Imagini ale paginilor
[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed]


Opposition to American participation in the war was, until a short time ago, to be found among the Germans, Russians, and Irishmen resident in the United States. German opposition was made ineffective by the actions of the German Government, and such German sympathizers as now see fit to continue their activities are regarded as the common enemy. Such Russian and Hebrew opposition to the Allies as there was in America has been largely done away with by the fall of the Russian autocracy. Of the three antagonisms to the Allied cause there still remains the so-called Irish influence, which is, in a sense, “within the camp."

The number of Irish in America who are actively, directly or indirectly, in league with Germany through antagonism to England is very small, but the number who feel strongly upon Irish matters is very large. That nearly one-half of the members of the American House of Representatives should sign a memorial to the British Government asking a settlement of the “Irish question” is significant. That many distinguished, influential, and disinterested Americans should express themselves openly and strongly along similar lines is equally so.

Many of these appeals to the British Government and many of these expressions urging a settlement of the disturbed relations between the English and the Irish have been published in England, and English comment upon this socalled "interference" has not been entirely friendly. American comment upon what is alleged to be “a purely British internal affair" is resented in some quarters with considerable bitterness.

There can be only one excuse for this, and that is a lack of understanding

and appreciation of the fact that the English-Irish question hardly exceeds in importance to the present world situation the Irish-American question. There are today in the United States 1,400,000 people who were born in Ireland, a number nearly equal to one-third of the present population of Ireland, and there are now in America many more people who were born in Ireland or whose parents or grandparents were born in Ireland than there are now at home in Ireland. The Irish in America have become an active, intelligent, enterprising, and thrifty race. Some of them have risen to the highest political, social, industrial, or financial positions, and nearly all of them or their forbears left Ireland because of conditions or wrongs for which they held the English Government responsible.

In the earlier days of Irish immigration into America these people did the manual work of the country, more especially did they become knights of the pick and shovel, bending their backs to the task of extending the pioneer railways across the American continent. In recent years, however, the Italians have taken their place, and Irish-American energies have sought and found more lucrative fields of activity. The Irish are practical politicians and natural orators. Some years ago the so-called “Irish vote" was considered well worth cultivation by all politicians who sought office. Latterly it has not been so much to the fore because the electorate is now so numerous and so diversified as to racial origin that no one class of voters holds a balance of power, and the Irish vote is swamped in innumerable other voting elements equally powerful as to numbers.

Ip intelligence and enterprise, how

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]



[ocr errors]

lever upon

ever, the Irish community leads the vast majority of the American Irish. others, and any cause that arouses the With the small but active revolusympathy and interest of the Irish- tionary Irish influence that makes its Americans cannot be ignored in poli- headquarters in America the people tics or the conduct of the Government. of the United States have little It is the desire of the American people patience and no sympathy. In the that the whole weight of the nation natural course

of events the probe thrown into the scales in an at- moters thereof will be dealt with as tempted settlement of the war. The alien enemies, for in effect they are Irishman, genuinely pro-Ally or not, outspoken allies of Germany as against with his soul steeped in the "woes of the country now giving them sheiter. Ireland” throughout his own genera- It is not the influence of these men tion and those preceding him, sees in that inspires American hope for a the present need of England a chance settlement of the Irish-English conto further the cause of his native land. troversy, for it is as well understood in He may be strongly pro-Ally, and America as in England that no settlemost of them are, but he is not averse ment which could be brought about to using American intervention in the would be considered as satisfactory by

the British the Irish extremists. If the British Government.

Government can hit upon some plan For this reason certain Irish forces that will satisfy the majority of the have been at work to hamper the Irish and be accepted by them as a American Government and to delay reasonable solution of existing troubles, important action, asking, in return the extreme Irish revolutionaries would for complete acquiescence in a vigorous have no excuse for their activities and war program, that pressure be brought could and would be looked upon in to bear towards the fulfilment of Irish America as enemies of the United ambitions. When, therefore, an Ameri- States. can of other than Irish extraction For the reason given American expresses the hope that some solution interest in the Irish question bears of the Irish question may soon be no likeness to an interference in the found, it is not that he has any thought internal affairs of another nation. of impertinent interference in Irish- English resentment has even gone so English affairs, but that he is seeking a far as to ask how America would like solution of his problems of it if the English people made suggovernment and casting about to gestions concerning what is called in remove all opposition to swift and England “the American negro probeffective action on the part of the lem." Allowing for the sake of United States in the cause against argument that there

such Germany.

problem, the Allies would have a The manner in which a settlement perfect right to express to the Ameriof the Irish question shall be brought can Government that some attempt about by the British Government is a be made to solve the problem-if matter of no

to America such a problem hindered in any way excepting in its possible reflex action the carrying on of the war, or if there upon the Irish-American situation, were several million negroes in Engwhich while not acute is always trouble- land voting or otherwise agitating some, and at this particular time against or obstructing pro-American affects the Allies unfavorably in Amer- action. The two situations are not on ica. These remarks apply to the all fours.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]







