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are the moral plague-spot on the political map of Europe. But for us, and the refuge which we provide for them, there would be no Nobiling, no Hartmann, no advocates of the universal destruction of the existing social edifice and of the substitution for it of the Great Nothing—which is what we must suppose, for want of more accurate information, to be the aim of Nihilism. It is difficult to meet such accusations with a gravity equal to that with which they are made. But when we find ourselves threatened with the brand of social and political ostracism, with the renewed application of the extremest rigour of a decaying and at best useless Passport system, with the profoundest searching, not necessarily of our hearts, but of our luggage and inerchandise, we must confess to being unequal to the struggle for gravity. Yet we do our friends the justice to believe that they are in earnest, for we have long understood that they thought us a very naughty people, and we think we shall not be far wrong in assuming some of the most extreme of recent Press utterances in Berlin to be what is delicately known as “inspired." Taking them, in any case, as embodying a prevalent current of feeling, we can hardly go so far as to call it thought. We find that we are threatened, not only with the sanctions we have already enumerated, but with the additional and heavier sanction of an International League of Inter-Extraditing States, who are to perform amongst themselves that police which we will not, it seems, perform for them. We do not quite see how this proposed League will bring us to reason, if we are unreason. able, except perhaps, that the States so leagued, may refuse to Extradite to us, if-quod omen Dii avertant—we had to ask from any of them the Extradition of a person who should have conspired against the life of the Chief of our State. We sincerely trust that no such case would arise to trouble our relations with the League of which the theoretical foundations have been laid at Herr Wind
horst's persuasion by an almost unanimous vote of the Imperial German Parliament.
indeed, to have been a slight dubiety of mind on the part of the representative of German Liberalism, Herr Hänel, but as his attitude was only that of an Inopportunist, it does not count for more than the same attitude did in the Vatican Council, -and we know what that amounted to. The Social Democrats kindly abstained from voting, which was perhaps the wisest and most generous thing they could do, as their help would probably only succeed in damaging any cause in which Liberal principles were involved.
Taking the Inter-Extraditing League to have a juridical, though as yet but an inchoate, existence, in virtue of the vote of the German Parliament on the 4th April, 1881, let us consider what appear to be the ideas einbodied in its foundation. It is to obtain, so we gather from the Pall Mall Gazette, of 5th April, the passing of “International Conventions for the prosecution and Extradition (we should ourselves have reversed the position of these two objects] of persons guilty of murdering, attacking, or conspiring against the life of the chief of the States which shall join the proposed League.” On reading the details of this scheme, we are struck with the impression that, after all, this conspiracy against the life of the chief of the State can hardly be so heinous a crime as we had at first imagined, or else surely the Extradition proposed would not have been so carefully limited to the States joining the League. On going further, we are struck with the apparent abolition, pro tanto, of national distinctions, involved in the statement that "the nationality of the culprit is to make no difference in the application of the law,” followed by the qualification,
except that natives are always to be punished at home.” But, then, we should have thought that the nationality did make this difference, that, in the terms of the proposition,
the territorial principle of Criminal Law was still to be maintained, and that surely is a principle which does not require a League to establish it. We cannot, however, quite reconcile this view with that which seems to be involved in the provision that “ foreigners residing in strange lands are to be extradited, upon special request, to the Government in whose territory the crime had been committed.” Nor is it perfectly clear to us how far the crime is required to have been actually committed, in view of the clauses which embrace “conspiring," and which treat “instigation' as conspiracy. It should be borne in mind that if, as is unforturiately patent to all, there is too much of real conspiracy—against the lives of certain Sovereigns in particular -it is quite possible that there should also be sometimes “bogus” conspiracies, to borrow an expressive Americanism. And few things would be more easy for a highly-zealous and far-reaching secret police service than the discovery of such plots, implicating persons resident in foreign countries. There might even, conceivably, be a disposition on the part of Nihilism itself to help on such discoveries, at the cost of a few lives, perhaps, which would be of no account, considering the objects aimed at, but by means of which authority might be thrown on the wrong scent. For a suspected person to disprove such a charge before the Courts of a State belonging to the proposed League, would, we apprehend, be no easy matter. We do not suppose, of course, that the members of the League would consciously set to work to find subjects for the proposed Extradition, but it would, as a matter of fact, be hard to maintain the alliance without proof being given of its necessity, and there would, doubtless, be plenty of such proof forthcoming in an already heated state of the public mind. For under circumstances. of excitement no populace ever stops to think, and we are unacquainted with any police service which does not practically consider the guilt of those whom it arrests as a fore
gone conclusion. And if the English nation, as such, can be supposed to have sympathy with “poison, murderers, brigands, and incendiary letters,” all of which it is accused of sowing broadcast over Europe, what would not be forejudged concerning the deed of individuals who might be known for political refugees? Yesterday it was the Jews who were everything that is wicked; to-day it is the turn of the Nihilists and the English.
It will have been seen, we hope, that much of the present Extradition excitement is attributed by us to temporary causes not likely seriously to disturb European relations. Much also, may, we think, be set down to the general unpopularity of England and Englishmen on the Continent, for which we are ourselves in part to blame, but in part also are simply the victims of "circumstances over which we have no control." There still remains, however, a residue of feeling not accounted for by any of these causes taken alone, though, perhaps, owing some of its strength, consciously or unconsciously, to a mixture of them all, plus causes special to the continental mind and to continental politics. And this residue it is, which has already received our attention in these pages, and to which we feel it necessary to recur, as indicating marked tendencies towards a change of front in a very important chapter of the Public Law of Nations. When high juridical authorities, such as Dr. Bluntschli, and the Revue de Droit International, itself the organ of the Institute of International Law, and other distinguished writers of various nationalities, and in different reviews, unite in advocating what amounts to a “revision of the whole question of Extradition,” it is time to consider what such a proposition involves, and how far, if at all, we
* Police assertions on oath as to identity, even, have been very lately established in a London Magistrate's Court as far from " infallible,” to use the delicate terms of the magisterial rebuke.
can go with the suggestion, or whether we must oppose it altogether.
It may safely be laid down, from the evidence before us of the tone of mind on this subject which is widely prevalent on the Continent, that so far at least as that portion of European thought may be homogeneous, any such revision would be in the direction of curtailing the right of asylum, and making some breach, practically, if not ostensibly, in the security of the principle of non-extradition for political offences. We say that this may safely be laid down, because we are unable to understand the language which we have seen used on this question of late years, if such be not its meaning.
It may also be laid down, on similar grounds, that such revision would include another alteration, to which, indeed, it is claimed that we have already given in our adhesion, viz., the abandonment of the non-extradition of naturalborn subjects. We use the phrase thus limited, instead of the wider form, subjects—which might seem better to represent "nationaux,” “nazionali," &c.,-because there might conceivably be a distinction drawn between the two classes of subjects, natural-born and naturalised, if the terms of a given Treaty admitted thereof. And the De Tourville case, it may be well to remember, was that of a naturalised subject. Although it would seem that under one of our latest conventions, that with Spain, we have bound ourselves to deliver “ all persons who
appear primâ facie to be guilty of an extradition crime, while Spain has maintained the old exception, we do not know that any case has yet arisen of the surrender of a natural-born British subject under an Extradition Convention. The Spanish Convention was signed, it would not, we think, be unreasonable to say, under the immediate influence of a changed current of thought to which weighty expression had been given by the Report of a Royal Commission.