Page images




$128. In Parts II and III we have successively treated the nature and extent of the individual rights and obligations of States and the modifications of these rights and obligations, the origin of which was described in Part I. We must now proceed to follow up the development of these rights and obligations in their bearings on the various conditions of mutual intercourse, which of course present different aspects in time of peace, that is in the normal state of intercourse, and in the state of war. These will be treated, respectively, in the present Part IV and in the succeeding Part V of this work, while Part VI, which concludes the work, will contain the rules with regard to the legal manifestation of a return to the normal state of peace, called the treaty of peace.

principles of


The basis of all moral and legal intercourse General in the case of Nations as well as individuals, is international good faith, i.e., the respect which civilized men owe to the given word of promise. All mutual agreements, from which obligations result, must fulfil the following conditions, viz.: 1°., that the contracting parties possess the moral and legal capacity to treat; 25., that the consentment be freely and voluntarily given; 3., that the agreement be in harmony with the Moral Law of Nature, i.e., in conformity with the Spirit of Law



of the highest standard existing between the contracting parties, in other words, the agreement must be based on the standard of national morality and civilization of the party most advanced in morality and civilization, for those who have attained to the higher moral standard cannot under any consideration stoop to the lower one without polluting their moral conscience and retreating on the road to civilization (comp. §§ 11-14). These principles determine the mu

tual duties of States.

With regard to the attitude which a civilized. State ought to assume towards uncivilized Nations and the mutual confidence which ought to exist between equally civilized States, in accordance with the Moral Law of Nature, we cannot give better evidence, in support of our exposition of the general principles given in Part I of this work, than by quoting from the recent remarkable work of Professor Lorimer, the Institutes of the Law of Nations, the following passages.

"The moment that the power to help a retrograde race forward, towards the goal of human life, consciously exists in a civilized Nation, that civilized nation is bound to exert its power; and in the exercise of its power, it is entitled to assume an attitude of guardianship, and to put wholly aside the proximate will of the retrograde race. Its own civilization having resulted from the exercise of a will which it regards as rational, real and ultimate, at least when contrasted with the irrational, phenomenal and proximate will of the inferior race, in vindicating its own proximate will, it is entitled to assume, that it vindicates the ultimate will of the inferior race,-the will, that is to say, at which the inferior race must arrive when it reaches the stage of civilization to which the higher race has attained. But

the obligation and the right of a civilized Nation to interfere with a retrograde race, even where such interference might be for the benefit of the latter, is limited by the proviso, that, in so doing, it does not so burden its own resources as to cause a greater loss of the means of progress to itself and others than it confers on the retrograde This latter proviso seems more generally to be forgotten in our own day than the duty which it defines."


"But, says Prof. Lorimer further, time is an element, in the action of civilizing influences, the importance of which is not always sufficiently kept in view. Neither warlike nor peaceful contact acts immediately,-nay, the first generation subjected to the influences of either is frequently inferior to that which preceded it. The pagan temple is in ruins, and the Christian Church has not been built. The old rude rule of life has been abrogated, and no better rule has yet taken its place. In many cases it becomes a question of the utmost delicacy, whether appeals to the reason, the conscience, and the selfinterest, even of savages, through missionaries, traders and neighbouring settlers, be not more potent than the closer contact and more direct guidance which results from political subjection if unaccompanied by actual colonisation. It is too true that colonisation often acts as an improving influence only by improving those subjected to it off the face of the earth; but its action admits of being so regulated by the mother country as that it shall ultimately assign to her retrograde children the position for which they are suited by the characteristics of the race to which they belong, and the stage of progress which they have reached, or, in the case of old communities, at which they stand for the time


being. The great difficulty always consists in understanding those whose circumstances differ from our own often more widely than their characters."*

With regard to the relations of mutual confidence which ought in general to subsist between civilized States, Professor Lorimer makes the following further remarks.

"The normal relations of States are relations neither of hostility nor indifference, as is alleged, not very justly perhaps, to have been the ancient opinion, nor of mutual jealousy and distrust, which is still too much the modern opinion, but of amity and reciprocal confidence. This is the logical inference from the doctrines of Natural Law which we have elsewhere established. It is on this inference that all the doctrines of the Law of Nations rest, and its conquest, as a conscious starting point, is justly regarded as the greatest achievement of science in this department of inquiry. The much profaned principle of fraternité, when thus understood, brings the whole moral hemisphere within the range of scientific vision, and holds out to us a prospect of its practical exploration. Expanding from the person to the family, from the family to the State, and from the State to the community of States, the doctrine that love, which worketh no ill to its neighbour,' is the fulfilling of the law,' by bringing the law of Nations within the range of ethics, is preparing it gradually to assume the character of a positive jural system. But mutual good will by no means implies mutual interference or even co-operation, in ordinary circumstances. On the contrary, the capacity for self-support and self-government being, as we have seen,

*PROF. JAMES LORIMER, LL.D. The Institutes of the Law of Nations, Vol. I. p. 227.

« PreviousContinue »