and fairness, and the traders learned that their given word was held inviolate.

Nursing my disappointment at being excluded from this mysterious country, I stood sullenly watching the bartering when my attention was aroused by an object that made my heart bound with excitement. It was an immense rough diamond, set in the bronze shaft of a spear borne by Nalig-Nad, the king of the San Blas and the most stalwart, dignified and intelligent Indian I have ever seen.

I will here explain that the strange race known as the San Blas Indians of Southern Panama is none other than that historic remnant of the Aztec nation which, when Mexico was conquered by the Spaniard, fled through morass and mountains, across plains and rivers, until they came to this then unknown wilderness. Here they located and established a new nation which they call Techla. Their territory stretches south89 of the natural depression of the isthmus from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and contains vast stretches of forests and coastal plains, which they have ever jealously guarded from intrusion. No more did they build beautiful cities and golden temples, for gold they had learned to abhor because the lust for it had brought the white demons upon them in Mexico. The white skinned races were cordially detested as the destroyers of their former nation. By them the Techlas had been driven from the abode bequeathed them by their ancestors.

The creed of the new nation, therefore, contained two prime articles of faith: Never to mine or trade or employ gold in any form for use or ornament; to hate and oppose every white man that came near them.

The San Blas people are not truly Indians, as we regard the West Indian and Central American tribes, but are well formed, intelligent and fierce. Their skin is of copper-colored hue and they have a characteristic dress that is peculiar to their nation. They have an established government centering in the king, humane and just laws90 for the guidance of their tribes, and many racial characteristics. It is said the weaker Aztecs remained in Mexico as slaves of the Spaniards, while the nobles and the most stalwart and powerful individuals, realizing their inability to oppose the usurpers but scorning to become their vassals, fled southward in the manner I have described.

However true this may be, I found the San Blas—a name given them by the early Spaniards but never acknowledged by themselves—to be well worthy of admiration in all ways except their persistent hatred of the whites. They gave our party cocoanuts and cereals, tortoise-shells, skins of wild beasts that were most skillfully dressed, and a soft quality of lamb’s wool, in exchange for knives, glass beads, compasses, colored crayons, mirrors and other inexpensive trinkets.

When I got my eye upon the king’s mammoth diamond I was so amazed that I trembled with eagerness. The gem must have weighed fully five hundred carats, and being intent to obtain it for myself I offered my silver watch, a91 fountain pen, my comb and brushes and a quantity of buttons in exchange for the diamond.

My very anxiety was the cause of my undoing. My reckless offers aroused the king’s suspicions, and when my comrades also saw the diamond they became as anxious as I was, and offered so much for a bit of stone which the king had never considered of any value, that he questioned us closely and learned that the white men esteem these gems even more than they do gold.

Then the king drew himself up proudly and spoke to his men in their own native dialect, with which we are unfamiliar. Several of the Indians brought to their ruler specimens of the same stones—rough diamonds ranging from the size of a pea upward. These they had doubtless gathered and kept because they were pretty, but Nalig-Nad took them all in his hand and, having pried his own splendid stone from its setting in the spearshaft, he advanced to the edge of the river and cast them all into its depths.

“‘I have told my men,’ said he, ‘never to gather these pebbles again; nor will we ever trade them to the white men. I class them with the92 gold, for we are determined not to own anything which will arouse the mad desires of your people.’

A few of the San Blas, including their king, speak the English language; more of them speak in the Spanish tongue; but their own language, as I have said, is distinct from the dialects of the other Indian tribes and the white men have no opportunity to learn it.

We were greatly disappointed by the loss of the gems, and when we returned to our camp we talked the matter over and concluded that there must be many diamonds lying exposed upon the surface of the ground in some part of the San Blas territory. Else the Indians would not have been enabled to pick up such choice and extraordinarily large specimens as we had seen.

I did not like to go away without making an attempt to locate these diamond fields, and seven of the party, adventurous as myself, determined to join in braving the anger of the stern Nalig-Nad. So at night we stole through the north forest and by morning had come to the edge of the fertile plains whereon the San Blas mostly dwell.

Their country may be divided into three sections:93 First, the North Forest, bordering on the Panama marshes and the wilderness. Second, a high and broad sweep of coastal plains, formed by eroded drift from the mountains. This section is well watered by numerous streams and the soil is extremely rich and fertile. To the east, by the Atlantic coast, are the cocoanut groves, but most of this fruit is grown upon several islands lying off the coast in the Atlantic. The third division lies south of the plains and consists of a magnificent primeval forest which covers thickly all the slope of the mountains. The climate, especially that of the uplands, is temperate and delightful, and it has been stated that these powerful Indians control the most desirable bit of land in the Western Hemisphere.

It was in the plain that we determined to search for the diamond fields, and as the Indians had arbitrarily forbidden white men to enter their domain, we stained our faces and arms and chests with walnut juice, and dressed ourselves in imitation of the San Blas people as nearly as we were able. And thus we prowled around for several days, until in a rich valley covered with alluvial94 deposit I picked up one of the coveted ‘pebbles,’ and to our great delight we knew that we had stumbled upon the right place.

An hour later we were surrounded by a band of the San Blas and made prisoners. We relied upon our disguises to protect us, but when they had examined us closely the Indians stripped off our clothing and discovered our white skins. We knew, then, our fate was sealed.

These people allow negroes to enter their country, and even employ some of them to labor upon their farms. Other Indian tribes of the mountains, who are all hostile to the whites, are permitted to pass through the San Blas territory, and sometimes these mountaineers have with them white slaves, who are treated cruelly and obliged to bear their burdens. But these whites who are the slaves of Indians are the only ones ever tolerated in the country, and a band like our own, entering by stealth to secure treasure, might expect no mercy at the hands of the San Blas.

Being taken before Nalig-Nad at his own village, he condemned us all to death but one, who was to be sent back to Colombia to tell the fate95 of those who dared defy the laws of the San Blas. We cast lots, and I drew the fortunate number. My comrades, two of whom were young men of position and wealth in Bogota, were ruthlessly murdered, and I was then escorted to the border and set free.

I reported the matter to the Colombian authorities, and a company of soldiers was promptly sent by the President to punish the impudent Indians and teach them not to molest the whites in the future. After a long period of waiting a single soldier, who had his ears cut off and was otherwise horribly mutilated, arrived at Bogota to tell of the total extinction of all his fellows and to report that King Nalig-Nad had promised to treat in the same manner any who dared to interfere with his authority. The government decided to let these fierce Indians alone. There were other troubles, nearer home, that needed attention.

I returned to Denver, but could not get this rich diamond field out of my head. I was a poor man, yet I knew where I might obtain countless treasure—if I dared but make the attempt.

Finally I decided that I might be able to accomplish96 alone what a band of white men could never succeed in doing, and having formulated my plans I sailed to Colon and prepared to enter once more the country of the San Blas.

My idea was admirably simple. The Indians feel so secure that they seldom prowl by night, and in their climate the stars and moon are so brilliant that they illuminate the country almost as well as does the sun by day. By stealthily avoiding all habitations and villages, I had a fair chance to escape observation, and the valley I sought was in an uninhabited part of the plains.

I took a canoe and a package of provisions, and began my journey by entering the San Maladrino river at the Atlantic mouth. I followed this until the river passed between two high hills, which may be seen in the crude map I have drawn for the benefit of others, should I lose my life in this desperate adventure.

 “A stream of which I do not know the name enters the San Maladrino just beyond the hills mentioned, and leads to the southward. It passes through the first forest and is broad and deep. Hiding in the forest the first day, I cautiously paddled my canoe up this stream the next night and passed a portion of the plain until I reached a smaller tributary entering from the left. This tributary flows through the most fertile and most thickly inhabited portion of the Indian lands. At the first junction I turned to the right and paddled along until I could go no further by boat. So, secreting my canoe in some bushes, I walked during the following night to the valley which we had before visited, and which lies in the uplands near to the edge of the great mountain forest. This tangled woodland favored me, for in it I hid securely by day, while at night I searched for diamonds in my valley.

I found many stones, and some of extraordinary size and beauty, but was greatly retarded in my discoveries by the dimness of the light. The forest shaded the valley part of the time, and only for a brief two hours each night was the light of the moon directly upon the slight depression where I labored.

And now I have been three weeks hidden in the heart of the San Blas district, and no one has99 observed me as yet. I have secured almost three quarts of superb diamonds—a fortune so enormous that I am considering a speedy return to civilization. Meantime, I have employed some of my leisure moments in writing this history in my book.” …

We were given a joyful welcome by our comrades aboard the wreck, you may be sure. Ned was there, a smile mantling his rugged face as the auto came alongside and he assisted us to make fast and mount to the slanting deck of the ship.

Uncle Naboth’s eyes were big and staring as our dainty Indian princess came aboard; but I could see that he was pleased with her beauty and modest demeanor.

No questions were asked us until we were all comfortably stowed on deck and the automobile had been hoisted over the side by the willing sailors and set in its old position. They were glad enough to see us safely returned without bothering us with questioning; but I knew of their eagerness to hear of our adventures and so took an early opportunity to remark:

256 “Well, Uncle Naboth and Ned, we’ve got the diamonds.”


Sure enough.”

I brought the basket and allowed them to inspect the treasure, which they did with wonder and a sort of awe, for they had little to say.

How much is the bunch worth?” asked my uncle, trying to be indifferent.

Why, we are all quite ignorant of their value,” I replied; “but Moit and I both think we have secured a snug fortune for each one of us four who are interested in the division. We couldn’t have done anything at all without the automobile, though, so I am going to give Duncan a part of my share.”

I won’t take it,” declared Moit. “We made a fair and square bargain, to share alike, and I mean to live up to it.”

But you need the money more than we do,” I protested, “for you’ve got to build a factory to manufacture your machines and also to make a home for Ilalah. She is a prize we don’t share in, but we’d like to contribute to her happiness,257 so I shall suggest to Ned and Uncle Naboth that you take a half of all the diamonds and we will divide the other half.”

Agreed!” cried my uncle and Ned, both together, and although Duncan objected in a rather pig-headed way I declared that we had fully made up our minds and he had nothing to say about the matter.

Then we told out story, rather briefly at first, for it would take some time to give our friends all the details of our adventures. Uncle was very proud of the way Bryonia and Nux had behaved, and told them so in his outspoken fashion. The honest fellows could have desired no higher reward.

After this Ned told me of his trip. On reaching the ocean he had rigged a mast and sail on the long boat and before a brisk breeze had soon reached Manzanillo Bay and arrived at Colon harbor within a half day.

Colon is a primitive town built upon a low coral island, but being the Atlantic terminal of the great canal it possessed an office of the Central and South American Telegraph Company,258 so that Ned was able to send a cable message by way of Galveston to Mr. Harlan.

He got an answer the next day, saying that the Carmenia, one of the Company’s ships, was due at Cristobal in a few days, and further instructions as to the disposition of the wrecked cargo would be cabled me on her arrival. Cristobal was a port adjoining Colon, and I remembered to have heard that the Carmenia was soon to come home from the Pacific with a light cargo; so I judged it would be Mr. Harlan’s intention to have her take our structural steel on board and carry it on to San Pedro.

All we could do now was to wait, and instead of waiting in unhealthy Colon Ned wisely decided to return to the wreck and report to me.

They had begun to worry over us and to fear the Indians had murdered us, so it was a great relief to them when we came back safe and successful from our perilous adventure.

Uncle Naboth admired Ilalah more and more as he came to know her, and he told Duncan with great seriousness that she was worth more than all the diamonds in the world, to which259 absurd proposition the inventor gravely agreed. But indeed we were all fond of the charming girl and vied with one another to do her honor. Even stolid Ned Britton rowed across to the marshes in the afternoon and returned with a gorgeous bouquet of wild flowers to place in the Indian maid’s cabin—formerly his own cabin, but gladly resigned for her use.

Ilalah accepted all the attentions showered upon her with simple, unaffected delight, and confided to us that she had altered entirely her old judgment of the whites and now liked them very much.

They must be my people, after this,” she said, with a sad smile, “because I have left the Techlas forever.”

At dinner Bryonia outdid himself as a chef and provided for the menu every delicacy the ship afforded. Ilalah ate little, but enjoyed the strange foods and unusual cooking. After dinner we sat on the deck in the splendid moonlight and recited at length our adventures, until the hour grew late.

When I went to bed I carried the diamonds to260 my locker, putting them carefully away where no one could get at them until we left the wreck and the time came to make the division. The ship was very safe for the present. Until another severe gale occurred to bring the waves up the river there was no danger of her going to pieces, as she held firmly to her mud bank, weighted on her open planks with the great mass of steel in the hold. Her bottom was like a crate, but her upper works seemed as firm and substantial as ever.

Ilalah’s cabin was on the starboard side, but in spite of the ship’s listing her window was four or five feet above the surface of the river. She bade us a sweet good-night in her pretty broken English, and an hour later everyone on board was enjoying peaceful slumbers and I, for my part, was dreaming of the fortune we had so unexpectedly secured.

Suddenly a cry aroused me. I sat up and listened but could hear no further sound. Absolute silence reigned throughout the ship. Yet the cry still rang in my ears, and the recollection of it unnerved me.

261 While I hesitated a knock came to my door, and I got up and lighted a candle.

Moit was standing outside in the saloon. His face was white but as undecided in expression as my own.

Did you hear anything, Sam?” he asked.


Was it a cry for help?”

That, or a woman’s scream, Duncan.”

Come with me,” he said, and I followed him to the door of Ilalah’s cabin.

Two or three loud knockings failed to arouse any response. I turned the handle, found the door unlocked, and threw it open.

The room was empty.

I turned my flickering candle in every direction, lighting up the smallest cranny, as if the girl could be hidden in a rat-hole. The window stood wide open, and the cool night breeze came through it.

