restricted access Chapter XIII - Of the Dissolution and Renewal of Treaties
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366 book ii: nations in relation to other states chapter xiii Of the Dissolution and Renewal of Treaties. An alliance is dissolved at the expiration of the term for which it had been concluded. This term is sometimes fixed, as when an alliance is made for a certain number of years; sometimes it is uncertain, as in personal alliances, whose duration depends on the lives of the contracting powers. The term is likewise uncertain, when two or more sovereigns form an alliance with a view to some particular object, as, for instance, that of expelling a horde of barbarous invaders from a neighbouring country,—of reinstating a sovereign on his throne, &c. The durationof such an alliance depends on the completion of the enterprise for which it was formed. Thus, in the last-mentioned instance, when the sovereign is restored, and so firmly seated on his throne, as to be able to retain the undisturbed possession of it, the alliance, which was formed with a sole view to his restoration, is now at an end. But, on the other hand, if the enterprise prove unsuccessful,—the moment his allies are convinced of the impossibility of carrying it into effect, the alliance is likewise at an end: for it is time to renounce an undertaking when it is acknowledged to be impracticable. A treaty, entered into for a limited time, may be renewed by the common consent of the allies,—which consent may be either expressly or tacitly made known. When the treaty is expressly renewed, it is the same as if a new one were concluded, in all respects similar to the former. The tacit renewal of a treaty is not to be presumed upon slight grounds: for engagements of so high importance are well entitled to the formality of an express consent. The presumption, therefore, of a tacit renewal must be founded on acts of such a natureasnottoadmitadoubt of their having been performed in pursuance of the treaty. But, even in thiscase, still anotherdifficultyarises:for,accordingtothecircumstances and nature of the acts in question, they may prove nothing more than a simple continuationor extensionof thetreaty,—whichisverydifferent from a renewal, especially as to the term of duration. For instance, England has entered into a subsidiary treaty with a German prince,§198. Expiration of alliances made for a limited time.§199. Renewal of treaties. chapter xiii 367 who is to keep on foot, during ten years, a stated number of troops at the disposal of that country, on condition of receiving from heracertain yearly sum. The ten years being expired, the king of England causes the sum stipulated for one year to be paid: the ally receives it: thus the treaty is indeed tacitly continued for one year; but it cannot be said to be renewed ; for the transaction of that year does not impose an obligation of doing the same thing for ten years successively. But supposing a sovereign has, in consequence of an agreement with a neighbouring state, paid her a million of money for permission to keep a garrison in one of her strongholds during ten years,—if, at the expiration of that term, the sovereign, instead of withdrawing his garrison, makes his ally a tender of another million, and the latter accepts it, the treaty is, in this case, tacitly renewed. When the term for which the treaty was made is expired, each of the allies is perfectly free, and may consent or refuse to renew it, as he thinks proper. It must, however, be confessed, that, if one of the parties, who has almost singly reaped all the advantages of the treaty, should,without just and substantial reasons, refuse to renew it now that he thinks he will no longer stand in need of it, and foresees the time approaching when his ally may derive advantage from it in turn,—such conduct would be dishonourable, inconsistent with that generosity which should characterise sovereigns, and widely distant from those sentiments of gratitude and friendship that are due to an old and faithful ally. It is but too common to see great potentates, when arrived at the summit of power, neglect those who have assisted them in attaining it. Treaties contain promises that are perfect and reciprocal. If one of the allies fails in his engagements, the other may compel him to fulfil them:—a perfect promise confers a right to do so. But if the latter has no other expedient than that of arms to force his ally to the...


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  • International law.
  • War (International law).
  • Natural law.
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