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The Conflict of Laws Relating to Bills and Notes. By Ernest H. Lorenzen, Professor of Roman Law and Comparative Jurisprudence in the School of Law, Yale University, New Haven: Yale University Press. 1919. pp. 337. $5.00.
The author has rendered a valuable service in collating and sharply contrasting many of the important differences existing under the various judicial systems relating to bills and notes. The three principles of these systems he designates as the French, the German, and the Anglo-American. The “French” group comprises the Argentine Republic, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Greece, Guatemala, Hayti, Luxemburg, Mexico, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Serbia, Turkey, Uruguay. The “German” group comprises Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Rumania, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Venezuela. So inconvenient have these discrepancies proved in international intercourse that the matter has been deemed worthy of international legislation, and a Uniform Law of Bills and Notes was adopted in 1912 by a conference held at The Hague, which, however, has never been actually ratified even by the Powers signatory thereto. This proposed Uniform Law our author contrasts with the English Bills of Exchange Act and the American Uniform Negotiable Instruments Act. If the book contained no more than its excellent presentation of the many sharp contrasts between the Hague Law and the AngloAmerican Laws, it would make a valuable contribution. But this part of the work is merely preliminary to a painstaking analysis and discussion of the differences of opinion prevalent among the various groups before mentioned upon the particular topic of the Conflict of Laws as applied to bills and notes, with pertinent suggestions as to how and to what extent these differences may and ought to be reconciled in the interests of uniformity and the convenience of international commerce. The book is not light reading, nor intended to be. It is a careful study of a concrete condition which, if not thoroughly worked out, might seriously obstruct international trade. Mr. Lorenzen is to be
congratulated on a constructive bit of work which should be of distinct value in helping us to reach sound conclusions upon many of the problems he has discussed.
RALEIGH C. MINOR.
War Book of the University of Wisconsin. By Members of the
Faculty. Madison: University of Wisconsin. 1918. pp. 266.
Price, 50 cents.
During the academic year 1917-18 the faculty of the University of Wisconsin prepared a series of articles on the war which were published separately by the University and widely circulated. These articles did much at the time to unite public opinion in Wisconsin and elsewhere in support of the war; and as there has been a continued demand since their first publication, a committee of the faculty has collected the original issues and arranged them in a single volume. In its present form the book traces the steps by which the United States was transformed in less than three years from a peaceful nation to a democracy in arms fighting for its very existence. It is divided into five parts, dealing with the following questions: (1) responsibility for the war; (2) Germany's methods of warfare; (3) the nature and causes of the German militaristic spirit; (4) America's entrance into the war, and finally (5) the fundamental issues of the war.
Since the original articles were published as war pamphlets to influence public opinion in favor of the war, the book in its present form should be judged in the light of its original purpose. The reader, therefore, will regard it not as a presentation of both sides of a great issue, but rather as the plea of advocates who justly felt that their own countrymen had been deceived by foreign propagandists and were not fully alive to the real issues involved. This does not mean that the chapters comprising the volume are not, in general, presented in a fair, painstaking and critical spirit. In fact, the great majority of the papers bear evidence of careful study, a comprehensive grasp of the issues raised, and they are generally well written. As war documents go, it would be difficult to find a clearer or juster statement of our cause. But, as with all war publications, its value is limited by its purpose; and since that purpose is to state the case against Germany, we need not be surprised to find an occasional slip which blurs the facts or at least fails to present a complete statement of the case. For example, on page 20, we read, “In her White Book Germany states positively that she assured Austria that any action which that country might consider it necessary to take toward Servia would meet her approval.” This needs qualification. What Germany, according to the document mentioned, actually did say was that she would support Austria in “any action she (Austria) considered necessary to put an end to the movement in Serbia directed against the integrity of the monarchy." Germany claimed “to be guided in her action only by her duties as an ally.”
