Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

translation, accompanies your communication. In reply, I regret to state that I am at a loss as to the course which might be taken for that purpose with any prospect of success. It is understood that the press in Mexico is not amenable to the Government for its utterances, and it is quite unlikely that there is any law there which would enable that Government to comply with your wishes even were it so disposed. Charges in the newspaper press, especially in the press of a foreign country, against officers of this Government are conceived to be best met by indifference and by that silence which is an indication of it. The dignity and authority of the Government might be put in jeopardy if its agents were to show undue sensitiveness in regard to such accusations by condescending to a denial or refutation of them through the same channel."

Mr. Fish, Sec. of State, to Mr. Robb, Feb. 25, 1873, 98 MS. Dom. Let. 12.
Mr. Robb was chairman of a commission sent to Texas, under a joint

resolution of ('ongress of May 7, 1872, to investigate depredations
along the border. (II. Ex. Doc. 39, 42 (ong. 3 sess. ; II. Report 701,
45 Cong. 2 sess. 95–110.)

The prohibition by the French Government, in 1873, of a course of lectures in France “ on the advantages held out by a part of the United States to emigrants," while one of those acts of illiberality which it is difficult to believe would have been exercised by a professedly republican government in this age of the world,” can not be alleged to have “transcended the limit of power to which an independent state, if inclined in the direction of the exercise of extreme powers of repression, may go without giving ground for remonstrance on the part of other states whose citizens may thereby be prohibited the exercise of free speech, or the opportunity of diffusing information tending to the possible melioration of the condition of large numbers of people."

Mr. Fish, Sec. of State, to Mr. Washburne, Mar. 1, 1873, MSS. Inst.

France, XIX. 67.

“ I have to acknowledge the receipt of your No. 975, of the 17th October last, in which you enclose a copy of a note which, as dean of the diplomatic corps, you addressed to the Foreign Office, for the purpose of calling attention to a book entitled “ Death-blow to Corl'upt Doctrines,' which is now circulating in China and which, by reason of the vile and monstrous charges it contains against foreigners, is likely, as was intended, to arouse popular animosity toward them and to expose them to insult and violence, a result which has actually occurred in one case. This book, it is stated, first appeared in 1870 and was promptly suppressed by the Tsung-li-Yamen, but it

ias lately been circulated in Han Chow under a slightly changed title, although three years ago the viceroy gave imperative orders for its suppression. The Tsung-li-Yamen is now requested to take steps to suppress the book to the end that commotion and riot and disorder may be avoided.

" In most cases such a request would be a matter of great delicacy and would be inadmissible. But in a country such as China, where the press is controlled by a Government censorship, as a matter of public police, and a publication is circulated which puts in jeopardy the lives and property of foreign residents, a protest and request of the character of that in question, invoking the only method of relief available, is, under the peculiar circumstances of the case, allowable and proper."

Mr. Blaine, Sec. of State, to Mr. Denby, min. to China, Dec. 3, 1889, MS.

Inst. China, IV. 475.

“I have to acknowledge the receipt of your No. 194 of the 9th ultimo, giving an account of your recent audience, accompanied by Mr. Reid, your colleague at Paris, with the Sultan, who took occasion to refer to the reported production in the United States of a play or drama called Mahomet, recently suppressed in Paris by order of the Government out of regard for the religious sentiments of friendly Moslem Powers. It seems unnecessary to say to you that in the production of such a play in this country the Federal Government has no power to act in the premises. It is a matter entirely for local control and jurisdiction.”

Mr. Blaine, Sec. of State, to Mr. Hirsch, min. to Turkey, Jan. 7, 1891, MS.

Inst. Turkey, V. 194.

“ I have received your dispatch No. 134, of the 18th ultimo, reporting the representations made by you to the President of Venezuela, concerning publications in the Spanish press of that country alike mendacious and unfriendly.

