Chap 3-4: Rights

Chap 3: the Rights of Neutral Nations

  • Third, we next show what is due to neutral nations from the belligerent powers.
  • The rule of justice with respect to neutral nations is, [275] that they should suffer no injury as they have offended no party.
    • In a war between France and England, the Dutch should have the liberty of trading to both countries, as in peacetime, because they have injured neither party.
    • They can trade to any part of the country without molestation, unless when they:
      • carry contraband goods, or
      • are going to a besieged town.
  • However, a neutral bottom will not protect the enemy’s goods.
  • The bottom’s hostility does not forfeit the neutral power’s goods.
    • There is some difference between the practice of ancient and modern nations with respect to theius postliminii, or the recovery of what was lost.
  • The ancient maxim in wartime was that we are always in the right and our enemies always in the wrong.
    • Whatever is taken from the enemy is justly taken.
    • Whatever is taken from us is unjustly taken.
  • On this account, if a Carthaginian had sold to a Roman a Roman ship taken in war, the former owner took it back whenever he could, because it was unjustly taken from him on the above principle.
    • Now it is quite the opposite.
      • We consider everything done in war as just and equitable.
      • We do not demand nor take back any captures made in it.
      • If an English ship were taken by the French and sold to the Dutch and came to a British harbour, the former British owner has no claim to her.
        • For he had lost all hopes of it, when it had gone into the enemy’s possession.

 

  • There is a very great difference in the conduct of belligerent nations towards a neutral nation in a land war, from what it is in a sea war.
    • This is more the effect of policy than humanity.
  • When an army retreats and the conqueror pursues into a neutral nation, it often becomes the seat of war unless it has power to hold out both army and conqueror.
    • Little or no satisfaction is given for damages;
    • But in a sea war, a ship taken from the most inconsiderable neutral power is always restored [276] because it injures their commerce more to take their ships than anything else
      • But I think this is unsatisfactory because a land war hurts commerce more.
      • The real reason is that a small country cannot assert its neutrality in a land war, but it can do so in a sea war.
        • A small fort can oblige the greatest nation to respect its harbour’s neutrality.

Chap 4: the Rights of Ambassadors

  • When nations came to have a lot of business one with another, it became necessary to send messengers between them.
    • They were the first ambassadors.
  • Anciently, there was little commerce between nations.
    • Ambassadors were only sent on particular occasions.
    • They were what we now call ‘ambassadors extraordinary’.
    • They returned home after their business was transacted.
  • There were no resident ambassadors in Rome or Greece.
    • Their duty was just to conclude peace, make alliances, etc.
    • Resident ambassadors were first employed in the beginning of the 17th century, by Ferdinand, King of Spain.
      • Even the word ‘ambassador’ comes from the Spanish verb, ambassare, to send.
  • From the earliest times, the Pope had residents or legates at all European courts.
    • The very same reason that makes embassies now so frequent, induced the Pope to use this method.
    • He had business in all the European countries.
    • Most of his revenue was collected from them.
      • They were continually attempting [277] to infringe the right he claimed.
    • He found it necessary to have a person constantly residing at their courts, to see that his privileges were preserved.
      • The Pope derived several advantages from this custom.

 

  • The merchants of one country had constant claims on the merchants of another country when:
    • commerce was introduced into Europe, and
    • the privileges of every country were settled, regarding the duties payable on goods in another country.
  • They themselves were strangers in those countries.
    • They would be very readily be injured.
    • They often think themselves so.
  • It became necessary to have one of their countrymen constantly residing at the courts of different nations to protect the rights of his fellow-subjects.
  • Anciently, there was little intercourse with different nations.
    • There was no need for resident ambassadors.
    • But now, there is something to adjust between dealers almost everyday.
    • Some person of weight and authority should be there.
      • He should have access to the court, to prevent any quarrel.
  • Ferdinand of Spain established this practice.
    • It initially gave great jealousy to the neighbouring nations to keep ambassadors residing at their courts.
    • He pretended to have no right to do this.
    • He found means of keeping his ambassador there, by:
      • sending an ambassador on a certain occasion, and
      • starting different questions.
  • This practice was soon copied.
    • It immediately became the universal custom of the European princes.
    • It was reckoned a great affront not to send one.
  • Grotius’ opinions are founded on the practice of ancient nations.
    • He declares against resident ambassadors.
    • He calls them resident spies.
    • But if he had lived in the present [278] age, he would have found that extensive commerce renders it impossible to preserve peace in a month, unless grievances are redressed by a man of authority, who:
      • knows the country’s customs of the country, and
      • is capable of explaining what injuries are really done.
  • The custom of sending ambassadors preserves peace.
    • By giving intelligence, it prevents one country from being invaded by another without notice.
  • When any kind of dispute happens and the ambassador is recalled, you can have intelligence by your communication with other courts.
    • Your ambassador there will be informed, because ambassadors generally are acquainted with all the business in Europe.

