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all these things; for there is a great difference between a book which a person makes and throws among a people, and a book which of itself makes a people. We cannot doubt that the book is at least as old as the people.”
“ Between us and heaven, hell or annihilation, there is only human life, which of all things in the world is the frailest.”
" When we would show any one that he is mistaken, our best course is to observe on what side he considers the subject, for his view of it is generally right on his side, and admit to him, that he is right so far. He will be satisfied with this acknowledgment, that he was not wrong in his judgment, but only inadvertent in not looking at the whole of the case. For we are less ashamed of not having seen the whole, than of being deceived in what we do see ; and this may perhaps arise from an impossibility of the understanding being deceived in what it does see, just as the perceptions of the senses, as such, must always be true.”
“ Nature has its perfections, to show that it is the image of God, and its faults, to show that it is only his image."
“ Unbelievers are the most credulous persons in the world ; they believe the miracles of Vespasian, in order not to believe those of Moses."
“ The multitude which cannot be reduced to unity is confusion; and the unity which does not depend on multitude is tyranny."
“The synagogue did not perish, because it was a type of the church ; but as it was only a type, it fell into servitude. The symbol existed until the reality appeared, in order that the church might always be visible, either in the image which fore. shadowed it, or in reality."
" What can be more ridiculous and vain than the doctrine of the Stoics, and what more baseless than their whole reasoning ? They conclude, that what a man can sometimes do he can always do; and because the desire of glory enables those who are actuated by it to accomplish something noble, that others will be able to do as much. Theirs are the convulsive efforts of a man in a fever, which one in health cannot imitate.”
“I cannot pardon Descartes. It was his ambition, in his system of philosophy, to be able to do without God altogether ; but he was obliged to suppose the Deity gave the world a fillip in order to set it in motion ; after which there was nothing more for him to do."
“ We are not to suppose that Plato and Aristotle always wore their long robes, and appeared as dignified and serious personages. They were good-natured persons, who enjoyed a laugh with their friends, like the rest of the world; and when they wrote upon legislation and politics, it was only by way of enjoying them
selves and seeking diversion. This was the least philosophical and the least serious portion of their lives; the most philosophical part of it was when they lived most simply and tranquilly."
"The virtue of a man ought not to be measured by his great efforts, but by his ordinary conduct."
“If we dreamed every night the same thing, it would affect us as much perhaps as the objects which we see every day. If an artisan was sure of dreaming every night, for twelve hours, that he was a king, I believe he would be nearly as happy as a king who should dream every night, for twelve hours, that he was an artisan. If we dreamed every night that we were pursued by enemies and harassed by terrible phantoms, while we passed every day in various occupations, we should suffer nearly as much as if the dream were true, and should dread going to sleep, as we now dread to wake, from the fear of really falling into such mis. fortunes. In truth, these dreams would cause nearly as much suffering as the reality. But because dreams are very various and unlike each other, what we see in them affects us much less than what we see in our waking hours, on account of the con. tinuity of events when we are awake; this continuity, however, is not so fixed and constant as to be wholly free from change, though the scenes shift less suddenly and less frequently. Life is only a rather more constant dream.”
ART. II. — History of the Law of Nations in Europe and
America, from the earliest Times to the Treaty of Washington, 1842. By HENRY WHEATON, LL.D., Minister of the United States at Berlin, Corresponding Member of the Academy of Moral and Political Science in the Institute of France. New York : Gould, Banks, & Co. 1845. 8vo.
1845. 8vo. pp. 797.
I In taking notice of a work on international law written by the accomplished minister of the United States to the court of Berlin, we need not bespeak for it any attention, which the long established reputation of the author would not of it. self command. Mr. Wheaton's naine is no stranger to the pages of this Journal ; it has for years been most honorably connected with not only the literary, but the legal and diplomatic, annals of our country. No writer ever enjoyed greater
opportunities for testing the principles deduced from the works of philosophers and historians by their application to the business of cabinets ; while as a jurist, associated in its brightest days with the most august tribunal in America, whose province is not only to expound constitutional and municipal law, but to interpret treaty obligations and the law of nations, our author became conversant, at an early period, with the operations of the international code upon the rights and duties of individuals.
The work now before us owes its origin to the proposal of a subject for a prize essay by the Institute of France, and its object is to trace the progress which the law of nations has made since the treaty of Westphalia. But much of the interest which it has for the American reader is derived from the additions made to it since its translation into the English language. These preserve in a durable form the diplomatic papers written by Mr. Webster during the negotiation of the treaty of Washington, and which of themselves would be enough to establish for their author an enduring fame as a statesman and a jurist.
