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them, of a kind in which a third nation, trade will be affected, jealousy of the not itself concerned in the result, has growing wealth and power of other no sort of qualification for passing judg- states, historical associations, dynastic ment, and therefore no right whatever. alliances, antipathies of race, and preto interpose. In general, it may be said judices of education, as well as other that, where the subject-matter of the causes, operate with nearly absolute cerquarrel is one which, fairly considered, tainty, where there is any doubt as to admits of dispute,—where the proceed the justice of the case, to preclude ing which it is proposed to prevent is one impartial judgment. Accordingly, we of which the criminality or injustice is find that the verdicts pronounced by matter of question,-in other words, nations upon the conduct of their neighwhere the case is such as, if brought bours have, in by far the greater number before a legal tribunal, would be decided of such instances, been wrong. “In the upon, not as presenting no sort of doubt “large volume of human folly there is or difficulty, but only after discussion or "no page longer or more discreditable deliberation, — " intervention” is not " than that which contains the judgments justifiable. In such circumstances “ of nations upon each other.”1 Even if neither of the two nations concerned this were not the case, the enforcement can be expected, or ought to be com- of such judgments would be indefenpelled, to accept the decision of a third, sible, the objection to it being not only which is neither invested by common that they are frequently or generally consent with judicial authority, nor is wrong, but also that those against whom possessed of any qualities entitling it to they are directed cannot fairly be exdecide. The tribunals by which, in an pected to accept them. It may be said ordinary community, such differences that, since the community of nations is are settled are deliberately selected by one in which law, as ordinarily underthe society itself, and are supposed to stood, does not exist, the world must be endowed with information or intel- be content with the best substitute that ligence peculiarly fitting them for the can be found for it, and that it is better purpose in view, and to be wholly free that the peace should be preserved by from personal interests in the questions the self-constituted authority of any one submitted to them; in all of which or more states, to whatever objection on qualifications (in two of them invariably, the score of justice this may be liable, and in the third very frequently) an in- than that it should be perpetually broken tervening state is deficient. As regards for the purpose of deciding questions intelligence, not only is there no special otherwise insoluble. But this argument qualification, but the dense ignorance proceeds upon a wrong estimate of the which exists in all countries as to the comparative value of justice and of peace. political condition of others, and as to It is true that the question at issue is the views, opinions, and modes of as likely to receive an unjust solution thought prevalent in them, and the when it is settled by a trial of strength apparent impossibility which pervades between the disputants, as when it is a body-politic of looking at international settled by the fiat of an authority questions from any point of view but its incompetent to decide. But in the own, constitute a positive disqualifica former case the nation which, being in tion for judicial power. As regards the right, is compelled to yield, has at impartiality, there is, by the supposition, least had the opportunity of using its best no such direct interest in the issue as efforts for the satisfaction of its claims, could be supposed to justify interven- and the chance of successfully asserting tion; but the circumstances of the case them ; in the other, it is allowed no are almost always such as to ensure a voice whatever in the matter. In the very decided bias in the judgment formed one case there is the single injustice of of them in a third country. Considera- i Sir G. C. Lexia “Dialogue on the Be tions as to the manner in which its own Form of Government."
a wrong solution; in the other there is of states, but, if that was impossible, the double injustice of a wrong solution, any one state, would have the right, on and of its enforcement by an unqualified the present hypothesis, to compel obediauthority.
ence to a rule which had been made It is, of course, possible to conceive a by all of them for the general good. condition of affairs in which the rule The want of those attributes (regular here contended for must be exception- constitution, special intelligence, and ally disregarded. A war, for instance, impartiality) which, as already observed, carried on with unusual ferocity, pro- justify the coercive action of legal tracted beyond all ordinary duration, authorities, does not in this class of and of which the termination seemed cases, as it did in the former, disqualify still distant, might be an instance of the a nation from acting as a substitute kind; for the necessity of putting an for such authorities. There being no end to such a war might have become reasonable doubt that the crime is being paramount to all other considerations. committed or is contemplated, and none But, in order that a particular event at all as to the identity of the criminal, may be entitled to such exceptional there is no question here of misjudgtreatment, it must possess strongly ment either owing to ignorance, or marked features distinguishing it clearly to bias arising from personal interest from almost every recorded occurrence for or against the accused. The deof a similar kind.
