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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/95

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INTERNATIONAL LAW AND PEACE CONFERENCE.

principles of libel and slander which were once considered as requiring a duel for their satisfaction.

A similar growth may be expected in the jurisdiction of the international tribunal. Upon the reputation which it shall succeed in establishing for impartiality, freedom from race and national prejudices, regard for broad principles of law and equity, and the thoroughness and ability with which it shall discharge its high duties within its present sphere, will largely depend the extent to which an advancing public opinion will enlarge its jurisdiction until it shall embrace various classes of questions now declared nonarbitrable. No detailed classification, however, can be thought of; each difficulty as it arises must be determined in view of the surrounding circumstances with due regard to the growing public feeling in favor of judicial settlement. Under the system of voluntary arbitration there is abundant room for growth, for the onus will be thrown on each contending state to square its conduct with that growing feeling in favor of arbitration which it will become more and more difficult to ignore. In every country the growth of law and the extension of the jurisdiction of the courts which administered it have been concurrent; the same rule must govern in the field of international law.

There are vast fields at present untouched by the law of nations. The discovery of the New World threw the jurists of that day into bewilderment as to how rights in the American continents might be acquired and established. A period of doubt and dispute ensued, until finally Grotius, by applying certain rules of Roman law regarding the acquirement of rights by individuals through purchase, possession, etc., and by inventing certain other rules, helped to supply a legal foundation upon which the acquisition of these territories could be regulated. Looking toward the future, one can see that, since there are no more continents to be discovered and the habitable parts of the earth have been already taken possession of by the colonial pioneer, the great principle of the survival of the fittest must henceforth mainly work itself out in competitions confined to the existing territories of the various powers. This will necessitate the consideration of some deep questions concerning the life and death of nations and the heirship to their dominions.[1]

It is widely believed, for instance, that China is dying a natural death. Assuming it to be the fact, what will be the rules to govern the inheritance of these Oriental domains? Great Britain, Russia, Germany, the United States, and other nations have acquired footholds and established interests within Chinese territory.


  1. Vide Contuzzi, Leggi di Composizioni e di Decomposizioni degli Stati.