" Having in view the constitutional freedom of the press in this country, it is a matter of some delicacy to invoke repressive action in favor of this Government on the part of the authorities of other countries, whose laws may give the local governments greater powers to regulate the press. You appear to have recognized this by mainly directing your remonstrances to the mendacious and dangerous character of the publications to which you refer, and the action taken by the administration of the federal district, under direction of the President of the Republic, appears to be confined to this particular feature of the situation, in that it prescribes the authentication of published news by giving its responsible source. The action so taken was considerate and timely, as well as eminently just to the Venezuelan community itself, and so far as it indicates a friendly disposition of the Venezuelan Government it is cordially appreciated.”

Mr. Day, Sec. of State, to Mr. Loomis, min. to Venezuela, June 3, 1898, For.

Rel. 1898, 1133.

In May, 1881, Johann Most was convicted in the central criminal court, in London, on an indictment containing twelve counts. The first two counts charged a scandalous libel at common law, and on these a separate verdict of guilty was taken and no question arose upon them. The remaining ten counts charged an offence against 24 & 25 Vict. c. 100, s. 4, which provides that “all persons who shall conspire, confederate, and agree to murder any person, whether he be a subject of Her Majesty or not, and whether he be within the Queen's dominions or not, and whosoever shall solicit, encourage, persuade, or endeavor to persuade, or shall propose to any person to murder any other person, whether he be a subject of Her Majesty or not, and whether he be within the Queen's dominions or not,” shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof be liable to penal servitude for from three to ten years, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years with or without hard labor. The ten counts framed under this section charged the prisoner with having

encouraged” or “ endeavored to persuade” persons to “ murder other persons," some named and others not named, who were in all cases not subjects of Her Majesty nor within the Queen's dominions. The third count charged that persons were encouraged to murder “the sovereigns and rulers of Europe;" while in other counts Emperor Alexander III., of Russia, and Emperor William I., of Germany, were specified as persons whom the defendant had encouraged or endeavored to persuade others to murder. The evidence on all the twelve counts was the same and consisted of an article in a weekly newspaper called the Freiheit, written in German and published in London, and enjoying an average circulation of 1,200 copies. Of this newspaper Most was editor and publisher. The article lauded the assassination of the Emperor Alexander II., which had, it was declared,“ penetrated into princely palaces where dwell those crime-beladen abortions of every profligacy who long since have earned a similar fate a thousandfold." All rulers “ from Constantinople to Washington ” were represented as trembling“ for their long since forfeited heads.” The “ rarity of so-called tyrannicide was represented as a proper cause of complaint, and the hope was expressed that the killing of the Czar might be imitated.

A case having been reserved as to the coviction on the ten statutory counts, counsel for Most, while conceding that the publication was a seditious libel at common law, argued that it did not come within the act of 24 and 25 Vict. It was admitted that before that act persons might be indicted in England for libels on foreign sovereigns, as in the case of Peltier for the libel on Napoleon I.

The court held that the conviction was proper. The jury, said Lord Chief Justice Coleridge, had found, and rightly found, that the article was naturally and reasonably intended to incite and encourage and to persuade or to endeavor to persuade persons who should read it to the murder either of the Emperor Alexander or the Emperor William, or in the alternative of the crowned and uncrowned heads of other states; and an endeavor to persuade or an encouragement was none the less so because it was not personally addressed to one or more individuals. It was therefore decided that the court below was correct in charging the jury that they should find the prisoner guilty under the statute if they thought that by the publication of the article in question he intended to and did encourage or endeavor to persuade any person to murder any other person, whether a subject of Her Majesty or not, and whether within the Queen's dominions or not, and that such encouragement was the natural and reasonable effect of the article. The conviction was unanimously affirmed.

