Sources of International Law

International law has clearly reached a drisis in its development. For a period of nearly 300 years preceding the outbreak of the present war international law appeared to the casual observer to have grown steadily and progressively. The student of history was able to point out certain clear and definite advances in the development of the law and assign them to particular dates. Grotius could be pronounced the Father of International Law, and the year 1625, which marked the appearance of his great treatise, could be set as the beginning of the modem period. A noticeable improvement in the law of neutrality could be traced in the principles laid down’ ‘by Vattel in 1758 and -by the First and Second Armed Neutrality of i78o and i8oo. The formation of the Holy Alliance marked a reaction in the policy of intervention. The Declaration of Paris saw a reform in the rules of maritime war. And beginning with the Geneva Convention of 1864 down to the close of the Second Hague Conference a definite progress could be marked in the amelioration of the lot of non-combatants in war and in the restrictions put upon the methods and instruments of warfare; while as a check upon war itself arbitration courts had been pro. vided and a general pronouncement obtained from the nations of the desirability of resorting to them. On the whole it seemed as if international law was developing with the times and adapting itself to modem ideals, and except on a few purely formal points it appeared to bear a fair comparison with the municipal law of the individual state.