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Paul and John Voet, Ulrich Huber (1606) whose brief but really immortal De Conflictu Legum is a world landmark in legal science, and Hert, professor at Giessen, who termed his little treatise (1668) De Collisione Legum.
Later, and in France, development was carried on during the first half of the eighteenth century in the works of D’Aguesseau, Bouhier, Froland, and Boullenois; in 1834 there appeared the work of Story on the conflict of laws. During the next twenty-five years the subject was ably treated in England by Phillimore and Westlake, and has been discussed in more recent years by many others in England and on the Continent as well as in our own country.
As a preliminary study in a great subject, it would be difficult to point the student to more truly illuminating pages than those of Mr. Harrison. Few in number as are these pages, they would appear to deserve well the rank of a classic and can scarcely be too highly praised.
GORDON E. SHERMAN.
American World Policies. By David Jayne Hill, New York: George H. Doran
Co., 1920, pp. 257.
Dr. Hill's views, as to the foreign policies of the administration of Mr. Wilson, were expressed with some fullness in his previous volume, Present Problems in Foreign Policy, and in many notable magazine articles and platform addresses. In fact, Dr. Hill has won a principal place in the great discussion as a protagonist against Mr. Wilson. No public official, no party leader, has spoken and written more copiously or with greater weight. He has brought to his task long official experience in international affairs, and years of European study in international history, if we may use the term. He has conducted his discussions with great dignity and moderation. No one's contribution to this vital question has in consequence been more widely considered or respectfully received.
It is, of course, no matter of surprise to find the present work a vigorous, systematic and comprehensive assault on most that has been accomplished or proposed by the present administration in foreign affairs, and especially as to the League of Nations. The opening paragraph of the preface of this new book indicates the gravity of the situation as Dr. Hill conceives it.
“American participation," he says, “in an attempt to reorganize the international relations of the entire world with the expectation of permanent peace by means of a punitive treaty requiring military force to execute it, presents the most serious problem that has ever arisen in connection with the foreign affairs of our country.”
He points out that the Covenant of the League of Nations “is not a general 'Association of Nations of a pacific character to secure international justice, but a limited defensive alliance for the protection of existing possessions, regardless of the manner in which they were acquired by their rulers, wholly indifferent to the wishes of the population thus held in subjection, and controlled by a small group of great Powers whose supremacy is based solely upon their magnitude and military strength,” and he adds, “It hardly needs to be stated that a League of this character does not embody the American conception of what such an association should be.” He insists “there must be substituted the enforcement of peace by conformity to International Law as a body of just and equal rules for the conduct of nations in their relations with one another."
In this volume he aims to submit to the friends of the League “a satisfactory statement of the reluctance felt in the United States by those who are deeply interested in the peace of the world to accept without change the Covenant of the League as it was prepared at Paris under the pressure of more immediate interests.” He says, that in speaking of Americanizing the Treaty of Peace, no change to give the United States an advantage over other nations is meant, but, “What we mean by it is a refusal to participate in any compact that would destroy or pervert our national character by subjecting our action to a control not in harmony with our principles as a nation.” He adds, “It is timely for our friends in England, Canada, Australia and elsewhere to know that the best service we can render them is to continue to be ourselves.”
His discussion is contained in eight chapters and an epilogue, covering some 188 pages, and he prints at the close eight documents, including President Wilson's Points, The Covenant of the League of Nations, Ex-Senator Root's letter to Senator Lodge, and the various Reservations of the Senate.
The first chapter is entitled “Disillusions Regarding the League." He finds that Europe, as Washington pointed out, possesses “a set of primary interests," with which we, a constitutional republic without dynastic or colonial interests or imperial traditions, have no relations, and that no European Power “is ready to give up any territory or any advantage it now possesses no matter where it is held or at whose disadvantage,” that it was an interest common to all “that, henceforth, the world should be governed by definite principles of justice, and not controlled by private diplomatic bargains;' that the conference at Paris wholly ignored these considerations; and that secret compacts between France, Great Britain, Russia, Italy and Japan, made as late as March, 1917, at the very time China was urged to become an ally and belligerent for the common good, yet bargaining away her undoubted rights among themselves, have been brought to light.