International law, in the sense in which we understand it, consisting, when not based upon express conventional arrangements, of recognized principles, forming a sort of common law among the independent states of Christendom, can hardly be said to have had an existence among the nations of antiquity. The Greeks and Romans respectively regarded all other people as barbarous. The Greeks had among themselves, owing to their common origin and the similarity of their systems of religion, some regulations tending to mitigate the ferocity of war between their
different states ; but these were rather religious than political institutions, providing for resort to the temples and oracles of the gods in war as well as in peace, and for the burial of the dead, and other matters of a similar character. Even the Amphictyonic Council, which we are in the habit of regarding as a federal tribunal, and as the political arbiter of Greece, in reality enjoyed few prerogatives, and these were chiefly of a religious nature. The only institution at all resembling the permanent legations of modern times, having for its object to preserve good-will and remove causes of offence among nations, was that of the proxeni. These agents, however, were not usually citizens of the country whose business they
transacted, but of the state in which they resided ; and their functions were of the character which, according to the usage of modern times, would be deemed consular, not diplomatic
The rich stores of Grecian literature furnish not one treatise on the law which should regulate the intercourse of nations with each other. Indeed, under the views then prevalent, it is difficult to find any basis for such an essay; and though Grotius refers to one as among the lost books of Aristotle, Barbeyrac shows, that this eminent writer had been led into an error by one of the commentators of Aristotle, who had mistaken the title, which was dixatduara nóλεων, and not Δικαιώματα πόλεμων, or a treatise on governernment, and not on war.
The Roman policy aimed at universal aggrandizement, and regarded all nations as enemies until they were incorporated into the commonwealth. With them, a system of public law, like that which now exists among the civilized nations of the world, could have no place. In the whole body of the Roman civil law, as it has come down to us, there is no allusion to international relations ; and the very term legatus is applied, not to an ambassador, but to the deputy-governor of a province. It is true, that the fecial law gave regularity to war, and we have memorable examples of the good faith of Roman generals towards the public enemy under the most trying circumstances ; but there was nothing to prevent the confiscation of the property of the vanquished, both public and private, and the condemnation of the captives and their posterity to endless servitude. We may here observe, that in no one particular has the advance in civilization been more marked, even since the days of Grotius, than with reference to the treatment of prisoners of war. At the period in question, though not iolerated in practice among Christian nations, the right to reduce prisoners to slavery was not denied to be a principle of public law. The course which then prevailed was that of ransoming the captives, which had succeeded to the custom of enslaving them ; and this was effected not at the expense of the government, but of the prisoner, while the sum paid was the private emolument of the individual captor. The first example to be found of an exchange of prisoners, according to the usage of the present day, dates back only to 1665, when an agent for that purpose was sent
from Holland to England, flagrante bello; but the old practice of ransoming the captured is referred to in a cartel between England and France so late as 1780, and in this paper the money price for men of all ranks, both in the land and naval service, is given.
The treaty of Westphalia is made the epoch from which to trace the improvements in public law. Before that period, the Reformation had liberated the minds of men from ecclesiastical thraldom. The rights of civil and religious liberty had been vindicated, as well in Germany as in the republics of the United Provinces and of Switzerland, to whose political independence a formal sanction was at that time accorded. The constitution of the empire itself was also adjusted on a basis which was preserved in all its essential features, till it was overturned by the progress of the French Revolution, a torrent which annihilated in its course all ancient landmarks. Much, however, had previously been done to build up that system of public law, which was already recognized by the civilized nations of Europe. The civil law, never entirely superseded as to the Roman population of the former provinces of the empire, had established for itself an acknowledged sway throughout the continent, and might well have been considered as its international code, so far as it was applicable to the intercourse of states with each other. In addition to those simple principles of justice, which could not well be disputed, the usages of nations had also formed a consuetudinary law. Mr. Wheaton enumerates among the publicists who wrote before Grotius, Victoria and Soto, those doctors of Salamanca, who had the boldness in the sixteenth century to support the rights of the unfortunate American aborigines against the avarice of the Spaniards ; Balthazar Ayala, a native of the Netherlands, also a subject of the King of Spain ; Conrad Brunus, a German civilian, who, as our author remarks, is nowhere mentioned by Grotius ; and Alberico Gentili, an Italian by birth, who is known to us not only as an advocate in the English admiralty courts, but as professor of civil law at Oxford, and whose work, “ De Jure Belli,” we may infer, was, at least in respect to the arrangement of the subject, nearly of the same utility to Grotius as the subsequent labors of Wolf were to Vattel. The consolato del mare, which is the basis of the maritime jurisprudence of Europe, may be traced as far back as the fourteenth century.