Regina v. Most (1881), 14 Cox. C. C. 583.
See Mr. Frelinghuysen, Sec. of State, to Mr. Edmunds, U. S. Sen. Feb. 3,

1885, 154 MS. Dom. Let. 145.
See, as to the case of Bernard, one of the Orsini conspirators, Lewis on

Foreign Jurisdiction, 58–62. “R. v. Bernard, 1 F. & F. 240, which was for participation in the Orsini

conspiracy, was under a statute; but Lord Campbell, who tried the case, while holding the statute covered the offence, did not hesitate in the House of Lords to declare that the offence was indictable at common law. As the defendant was acquitted, the question did not

receive final judicial revision. (“During the civil war in the United States the British Government fre

quently asserted the jurisdiction of its courts to punish persons engaged on British soil in conspiracies to commit crimes in the United States. This was held in reference to the 'Greek fire' attempts in Canada, and to the alleged attempts to send infected clothing from Bermuda to New York. See North Am. Rev. for June, 1884 (p. 527), and Crim. Law Mag. March, 1885. In accordance with the views of the text, persons sending from one of our States dynamite to injure property or life in England, would be indictable in the State from which the dynamite is sent. See Crim. Law Mag. March, 1885. As to libel on foreign sovereign, •see infra, $ 1612a. As to perjury to take effect abroad, see Philippi v. Bowen, 2 Barr, 20."

(Wharton's Crim. Law (9th ed.), I. 318, note.) As to the announcement in the press of one country of a determination,

real or pretended, on the part of persons within the jurisdiction of another country, there to commit an unlawful act, see Mr. Frelinghuysen, Sec. of State, to Mr. West, Brit. min., April 14, 1883, and Feb. 24, 1885, MS. Notes to Brit. Leg. XIX. 284, 636 ; Mr. Frelinghuysen, Sec. of State, to Mr. Lowell, min. to England, Dec. 4, 1883, and Nov. 24, 1884, MS. Inst. Gr. Britain, XXVII, 69, 349.

4

“ This Government and people feel nothing but detestation for such publications | prompting assassination and arson in England). The question whether a journal making publications of the character of those referred to could or could not by process of law be suppressed, as calculated to lead to an infraction of our treaty engagements, or whether Congress could properly legislate on the subject, does not now demand the expression of an opinion. The Government of the United States knows the effect of the publications in question, and how to treat them. We have a large population of Irish people, and of those directly descended from them. They are attached to this country, obedient to its laws, and for the most part citizens of this Republic. They naturally have a friendship for their kinsmen in the United Kingdom, and perhaps a passive sympathy with them in the agitations in Ireland, but as their sympathy does not manifest itself in overt acts, we think it would not be wise by any governmental action to excite in them hostility towards a nation with which we are at peace, and thus disturb the cordiality which it is both the pleasure and the interest of this Republic to maintain with Her Majesty's Government. These considerations have weight and influence; but what is conclusive on the subject is that this Government cannot consent, by its official notice, to emphasize, dignify, and give prominence to articles of the character complained of, which, while unnoticed, are impotent. Her Majesty's Government should, if satisfied with the friendly purpose of this Government, accord to it the right when it thinks its own interests are involved, of shaping its policy according to its own discretion. This right the Government of the United States must exercise."

Mr. Frelinghuysen, Sec. of State, to Mr. Lowell, Dec. 4, 1883, MS. Inst.

Great Britain, XXVII. 69.

“ This Government is as deeply sensible as any other of the danger to all government and society from lawless combinations which may secretly plot assassination and destruction of life and property. At the same time it can only proceed against offenders, or suspected offenders, in accordance with law; and it is at least doubtful whether any law is now in existence in this country by which the publishers of the paper or papers in question can be called to account. I am not aware that such a law exists in any country. It is but recently that any law for the punishment of incitement to the commission of murder in foreign countries was placed on the British statute book.

“ The present laws of the United States only aim to meet the cases of actual overt acts of hostility against a friendly nation when such acts are committed within the territory of the United States. So far as I remember, this is the full extent to which other nations have gone in this direction."

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »