Page images
PDF
EPUB

passed that nine members should make a House; and this number was reduced on Oct. 10, to eight. There had always been a difficulty in England of securing attendance of members of the House of Commons; and one statute, 6 Henry VIII., ch. 16, was passed punishing the absence of a member by deprivation of pay. No other punishment has ever been enacted in England. In Ireland they were cursed with absentee members. In one instance it is said a member was an absentee for twenty years but no means were taken to compel attendance. In Scotland absentees were liable to a fine. It is said: “By ancient law absentees were liable to be unlawed and amerced in fines'; the fines were substantial, and “without prejudice of what further censure Parliament shall think fit to inflict.” In the Upper Canada Parliament there does not appear to have been any necessity for such measures.

(EDITORIAL.)
THE PANAMA CANAL.

The international status of the Panama Canal continues to be a prolific source of discussion by magazine writers, and the different issues involved have been taken up on both sides of the Atlantic from the standpoint of international law. The documents which ought to be considered in order to obtain a thorough understanding of this question are:— 1. The Clayton-Bulwer Treaty of April 19th, 1850; 2. The Hay-Pauncefote Treaty of Nov. 18th, 1911, and 3. The Bunan-Barilla Treaty of Nov. 18th, 1903. The Clayton-Bulwer Treaty was intended to control the neutrality of any canal between the Atlantic and Pacific, The Hay-Pauncefote Treaty directly referred to the present Panama Canal, now being completed, the object in view of the high contracting parties being to follow, as nearly as possible, the lines laid down by the convention of Constantinople, October 29th, 1888, which were then agreed upon by the signatories as the regulations governing the Suez Canal. The Buman-Barilla Treaty provided for the acquisition, by the United States, of a strip of land 10 miles in width, through which the Panama Canal is cut.

The basic principles underlying the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty are as follows: the two contracting parties bound themselves not to obtain any exclusive control of such ship canal, and not to acquire, either directly or indirectly, the commerce or navigation through such canal which should not be open on the same terms to the subjects and citizens of other countries, and to protect contractors in the making of such canal on fair and equitable lines, to withdraw protection if unfair discrimination were made in favour of the commerce of one of the contracting parties over the commerce of the other. Article 8 of the Act bearing on this matter is here quoted in full.

“Article VIII.-The Government of Great Britain and the United States, having not only desired in entering into this convention to accomplish a particular object, but also to establish a general principle, they hereby agree to extend their protection by treaty stipulations to any other practicable communications whether by canal or railway, across the isthmus which connects North and South America; and especially to the inter-oceanic communications, should the same prove to be practicable, whether by canal or railway, which are now proposed to be established by the way of . Panama. In granting, however, their joint protection to any such canals or railways as are by this Article specified, it is always understood by Great Britain and the United States that the parties constructing or owning the same shall impose no other charges or conditions of traffic thereupon than the aforesaid governments shall approve of as just and equitable; and that the same canals or railways, being open to the subjects and citizens of Great Britain and the United States on equal terms, shall also be open on the like terms to the subjects and citizens of every other State which is willing to grant thereto such protection as Great Britain and the United States engage to afford.”

The Hay-Pauncefote Treaty, on the other hand, instead of contemplating the construction of the canal by private enterprise, deals specifically with its construction and financing by the United States, and the removal of any objection which might have arisen under the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty to the construction of the canal by the United States, as being one of the contracting parties. The guiding principle was, however, neutralization of the canal when completed. Article 3 provides that the United States should adopt the rules embodied in the convention of Constantinople for the free navigation of the Suez Canal: (1) The canal shall be free and open to the vessels of commerce and of war of all nations observing these rules, on terms of entire equality, so that there shall be no discrimination against any such nation or its citizens or subjects, in respect of the conditions or charges of traffic or otherwise—such conditions and charges of traffic shall be just and equitable. (2) The United States is to be at liberty to maintain military police for the protection of the canal. (3) Provisions are added regarding the vessels of war of a belligerent. (4) No belligerent shall embark or disembark troops. (5) Waters adjacent or within three military miles of the canal shall be regarded as within its ambit. (6) The plant, and so forth, part of the canal shall enjoy immunity. Article 4. No change of territorial sovereignty or of international relations of the country or countries traversed by the canal shall affect the general principle of neutralisation.