I turned toward Duncan, who stood in the middle of the room staring at the floor. As my gaze followed his I saw several of the blue beads Ilalah had worn scattered over the carpet.

262 “It is Nalig-Nad,” he muttered. “The San Blas have stolen my princess!”

What’s up, boys?” asked Uncle Naboth. He was standing in the doorway clad in a suit of pajamas that were striped like a convict’s, only in more gorgeous colors.

The Indians have stolen Ilalah and carried her away,” I answered.

I am afraid Uncle Naboth swore. He is a mild mannered old gentleman, but having taken a strong liking for the beautiful girl he perhaps could find no other way, on the impulse of the moment, to express his feelings.

Well,” he remarked, after we had looked blankly into one another’s faces for a time, “we must get her back again, that’s all.”

Of course, sir,” agreed Duncan, rousing himself. “We will go at once.”

What time is it?” I asked.

Three o’clock,” answered my uncle, promptly.

Then let us wait until morning,” I advised. “The Indians already have a good start of us and there would be no chance to overtake them before263 they regain the king’s village. We must be cautious and lay our plans carefully if we hope to succeed.”

Perhaps you are right,” returned Duncan, wearily. “But I swear to you, Sam, that I will find Ilalah and bring her back with me, or perish in the attempt.”

I smiled at his theatric manner, but Uncle Naboth said seriously:

I don’t blame you a bit, sir. That girl is worth a heap o’ trouble, and you can count on me to help you to the last gasp.”

Well, well,” said I, impatiently, “let us get dressed and go on deck to talk it over.” I well knew there would be no more sleep for us that night, and although I was not in love with the lost princess I was as eager to effect her rescue as Moit himself.

But I must warn you, gentlemen,” I continued, “that you have to deal with the wiliest and fiercest savage in existence, and if we venture into his dominions again the chances of our ever coming out alive are mighty slim.”

All right, Sam,” retorted Uncle Naboth,264 cheerfully; “we’ve got to take those chances, my lad, so what’s the use of grumbling?”

If you’re afraid, Sam—” began Moit, stiffly.

Oh, get out!” was my peevish reply. “I may be afraid, and small wonder if I am; but you know very well I’ll go with you. So get your togs on, both of you, and I’ll meet you on deck.” …

The silence of death seemed to reign in the little village. All life had for the moment ceased, and gradually this extraordinary fact impressed me ominously.

Where are all the people?” I whispered to Moit.

I can’t imagine,” he answered.

Guess dey in de co’te-yard of de palace,” said Bry, who with Nux stood just beside us. “Princess bein’ judged; ev’body lookin’ on.”

That seemed plausible; and it was a condition especially favorable to our plans; so we waited with suppressed excitement, our eager eyes upon the automobile, until suddenly we saw Uncle Naboth spring to his feet and wave his red handkerchief.

At the signal we four rose as one man and276 dashed through the gap into the enclosure, each with a revolver held fast in either hand.

As I bounded over the loose rubbish something suddenly caught me and threw me violently to the ground, where I rolled over once or twice and then found myself flat upon my back with a gigantic Indian pressing his knee against my chest.

I heard a roar from Moit and answering shouts from our two blacks, and turning my head saw them struggling with a band of natives who surrounded them on every side.

Indeed, our conquest was effected much sooner than I can describe the event on paper, and within a few moments all four of us stood before our captors disarmed and securely bound.

I own I was greatly humiliated by the clever deception practiced upon us by Nalig-Nad. The wily king had foreseen our arrival and using Ilalah as a bait had ambushed us so neatly that we had no chance to fight or to resist our capture. The victory was his, and it was complete.

Stay; there was Uncle Naboth yet to be reckoned with. I could see him still standing in the277 car glaring with amazement at the scene enacted within the enclosure.

The Indians saw him, too, and with wild and triumphant yells a score of them rushed out and made for the car. But my uncle was warned and had calmly laid a number of revolvers upon the seat beside him.

With a weapon in either hand the old gentleman blazed away at the Techlas as soon as they approached, doing such deadly execution that the natives were thrown into confusion and held back, uncertain what to do.

Having emptied one brace of revolvers Mr. Perkins hurled them at the heads of his assailants and picked up another pair. I wondered that the San Blas did not shoot him down with arrows, or impale him on a spear, for the top was down and he was unprotected from such missiles; but doubtless they had been instructed to capture him alive and had not been prepared for such a vigorous resistance.

Presently an Indian who had made his way around to the opposite side put his hand on the rail and leaped lightly into the car; but my uncle278 turned in a flash and seized the fellow at the waist in his powerful arms. Lifting the astonished Techla high in the air Uncle Naboth flung him bodily into the furious crowd before him, tumbling a number of his foes to the ground with this living catapult.

But such magnificent strength and courage was without avail. Before uncle could seize his revolvers again a dozen warriors had leaped into the car beside him and grasped him so firmly that further struggles were useless. The little man collapsed immediately and was dragged out and brought to where we had been watching him in wonder and admiration.

Good for you, Uncle!” I cried. “If we could have managed to put up such a fight it might have been a different story.”

He smiled at us cheerily.

Hain’t had so much fun, my lads, since Polly had the measles,” he panted; “but it couldn’t last, o’ course, ’cause I’m all out o’ trainin’.”

And now that all our party had been captured, transforming powerful enemies into helpless victims, King Nalig-Nad appeared before us with a279 calm countenance and ordered us taken to one of the huts, there to remain in confinement to await his pleasure concerning our disposal.

Who’s this feller?” asked Uncle Naboth, looking hard at the king.

It is Nalig-Nad,” I replied, rather depressed by our hard luck.

Why, hello, Naddie, old boy—glad to meet you!” said Mr. Perkins, advancing as far as his captors would let him and holding out one of his broad, fat hands.

The king regarded him silently. It was the first time he had had an opportunity to inspect this addition to our former party. But he paid no attention to the outstretched hand.

Know your daughter well,” continued Uncle Naboth, unabashed at the marked coolness with which his friendly advances were met; “she’s a fine gal, Nalig; oughter be proud o’ her, old chap!”

With this he began to chuckle and poked the king jovially in his royal ribs, causing the stern visaged monarch to jump backward with a cry of mingled indignation and rage. This so pleased280 my uncle that his chuckle increased to a cough, which set him choking until he was purple in the face.

The king watched this exhibition with amazement; but when his prisoner recovered with startling abruptness and wiped the tears of merriment from his eyes, the barbarian gave a disdainful grunt and walked away to his palace. He was followed by his band of attendant chiefs, whom I recognized as his former counsellors.

I looked around for Ilalah, but she had disappeared the moment we rushed into the enclosure, having doubtless been dragged away by her attendants as soon as she had served the purpose of luring us into the trap.

We were now taken to one of the huts built against the wall and thrust through a doorway with scant ceremony. It was merely a one-roomed affair with thick walls and no furniture but a clay bench at the back. The only aperture was the doorway. Several stout warriors, well armed and alert, ranged themselves before this opening as a guard.

We were not bound, for having lost all our281 weapons, including even our pocket-knives, we were considered very helpless.

I don’t like the looks of this thing,” I remarked, when we had seated ourselves quite soberly in a row on the mud bench.

Bad box, sure ’nough, Mars’ Sam,” said Bryonia, with a sigh.

I hope they won’t touch the machine,” observed Moit, nervously. “I don’t mind what they do to me if they let the automobile alone.”

That’s rubbish,” said I in a petulant tone; “they couldn’t run it to save their necks. Don’t worry, old man.”

I s’pose we won’t have much use for an automerbeel in the course of a jiffy or two,” added my uncle, cheerfully.

Oh, I depend a good deal upon Ned and his men,” I replied. “He will be sure to come to our rescue early to-morrow morning.”

Too late, den, Mars’ Sam,” muttered Nux. “Dat wicked king ain’t goin’ let us lib long, I ’spect.”

Then why did he put us here?” I demanded.282 “If he intended to kill us quickly he’d have murdered us on the spot.”

There was nothing to prevent his doing that, most certainly,” said Moit, eagerly adopting the suggestion.

This aspect of the affair was really encouraging. So elastic is hope in the breasts of doomed men that we poor creatures sat there for an hour or more and tried to comfort ourselves with the thought that a chance for escape might yet arise. It was pitiful, now that I look back upon it; but at the moment the outlook did not appear to us especially gloomy.

I do not believe that any regret for having followed the Indian girl and tried to rescue her entered into the mind of any one of the party. Ilalah had stood by us and it was our duty to stand by her, even had not Moit been so infatuated by her beauty that he could not be contented without her.

Being a boy and less stolid than my elders, I caught myself wondering if I should ever behold the handsome ship my father was building, and sighed at the thought that I might never stand283 upon its deck after all the ambitious plans we had laid for the future. There was a little comfort in the thought that all the diamonds were safe in the locker of the wreck and that Ned would look after them and carry my share as well as Uncle Naboth’s to my father. But we were likely to pay a good price for the treasure we had wrested from the San Blas.

Midday arrived and passed. Food was brought to our guard but none was given to us. We were not especially hungry, but this neglect was ominous. It meant that we had either not long to live or our foes intended to starve us. We tried to believe that the latter was the correct solution of the problem.

Soon after noon, however, all uncertainty vanished. Our guards entered, commanded by one of the chiefs, and said we were to be taken to judgment. They prepared us for the ordeal by tying our hands behind our backs with thongs, so securely that there was no way to slip the bonds. Then they fastened us together in a string by an original method.

A coil of dressed skin was brought and an284 Indian held one end while another made a slip-noose and threw it over Duncan’s head. A second slip-noose was placed around Bryonia’s neck, a third around that of Uncle Naboth, a fourth around Nux and the fifth around my own neck. There was still enough of the coil remaining for a second guard to hold—and there we were. If any one of us attempted to run, or even to struggle, he would only tighten his noose, and perhaps those of the others, and risk a choking.

It wasn’t a bad method of keeping us orderly and meek, and we were not at all pleased with the arrangement, I assure you.

When we had been thus secured the chief—who, by the way, was a “green chief”—ordered us sternly to march; and so, like a gang of chained convicts, we tramped from the gloomy hut and passed out into the courtyard. …

The elaborate preparations made for our “judgment” were certainly flattering; but we were in no mood to appreciate the mocking attentions of the San Blas.

The open space of the enclosure in front of the palace was filled with a crowd of silent Indians, so many being present that we knew they must have gathered from all parts of the territory.

Our guards led us through the close ranks of these spectators to a clear place near the center, where King Nalig-Nad sat upon a bench with a score of his favorite green chiefs ranged just behind him. At the sides of this interesting group several women, all of whom had green in their tunics, squatted upon the ground. At the king’s feet were the same pretty boy and girl286 I had seen on my first presentation to the potentate.

But this was not all. In the open space at the right of the king stood Ilalah between two stout guards. The girl’s hands were bound behind her back as ours were, but she was no longer blindfolded. Her proud and beautiful face wore a smile as we were ranged opposite her, and she called aloud in English in a clear voice:

Have fortitude, my White Chief. In death as in life Ilalah is your own.”

A murmur of reproach came from those of the San Blas who understood her speech. The king looked at his daughter with a dark frown mantling his expressive features.

And I belong to Ilalah,” replied Duncan Moit, composedly, as he smiled back at his sweetheart.

Indeed, I was proud of the courage of all my comrades on this trying occasion. Bryonia and Nux were dignified and seemingly indifferent, Uncle Naboth smiling and interested in each phase of the dramatic scene, and the inventor as cool in appearance as if this gathering of the nation287 was intended to do him honor. I do not know how I myself bore the ordeal, but I remember that my heart beat so fast and loud that I was greatly annoyed for fear someone would discover its rebellious action and think me afraid. Perhaps I really was afraid; but I was greatly excited, too, for it occurred to me that I was facing the sunshine and breathing the soft southern air for almost the last time in my life. I was sorry for myself because I was so young and had so much to live for.

Ilalah, it seemed, was to be judged first because her rank was higher than that of the strangers.

The king himself accused her, and when he began to speak his voice was composed and his tones low and argumentative. But as he proceeded his speech grew passionate and fierce, though he tried to impress upon his people the idea that it was his duty that obliged him to condemn Ilalah to punishment. However that plea might impress the Techlas it did not deceive us in the least. It was father against daughter, but perhaps the king’s hatred of the whites had turned288 him against his first born, or else he preferred that the pretty girl nestling at his feet should succeed him.

Lords and chiefs of the Techlas,” he said, speaking in his native language, “the Princess Ilalah has broken our laws and outraged the traditions that have been respected in our nation for centuries. We have always hated the white race, and with justice. We have forbidden them to enter our dominions and refused to show them mercy if they fell into our hands. But this girl, whose birth and station are so high that she is entitled to succeed me as ruler of the Techlas, has violated our most sacred sentiments. She has favored and protected a band of white invaders; she has dared to love their chief, who has lied to us and tricked us; she has even forgotten her maidenly dignity and run away with him, preferring him to her own people. It is the law that I, her father, cannot judge or condemn her, although it is my privilege to condemn all others. Therefore I place her fate in the hands of my noble chiefs. Tell me, what shall be the289 fate of the false Techla? What shall be Ilalah’s punishment?”

The chiefs seemed undecided and half frightened at the responsibility thus thrust upon them. They turned and consulted one another in whispers, casting uncertain looks at the princess, who smiled back at them without a trace of fear upon her sweet face.

Standing close beside Ilalah I now discovered our old friend Tcharn, the goldsmith and arrow-maker, whose eager face showed his emotion at the peril of his friend. His dark eyes roved anxiously from the girl to her judges, and it was plain to see that he was fearful of her condemnation.

