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The powers of Parliament are politically omnipotent within the United Kingdom and its colonies and dependencies. Parliament can make new laws, and enlarge, alter, or repeal those existing. The parliamentary authority extends to all ecclesiastical, temporal, civil, or military matters, as well as to the altering or changing of the constitution of the realm. Parliament is the highest court of law, over which no other has jurisdiction.
In this chapter, we have to deal with man as a cosmopolitan—a citizen of the world; but though a citizen of the world, not the less a member of some particular political society. Relatively to the rest of mankind, he, with the other members of that political body, constitutes a unit. Relatively to those other members, he is either sovereign or subject. In his cosmopolitan attitude, every man has thus a double character-a general and a particular citizenship. He is bound to his particular citizenship by the tie of sovereign or subject ; his position, his duties, and his rights therein are defined by the constitutional and the municipal law of his land-of his nationality. As the sovereign of a political body, he cannot be bound by any positive laws; his relationship to other sovereigns is that of natural or sovereign independence; he can enter into what agreements, make what promises he thinks fit, but if he violates his agreements, or breaks his promises, the injured has no redress save force. As the subject of a political body, his position is different; for though the agreements made between sovereigns are not laws as between them, yet so long as those agreements exist, they are laws, and are as binding upon their respective subjects as any other law imposed by the sovereign upon his subjects. When, for example, it was agreed between the sovereigns who took part in the Congress of Paris in 1856, that the neutral flag covers the enemy's merchandise, with the exception of contraband of war,' the declaration of the 16th of April to that effect became the positive law, binding upon all the subjects of the several powers, the parties to that undertaking.
Basis of the Science of International Law,-The basis, then, upon which the whole science of International Law is erected may be thus stated :—There is no positive law by which the conduct of independent sovereigns is regulated; the agreements, however, whether tacit or express, of independent sovereigns, is the law of their respective subjects.?
To understand, then, what International Law is, we must ascertain what customs and agreements, tacit or express, exist between the sovereign powers of the earth. To learn which of those customs and agree
Austin, Lord Mackenzie, and others appear, when treating of this subject, to have narrowed their observation to the first element of this proposition—the agreements of sovereigns as affecting themselves. Thus Austin says,— A few species of the laws which are set by general opinion, have gotten appropriate names. For example, there are laws or rules imposed upon gentlemen by opinions current amongst gentlemen. And these are usually styled the rules of honour, or the laws or law of honour. There are laws or rules imposed upon people of fashion, by opinions current in the fashionable world; and these are usually styled the law set by fashion. There are laws which regard the conduct of independent political societies in their various relations to one another; or, rather, there are laws which regard the conduct of sovereigns or supreme governments in their various relations to one another. And laws or rules of this species, which are imposed upon nations or sovereigns by opinions current amongst nations, are usually styled the Law of Nations, or International Law. Now a law set or imposed by general opinion is a law improperly so called. It is styled a law or rule by an analogical extension of the term, &c.' (Austin, p. 187.)
Lord Mackenzie says, –Public International Law, according to Grotius, derives its authority from the common consent of nations, or
ments are laws binding British subjects, we must know to which of them the British Government has given its express or implied assent. These customs and agreements, with the rights and obligations they create, necessarily constitute the matter of International Law.
The Matter of International Law is said by Dr. Wheaton to comprehend
1. The absolute International rights of States, embracing (a) Rights of self-preservation and independence; (b) Rights of civil and criminal legislation ; (c) Rights of equality; (d) Rights of property.
2. International rights of States in their pacific relations; embracing (a) Rights of legation; (b) Rights of negociation and treaties.
3. International rights of States in their hostile relations; embracing (a) The commencement of war and its immediate effects; (b) Rights of war as between enemies; (c) Rights of war as to neutrals ; (d) Treaties of peace.
Administration. The true foundation,' says Dr. Story, 'on which the administration of International Law must rest, is, that the rules which are to govern are those which arise from mutual interest and utility; from a sense of the inconveniences which would result from a contrary doctrine; and from a sort of moral necessity to do justice, in order that justice may be done to us in return.'l
at least, of a considerable number of them. Yet it may fairly be questioned whether the law by which nations profess to be governed in their mutual relations, can be treated as a positive law of human institution, or regarded as law otherwise than in a figurative sense, because it is déficient in those sanctions which are inseparable from the positive law of every distinct state. First, independent states acknowledge no human superior invested with cosmopolitan authority to make positive laws between nation and nation as such ; and as no nation can legislate for another, so no given number of nations has power to make laws to bind the rest, at least with respect to things left indifferent by the law of nature. Next, as there is no accepted tribunal to settle disputes between nations, the rules of International Law are not judicially administered, and there is no supreme executive authority to enforce them.' (Studies in Roman Law, p. 58.)
The foundation thus assigned to International Law is identical with that demanded by Municipal Law,mutual interest or utility. Nor is it easy to determine wherein the mutual interests of men, regarded as members of the great human family, differ from the interests of the same men, when considered as members of individual nationalities.
Definition.---International Law-jus inter genteshas accordingly been defined to be those rules of conduct which reason deduces, as consonant to justice, from the nature of the society existing among independent nations; with such definitions and modifications as may be established by general consent," or those rules which define the rights and prescribe the duties of independent States in their intercourse with each other."
Grotius, who may be styled the founder of the science of modern International Law,4 distinguishes the Law of
1 Conflict of Laws, § 35. • Wheaton's Elements of International Law, by Lawrence, 2nd ed. 3 Kent's Com., vol. i. p. 1.
4 A protest should here be entered against the habit of denying to , antiquity, and in particular to the Romans, all acquaintance with the principles of International Law. That many of the modern principles of that science were foreign to them, is of course too obvious to admit of doubt. The civilized world of their date differed widely from that of our own times, but so does that of to-day from that of the last century. It is true that the Romans have not transmitted to us any special treatise upon the subject; but it is equally so that we are no better favoured in the matter of Constitutional Law or the Law of Evidence. No one, however, upon that ground attempts to deny their acquaintance