For the information and comfort with the exception of a few Irish of those who fear trouble in America extremists, have been compelled to from the negroes let it be said that, modify their tone, and their fulminain the first place, there is no real tions are now confined to what America negro problem in the United States must stand for in the peace negotiations such as has existed in the imagination to come. The Irish question has not of Europe for a long time past, and, been made a real issue, but its disin the second place, that the negroes cussion has occupied much valuable of the United States are pro-American time and indirectly has served as and as such are now doing service for drag on the wheels of progress towards the Allies on the farms and in the preparedness. This has been abetted workshops, and when the time comes by all those who are opposed to the they will be found in the army in just United States taking a really active proportion as they are comprised in part in the war and to the sending of the total population. Some of them an American army to France. are already fighting in France. A But the vivid appeal made by Marshal number of regiments in the regular Joffre and others of the Allied misarmy of the United States are com- sions for the appearance of the Stars posed solely of negroes, many have and Stripes upon French soil proved volunteered since America came into irresistible to many who at first the war, and in the end enforced service doubted the wisdom of such an exwill apply to them the same as it will pedition before an army of at least a to the whites.

The American negro million men was brought together, has already proved himself to be a trained and equipped. good soldier, and if given the oppor- The attitude of the experts of the tunity will win new laurels in the American War Department can easily present

The present

racial be understood, for upon their shoulders conditions in America owing to the falls the burden of preparation for a war are that, if called upon to name long war, and they are well aware of the greatest problems of government the enormous labor involved in trainyet to be solved by the American ing, equipping, and transporting even people, it is doubtful whether an four divisions from the United States intelligent citizen familiar with all to Europe and of keeping up the parts of his native land would find a necessary supplies of men, food, and place among them for the so-called material; for the American army "negro problem.”

abroad would have to be on its own Since the declaration of war against to avoid increasing the strain upon the Germany, international politics have resources of the Allies in Europe. All almost completely taken the place of of this work must be carried on while local issues in the minds of the Ameri- the American army at home is in the can people and in the proceedings of making. the Government, both legislative and There is an idea behind the proexecutive. Participation in the war posed expeditionary force, however, has, of course, eliminated the pro- that in the carrying out might be German from public life in that he worth a great deal to the nation. Its must now keep his opinions to himself, arrival in Europe would hearten the and if in public life he must at least Allies, depress the people of the make a show of patriotism. The Central Powers, and strengthen amazanti-Russians have also been deprived ingly the tie between America and her of their thunder. The anti-British, fighting partners. It would bring





the war home to the American people by those upon whom responsibility with greater force than could anything falls that action cannot follow too else, and in this direction alone it quickly. The navy, naturally always would be well worth the sending; prepared, is already at work upon the for there is still some feeling of un- high seas. No time has been lost in reality about American participation the fields of finance and industry or in to many Americans.

giving to the Government such extraorThe new Army Bill, not yet com- dinary powers are necessary in pleted at this writing, provides for war time. Some of the powers asked enforced military service by selective for by the Government have been draft. The military age is from refused by Congress, such as complete twenty-one to thirty years, and the control

the Press, but such United States Government will have legitimate objects as are to be achieved ten million men between these ages to can probably be secured under the draw upon for military purposes. In ordinary military power of a Governthe meantime recruiting for the Serv- ment at war. There has been little ices already in existence has been direct trouble with enemy aliens since proceeding One-third of the

the declaration of war, though enemy authorized as an increase in the regular influence has been apparent in action army have been secured, and the en- taken to influence legislation. It is listments for the navy are well up to believed that the German Governrequirements. In view of the fact that ment is restraining its hand against conscription will come into force in a Americans, both in the United States few weeks, it is to be expected that and in Germany, in the hope that in volunteers will not be as numerous as good time the Washington Government if the country was going to depend may lend a more willing ear to peace entirely for its army upon that source, proposals. So marked has been this and no strenuous campaign to evidence of German restraint that cure voluntary enlistments will be from it have already sprung many undertaken.


These became The reception given to the Allied persistent during the month of May missions has surpassed all expecta

that a semi-official statement from tions, and the members of those Washington was considered advisable missions have risen splendidly to the to the effect that any peace proposals occasion. Mr. Balfour was at once made to America would be referred to taken to the heart of a nation of the Allies for final disposal. It may be people who have long admired and expected that this sort of thing will honored him for his deeds and ac- continue with variations until peace complishments. In all he has said finally comes, but as nothing as yet and done he has justified their pre- suggested from Berlin touches upon vious convictions, and he leaves Amer- the issues that carried America into the ica better known and standing higher war, the idea of an early peace may be in American opinion and regard than dismissed from the mind. It has been any visitor from a foreign land in the effort of President Wilson and modern times. With the departure others prominent in American public of the Allied missions from America life to impress upon the American the congratulatory stage of the war, people the extreme probability of a so far as America is concerned, may war that may last for some time to be said to have passed, and sterner come, and this effort has been ably business is now in hand. It is realized seconded by Mr. Balfour, Marshal




« ÎnapoiContinuați »