« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
by proper drainage, seconded by manuring, would not be less than onethird of the quantity now grown ;-in the second place, the increased value of grass crops (including the increased quantity and quality of stock upon upland farms), to be gained by systematic irrigation, and the application of the refuse of towns, would not be less than one-third of their present value ;-—and in the last place, by a judicious distribution of the surface and drain waters, a motive force would be obtained equal to 2,100,000 horse power.
We have shown by the space which we have allotted to the Letter our wish that the subject discussed be pressed upon the attention of all. The day may not be distant when it will be taken up by Parliament. Mr. Denton naturally and we think rationally is very desirous that a general drainage, irrigation, and manure-conserving Bill be passed along with, or reciprocally agreeing to, the Drainage of Towns Bill. We should suppose, however, that Parliament will not at once move far with such a large scheme, although the opportunity is not likely to be lost without its principles being urged. Indeed, the Member to whom the Letter is addressed was instrumental, we learn from its author, in passing the Act "enabling the Owners of settled Estates to defray the expense of draining the same by way of Mortgage;" and Mr. Denton considers that measure as tending to expedite national drainage.
Art. XIV.-War and Peace; the Evils of the first, and a Plan for Pre
serving the last. By William Jay. New York. The War with China, our position in Affghanistan, and the rather ticklish state of our relations with the American Union, at this moment naturally direct attention to that European or Christian code which passes under the title of the Law of Nations. Although this body of law, as we shall afterwards see, has grown into a tolerably well harmonized and intelligible system, yet it has been only in modern times, and after Christian morality has both directly and indirectly operated upon society, in all its forms and interchanges, with a resistless power, that the code has assumed anything like a compact and organized form, or that the claims of humanity during war have been publicly proclaimed. But how much is there still to be accomplished before the reciprocal practices of nations can present a perfectly humane and rational, not to speak of a really Christian simplicity and truth! Can society, can the nations anywhere, be in a well-informed, politically sane condition, so long as such misunderstandings as will arise both in private and public intercourse, have to be settled at the point of the sword, -by sanguinary and devastating conflicts? The affirmative involves a contradiction, which it would be a waste of time to expose; for all acknowledge
its absurdity,-rulers as well as peoples; the only drawback being that the actions of neither have yet shown that they are thoroughly earnest in the profession of their faith.
Where is the sovereign, the government, the nation throughout Europe that has yet lifted a loud and sustained voice urging upon their allies the reasonableness, the necessity of having every misun. derstanding, dispute, or violation of person and property arbitrated before some other umpire than that of arms ?' We are aware of none who have exhibited an earnestness in this matter,—none who appear even to have contemplated the propriety, or considered the efficacy of the movement.
It is so far a satisfaction, however, to find that small societies of philanthropists have for some time, both in this country and in America, been promoting the discussion which has for its aim the extinction of war and of the rumours of war; and several publications have been put forward not only preaching universal peace, but propounding the mode by which to guarantee the preservation in all time coming of such an unexampled blessing.
Mr. Jay’s is one of the most sensible and practical Essays on the subject that has yet appeared; for he treats it, and also the nations, as he finds them, not as they may hereafter be presented, or as enthusiasm and an inhabitant of Utopia might imagine and dream of.
For example, he clearly, and in an impressive, because tranquil and logical manner, points out at what serious cost preparation is made for war. He next calculates and illustrates the enormous cost of actual war,--cost of treasure, property, and life. And what if the issue should even be victory! There has been a period of dreadful suspense and uncertainty of success. Perhaps the internal changes produced have been lamentable, or at least injurious and inexpedient. But at the best the gain will never balance the loss. The outward triumphs are never a real equivalent for the inward sores. Mr. Jay exemplifies all this by a home-speaking and powerful appeal to the facts which the national conflicts that have been waged since the American War of Independence supply.
Then as to his plan: a National Congress to settle National disputes no doubt would be the best and most potent authority, could such a court with adequate powers be established. But this at present he regards as impracticable. He therefore proposes the adoption of this limited practice, viz., that a clause be inserted in all treaties of alliance between friendly states, promising to submit for all time coming whatever differences may arise between them to arbitration ; the decision of the arbitrators to be final. Having now indicated what are the leading points in Mr. Jay's volume, and what bis suggestions for the future, we now proceed to take a glance of the past condition and history of International Law.
Among the most striking characteristics of modern European
civilization, or rather of Christendom, is the general acknowledge ment of certain laws and relations common to each and all of the nations, and which bind the whole into what may be regarded as one great organized state. There is a constant intercourse subsisting throughout the entire aggregate commonwealth, exhibited in various ways,-in that of social communication-mercantile transactions-intellectual attainments—moral sentiments—and political principles. Indeed this connexion and intercourse necessarily arises f:om the fact that they possess one religion; while in so far as the European family is concerned, its historical reminiscences are the same.
The community of feeling and principle, of usage and of laws, to which we allude, never appears to be demonstrated and illustrated so remarkably as when two of these nations are at war; for even at these periods there are certain rules observed which divest the business of mortal strife and of mutual destruction, of a part of their horrors. Nay, the superiority of the European races in all the arts of peace and of war, and which may be traced in no inconsiderable degree to Christianity, has forced other nations and races, who are beyond the limits of our religion, to observe the Christian law of nations.
The international law of Christendom will be seen to owe its origin to other sources than those which the nations of antiquity have furnished, when it is considered that although our intellectual cultivation is founded upon the knowledge of the Greeks and Romans, and that our taste in the liberal arts is exclusively Greek, yet our maxims of national law are greatly superior in justice and humanity to those of Greece and Rome, notwithstanding that our political institutions are derived through the invading barbarians who were remarkable for their ferocity.