Apparently the reason of the United States in granting immunity from tolls to the coasting vessels of its own nationality, was, in some measure, to obtain a return for the enormous sum of £80,000,000 which it is assumed that the canal will cost. In order to support this view, much ingenuity has been exercised by apologists for the action of the United States in endeavouring to evade the issue as to whether or not such action was discrimination, and a violation of the basic principle of the Clayton-Bulwer and Hay-Pauncefote Treaties. From the speech by President Taft, published in this issue, a thorough comprehension of the views held by him is to be obtained, and there is no doubt that both the President and his advisers, and the people of the United States, appreciate that the action of the United States, with reference to coastwise shipping, was a mistake. This is borne out by the speech of Mr. Root, in the Senate at Washington, with reference to the matter, which justifies the confidence the Government of Great Britain had in the good faith of the United States, and its reverence for the sacredness of treaty obligations.

[ocr errors]

EDITORIALS.

The following despatch from London with reference to the Criminal Law Amendment Act speaks for itself.

The Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1912, popularly known as the white slave traffic bill, has just come into operation in Great Britain, and, whatever may be the opinion of reviving the practice of flogging those persons convicted under the Act, it is true that so far the moral effect of the new law has been salutary.

From France comes the news that several well-known procurers and procuresses have already, after years of residence in England, fled to France and that Deputy Denais is

preparing to interrogate M. Steeg, the Minister of the In

terior, on the subject, asking what steps the Government has
taken to exclude from France foreigners whose sole means of
livelihood has been derived from the white slave traffic, and
also to see if the English police cannot furnish sufficient evi-
dence against returning French slavers to send them to local
prisons.
Meanwhile a new department to put into execution the
Act has been created at Scotland Yard, the members of which
have full power to arrest on sight any suspicious person seen
leaving with, or meeting, any young girls at the railway
stations or boat landings. Heretofore such arrests could only
he made upon sworn charges or upon ocular evidence of the
police that a crime was being actually committed.

It is a great pity that the infliction of the lash as a means of punishment is not meted out to a certain class of offenders much more frequently, for governors of prisons, penitentiaries and other places of correction state that the most hardened criminals, even those guilty of murder, look upon paying the penalty of their crimes on the gallows with much greater equanimity than they do to receiving the lash. No punishment for certain classes of offences can have so salutory an effect as this same use of the lash. This is evidenced in no uncertain manner by the dispatch above quoted, and it is hoped that a similar amendment will immediately be enacted in Canada notwithstanding the protest by well meaning but ill-informed humanitarians.

[ocr errors]
[graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic]

Information from Ottawa shews that numerous petitions are being sent to the Government protesting against the passing of the proposed new Bank Act. The greatest dissatisfaction appears to be directed against the clause authorizing an audit to be made by shareholders instead of an out and out Government inspection. No matter how influential the banks may be through members on both sides of the house, the general public appear to be thoroughly aroused as to the importance of having an independent government inspection, and at the same time to compel the banks to make greater concessions to the public than they have hitherto done or at present seem inclined to do, if the new Bank Act is taken as a criterion. The observations on the Act published in this issue by Mr. Peter Ryan will afford illuminating information as to the conditions existing in other countries when compared with those in our own banks. '

One matter, which, when the subject of banking is under discussion, should be fully discussed, is the conditions governing the employment of bank clerks. In this issue is published a statement from the Labour Gazette, which is the result of an enquiry made into this question, and when the responsibility of the ordinary bank clerk is taken into consideration, the facts presented in the Labour Gazette give much food for thought as to whether the working employees in the banks, who so materially assist in enabling the institutions in which they are employed to pay large dividends, are equitably treated.

PERSONAL

The law partnership existing between Alexander Ross and Henry V. Bigelow, Regina, is to be dissolved. Mr. Ross will continue to practice in the offices formerly occupied by the firm in the Kerr Block, while Mr. Bigelew has formed a partnership with Mr. Bruce T. Graham, and under the name of Bigelow & Graham will open offices in Rooms 301 to 303 Kerr Block, Mr. Graham is a son of Mr. Justice Graham, of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, and for the last year has lived in Edmonton, Alta.

« PreviousContinue »