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NOTES AND A SYLLABUS.
FREEMAN SNOW, Ph.D., LL.B.
INSTRUCTOR IN INTERNATIONAL LAW IX HARVARD UNIVERSITY.
The design of this work was formed some years since, while teaching the subject of International Law in the United States Naval Academy, and the greater part of the compilation was made during a subsequent residence of three years in France, Germany, and England ; but other duties have, till the present time, prevented its completion.
The object has been primarily to provide a convenient coilection of materials relating to International Law, for the use of students. To avoid the method of instruction by lectures alone, and the even less satisfactory method of recitation from text-books, it is believed, that the “case system,” introduced into the Harvard Law School a score of years ago, by Professor Langdell, offers a happy substitute. Indeed, having employed that system for the last half dozen years, in classes in International Law, in Harvard University, I am thoroughly convinced that it is well adapted to that subject; the only drawback has been the difficulty of finding the necessary materials in a convenient form.
By this method, the student is called upon to take an active part in the exercises of the lecture room ; he is to report briefly the facts and judgment in a given case, and then is to explain the principles and their application, and must maintain his position against the criticisms of the instructor, and the other members of the class. The student should thus acquire a firmer grasp of the subject than he can get from the study of text-books alone; he is, moreover, more interested in his work, as, I believe, experience has shown wherever the system has been introduced. These cases are, to a large degree, the original sources of the rules of International Law; and they furnish the opportunity of becoming familiar with the ideas of the eminent menjudges and statesmen—who have controlled the development of this law. Many of the cases, in addition to deciding the single point at issue, are admirable expositions of general principles, and give, besides, a concise history of the subject.
It is not proposed, however, to discard text-books. It is indeed the justly celebrated authors of treatises on International Law who have analyzed and systematized the subject, and who have reduced it to a science. A collection of cases and opinions, moreover, must necessarily leave many gaps, to be filled by means of text-books or lectures. And it is the purpose of the syllabus—a leading feature of this book--to make available the opinions of a number of the most eminent writers, of different countries, by grouping references to their works under specific heads. It will thus be made possible to compare their opinions, in many cases, with the sources upon which they all rely.
It is thought, further, that a collection of leading cases and opinions may prove to be a convenience for those who are called upon to deal with the practical questions of International Law, viz., Lawyers, Legislators, and Diplomatists. With this end in view, it has been the almost invariable rule to give the decisions of courts in the exact language of the judges, though necessarily leaving out, in some cases, the less pertinent parts. In this respect this volume differs radically from Mr. Pitt Cobbett's excellent work upon the same subject.
FREEMAN SNOW. CAMBRIDGE, MASS.,
Sept. 1st, 1893.
TABLE OF CONTENTS.