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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/114

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

regulated by right, it must or should be the same with international relations. It is ever the case that the law of nations has not the certainty or authority of the civil or public law, which is almost everywhere codified, while the law of nations can not be, inasmuch as humanity is not organized. The arguments which may be advanced against the existence of the law of nations are, in a measure, applicable to the private international law. If the latter is a branch of the former, it may be said that what is true of the one is true of the other. There is only this difference, that the law of nations regulates public interests, while the private international law is virtually identical with the civil law of each state; and only occupies itself with private interests. This difference is considerable, and leads to important consequences. The existence of a law, properly so called, regulating the relations of nations with each other is, at best, problematical; as yet it is force alone which decides their disputes. This is not the case with the private international laws of different nations. It is they, not the nations, which are on trial; it is individuals, and the courts, and not the sword, which must decide their differences.

In order that we have a private international law, man must enjoy everywhere the same rights whatever be his nationality—that is, he must enjoy everywhere equally the same civil or private rights. Now, what are civil or private rights? Certain faculties, the exercise of which is necessary to man for his physical, intellectual, and moral existence. Can a man exercise these everywhere, or are they limited to the state in which he was born? Man is not an incorporeal hereditament, attached to the soil on which he was born, but is a citizen of the world; he establishes himself where circumstances, or his faculties, call him; even without quitting his natal soil he can enter into relation with the entire world. Why should his natural rights stop at the frontiers of his country? Is it because humanity is divided into different nations, each having its separate organization and particular laws? It is true that the division of the human race into distinct nations has this for an effect, that each man has a distinct country, in the bosom of which he exercises the political rights that pertain to the citizen, but he can not enjoy these rights outside of his own country; the quality of citizen gives exclusive rights and imposes exclusive duties.

But the political separation of states has nothing in common with the enjoyment of private rights: if it is impossible for me to be an elector or juror in any one state or country, that is no reason why I should not become proprietor wherever it pleased me to purchase. The exclusion from the enjoyment of political rights should not also necessarily exclude the enjoyment of private rights. A person should enjoy everywhere the same civil rights, since they are an accessory of life. The diversity of states and their constitutions should be no obstacle, for these rights are not due to the foreigner as a citizen; they