seeking redress for wrongs done to our republic, is hostile, and a violation of the duty to live peacebly with all men. (Vattel b. 4th, ch.5th, s. 55, 6 and 7.) Negotiation by ministers ought to be persevered in as long as any reasonable hope of accommodation exists. (Vattel b. 2d, ch. 18, s. 327.) On the same principle they ought to be renewed, when practicable with a view to peace. The law of our Republic provides for the immunity, of foreign ministers, their servants and effects, and and for foreign consuls a hearing before the national tribunals. (See the act of Congress of 1790, the United States v. Ortega, 11 Wheaton, 468, 469 n. Davis v. Packard, 7, Peters, R. 276.) Our Constitution, acts of Congress and judicial decisions, according to the learned Wheaton, ordain : 1. That no civil or criminal proceeding can be instituted in any state court against a foreign ambassador, other public minister, or consul. 2. That such ambassador, public minister or consul

may commence a suit in a state court (if of competent jurisdiction in other respects) against an individual. 3. That no civil suit can be commenced in any court against an ambassador or other public minister, by compulsory process, in any court whatever. 4. That consuls may be sued civilly or criminally in the courts of the Union, Like individuals. 5. That the district courts, within their respective limits, have jurisdiction of suits and prosecution against consuls.



Mediation of friendly states to settle national difficulties, is a duty as much as it is to compose disputes among individuals and neighborhoods. The differing states are bound to admit mediation as a natural and efficient means of peaceable arrangement.


Arbitrament or reference of national controversies to an indifferent umpire is an obvious duty. (Vattel b. 2d, ch. 18, s. 329.) It is the great, the powerful means of preserving peace. Formerly in ages of darkness and delusion, force, trial by battle was allowed as a judicial proceeding in courts. Christianity and civilization have substituted reason for force, the decision of judicial conscience for the scimetar. Why should not the same principle be applied to the affairs of nations ? No reason can be assigned why national disputes as well as law suits should not be referred to indifferent judges to decide by the eternal principles of right and justice. This doctrine has received the sanction of mankind in all ages. Prior to the Pelloponnesian war the Athenians offered Sparta and her allies to refer their differences to national arbitrament, and the refusal of this pacific offer led the states of Greece to ruin. In modern times arbitraments are becoming common. Great Britain and the United States referred to the King of the Netherlands the settlement of the North Eas. tern boundary of the United States, and though the award was not executed owing to its departure from the question submitted, it greatly promoted the final settlement of this exciting subject by the treaty of Washington of 1842. Our President's instruction, given through Mr. Clay, Secretary of State, to our ministers to Panama, urged this important duty of national arbitrament. It is the policy of our republic, and all nations admit that it is right. One class of cases must of necessity be excepted from reference, all those pertaining to and forming an essential part of a nation's sovereignty cannot be submitted, as a loss of a nation's independence is national death during its continuance. Hence no nation ought to submit a question of a right of searching her vessels at sea for enemy's goods or British seamen, or a question of her common and equal right to the freedom of the

These and other parts of the national sovereignty must be always defended. The fundamental treaty of the Holy Alliance, by adopting the precepts of the Gospel as the true rule of international law, of necessity sanctions national arbitrament.



As a national mode of promoting peace, diplomatic Congresses, like that of the Holy Alliance and the Congress of Panama, ought to be encouraged in Europe and America. (Vattel b. 2d, ch. 18, s. 330.) It is true that the Holy Alliance, fearing free institutions, acted in opposition to their fundamental declaration for a time. But the truth is now apparent that freedom, intelligence and morality are the only solid basis of social order and national glory. Let the sovereigns of Europe return to their first principles, the precepts of the Gospel, and set themselves in earnest about the improvement of international law and the preservation of peace, by mediation, by arbitrament and by a general treaty for disarming, or reducing to a low and fixed standard their military and marine establishments, and wars will be of rare occurrence. The moral power of Christianity would then prevail and enforce international rights and duties, according to the moral law of nations. This was the object of the contemplated Congress of Panama.

The object of the United States in sending ministers to the Congress of Panama, as appears from their instructions, and President Adams' communications to Congress, was to induce the the American nations to sanction the abolition of



private war on the ocean, to establish free and reciprocal trade and commerce, to establish freedom of religious worship, to substitute mediation and arbitrament as far as possible for the decision of national difficulties, and to restrict to the narrowest limits the pretended belligerent right of blockade. In short the generous purpose was, as the President said in his annual Message of December, 1827, to bring all the nations of this hemisphere to the common acknowledgment and adoption of the principles, in the regulation of their internal relations, which would have secured a lasting peace and harmony between them, and have promoted the cause of mutual benevolence throughout the globe.” It is much to be regreted that the dissentions of the new American nations prevented the success of this noble experiment for the improvement of international law, and the establishment of the principles of peace and freedom. We trust that some American statesman at a more propitious era may revive this plan of an American diplomatic Congress for the improvement of the laws and customs that govern the great Republic of humanity.

« VorigeDoorgaan »