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lied by a variety of crimes, repugnant to every principle of justice and humanity. Till within a very short period, international law permitted what are now considered unjustifiable atrocities; it did not preserve prisoners of war from slavery and death; it did not secure, in times of war, any adequate protection to feeble old men, to women and children; it did not afford any efficient aid and facilities for the promotion of the intercourse and peace of nations; but on the contrary, seems to have taken under its especial protection principles of violence and elements of discord.

But it will be contended, that this state of things does not exist at the present time. It will be said, that those changes in its principles, which demonstrate its original imperfection, imply also a decrease of that imperfection; that a slight improvement, at least, in its principles is admitted to have taken place; and that the statement of its deficiences is meant to apply chiefly to a period prior to the treatise of Grotius.-In noticing these suggestions, it will readily be conceded, that Grotius has done for the Law of nations, what few men, and perhaps none, have done for any other department of science. He found it a chaos. In his own language, "many before this designed to reduce it into a system; but none has accomplished it." The work of selection. and arrangement, therefore, which demanded great resources of learning, not less than exquisite powers of discrimination, remained to be performed by himself. His learning was vast; he was minutely acquainted with the various codes of morality both ancient and modern; he was familiar with whatever is taught by poets, philosophers, and historians on the great matters of right, honor, and duty; and with a happy boldness, justified only by his vast erudition and genius, he ventured to prescribe the path which senators and kings and nations

This undoubtedly is to be considered a great improvement. Indeed it is difficult to conceive of a Law of nations, in any degree worthy of the name, while the right and the power of reprisals is left in the hands of individuals, acting on their own authority and responsibility. Happily, therefore, for the interests of mankind, it seems now to be fully settled, that a legitimate and public state of war does not necessarily ensue, as consequent on private hostilities, whatever their character may be. The opinion has even been expressed on high authority, that, if all the subjects of a king of England were to engage in hostilities against another country in league with it, but without the assent of the king, there would be still no breach of the league between the two countries.

It would not be difficult to enlarge upon this subject. But without going further, the preceding statements and illustrations are sufficient clearly to evince, that the Law of nations has been gradual in its developement, and has been brought to its present comparatively improved state only by successive steps. This advancement was so slow, and the intercourse of nations was attended with so many embarrassments and so much deception and cruelty, that no one will pretend to assert the ability and adaptedness of the Law of nations to secure permanent justice and peace at any period whatever, previous to the time of Grotius. Its principles were exceedingly indeterminate; it rested almost wholly upon precedents, which were often variant and inconsistent with each other; it was not reduced to the form of a science, and illustrated by appeals to enlightened reason and conscience. It is impossible to designate any considerable period from the beginning of history down to the commencement of the seventeenth century, when the illustrious philosopher of Delft obtained a hearing on this great subject never given before, which is not sul

lied by a variety of crimes, repugnant to every principle of justice and humanity. Till within a very short period, international law permitted what are now considered unjustifiable atrocities; it did not preserve prisoners of war from slavery and death; it did not secure, in times of war, any adequate protection to feeble old men, to women and children; it did not afford any efficient aid and facilities for the promotion of the intercourse and peace of nations; but on the contrary, seems to have taken under its especial protection principles of violence and elements of discord.

But it will be contended, that this state of things does not exist at the present time. It will be said, that those changes in its principles, which demonstrate its original imperfection, imply also a decrease of that imperfection; that a slight improvement, at least, in its principles is admitted to have taken place; and that the statement of its deficiences is meant to apply chiefly to a period prior to the treatise of Grotius.-In noticing these suggestions, it will readily be conceded, that Grotius has done for the Law of nations, what few men, and perhaps none, have done for any other department of science. He found it a chaos. In his own language, "many before this designed to reduce it into a system; but none has accomplished it." The work of selection and arrangement, therefore, which demanded great resources of learning, not less than exquisite powers of discrimination, remained to be performed by himself. His learning was vast; he was minutely acquainted with the various codes of morality both ancient and modern; he was familiar with whatever is taught by poets, philosophers, and historians on the great matters of right, honor, and duty; and with a happy boldness, justified only by his vast erudition and genius, he ventured to prescribe the path which senators and kings and nations

should walk in. The attempt was, in a great measure, successful. The work was patronized by kings, taught in the universities, illustrated by learned commentators; and although it met with great opposition, it soon exerted a very decided influence on the cabinets and politics of Europe.

But with all the aid of Grotius and his learned commentators and followers, we are not prepared to admit, that the Law of nations, enlarged and improved as it undoubtedly is, answers the great objects, which it ought to aim to secure. If another Grotius should arise, it is not to be presumed, that he would leave the Law of nations precisely where the first Grotius left it. We venture to hazard the assertion, that the International code opens a vast field for the action of some master mind; that the time has come for a remodelling of some of its features; and that it is a duty to attempt to place it on higher and surer grounds.

CHAPTER SECOND.

APPROXIMATION OF INTERNATIONAL LAW TO THE PRINCIPLES OF THE GOSPEL.

THE remarks of the preceding chapter have prepared us in some degree for what we wish to say in this; viz, that efforts should be made, not only to improve the Law of nations, by removing the more odious features; but to bring it into entire conformity with the precepts and spirit of the Gospel. We are aware, when we consider the aggressive and retaliatory tendencies in human nature, that this is no easy task; but we do not permit ourselves to believe, that it is impossible. On the contrary we have no doubt, that it will be done; and that it will be done too, at no very distant day. The progress of the Law of nations in times past encourages the indulgence of such a hope. We have had occasion, in the preceding chapter, to notice some of the particulars, in which this progressive improvement has been realized. It is but a short time, since prisoners taken in war were treated as slaves; not unfrequently persons, who in time of peace were so unfortunate as to be thrown upon a foreign shore by shipwreck, were treated in the same manner; it was common for wrecked vessels and cargoes, without any regard to the rights of the real owners, to be seized by private individuals, or to be sequestrated to the use of the government of the country; poi

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