I myself tried to read the decision of the chiefs from their faces, and decided that while Ilalah was doubtless a great favorite with them all, they could find no excuse for her conduct. Their conference lasted so long that the king grew impatient, and his animosity became more and more apparent as he glowered menacingly upon the girl and then glanced appealingly at her judges, who tried to avoid his eyes.

290 Finally, however, the conference came to an end.

A tall, lean chief whose gray hairs and the prominence of the green stripes in his tunic evidently entitled him to be the spokesman, stepped forward and bowed low before the king.

Mighty Ruler of the Techlas,” he said, “we have weighed well the strange conduct of the Princess Ilalah and desire to ask her a question.”

The speech of the accused may not be considered,” said the king, gruffly.

It affects not her condemnation, but rather her punishment,” returned the other.

Then proceed.”

Princess,” continued the old man, speaking in a kindly tone as he addressed the young girl, “if in our mercy we spare your life will you promise to forsake your white chief and yield him and his followers to our vengeance?”

No!” she answered, proudly.

Her questioner sighed and turned to his fellows, who nodded to him gravely.

Then,” said he, again turning to the king, “we find that the conduct of the Princess Ilalah merits punishment, and the punishment is death!”

He drew the bowstring to his chin.


 The king smiled triumphantly and cast a look around the assemblage. Not a man or woman returned his smile. They stood steadfast as rocks, and only the little arrow-maker gave way to his grief by bowing his head in his hands and sobbing most pitifully.

We also find,” continued the grave chieftain, breaking the painful pause, “that the law forbids any Techla to lift a hand against one of the royal blood; and especially is that person immune who is next in succession to the throne.”

This statement caused a thrill that could not be repressed to pass through the crowd. The natives looked on one another curiously, but satisfaction lurked in their dark eyes.

I began to like these people. In themselves they were not especially disposed to evil, but their fiendish king had dictated their thoughts and actions for so long that they were virtually the slaves of his whims.

‘Therefore,’ said the chief, speaking in a firm voice, ‘who will execute our decree of death upon the royal princess?

‘I will!’ cried Nalig-Nad, springing to his feet.  ‘The king is bound by no law save his own will.  The girl is condemned to death, and die she shall!’

With a lightning gesture he caught up his bow and notched an arrow.

I looked toward Ilalah.  Her face was palllid and set but she did not flinch for an instant.  One fleeting glance she gave into Duncan’s face and then turned her eyes steadily upon her fierce and enraged sire.

The king did not hesitate.  He drew the bowstring to his chin, took rapid aim, and loosed the deadly shaft.

A cry burst from the assemblage, and even while it rang in my ears I saw Tcharn leap into the air before the princess, receive the arrow in his own breast, and then fall writhing in agony upon the ground.”        L. Frank Baum (A/K/A Captain Hugh Fitzgerald), Sam Steele’s Adventures in Panama; Chapters VI, XVIII, XX, & XXI, 1907

Numero Dos“My presence here, on this tribune, should be an argument for all those who praise life’s God-given, marvelously complex, unpredictability.  In my school years I used to read volumes of a series then published in Poland – ‘The Library of the Nobel Laureates.’  I remember the shape of the letters and the color of the paper.  I imagined then that the Nobel laureates were writers, namely persons who write thick works in prose, and even when I learned that there were also poets among them, for a long time I could not get rid of that notion.  And certainly, when, in 1930, I published my first poems in our university review, Alma Mater Vilnensis, I did not aspire to the title of a writer.  Also much later, by choosing solitude and giving myself to a strange occupation, that is, to writing poems in Polish while living in France or America, I tried to maintain a certain ideal image of a poet, who, if he wants fame, he wants to be famous only in the village or the town of his birth.

One of the Nobel laureates whom I read in childhood influenced to a large extent, I believe, my notions of poetry.  That was 
Selma Lagerlöf.  Her Wonderful Adventures of Nils, a book I loved, places the hero in a double role.  He is the one who flies above the Earth and looks at it from above but at the same time sees it in every detail.  This double vision may be a metaphor of the poet’s vocation.  I found a similar metaphor in a Latin ode of a Seventeenth-Century poet, Maciej Sarbiewski, who was once known all over Europe under the pen-name of Casimire.  He taught poetics at my university.  In that ode he describes his voyage – on the back of Pegasus – from Vilno to Antwerp, where he is going to visit his poet-friends.  Like Nils Holgersson he beholds under him rivers, lakes, forests, that is, a map, both distant and yet concrete.  Hence, two attributes of the poet: avidity of the eye and the desire to describe that which he sees.  Yet, whoever considers poetry as ‘to see and to describe’ should be aware that he engages in a quarrel with modernity, fascinated as it is with innumerable theories of a specific poetic language.

Every poet depends upon generations who wrote in his native tongue; he inherits styles and forms elaborated by those who lived before him.  At the same time, though, he feels that those old means of expression are not adequate to his own experience.  When adapting himself, he hears an internal voice that warns him against mask and disguise.  But when rebelling, he falls in turn into dependence upon his contemporaries, various movements of the avant-garde.  Alas, it is enough for him to publish his first volume of poems, to find himself entrapped.  For hardly has the print dried, when that work, which seemed to him the most personal, appears to be enmeshed in the style of another.  The only way to counter an obscure remorse is to continue searching and to publish a new book, but then everything repeats itself, so there is no end to that chase.  And it may happen that leaving books behind as if they were dry snake skins, in a constant escape forward from what has been done in the past, he receives the Nobel Prize.

What is this enigmatic impulse that does not allow one to settle down in the achieved, the finished? I think it is a quest for reality. I give to this word its naive and solemn meaning, a meaning having nothing to do with philosophical debates of the last few centuries. It is the Earth as seen by Nils from the back of the gander and by the author of the Latin ode from the back of Pegasus. Undoubtedly, that Earth is and her riches cannot be exhausted by any description. To make such an assertion means to reject in advance a question we often hear today: “What is reality?”, for it is the same as the question of Pontius Pilate: “What is truth?” If among pairs of opposites which we use every day, the opposition of life and death has such an importance, no less importance should be ascribed to the oppositions of truth and falsehood, of reality and illusion.


Simone Weil, to whose writings I am profoundly indebted, says: “Distance is the soul of beauty.” Yet sometimes keeping distance is nearly impossible. I am A Child of Europe, as the title of one of the my poems admits, but that is a bitter, sarcastic admission. I am also the author of an autobiographical book which in the French translation bears the title Une autre Europe. Undoubtedly, there exist two Europes and it happens that we, inhabitants of the second one, were destined to descend into “the heart of darkness of the Twentieth Century.” I wouldn’t know how to speak about poetry in general. I must speak of poetry in its encounter with peculiar circumstances of time and place. Today, from a perspective, we are able to distinguish outlines of the events which by their death-bearing range surpassed all natural disasters known to us, but poetry, mine and my contemporaries’, whether of inherited or avant-garde style, was not prepared to cope with those catastrophes. Like blind men we groped our way and were exposed to all the temptations the mind deluded itself with in our time.

It is not easy to distinguish reality from illusion, especially when one lives in a period of the great upheaval that begun a couple of centuries ago on a small western peninsula of the Euro-Asiatic continent, only to encompass the whole planet during one man’s lifetime with the uniform worship of science and technology. And it was particularly difficult to oppose multiple intellectual temptations in those areas of Europe where degenerate ideas of dominion over men, akin to the ideas of dominion over Nature, led to paroxysms of revolution and war at the expense of millions of human beings destroyed physically or spiritually. And yet perhaps our most precious acquisition is not an understanding of those ideas, which we touched in their most tangible shape, but respect and gratitude for certain things which protect people from internal disintegration and from yielding to tyranny. Precisely for that reason some ways of life, some institutions became a target for the fury of evil forces, above all, the bonds between people that exist organically, as if by themselves, sustained by family, religion, neighborhood, common heritage. In other words, all that disorderly, illogical humanity, so often branded as ridiculous because of its parochial attachments and loyalties. In many countries traditional bonds of civitas have been subject to a gradual erosion and their inhabitants become disinherited without realizing it. It is not the same, however, in those areas where suddenly, in a situation of utter peril, a protective, life-giving value of such bonds reveals itself. That is the case of my native land. And I feel this is a proper place to mention gifts received by myself and by my friends in our part of Europe and to pronounce words of blessing.

It is good to be born in a small country where Nature was on a human scale, where various languages and religions cohabited for centuries. I have in mind Lithuania, a country of myths and of poetry. My family already in the Sixteenth Century spoke Polish, just as many families in Finland spoke Swedish and in Ireland – English; so I am a Polish, not a Lithuanian, poet. But the landscapes and perhaps the spirits of Lithuania have never abandoned me. It is good in childhood to hear words of Latin liturgy, to translate Ovid in high school, to receive a good training in Roman Catholic dogmatics and apologetics. It is a blessing if one receives from fate school and university studies in such a city as Vilno. A bizarre city of baroque architecture transplanted to northern forests and of history fixed in every stone, a city of forty Roman Catholic churches and of numerous synagogues. In those days the Jews called it a Jerusalem of the North. Only when teaching in America did I fully realize how much I had absorbed from the thick walls of our ancient university, from formulas of Roman law learned by heart, from history and literature of old Poland, both of which surprise young Americans by their specific features: an indulgent anarchy, a humor disarming fierce quarrels, a sense of organic community, a mistrust of any centralized authority.

A poet who grew up in such a world should have been a seeker for reality through contemplation. A patriarchal order should have been dear to him, a sound of bells, an isolation from pressures and the persistent demands of his fellow men, silence of a cloister cell. If books were to linger on a table, then they should be those which deal with the most incomprehensible quality of God-created things, namely being, the esse. But suddenly all this is negated by demoniac doings of History which acquires the traits of a bloodthirsty Deity. The Earth which the poet viewed in his flight calls with a cry, indeed, out of the abyss and doesn’t allow itself to be viewed from above. An insoluble contradiction appears, a terribly real one, giving no peace of mind either day or night, whatever we call it, it is the contradiction between being and action, or, on another level, a contradiction between art and solidarity with one’s fellow men. Reality calls for a name, for words, but it is unbearable and if it is touched, if it draws very close, the poet’s mouth cannot even utter a complaint of Job: all art proves to be nothing compared with action. Yet, to embrace reality in such a manner that it is preserved in all its old tangle of good and evil, of despair and hope, is possible only thanks to a distance, only by soaring above it – but this in turn seems then a moral treason.

Such was the contradiction at the very core of conflicts engendered by the Twentieth Century and discovered by poets of an Earth polluted by the crime of genocide. What are the thoughts of one of them, who wrote a certain number of poems which remain as a memorial, as a testimony? He thinks that they were born out of a painful contradiction and that he would prefer to have been able to resolve it while leaving them unwritten.


A patron saint of all poets in exile, who visit their towns and provinces only in remembrance, is always Dante. But how has the number of Florences increased! The exile of a poet is today a simple function of a relatively recent discovery: that whoever wields power is also able to control language and not only with the prohibitions of censorship, but also by changing the meaning of words. A peculiar phenomenon makes its appearance: the language of a captive community acquires certain durable habits; whole zones of reality cease to exist simply because they have no name. There is, it seems, a hidden link between theories of literature as 
Écriture, of speech feeding on itself, and the growth of the totalitarian state. In any case, there is no reason why the state should not tolerate an activity that consists of creating «experimental» poems and prose, if these are conceived as autonomous systems of reference, enclosed within their own boundaries. Only if we assume that a poet constantly strives to liberate himself from borrowed styles in search for reality, is he dangerous. In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot. And, alas, a temptation to pronounce it, similar to an acute itching, becomes an obsession which doesn’t allow one to think of anything else. That is why a poet chooses internal or external exile. It is not certain, however, that he is motivated exclusively by his concern with actuality. He may also desire to free himself from it and elsewhere, in other countries, on other shores, to recover, at least for short moments, his true vocation – which is to contemplate Being.

That hope is illusory, for those who come from the “other Europe”, wherever they find themselves, notice to what extent their experiences isolate them from their new milieu – and this may become the source of a new obsession. Our planet that gets smaller every year, with its fantastic proliferation of mass media, is witnessing a process that escapes definition, characterized by a refusal to remember. Certainly, the illiterates of past centuries, then an enormous majority of mankind, knew little of the history of their respective countries and of their civilization. In the minds of modern illiterates, however, who know how to read and write and even teach in schools and at universities, history is present but blurred, in a state of strange confusion; Molière becomes a contemporary of Napoleon, Voltaire, a contemporary of Lenin. Also, events of the last decades, of such primary importance that knowledge or ignorance of them will be decisive for the future of mankind, move away, grow pale, lose all consistency as if Frederic Nietzsche’s prediction of European nihilism found a literal fulfillment. “The eye of a nihilist” – he wrote in 1887 – “is unfaithful to his memories: it allows them to drop, to lose their leaves;… And what he does not do for himself, he also does not do for the whole past of mankind: he lets it drop”. We are surrounded today by fictions about the past, contrary to common sense and to an elementary perception of good and evil. As “The Los Angeles Times” recently stated, the number of books in various languages which deny that the Holocaust ever took place, that it was invented by Jewish propaganda, has exceeded one hundred. If such an insanity is possible, is a complete loss of memory as a permanent state of mind improbable? And would it not present a danger more grave than genetic engineering or poisoning of the natural environment?

For the poet of the “other Europe” the events embraced by the name of the Holocaust are a reality, so close in time that he cannot hope to liberate himself from their remembrance unless, perhaps, by translating the Psalms of David. He feels anxiety, though, when the meaning of the word Holocaust undergoes gradual modifications, so that the word begins to belong to the history of the Jews exclusively, as if among the victims there were not also millions of Poles, Russians, Ukrainians and prisoners of other nationalities. He feels anxiety, for he senses in this a foreboding of a not distant future when history will be reduced to what appears on television, while the truth, as it is too complicated, will be buried in the archives, if not totally annihilated. Other facts as well, facts for him quite close but distant for the West, add in his mind to the credibility of H. G. Wells’ vision in The Time Machine: the Earth inhabited by a tribe of children of the day, carefree, deprived of memory and, by the same token, of history, without defense when confronted with dwellers of subterranean caves, cannibalistic children of the night.

