10 OCTOBER 1840, Page 10


INTERNATIONAL LAW : THE SYRIAN QUESTION. REASONING is out of the question where disputants are not agreed upon any first principle to which reference may be made, and by which the soundness of arguments may be tested from time to time. BENTHAM'S plan of setting out, in his political speculations, with the doctrine that the end of government is to produce the greatest possible amount of happiness to the greatest possible num- ber, and of approving or rejecting all modes of social organization upon the sole ground of their tendency to promote or retard this great object, has rendered it possible to argue about the institutions et' a country with sonic prospect of coming to a practical and pro- fitable conclusion. If the same method were adopted in the case of international controversies, the Sallie consequences might ensue.

Nations stand to each other, in their corporate c: parity, in the relation that one man stands in to:mother. Abstractedly speak- ing, all tettions, as ail men, have the same right to exercise all their fficulties or powers without check, so long as they do not in- terfde with the same free exercise on the part of others. In reality, however, we find that among nations, as among men, the strong arc in the liebit of making the weak conform to their will. This cir- cultist:owe leis repeatedly driven the weaker parties to form leagues for the purrs(' of defending themselves ageinst the strong, where 'encroachments were alike dangerees to all ; and tout of the alter- nation et' blows and remonstrances, contracts and breaches of al- liance, SS Lich lace lied their origin in this state of eclairs, has arisen what Is by courtedy calico " international law. The semi., enelogy which leads us to speak of nations es corpo- rate bodies. etandieg to each other in a similar relation to that in which individuals stand to each other, has led men to designate the collecti, n of rules to which they are in the habit of appealing

in cead betvreen 11(1[1011S, " international law." The ana-

logy ,;ttite perfect. A law is a rule which has been, or is

on have been, promulgated by the supreme autherity of a stete. se I e hich the same supreme authority iney in the event of

centre ;'1,:d(•. and after application etstiwee. ID the case of ) dieh acknowledged supreme authority : nations reecd;eies I. c. • a legislature devising regulations tbr their in- tereneeoe. no ciennam judge to whose decisions they bow, no corn- mon noe eindee authority to whom they intrust. the enforcement of'

l'ee 1 VCCUSatS. What is called international law, is a hem: e

as mass of abstract reasonings about right or wrong ; cerse mi• es between two or more nations for a limited or indefinite time end applicatioes of these conventions, by analogy, to trans- mol, es de e. !rich they de me r rasicle, nations which arc nut hound he t' e at per l, 's to which they do not extenj. 'f'he applica-

tion i•eee lews i s ;male by the parties in controversy themselves, erbit rster eeteed by them for the time. And the en- t d.ed! laws is, ill the event of recusency, by the party many ether nations as he can holuce to take his " irternational law," is rather an unautho-

.e imperf.'etly regulating the intercourse of' indi- :ilium any settled government, then a system of Lovs. lu he rut c, and colonies and states of European might, the ere-s• ' civilization has imparted to it 0 comineraide amount

of dee l hittucrice.

It led eined to such a degree of influence, that European state-:::.c.. tse et A iolating its dictates, seek by fallacious argu- ments to that they are acting its accordance with them. If

they are ever aliiringly vii,leited, it is mainly owing to that indis- tinctness and confusion, which, notwithstanding tire improvements they have received, still clings to them. Nations find the recog- nized diettrof international law not sufficiently explicit to enable them to see clearly ;shut they Ought to cot,ciele and what they ought to insist upon ; and this state of uncertainty inevitably pro- duces iiistrie ns. jealousies (di encroachment, mutual reproaches of duplicity noel exaction', and wars. These evils can only be removed by the a (1,.:)Con awl o'vif'orm application of a clear fsencral principle or principles to the solution of international einnroversies, as we stated at the outset. What is wanted in statednen at the present crisis, (and in all citizens-16r the amount of their knowledge, she extent to a hich their moral sense is formed and developed, deter- mines whet kiwi of statesmen are to wield their destinies,) is such a clearness of intellect, and combitied with such an extent of ac- quired knowledge, as will enable them to see what really contri- butes to the happiness of all citizens. both in their internal rela- tions to (:%. (Al other, and in their external relations IS a great cor- porate lesly to other cations and the citizens who coanpose dam. The Syrian troubles Ittenish us with an hdtt teeive example of the mkchi• f arising from the went of some rereanizent ffindameatal principle: to which ell reasoning in intereati• nel controversies could be habitually refbreed. The Allied Pcwere interfere in the quarrel between the Sultan and Milionter Am, for the purpose of preservieg the integrity of the Ottoman empire, France protests against this interfbrence ; yet at the same tune. declares her anxiety to maimein the integrity of the Ottoman empire. France com- plains that the cmiventi(al between the Four Allied Powers was surreptiti,susly emu:holed without her knowledge; but is obliged to confer; that thie was not the case. England makes the insur- rection in Syria an epology for interfering in Syrian affidrs; but persists elthough diet . insurrection is immediately suppressed. French .\ !Misters anti journals seek to rouse Prance to arms because the natis..al honour is threatened. English Alitnisters and jour- nalists :do's to stimulate the pugnacity of England because Maim-

