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§ 12. In
of the State
to its inter
Every State, as a distinct moral being, independent dependence of every other, may freely exercise all its sovereign in respect rights in any manner not inconsistent with the equal nal govern- rights of other States. Among these is that of establishing, altering, or abolishing its own municipal constitution of government. No foreign State can lawfully interfere with the exercise of this right, unless such interference is authorized by some special compact, or by such a clear case of necessity as immediately affects its own independence, freedom, and security. Non-interference is the general rule, to which cases of justifiable interference form exceptions limited by the necessity of each particular case.
13. Mediation of foreign States for the settlement of
The approved usage of nations authorizes the proposal by one State of its good offices or mediation for the settlement of the intestine dissensions of another State. When such offer is accepted by the contending dissentions parties, it becomes a just title for the interference of the of a State. mediating power. (a)
Treaties of mediation and guaranty.
Such a title may also grow out of positive compact previously existing, such as treaties of mediation and guaranty. Of this nature was the guaranty by France and Sweden of the Germanic Constitution at the peace of Westphalia in 1648, the result of the thirty years' war waged by the princes and States of Germany for the preservation of their civil and religious liberties against the ambition of the House of Austria.
The Republic of Geneva was connected by an ancient alliance
(a) [The difference between a mediator and an arbitrator consists in this : that the arbitrator pronounces a real judgment, which is obligatory, and that the mediator can only give his counsel and advice. The mediation, indeed, is often a simple formality to bring the parties together, and which is afterwards continued from respect to the mediator. Garden, Traité de la Diplomatie, tom. i. p. 436, note. The references, by treaty, of 1827, of the question respecting the north-east boundary of the United States by the British and American governments, to the King of the Netherlands, was a case of arbitration, though as the award did not profess to follow the submission, but merely recommended a conventional line, which it designated, it was not obligatory. Amer. Ann. Reg. 1830-1, p. 146.]
with the Swiss Cantons of Berne and Zurich, in consequence of which they united with France, in 1738, in offering the joint mediation of the three powers to the contending political parties by which the tranquillity of the republic was disturbed. The result of this mediation was the settlement of a constitution, which giving rise to new disputes in 1768, they were again adjusted by the intervention of the mediating powers. In 1782, the French government once more united with these Cantons and the court of Sardinia in mediating between the aristocratic and democratic parties; but it appears to be very questionable how far these transactions, especially the last, can be reconciled with the respect due, on the strict principles of international law, to the just rights and independence of the smallest, not less than to those of the greatest States.1
The present constitution of the Swiss Confederation was also adjusted, in 1813, by the mediation of the great allied powers, and subsequently recognized by them at the Congress of Vienna as the basis of the federative compact of Switzerland. By the same act the united Swiss Cantons guarantee their respective local constitutions of government.2
So also the local constitutions of the different States composing the Germanic Confederation may be guaranteed by the Diet on the application of the particular State in which the constitution is established; and this guarantee gives the Diet the right of determining all controversies respecting the interpretation and execution of the constitution thus established and guaranteed.3
And the Constitution of the United States of America guarantees to each State of the federal Union a republican form of government, and engages to protect each of them against invasion, and, on application of the local authorities, against domestic violence.1
1 Flassan, Histoire de la Diplomatic Française, tom. v. p. 78, tom. vii. pp. 27,
2 Acte Final du Congrès de Vienne, art. 74.
3 Wiener Schluss-Acte, vom 15 Mai, 1820, art. 62. Corpus Juris Germanici, von Mayer, tom. ii. p. 196.
4 Constitution of the United States, art. 3.
§ 15. Inde
This perfect independence of every sovereign State, pendence of in respect to its political institutions, extends to the in respect choice of the supreme magistrate and other rulers, as choice of its well as to the form of government itself. In hereditary rulers. governments, the succession to the crown being regulated by the fundamental laws, all disputes respecting the succession are rightfully settled by the nation itself, independently of the interference or control of foreign powers. So also in elective governments, the choice of the chief or other magistrates ought to be freely made, in the manner prescribed by the constitution of the State, without the intervention of any foreign influence or authority.1
§ 16. Exceptions growing out
The only exceptions to the application of these general rules arise out of compact, such as treaties of alliof compact ance, guarantee, and mediation, to which the State itself just right whose concerns are in question has become a party; or formed by other powers in the exercise of a supposed right of intervention growing out of a necessity involving their own particular security, or some contingent danger affecting the general security of nations. Such, among others, were the wars relating to the Spanish succession, in the beginning of the eighteenth century, and to the Bavarian and Austrian successions, in the latter part of the same century. The history of modern Europe also affords many other examples of the actual interference of foreign powers in the choice of the sovereign or chief magistrate of those States where the choice was constitutionally determined by popular election, or by an elective council, such as in the cases of the head of the Germanic Empire, the King of Poland, and the Roman pontiff; but in these cases no argument can be drawn from the fact to the right. In the particular case, however, of the election of the pope, who is the supreme pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church, as well as a temporal sovereign, the Emperor of Austria, and the Kings of France and Spain have, by ancient usage, each a right to exclude one candidate.1
