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for the purpose of limiting the exercise of extreme belligerent rights on the part of some great naval power. Such attempts have almost uniformly proved unsuccessful at the time when they were made. Changes in the sanctions of públic law are always difficult of accomplishment, because they depend upon the common consent of the civilized powers of the world.

But it may be asked, is a nation like Naples, which occupies by its own choice a position of isolation among the families of Europe, to enact a new rule of public law which would destroy freedom of commerce, and tolerate the practice of international piracy,-namely, war waged by a state upon private individuals, the citizens of a friendly nation ?






[Read 21st June, 1858.] WHATEVER different opinions may be held concerning the progress of Europe during the last fifty years, it can hardly be denied that international relations have received, during that period, a great extension. If we compare the age we live in with the eighteenth century in this respect, we shall observe the most important improvement. Until the end of the revolutionary war, the European powers had seldom any repose from mutual discords; maritime commerce was in constant danger of being interrupted; diplomacy rather nourished than mitigated the national jealousies; the Christian world felt but little the common interest of peace. The treaties of 1814-15 open a new era in history. The warlike spirit having been subdued by its own excesses, the pacific and commercial spirit became the prominent feature of the age. It would occupy us too long to go into all the causes of this wonderful change, brought about by the combined action of many material and moral forces. It is sufficient for our present purpose to say that the great inventions of modern science, as railroads, electric telegraphs, and steam navigation, have chiefly contributed to produce this rerolution. The nations, formerly separated by distance, and by the various difficulties of communication, are united now, and form a great Christian commonwealth, or a civitas maxima.

In this state of things, the science of international law has acquired great and practical importance for the present generation. We can now, with better reason than ever before, repeat the words of Grotius, that the cultivation of this branch of knowledge “ interest humani generis.“The mere existence of this science,” says Robert Mohl, in his last work on the history and literature of politics, “is very gratifying. It gives us a satisfactory proof of the superiority of our manners and of our civilisation over the ancient world.” The Greeks, the most enlightened people of their time, considered the other nations as barbarians, destined for slavery; the Romang saw in a foreigner their natural enemy. In the middle ages, the general feuds, and the prevalent ideas of

, universal monarchy, prevented the diffusion of a humane spirit in the mutual relations of Christian communities. It was not before the last two centuries that the term international law came into general use, as expressing the laws of peace and war (jus gentium sensu moderno). Those laws were constructed into a science by Hugo Grotius. He published his immortal work De Jure Belli ac Pacis in 1625, during the most bloody war that ever desolated Europe; and with great force proclaimed, in the face of the world, the general principles of justice and of civilisation. His influence on public opinion was wonderful. His work found its way into the cabinets of princes and statesmen, into the libraries of students, and even into the tents of military men. After the death of Grotius, his successors continued to cultivate this science as far as their respective talents allowed them to do it. None of them, it is true, can be compared with him in reputation and success; but, if we consider their works taken as a whole, we shall find in this mass many valuable contributions to this nobilissima pars jurisprudentiæ. Every successive age, almost every

, country, has produced its great international jurists. Coming to the present time, we can say without exaggeration that the science of Grotius is now more generally known and better


understood than in his times. International questions are discussed in the nineteenth century, not only by statesmen and by philosophers, but by the press and by public opinion. The study of this branch of jurisprudence is promoted, more or less, by all the European universities.

In stating these facts, I have no intention to affirm that the science of international law has attained, in our time, its utmost development and perfection. I am aware, on the contrary, that there is much to do for this part of knowledge. It seems to me, also, that international jurisprudence is less appreciated by our contemporaries than it deserves to be. There exist still in the minds of men prejudices against it. From time to time we read and hear the most violent attacks against the tendency and method of publicists; the most abusive language is held even against international law itself. I shall now call your particular attention to this subject. It is highly important to determine how far the attacks of soeptics can be justified, and in what degree the science is responsible for the faults of its temporary organs.

The first class of sceptics consists of men who deny altogether the existence of international law. We find in their number men most distinguished in science, as Hugo, Puchta, Rossi, Quetelet. In their opinion, the regulations of international law are a dead letter; governments acknowledge, for their conduct in external policy, no other law but selfish interests. It is hardly possible to deny that there is some truth in these assertions. Modern history is full of atrocious wars, of unlawful conquests, of perjury, and of other international crimes and offences. But the same facts can be cited against every human law and institution. There exists no community on the earth where offences are not committed, where punishment strikes every offender, where the accused can find no means of evading the severity of justice.

But there is a great difference between civil and international law, say the sceptics; civil law has its legislators, while, on the contrary, international law does not acknowledge a head for independent communities. This is true, but their common will or mutual consent takes the place of a lawgiver, and per


forms legislative functions. The existing relations of nations are always a status quo, which cannot be changed by the arbitrary will of one opposed to that of all the others. Europe has no dictator ; so much the better. If the sceptics could prove that the application of international law is dangerous, or contrary to the true interests of independent communities, that would establish their opinion. But it would be difficult to prove such an absurdity. What are the first principles of international law? The independence of nations, the inviolability of their respective territories, the maintenance of their honour, &c. Under the sanction of this law stands every human being in a foreign country. One of the best statesmen of our time (Daniel Webster) proclaimed, with better reason than the sceptics, the truth, that the existence and application of international law, in all its force, is as advantageous for states, as the existence of private law for citizens of the same country.

Modern scepticism goes, then, too far in this point. However numerous the transgressions of international law which may occur, and unfortunately do occur, even at the present day, the law exists still in the conscience of humanity. This one fact is sufficient reason why we should not despair for justice. While nations hold in their breasts the feeling of their common origin, while the civilisation of mankind stands unimpaired, we can hope for improvement in the mutual relations of different states. If we compare enlightened Europe with the Asiatic world, we see the difference between states acknowledging international law, and states governed by mere force and cunning. The existence of Asiatic states is unsafe; the independence of nations is not there secured; the conqueror there finds no check to his path of rapine and murder ; violence effects with impunity the most bloody revolutions. The Christian world, on the contrary, presents to us quite a different character. Here the selfish policy of different states has its limits ; their interests are governed, in the first place, by the common interest; or, in other words, subjected to the law of general security; the most despotic governments acknowledge and perform mutual duties. It is true that the existing

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