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EviDENCE. Confession. In the year 1869, one Adéle Bernard appeared before the Imperial Court of Nancy on an appeal lodged by the public prosecutor in her interest, alleging á false conviction in the court below. It appeared that on her foriner trial the prosecution charged her with having killed a child to which she had recently given birth, by throwing it into a pigsty, where it had been devoured. This charge was corroborated by her own confession in open court. A midwife and surgeon also testified to having found on her traces of recent delivery. On this evidence she was sentenced to six months' imprisonment for concealment of the birth of an infant, not proved to have been born alive. She went to prison, and was shortly delivered of a perfectly healthy child. Before the appellate court she stated that she had been led to make a false confession in the hope of avoiding a severer punishment, since her mother had told her that, if she denied the crime, she would be sentenced to many years' imprisonment, with hard labor. The court rejected the hypothesis of superfetation, and held that she had been intimidated into making a false confession.
The verdict was reversed.
BANKRUPTCY. — TRADER. CLAQUER. A curious case was recently before the Court of Appeal at Paris. The question arose whether a chef de claque was a trader, so as to be liable to the bankruptcy law. It appeared that M. Goudchon was a contractor for dramatic success, and was attached in that capacity to several theatres. It was his duty to form, instruct, and direct a band of men, who every night insured vigorous applause for the actors and the plays. Having been adjudicated bankrupt, in his absence, by the Tribunal of Commerce, he now applied to the court to annul the adjudication, on the ground that he was not a trader. His counsel entered into a learned discussion of the origin of the claque and its history in ancient and modern times. He contended that the chef could not in any proper sense be considered a trader. His payment from the managers of the theatres was only in free admissions, which he sold at a low rate to the claquers. His gains consisted chiefly of gratuities from actors and actresses, who desired specially rapturous applause. Under these circumstances, it was contended, he was an artist, and not a trader. The court, however, declined to take this view, and confirmed the order of the Tribunal of Commerce. — Law Times.
AMERICAN LAW REVIEW.
BOSTON, JANUARY, 1875.
THE PROPOSED CODIFICATION AND REFORM OF THE
READERS of our daily newspapers have, during the past two years, received some scanty, confused, and incorrect information of certain movements among the jurists of Europe, having for their object the codification and reform of the International Law; but no American, nor even English, periodical has given any full and accurate account of these proceedings, which, originally voluntary and private, have already attracted the attention of European legislatures, and received the official approval or condemnation of European cabinets. As they involve matters of the deepest interest to our own country, as well as to the whole family of civilized states, and as they may directly affect all our external relations, and therefore, indirectly, our internal relations and governmental polity, they ought to be widely known and exactly understood by all those intelligent and educated citizens who are able in such matters to guide the public opinion. We purpose, therefore, as far as the limits of a single article will permit, to describe the various associations or congresses which have been recently organized in Europe, and which have for their avowed object the alteration, amendment, or codification of the International Law, and to follow this sketch with a discussion of some of the principal modifications which have thus far been proposed, and which, it is asserted, would improve the body of accepted rules that regulate the intercourse of sovereign states. The sources from which we
have obtained the facts stated hereafter are European publications of the highest authority, the official proceedings of the different bodies themselves, diplomatic and legal periodicals, parliamentary debates, state papers issued by certain governments, and the correspondence of the London Times.
First. The various associations and congresses which have been organized in Europe.
I. L'Institut de Droit International.
During the years 1870–72 the Revue de Droit International, a periodical published at Ghent, under the editorship of M. RolinJacquemyns, advocated, in a series of articles, the formation of an association of jurists, having for its immediate object the study and improvement of the International Law. As the result of these suggestions, and for the purpose of carrying them into practical action, invitations were issued; and in response thereto a number of jurists met at Ghent on the 8th day of September, 1873, for consultation. They were formally welcomed and hospitably treated by the local authorities of the city. On the 10th of September they formed themselves into a permanent association, promulgated a constitution, - or, as it is termed, statutes, and adopted the name, "Institut de Droit International.” This Institute is to be composed of active, auxiliary, and honorary members. The “ active” members are not to exceed fifty in number, and are to be chosen “from among men of different nations who have rendered eminent services to the International Law either in the domain of theory or of practice,” excluding, however, diplomatists in actual service. “ Auxiliary” members are to be elected by the active members from among persons “whose special knowledge will be useful to the Institute.” They may take a part in all the deliberations, but have no vote. No limit is placed upon their number. “The title of honorary member is conferred upon every person, association, municipality, or corporation which bestows upon the Institute a gift of at least 3,000 francs.” The final object of this association will be best stated in the very language which it has officially employed in its first publication, - a prospectus setting forth its organization, constitution, and purposes :
“ Our principal object is to reach, by the free action of a limited group of jurists, and to formally declare in a manner as certain as possible, the juridical opinion of the civilized world, and to give to this opinion an ex.
