Page images
PDF
EPUB

marching straight upon Rome; hut the advice of the elders was accepted, that an embassy should be sent to complain of the wrong done, and to demand "ut pro jure gentium violato Fabii dederentur." To the Roman Senate the barbarians seemed to demand no more than their right; but hesitating to decide against men of such position, they for the first time in their history referred to the people a question of this nature. The multitude endorsed the action of the Fabii by •electing them military tribunes for the ensuing year.

The remorse for this proceeding, by which the historian supposes his countrymen to have been actuated, finds its expression in the words of Camillus, when the proposal to migrate to Veii was discussed in the public assembly:—" Quid haec tandem urbis nostrae clades nova? Num ante exorta est quam spreta vox coeloemissa de adventu Gallorum, quam gentium jus a legatis nostris violatum, quam a nobis, quum vindicari deberet, eadem negligentia deorum prsetermissum?"

The following is a pointed instance of the use by the same writer of a phrase which indicates clearly his recognition of International Law. Some Roman colonists of Circeii and Velitrsc had joined the Volscians in a war against Rome, and certain of this number had been taken prisoners. At the conclusion of the war (Livy, vi. 17), these two towns sent envoys to Rome to excuse their conduct, and to ask for the prisoners, that they might be dealt with according to municipal law. The envoys were severely rebuked, as representing men who had made war upon their metropolis; their request was refused, and they were ordered instantly to depart out of the sight of the Roman people, "ne nihil eos legationis jus, externo, non civi comparatum, tegeret."

Other Roman historians and writers use the expression in the same sense. Sallust informs us (Bell. Jug. c. xxii.) that Jugurtha, on being remonstrated with by Roman envoys for his violence to Adherbal, declared that the latter had taken the initiative by plotting against his life: "Populum Romanum neque recte neque pro bono facturam, si ab jure gentium se prohibuerit." Tacitus varies somewhat the form of the expression. Germanicus, in his reproachful address to his soldiers on their return to allegiance, is represented as saying: "Hostium quoque jus, et sacra legationis et fas gentium rupistis" (Ann. i. 42). Again we find in Seneca (De Ira, iii. 2), "violavit legationes, rupto jure gentium, rabiesque infanda civitatem tulit." And finally, the historian Quintus Curtius, whose date, later than that of any of the writers already quoted, has not yet been accurately fixed, writes, " Caduccatores interfecti, jura gentium violate" (iv. ii. 17).

These instances are of sufficiently wide selection to show what was "the meaning attached to the phrase in question during the Republican period and the earlier times of the Empire. They will also serve to refute more clearly the erroneous views mentioned above. In not one of these quotations could jus feciale be substituted for the expression used. The scholar who attempts to make this alteration will readily perceive the limited meaning of the latter term.

It has now been shown that both the Greeks and Romans possessed a certain amount of international phraseology. The extent of the language of Greek diplomacy, which, considering the ground that it covers, is much fuller than that of modern times, requires a special study for its appreciation. There were eight or ten technical terms to express the different sorts of treaties into which nations might enter, and nearly as many names for ambassadors, according to the nature and object of their mission. The language of Roman diplomacy was probably much less extensive; but owing to the scanty information furnished by their historians, and the unfortunate disappearance of almost all their diplomatic records, it is difficult to speak with certainty upon this subject.

It is hardly possible that special treatises upon matters of so great interest, and held in such respect, did not exist among the Greeks and Romans. The Manava Dharmasastras—a work more generally but less correctly known as the Institutes of Manu—contained a code of diplomatic regulations, and it is probable that a similar code was in existence among the ancient Egyptians. But by a strange fatality hardly any trace has survived of Greek or Roman disquisitions upon International Law or diplomatic practice. Aristotle is known to have written a work entitled AiKaiufiara iroXttop. This title, however, is ambiguous, and the scanty fragments of the work which have survived, would seem to indicate that it dealt with municipal rather than international questions. Demetrius the Phalerean—who, escaping from Athens on the approach of Demetrius Poliorcetes, took refuge with Ptolemy Lagus, and to whose influence the foundation of the Alexandrian Library has been ascribed—was the author of three books, entitled Aucata, npeofievriKOQ, and nepl 'Eiyorji'>1e: but no more is known of the contents of these volumes than what their titles suggest. The "Antiquitates Rerum humanarum" of Varro contained a book, "de Bello et Pace," of which a few fragments remain. The same author is said to have written on "Legationes," but the evidence of this is insufficient. The loss of these works is the more to be regretted, as "the most learned of the Romans," who had held high commands in the wars against the pirates and Mithridates, and had subsequently served as Pompey's lieutenant in Spain, would, from his practical knowledge, have been a most valuable authority upon such questions. The celebrated collection of decrees and treaties made by Craterus of Macedonia in the fourth century B.c . has also entirely disappeared. Among the treaties contained in this collection was one supposed to have been made between the Greeks and Persians after the battle of the Eurymedon, which however the historian Theopompus, judging from the dialect used, ascribed to a later date. Of the three thousand tables of bronze collected by Vespasian when he rebuilt the Capitol, not a single original remains. This collection, styled by Suetonius "instrumentum imperii pulcherrimum," was a record of the public life of the Roman State from the year 390 B.C., and must have contained documents which would have thrown much light upon questions of diplomacy and International Law.