fect of self-constitution is the only It appears, then, that there is a large one of the three from which the interclass of international dissensions in vening authority, if it consisted not of which a state not directly interested a general congress, but only of one or in their issue could not, under any two or a minority of the whole body, circumstances, justifiably interpose. would suffer; but this must be conBut there is another class of them in sidered as a defect of little importance which the interposition of such a state when set against the object of the would, apart from all consideration of intervention. For the same reasons, its cost in money and in human life, the decided and obvious breach of any not only be justifiable, but desirable. great principle of international justice A clear and unquestionable breach of sanctioned by the moral sense of manany of the well-understood and generally kind, or the violation of any of those recognised rules of international law axioms of right and wrong, which, not (including among them the obligation falling within any positive rule of interof such treaties or diplomatic compacts national law, are yet fully established as have not been invalidated by sub- and unhesitatingly appealed to by sequent events or by the mere progress nations in their intercourse with each of civilization ?) would be one ground other, or which, though they may not for such interposition. The reasons be accepted by all governments, are which we have found to exist against so by the majority of educated men, it, where the point at issue was one would afford another ground on which admitting of doubt and argument on intervention might be justifiable. The the score of legality or justice, are here wholly unprovoked aggression of one inapplicable. Not only a combination state upon another, or the seizure of
its territory without anything like a ? Contingencies in which any nation is re
fair or rational excuse for doing so, quired by the stipulations of a treaty, either singly or with other countries, to interpose
would be obvious instances of such misamong which some of the proceedings recently conduct. The French occupation of taken by Germany towards Denmark in refer Rome—one of the most lawless acts ence to Schleswig-Holstein must, it would
ever committed by a nation and the appear, be classed) are not here in question. The intervention considered in this paper is
suppression in 1849 by a Russian that to which nations are not bound by any
army of the Hungarian insurrection,
army Of the hungarian 1 special and explicit obligation.
are clear examples of it; for, in what
ever cases interference in the civil serent when they are contravened by a dissensions of foreign states may be member of the community, not as justifiable, it is certain that to assist a against other members of it, but as government in crushing the liberties against itself. Take the frequent inof the people over whom it rules is an stance of a people rising against tyranniact of flagrant immorality. The two cal rulers. On which side justice lies latter instances are of value as illus- does not admit of a doubt. Yet even in trating with singular force the distinc- this case foreign intervention cannot be tion between the two questions now justified, and that for these reasons :under consideration ; for they are of a Firstly, That the wrong done is not kind in which, as regards the part to done to any individual of the society of be taken by this or any other country, which the interposing state is a member, the duty of intervention considered and as a member of which, and as such apart from the price to be paid for it, only, it has any right to interfere ; and, and the duty of non-intervention in the secondly, because such intervention actual state of the case, are equally would violate the wholesome rule which, clear.
apart from all question whether it is on · Thus far with respect to “interven- the right or the wrong side, condemns tion" as regards the proceedings of one the interference of one state in the state towards another. Take next internal concerns of another. The justithe contingency of a contest between fication of this rule as applicable to the two parties in the same state. It is contingency now under consideration is easy to see that in this case the ob- sufficiently evident. For a people which jections to intervention are far more owes its freedom to foreign bayonets, cogent and comprehensive than when and not to such a sense of the value of the quarrel is between distinct nations. the possession as would give it courage The general body of states has ob- and endurance sufficient to ensure the viously far less concern with the in- ultimate success of its efforts, will ternal affairs of one of its members than neither enjoy nor preserve it. with the proceedings of its members I t appears, then, that, except in those towards one another. The principle rare and extreme cases in which, in which in an ordinary community is fully political as in other sciences, it is somerecognised, that each of the individuals times necessary to set aside established comprising it ought to be allowed to regu- laws, intervention in the civil differlate his own concerns as he thinks fit, so ences of foreign states is, irrespectively long as he abstains from injuring others, of all question as to the amount of reholds good also for the community of sistance with which it will be met, unnations; and this principle, superadded justifiable. The conditions of the question to the reasons which we have found to are altered when one of the parties to exist as against the right of interference the contest is of a distinct race, or has in a large class of international trans- preserved a separate nationality, as, for actions, tends to confine that right within instance, in the struggle of Belgium the very narrowest limits as regards with Holland, of Poland with Russia, civil contests. Such interference is, as or of Italy with Austria. In so far as we have seen, justifiable, even as between such contlicts are not between a people distinct nations, only when some uni- and its native rulers, but of a people versally admitted rule of international against the superior power of foreign law, or some great principle of justice rulers, they fall within the rules which or humanity, has obviously and undeni- we have found to be applicable to ably been infringed. As between two quarrels between distinct nations. In parties in the same state, international so far then as they are of this character, law does not apply ; and, as regards the whenever the justice of the case is palgreat principles of justice or humanity, pably and wholly on one side, so that, it is obvious that the case is very dif- by the conduct of the opposite party,
either some universally recognised rule of public law, or some fundamental principle of morality, or some undoubted right incidental to humanity, such as that of a nation to reject the yoke of a foreign government, has been broken, there can be no doubt that intervention would, on our present supposition that its object could be effected without expense and without war, be both lawful and desirable. But, in each instance, the double category to which such contests belong, and the degree in which they belong to each, must be taken into consideration in any question as to the right of intervention. In the contest, for instance, of Italy with Austria, the element of distinct nationality so far predominates as that the case may fairly be considered to come under the rules by which the right of intervention between separate nations is determined; and, judged by these rules, it is a case in which intervention, on the present hypothesis, might properly be exercised. As regards Poland, on the other hand, and as regards Hungary, the occurrences have in their nature more of insurrection against native rulers than of resistance to a foreign yoke, and in them therefore the right of a foreign state to pass judgment is less clearly assured.