Chapter II deals with “The Un-American Character of the League." Dr. Hill finds the League not only does not accept international law; it deliberately abrogates it. There are to be henceforth no “Neutral rights for which this Republic throughout its history has stood.” He finds the Covenant “the work of politicians and not the work of jurists. They have created an organ of power but not an institution of justice.” “By this covenant every war becomes a world war.” He points out the “Imperial character of this League" and says General Smuts, with Lord Robert Cecil, its principal author, declares expressly that it “is modeled on the British Empire, including its Crown Colonies and Protectorates." He shows how different are the conceptions of liberty in Great Britain and the United States. The British Parliament, restrained by no constitution, governs absolutely millions of men, including whole nations, against their will. America made a revolution to establish the doctrine that liberty is a natural, inherent, personal attribute. He asks, “Why should the League, if it is to exist, be on the plan of the British Empire and not on the plan of our American ideals." He objects to the sacrifice of our principles by subordinating “the rule of law to a rule of force.”
It must be observed that the President took with him to Paris, in his train of 1200 or 1300 international experts (mainly parochial), not one constitutional lawyer of accepted eminence in that branch. He was better served in international law, but was not docile on that subject.
Chapter III deals with. “The President's Hostility to the Senate." Dr. Hill says, “Mr. Wilson did not really believe in democracy. When it served him he approved it, but when it denied him what he wanted he tried to outwit it. In temperament he was an imperialist.” He finds “no plenipotentiary of any country had ever been accompanied by such an apparatus for the making of peace. Bound by no instructions, restrained by no power of review or recognized control at home, the President was, as he assumed, “Acting in his own name and by his own proper authority.” “Constitutionally he had a partner in the solemn process of treaty making 'by and with' whose 'advice and consent' he was required to act.” Dr. Hill closes this chapter thus: “The issue presents a conflict between representative and autocratic democracy, and it is not untimely to be reminded that the Roman Republic was transformed into the Empire by the simple process of conferring all the highest offices upon Cæsar.”
Chapter IV deals with "The Struggle of the Senate for its Prerogative''which Dr. Hill stoutly maintains, as, it may be added, does the great weight of the highest constitutional authorities, including Mr. Root, Mr. Justice Hughes, Mr. W. D. Guthrie of New York, and Lord Grey of Falloden, to say nothing of the eminent lawyers who are members of the Senate itself.
Chapter V deals with “The Eclipse of Peace through the League." Its closing paragraph is as follows:
The statesmen at Paris were ready in March, 1919, to declare immediate peace, for which the whole world was longing; but since that time there has been projected across the luminary of peace the silhouette of a solitary implacable figure, sternly forbidding the proclamation that the great war is ended, unless it conforms to the mandate of a single will.
Chapter VI is entitled “The Covenant or the Constitution.” Dr. Hill says “The evidence all goes to show and new evidence is daily coming to light that at the Peace Conference at Paris the Constitution of the United States was virtually a sealed book both to the Supreme Council and to the American delegation,” and to the absolute lack of adequate counsel for that paramount subject we have already alluded.
Chapter VII is entitled “The Nation and the Law," and consists in substance of the admirable address delivered before the American Bar Association at Boston, September 4, 1919, and heretofore fully discussed in this journal in the account of that meeting submitted by this reviewer. It may be pointed out that it quotes, with fine effect, the Declaration of Independence as to the English King, and directs it against another—"he has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution and unacknowledged by our laws, giving his assent to these acts of pretended legislation."
The eighth and last chapter is entitled “The Solemn Referendum." C'oncerning this, Dr. Hill says:
When, therefore, President Wilson, having personally negotiated a treaty involving a reversal of the traditional policies of the United States, extending far beyond the usual conditions of making peace, and even setting up a mechanism of super-government capable of acting with and upon sovereign states in a manner which subordinates the constitutional powers of Congress, and having failed to obtain the consent of the Senate to its ratification, appeals to the electorate as a means of enforcing acceptance of the treaty, he is proposing a course of action which is extra-constitutional, anti-constitutional and legally futile.