Failing such means of knowledge, we are relegated for information on these subjects to incidental statements and allusions of the historians and orators—many of them, especially in the case of the Romans, not to be trusted implicitly. Our knowledge of the language of Roman diplomacy is particularly scanty. Not one treaty made by the Romans with a foreign State has been preserved in Latin; all that remain are known through Greek translations. Of the fecial diction but a few formulae and fragmentary sentences have survived, preserved by Livy, Aulus Geilius, Varro, and—where one might least expect it—in the " Satyricon" of Petronius Arbiter. It is, however, some compensation for these losses, that the discovery of the Greek inscriptions has shed a flood of light upon such matters, and that the treasury of knowledge thus opened is, in all probability, still far from being exhausted. I hope to examine in a further paper a few of the more striking of these inscriptions.

H. Brougham Leech.

A RUSSIAN PRISON.

WHEN passing last summer through St. Petersburg on my way to Central Asia, there was accorded to me a permission, very rarely given, to visit the Fortress Prison. After doing so, I found my experience so contradictory to current opinion on the subject, that with a view to publication I wrote a short paper, and read it to several Russians, including a judge who had officially visited the fortress, and to two other persons, both of whom had been there immured on political charges. It was then my intention to offer to the public such information as I had acquired respecting this special political prison, as complementary to what I have published regarding Russian prisons in general. My attention however has been called to an article on this subject in the Nineteenth Century for January last—signed "P. Krapotkine"—in which it is said that my book," Through Siberia," in so far as it is concerned with gaols and convicts, "can only convey false ideas." It may therefore be of interest to those who have honoured me by reading the work, if I examine some of the statements in the Nineteenth Century which seem to throw doubt upon my credibility, before proceeding to state what I saw in the fortress.

Three charges are brought against me as an author to justify the statements respecting my work. The first is, that I travelled through Siberia rapidly; which is most true, though I am greatly shocked at the speed given to my horses: thus—

"In the space of fourteen hours indeed (sic) he breakfasted, he dined, he travelled over forty miles, and he visited the three chief gaols of Siberia—at Tobolsk, at Alexandrovsky Zavod, and at Kara."

Now Tobolsk is more than 2,000 miles from Kara, and I beg solemnly to deny that I was ever guilty of such "furious driving" as to cover this distance in fourteen hours! What can the author mean? Another charge is, that "if I had taken note of existing Russian literature on the subject," my book might haye been a useful one. Yet there is a fair sprinkling on my list of 120 "works consulted or referred to/' of Russian authors, and of those whom I have called the "vindictive class of writers (some of them escaped or released convicts), who, trading upon the credulity and ignorance of the public, have retailed and garnished accounts of horrible severities, which they neither profess to have witnessed, nor attempt to support by adequate testimony." One of these was Alexander Hertzen, who wrote "My Exile in Siberia," though he never went there, but only as far as Perm, where one of the prisons is situated of which Prince Krapotkine complains so bitterly. He says: "It is a pity that Mr. Lansdell, when arrested in August last under suspicion of Nihilism, in the neighbourhood of Perm, did not make acquaintance with this prison!" But I did not; for, although through the telegram of an officious gendarme, I was brought back some few stations to the terminus whence I had started, yet, upon showing my credentials, I was at once released, without being kept for my accuser to appear, and an apology was twice offered that I had been detained. I cannot therefore measure swords with my critic respecting the prison at Perm, where he so kindly wished me a lodging; but there are other statements in his article which I venture 'to call in question. He says for instance: "In single gaols, built for the detention of 200 to 250 persons, the number of prisoners is commonly 700 and 800 at a time," and he has just before stated, as the report of a committee of inquiry into the state of the prisons in Russia and Siberia, that "the number of prisoners in each was commonly twice and thrice in excess of the maximum allowed by law." I wonder what are the localities of these thrice crowded gaols. Out of the 600 Russian gaols enumerated by the critic can he mention six—one in a hundred—thus over-crammed? During six different years I have gone to Russia and Siberia, largely with the object of visiting the prisons and hospitals, travelling to a different part each time, yet I cannot call to mind a single instance of a prison crowded with thrice its proper number of inmates. That they have often been overcrowded I candidly allow,- but this does not imply that nothing is done to accommodate the overplus. The prison at Tashkend, for instance, is built for 200 persons, and I found there, last summer, 379. The authorities, however, had erected in the spacious yard, under numerous poplar trees, a number of yourts or tents; and since nine-tenths of the prisoners were Asiatics, they were only too thankful to be lodged in the yourts in preference to the rooms, which, however airy, would, to their nomad

« EelmineJätka »