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archy like that of Russia, or a limited monarchy like that of Great Britain or France. The form of the government or its administration or the extent of its power is immaterial, as any organized association in the form of a body politic claiming and exercising in fact independence and national sovereignty, is a nation clothed with all the rights and duties pertaining to that character. “ All nations,” said Mr. Clay, in giving President Adams instructions to the American ministers to Panama, “are equal, common members of an universal family."
NATIONAL FUNCTIONS AND GOVERN
MENT DE FACTO.
It is an obvious principle of the moral law of nations and plain dictate of right reason, that the domestic law and administration internal of
every nation belong exclusively to itself. From this principle as a necessary consequence it follows that no nation has a right to interfere in or regard the domestic concerns or municipal law of other states and empires, nor is it lawsul to use force or artifice with the states to influence their laws, nor can any nation be charged with knowledge of the internal law and administration of other nations. Hence the actual government of every country established and organized for the time being is de
facto and as to foreign nations de jure the organ of the nation and capable of binding and representing it in all inter-national transactions. As to foreign nations no treaty, act or contract of the existing administration of a country can be repudiated or annulled by any succeeding administration on pretence of want of legitimacy, or upon any other ground drawn from the domestic law or policy of the country. This sound and salutary principle was grossly violated by Ferdinand the 7th of Spain in repudiating the bonds issued by the Spanish government under the sanction of the Cortez, and other acts of that body during his absence from the kingdom or his inability to act. Legitimate kings, as they deem themselves, have often disclaimed responsibility for acts done by usurping rulers of their kingdoms to the injury of other nations. This doctrine is contrary to reason and common sense, and if allowed it would in cases of disputed succession disable a nation from maintaining its international rights and performing its duties to other states. It is plain that as to foreign nations every de facto government of a country is one de jure, and that its acts bind the nation. The contrary doctrine arose from the feudal system under which kings claimed to own the people of their kingdoms, and they sold, assigned or transferred them by deeds
and testaments as vassals upon their sovereign do. mains to whomsoever they would. Out of this degrading doctrine, by the aid of tithe-bribed priests, grew the pretended divine right of kings and royal legitimacy, a blasphemous libel upon the Almighty and an insult to humanity. Perpetual allegiance to the king, his heirs and assigns on the part of natives of his kingdom was a de. grading consequence of this absurd and monstrous assumption, and perpetual fealty of subjects to their sovreigns was laid down as a fundamental principle. This cunning device of royalty and papacy is condemned by reason and revelation, and Great Britain and France at this day with their elected lines of royalty show that the days of legitimacy and divine right of kings are numbered. A nation then is a sovereign body politic having at all times capacity to act by its exisiting government in all international transactions. This doctrine has been practically established by public acts and treaties in Europe.
When a new community claims to join the family of nations and asks a recognition of its independence, the only question is as to the actual sovereignty and permanent organization of the new state and its ability to perform national duties. Mr. A. H. Everett our Envoy at the Spanish court, by letter to the Secretary of State for Fo
reign affairs of Spain, of January 20th, 1826, placed the reorganization of the new states of South America on this ground. Mr. Upshur, Secretary of State of the United States, in 1843, in a letter to General Almonte, Mexican Minister at Washington, reiterates and reasserts the doctrine that our Republic regards only governments de facto. The Secretary speaking of Texas says, “ It is due, however, to the frankness which it is the desire of the United States to display in all their dealings with other countries, that the undersigned should make to the Mexican Minister the following explicit declaration :
“ Near eight years have elapsed since Texas declared her independence. During all that time Mexico has asserted her right of jurisdiction and dominion over that country, and has endeavored to enforce it by arms. Texas has successfully resisted all such attempts, and has thus afforded ample proof of her ability to maintain her independence. This proof has been so satisfactory to many of the most considerable nations of the world, that they have formally acknowledged the independence of Texas and established diplomatic relations with her. Among these nations the United States are included; and indeed they set the example which other nations have followed. Under these circumstances, the United States re
gard Texas as in all respects an independent nation, fully competent to manage its own affairs, and possessing all the rights of other independent nations. The Government of the United States, therefore, will not consider it necessary to consult any other nation in its transactions with the Gov. ernment of Texas.” This is the guiding principle of our Republic, as laid down by President Monroe in 1822, through Secretary Adams, and it was followed in recognizing the Mexican and South American Republics as independent nations, while Spain was pursuing her hopeless plans for their reconquest. The recognitions of Texas was upon the same principle.
Vattel concurs in these views, and he maintains that the sovereignty resides in the nation itself and that the form of government and the executive power and its succession may be changed at the will and by the decision of the nation " with a view to the public welfare," and he bases his doctrine on the maxim, “salus populi suprema lex.” Speaking of the claim of legitimacy and hereditary succession he says, “ This pretended proprietary right attributed to princes is a chimera produced by the pretended law of inheritance with respect to private persons.
Vattel, B. 1st, Ch. V., S. 69, speaking of sovereignty being inherent in a nation and not in the