Carried forward, as we are, by the movement of technological change, we realize that the unification of our planet is in the making and we attach importance to the notion of international community. The days when the League of Nations and the United Nations were founded deserve to be remembered. Unfortunately, those dates lose their significance in comparison with another date which should be invoked every year as a day of mourning, while it is hardly known to younger generations. It is the date of 23 August 1939. Two dictators then concluded an agreement provided with a secret clause by the virtue of which they divided between themselves neighboring countries possessing their own capitals, governments and parliaments. That pact not only unleashed a terrible war; it re-established a colonial principle, according to which nations are not more than cattle, bought, sold, completely dependent upon the will of their instant masters. Their borders, their right to self-determination, their passports ceased to exist. And it should be a source of wonder that today people speak in a whisper, with a finger to their lips, about how that principle was applied by the dictators forty years ago.

Crimes against human rights, never confessed and never publicly denounced, are a poison which destroys the possibility of a friendship between nations. Anthologies of Polish poetry publish poems of my late friends – Wladyslaw Sebyla and Lech Piwowar, and give the date of their deaths: 1940. It is absurd not to be able to write how they perished, though everybody in Poland knows the truth: they shared the fate of several thousand Polish officers disarmed and interned by the then accomplices of Hitler, and they repose in a mass grave. And should not the young generations of the West, if they study history at all, hear about the 200,000 people killed in 1944 in Warsaw, a city sentenced to annihilation by those two accomplices?

The two genocidal dictators are no more and yet, who knows whether they did not gain a victory more durable than those of their armies. In spite of the Atlantic Charter, the principle that nations are objects of trade, if not chips in games of cards or dice, has been confirmed by the division of Europe into two zones. The absence of the three Baltic states from the United Nations is a permanent reminder of the two dictators’ legacy. Before the war those states belonged to the League of Nations but they disappeared from the map of Europe as a result of the secret clause in the agreement of 1939.

I hope you forgive my laying bare a memory like a wound. This subject is not unconnected with my meditation on the word “reality”, so often misused but always deserving esteem. Complaints of peoples, pacts more treacherous than those we read about in Thucydides, the shape of a maple leaf, sunrises and sunsets over the ocean, the whole fabric of causes and effects, whether we call it Nature or History, points towards, I believe, another hidden reality, impenetrable, though exerting a powerful attraction that is the central driving force of all art and science. There are moments when it seems to me that I decipher the meaning of afflictions which befell the nations of the “other Europe” and that meaning is to make them the bearers of memory – at the time when Europe, without an adjective, and America possess it less and less with every generation.

It is possible that there is no other memory than the memory of wounds. At least we are so taught by the Bible, a book of the tribulations of Israel. That book for a long time enabled European nations to preserve a sense of continuity – a word not to be mistaken for the fashionable term, historicity.

During the thirty years I have spent abroad I have felt I was more privileged than my Western colleagues, whether writers or teachers of literature, for events both recent and long past took in my mind a sharply delineated, precise form. Western audiences confronted with poems or novels written in Poland, Czechoslovakia or Hungary, or with films produced there, possibly intuit a similarly sharpened consciousness, in a constant struggle against limitations imposed by censorship. Memory thus is our force, it protects us against a speech entwining upon itself like the ivy when it does not find a support on a tree or a wall.

A few minutes ago I expressed my longing for the end of a contradiction which opposes the poet’s need of distance to his feeling of solidarity with his fellow men. And yet, if we take a flight above the Earth as a metaphor of the poet’s vocation, it is not difficult to notice that a kind of contradiction is implied, even in those epochs when the poet is relatively free from the snares of History. For how to be above and simultaneously to see the Earth in every detail? And yet, in a precarious balance of opposites, a certain equilibrium can be achieved thanks to a distance introduced by the flow of time. “To see” means not only to have before one’s eyes. It may mean also to preserve in memory. “To see and to describe” may also mean to reconstruct in imagination. A distance achieved, thanks to the mystery of time, must not change events, landscapes, human figures into a tangle of shadows growing paler and paler. On the contrary, it can show them in full light, so that every event, every date becomes expressive and persists as an eternal reminder of human depravity and human greatness. Those who are alive receive a mandate from those who are silent forever. They can fulfill their duties only by trying to reconstruct precisely things as they were, and by wresting the past from fictions and legends.

Thus both – the Earth seen from above in an eternal now and the Earth that endures in a recovered time – may serve as material for poetry.


I would not like to create the impression that my mind is turned toward the past, for that would not be true. Like all my contemporaries I have felt the pull of despair, of impending doom, and reproached myself for succumbing to a nihilistic temptation. Yet on a deeper level, I believe, my poetry remained sane and, in a dark age, expressed a longing for the Kingdom of Peace and Justice. The name of a man who taught me not to despair should be invoked here. We receive gifts not only from our native land, its lakes and rivers, its traditions, but also from people, especially if we meet a powerful personality in our early youth. It was my good fortune to be treated nearly as a son by my relative Oscar Milosz, a Parisian recluse and a visionary. Why he was a French poet, could be elucidated by the intricate story of a family as well as of a country once called the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Be that as it may, it was possible to read recently in the Parisian press words of regret that the highest international distinction had not been awarded half a century earlier to a poet bearing the same family name as my own.

I learned much from him. He gave me a deeper insight into the religion of the Old and New Testament and inculcated a need for a strict, ascetic hierarchy in all matters of mind, including everything that pertains to art, where as a major sin he considered putting the second-rate on the same level with the first-rate. Primarily, though, I listened to him as a prophet who loved people, as he says, “with old love worn out by pity, loneliness and anger” and for that reason tried to address a warning to a crazy world rushing towards a catastrophe. That a catastrophe was imminent, I heard from him, but also I heard from him that the great conflagration he predicted would be merely a part of a larger drama to be played to the end.

He saw deeper causes in an erroneous direction taken by science in the Eighteenth Century, a direction which provoked landslide effects. Not unlike William Blake before him, he announced a New Age, a second renaissance of imagination now polluted by a certain type of scientific knowledge, but, as he believed, not by all scientific knowledge, least of all by science that would be discovered by men of the future. And it does not matter to what extent I took his predictions literally: a general orientation was enough.

Oscar Milosz, like William Blake, drew inspirations from the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, a scientist who, earlier than anyone else, foresaw the defeat of man, hidden in the Newtonian model of the Universe. When, thanks to my relative, I became an attentive reader of Swedenborg, interpreting him not, it is true, as was common in the Romantic era, I did not imagine I would visit his country for the first time on such an occasion as the present one.

Our century draws to its close, and largely thanks to those influences I would not dare to curse it, for it has also been a century of faith and hope.  A profound transformation, of which we are hardly aware, because we are a part of it, has been taking place, coming to the surface from time to time in phenomena that provoke general astonishment.  That transformation has to do, and I use here words of Oscar Milosz, with ‘the deepest secret of toiling masses, more than ever alive, vibrant and tormented.’  Their secret, an unavowed need of true values, finds no language to express itself and here not only the mass media but also intellectuals bear a heavy responsibility.  But transformation has been going on, defying short term predictions, and it is probable that in spite of all horrors and perils, our time will be judged as a necessary phase of travail before mankind ascends to a new awareness.  Then a new hierarchy of merits will emerge, and I am convinced that Simone Weil and Oscar Milosz, writers in whose school I obediently studied, will receive their due.  I feel we should publicly confess our attachment to certain names because in that way we define our position more forcefully than by pronouncing the names of those to whom we would like to address a violent ‘no.’  My hope is that in this lecture, in spite of my meandering thought, which is a professional bad habit of poets, my ‘yes’ and ‘no’ are clearly stated, at least as to the choice of succession.  For we all who are here, both the speaker and you who listen, are no more than links between the past and the future.”        Czeslaw Milosz, Nobel Literary Laureate Lecture; 1980

CC BY-NC-ND by ceronne


Numero Tres“Carlos Fuentes is one of those unusual novelists who would make the International Who’s Who even if he had never written a novel.  As a public man, Fuentes’s career has been directed to Mexico’s uneasy relationship with the outside world – he was Mexican Ambassador to France from 1975 to 1977.  As a novelist, he explores the internal character of his country, in Where the air is clear, his first novel, originally published in 1958, in The Death of Artemio Cruz and in Terra Nostra.  His novels feel their way along the paradoxes and social contradictions of Mexico: the complicated assimilations of its Indian, Spanish, French and North American legacies, its two natures as a state founded in socialist revolution yet effectively governed by feudal gangsters, or jefes.  Mexico is a country where, as the sardonic proverb has it, ‘the law is obeyed, then it is disregarded.’  Eccentricity is written into a constitution which awards every citizen an inalienable 50 hectares of land, but very prudently does not specify where the land is.  Fuentes sees Mexico as the site of two great and conflicting American myths: the myth of epic conquest, and the myth of a pre-existent utopia.  And for Fuentes, Mexico is a country whose strangeness defies and yet can only be understood by the imaginations of fiction.  Hence every worthwhile Mexican novel must, directly or indirectly, be a historical novel, a novel about ‘our land’.

Fuentes has what strikes the modern Anglo-Saxon reader as an extraordinarily lofty, not to say pompous, notion of the novelist’s commission.  In the absence of trustworthy state authority, he sees the Latin American novelist as a moral legislator, the uniquely impartial and wise arbiter of values.  Fuentes’s ideal novelist also works under the stern injunction to ‘write everything that history has not said, otherwise it will be forgotten.’  This is not, as the smug Anglo-Saxon might surmise, because semi-literate Latin America has too little written history, but because it has much more than Clio in her official capacity as recorder can handle.  As Fuentes puts it in the prelude to The Old Gringo, the very dust of Mexico is ‘memorious:’ the allusion to Borges’s Funes the Memorious, the man condemned to forget nothing, is surely deliberate.  By contrast, the United States is ‘a land without memory’.’ Put genetically, contemporary Mexico has a blood connection with the 1913 Revolution, and with the Conquistadores.  Contemporary America has no such vital connection with its Civil War, or with its Puritan foundation.  Fuentes suggests that the Americans have lost their past by virtue of ancestral sexual timidity.  The conquerors of America (unlike those of Mexico) killed, but they did not sufficiently rape.  The result was genocide, not miscegenation.  As the American hero of The Old Gringo puts it: ‘we killed our Redskins and never had the courage to fornicate with the squaws and at least create a half-breed nation.  We are caught in the business of forever killing people whose skin is of a different colour.  Mexico is the proof of what we could have been.’  If the Mexican is doomed for ever to remember his bloody past, the North American is doomed for ever unconsciously to repeat his, by insatiable imperialism.

Recently Fuentes has become preoccupied by what he calls the ‘universal communicability’ of fiction – its ability (like his other avocation, diplomacy) to cross frontiers and make international contact. This has coincided with what has been called the post-1960s ‘boom’, which has brought world-wide readership to Latin American literature, particularly the novel. The Old Gringo is the most international work of fiction Fuentes has hitherto written, and deals principally with the relationship of the so-called distant neighbours, the USA and Mexico. The action of the novel is set during the early revolution of 1913, the most tormented passage of Mexican history since the conquest. Upheaval at this period was made inevitable by the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz, which bottled up all reform for 35 years, until, in 1910, the old patriarch was finally forced to resign. Diaz was immensely popular in the United States, where popular opinion credited him as the man who had put the country’s economy on a sound footing. He was replaced by the constitutionalist Madero, who was promptly murdered by the American stooge Huerta, provoking confused revolutionary insurrection in 1913.

It is at this historical moment that the old gringo comes to Mexico to join the army of the peon turned outlaw, turned revolutionary general – Pancho Villa. Fuentes makes his gringo ‘historical’. There was a wide range of candidates for the novelist to choose from. He could, for instance, have picked on the investigative journalist John Kenneth Turner, who travelled to Mexico in 1908 and discovered that Diaz’s wonderfully healthy economy was based on massive slavery and the slaughter of the Yaqui Indians. Turner wrote up his findings in a series of slashing articles later collected as the book Barbarous Mexico. Alternatively Fuentes could have chosen John Reed as his gringo. Reed, a Communist, attached himself to Villa in 1913 and rode with a bloodthirsty company of his revolutionary soldiers. (It was, Reed claimed in his book Insurgent Mexico, the most satisfactory experience of his life.) Or Fuentes could have chosen the young Raoul Walsh. Walsh was sent to Mexico in 1914 as a cameraman and as the actor cast to play the hero as a young man in D.W. Griffiths’s The Life of Francisco Villa. Walsh persuaded Villa to postpone his daily executions until the light of dawn so that he could shoot the firing-squad at work. He, too, rode with Villa and laconically recalled: ‘we got some of Villa’s battles, but they weren’t too spectacular. When we got back we had to invent some of them.’ The subsequent film made Villa a movie star – which Walsh was later to do for James Cagney.