If we begin with the Greeks, we shall find that they accounted all other people barbarous,--that the name of foreigner among them, instead of being a title that commanded hospitality, was synonymous
Communities of the Greeks pursued piracy as a trade, and accounted the occupation honourable. Even between Greek and Greek, men of the same race, who spoke the same language, and who had a common religion, the only doctrine of international right seems to have been this, that it depended upon positive and special contract; people out of compact being treated as out of law. Accordingly numerous were the instances of prisoners being slaughtered in cold blood, and of the worst acts of savage cruelty, perpetrated not by soldiers in the heat of battle, but upon the deliberation and vote of public assemblies.
In Rome, as in Greece, the same word originally signified a stranger and a foe; and dreadful suffering and ignominy was inflicted by the Romans on their prisoners of war. Hence the fury with
which the ancients sometimes defended their cities to the last extremity, and then destroyed themselves rather than fall into the hands of the conquerors. The famous anecdote of the conduct of Scipio towards the captive princess confirms this view of the Roman practice, since it was deemed a marvellous instance of virtue in him to abstain from doing that which, if any modern general were to do it, would render his name proscribed as a hissing and scorn in all Christendom.
At the same time, the Romans had the elements of a law of peace and war, and far surpassed the Greeks in the equity and reasonableness of their military usages. They were remarkable, indeed, beyond other ancient nations, for the observance of their engagements, and for the frequent exhibition of traits of generosity and honour, in their career of domination. Thus they introduced the practice of a regular declaration of war, and instituted a body of heralds. They held also that it was unlawful to fight without military enrolment; and even in the art of war itself there were maxims of equity proper to be observed; and they enforced upon others the rules which were observed by themselves; for they destroyed Corinth, one of the noblest of the Greek cities, professedly because it had infringed the rights of ambassadors. The Romans therefore made approaches to a system of international law; although the system itself is the growth of the latter days of Christian Europe.
Yes, the latter days, for the barbarians came in upon the empire, not only without any settled notions of international law, but thoroughly steeped in military usages, utterly atrocious, abominable, and abhorrent to all sense of reason or justice. It was a part of the very religion of the Scandinavians, such as they had, to familiarize themselves with bloodshed. They counted death by violence in their own persons, as the surest passport to their heaven of drunkenness and brutal fury; and of course, humanity in war, regard for the rights of enemies, was unknown to their hearts or their lives. In truth, the tribes which overran the Roman Empire, were desperate savages, with whom to conquer was to destroy. They swept over the civilized world, like a tropical hurricane, levelling all things in the dust before their fierce career. The Vandals have given their name to wanton barbarism. In the midst of the splendid monuments of ancient art, the civilization, science, and religion of Rome, they were Scythians still, lapping themselves in blood like wild beasts, and filling the earth with desolation, in the blind, aim
of cold-blooded ferocity. They made it their boast, that “ horses might run without stumbling where houses and cities had once stood.” In the single reign of Justinian, the waste of human life occasioned by the barbarians has been estimated at six millions of persons. Reflect on the mass of suffering implied in such a fact. It is notorious, indeed, that practices which common civilization has
driven out of existence, at least in Europe, were then received as acts of mercy; as to spare the vanquished inhabitants of the empire from massacre, and to reduce them to servitude in ransom of their lives, was the very height of humanity among the rugged Goths and Franks.
What was it then that gave the first check to the savage career of the barbarians? It was the influence of the Christian church, which from the beginning laboured to convert the barbarians, and of course to humanize them. Centuries, however, elapsed, filled with anarchy and bloodshed, ere a regular code of international law existed, or was even conceived; that long period of transition which ensued upon the death of Charlemagne, and preceded the re-organization of Christendom after the crusades. Down, indeed, to the time of the revival of intellectual cultivation and the arts, the elements of a public law were extremely rude, and far from being harmonized. For example, Matilda of Scotland, a foreigner and a neutral princess, who happened to be in England at the time of the Norman Conquest, was obliged to take the veil, like many other Saxon ladies, as the only means of protecting her chastity against the followers of William. This fact, while it shows that the cloister at least had come to be respected, is but one among multitudes which prove that throughout Europe during the middle ages, there was nothing like an international system founded on humane principles. The mutilation of captives was a common practice of war. So also was the use of poisoned weapons, and the poisoning of the wells of a country or town through which soldiers were to march. Prisoners being considered at the mercy of the captor, they were treated as a kind of hostages for extorting advantages from their friends and countrymen. Foreigners taken in battle were sometimes tried, condemned and executed as for treason in the breach of municipal law. It was no rare thing to execute officers, taken prisoners in the defence of a military post, and to punish them for holding out longer than pleased the besieger. No farther back than the sixteenth century, it was a relic of old barbarism, still held as parcel of the law of nations, that strangers coming into a country without a safe conduct, were liable to arrest and detention. Throughout the middle ages, princes and generals were accustomed to take infinite precaution against the danger of personal violence when they met for conference or negociation; as for instance, by having their interview on different sides of a strong barrier. Cases frequently occur of open disregard of the rights of ambassadors, nor were the heralds, indispensable to communication between hostile princes or states, uniformly safe. Hostages were subjected to every species of cruelty, such as imprisonment, mutilation, and massacre in cool blood. And in the process of improvement, the practice of holding prisoners to ransoin took the place of reducing them to slavery, and became a