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Austin, in addition to his other mental gifts, had possessed the faintcst spark of humour, he could not, with the early history of this century before his eyes, have solemnly dubbed International Law in his system as “Positive International Morality.” Considering the canonical position of this personage in English jurisprudence, it is only after considerable hesitation that we have ventured to make the foregoing remarks.
We submit that the relations of States with each other are becoming more and more permeated with the same spirit which compels obedience to the so-called laws of honour among gentlemen. If it goes hard with an offender in the latter case, it is so in the former case also, for no State can afford to suspend its relations with other States. Hence it is that apologies for alleged violations of International Law are becoming much more elaborate, and there is a greatly increased desire to prove that international acts are in accordance with its principles. To forfeit the good opinion of one's neighbours is as inconvenient in the one case as in the other.
In determining whether it is really incumbent on a neutral government to make the reform we are advocating, it must be borne in mind that the very conception of neutrality has its roots in a barbarous past, only rernoved from the present time by some two hundred and fifty years, and it has been slowly and painfully evolved from a period when the only restraint on non-neutral acts was the threat of immediate
Mr. Hall quotes a case in support of this fact, as recently as 1677, in which this country, when neutral, not only allowed the impressment of recruits by the French within its territory, but, further, placed Edinburgh Castle at their disposal till the ships were ready to transport the men. This being so, it cannot but be that a code of rules which took its rise amid such circumstances will inevitably bear many a mark of the beast, and it should be the aim
of all who desire the progress of humanity to eliminate those marks from the system of International Law (whenever an opportunity occurs for doing so), by appealing, not to outworn precedents, which are often but a wretched compromise between might and right, but to the ideal standard of justice and of unselfishness.
F. W. PAYX.
X.-THE PEACE CONFERENCE AT
DEEM it only right to begin these notes with an apology
and an explanation. Having been invited by the Editor to give a sketch of the operations of the Peace Conference from a purely juridical standpoint, it will be seen that I have not strictly complied with his request in every respect. At heart I am afraid I am too much opposed to Militarism and too much a friend of Peace, that here and there the objectivism required for a critical review should not desert me, to give place to the warmth of a plea.
In Count Mouravieff's circular of December 30, 1898, to the diplomatic agents of different foreign powers at St. Petersburg, the programme of the conference to be held is set forth in the following eight articles :
1. Convention stipulating the non-augmentation for a fixed period of the actual effective forces on land and at sea, also of the war budgets referring thereto; preliminary investigation as to the means, whereby in the future a reduction of the standing armies and the budgets above mentioned could be effected.
2. Prohibition of the adoption in both army and navy of new firearms of whatever sort, and of new explosives, and
also of more powerful powders, than those now in use, as well for small arms as for heavy ordnance.
3. Limitation of the use in war campaigns of explosives of a more formidable force than those already existing, and the prohibition of the ejection of projectiles or explosives of any kind from balloons or in any similar manner.
4. Prohibiting in naval wars the use of submarine torpedo boats, or other destructive war machines of such-like kind; and undertaking not to construct ramming warships in the future.
5. Adoption in naval war of the stipulations of the Geneva convention of 1864, on the basis of the supplementary articles of 1868.
6. Neutralization under the same title of the ambulance service vessels during and after the naval combats.
7. Revision of the declaration concerning the methods and customs of war, as set forth in 1874 at the Brussels Conference, and so far not yet ratified.
8. Acceptance, in principle, of the employment of good offices of mediation, and of facultative arbitration, where practicable, with the view to prevent armed conflicts between nations; convention on the subject of the mode of application, and the establishment of a uniform practice in the employment thereof.
It was evident that this grouping called for a division of the Congress into three departments.
The first four articles, however, all relate to the question : Is it possible to arrive at an agreement whereby an increase of the armament burdens might be prevented? Some of these questions, if satisfactorily solved, would at the same time bring about the eventual disappearance of some of the most treacherous destructive weapons from the field of war.
Articles 5 to 7 relate entirely to matters of jus belli.
Article 8 finally touches the question of International arbitration. Let it be observed here that Count Mouravieff
in his circular only ventures to refer to facultative arbitration.
Naturally my essay divides itself into the same three sections into which the Conference was grouped.
SECTION 1.–DIMINUTION OF ARMAMENT BURDENS.
The transactions of this section present the greatest deception which the Conference has produced. The subject which it had to treat of—the diminution of the armament burdens—is, from a juridical point of view, the least important, but comparatively, from a social and generally humane standpoint, it is by far the most weighty; for surely the almost absolute predominance as a principle of government of the despicable proverb, Si vis pacem, para bellum, is a greater danger than that any one State in the present time should lightly have recourse to the cruelty of declaring war. The predominance of that principle ruins the prosperity of nations; withdraws ever increasing millions of energetic young men from their useful occupations, and will occasion the wasting of ever increasing millions of money! That predominance is, alas! still so absolute, that in this regard much more than in matters relating to conventions concerning jus belli, more too than in matters of arbitration, the noble initiative of the Czar of Russia has resulted in utter failure. And to all appearances, the various Governments immediately upon the first appeal by the Czar in August, 1898, intimated that little was to be expected in this direction. How shall we otherwise explain the difference in the framing between that message and the circular issued by Count Mouravieff on December 30, 1898 ? How explain that in the first document mention is made of disarmament only, while in the other this question is placed side by side with those of jus belli and arbitration? Finally, how explain the fact that the Russian President of the Conference, Baron
de Staal, even in his second speech, emphasized the Arbitration question ? The consequence was to be seen, viz. a motion, in which, in a cynical manner, it was stated that the present military organization in many countries is a burden, and that it is worthy of consideration how the charges consequent thereon might be reduced ; that is the sum-total of all that this section has been able to effect. I consider the temporary prohibition of the use of the Dum Dum bullets, of the ejection of projectiles from balloons, and also of machines emitting suffocating and injurious gases, to be points of very trivial importance. In passing, it seems to me that these are purely questions of jus belli. Any essential difference between the question what shot shall be used for killing purposes, and the question as to whether undefended places may be fired upon does not exist, as far as I can see. This question, therefore, forms part of the work of the second section, and I lay stress hereon to make it the more evident how little use to humanity the deliberations of that part of the conference have been, seeing that the first point of the programme was the most weighty question that was submitted to the delegates. And this has happened, notwithstanding the fact that a Metternich, a Napoleon III., truly no Utopians, and many jurists of eminence, have recognized the possibility of an international accord concerning the diminution of military forces and charges, and have pleaded strongly for realization. It might be regarded as an insult to the juridical comprehension of the readers of this magazine if I attempted here to explain why there are no more judicial obstacles to a convention of a public judicial nature being made than there are in the case of any
other treaty. I may, however, be permitted to indicate that it is my firm conviction that the solution of this question must be found in a gradual decrease of the army, and only as the consequence thereof in the reduction of war budgets. For in the application of this last resource alone-which is