Instead, Fuentes takes Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?) as his quixotic American hero. Bierce was born obscurely, of farming stock in Ohio. Virtually nothing is known of his origins. He served in the Civil War in the Indiana infantry with reckless gallantry, twice rescuing comrades under fire, apparently himself wanting to die but fated to survive. He did not apparently care one way or another about the issues over which the sides fought. After the war he was a journalist. He hated American capitalism and imperialism, and yet perversely worked for William Randolph Hearst, who owned over a million acres of ranchland in Chihuahua and instructed his editors that he didn’t want Diaz touched with so much as a rose petal in his publications. None of Bierce’s fiction did well, and his publishers all went promptly bankrupt. His sons died in circumstances of squalid debauchery. His wife divorced him after a long unhappy marriage. In 1913 Bierce apologised to his friends for still being alive and slipped incognito over the Mexican border, apparently to join the revolutionary army of Pancho Villa. To a friend, he wrote: ‘Goodbye. If you hear of my being stood up against a Mexican stone wall and shot to rags please know that I think it a pretty good way to depart this life. It beats old age, disease, or falling down the cellar stairs. To be a Gringo in Mexico – ah, that is euthanasia!’ In fact, nothing reliable was ever heard about Bierce’s death. Perhaps, like the flying Dutchman, he still wanders the northern Mexican deserts, unable to find the ‘good good darkness’ he sought.

Bierce’s last, possibly prophetic words ring through Fuentes’s narrative (although, teasingly, he does not confirm until the last pages that Bierce actually is the mysterious old gringo). Fuentes claims to have been obsessed with Bierce’s life and fiction for forty years and to have begun writing this novel as long ago as 1964. What most attracts him is the American writer’s cool obsession with death, and his evident conviction that in articulo mortis there may be that moment of supreme clarity which the novelist spends his creative life hunting. Time and again, Fuentes’s novel alludes to ‘the man hanged from Owl Creek Bridge, who at the instant of his death could see the veining of each leaf; more: the very insects upon them; more: the prismatic colours in all the dewdrops upon a million blades of grass’. Although the allusion is not made by Fuentes, one is reminded of Under the Volcano, which similarly links the instant of death with the perfectly unclouded view of life that the novel aims at.

Apocryphal accounts of Bierce’s death were legion in the years following his disappearance. In one of the better-known legends he is suposed to have been executed by firing-squad in 1915, and to have insisted on not being blindfolded, the better to ‘see himself killed’. The story is discredited. How Bierce actually died is not known to history and presumably never will be. He was swallowed up by the indifferent chaos of Mexican revolution and only the imagination of the novelist can recover him, using Bierce’s own fiction as clue.

Around Bierce’s imaginary euthanasia, Fuentes weaves a mystifying narrative. An unnamed 71-year-old gringo crosses the border at El Paso, ‘because he didn’t have any frontiers left to cross in his own country’. His reckless bravery under fire attaches him to the military band of a Villist General, Tomas Arroyo. (Arroyo is accompanied by a mistress, called ‘La Luna’, who takes the story into areas of cosmic Mexican mythology beyond me and I suspect most English-speaking readers.) Arroyo’s troops halt at the vast Miranda ranch and hacienda in Chihuahua. There they encounter an American governess, Harriet Winslow, who has been left behind by the Miranda family. Like all the main characters in the novel, Harriet has a haunting secret in her past. She has convinced the world and the US military authorities that her father died fighting in Cuba. In fact (as she alone knows), he chose to stay on the island, living in peacable anonymity with a black whore. Harriet is searching for an honourable body to fill her father’s vacant grave at Arlington military cemetery. Although duty calls him to Villa’s side, Arroyo delays at Miranda, laying waste the property. The reason for his lingering, it emerges, is that he is the bastard son of the former owner, bred by rape on a house servant. Old Miranda was murdered by a vengeful ‘brother’ of Arroyo’s (whom he has never met, but has dedicated his life to finding), and his corpse was hooked up like a bale of sisal by the testicles. No honourable grave for him. Arroyo is driven by motives of hopelessly confounded revenge: against his ravishing father, against the brother who murdered his father. He claims the Miranda ranch as his patrimony, by virtue of title deeds which he has stolen but cannot read. The theme of lost and murdered fathers is repetitively connected to Bierce’s mystical short story, ‘A Horseman in the Sky’, in which a young soldier firing at an airy vision kills his own father. The whole revolution, Fuentes’s narrative asserts, is a mass parricide – ‘a series of murders of old, no longer useful fathers’.

The final action of The Old Gringo is more the completion of an allegorical design than a sequence of credible events. Winslow takes both men as her lovers. (Arroyo, his father’s son, rapes her.) Bierce burns the title deeds to Miranda’s estate and is shot in the back by a thus disinherited Arroyo. The implications of this scene are historically profound. The revolutionaries and their successors can never legitimately possess the land they have liberated.

Harriet returns to Washington, but through the sensation-seeking American press she demands the corpse of the old gringo, claiming it to be her lost father, Captain Winslow. Villa orders the corpse disinterred, has it decently shot from the front by firing-squad, and returned for burial at Arlington. Villa then shoots Arroyo as he administers the redundant coup de grace to Bierce’s already twice killed corpse. It is one of Fuentes’s crotchets that nothing fiction can invent is stranger than Mexican history. The business about the exhumed corpse ‘executed’ by Villa’s firing-squad is based on fact. By the end, all the characters have ‘crossed the frontier of our differences with others’.

As with Fuentes’s previous novels, The Old Gringo is fiendishly complex in its narrative method. The author’s professed aim is to dissolve and distil everything into a single, collective voice. Scenes, time settings, narrative moments melt one into the other. The novel starts, for instance, with Harriet, leaving Mexico: ‘Behind her, she thought she saw the dust marshalling itself into some kind of silent chronology that told her to remember … She remembers. Alone.’ This promises that the action will be contained and organised by the mind of Harriet. But it is not. The next section slips dramatically into the exhumation of a coffin, a scene which Harriet cannot have witnessed. Nor can the significance of this episode be understood by the reader at this stage of the story; it must be carefully stored away for future reference. The third section switches to Bierce’s entry into Mexico. Gradually these components allow themselves to be laboriously assembled into narrative order – but the task demands unnatural patience and persistence on the reader’s part.

The unremitting complexity of The Old Gringo’s telling would be painful if one were less reverent of its author. For myself, I’m not convinced that any novelist has the right to baffle the reader to the extent Fuentes does and still expect the tribute of close attention. The other main objection to this work (and its predecessors) is the unrelieved sombreness of tone. In lectures, the author reveals a delightful gift of humorous storytelling. This, together with his interest in Cervantes, about whom he has written a critical commentary, suggests that Fuentes might well find black comedy a congenial new territory.

Born in 1943, Reinaldo Arenas is one of the expelled Marielitos who came over to the US in 1980. Farewell to the Sea is a massive extract from a five-part work in progress whose final scale will be Himalayan. It is subtitled ‘A Novel of Cuba’. In fact, it might more accurately be called ‘a novel in spite of Cuba’. A stark epilogue records the manuscript’s trials. The first version of the novel was stolen in Havana in 1969; the second version was confiscated by the Cuban authorities in 1971; a third version was smuggled out of the country (some six years before the author himself could escape) in 1974. It was published in Spanish in Barcelona in 1982 and now this fourth version (translated by a professor of English at San Juan) is available in 1986.

Farewell to the Sea has a tiny plot buried under a mass of verbiage. As far as I can make out, it goes like this. Hector and his wife take a cabin by the seaside for six days. They have their baby boy with them. Their aim is to recover the spirit of their early marriage. Hector is a poet, a disillusioned revolutionary and, it emerges, a covert pederast, currently a very serious crime in Cuba. His wife suspects that he has already been at the resort without her. One supposes that in the course of the week Hector has an affair with a young boy in a neighbouring cabin, who commits suicide when he realises the bleak future for homosexuals in Castro’s regime. The novel ends with the entirely uncommunicative couple motoring back to Havana.

This attempted plot summary will not convey the heroic effort that Farewell to the Sea demands from its reader. The narrative is divided into two separately introspective sections. The first is made up of the wife’s day-by-day stream of consciousness. Each of the six mornings starts with a factual observation of the world around her, and ends with an apocalyptic reverie as she drifts into sleep. She has, apparently, ‘done with words for good’ and consoles herself with glum stoicism: ‘I must accept my existence, as others accept an incurable disease.’ Her dull resentments against the revolution are inarticulate, but insistently talkative and nag away interminably.

The second half of the novel is a 230-page-long Whitmanesque poem in six cantos which Hector has composed, presumably in his mind. It is obsessively homosexual and varies relatively lucid scabrous fantasy with vast quantities of bosh like the following:

swallows were gliding

fornicating above the ocean

and a bird (a Bird of Paradise because he wore a Manhattan) gobbling down his own eyes masturbates with the hand of God. God, said the blackbirds, banging flagpoles to the beat of the choral chant of the dead cousins who fell over the area, unannounced by the one-legged prestidigitator with the big beard (but bald on top).

There’s a certain brio to this, and of course surrealism – the very technique – makes a counter-totalitarian protest.  But what is a Manhattan, and what are these fornicating swallows and masturbating blackbirds?  The prestidigitator with the big beard must be Castro, but the missing leg is mysterious.

Neil Bissoondath’s Digging up the mountains is a first book and a collection of short stories.  The separate pieces are linked by an embittered sense of expatriation. Bissoondath himself was born in colonial Trinidad in 1955 and emigrated to Canada in 1973 after Independence.  The title story records the government campaign against the Indian middle class which sanctioned murder, Bissoondath alleges, and eventually drove people like him into exile.  The ruling West Indian blacks are generally portrayed by Bissoondath as arrogant and brutal.  At home they are grossly incompetent and violent.  Abroad they are vulgar and absurd. ‘ Dancing’ is the autobiographical account of a former fifty-dollar-a-month black maid, Sheila.  She comes to Toronto, where she is picked up by a sponsoring relative who takes her to a blues party.  A white neighbour complains at the din, and the West Indians insult and threaten him with the ‘Untarryo Human Right Commission.’  The ‘racialists,’ they explain, ‘owe us.  And we going to collect.’  Another more spiteful story portrays a black ‘revolutionary’ studying in Canada who cannot read the name ‘Lenin’ or spell ‘proletariat.’  More effective is the gentler piece ‘Insecurity,’ the comic portrait of an Indian merchant vacillating about whether to buy a house in distant Canada.  When Bissoondath comes to terms with his racial anger he will be a writer worth watching.’        John Sutherland, “Fuentes the Memorius;” London Review of Books, 1986

Numero Cuatro“DURING THE COURSE OF 1998, the 350th Anniversary of the Peace of Westphalia was celebrated in different European countries, and throughout 1999 the Centennial of the First Hague Peace Conference repeatedly received solemn attention.  This article, written in honour of Professor Leslie C. Green, will use the years of 1648 and 1899 as assessment points in relation to developments in international law regarding the use of force by States.  As concerns the emerging law of collective security, the account will probe somewhat beyond the year of 1899, but not beyond the establishment of the League of Nations in 1920.  The chosen topic is thus one of legal history, which is not inappropriate when one takes into account the achievements of Leslie Green; he himself became part of legal history through participation in war treason trials in India after World War II, and he has written on international humanitarian law and the UN Charter law on the use of force from both a historical and contemporary perspective.  The historical approach of this contribution may be timely — at a juncture in international relations when the world community is at a crossroads (as before in history) between multilateralism and unilateralism, between global and regional decision making, and between the Westphalian Peace Tradition idealism of ambitious blueprints for the future and laissez-faire oriented realism.

The Peace of Westphalia and the Grotian Legacy In October 1648, after 30 years of war and almost four years of negotiations, two peace treaties were signed in the Westphalian cities of Osnabriick and Miinster.  Most of the international actors of 17th-century Europe were represented at the peace congress: the Holy Roman Empire; nation-States like France, Sweden, Spain, and Portugal; an emerging State, the Netherlands (then called the United Provinces); the Holy See; i.e., the Swiss Confederation; Italian units such as Venice, Tuscany, and Savoy; and various German principalities and bishoprics, etc.  It was the first general peace congress in the history of Europe.

Among its immediate results were the introduction of a principle of religious tolerance, the breakdown of medieval imperial and clerical universalism, and the downgrading of the papacy to the status of a second-class international actor.  Moreover, in a longer term perspective, the peace contributed to the emergence of the modern international system of territorial and sovereign States, a system where actors were (and are) maximizing their own State interests, while at the same time striving for a balance of power.  From a legal point of view, the principle of national sovereignty was now in the foreground, while at the same time restrictions in sovereign rights were recognized as a consequence of, inter alia, the Westphalian Peace Treaties.

Against a backdrop of natural law perceptions, nation-States, city-States, and principalities alike perceived themselves as being part of a European collective bound together by an emerging law of nations (jus inter gentes).  The traditional Roman concept of jus gentium survived, but took on a more State-oriented meaning.  International law, as we know it today, started to develop through new (more efficient) forms of diplomacy, relying to a greater extent on permanent missions and an increased registration of State practice.  Hugo Grotius died in 1645, but left behind a conception of an international society which, at least in part, seemed to materialize after the Peace of Westphalia.

To some extent, this conception was realist in the sense that he was aware of the importance of sovereignty, stressing that a sovereign State is a power “whose actions are not subject to the legal control of another.”^ More- over, Grotius did not promote a doctrine of equality of States but rather recog- nized power differences and legal relationships based on non-equality.^ Yet the conception was idealistic in the sense that, consistent with stoic doctrine, a so- ciety of mankind, not one of States alone, was envisaged.^ In this society, the individual possessed fundamental rights and freedoms and was not merely an object.^ It is possible to deduce from his thinking, as Hedley Bull has done, the interpretation that Grotius was alluding to an international society of a more advanced nature — an international community — which implied a vision of “solidarism” and consensus in international relations.^ As Bull himself and others have pointed out, Grotius said little or nothing about crisis management, balance of power, great power responsibilities, inter- national institutions, multilateral conferences, or collective suppression of ag- gression^*^ — in other words, nothing about collective security. Benedict Kingsbury and Adam Roberts have noted that certain “solidarist” principles are nevertheless discernible in his writings. They are, however, difficult to concretize, a point made by Kingsbury. Grotius’ positions on such solidarist themes as the consequences of the justice or injustice of a war . . . and the enforcement of law by third parties generally, are all complex and often difficult to reduce to rules of decision. 1 1 In these areas, the treaties of Osnabriick and Miinster did, as we shall see, carry things somewhat further and with greater clarity than the doctrines of Grotius. His view of the law was “registrative” and backward-looking. He wanted to remind his contemporaries of the nature of the existing legal system, that it was almost as old as humanity itself and was “supposed to be as valid in his time as it had been in Roman times.”