1 Vattel, Droit des Gens, liv. i. ch. 5, §§ 66, 67.
2 Klüber, Droit des Gens moderne de l'Europe, Pt. II. tit. 1, ch. 2, § 48.
§ 16. Quad
ance of 1834,
The quadruple alliance, concluded in 1834 between France, Great Britain, Spain, and Portugal, affords a ruple alliremarkable example of actual interference in the ques- between tions relating to the succession to the crown in the two Great Britain, Portulatter kingdoms, growing out of compacts to which they gal, and were parties, formed in the exercise of a supposed right of Spain. interference for the preservation of the peace of the Peninsula as well as the general peace of Europe. Having already stated in another work the historical circumstances which gave rise to the quadruple alliance, as well as its terms and conditions, it will only be necessary here to recapitulate the leading principles, which may be collected from the debate in the British Parliament, in 1835, upon the measures adopted by the British Government to carry into effect the stipulations of the treaty.
1. The legality of the order in council permitting British subjects to engage in the military service of the Queen of Spain, by exempting them from the general operation of the act of Parliament of 1819, forbidding them from enlisting in foreign military service, was not called in question by Sir Robert Peel and the other speakers on the part of the opposition. Nor was the obligation of the treaty of quadruple alliance, by which the British government was bound to furnish arms and the aid of a naval force to the Queen of Spain, denied by them. Yet it was asserted, that without a declaration of war, it would be with the greatest difficulty that the special obligation of giving naval aid could be fulfilled, without placing the force of such a compact in opposition to the general binding nature of international law. Whatever might be the special obligation imposed on Great Britain by the treaty, it could not warrant her in preventing a neutral State from receiving a supply of arms. She had no right, without a positive declaration of war, to stop the ships of a neutral country on the high seas.
2. It was contended that the suspension of the foreign enlistment law was equivalent to a direct military interference in the domestic affairs of another nation. The general rule on which Great Britain had hitherto acted was that of non-interference. The only exceptions admitted to this rule were cases where the necessity was urgent and immediate; affecting, either on account of vicinage, or some special circumstances, the safety or vital
interests of the State. To interfere on the vague ground that British interests would be promoted by the intervention; on the plea that it would be for their advantage to see established a particular form of government in Spain, would be to destroy altogether the general rule of non-intervention, and to place the independence of every weak power at the mercy of its formidable neighbors. It was impossible to deny that an act which the British government permitted, authorizing British soldiers and subjects to enlist in the service of a foreign power, and allowing them to be organized in Great Britain, was a recognition of the doctrine of the propriety of assisting by a military force a foreign government against an insurrection of its own subjects. When the Foreign Enlistment Bill was under consideration in the House of Commons, the particular clause which empowered the king in council to suspend its operation was objected to on the ground, that if there was no foreign enlistment act, the subjects of Great Britain might volunteer in the service of another country, and there could be no particular ground of complaint against them; but that if the king in council were permitted to issue an order suspending the law with reference to any belligerent nation, the government might be considered as sending a force under its own control.
Lord Palmerston, in reply, stated:-1. That the object of the treaty of quadruple alliance, as expressed in the preamble, was to establish internal peace throughout the Peninsula, including Spain as well as Portugal; the means by which it was proposed to effect that object was the expulsion of the infants Don Carlos and Dom Miguel from Portugal. When Don Carlos returned to Spain, it was thought necessary to frame additional articles to the treaty in order to meet the new emergency. One of these additional articles engaged His Britannic Majesty to furnish Her Catholic Majesty with such supplies of arms and warlike stores as Her Majesty might require, and further to assist Her Majesty with a naval force. The writers on the law of nations all agreed that any government, thus stipulating to furnish arms to another, must be considered as taking an active part in any contest in which the latter might be engaged; and the agreement to furnish a naval force, if necessary, was a still stronger demonstration to that effect. If, therefore, the recent order in council was objected to on the ground that it identified Great Britain with the cause