or Le.' fence:: sitatiee MET ALI is a tyrant. What is the meaning of all the fine words used on both sides? what practical tangible benefit to any nation have any of the disputants shown to be the ecosequence of the policy they advocate ? France and the Allies both profess to de- sire the maintenance of the integrity of the Ottmnan (alpine : the integrity of the Ottoman empire must moon something very dif. ferent in the French acceptation from what it means in the accep- tation °tithe Allies. Nor have the disputants ever condescended to show what advantage either themselves or the inhabitants of the Ottoman empire are to derive from the maintenance of this inte- grity. Again, the French writers have not explained how the national honour can be affiseted by the Allies meddling in the affairs of the Oriental empire, or what this national honour consists in, or what use it is of to France. On the other hand, the English writers who maintain the propriety of our interference in Syria because AlEnteuter Am is a tyrant, do not maintain the abstract principle that we are called upon to interfere for the relief' of every people who tinily be so unlucky as to have a tyrant over them. All parties are vehemently pouring out words to which they attach no meanings, or half.ineunings: they neither have nor seek some common ground upon which they may argue and understand each other : they allow themselves to be carried away by vague emotions and empty phrases. Perseverance in such conduct Call only lead to wars, which, having no clearly-defined object in view, and being mide)'taken without due calculation of the relation of' means to ends, must, after creating much misery, come to a termination, not because any thing has teen accomplished, but because all parties arc tired.

Let us try whether we cannot point out sonic process of inquiry by which all the parties concerned might alike at the knowledge of their respective interests and ditties, and put themselves in a condition to convince the others Of the correctness of their VieWS.

The first great requisite to the happiness of a nation—we speak with reference to its external relations—is its independence, its power of arranging all its internal affairs without foreign interfer- ence. A nation may be it very bad judge of what is conducive to its own prosperity, but et the werst it is a better judge than any other nation can be. A people so ignorant and disunited that they allow it despot to govern them, are of necessity less happy than a nation which has made such an advance towards self- government es to have %tined a constitution of some kind or other. But its heppiness would not be increased by tiny threign power in- terfering end bestowing a eenstitetion upan it. A constitution thus bestowed must be opheld either by the people, left to itself, or by the continued interne-mice of the &reign power that created it. The first suppoeition is impossible : the same want of know- ledge turd virtue that prevents at people from giving to itself a con- stitution disqualifies it for innintaining one. The continued interference of the foreign power would be merely the substitution of one despotism for another—the mnintemence of a government which, being devised with an imperfect acquaintance of social re- lations. must gall the people upon Whom it is imposed, and be up- held by as fiweign power, even though they wish to throw it off. In so 11.r, therefore, us the interests of the people interfered with are concerned, the violation of national independence contributes to diminish the amount of general happiness. It is equally lo' judicial to the governing pimple. By ruling another people, ex- pense is entailed upon them anti heavier taxes imposed : by ruling another people, their vam'ty is flattered and their attention diverted from their real intereets. View it in what way we will, the main- tenance or the principle of' national independence is conducive to the happiness of all parties: no party can derive advantage from its violation.