Again, on page 173, discussing Treitschke's political theories, we read, “Have they (States) any moral obligations to each other? Treitschke answers distinctively in the negative.” It would be interesting to know where Treitschke makes any such statement. No reference is given, but no one can read his “Politics" and come to any such conclusion. It would be difficult to find a modern writer on politics who preaches morality within a state and between states more insistently. He is indeed the apostle of force and power, but he does not advocate the Machiavellian theory of power as the author assumes. In the last chapter of his “Politics” he specifically denies Machiavelli's view of the state: “A state which went upon the theory of despising faith and loyalty would be constantly threatened by enemies and would consequently be unable to fulfil its purpose of being physical power.” While agreeing with Machiavelli that the state is power, Treitschke does not fail to note “the deep immorality of much else in his political teaching." The following quotations are taken from Balfour's edition of Treitschke and fairly represent Treitschke's views on this point: “It is at once clear that as a great institution for the education of the human race, the state must necessarily be subject to the moral law” (1:89). “We must then admit the validity of the moral law in relation to the state and that it cannot be correct to speak absolutely of collisions between the two" (1:92). “Thus the state cannot disregard with impunity the law to which its moral being is subject” (1:98). “Wisdom is not merely an intellectual, but a moral virtue in the statesman who is responsible for the fate of millions" (1:98).
I call attention to these facts, not so much to criticise the value of the volume under review, for it is comparatively free from such errors, but rather in the hope that American scholarship, now that the peace treaty has been signed, may resume its discussion of political theories in a more critical spirit. Political theories of the state should not be confused with actual government, or with practices of rulers during a war.
KARL F. GEISER.
League of Nations. By L. Oppenheim, M.A., LL.D. London: Long
mans, Green & Co., 1919, pp. xii, 84.
Pursuant to the injunction which Dr. Whewell, the founder of the Chair of International Law at Cambridge University, England, laid upon every holder of the Chair that he “make it his aim" in all parts of his treatment of the subject, “to lay down such rules and suggest such measures as may tend to diminish the evils of war and finally to extinguish war between nations,” Dr. Oppenheim, the present occupant of the Chair, delivered during the course of the War, three lectures at the University on a League of Nations. This book comprises the three lectures thus delivered.
Dr. Oppenheim confines these lectures to drawing attention to the links which connect the proposal for a league of nations with the past, and to the difficulties with which the realization of the proposal must necessarily be attended, and to some schemes by which these difficulties might be overcome.
He briefly touches upon the early attempts to form a league of nations, calling attention to the proposal of Pierre Dubois in 1305 for an alliance between all Christian Powers for the maintenance of peace and for the establishment of a permanent court of arbitration for the settlement of differences between the members of the alliance; and to the schemes of Martini in 1461, Sully in 1603, Crucee in 1623 and Grotius in 1625. He also reviews the progress made in our time in this direction by the Hague Peace Conference and the so-called Bryan Peace Treaties. He emphatically states that the organization of a League of Nations should start from the beginning made by the Hague Peace Conferences.
The aims of the League of Nations, in his opinion, should be confined to preventing the resort to war on account of so-called judicial disputes, by having these disputes submitted to an international
court of justice; to preventing the sudden outbreak of war on account of political disputes by providing for the submission of such disputes to an international council of conciliation before resorting to arms; and to providing a sanction for the enforcement of these safeguards by uniting the forces of the member states against a state or states resorting to arms without previously having submitted the dispute to an international court, or international council of conciliation.
To realize these aims for the league he considers that the organization of the league should comprise an international legislature, an international court, and international councils of conciliation.
With regard to the international legislature (using the word “legislature" in a figurative sense only), Dr. Oppenheim proposes to start from the beginning made by the Hague Conferences and have periodical meetings of these conferences for the purpose of continuing their work of gradually codifying international law.
He points out the difficulties of such international legislation on account of the language question; the conflicting national interests of the various states; the absence of universally recognized rules concerning the interpretation and construction of international legislation; and the impossibility of creating international legislation by a mere majority of the states.
The plan outlined for the creation of the international court provides for a Permanent Bench to be continuously in session, which will review the cases heard in the first instance by the judges appointed by the disputant states and one member from the Permanent Bench.
Dr. Oppenheim expresses the belief that the experiment will be successful, provided the states are careful in the appointment of the judges and select “not diplomatists, not politicians, but only men ... who have had training in law in general, and in international law in particular.”
In creating the council of conciliation to pass upon political disputes, Dr. Oppenheim proposes using the foundations laid by Article 8 of the Hague Convention Concerning the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, and the so-called Bryan Peace Treaties. His plan provides for the creation of a Permanent Council of Conciliation, with certain specified duties, composed exclusively of representatives of the Great Powers. His proposal is to have a political dispute, which cannot be settled by diplomacy, investigated and reported upon by a council composed of two national conciliators on each side and