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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/115

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INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS.

are due to him as a man, and he is a man everywhere. The first condition necessary, in order that man may perfect himself, is that he enjoy all the natural and legal faculties without which he could not live. The rights of man, therefore, are independent of the diversity of states; they appertain to him simply as a man—that is to say, they belong to him everywhere.

The equality of the foreigner and the citizen is the basis of the private international law: if the foreigner did not enjoy any civil rights, it would not be a question by what law his rights were to be determined; in that case not only would the international law have no reason of being, but it would be impossible. This is why the private international law is of such recent date. In fact, scarcely any two of the writers upon it agree as to its nature and scope. Some authors, convinced of the inanity of theory, have believed that the law should rest upon facts; in presence of the extreme diversity of national legislation, they have appealed to the comity that peoples should observe in their relations with each other; each in its legislation having an interest in looking to the welfare of the foreigner, inasmuch as its own citizens are taken into account by the foreign laws. This is nothing less than the doctrine of interest—a doctrine false in philosophy and false in law; interest is not a principle, it is a fact, and a variable fact according to the circumstances and the passions. The right, on the contrary, should rule the facts; it is a contradiction of terms to pretend that interest, always hostile, will put an end to the eternal conflicts which it begets. On the contrary, it will be seen that the facts are the great obstacle which this science has to contend with. How will a union be established in the midst of this infinite diversity? It is the contrariety and diversity of laws that demand application of the judge: is it the national law which the judge should apply, or that of the parties to the suit? And what will be done in case the parties belong to different nationalities? Shall we take into account the law of the place where the subject of the dispute is situated? Shall we distinguish whether they are chattels or immovables? If it is a question arising upon contract, shall we have recourse to the law of the place where the contract is made, or where it is to be executed? Shall we give a preference to the law of the debtor or to that of the creditor? If there is involved the validity of instruments in writing, shall we follow the law of the place where the writings were made? By what principle shall a judge decide in this sea of doubts? These are the principles sought by the private international law.

Private international law, considered as a positive law, reposes on the agreements expressed or implied, which are entered into between sovereign nations. Treaties alone can put an end to the war of conflicting interests and diverse laws. There is but one means of conciliating nations who recognize no superior authority, and that is by way of concurrence of consent. Italy, under the inspiration of Man-