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Mr. Dooley On The Hague Conference, 1907

July 2024
3min read

Disarmament hypocrisy was skewered by “Mr. Dooley, ” Finley P. D’fcnne ‘s philosophical, fictional barkeeper, in this “report” of the 1907 Hague Conference at which the chief U.S. delegate was a well-known legal wit, Joseph H. Choate.

“I see,” said Mr. Hennessy, “we’re goin’ to sind th’ navy to th’ Passyfic.”

“I can’t tell,” said Mr. Dooley. ”… Th’ Cabinet is divided, th’ Sicrcty iv th’ Navy is divided, th’ Prisidint is divided an’ th’ press is divided. Wan great iditor, I’r’m his post iv danger in Paris, has ordhered th’ navy to report at San Francisco at four eight next Thursday. Another great iditor livin’ in Germany has warned it that it will do so at its peril. Nawthin’ is so fine as to see a great modhern journalist unbend fr’m his mighty task iv selectin’ fr’m a bunch iv phottygrafts th’ prettiest cook iv Klatbush. …

“But, annyhow, what difl’rence does it make whether th’ navy goes to th’ Passyfic or not? If it goes at all, it won’t be to make war. They’ve dumped all th’ fourteen inch shells into th’ sea. Th’ ammunition hoists ar-re filled with American beauty roses an’ orchids. Th’ guns arc loaded with confetty. Th’ officers dhrink nawthin’ sthronger thin vanilla an’ sthrawherry mixed. … F’r th’ Hague peace conference has abolished war, Hinnissy. VeVe seen th’ last war yc’ll iver see, me boy.

“Th’ Hague conference, Hinnissy, was got up be th’ Czar iv Rooshya just befure he moved his army again th’ Japs. It was a quiet day at Saint Pethersburg. Th’ Prime Minister had just been blown up with dinnymite, th’ Czar’s uncle had been shot, an’ wan iv his cousins was expirin’ fr’m a dose iv proosic acid. All was comparative peace. In th’ warrum summer’s afthernoon th’ Czar felt almost dhrousy as he set in his rile palace an’ listened to th’ low, monotonous drone iv bombs bein’ hurled at th’ Probojensky guards, an’ picked th’ broken glass out iv th’ dhrink that’d just been brought to him be an aged servitor who was prisidint iv th’ Saint Pethersburg lodge iv Pathriotic Assassins. Th’ monarch’s mind turned to th’ subjick iv war an’ he says to himsilf: ‘What a dhreadful thing it is that such a beautiful wurruld shud be marred be thousands iv innocint men bein’ sint out to shoot each other f’r no cause whin they might betthcr stay at home an’ wurruk f’r their rile masthers,’ he says. T will disguise mesilf as a moojik an’ go over to th’ tillygraft office an’ summon a mectin’ iv th’ Powers,’ he says.

“That’s how it come about. All th’ Powers sint dillygates an’ a g-reat manny iv th’ weaknesses did so too. They met in Holland an’ they have been devotin’ all their time since to makin’ war impossible in th future. Th’ meetin’ was opened with an acrimonyous debate over a resolution olTcred be a dillygate fr’m Paryguay callin’ f’r immeejit disarmamint, which is th’ same, Hinnissy, as notifyin’ th’ Powers to turn in their guns to th’ man at th’ dure. This was carrid be a very heavy majority. Among those that voted in favor iv it were: Paryguay,Uryguay, Switzerland, Chiny, Bilgium, an’ San Marino. Opposed were England, France, Rooshya, Germany, Italy, Austhree, Japan, an’ the United States. …

“This made th’ way clear f’r th’ discussion iv th’ larger question iv how future wars shud be conducted in th’ best inthrests iv peace. Th’ conference considhered th’ possibility iv abolishin’ th’ mushroom bullet which, entherin’ th’ inteeryor iv th’ inimy not much larger thin a marble, soon opens its dainty petals an’ goes whirlin’ through th’ allyminthry canal like a pin-wheel. …

“Th’ English dillygate opposed th’ resolution. ‘It is,’ says he, ‘quite true that these here pellets are in many cases harmful to th’ digestion, but I think it wud be goin’ too far to suggest that they be abolished ontil their mannyfacther is betther undherstud be th’ subjick races,’ he says. ‘I suppose wan iv these bullets might throw a white man off his feed, but we have abundant proof that whin injicted into a black man they gr-reatly improve his moral tone. …’

“Th’ Hon’rable Joe Choate, dillygate fr’m th’ United States, moved that in future wars enlisted men shud not wear ear-rings. Carrid, on’y Italy votin’ no.

“Th’ conference thin discussed blowin’ up th’ inimy with dinnymite, poisinin’ him, shootin’ th’ wounded, settin’ fire to infants, bilin’ prisoners-iv-war in hot lard, an’ robbin’ graves. Some excitemint was created durin’ th’ talk be th’ dillygate fr’m th’ cannybal islands who proposed that prisoners-iv-war be eaten. Th’ German dillygate thought that this was carryin’ a specyal gift iv wan power too far. It wud give th’ cannybal islands a distinct advantage in case iv war, as Européen sojers were accustomed to horses. Th’ English dillygate said that while much cud be said against a practice which personally seemed to him rather unsportsmanlike, still he felt he must reserve th’ right iv anny cannybal allies iv Brittanya to go as far as they liked.

“Th’ Hon’rable Joe Choate moved that in future wars no military band shud be considered complete without a basedhrum. Carrid.

“Th’ entire South American dillygation said that no nation ought to go to war because another nation wanted to put a bill on th’ slate. Th’ English dillygate was much incensed. ‘Why, gintlemen,’ says he, ‘if ye deprived us iv th’ right to collect debts be killin’ th’ debtor ye wud take away fr’m war its entire moral purpose. . . .' Th’ conference was much moved be this pathetic speech, th’ dillygate fr’m France wept softly into his hankerchef, an’ th’ dillygate fr’m Germany wint over an’ forcibly took an open-face goold watch fr’m th’ dillygate fr’m Vinzwala.

“Th’ Hon’rable Joe Choate moved that in all future wars horses shud be fed with hay wheriver possible. Carrid. …”

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