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erous support which he gave to his almost unknown rival; his efforts to give confidence to public sentiment during that fearful winter when men were discussing compromises and sacrifices as the condition of the existence of the Union; and his devotion to the work of maintaining, as the head of the new Cabinet, the just balance of our foreign relations during a stormy period, -never swayed by passion or prejudice, never temporizing to gain personal popularity.
Mr. Seward will rank rather as a progressive statesman than as a radical reformer; but of the former class he is, to our mind, the greatest since the days of Jefferson. His recent efforts in the labor of reconstruction will not, we fear, add to his reputation for wisdom. But no statesman has more clearly forecast the years, or, with so little display of merely personal ambition, accomplished so much in revolutionizing public sentiment. He has been true to his convictions, and at the same time liberal in the application of a principle; his position has generally been in advance of his party, and the people have steadily drawn to his support. Twice at least, while in his present position, has he checked the current of popular opinion, and won applause at the end. He has lived to see the success of his labors. The Constitution no longer is in opposition to the “higher law”; the “irrepressible conflict” has become a matter of the past ; and the national cause was victorious, if not within “ninety days," at least within the good time of Providence. His course is nearly run. His way has led him through a cloud " not of war only, but detractions rude”; yet if he conducts the Mexican problem to a peaceful solution, his fame as a diplomatist will be almost unrivalled ; and he will bear to his retirement, not only the consciousness of duty well performed, but that reward which is the highest an American statesman can obtain, - the lasting gratitude of his countrymen.
ART. VII. – Diplomatic Correspondence between MR. ADAMS,
Minister of the United States at the Court of St. James, and EARL RUSSELL and EARL CLARENDON, Her Majesty's Secretaries of State for Foreign Affairs. 1863 - 1866.
GREAT BRITAIN having refused to submit to arbitration the claims of our government for damages done to the commerce of the United States by the Alabama and vessels like her, the subject of arbitration between nations is invested with new interest. Is arbitration a new or an old method of settling international differences? What rules govern the parties to it ? What disputes have been referred, and with what results ? These and other questions are suggested as we read the correspondence between Mr. Adams and Earl Russell.
Those books to which we commonly go when in doubt on questions of international law help us little. They all speak of arbitration as one method by which international difficulties are settled ; Wheaton and Halleck dismiss the subject with a section, Philliinore and Twiss with a few pages. When we look through these volumes, we are struck by the fact that they devote so many chapters to the rules of war, and have so little to say of peaceful umpirage. But war needs to be restrained. Belligerents cannot injure each other unless they do it by rule, and they cannot injure neutrals unless for violation of rules. War, then, is governed by law, and so also is arbitration. Both war and arbitration consider in theory that all nations are equal, with the same rights and the same duties. war attempts to enforce these equal rights and duties it expects to succeed, because nations are unequal in might. To reconcile a theory so inconsistent with the practice, war requires many rules both for the protection of the parties and of neutrals. Arbitration needs no rules for this purpose, for it regards nations as equal both in right and might. Arbitration, settling international disputes by a method known to individuals, is governed by rules found in the common and civil law ; while war, employing its own peculiar means, needs its own peculiar laws. For this reason the writers on international law have labored principally to define the leges belli, and have given but little space to the laws of arbitration.
“ An arbitrator is a person selected by the mutual consent of the parties to determine the matters in controversy between them, whether they be matters of law or fact."
An arbitrator " is a person authorized by the parties in difference to decide what shall be done with regard to the matters submitted to his judgment."
The above are definitions, one from Russell on Arbitration, and the other from Wildman on International Law. In the first quotation the parties are men, and in the second they are nations. The consent in one case is shown by a writing, known as the submission, stating the matter in controversy and the points on which the decision of the arbitrator is desired. A treaty, or convention, in which the parties agree to be bound by the award of an arbiter in certain matters of difference between them, gives the authority named in the second definition. Nations may submit any questions they choose to whomsoever they choose. When they have submitted any question, and the award has been given, that award must be conclusive.
