restricted access Chapter XVI - Of Securities given for the Observance of Treaties
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chapter xvi 395 king of Persia,61 sent to him to sue for peace. Sapor declared that he wished to treat with the emperor in person; and Valerian having consented to the interview without any suspicion of fraud, was carried off by the perfidious enemy, who kept him a prisoner till his death, and treated him with the most brutal cruelty.* Grotius, in treating of tacit conventions, speaks of those in whichthe parties pledge their faith by mute signs.† But we ought not to confound these two kinds of tacit conventions: for that consent which is sufficiently notified by a sign, is an express consent, as clearly as if it had been signified by the voice. Words themselves are but signs established bycustom : and there are mute signs which established custom renders as clear and as express as words. Thus, at the present day, by displaying a white flag, a parley is demanded, as expressly as it could be done by the use of speech. Security is tacitly promised to the enemy who advances upon this invitation. chapter xvi Of Securities given for the Observance of Treaties. Convinced by unhappy experience, that the faith of treaties, sacred and inviolable as it ought to be, does not always afford a sufficient assurance that they shall be punctually observed,—mankind have sought for securities againstperfidy,—formethods,whoseefficacyshouldnotdepend on the good-faith of the contracting parties. A guaranty is one of these means. When those who make a treaty of peace, or any other treaty, are not perfectly easy with respect to its observance, they require the guaranty of a powerful sovereign. The guarantee promises to maintain the conditions of the treaty, and to cause it to be observed. As he may find himself obliged to make use of force against the party who attempts to * The Life of Valerian in Crevier’s History of the Emperors. † Lib. iii. cap. xxiv. §5 [[Law of War and Peace]]. 61. Valerian, emperor of Rome, r. a.d. 253–60; Sapor I, king of Persia, r. a.d. 241–71.§235. Guaranty. 396 book ii: nations in relation to other states violate his promises, it is an engagement that no sovereign oughttoenter into lightly, and without good reason. Princes indeed seldom enter into it unless when they have an indirect interest in the observance of the treaty, or are induced by particular relations of friendship. The guaranty may be promised equally to all the contracting parties, to some of them, or even to one alone: but it is commonly promised to all in general. It may also happen, when several sovereigns enter into a common alliance, that they all reciprocally pledge themselves to each other, as guarantees for its observance. The guaranty is a kind of treaty, by which assistance and succours are promised to any one, in case he has need of them, in order to compel a faithlessallytofulfilhisengagements. Guaranty being given in favour of the contracting powers, or of one of them, it does not authorise the guarantee to interfere in the execution of the treaty, or to enforce the observance of it, unasked, and of his own accord. If, by mutual consent, the parties think proper to deviate from the tenor of the treaty, to alter some of the articles, or to cancel it altogether ,—or if one party be willing to favour the other by a relaxation of any claim,—they have a right to do this, and the guarantee cannot oppose it. Simply bound by his promise to support the party whoshould have reason to complain of the infraction of the treaty, he has acquired no rights for himself. The treaty was not made for him; for, had that been the case, he would have been concerned, not merely as a guarantee, but as a principal in the contract. This observation is of great importance : for care should be taken, lest, under colour of being a guarantee, a powerful sovereign should render himself the arbiter of the affairs of his neighbours, and pretend to give them laws. But it is true, that if the parties make any change in the articles of the treaty without the consent and concurrence of the guarantee, the latter is no longer bound to adhere to the guaranty; for the treaty thus changed is no longer that which he guarantied. As no nation is obliged to do any thing for another nation, whichthat other is herself capable of doing, it naturally follows that the guarantee is...


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