Before attempting to apply this principle, it will be requisite that a precise notion be attached to the word nation: wliat constitutes a nation ? A nation is a number of human beings, inhabiting a certain definite portion of the earth's surface, and obeying one common sovernment. A nation must be a corporate, tut organized body, havieg a head or represeotative entitled to transact business in its name with other nations. All foreign nations are bound to acknowledge the government de fie.to of it ration as the legitimate government. The obedience rendered to it by the people is evi- dence—the only trustworthy evidence—that it is the goveroment of' their choice. To treat as a government an authority not obeyed by tire people, would be to encroach upon tuitional inde- pm:deuce, and would be unsafe for the contracting plinth's. A necessery corollary from this position is, that whenever what has hitherto been considered as oat nation splits into two territorial dwtstt.nus, with Coal authorities so firmly (stabil:lied in each that neither Call :•u!nlue the other, these fragments have tint all practical purposes become two independent nations. The happiness of all is best promoted by leaving the people to decide fbr itself on the question whether it aill continue one or separate into two. The happiness of all requires, that after a sufficient time has elapsed to show that neither petty (not put down the other, tbreign nations have it in their poeer lu cerea (di their intercourse with both frag- ments of the old nation as independent stews.

This doctrine of national independence, and this corollary as to the right of a portion of 0 nation to set up file an independent nation if' it has the power, have been repeatedly established by the practice of the international law of Europe. They are no mere theories, no unheard-of innovations.

Let us now see what will be the consequence of applying this doctrine to the solution of the Syrian questiim. In so Iiir as the Ottoman empire is concerned, the question is purely domestic. It concerns the relative position of the Sultan and one of the Pashas of that empire. It ought to be settled by them without foreign interference. It was out the eve of being so settled by them ; for a settlement was about to be concluded between MmIEMET .Aia and the Sultan, when the Allies interfered and took upon themselves the task of settling the dispute. It would have promoted the hap- piness of the people of the Ottoman empire had the Sultan and the Pasha been left to come to their own terms. Each would have insisted upon what he felt himself able to maintain, and would have conceded what he could not hold. The adjustment would have rested upon the real balance of power of the parties. The adjust- ment brought about by the interference of the Allies will rest upon their wish that the Sultan should be stronger and the Pasha weaker than he is. It will he an arrangement not resting upon the real balance of power of these rivals, and will be liable to be disturbed. The arrangement between the Pasha and the Sultan would have had some chance of permanence, because neither could have altered it materially: the arrangement dictated by the Allies has no chance of permanence, because it is made without reference to the power of parties to maintain it. The Sultan will have more assigned to him than he could have taken for himself; .livoiEMET ALL will have less; and thus both the wish and the power to unsettle the arrangement will remain. But the comparative insecurity of the settlement effected by the Allies is not the only objection to it. It is to be effected by a renewal of hostilities—by the introduction of more powerful means of destruction than had previously been em- ployed. The inhabitants of Syria, Egypt, and Asia ...'iliaor, see themselves replunged into hostilities which had been virtually ter- minated, and under circumstances of aggravated horror. In so for as the subjects of the Ottoman empire are concerned, the violation of national independence by the Allies must be productive or much human misery. It does not appear how this interference can remove any suffering. MEnumeT ALE has been called a tyrant ; but he is not more so than former Turkish Governors were, and than the embarrassment of Ottoman finances will force their suc- cessors to be. Besides, Thom-suer Am did govern Syria : for a hundred years previous to his occupation of the province it had no government, though the central government at Constantinople was stronger when in former times it was obliged to connive at anarchy in the provinces, than it is now.j'

So much for the manner in which the interference of the Allies is calculated to attbet the inhabitants of the Ottoman empire. The next question is, whether the interests of all or any of the other nations implicated in these transactions are more likely to be pro- moted by leaving the Sultan and MEtteatier Am to arrange their ewn atfairs, or by interfering to settle them for them? In reference to this view of the question, the first censideration that obtrudes itself; is that the citizens of no country are benefited by foreise conquest. If any pecuniary advantages accrue from :1,reiTt quest, they are uniformly absorbed by government and its agents they never •reach the citizens. But in nine cases out of ten, foreign conquest entails expenses upon the conquering country, and these the citizens have to pay. 'Ile only way to promote the happiness of the citizens of a state, is by the diffusion of know- ledge, the liberation of honest industry from unnecessary restraints, and the improvement of government at home, by obtaining for them the greatest possible aniount of personal security while pursuing their enterprises abroad. For this hitter purpose, every thing that promotes settled governments and friendly reelin.,-; annnig all na- tions, is a guarantee of the security of citizens when ebro,el ; and these objects, it has been shown above,' are best promoted. by giously observing the principle of national independence. In the