 As a consequence, Grotius’ thinking was not in full harmony with the Westphalian Peace regime, which was future- oriented and designed to expound a new legal order relating to the use of force in Europe. In Dejure Belli ac Pads, Grotius picked up the medieval and theological Just War Doctrine and elaborated his own version of it. Although he circumscribed the right to wage war to a number of instances in order to curb wars of con- quest, his immediate legacy tended to be counterproductive to that purpose. His basic helium justum principle is reasonably clear: “war ought not to be un- dertaken except for the enforcement of rights.” ^^ Since Grotius wrote this at a time when acts of violence for the enforcement of rights occurred between ac- tors other than States, such as families, cities, and corporations, and since he was not ready to exclude such helium privatum from the legal sphere, but rather draw analogies from it with regard to inter-State relations, his position could be described as admissive vis-a-vis the use of force generally. However, at the same time he tried to introduce, de lege ferenda, a State monopoly on the use of force, for he perceived it to be conducive to law and order. 59 Westphalian Peace Tradition When Grotius listed the legitimate reasons for resorting to use of force, he deduced them from a citizen’s reasons for commencing a law suit.^”^ Any denial of existing rights would justify a victimized State’s reaction with military force. For example, force could be used for the recovery of lost property or the repair of economic damage. This position meant that Grotius’ jus ad bellum doctrine (like other jus ad bellum doctrines) included first use of force as a natural ele- ment. It also included second use reactions to other States’ use of force. Grotius’ view on self-defence in fact foreshadows the Caroline case. He only ad- mitted preventive action if it was “necessary” and in response to an immediate threat where one was “certain” about the intentions of the opponent. Arguing somewhat loosely, he asserted that “the degree of certainty required is that which is accepted in morals.” ^^ Morality also played a role in Grotius’ view on punitive actions. Punishment was a just cause in response to injustice done to oneself or third States. There was a general right of participation in a just war. Moreover, Grotius recognized the justness of a war “against men who act like beasts, “^^ and thus came close to what today is called humanitarian intervention. He based his “just causes” on natural law and the voluntary or positive law of nations (agreements and practice). The just causes of Grotian doctrine can be summarized as follows: • recovery of what is legally due to an aggrieved State; • territorial defence against an attack, actual or threatening, but not against a potential threat; • economic defence to protect one’s property; and • the infliction of punishment upon a wrongdoing State. ^^ Wars waged without any cause were “unjust,” a categorization that entailed certain practical consequences. One was to assume relevance for later legal de- velopments, namely Grotius’ doctrine on qualified neutrality. Absolute impar- tiality was impossible in relation to the aggressor and his opponent. In Book III of De Jure Belli ac Pacts, Grotius wrote that neutrals should do nothing to sup- port the “wicked case” or hamper “him who wages a just war.”^^ There was no suggestion of a duty to assist actively the “just side,” but Grotius asserted that the right of passage ought to be granted to the party fighting for a just cause and denied to one motivated by an unjust cause. ^^ However, Grotius did not envis- age collective action on the part of the international society. His doctrines ex- pressed a “law of coexistence,” not a “law of co-operation” (to use Wolfgang Friedmann’s terminology).^*^ This does not exclude perceptions of “the Grotian image of war as a fight for the common good,” as Michael Donelan would ar- gue, or fighting for a just cause “on behalf of the community as a whole,” as Hedley Bull would put it.^^ Nevertheless, this “solidarist” theme is more pro- nounced in the provisions of the Westphalian Peace regime. The Treaty of Miinster contains three articles of relevance in this context. First, Article I stated: That there shall be a Christian and Universal Peace, and a perpetual, true, and sincere Amity, between his Sacred Imperial Majesty, and his most Christian Majesty; as also, between all and each of the Allies, . . . That this Peace and Amity be observed and cultivated with such a Sincerity and Zeal, that each Party shall endeavour to procure the Benefit, Honour and Advantage of the other; etc. . . .22 That this general pronouncement on maintenance of peace also amounted to an international obligation to solve existing disputes by peaceful means was made clear by the 123rd Article of the Treaty. Even if violations of the Treaty should occur . . . The Offended shall before all things exhort the Offender not to come to any Hostility, submitting the Cause to a friendly Composition, or the ordinary Proceedings of Justice. 23 These provisions were, in a sense, forerunners to Articles 12, 13 and 15 of the Covenant of the League of Nations (on certain procedures for crisis man- agement) and Articles 2(3) and 33 of the UN Charter (on obligatory peaceful settlement of disputes). In fact, the Peace of Westphalia contained an embryo of what later would be called collective security. The Article quoted above also obliged the parties (individually) “to defend and protect all and every Article of this Peace against any one, without distinction of Religion.” This obligation was supplemented by a rule on collective sanctions in the following (124th) Article: [I]f for the space of three years the Difference cannot be terminated by any one o( those [peaceful] means, all and every one of those concerned in this Transaction shall be obliged to join the injured Party, and assist him with Counsel and Force to repel the Injury . . . and the Contravener shall be regarded as an Infringer of the Peace. 24 Thus, there was an obligation to identify the aggressor and join forces to repel the aggression. This Westphalian formula on a mutual guarantee of security to be triggered after the failure of peaceful settlement efforts would influence later 61 Westphalian Peace Tradition State practice and can today be compared with Articles 10 and 16 of the League Covenant and Chapters VI and VII oi the UN Charter. Grotius’ jus ad bellum doctrine was not reflected in the Peace provisions. The more ambitious approach of jus contra helium was introduced in State (treaty) practice for the first time (although in a loose manner) . It would not prevail in actual practice during the following centuries, but after 1648 it was once and for all ideologically implanted in political thinking on law and diplomacy. It is definitely an overstatement to say, as Hedley Bull has done, that Grotius “may be considered the intellectual father of this first general peace settlement of modern times. “^^ Grotius did not recommend a general conference of Euro- pean powers and did not envisage that a comprehensive peace settlement would have the potential of providing the international society with an institu- tional foundation. However, Grotius’ conception of international society is bound to have influenced the negotiators in Osnabriick and Miinster to some extent. Hedley Bull may be correct in his assessment that “in their impact on the course of international history the theory of Grotius and the practice of Westphalia marched together. “^^ The Westphalian Balance of Power System 1648-1789 In the immediate aftermath of 1648, it seemed that the old international sys- tem had been transformed into an international society, if not into an interna- tional community guided by common values, common policy prescriptions, and common legal rules of coexistence. Nevertheless, the weakness of the Westphalian peace and security system soon became apparent. In modern par- lance, it had no institutional backing and contained no mechanism for imple- menting crisis management procedures. Moreover, there was more often than not a lack of political will in the ensuing era of absolutism. Non-peaceful settle- ment of disputes seemed to be the rule. The first trade war between the Nether- lands and Britain was fought between 1652-54. During the same decade, Spanish troops recaptured Barcelona from French occupation, Sweden inter- vened in the Polish-Russian war, Denmark attacked Sweden’s territories in northern Germany, Britain and France jointly attacked Spain, etc. However, the area of main concern to the Westphalian Peace negotiators, central Eu- rope, was still peaceful. Westphalia left a legacy of balance of power diplomacy that in many respects was conducive to peace. Although the treaties of Osnabriick and Miinster con- tained no explicit wording on balance of power, the concept was inherent in the treaties. The rule on collective sanctions implied a potential of deterrence that could curb aggressive tendencies in balance-threatening situations. More- over, a form of collective self-defence materialized in 1663 and 1683 when Turkish troops threatened Vienna (and the Habsburg Empire), but were re- pelled through the collective efforts of countries (France and others) that came to Austria’s assistance. The perception of a threat posed by a strong Islamic presence in central Europe was enough to cause various powers to join forces (in all probability, irrespective of the Miinster Treaty). When the European balance of power system was threatened again in 1688, a coalition against the peace-breaker was forged soon enough. This time the expansionist policy of Louis XIV had manifested itself in a French invasion of the Palatinate (Pfalz). In this and similar cases, most States wanted to preserve some basic status quo as a way to prevent other States from gaining a position of dominance. Balance of power diplomacy was thus directed more towards limit- ing the political/territorial consequences of war than towards abolishing war as such. The (anti-French) coalition war ended with the Peace of Rijswijk in 1697, where Louis XIV had to give up most of the conquered territories and ac- cept arbitration on numerous territorial claims. The jus contra helium element of the Westphalian heritage had been diluted beyond recognition in actual practice, but traces of it remained in peace treaties for years to come. Louis XIV threatened the balance of power once again in 1700 when he ad- vanced a claim on the Spanish throne on behalf of his grandson. This led to a new anti-French coalition being formed the following year^^ and to the out- break of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714), which ended in French defeat. The balance of power was upheld through the peace treaties o{ Utrecht (1713) and Rastatt (1714). The Peace of Utrecht consisted of a num- ber of bilateral agreements which explicitly confirmed what in Westphalia had been a general understanding — that peace had to be built on a just geopolitical equilibrium (justum potentiae equilihrium) .^^ In this sense the treaties of Utrecht reconfirmed a Westphalian tradition. However, since France was successful in “bilateralizing” the peace conditions in relation to its different adversaries, the Peace of Utrecht did not mark the existence of an international society or com- munity in the same way as the Peace of Westphalia had done. The West- phalian embryo of collective security was not taken up further. Although Europe had raised a coalition of the willing against the peace-breaker, no obli- gations as to collective action or sanctions were envisaged for the future. Louis XIV had been forced to respect the European balance, but the powers uphold- ing it could neither impose an efficient status quo nor secure peaceful change in the relations of States. ^^ Utrecht did not reconfirm the Westphalian principle of European public law requiring peaceful settlement of disputes. The 63 Westphalian Peace Tradition embryonic element of jus contra bellum was not revived; the doctrine of jus ad helium prevailed. In 1699 Denmark, Poland and Russia formed an aggressive alliance against Sweden, their plan being to launch simultaneous attacks the following year. As a consequence, the Great Northern War (1700-1721) was unleashed, during which Charles XII of Sweden rejected several peace offers. During the war, the 1712 edition of Grotius’ Dejure Belli ac Pads was translated into Russian, and inspired the Russian diplomat P.P. Shafirov to defend Peter the Great’s first’use-of’ force against Sweden. In 1717 Shafirov published A Discourse Con- cerning the Just Causes of War Between Sweden and Russia (as it was called in the later English version). ^^ Voltaire, who did not believe that Grotius had influ- enced anything regarding the restraint of war, ironically rejected (in his book on Charles XII) the just causes advanced by Russian diplomacy during the Northern War.^^ Under the Peace of Nystad (1721), Sweden lost her Baltic provinces and Russia emerged as a major coastal State in the region and as a new Great Power. The northern balance had shifted to a new equilibrium. In the discourse of international lawyers there have been different views on the matter of balance of power as it relates to the law on war and peace. Some have (since the 18^^^ century) seen the balancing system as a precondition of in- ternational law, others have viewed it as a peace-oriented policy of preserving the status quo, a few may have understood its preservation as amounting to a legal obligation on the part of States, and many have considered it a formula giving rise to legal rights of intervention and resort to force. ^^ The legal consequences of the 18^^ century political realities amounted inter alia to an ex- tensive interpretation of the law of individual and collective self-defence, al- though Grotius had not included preventive war among his categories of helium justum. Christian Wolff, writing in 1749, thought that the balance of power was “useful to protect the common security.” He did not believe that “the preserva- tion of equilibrium” was in itself a just cause of war, but he nevertheless found that nations under threat of subjugation had the right to resort to force. ^^ Wolffs disciple, Emmerich de Vattel, rejected conquest, property claims, and religious differences as just causes of war, but admitted that in order to pro- tect their interests, States had a right to resort to war in response to what they regarded as injuries. As a consequence of this “realist” approach, Vattel’s book, Le Droit des gens (first edition 1758) became very popular in government chan- celleries and diplomatic circles. Vattel did not, however, completely accept the so-called probabilist doctrine (embraced by Wolff and others before him) that war could be just on both sides since “probable reasons” for legality could be of- fered in the concrete case. Vattel maintained that it was impossible that two contrary claims were simultaneously true, although both parties to a conflict could act bona fide and accusations of unjustness should be avoided in such sit- uations. Nevertheless, he rejected all suggestions that the end justifies the means and that might is right. He recognized the need for collective action against aggressors that upset the balance of power. The common safety of the society of nations would permit joint action to restrain and punish rogue States.^”^ While Wolff and Vattel were busy authoring their volumes on “the law of nations,” the international scene around them was characterized by power politics. In 1740 Frederick the Great of Prussia embarked upon the Austrian War of Succession, from which Prussia emerged in 1748 as a new Great Power. Again the balance of power had shifted. Other wars followed: the Seven Year War (1756-63) and the Bavarian War of Succession (1778-79). Although dur- ing this era an unprovoked attack was regarded as immoral behaviour, a war of aggression was not necessarily looked upon as illegal under the public law of Europe or the law of nations. The Articles of the Treaty of Miinster, indicating the contrary, had yielded to what Schwarzenberger has called the Grotian “elasticity of just causes of resort to war.”^^ In retrospect it could be argued that Grotius’ jus ad helium doctrine had served to license war rather than to restrict it. One of Grotius’ purposes was to curb wars of conquest. Sharon Korman has made the point in a recent thesis that Prussia’s conquest of Silesia (1740) and the three partitions of Poland (1772, 1793, 1795) were accepted by the Euro- pean States and thereby confirmed the existence of a right of conquest. ^^ At the time, balance of power arguments were used to legitimize both the con- quest of Silesia and the enforced partitions of Poland. The Westphalian Peace concept (where the balance of power ideology was linked to the non-use of force) had vanished from State practice, but it survived in different variants in political and philosophical literature. Elements of Jus contra Bellum in Political Philosophy 1713-1806 During the negotiations leading up to the Peace of Utrecht, the French Abbe de Saint-Pierre served as a secretary to the French delegation and, in his spare time, elaborated a peace plan for Europe. It first appeared in 1712 as Projet de la Paix LJniverselle. The following year a more extended version under the less ambitious title Projet pour rendre la Paix perpituelle en Europe was pub- lished. Saint-Pierre may have been influenced by the Quaker William Penn’s booklet. Essays Towards the Present and Future Peace of Europe (1693), in which Penn put forward the idea of a federation of European States (including Russia 65 Westphalian Peace Tradition and Turkey) as a peace maintenance mechanism. Saint-Pierre advocated a fed- eration of European/Christian States based on the post-Utrecht status quo. He saw the proposed federal structure as a way to prevent international and inter- nal armed conflict. Disputes would be resolved by peaceful means, i.e., by arbi- tration or judicial process within the framework of a permanent assembly of State representatives. The Assembly (or Senate) would function under the leadership of the existing major powers. These States would possess more votes than others under the decision-making procedure. Common decisions on en- forcement measures could be taken to uphold the status quo or implement the desired order. War as a means of coercion, on the part of the Federation, was envisaged as the ultimate sanction against recalcitrant States.

