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CONVENTIONAL OR CONSUETUDINARY.
nature on the subject, it is peculiarly requisite, that such a classification should be made, through a mutual understanding among nations. The only means consistent with justice, to secure for themselves the rank they desire, are, the stipulations of treaties, express or implied; by which all the contests, almost necessarily arising from the maintenance of the pleas before mentioned, may be prevented, or put an end to. Some European nations have entered into such treaties with each other ; but down to the end of last century, the number of them was very small. The rest sought to establish the rank, they desired, by the assumption of it, and chiefly by acquiescence and tacit consent, and long possession and usage. Indeed, it is in this department of international law, that the influence of usage is most conspicuous, if not paramount. Happily, too, in more recent times the European nations appear to have sought to introduce, and establish for the future, the principle of natural equality among them. Gustavus Adolphus, of Sweden, was one of the first sovereigns who set this example. And with the exception of the mere title of emperor, which, instead of that of king, is still claimed by Austria, as the successor of the Roman emperor of the west, and was assumed by Russia in the early part of the 18th century, the different European powers, following the example just noticed, choose to be treated as equal to one another, crowned sovereigns taking the precedence of republican states. No positive definite rules, however, appear yet to have been established on this subject by general treaty. Towards the end of the year 1814, the plenipotentiaries of the eight powers, who signed
the treaty of peace of Paris, appointed a commission to investigate the principles to be established for the regulation of rank and precedence among crowns. And the projet of the commission went to establish three classes of powers, with reference to rank, among ministers. But, at the discussion of this projet, doubts having been raised with regard to this classification, particularly with reference to the class in which the great republics should be placed, the question was abandoned ; and the regulation adopted was confined to the rank of the diplomatic agents of crowned sovereigns.*
Right of Self-preservation, and Right to Maintain
and Promote the National Welfare, consistently with the similar reciprocal rights of other nations.
The general and permanent attribute of nations, denominated the right of self-preservation, may be viewed either negatively, as implying the right of defence and security against external aggression; or positively, as the right of forming such institutions and establishments, and of adopting such measures generally, as may maintain and promote the national welfare and prosperity.
* Klüber, Droit des Gens Moderne de l'Europe, Tom. I. § 94 ; and Uebersicht der Diplomat. Verhandlungen des Wiener Congresses. p. 167.
DEFENCE AND SECURITY.
Negative Right of Defence and Security.
The right of defence and security against external aggression, it is obvious, comprehends not only the right to repel by physical force, actual invasion of territory, but the right to take such precautionary measures as may effectually frustrate, if not prevent such invasion.
As nations are, by nature, independent, and equal to each other, and no superiority in juridical relations takes place among them, it follows generally, that every sovereign people, has the right to regulate its actions, and the government of the state, in such manner, as it may think proper, without any other nation being entitled to interfere, or to call it to account, or to set itself up as a judge, or to demand an alteration of existing internal institutions. And it is a principle recognised by all free nations, from a regard to their own welfare, that no nation is bound to suffer such interference on the part of others, or to hold itself responsible to them for its conduct, or to receive from them any command or prohibition, or to submit to anything in the shape of punishment. But on the other hand, all nations are bound so to regulate their actions, as that the similar rights and liberties of the rest may not be thereby infringed, nor their social connexions disturbed. This freedom may also be limited by conventional treaties, and by established customs. But any other restrictions appear to be unlawful. The stronger has no right to prescribe, or prohibit anything to be done by the weaker nation. And this does not usually happen directly. The weaker state, however, from dread of a more powerful neighbour, is often constrained to do, or omit, something, upon which it would have resolved otherwise, and to which, in strict law it would not have been bound.
In general then, no nation is entitled to interfere in the affairs of others, at least in the internal constitution, and administration of the state. To justify such interference, there must be existing treaties, or the request of both the parties interested, or the one nation must have a direct and substantial interest in the proceedings of the other; particularly some loss or damage to be apprehended from these proceedings. No nation, indeed, is bound to limit its freedom, for the profit or advantage of other nations, or to abandon, or discontinue an institution conducive to the prosperity of the state, because some advantage may be thereby withheld, or withdrawn from others, or some consequent future remote loss may be thereby occasioned to others. Yet according to the consuetudinary international law of modern Europe, any immediate damage to other nations, should, in such cases, be avoided, as much as possible, and everything removed, by which neighbouring nations may be kept in apprehension of danger, or disquiet.*
So long as the actions of a people mainly concern merely the internal welfare of the state, other nations,
* Günther, Erster Theil Cap. IV.
DEFENCE AND SECURITY.
except in the cases just alluded to, have neither right to interpose their influence, nor occasion to trouble themselves. But if the arrangements, or preparations, of a people, bear immediate reference to the society of nations, of which it is a member, or are of such a nature, as to excite anxiety for the general tranquillity and security, other states are entitled to be watchful and on their guard, especially if the people adopting such measures, has already, by similar acts, given cause for distrust. These other nations, particularly those more immediately interested, are, by the natural and consuetudinary international law of modern Europe, fully entitled to demand an explanation, with regard to the object of such measures, and the removal of any ground for apprehension on account of them.
The conduct of no nation is liable to misconstruction, if it merely makes such arrangements, as are necessary for the maintenance of its internal tranquillity, and for its defence against external aggression. Nevertheless, under the more intimate social connexion of the European nations, and the consuetudinary international law, thence arising, a nation is bound not to overstep the probability of amicable views, by any unusual and suspicious military preparations, nor to excite apprehensions for their security in other nations; or it is bound to quiet them by a declaration, explanatory of the objects it has in view, and to remove the suspicion and distrust thereby created. Such offensive acts are usually held to be the following: the fortification of particular places, especially on the confines ; the unusual levying of numerous forces, or the forma.