We say MEHEMET ALL because he is the ostensible head of the Egyptian II. Government; but there was never yet a lover like his established by the ' • unaided agency of one man. Were r HEM Er Am to die to-morrow, the real N' power which governs Egypt would he deprived of one of its nue‘t importimt ingredients, but would not be destroyed. It wan founded by the cotobinol lie 1 and sword of 311:11MMT A at and head and purse of Bonitos BEY. Inny I! SI:LIMAN PASHA, and others, have :,:tice been adopted into the continlerae.v : they are kept in it by regard to their own interest : the death of M;:in: \ LT Ate would occasion it reapportioning of the shares, hat tvould not break up t],a firm. We speak of what would have been the case but f,r Mreign c.,,

and to meet the fallacy based upon the assumption that the Sultan, as r, -

sentative of a dynasty, cannot die, but that 311:11EMI:v ALT, being a individual, his power must die with him. There are better materials Mr a permanent dynasty in Egypt than at Constantinople. t Great stress is laid by our 7tlitti,terial journals on a document puldidual in Dr. Downi:SC'S ittpOri: 111),,o t7:r:7t—tt representation by snu:o BrIt:.,% mar- chants in that country of the bar.',14s imposed tt:'on tH'm by the Pasha'i system of government. It' we Sr.' rightly informed, that d.einuent contained

also an enumeration of the !Imps derived from the Pasha's government, and

struck a balance in its favour ; but Lord Pah:hp:ion dra../.. out every thiby to illustrate, ; that told in Amur use 3.1i.bonet AIL This, by the way, is not the only , sit'.;n2re as that allegation try hate of htta heard of 31 uistciid iamporing with public doeu• NVe see yoditir meats laid upon the table of tlrr noose of Commons. Asa counterpart- to this Chatincl garbled document, we would submit the opinion of Colonel CA a erm.r,, late pursuit or

Consul-General in Egypt—t' Since the government of Ibrahim l'a:lin es- ,

tablished in Syria, the p dice has become much more eilicient, and the 1 has been more regularly obeyed: a lar greater toleration of reli,j ons ,yinion, has been introduced, and the punishment of'olfenees basket] more pronolaalc..rtain. The position of Syria, divided from Asia Minor by the founts, antl by the Desert from die Euphratcs—having more intimate relations with Arabia and Egypt than with any other parts of the world—no Turkish spoken, but Arable the universal language—would liar,' all tended to cement the union with Egypt. In the thriller agents of the Turkish government, and those interested ill its abuses—in the robber hordes who hover about GI, ontivrs--in Iii uw it Ito dread, and naturally dread the conscription—and in the intolerant Mallow:- pus—there are of course elements of great discontent :Ma desire of ehatn.te. "'here is evidence of great improvement both in agriculture and commerce : 37,000 mulberry-trees have been planted in the district of Deyrotit, Said, and Tripoli; it large part of the plains of Esdraelon and Bokan planted with olive-trees; the imports of cotton-twist increased front 20°,000 pounds in 1832 to 875,000 pounds in 1835."

abstract, this view of the will be acknowledged to be correct

by all : but the French will -sty it cannot be acted upon because of the bad faith of England and Russia; England will say the same because of the bad faith of Russia and France. Each nation is afraid to act justly, for fear its sincerity should be taken advantage of by the others. Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that these jealousies are well founded—as indeed the suspicions each entertains of the others a:ford good grounds for a shrewd guess at its own private wishes—still it can easily be ,hown that their true policy is scrupulously to respect national independence. Take, for example, the suspicion wbidi attaches to the projects of Russia. If Russia be really elisions to noreepriate the European territories of Turkey, such a convention as that recently entered into by the Four Power will only make her postpone the accomplishment of her designs fer a short time, because it will place her in a con- dition to care; them more easily and surely into effect. That con- vention sanctions the meddling of nations with the domestic COLICOCIIS iit,',:pendent states, and cannot insure the permanent