In this respect, Saint-Pierre’s thinking was part of a Westphalian heritage of collective secu- rity. His peace project included an important element of jus contra helium, not in the strict and direct UN Charter “Article 2(4) sense,” but in the broader and more general perspective that will always be intertwined with any peace plan for common or collective security. Saint-Pierre’s ideas became well known in Europe and they were com- mented upon by Frederick the Great, Voltaire, Rousseau and others — although often in a sceptical or even ironic fashion. Rousseau abridged and reviewed his project in an essay — Extrait du projet de paix perpetuelle d. M. VAbhi de St. Pierre (1760) — and has, therefore (at times), been perceived as a strong supporter of Saint Pierre and his peace plan. In fact, Rousseau thought it naive, but applauded Saint-Pierre’s aspirations. Montesquieu, in De VEsprit des lots (1748), came close to embracing the stricter jus contra bellum approach when he rejected the right of conquest (ex- cept as a matter of self-defence) and advocated the principles that “nations, without prejudicing their true interests, in time of peace ought to do one an- other all good they can, and in time of war, as little injury as possible. “

The former proposition would today include the peaceful settlement obligation of Articles 2(3) and 33 of the UN Charter, while the latter would refer to the prin- ciples underlying the international humanitarian law of armed conflict. Mon- tesquieu’s views on natural law in this respect supplements this proposition. In arguing against Thomas Hobbes’ thesis of men by nature being in a state of war, he claimed that “peace would be the first law of nature. “

In the 1780’s, Jeremy Bentham crafted a peace project — “Plan for a Univer- sal and Perpetual Peace” — but it was not published until after his death in the volume Principles of International Law (1843) and thus could not exert any in- fluence during the period under consideration. In it, Bentham criticized Vattel and other naturalists. He aimed at a codification of international law that would rule out war and colonization and rely on public opinion as a sanction for peace. The French Revolution conveyed an ideology which had important implica- tions for the development of certain international legal concepts. Internal free- dom (civil and political rights) was seen as a condition for peace and the competence to wage war ought to, in accord with this perception, be placed un- der the authority of the representatives of the people. The idea was advanced that “all unjust aggression” was contrary to natural law. War should only be used to repress a grave injustice and conquest should be forbidden. A constitu- tional proposal by Mirabeau provided that if the legislative assembly found a minister or other executive agent guilty of international aggression, he would be punished for criminal acts against the State. ^’-‘ The ensuing Decree of the National Assembly of May 22, 1790, was not that far-reaching, but did contain a rejection of wars of conquest, and its text was later incorporated in the Revo- lutionary Constitution. The 1791 Constitution included the following formula: The French Nation renounces the undertaking of any war with a view to making conquests and will never use its forces against the liberty of any people. 41 A follow-up Decree of April 13, 1793, pronounced the principle of non-intervention in the affairs of other States. These revolutionary concep- tions also found expression in the Declaration du droit des genSy which in 1795 was submitted to the French Convention by one of its members. Abbe Gregoire. It was intended as a corollary to the Declaration des droits de rhomme of 1789, a parallelism inspired by 18″^^ century natural law thinking. The new (draft) declaration contained a number of lofty principles, including the propo- sition that an armed attack by one nation upon the liberty of another would be an offense against all nations, and the principle that the interests of individual nations should be subordinated to the “general interests of the human race.'”^^ The Declaration was not adopted. Edmund Burke’s well-known condemnation of the French Revolution was linked to his concern about the future of the balance of power in Europe. With the outbreak of the Revolution, Westphalia had become “an antiquated fable,” he wrote in 1791.”^^ Any attempt to upset the European balance of power sys- tem was for Burke a just cause of war. There was a duty to intervene in the in- ternal affairs of France in order to protect “the public laws of Europe.” When Thomas Paine published Part II of his Rights of Man, Being an Answer to Mr Burke s Attack on the French Revolution in 1792, he also opposed Burke’s 67 Westphalian Peace Tradition view on war. Instead of finding a “public law of Europe,” Paine noted the “uncivilized state of European governments” and the fact that those govern- ments were “almost continually at war.””^”^ He denounced war as such as harm- ful to the “principles of commerce and its universal operation” and made the point that commercial development is dependant on the maintenance of peace. Thus, it was in everyone’s interest to avoid war.”

Paine was here to some extent foreshadowing the plans of Robert Schumann and Jean Monnet for a European Community. He did not, however, draw any legal conclusions from this reasoning, other than that he implicitly denied a jus ad bellum based on an alleged public law of Europe. When Immanuel Kant published his famous essay Zum ewigen Frieden in 1 795, he argued, like Paine, that “the spirit of trade cannot coexist with war, and sooner or later this spirit dominates every people. For among all those powers (or means) that belong to a nation, financial power may be the most reliable in forcing nations to pursue the noble cause of peace. “^^ Kant was critical of Grotius, Vattel, and other naturalists and their preten- sion of stating a valid legal prohibition against certain uses of force. Thus, he denied any lex lata on the subject (although he did not put it in these terms) . He noted, however, a “dormant moral aptitude to master the evil principle in him- self” and claimed that “from the throne of its moral legislative power, reason [emphasis added] absolutely condemns war as a means of determining the right and makes seeking the state of peace a matter of unmitigated duty.””^^ He thereafter embarked upon an idealistic reasoning de lege ferenda: But without a contract among nations peace can be neither inaugurated nor guaranteed. A league of a special sort must therefore be established, one that we can call a league of peace (foedus pacificum), which will be distinguished from a treaty of peace (pactum pads) because the latter seeks merely to stop one war, while the former seeks to end all wars forever. This league does not seek any power of the sort possessed by nations, but only the maintenance and security of each nation’s freedom, as well as that of the other nations leagued with it, . . .”‘^

Although accepting the decentralized Westphalian State system of equal nations, Kant wanted to improve upon it through agreement. His proposal amounted to a loose federation of free nations, without any supranational mechanisms for collective sanctions (not to erode national sovereignty), but kept together by the moral force of leading States. He was not aiming for a uni- versal world State but a universal moral order. This could be achieved by one or two States inspiring others to join in a federation: It can be shown that this idea of federalism should eventually include all nations and thus lead to perpetual peace. For if good fortune should so dispose matters that a powerful and enlightened people should form a republic (which by its nature must be inclined to seek perpetual peace) , it will provide a focal point for a federal association among other nations that will join in order to guarantee a state of peace . . ., and through several associations of this sort such a federation can extend further and further.49 As indicated above, Kant did not (in Zum ewigen Frieden) support a collec- tive security system based on enforcement or sanctions. In an essay published two years earlier, he had written: But it will be said that nations will never subject themselves to such coercive laws; and the proposal for a universal cosmopolitan nation, to whose power all individual nations should voluntarily submit, and whose laws they should obey, may sound ever so nice in the theory of the Abbe St. Pierre or of a Rousseau, yet it is of no practical use. For this proposal has always been ridiculed by great statesmen, and even more by leaders of nations, as a pedantically childish academic idea.^O A modern reading of Kant would confirm key-words/concepts like national sovereignty, international agreement, constitutional basis, peaceful settlement of disputes, non-use of force, non-intervention, the right to self-defence, and national self-determination (Kant opposed colonization).

All in all, his jus contra helium approach was reasonably modern. The Westphalian tradition would include concepts like peaceful coexis- tence, equality of sovereign States, peaceful settlement of disputes, non-use of force, balance of power, mutual security guarantees, and collective sanctions. One or more of these concepts have on and off appeared in the State practice or doctrine touched upon so far. When, during the Napoleonic Wars, the Austrian statesman Friedrich von Gentz published Fragmente aus den neuesten Geschichte des Politischen Gleichgewichts in Europa (1806), he singled out some of these Westphalian con- cepts: balance of power, equality of States, peaceful coexistence, and joint ac- tion against peace breakers. Fie was, of course, heavily influenced by Napoleon’s upheaval of the traditional European balance and wanted to see the feature of national self-determination reestablished on the European conti- nent. As a consequence, von Gentz supported normative development towards a prohibition of first use of force in the relations between States, but, in light of his later association with Metternich and the post- 18 15 doctrine of armed 69 Westphalian Peace Tradition intervention against revolutionary movements in other States, his commit- ment to a genuine jus contra bellum approach can be doubted. The Concert of Europe and European Peace Diplomacy 1815-1897 Revolutionary France, in spite of its “peace-loving” constitution, hurled it- self into an armed conflict with the rest of continental Europe in 1792. Follow- ing Napoleon’s ascendancy to power a few years later, the European balance was threatened anew. In 1804, Alexander I of Russia presented a peace plan for a European order after the expected fall of Napoleon. As with the Peace of Westphalia, the new peace was to be guaranteed by articulation of rules for the behaviour of and relations between States laid down in treaty form. Every State would pledge not to start a war without first having exhausted all available means for a peaceful solution of the dispute. Acceptance of mediation would be the rule.

A State that violated these norms risked facing the joint armed forces of the European powers. This initiative from St. Petersburg was, however, not politically credible and was soon eroded by the capriciousness of the Czar. A more promising initiative of a less ambitious nature was taken by the Brit- ish foreign minister, Lord Castlereagh, at the Congress of Vienna in 1815, when he proposed a Final Declaration of the Congress in which States would oblige themselves to strengthen and maintain the dearly-bought peace. The re- sult was a Proclamation, adopted on March 13, 1815, consisting of a pledge by the eight peace-concluding parties to protect the peace, in particular against revolutionary upheavals. It seemed that political status quo was more important than protection of the peace as such. The decade following the Congress of Vienna was characterized by Great Power initiatives for management of international affairs. First, Czar Alexan- der initiated the Holy Alliance with its religious overtones, and thereafter Fiirst Metternich started to orchestrate a European military preparedness to preserve the “legitimate” position of existing governments. The Concert of Europe brought with it a form of political cooperation that was unprecedented in the history of the continent. The emphasis was on common security, rather than on non-use of force. Lord Castlereagh had said in Parliament in May 1815, ap- ropos of the need for reassurances against a revitalized France, that … in order to render this security as complete as possible, it seems necessary, at the point of a general Pacification, to form a Treaty to which all the principal Powers o( Europe should be Parties, fixed and recognized, and they should all bind themselves mutually to protect and support each other, against any attempt to infringe them.