“ Although the civil law may decide upon the conduct of arbitrators to whom a compromise is referred, so as to allow an appeal from their decision or complaints against their injustice, this can nerer take place between kings and nations. For here there is no superior power that can rivet or relax the bonds of an engagement. The decree, therefore, of such an arbiter must be final and without appeal.” *
These are the words of Grotius, and would seem to indicate that a nation would never be justified in refusing to accept the conclusions of an arbitrator; but later writers state distinctly that no state is bound to abide by an award presenting a clear departure from the terms of the reference, an absolute conflict with justice, or resulting from fraud and connivance.
An arbitrator, as known to nations, need not be a monarch, or possessed of any political power, nor is it necessary that the power to award should be in one person. We shall find that three methods of arbitration have been practised. Some nations have settled their disputes by referring them to a congress made up of representatives from each nation, as the Greek cities in some instances referred matters in dispute to the Amphictyonic Council, and abided by its decision. Others have trusted their differences to the chief of some friendly nation, as when the United States and Great Britain invited the King of the Netherlands to settle a line of boundary. And others have preferred the award of a commission composed of an equal number of citizen arbitrators chosen by each state, and an umpire selected by lot or agreement, or, in later cases, appointed by some friendly sovereign, like the commission now sitting in Washington to settle claims between our government and Colombia.
* Grotius, Book III. Chap. 20.
Arbitration as a means of preventing war has long been practised. Grotius says: “ 'Tis barbarous and abominable to fall upon him as an enemy who is willing to put his case to reference.” And then reminds us that the Greeks and Romans submitted to the opinion of an arbitrator, and that even Cyrus, Philip of Macedon, and Pompey desired to have an award. Strabo writes, that in former times the Druids in Gaul were the umpires between nations at war, and had often accommodated matters upon the point of an engagement. A treaty between the Lacedæmonians and the Argives provided that, if any dispute should happen between two states in alliance, they should refer their cause to some other state that was indifferent to them both.
Bynkershoek wrote only of the law of war, and so gave us no method to avoid it. In Vattel we read that arbitration is a method very reasonable, and very conformable to the law of nature, in determining all differences that do not directly interest the safety of a nation.
Grotius wished something more than that the future writer on international law should be able, as he had done, to chronicle individual cases of successful arbitration. He advised that nations should unite in sending representatives to a general congress, which should settle whatever differences arose between the states represented. For such a proposition he was thought rash and visionary; but this plan was not without its advocates. In France, during the next century, Nicole, and, later, the Abbé Saint Pierre and Rousseau, advocated plans for universal peace. In Germany, Leibnitz, Kant, and Fichte seconded the suggestions of the French philosophers, while Penn and Jeremy Bentham, in England, endeavored to cause nations, like individuals, to settle their difficulties by right, not might. Whether or not the plan for a congress of nations would be a practical one, it is not our present purpose to inquire; and we have only considered it so far, that we might show the form which the idea of arbitration took among writers till about the time of our Revolution.
* Book IL Chap. 23, sec. 8.
| Book U. Chap. 18, sec. 329.
We find that our fathers had no sooner ended the war which had been forced upon them, than they began to talk of the advantages of settling international difficulties by some more satisfactory method. Jefferson asked: “Will nations never devise a more rational umpire of differences than force? War is an instrument entirely inefficient towards redressing wrongs, and multiplies instead of indemnifying losses.” Madison expressed the same thought. Franklin, having asserted that there never was a good war or a bad peace, asks, “ When will mankind be convinced of this, and agree to settle their difficulties by arbitration ?” In an address of Mr. Sumner, delivered before the American Peace Society on its anniversary in 1849, we find a letter of Samuel Adams written to the delegates in Congress from Massachusetts, at some time before 1789. It is in the form of a letter of instructions.
“ You are, therefore, hereby instructed and urged to more the United States, in Congress assembled, to take into their deep and most earnest consideration whether any measures can by them be used, through their influence with such of the nations in Europe with whom they are united by treaties of amity or commerce, that national differences may be settled and determined without the necessity of war, in which the world has too long been deluged, to the destruction of human happiness and the disgrace of human reason and government.”
It does not appear that this letter led to any legislative act, but the words quoted show how strongly one of the leading minds of the country desired to substitute arbitration for war.
With such men directing the policy of the new state, we are not surprised to find that various questions between the United