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LETTERS BY HISTORICUS pseud.
ON SOME QUESTIONS
REPRINTED FROM THE TIMES'
WITH CONSIDERABLE ADDITIONS.
“So many encroachments have recently been made on the ancient course
PRINTED BY SPOTTISWOODE AND CO,
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HAVE yielded to the opinion of those in whose
judgement I place confidence in determining to publish these letters. I have done so with considerable hesitation, because I am profoundly conscious how far they fall below the standard of that which is adequate to the treatment of questions perhaps the most important with which politics or jurisprudence are conversant. The text-writer on international law assumes a noble task, but he at the same time accepts a grave responsibility. His speculations, if unsound, and his maxims, if unjustifiable, must too often be refuted by the sword. They furnish pretexts sometimes for unjust demands, at others for unrighteous refusals. Those who assume the authority of Publicists exercise, in some sort, the judicial functions of life and death. Like the Feciales of old, of whose office they are the legitimate heirs, they deal out the lots of peace and of war; and thereby, according as they guide or pervert the judgements of their age, they affect the destinies of nations and determine the misery or the happiness of whole generations of mankind. It is the immortal glory of Grotius through a new dispensation of international right, to have evangelised the society of nations brutalised by a licentious carnival of force. It has been the shame of others to have degraded the Palladium of Law into the minister of the temporary
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