harmony of the e attracting powers. lint the recognition by the European Powers of the doctrine that no nation has a right to tam-

per tv:th the internal constitution of another, would at once secure France against the antbiti:m of England, Englaed ap,ainst the am-

bitien of France, and both against the ambition of Russia. The recooition of this principle by all the States of Europe would effectually prey. nt its violation by any one of them ; and nothing

else can have that street. The 'enhance of pON'%:'r 11101T, talked of

dein Anidersttled. The ielea of preserving time balance of power- couuterpoising the power of one overgrown nation by time union • of many email ones--had its origin in the necessities of the period when the foutulations of free thougIlt and free government were

!Hee; laid in Europe at th,.• time of flit: Reforinntion : witinmt this

tee!: e• shift arrangement, 11011and would have been crushed and the Lutheran pritwes pet :loe.m. Bat the recognition of the doe- ; of national indcp,nicnc,.•, endeavoured to explain

; it ;k1■VC, would be a notch nc:r,! than the tran-

-ieut likings or hatred: of Het ions or their rulers.

These remarks e not calculated to ftvour Mims:err :ALL or

the :ieltan a is to have the people of the Ottoman cm- !, :Lem Neither are they meant to promote

e Vit:WS r er England hi opposition to the other.

if E'ngland - e the principle of national independ- (lice, in China, France has been equally

es,ilty in id tie! Argentine Republic. lithe in-

appes' es/ to the national honour, and the sevinos of the involve all Eerope in war as a

lc to a r:' are revolting, equally disgust- ' is the el, eeios 'broa/cle over the destruction

.•yeole, eeeward, these rein: irks are not of a fwir :tints of Whig or Tery, or any section The \\*Wes: have (2e:emitted. themselves to a • express a decent regret at the

,e,thing hi their la»smage caleu- a tie ir policy, were they in office, 11:111:triss is to invite all

and in iengleml consi■Ier their position

ii IL o

e clenrly as England's : p ealekdetcd to premote those in-

h.r.mee cut' l'irricn ',Ina England of the ;11.1ishel t'et prieeliee self- government--ot plc 1.:t .!o• qd.‘. :1.!suzintl vaingh,rioue

veeity intim ncing other na-

. eunple and eentsaien of our free speech--- die position :t ,inured. by h countries. Only the : •1,,qa1(A:ce oi. w!,cr c.:it they maintain

: oniv ' ' , can they insure lice of their

• nee :tad ceetracting any their determina- vinciple of tom-mese entiee. mel their resolu-

i, s of every natien %%hie!' h helependence

a 'sill stelicient the the fluor fertil„, ,eurce of diplo- re told—mid v.,. byii,•vc it--that the .1`■ v;:r. We a,ured n put or h.• Etti.;hddi people, than a

!•;:tion tdf th:! views have endeavoured the a as cordial and

knit the 1,.•ldes together in 177,:io, :td;.rs .di eso on both sides of the

hod tin' through demo:roils ways in i appeal to the French and es, in the rIline or the human race. 'Wt..

ask 1.102 Molt?. t entire td. tho it will bring to ,ill /1.1t: 1,, ::',nest win' and Inilacious •rc,o.mdtt of team. We ask tie who exclaim against die phy sieal force' Chartists, end flee. ".l'essatte of the Chester 11•110 '.1,1pciil only to " t.) ,!-f.-inst the ttnnec,,,,:ry enTloyment of brute f ece ee Hull in internatimed as Hell as in

domestic sem; e 0., We :hose who, fig' want of a better leader and hoemeter. put up with Mr. i'mosiv ter, to cease re- peating with parrot-like iteration the personel charges of a vain and vindictive nem, ieul to pronely the application of rational and

pervading principles to questions of intermit ionst policy. The rich

. .

and the poor—the man of science and the man of misiness—the

Churchman and the Dissenter—all have one cemmen interest in

se; 1.

• it lie-.

uniting to put an end to hostilities, the beginning of which we have seen, but the extent and termination of which no man can conjec- ture ; and to promote the recognition of a principle which, more than any other means, will contribute to prevent future wars by diminishing the occasions of them.