We have hitherto considered the question as one respecting a single state acting by itself. It is evident, however, on looking to the grounds of the conclusions at which we have arrived, that the association with it of one or two other states cannot materially modify those conclusions. And, practically speaking, it is as concerning the action of one, or two, or at most three states, that the question presents itself; the conflicting interests, real or supposed, of nations in general rendering them, amongst other causes, unable in most cases to arrive at, and unwilling to attempt, a solution by means of a congress. But, in order that the inquiry may be complete, it is necessary to consider whether the case would be altered if the decision were to emanate from such a body. In events of such a character as to fall within the class with respect to
which we have found, as between distinct nations, that intervention was justifiable on the part of a single state, it is needless to observe that the interposition of a majority of states would be equally so ; while it would be preferable as affording less excuse for that sense of injustice which is sure to be felt by any nation coerced by the authority of one or two others. But would it not also be justifiable, in respect to events of that class in which it has been seen that the intervention of one or two states, or of a majority of them, would not be so? Those events were, to describe them in general terms, events in which the matter in dispute was one . with respect to which two opposite opinions might fairly be held, there being on each side, as it is termed, a “colourable" case ; and the ground on which it appeared that in such circumstances intervention was indefensible was the absence from the intervening power of three elements of qualification for judicial authority-constitution by the general body, special intelligence, and impartiality. Now of these qualifications, the first, though not literally, may be considered to be virtually possessed by a majority of states. To the Second, though the misapprehension which prevails in every nation in regard to the affairs of other nations is such as in a great measure to disqualify even a congress for the purpose under consideration, a majority of states has necessarily more claim than a minority of them. As regards the third, that of impartiality, there seems no more to be said in favour of the former than of the latter; the strong personal interest of most nations in every international difficulty which arises being, as already observed, one of the chief causes which have led to the opinion that a congress is a futile expedient for their solution. On the whole, it may be concluded, as regards differences of this class, that even a majority of the states composing the general community, though less open to objection as an authority pronouncing judgment than one, or two, or a minority of them, would not be free from it; and
that coercion by such a body would one of those in which the sacrifice rebe a measure of doubtful justice. It isferred to will be necessary to success, true that power to make laws for the and, if so, whether success is desirable. community must be considered to resideBut the question does not affect the in a majority of its members. But it is general interest only. It concerns also one thing to make laws, and another to in an especial degree the interest of the apply them, when they are made, to par- interposing state itself. By the supticular cases in which the interest of the position, that state undertakes the task administrators is involved. Where the not for its own advantage, but for the dispute is between two parties in the sake of justice or of peace-that is, for same state, the reasons which would the general good. By the supposition condemn the intervention of a single also it incurs some expense and sufferstate are valid also against that of a ing for that object; and the question congress. In those extreme cases, in is, whether it is called upon to incur, which only we have found that inter- or is justified in incurring them. In vention would be defensible on the part the community of nations, owing to the of a single state, it would obviously be absence of established laws, each nation more easy to defend, because bearing a is charged with the defence of its own greater weight of judicial authority, if territory and the maintenance of its own it were the act of a congress.
rights, and is compelled to support for Having thus obtained an answer to the purpose large and expensive arniathe first question-viz. what are the ments. If it voluntarily goes beyond this, cases in which, its own interests not and submits to further expense for the being concerned, a nation would have sake of preserving peace or of enforcing the right to intervene, supposing that it justice as between other countries, it could do so without expense to itself, does more than can reasonably be reand without actual war-we proceed to quired or expected of it. The burden consider the second, viz. how far, in of self-defence is one of the necessary such cases, a nation is justified in inter- evils which anarchy imposes; the burden vening, if to do so successfully it must of defending others is gratuitous and either incur the expense of irresistible self-imposed. It is certain that no armaments, or must engage in war, to its nation can properly be condemned beown detriment and that of the general cause it refuses to injure itself for the community.
benefit of the rest of the community. Now the proper objects of inter But, though the refusal to adopt such a vention are (as has been seen) first, course may not be censurable, would to prevent or redress injustice ; and, not its adoption he justifiable and comsecondly, to prevent or put an end to mendable? The answer is, that selfviolence and bloodshed. But, in order sacrifice is commendable only when the that the first of these objects may be object in view bears a reasonable proattained, it is in many cases not only portion to the amount of self-inflicted necessary, but desirable, to sacrifice the injury. Unless there is a, due ratio second. For it is obvious that, if the between the suffering submitted to and nation against which the intervention the object to be attained, self-sacrifice is directed is powerful, and that on is not heroism, but Quixotism. But, in whose behalf it is exerted is weak, the counting the cost to a nation of any intervention, so far from preventing such act of generosity, it must be war or shortening its duration, will in remembered that the cost falls with all probability ensure and prolong it. very different pressure upon the different Even, therefore, if the question was one classes of which the nation is composed. affecting the general interest only, it is in almost every country there is a very obvious that a nation should be cautious numerous class of persons many of in entering upon such a war, and should whom are undergoing the misery of carefully consider whether the case is absolute pauperism, and many more,