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invading, rapacious farmer, the coast plunderer and the unjust belligerent merchants. These selfevident propositions applicable to a few persons are equally true when applied to states and empires, because God has imposed upon all men in all relations the duty of loving their fellow-men, and doing to others as they would they should do unto them. These are the laws of the Eternal for regulating the rights and duties of men, and they are fixed and unchangeable.
We assume, therefore, in accordance with the Gospel, affirmed by the Holy Alliance of the Sovereigns of Europe, to be the only true foundation of all law, municipal and international, and sanctioned by Washington, that nations are moral and accountable political associations of men, and subject, like each individual of the community, to the obligations to live peaceably with all men, to observe towards all good faith, to deal justly, to act kindly, and to cultivate harmony in all international relations and transactions. In assuming these propositions upon such high authority, we of necessity repudiate all principles resting on FORCE, and we obliterate from what is now inaccurately called the law of nations those draconic chapters upon belligerent rights, revolting to the feelings of humanity, having no foundation in enlightened moral sense, and expressly condemned by the
Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We set aside the unjust rules of pretended national law, set up by powerful belligerent European nations, even in our day, with a view to rob and plunder all nations by sea and land under specious pretexts. The sword of Mars and human authority we disclaim, and we set up as the standard of national right and duty the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We propose, in pursuance of this plan, to unfold the moral law of nations as established by God himself, the observance of which will yield national felicity and prosperity. Our aim is to instruct nations in the way to true greatness, an enduring permanency and happiness. Or rather we would point them to the celestial hand which indicates the only road of safety and of honor, the true means of national glory and permanent power.
Our first inquiry naturally is what constitutes a nation and its legal organ of international communication. A nation is a political association of men governed by its own laws, claiming and exercising independent sovereignty. It may be more or less civilized, its form may be simple like that of the ancient American nations in Peru and Mexico, republican like that of the United States, an oligarchy like fallen Venice, an absolute monarchy like that of Russia, or a limited monarchy like that of Great Britain or France. The form of the government or its administration or the extent of its power is immaterial, as any organized association in the form of a body politic claiming and exercising in fact independence and national sovereignty, is a nation clothed with all the rights and duties pertaining to that character.
" All nations," said Mr. Clay, in giving President Adams instructions to the American ministers to Panama, "are equal, common members of an universal family.”
NATIONAL FUNCTIONS AND GOVERN
MENT DE FACTO.
It is an obvious principle of the moral law of nations and plain dictate of right reason, that the domestic law and administration internal of
every nation belong exclusively to itself. From this principle as a necessary consequence it follows that no nation has a right to interfere in or regard the domestic concerns or municipal law of other states and empires, nor is it lawful to use force or artifice with the states to influence their laws, nor can any nation be charged with knowledge of the internal law and administration of other nations. Hence the actual government of every country established and organized for the time being is de
facto and as to foreign nations de jure the organ of the nation and capable of binding and representing it in all inter-national transactions. As to foreign nations no treaty, act or contract of the existing administration of a country can be repudiated or annulled by any succeeding administration on pretence of want of legitimacy, or upon any other ground drawn from the domestic law or policy of the country. This sound and salutary principle was grossly violated by Ferdinand the 7th of Spain in repudiating the bonds issued by the Spanish government under the sanction of the Cortez, and other acts of that body during his absence from the kingdom or his inability to act. Legitimate kings, as they deem themselves, have often disclaimed responsibility for acts done by usurping rulers of their kingdoms to the injury of other nations. This doctrine is contrary to reason and common sense, and if allowed it would in cases of disputed succession disable a nation from maintaining its international rights and performing its duties to other states. It is plain that as to foreign nations every de facto government of a country is one de jure, and that its acts bind the nation. The contrary doctrine arose from the feudal system under which kings claimed to own the people of their kingdoms, and they sold, assigned or transferred them by deeds and testaments as vassals upon their sovereign domains to whomsoever they would. Out of this degrading doctrine, by the aid of tithe-bribed priests, grew the pretended divine right of kings and royal legitimacy, a blasphemous libel upon the Almighty and an insult to humanity. Perpetual allegiance to the king, his heirs and assigns on the part of natives of his kingdom was a degrading consequence of this absurd and monstrous assumption, and perpetual fealty of subjects to their sovreigns was laid down as a fundamental principle. This cunning device of royalty and papacy is condemned by reason and revelation, and Great Britain and France at this day with their elected lines of royalty show that the days of legitimacy and divine right of kings are numbered. A nation then is a sovereign body politic having at all times capacity to act by its exisiting government in all international transactions. This doctrine has been practically established by public acts and treaties in Europe.
When a new community claims to join the family of nations and asks a recognition of its independence, the only question is as to the actual sovereignty and permanent organization of the new state and its ability to perform national duties, Mr. A. H. Everett our Envoy at the Spanish court, by letter to the Secretary of State for Fo