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rules which are to be inviolably observed by sovereigns, and held sacred throughout the whole earth.
“The faith of treaties—that firm and sincere resolution, that invariable constancy in fulfilling our engagements, of which we make profession in a treaty-is therefore to be held sacred and inviolable between the nations of the earth, whose safety and repose it secures; and if mankind be not wilfully deficient in their duty to themselves, infamy must ever be the portion of him who violates his faith. * * *
“He who violates his treaties, violates at the same time the law of nations, for he disregards the faith of treaties, that faith which the law of nations declares sacred; and, so far as dependent on him, he renders it vain and ineffectual. Doubly guilty, he does an injury to his ally, and he does an injury to all nations, and inflicts a wound on the great society of man
kind. * * *
“On the observance and execution of treaties,” said a respectable sovereign, “depends all the security which princes and States have with respect to each other, and no dependence could henceforward be placed in future conventions if the existing ones were not to be observed.”
It is sometimes said, by those seeking to defend, or at least palliate, the United States Government's repeated disregard of its treaties with the Indians, that no Congress can be held responsible for the acts of the Congress preceding it, or can bind the Congress following it; or, in other words, that each Congress may, if it chooses, undo all that has been done by previous Congresses. However true this may be of some legislative acts, it is clearly not true, according to the principles of international law, of treaties.
On this point Vattel says: “Since public treaties, even those of a personal nature, concluded by a king, or by another sovereign who is invested with sufficient power, are treaties of State, and obligatory on the whole nation, real treaties, which
were intended to subsist independently of the person who has concluded them, are undoubtedly binding on his successors; and the obligation which such treaties impose on the State passes successively to all her rulers as soon as they assume the public authority. The case is the same with respect to the rights acquired by those treaties. They are acquired for the State, and successively pass to her conductors.”
Von Martens says: “Treaties, properly so called, are either personal or real. They are personal when their continuation in force depends on the person of the sovereign or his family, with whom they have been contracted. They are real when their duration depends on the State, independently of the person who contracts. Consequently, all treaties between republics must be real. All treaties made for a time specified or forever are real. * * *
“This division is of the greatest importance, because real treaties never cease to be obligatory, except in cases where all treaties become invalid. Every successor to the sovereignty, in virtue of whatever title he may succeed, is obliged to observe them without their being renewed at his accession.”
Wheaton says: “They (treaties) continue to bind the State, whatever intervening changes may take place in its internal constitution or in the persons of its rulers. The State continues the same, notwithstanding such change, and consequently the treaty relating to national objects remains in force so long as the nation exists as an independent State.”
There is no disagreement among authorities on this point. It is also said by some, seeking to defend or palliate the United States Government's continuous violations of its treaties with the Indians, that the practice of all nations has been and is to abrogate a treaty .whenever it saw good reason for doing This is true; but the treaties have been done away
with in one of two ways, either by a mutual and peaceful agreement to that effect between the parties who had made it—the treaty
being considered in force until the consent of both parties to its abrogation had been given-or by a distinct avowal on the part of one nation of its intention no longer to abide by it, and to take, therefore, its chances of being made war upon in consequence. Neither of these courses has been pursued by the United States Government in its treaty-breaking with the Indians. Vattel says, on the dissolution of treaties: “Treaties
be dissolved by mutual consent at the free-will of the contracting powers.”
Grotius says: “If either party violate the League, the other party is freed; because each Article of the League hath the form and virtue of a condition.”
Kent says: “The violation of any one article of a treaty is a violation of the whole treaty.
" It is a principle of universal jurisprudence that a compact cannot be rescinded by one party only, if the other party does not consent to rescind it, and does no act to destroy it. ***
“ To recommence a war by breach of the articles of peace, is deemed much more odious than to provoke a war by some new demand or aggression; for the latter is simply injustice, but in the former case the party is guilty both of perfidy and injustice."
It is also said, with unanswerable irrelevancy, by some who seek to defend or palliate the United States Government's continuous violation of its treaties with the Indians, that it was, in the first place, absurd to make treaties with them at all, to consider them in any sense as treaty - making powers or nations. The logic of this assertion, made as a justification for the breaking of several hundred treaties, concluded at different times during the last hundred years, and broken as fast as concluded, seems almost equal to that of the celebrated defence in the case of the kettle, which was cracked when it was lent, whole when returned, and, in fact, was, never borrowed at
all. It would be a waste of words to reason with minds that can see in this position any shelter for the United States Government against the accusation of perfidy in its treaty relations with the Indians.
The statement is undoubtedly a true one, that the Indians, having been placed in the anomalous position as tribes, of “domestic dependent nations," and as individuals, in the still more anomalous position of adult “wards,” have not legally possessed the treaty-making power. Our right to put them, or to consider them to be in those anomalous positions, might be successfully disputed; but they, helpless, having accepted such positions, did, no doubt, thereby lose their right to be treated with as nations. Nevertheless, that is neither here nor there now: as soon as our Government was established, it proceeded to treat with them as nations by name and designation, and with precisely the same forms and ratifications that it used in treating with other nations; and it continued to treat with them as nations by name and designation, and with continually increasing solemnity of asseveration of good intent and good faith, for nearly a century. The robbery, the cruelty which were done under the cloak of this hundred years of treatymaking and treaty-breaking, are greater than can be told. Neither mountains nor deserts stayed them; it took two seas to set their bounds.
In 1871, Congress, either ashamed of making treaties only to break them, or grudging the time, money, and paper it wasted, passed an act to the effect that no Indian tribe should hereafter be considered as a foreign nation with whom the United States might contract by treaty. There seems to have been at the time, in the minds of the men who passed this act, a certain shadowy sense of some obligation being involved in treaties; for they added to the act a proviso that it should not be construed as invalidating any treaties already made. But this sense of obligation must have been as short-lived as
shadowy, and could have had no element of shame in it, since they forth with proceeded, unabashed, to negotiate still more treaties with Indians, and break them; for instance, the socalled Brunot Treaty” with the Ute Indians in Colorado, and one with the Crow Indians in Montana-both made in the summer of 1873. They were called at the time
or “agreements,” and not “ treaties;" but the difference is only in name.
They stated, in a succession of numbered articles, promises of payment of moneys, and surrenders and cessions of land, by both parties; were to be ratified by Congress before taking effect; and were understood by the Indians agreeing to them to be as binding as if they had been called treaties. The fact that no man's sense of justice openly revolted against such subterfuges, under the name of agreements, is only to be explained by the deterioration of the sense of honor in the nation. In the days of Grotius there were men who failed to see dishonor in a trick if profit came of it, and of such ho wrote in words whose truth might sting to-day as, no doubt, it stung then :
“ Whereas there are many that think it superfluous to require that justice from a free people or their governors which they exact daily from private men, the ground of this error is this: because these men respect nothing in the law but the profit that ariseth from it, which in private persons, being single and unable to defend themselves, is plain and evident; but for great cities, that seem to have within themselves all things necessary for their own well-being, it doth not so plainly appear that they have any need of that virtue called justice which respects strangers.”
These extracts from unquestioned authorities on international law prove that we may hold nations to standards of justice and good faith as we hold men; that the standards are the same in each case; and that a nation that steals and lies and