Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 5.djvu/82

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of the American government oozed out, and was noticed by the Press. Public alarm and public indignation were excited; and it was only seven weeks afterward, on the very eve of the meeting of Parliament—some twenty-four hours before the meeting of Parliament—that her majesty's government felt they were absolutely obliged to make a "friendly communication" to the United States that they had arrived at an interpretation of the treaty the reverse of that of the American government. What was the position of the American government? Seven weeks had passed without their having received the slightest intimation from her majesty's ministers. They had circulated their case throughout the world. They had translated it into every European language. It had been sent to every court and cabinet, to every sovereign and prime minister. It was impossible for the American government to recede from their position, even if they had believed it to be an erroneous one. And then, to aggravate the difficulty, the prime minister goes down to Parliament, declares that there is only one interpretation to be placed on the treaty, and defies and attacks everybody who believes it susceptible of another.

Was there ever such a combination of negligence and blundering? And now, gentlemen, what is about to happen? All we know is that her majesty's ministers are doing everything in their power to evade the cognizance and criti-