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were necessary in order to obtain dominion over newly discovered territory, or how great an extent of country could be acquired by one act of discovery or colonization. Questions of this kind had never agitated mediæval Europe, because all the territory with which its rulers had any practical concern was already possessed by states sufficiently alike in sentiment and organization to be capable of entering into mutual relations. The discovery of a new continent by Columbus and his successors brought them to the front; and the convenient doctrine that Christian states might possess themselves of the lands of the heathen and the infidel deprived the inhabitants of these vast territories of all right to consideration, even when, like the Peruvians and the Mexicans, they had developed for themselves a complex and striking civilization. Grotius found in the Jus Gentium a number of rules dealing with what were called Natural Modes of Acquisition, and applied them to the problems of annexation and settlement. The Roman lawyers held that res nullius were naturally acquired by occupatio, under which term they included both the physical act of seizing the thing, and the mental act of intending to keep it as one's own. Among res nullius they reckoned islands rising in the sea. Grotius had only to turn to his authorities, and he was ready with a number of rules of acquisition obtained, as he and his readers believed, from Natural Law, but really a transcript of those parts of the law of Rome which regulated private ownership amid the conditions due to the volcanic changes so common in ancient Italy. The new rules raised at least as many questions as they solved; but it was a triumph to have induced the colonizing nations to appeal to anything beyond brute force.

§ 40.

Much of the Grotian system had existed before the time of Grotius. He gave shape and symmetry to fugitive ideas and

1 Justinian, Institutes, II., i., 22.

2 De Jure Belli ac Pacis, II., III.

worked out in detail rules and principles which others had propounded in a disconnected and fragmentary The principles of condition. His great book is one of the few that Grotius triumphed may be said to have altered the history of the Westphalia. world. The cruel customs of warfare in vogue when he wrote were rapidly superseded by the humaner precepts he laid down. The difference between the conduct of troops and commanders in the Thirty Years War and in the War of the Spanish Succession is like the difference between darkness and light;' and it is mainly due to the fact that in the interval of half a century between the two world-conflicts, the exiled Dutch jurist had become the great authority upon the regulation of international affairs. The principles he laid down achieved a rapid triumph. The Peace of Westphalia of 1648 is the monument of their earliest victory. It was the first of that series of great public instruments which have regulated the state-system of Europe down to our own time. It recognized the independence of each separate state, even within the boundaries of the Empire. The equality of states and the territorial character of sovereignty were ideas involved in the arrangements that it made, and it showed the possibility of settling the gravest disputes between nations by mutual agreement arrived at through the machinery of a congress, and embodied in comprehensive treaties.

§ 41.

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Since 1648 modern International Law has had no rival system to contend with.

It has been enriched by many new rules, and some of its original precepts have since 1648 Intergiven place to others generalized from the developed on the changed practice of modern times. But the by Grotius. continuity of its life has never been broken, and there seems no prospect of any revolutionary change passing over it.

1 Bernard, Paper on “Growth of the Laws of War," in Oxford Essays for 1856, pp. 100-104.

Perhaps the most important chapter that has been added to it is one which deals with the rights and duties of neutrals. Grotius left that portion of his subject very incompletely worked out, and for a long time the practice of nations showed conclusively that they felt themselves bound in the matter by no clearly defined rules. Even now, though the rights of a neutral state can be formulated with tolerable precision, its duties are very difficult to define. A detailed account of the growth of International Law during the past three centuries would fill a lengthy volume. It is impossible to attempt anything of the kind within the limits of the present treatise. The great fundamental principles of national independence and state sovereignty still meet with universal acceptance; and, though the theory of a Law of Nature has been discredited owing to the attacks of historical and analytical jurists, the system of Grotius rests secure upon the alternative foundation of general consent. Slowly, and almost imperceptibly, additions are made to it, as the public opinion of the civilized world decides new cases, or grows to greater heights of humanity and justice. Perhaps the careful student will be able to discern something of the process of its development as he reads in the following pages a brief outline of its present rules.



§ 42.

List of the Subjects


The meagre proposition that the Subjects of International Law are Sovereign States is often put forward as if it contained all the information that need be given about the matter. But while Sovereign States of International are by far the most important class among the units to which our science applies, there are other communities which come under its rules to a greater or less extent, and in some cases corporations and individuals are subject to it. Even with regard to Sovereign States themselves a great deal has to be said before the fact of their subjection to International Law can be fully explained and exhibited in all its aspects.

It will be best to take the various classes of subjects separately and deal with each in turn. We shall have to consider the following list :

(1) Sovereign States.
(2) Part-Sovereign States.
(3) Civilized Belligerent Communities not being States.
(4) Corporations.
(5) Individuals.

All these are subjects of International Law, some fully, others only to a small degree and in exceptional circumstances. An attempt will be made in this chapter to explain the relation in which each stands to the public law of the civilized world.

§ 43.

Sovereign States,

We begin with Sovereign States. In order clearly to understand their nature and the nature of their subjection to

International Law, it will be necessary to pass

through an ascending series of conceptions, beginning with the comparatively rudimentary one of a state. A state may be defined as A political community, the members of which are bound together by the tie of common subjection to some central authority, whose commands the bulk of them habitually obey. This central authority may be vested in an individual or a body of individuals; and, though it may be patriarchal, it must be something more than parental ; for a family as such is not a political community and therefore not a state. The methods by which the central authority is created are outside our present subject. Whether a political community is governed by a line of hereditary monarchs, or by persons elected from time to time by the votes of a greater or less number of its members, it is a state provided that the obedience of the bulk of the people is rendered to the authorities. If there is no such obedience, there is anarchy; and in proportion as obedience is lacking the community runs the risk of losing its statehood. A mere administrative division of a greater whole, such as a French Department or an English County, would not be called a state; but we should not refuse the title to a community like Canada which is not entirely free from political subjection, though we should prob ably indicate the absence of complete self-government by speaking of it as a Dependent State.

We have seen what is meant by a state. If we add to the marks already given in our definition of it, the further mark that the body or individual who receives the habitual obedience of the community does not render the like obedience to any earthly superior, we arrive at the conception of a Sovereign or Independent State, which possesses not only internal sovereignty, or the power of dealing with domestic affairs,


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