pression so clear and exact that it can be accepted by the different states as the rule of their external relations. The institute will thus prepare, by a gradual process, that codification of the International Law which is so earnestly demanded at the present time, and which some of our members have already attempted in works widely known and frequently quoted as authoritative, If a dispute should arise between two states concerning the interpretation of a rule of the International Law, our association can make it the object of a careful examination, and render a decision
it. At the present day, when such a case arises, states vie with each other in availing themselves of the opinions of isolated jurists. It is presumable, therefore, that they will hold in far higher estimation the opinion of a scientific body which, being composed of members from different states, will be raised above the influences of the exclusive spirit of nationality or of party, and will thus have every opportunity of arriving at an impartial decision, conformed to universal justice. We can hope that our association will end in generalizing the employment of arbitration in the controversies between states ; and in this, therefore, it will contribute to the realization of a progress of which the necessity is more and more perceived. It is certain that this question forces itself, so to speak, upon the immediate attention of the Institute; and the principles of humanity which have presided at its foundation are a guaranty of the zeal with which will attempt the solution. The activity of the Institute will not be entirely confined within its own midst. It will also encourage in every manner the study of International Law, public and private; will promote the knowledge and diffusion of its principles; and, finally, will lend its aid to every serious attempt at general or partial codification."
Article I. of the “Statutes" sets forth the same design, in the following manner :
“ The Institute of International Law is an association exclusively scientific, and without official character. It has for its objects (1) to promote the progress of International Law, by endeavoring to become the organ of the juridical conscience of the civilized world ; (2) to formulate the general principles of the science, as well as the rules which flow from them, and to extend the knowledge thereof; (3) to aid every serious attempt at a gradual and progressive codification of the International Law; (4) to endeavor to obtain official sanction of principles which have been recognized as being in harmony with the needs of modern societies ; (5) to labor within its sphere either for the maintenance of peace or for the observance of the laws of war; (6) to examine the difficulties which shall arise in the interpretation or application of the law, and to pronounce, when needed, judgments in cases doubtful or controverted ; (7) to contribute, by publications, hy public instruction, and by every other means, to the triumph of the
principles of justice and humanity, which ought to govern the relations of peoples with each other." 1
Professor Mancini was chosen President; Professor Bluntschli and M. Esquiron de Parieu, Vice-Presidents; and M. Rolin-Jacquemyns, General Secretary. The only other business done at the first session was the selection of topics for special examination, and report at the next regular meeting, and the appointment of committees to which these topics were referred for such study and reports. The subjects selected were three; namely, (1) International Arbitration, allotted to a committee consisting of Messrs. Field, Goldschmidt, Vernon Harcourt, De Laveleye, and Pierantoni; (2) the Three Rules proposed by the Treaty of Washington, allotted to Messrs. Bluntschli, Carlos Calvo, Hautefeuille, Rolin-Jacquemyns, Lorimer, and Woolsey ; (3) Utility of a Code of Private International Law obligatory upon all States, allotted to Messrs. Asser, Bluntschli, Beach Lawrence, Mancini, Massé, and Westlake. The Institute thereupon adjourned, appointing its next regular annual meeting at Geneva, on the 31st of August, 1874. This session at Geneva, held in September last, was chiefly spent in a discussion of the “ Three Rules” of the Treaty of Washington ; but no detailed account of the proceedings has as yet been published.
From the foregoing statement the general purposes of the Institute, as its founders have declared them, can be easily perceived and understood. The scheme is certainly.a comprehensive and an ambitious one. Whatever other qualities they may pos
1 The persons who thus met at Ghent in September, 1873, and became the founders of the Institute, were Professor T. M. C. Asser, of the University of Amsterdam; Professor Wladimir Besobrasoff, of St. Petersburg; Professor Bluntschli, of Heidelburg; Carlos Calvo, of Buenos Ayres ; David Dudley Field, of New York; Professor Emile de Laveleye, of the University of Liege; Professor James Lorimer, of the University of Edinburgh ; Professor Mancini, of the University of Rome; G. Moynier, of Geneva ; Professor C. A. Pierantoni, of the University of Naples; and M. Rolin-Jacquemyns, of Ghent. The other active members elected were: Professor Ahrens, Leipsic; Professor Montague Bernard, Oxford ; Eugène Cauchy, Paris; M. Drouyn de Lhuys, Paris ; Professor Esperson, Pavia ; Doctor L. Goldschmidt, Leipsic; Vernon Harcourt, London ; M. Hautefeuille, Paris ; Professor Heffter, Berlin; Baron von Holtzendorff, Munich ; Professor Laurent, Ghent; W. Beach Lawrence, Newport, R. I. ; Charles Lucas, Paris; M. G. Massé, Paris ; Christian Naumann, Stockholm; K. d'Olivecrona, Stockholm; F. Esquiron de Parieu, Paris ; Count F. Sclopis, Turin; Professor Siein, Vienna; Charles Vergé, Paris; Professor Vidari, Pavia ; Professor Emory Washburn, Cambridge ; I. Westlake, London; Francis Wharton, Philadelphia ; and President T. D. Woolsey, New Haven.