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appealed to, will reply: “I have nothing to say; I am neutral.”
John M. Clayton, Delaware's renowned statesman and lawyer, and compeer with Daniel Webster; and John Hay, one of the world's most famous diplomats, used the word neutralization, both accurately and scientifically.
There can be one neutrality between nations in commercial warfare and another kind when nations are engaged in mortal conflict. The canal must be neutral in both cases. If we, being owner and operator, are engaged in war, ships hostile to us would not be allowed to enter the canal. But the canal being under our jurisdiction and in a sense our property we could pass our warships through, both for the protection of the canal and our nation in general. To the extent of our ownership in the canal, it is a part and parcel of the nation. To protect this part we must protect the whole.
How could the canal be neutral if we were engaged in war? How could our property be neutral when our guns and army were hostile? How could we observe any treaty about canal property when desolating, hysterical war is engaged in pillage, burning, the annihilation of property and the wholesale destruction of human life?
The word neuter is Latin in origin; that is, ne not and uter either; not either, for one side or the other, in any controversy, contest or dispute, whether it be business, commerce, war or otherwise. A neutral will not aid or favor the one or the other; he will accord like treatment to all.
Neutrality is generally inactive. And nationally, is created through neutralization by the act of neutralizing; it is created by acts or contracts of nations. Lands and territory are neutral and passive-remain in a quiet state; while a railroad, a canal, or a ship is in action and should be neutral in its activity, if it is by any legal requirement, so restricted and charged.
A canal is constructed for service—is bound to be active, and should be neutral to all ships—to all whom it is under obligation to serve. A public, operated canal should serve all equally in time of peace, whatever may be the rule in time of war.
At last the touchstone has been found, that will give a full definition to the ominous phrase "all nations,” and this is the word neutralization.
(The following article is taken in substance from the Every Evening, Wilmington, Del.)
It was said by a distinguished lawyer, recently, before the Senate committee investigating toll exemption, that sovereignty was absolute and when vested could not be limited or modified. This raises a very momentous question, both in national and international polity. It would seem to be illogical on its face, for if sovereignty can be held by grant, it can of necessity be acquired by grant, and will be absolute or limited according to the literal terms of the compact.
We must start with the postulate that sovereignty originally was vested in the people—the inhabitants of a territory; and that they either by compact or by acquiescence placed sovereignty in some personal control: that is in an absolute monarch, or in a constitutionally elective body; or it might remain in the people's hands and be exercised directly from time to time as in a pure democracy or complete socialism. Sovereignty simply means rule, government, police power and control. Now if all control is with the people why can they not dispose of sovereignty in their own way? In the beginning of a State, they can; but after the formation, the State must follow the terms and requirements of its constitutional charter.
But a Constitution is only for those who made it the particular State. It can have no extra-territorial operation except by contract or through conquest. Hence sovereignty remains in its own jurisdiction unimpaired and paramount until those controlling it, by treaty, consent to abandon all or any part thereof; or until they have been subjugated in battle. The people having the right to purchase sovereignty have the right by contract to sell, restrain or limit it.
The very construction of our government proves our contention to perfect exactness. The states and their people made a compact with the nation that it should have sovereignty in a certain specified field; and in all others the states reserved their sovereignty. Then we have national and state sovereignties, and once upon a time had squatter sovereignty. Under our peculiar system the states rarely exercise all of their powers; there is a sort of conjoint operation of partial and separate government; while the unused sovereignty lies dormant in the people.
All of our vast territory came to us by treaty grant in full sovereignty, unless limited by express conditions and modifications. Green vs. Biddle, 8 Wheaton 1. Every nation of necessity has the power to grant (totally or partially) its sovereignty; but this must be done in due legal form. Sometimes it may be under "force and arms,” other times by treaty conformable to international law.
By the Clayton-Bulwer treaty, England and America contracted to assume joint sovereignty over the anticipated canal. In some matters we have assumed joint authority under the Bunau-Varilla treaty; and all of the canal authority that we hold, Panama granted to us by treaty, and our rights are measured by the grant in its entirety.
While every good citizen or subject should uphold his nation's sovereignty to the full limit, yet it would be folly to set up an imaginary, fictitious, impossible sovereignty and worship it as a fetich. Sovereignty is just what contracting nations between themselves make it, and if a nation by treaty pares or whittles away its sovereignty it of necessity only retains the remainder. Nine nations assumed jurisdiction over the Suez Canal; and the civilized powers limit the sovereignty of the Sultan of Turkey. England holds suzerainty over Egypt, South Africa, and the great American nation, Canada. Can we liberate the Philippines, without parting with our sovereignty? Who will now hold extreme sovereignty over Ireland ?
When we talk about "unchangeable sovereignty," do we think of a power called “the family of nations" and what paramount power it holds? This supreme authority permits a nation to work out its destiny, so long as its actions are not detrimental to the peace and order of the world; otherwise they will control and direct the nation, and "state sovereignty" will give it no protection.
Another eminent lawyer has said that “the presumption is against the state's intention to part with or abridge its jurisdictional or property right." This depends on circumstances. If the state grants a franchise to a subject, the grant will not be extended beyond the clear meaning, because the state being sovereign will decide the doubt in its own favor. But nations do not stand in this relation to each other; they are co-equal sovereigns; and in such case the grant is construed most strongly against the grantor, as held in Hauenstein vs. Lynham, 100 U. S. Report and Green vs. Biddle, 8 Wheaton.
One more illustration we shall give to show that sovereignty can be transferred or partitioned. Selkirk was monarch on his lonely island. If John Smith had later been washed ashore, would anyone hold that Sel