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to the American Constitution. Each Canton retains manic Con its original sovereignty unimpaired, for all domestic pur- and of the poses, even more completely than the German States; States. but the power of making war, and of concluding treaties of peace, alliance, and commerce, with foreign States, being exclusively vested in the federal Diet, all the foreign relations of the country necessarily fall under the cognizance of that body. In this respect, the present Swiss Confederation differs materially from that which existed before the French Revolution of 1789, which was, in effect, a mere treaty of alliance for the common defence against external hostility, but which did not prevent the several Cantons from making separate treaties with each other, and with foreign powers.1


since 1830,

the federal

pact of


Since the French Revolution of 1830, various changes have taken place in the local constitutions of the differ- attempts, ent Cantons, tending to give them a more democratic to change character; and several attempts have been made to revise the federal pact, so as to give it more of the character of a supreme federal government, or Bundesstaat, in respect to the internal relations of the Confederation. Those attempts have all proved abortive; and Switzerland still remains subject to the federal pact of 1815, except that three of the original Cantons,- Basle, Unterwalden, and Appenzel, have been dismembered, so as to increase the whole number of Cantons to twenty-five. But as each division of these. three original Cantons is entitled to half a vote only in the Diet, the total number of votes still remains twenty-two, as under the original federal pact.2 (a)

1 Merlin, Répertoire, tit. Ministre Public.

2 Wheaton, Hist. Law of Nations, p. 494-496.

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(a) [In 1846, a separate armed league of the seven Catholic Cantons, termed Sonderbund, was formed. They had been previously connected by a league, called the League of Sarnen; but their new organization became professedly an armed Confederation. Its members bound themselves to furnish contingents of men and money, and to obey a common military authority all declared to be exclusively for purposes of common defence. This association being at variance with the sixth article of the federal pact, which says, "No alliances shall be formed by the Cantons among each other, prejudicial either to the general confederacy or the rights of the other Cantons," it was resolved by the Diet to be illegal, and declared to be dissolved. At the same time, the excitement was increased by the decree, directing the same Cantons to expel the Jesuits from their territories.

These orders not being complied with, the Diet determined to carry them into effect by force, which was done before the proffer of mediation by the five great powers was received. These events were not however without their influence upon the subsequent occurrences of 1848. On 12th of September of that year a new constitution was voted by the Diet. It commences by acknowledging the sovereignty of the Cantons, but in subordination to the sovereignty of the State. All Swiss citizens are declared equal before the laws. The constitution guarantees, likewise, the Cantonal constitutions; reserving the right of interposing in constitutional questions which may arise in the Cantons. Every separate alliance among the Cantons, every Sonderbund, is prohibited. The right of peace or war, and the power of concluding treaties, political or commercial, belong to the Confederation. If any disturbances arise in the interior of any Canton, the federal government may interpose without awaiting an application to it; and it is its duty to interpose when these disturbances compromise the safety of Switzerland. The Confederation has not the right of maintaining a permanent army; but the contingents of the Cantons are organized under federal laws. The treasury of the Confederation pays part of the expenses of military instruction, which is directed and superintended by federal officers. The principle of the organization of the army is, that every Swiss citizen is held to military service.

The Confederation may construct, or grant aid for the construction, of public works. It may suppress the tolls, and transit duties between the Cantons, and collect, at the frontiers of Switzerland, duties of importation, of exportation, and of transit. It is entrusted with the administration of the posts throughout Switzerland; it exercises a supervision over the roads and bridges, fixes the monetary standard, and establishes uniformity of weights and measures; it secures to all Swiss, of every Christian creed, the right of settling, under certain conditions, in any part of the Swiss territory. Freedom of worship, according to any of the acknowledged Christian creeds, is guaranteed; as well as the liberty of the press, and the right of assembling together. The Confederation claims the right of sending out of the territory foreigners, whose presence may compromise the internal tranquillity of Switzerland, or its external peace. The supreme authority is exercised by a Federal Assembly, divided into two Houses or Councils; the National Council, and the Council of the States. The National Council consists of one deputy elected for every twenty thousand souls. The Council of the States is composed of forty-four deputies named by the Cantons; two for each. The two Councils choose a Federal Council, the General-in-Chief, and the Chief of the General Staff. The Federal Council is composed of three members, chosen for three years; and only one member can be chosen from the same Canton. The duties of this Federal Council consist in superintending the interests of the Confederation abroad, and especially its international relations. In cases of urgency, and during the recess of the Federal Assembly, it is authorized to levy the necessary troops, and dispose of them, subject to the duty of convoking the Councils immediately, if the troops raised exceed two thousand men, or if they remain in service more than three weeks. The Council renders an account of its proceedings to the Federal Assembly, at every ordinary session. There is a federal tribunal, for the administration of justice in federal matters; and trial by jury is provided in criminal cases. Annual Reg. 1847, p. 370. Annuaire des Deux Mondes, 1850, p. 37.]








THE rights, which sovereign States enjoy with regard§ 1. Rights of sovereign to one another, may be divided into rights of two sorts: States, with primitive, or absolute rights; conditional, or hypothetical one another. rights.1

respect to

Every State has certain sovereign rights, to which it is entitled as an independent moral being; in other words, because it is a State. These rights are called the absolute international rights of States, because they are not limited to particular circumstances.

The rights to which sovereign States are entitled, under particular circumstances, in their relations with others, may be termed their conditional international rights; and they cease with the circumstances which gave rise to them. They are consequences of a quality of a sovereign State, but consequences which are not permanent, and which are only produced under particular circumstances. Thus war, for example, confers on belligerent or neutral States certain rights, which cease with the existence of the war.

Of the absolute international rights of States, one of 2. Right of self-prethe most essential and important, and that which lies servation.

1 Klüber, Droit des Gens Moderne de l'Europe, § 36.

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