On making the statement, Lord Castlereagh noted that he desired a treaty which would “reestablish a general and comprehensive system of Public Law in Europe.” It was jus contra helium, but primarily in the collective security sense. First use of force mandated by the Powers was not excluded. The balance of power was monitored through consultations at international conferences: Vienna 1815; Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen) 1818; Troppau (Opava) 1820; Laibach (Ljublana) 1821; and Verona 1822. The conference majority in Troppau agreed upon a legitimization of intervention in the affairs of other States (where the current political order was threatened), although British di- plomacy had resisted and done its best to prevent this development. When Austria under Metternich intervened against the revolutionaries in Naples in 1820, Britain objected. Three years later, when France intervened against the liberal insurgents in Spain, Britain objected again. Conference diplomacy took a more constructive turn in 1830 when the risk that France and Prussia would intervene on either side of the Belgian uprising against the Dutch supremacy surfaced. In order to maintain European peace and security, a diplomatic conference was convened in London. Under the leadership of Lord Palmerston, a process of crisis management was initiated, one which yielded concrete results; Belgian independence was recognized in 1830 and Belgian neutrality in 1831. When the Netherlands attempted to undo the results of the conference through armed force, Britain and France in- tervened militarily and secured the conference solution. It is often said that the Congress system and the European Concert broke down after a relatively short time, but in the mind of many political participants during the latter part of the century (e.g., William Gladstone) the European Concert retained its relevance as an ideological project. The important thing, from a historical point of view, is the observation that conference diplomacy as a phenomenon was there to stay. The fact that this diplomacy, if not preven- tive, at least was crisis management oriented, is of relevance for the history of the law of collective security. However, it is of limited importance for our theme oijus contra helium developments. The Ministerial Congresses and the Diplomatic Conferences of the time were reactive, not proactive, as regards interstate use of force. With the excep- tion of treaties on neutralization of small areas, international negotiations were not concerned with normative blueprints in order to forestall aggression and other uses of force; rather, they were concerned with crisis management after the outbreak of war. This is true for the 1841 Turkish Straits Agreement (con- cluded between the five Great Powers and Turkey), the 1850 London Peace Agreement after the first Schleswig-Holstein War (between Prussia and 71 Westphalian Peace Tradition Denmark), the 1856 Peace Conference of Paris after the Crimean War, the 1878 Congress of Berlin after the Russian-Turkish War, and the 1897 Great Power mediation after the Greek-Turkish War. It should be noted, however, that the 1856 peace settlement of Paris in- cluded one element of jus contra helium. The specially adopted Declaration of Maritime Law prohibited States from licensing piracy through the following text: “Privateering is, and remains, abolished.” The prohibition was applicable in armed conflict, and — one would presume — in peacetime as well. One of the frequent London Conferences was not a reaction to an outbreak of war, but an attempt to avert such an outbreak. During the crisis of 1867 over Luxemburg (which Bismarck was not prepared to let Napoleon III purchase from the Netherlands), British diplomacy engineered the solution of an inde- pendent and neutralized principality of Luxemburg. A war between Prussia and France may have been prevented in the process. Still, a number of wars of aggression occurred during this period, indicating the prevalence of Clausewitz’s thinking that war is an extension of national policy. The concept of jus ad bellum did not seem to imply any restrictions on the sovereign decision-making power of nations. Troops of the German Con- federation invaded parts of Denmark in 1848, Prussian- Austrian troops re- peated this in 1864 (and conquered Schleswig-Holstein), and Prussia embarked upon a war with its former ally Austria in 1866. In July 1870, Bismarck had managed to provoke France into declaring war on Prussia. “The German nation … is the victim of aggression” declared a repre- sentative of the German Social Democratic Workers Party. ^^ Karl Marx saw the war on the German side as one of self-defence. But in September 1870, the war of territorial self-defence was over and German troops were fighting for ter- ritorial expansion in Alsace-Lorraine. Karl Marx, in his Second Address of the International described the war after Sedan “as an act of aggression” against the territorial integrity of France and against the people of Alsace-Lorraine. Marx was hovering between the poles of justifiability (self-defence) and non-justifiability (aggression), between perceived legality and illegality. As Mi- chael Walzer has pointed out, he was “working within the terms set by the the- ory of aggression. “

At about this time, public opinion was in tune with an emerging opinio juris (within rather than between States) that aggression was a crime under interna- tional law. Public opinion also greeted the news of the Alabama Claims arbitra- tion in 1872. A serious dispute between two major powers had been settled through peaceful means, an occurrence which thereby indicated an alternative to armed conflict. Expectations de legeferenda pointed towards a future legal re- gime of obligatory settlement procedures, towards a jus contra helium. This was a time when the peace movement was on the move again, after a period of decline following the nationalistic sentiments of the Crimean War. The outlawing of war had been on the agenda since the first peace conferences were held in New York, London, Paris, and Geneva between 1815-1830. The first international Peace Congress was held in London in 1843, and in 1867 Victor Hugo and Giuseppe Garibaldi founded the first peace-oriented NGO — Ligue de la Paix et de la Liherte — in Geneva. In the aftermath of the judicial settlement of the Alabama Claims, international lawyers became active and founded two peace-oriented organisations of their own in 1873: first, the Institut de Droit International in Gent; and thereafter the Association for the Reform and Codification of the Law of Nations (later International Law Asso- ciation) in Brussels. In 1888, the Interparliamentary Union was founded in order to unite parlia- mentarians in a struggle against war, and the following year the first World Peace Conference was convened with representatives from different national peace associations. Both events took place in Paris. In 1889 the Austrian bar- oness Bertha von Suttner published the best-selling novel Down with Arms (Die Waff en nieder). Her friend, Alfred Nobel, died in 1896 (he had been active in his way for the cause of peace) and left behind a will that, inter alia, resulted in the Nobel Peace Prize. All this private activity may have influenced individual statesmen, politicians and diplomats, but it did not result in any normative pro- posals sponsored by governments. All the same, a political principle o( non-aggression had emerged in conformity with the opinion of many actors in national societies. Emphasis in the international society remained on ad hoc crisis-management. In 1897, when Greece wanted to liberate Crete for reasons of nationalistic ful- filment (enosis) power rather than international morality, it was warned by the Great Powers not to attack Turkey. Notwithstanding the warnings, Greece sent a fleet to Crete and mounted operations in Thrace. It has been said that the six Great Powers (Britain, France, Germany, Austria, Russia, and Italy) “laid down the rules of the game — for instance, that the aggressor would not be allowed to obtain any advantage from the conflict, whatever the result might be.”^^ One gets an impression of an emerging opinio juris corresponding to the principle ex injuria jus non oritur. But it is probably too much to say that the in- ternational law on the use of force was developed through State practice at this instant. Nevertheless, international law thinking seemed to have played a cer- tain part in the crisis management. Greece started the war, lost it, was saved by 73 Westphalian Peace Tradition international mediation, and thereafter put under international administrative control not only for reasons of economic necessity but also in order to secure the payment of war compensation to Turkey under the peace agreement. The principles of non-aggression and pacta sunt servanda were important for reasons of balance of power. The turn of the century was close. Although nothing indicated any substan- tial legal developments in the near future, in fact, the road of diplomacy had been paved for a new turn in the area of international law and organization. The Hague Peace Conference of 1899 and Beyond When the heads of the various diplomatic missions in St. Petersburg at- tended the weekly reception of the Russian foreign minister, Count Mouravieff, on August 24, 1898, they were in for a surprise. Mouravieff pre- sented a manifesto of the Czar amounting to an invitation to an International Peace Conference to discuss the most effective means of assuring a lasting peace and a reduction of excessive armaments. The diplomats realized that no government could express anything else than sympathy for such a proposal, but they also realized that no major States could be expected to agree on any disar- mament proposals, since preservation of freedom of action was considered vital in this context. A circular was sent out to the different capitals and replies were requested. At a later stage, Mouravieff travelled around in Europe and assured chancelleries that the conference should not discuss disarmament proper — that would be Utopian — but try to find limits for the arms race (arms control). The reason behind the initiative, many believed, was Russia’s financial situation. The finance minister. Count Witte, was said to refuse to assign the funds nec- essary for the introduction of new weapons (Russia needed to match the rapid-firing field artillery of Germany) and Witte was perceived as the driving force behind the idea o{ an international agreement on limitation of arma- ments in order to save costs. Reactions to the invitation included suggestions on the need for adoption of rules for settlement of international disputes by arbitration. A new circular of January 11, 1899, enumerated eight items which could usefully be discussed at the Conference. In the terminology of today, items 1-4 concerned arms con- trol, items 5-7 international humanitarian law of armed conflict, and item 8 ar- bitration. Representatives of the peace movement disliked many of the first seven items, since “war should be abolished, not alleviated.” Already at this preparatory stage, there was a shift of emphasis from the issue of modern weap- ons developments to the Westphalian concepts of peaceful settlement of disputes and equality of States, concepts which were strongly supported by smaller States and the peace movement. It is unlikely that these attitudes were directly influenced by the European history of political ideas, but they never- theless belonged to the Westphalian peace tradition. The new circular of January 1899 also touched upon the venue of the Con- ference. The Czar was no longer considering St. Petersburg and thought it better to avoid any of the Great Power capitals. In diplomatic circles this was seen as damage limitation, a consequence of the less than encouraging reac- tions of the major powers. Change of venue would minimize disgrace if the Czar’s initiative should fail. Preparations soon focused on a “neutral” capital, with the Hague finally chosen as the site for the Conference. When the Conference opened on May 18, 1899, representatives of 26 States were present. Europe dominated with 20 delegations, including Turkey. Other participating nations were the United States, China, Japan, Persia, Siam, and Mexico. Delegations were composed of seasoned diplomats, military and naval men, and “technical experts.” The latter group included experts in international law, such as the Russian professor Fjodor de Martens, a proponent of arbitration and humanitarian law of armed conflict and soon to be famous for the “Martens’ Clause” (adopted in its first version in 1899). The British delegation included Sir Julian Pauncefote, the Ambassador in Washington who was well known for his work in 1897 on an (abortive) arbitration treaty with the United States. The U.S. delegation included Andrew D. White, Ambassador in Berlin, who, like Martens and Pauncefote, was a firm believer in the peaceful settle- ment of disputes. However, most of the military and naval delegates from the major powers seemed to be of the opinion that “might is right.” The Conference was also followed by enthusiastic activists of the peace movement, like the British journalist William T. Stead, the Russian author and industrialist Ivan Bloch, Bertha von Suttner, and others. The popular demand for arbitration had to be taken seriously by politicians. The general atmosphere of Hague 1899, outside the conference rooms in the Royal summer palace, was filled with optimism and expectations. Delegates, for reasons of self-esteem, found themselves slowly trying to respond constructively to these expectations.

The arms control proposals were soon shelved, not to be taken up seriously again, but the second Committee that dealt with the jU5 in hello under Martens’ chairmanship achieved some useful results [the Convention with Respect to the Laws and Customs of War on Land, its Annex of Regulations on Land Warfare, the Convention for the Adaptation to Maritime Warfare of the Prin- ciples of the 1864 Geneva Convention, and the Declarations concerning 75 Westphalian Peace Tradition Asphyxiating Gases and Expanding (“dum-dum”) Bullets] .

But ultimately the work of the Conference centred on the third Committee and the proposal for a permanent court of arbitration. The initial objective was to make arbitration compulsory in disputes of a less important nature, namely those which did not affect “vital national interests.” In the end, after German recalcitrance, the idea of compulsory arbitration was completely abandoned, although a permanent body (the Permanent Court of Arbitration) was established through the agreed-upon Convention for the Pa- cific Settlement of International Disputes. Article 1 of the Convention, signed on July 29, 1899, stipulates: With a view to obviating, as far as possible, recourse to force in the relations between States, the Signatory Powers agree to use their best efforts to ensure the pacific settlement of international differences. 58 This non-obligatory wording leaves it to the parties of a dispute to find ways and means of solving their differences. There is no binding renunciation of the use of force, merely a declared intention to avoid resorting to force “as far as possible.” Article 2 deals with good offices and mediation. Here the contracting parties agree, “before [they chose] an appeal to arms,” to have recourse to such proce- dures, but only “as far as circumstances permit.” Articles 15-57 lay down the system for international arbitration and Articles 20-29 concern “the Permanent Court” (consisting of an International Bureau, which serves as a record office, and a list of Arbitrators/Members of the Court). Arbitral procedure is set forth in Articles 30-57 and Article 56 makes clear that an award “is only binding on the parties who concluded the [specially regu- lated] ‘Compromis’.” Despite all the deferences to national sovereignty and State consent, the Convention represented considerable progress at its adop- tion. Since Westphalia, it was the first step taken in international law to place legal restrictions upon the right of States to resort to war as an instrument of national policy. It was a jus contra helium in a limited sense. A permanent insti- tution had been established and the rules of procedure facilitated arbitration considerably, since such rules no longer had to be agreed upon in each case. It has been said that The importance of the First Hague Peace Conference lay not so much in what it actually accomplished as in the fact that it accomplished something and that it set a precedent for future meetings. . . . Earlier opinions of the work done were not very enthusiastic, and it was only later, when the second Conference met in 1907, that the realization gradually spread that in 1899 the first step had been taken in the direction of international organization.59 The Second Hague Peace Conference of 1907 reaffirmed the modest step taken to restrict the use of force through the adoption of a new Convention for the Pacific Settlement of Disputes (which refined the earlier convention) and a convention which prohibited the use of force to recover public contract debts unless arbitration had been refused (the so called Porter Convention, named after a U.S. delegate) . That these Conventions (Hague I and II) only amounted to an extremely incomplete jus contra helium was made clear through the adop- tion of Convention III relative to the Opening of Hostilities, which required a declaration of war or ultimatum before hostilities began.

Still, the first link in a chain towards a more complete non-use of force regime was emerging in 1899 and 1907.  The Westphalian Peace treaties had linked together the concepts of peaceful settlement of disputes, equality of States, non-use of force, joint action, and collective sanctions (all of which were in some way included in the 1920 Covenant of the League of Nations and are now ingredients in the UN system).  The principle of sovereign equality of States was implicit at the Hague Conferences, it became more explicit upon the creation of the League of Nations (c/ Article 5 of the Covenant) and today it is enshrined in Article 2 of the UN Charter.

The League Covenant marked one step in the legal development by combining equality of States with non-use offeree.  Article 10 of the Covenant contained the following wording: ‘The Members of the League undertake to respect and preserve as against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all Members of the League.  In case of any such aggression or in case of any threats or danger of such aggression the Council shall advise upon the means by which this obligation shall be fulfilled.’  A non-binding arbitration requirement was included in Article 13 of the Covenant.  The imperfection of the Covenant system as regards non-use of force and collective sanctions is well known and need not be explored here.

The point — at the end of this contribution — is rather, that the development towards the UN system was underway in 1907 and 1920, and that behind this development the Westphalian Peace agreements and the 1899 Hague Conference played their distinctive roles — although not as indispensable points on a continuum, but as expressions of a recurring theme in legal and political history, as manifestations of ideas with normative potential that were bound to have an impact on the development of international law.”        Ove Bring, “The Westphalian Peace Tradition in International Law;” in International Law Across the Spectrum of Conflict: Essays in Honor of Professor L.C. Green on the Occasion of His Eightieth Birthday, 2000: https://archive.org/stream/internationallaw75schm/internationallaw75schm_djvu.txt.