1. Times of war and times of peace are equally served by alliances, or
agreements entered into by the rulers on both sides. As regards their subject
matter, they may be divided into those which are made with a view to the mutual
performance of some duty already enjoined by the natural law; and those which
add something over and above the natural law, or at least give a certain
precision to those duties, in case they seem indefinite.
2. To the former class belong alliances in which the agreement concerns the
mere exercise of simple humanity, or abstention from injury. Here too belong
those by which a mere friendship is confirmed, without the performance of
anything in particular; or those by which the right of hospitality or trade is
sanctioned, in so far as it is already required by the natural law.
3. In the latter class, alliances are either equal or unequal. The former of
these are such as are the same for both parties, that is, when the promises of
both sides are not only equal, absolutely, or in due proportion to their
resources, but also on a basis of equality, so that neither party is in an
inferior position as compared with the other, or subject to the other.
4. Alliances are unequal when the respective performances are unequal, or
else when one party is in an inferior position. And unequal performances are
promised, either by the ally of higher rank, or by the lower. The former
happens when the more powerful promises assistance to the other, without any
stipulation in return, or promises on a larger scale than the other. The second
case occurs, if the inferior ally is bound to perform more than he receives
from the other.
5. Of the requirements exacted of an inferior ally, some involve a
diminution of his sovereignty; for example, if it has been agreed that the
inferior ally is not to exercise a certain function of his sovereignty, except
with the consent of the superior. Some requirements, however, do not diminish
sovereignty, although they bring with them some temporary burden, that is, one
which can be disposed of once and for all; for instance, in case one party is
bound by a treaty of peace to pay the soldiers of the other, to make good the
expenses of war, to pay a certain sum of money, to raze walls, give hostages,
surrender ships and arms, and so forth. Even permanent burdens do not in all
cases diminish sovereignty. Examples are: the requirement that one side have
the same friends and enemies as the other, while the obligation is not
reciprocal; or the prohibition to build walls at certain places, or to take
certain voyages, and so on. Also, if one of the allies is bound to show polite
deference to the majesty of the other, or to pay him a certain amount of
reverence, and to acquiesce modestly in his derision.
6. Again, both equal and unequal alliances are commonly contracted for
various reasons. Of the latter those which aim at some permanent combination of
several states produce the closest form of alliance. But most frequent are
those which concern help to be furnished in defensive or offensive warfare, or
the regulation of commerce.
7. There is also a well-known division of alliances into the real and the
personal. The latter are entered into with a king in reference to his own
person, and expire with his death. The former are contracted not so much with
reference to the king or rulers of the people as such, as in the interest of
that state or kingdom; and they endure even when their authors are dead.
8. Connected with alliances are overtures, the proper term for agreements
entered into by a minister of the supreme power in regard to matters of its
concern, but without its instructions. The ruler is not indeed bound by these,
except after he has ratified them; but if the minister has absolutely
contracted, and ratification has not followed, he must see how he can satisfy
those who, relying upon his word, have been deceived by agreements that are
null and void.
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