 

  • One country might attain some kind of preeminence by its ambassador’s influence and assiduity.
    • For a long time, no attention was given to it.
    • That balance of power has been recently so much talked of.
      • It was never heard of before.
  • Every sovereign had enough to do within his own dominions.
    • He has little attention on foreign powers.
    • Before the institution of residents, they had little intelligence.
    • But ever since the beginning of the 16th century, the European nations were divided into two great alliances.
  • On the one hand were England, Holland, Hungary, Moscow etc.
    • On the other, were France, Spain, Prussia, Denmark, Sweden, etc.
    • In this way, a kind of alliance was kept up.
    • Sometimes one nation left one side and another joined it, as at present Prussia is with England, and Hungary on the other side.
    • This kind of system was established in Italy around the 15th century among the great families there.
  • The resident ambassadors of these nations:
    • hinder any one country from domineering over another by sea or land, and
    • are formed into a kind of council similar to that [279] of the Amphictyons in ancient Greece.
  • They have power to advise and consult on matters, but not to determine any.
    • By combining, they can threaten any one country which:
      • pretends to superiority, or
      • makes an unreasonable demand.
  • Post offices are of great importance for procuring intelligence because communication is open through all these countries, both in peace and war.
    • It makes commerce easy and gives notice of every movement.

 

  • An ambassador’s person must:
    • be sacred, and
    • not subject to any of the courts of justice in the country where he resides.
  • If he contract debts or does any injury, a complaint must be made to his country.
    • When the Dutch arrested the Russian ambassador in 1718, it was complained of as a violation of the laws of nations.
  • The goods which an ambassador buys are not subject to any custom.
    • A sovereign would be exempted from taxes, so must his ambassador who represents him2.
  • When an ambassador tries to disturb the peace by entering into conspiracies or the like, he may be imprisoned.
    • His house is considered as an asylum for offenders:
      • by way of compliment, and
      • to keep up an ambassador’s dignity.
    • However, he must:
      • be cautious of this privilege, and
      • extend his authority only to the protection of debtors and small delinquents
        • Because the right will be broken through if he harbours those guilty of capital crimes.
  • The ambassador’s servants are also entitled to some considerable privileges.
    • If they have contracted debts, they may be arrested.
    • But this is never done voluntarily.

[280]

  • All the words that signify those persons employed by one court at another are derived from the Spanish language.
    • The Spanish court was then the most ceremonious in the world.
    • Spanish dress was everywhere affected.
  • Ambassadors were obliged to keep up much ceremony.
    • They were hindered in the prosecution of their business.
    • A man that has to negotiate matters of the highest importance could not spend much time in the endless ceremony of paying and returning visits.
  • Envoys were therefore sent, to:
    • whom less ceremony was due, and
    • those that could be addressed on any occasion.
  • Their dignity also soon advanced.
    • It incapacitated them to transact business.

 

  • They continued for some time.
    • They were called resident ambassadors ordinary.
      • They were inferior to the ambassadors extraordinary.
    • Below this rank is the minister.
      • He resides in the country on account of his own business.
      • He can transact any little business of his country.

 

  • A consul is a particular magistrate who is a judge of all matters relating to the merchants of his own country.
    • He takes care to do them justice in those places where it may not be very accurately administered.
  • These are the names and offices of the persons employed in the nation’s foreign affairs created by the introduction of commerce.
    • It has now become absolutely necessary.
  • Thus we have considered both the laws of nature and the laws of nations.

 


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