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I rise to respond to the introduction of your toastmaster with mingled feelings of sorrow and pleasure. I subscribe to everything that has been said with reference to the slowness with which we must expect universal peace to win its place among the nations; but once in a while there comes an opportunity that seems to be a great step forward, and when that opportunity is lost, when the step which might have been taken is not taken, the hearts of those whose hopes were high are saddened. And this meeting brings back to me the earnest, triumphant feeling that I had in my soul after I had visited almost every State in the Union, and urged the confirmation of the treaties which we had made with England and France, and then lived to find them defeated in the highest legislative body in the world, as some of the members of that body are in the habit of calling it. The defeat was more than a mere destruction of our hope as to the progress that might be made by those treaties, because the vote carried with it a proposition which, if established as our constitutional law, relegates the United States to the rear rank of those nations which are to help the cause of universal peace. For the proposition is that the Senate of the United States may not consent with the President of the United States to a treaty that shall bind the United States to arbitrate any general class of questions that may arise in the future, but there must always be a condition that the Senate may subsequently, when the facts arise, determine whether in its discretion the United States ought to arbitrate the issue.
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