Among the dangers pointed out in this chapter is the fact that “There is not in the entire Treaty of Versailles a single line that prevents the League, which possesses the explicit right of self-amendment, from making any changes its members may think it expedient to make in its powers or its conditions of membership.” He points out that the President threatened to throw overboard the whole work accomplished at Paris, unless his colleagues in the Supreme Council would accept his personal dictum as final, yet insists that the Senate should not interpose the slightest modification, and Dr. Hill suggests that it is inconsistent to urge that our sacred honor is pledged to ratify that which he so lightly threatens to throw to the winds. This chapter closes as follows:
Honestly formulated the President's proposal of a “great and solemn referendum" submits the question "Shall the President of the United States alone conclude treaties without the advice and consent of the Senate?” The next step might easily be "Shall the President make laws without the sanction of Congress ?".
The pertinence of this is apparent when we reflect that, under our Constitution, treaties are laws of the highest authority, ranking with federal statutes and expressly overriding State constitutions and State laws.
In the epilogue which closes the volume (save for the documents subjoined), Dr. Hill admirably says: There is in American policy no element of aggression or urgency of unsatisfied claims. In truth-and it is a statement which those who are disposed to criticise the course of the United States may well ponder-the chief question for American policy to decide is how much it shall freely grant to other nations for which it expects nothing in return.
He points out that without the League “the United States would still be free to render any service to the world which this nation may be justly called upon to render.”
Dr. Hill's arguments will probably not alter the views of President Wilson, but they are cogent, scholarly and vigorously presented, and constitute a most valuable contribution to the great controversy. The New York Times Book Review (September 5), a hostile publication, devotes five columns to them, and prints a humorous cartoon of Dr. Hill and President Wilson bestriding the globe. It says, “It is the familiar Republican argument, but it is stated with a force, clearness and plausibility which do not always characterize that argument. ... It is the Republican case put as strongly as possible; much more strongly put, of course, than Senator Harding has or can put it."
Dr. Hill's book must take its place as the authoritative and classical statement of rational grounds of opposition to the League and Mr. Wilson's foreign policy. It will win warm support from all who still attach themselves to the foreign policy initiated by Washington, and adhered to by every President until the present incumbent; to all who trust and adhere to the system of checks and balances by which our Constitution safeguards public weal and private liberty; to all who believe that the Declaration of Independence of European control, which was the act of origin for this nation, ought not to be abrogated or substantially impaired; by all who believe that a highly punitive power cannot be the parent of eternal repose; to all who feel that the final surrender of autonomy by this nation cannot be made in return for a minor place in a European committee which shall be world controlling.
It will convince those who feel that the United States, having rescued Europe from an overwhelming danger of its own creation, ought not to be coerced into binding itself in one and the same instrument, to forever protect the independence of Europe and forever surrender its own.
CHARLES NOBLE GREGORY.
Democracy and the Eastern Question. The Problem of the Far East as demon
strated by the Great War, and its relation to the United States of America. By Thomas F. Millard. New York: The Century Co., 1919, pp. ix, 446. $3.00.
The author of this book is a well known American journalist who has spent many years near the sources of Far Eastern political information. His views are frankly and aggressively anti-Japanese; he regards Japan as an ambitious military power with a government constructed on the Prussian plan and dominated by a political philosophy learned in Germany, with a foreign policy which aims at the complete economic and political control of China and the closing of the “open door." .
Mr. Millard may be wrong, but he has no doubts. He believes that Japan is a menace to the peace of the world, and he says so bluntly and backs his assertions with personal testimony and ample quotations from newspapers and public documents. He is certain also that it is the duty of the United States to protect China from the aggressive designs of Japan even to the extent of war.
The book is based on selected facts and is as one-sided as the ordinary argument of an advocate. Criticism is rather disarmed by the prefatory statement that the book “is not non-partisan or an impartial discussion of the subject," and that the author “has not encumbered the book by giving much of the contrary side of events and of the contrary arguments.” There is thus an implication that there is another side. Mr. Millard's books on Oriental politics are all valuable, and it is well for the American public to have material to counteract the pro-Japanese propaganda.
The reader's reactions to such a book will be determined by his previous conceptions of the purposes and spirit of Japan's foreign policy. If he has been an exchange professor or a distinguished visitor to Japan and been sub