« iepriekšējāTurpināt »
and therefore in all justice slayable, Lorenzino had no right to be his executioner, essendo del sangue suo e fidandosi egli di 'me.' Over this point we must pause, for it introduces the one limitation which Italian sentiment seems to have imposed on the perfect justifiability of tyrannicide. The opinion of Burlamaqui, quoted above, will recur to our minds; he says that assassination is legitimate, provided that one of the patient's own subjects be not employed. This would seem to be an expansion of the idea which Lorenzino is combating, the idea that treachery between blood relations is unjustifiable. This opinion appears to have been deeply rooted in the Italian view on the question; witness the appeal of Bernabò Visconti when treacherously seized by his nephew, 'O Gian Galeazzo, non esser traditor del tuo sangue;' and again, an anonymous author, whom we shall presently have occasion to quote in full, argues that if Ercole d'Este, Duke of Ferrara, had any just cause of complaint against the Marquis of Pescara for compassing his life, it must have been based on the fact that the marquis was related to him by ties of blood. Lorenzino defends himself first on the ground that Alexander was not a Medici at all, but the bastard son of a groom's wife; and secondly, by boldly asserting that even had Alexander been his cousin, le leggi 'ordinate contro a' tiranni' and the general consensus of opinion would have compelled him to the deed.
As to the legal aspects of tyrannicide, perhaps no one Iwould have dared to enunciate such a doctrine inside a tyrant's own dominions. The approval was usually popular ex post facto, and dependent on success. Yet there was clearly an effort to formulate such deeds to bring them within the pale of some recognised law. And this observation leads us to another which may, in part, account for the number and the audacity of the regicides which occur in Italian history, the observation that the titles of almost all the native Italian princes were more or less defective. We have only to remember the constant usurpations, the eagerness with which the Scaligers, Carraresi, Visconti, and Sforza sought for an imperial title, and the difficulty with which they obtained one, to perceive at once how important a sound title must have been. This weakness in Italian titles was inherent in the fundamental conception of Italian politics, dating from the age of Charlemagne, the division of the supreme authorities temporal and spiritual between the Emperor and the Pope. No one of these Italian princes could claim to be autocratic in theory as well as in fact;
therefore the plea of divine right, the divinity that doth hedge a king, was of no avail for him as a safeguard; and his murder became almost legitimate if it received the sanction of his superiors, the Emperor or the Pope. We may conclude that tyrannicide was held to be justifiable; but public opinion placed limits upon the degrees within which treachery was not to be used, the degrees of blood relationship. We must remember, however, that this species of assassination had no place in Venice. Owing to the nature of her constitution, however tyrannical she might have been -though indeed she was not-there was no one man by whose death the burden of tyranny could have been removed from the necks of the people. The whole governmental authority in Venice resided in councils, committees of nobles —corporations, in short, which are impervious to the dagger and to poison.
And this brings us now to the fourth and last species of assassination-political assassination, as we have called itin which Venice enjoys a sinister prominence. Here the question of the natural history of the idea, and the attitude of men's minds towards it, is not quite so easy to solve as it is in the case of tyrannicide. How came the pernicious doctrine that States may use assassination as a weapon to be taught? how is it that this teaching took such a hold upon politicians of that time? For the origin of the doctrine we shall have to go back to two principles which, whatever may be their ethical validity, are deeply seated in human nature the idea that might is right, and the idea of expediency. The one finds a concise expression in Dante's well-known dictum that 'ille populus qui, cunctis athletizantibus pro imperio mundi, prævaluit, de jure divino 'prævaluit. This is a doctrine of fatalism tempered by a belief in the divine governance of the world. In this view every struggle with a foe is a species of duel, an appeal to the judicium Dei.' The old belief, of which we get the converse in the cynical epigram, God is on the side of the 'strongest battalions,' prevails that the supreme ruler will not allow the wrong to be victorious, and that point being granted, it follows that all means towards victory at once become legitimate, because they are means which assist the fulfilment of the divine will.
The second principle which underlies the doctrine of political assassination-the principle of expediency, which was summed up in the famous proverb 'Uomo morto non 'fa guerra '-has its roots in a very different part of our
nature. It belongs not to the necessitarian and fatalistic side, but to the side of free will, to the ineradicable belief that man can modify his conditions and govern his actions, and is entitled to do so with a view to his own safety and convenience. These two ideas, which lie so wide apart, at the extreme poles of human thought, yet form the basis of any attempt to formulate and to bring within the pale of law the doctrine of political assassination. When the propositions of this doctrine came to be openly discussed, we shall find, as is natural, that jurists, churchmen, and politicians rely upon the latter basis-the basis of expediency—for the justification of the doctrine. The bias in this direction was given by the gradual developement of the modern state with its principles of policy, reasons of state-statecraft, in fact-which that developement produced. Macchiavelli formulated the doctrine that the state weal, the state needs, were the supreme, the sole, the righteous end and aim of every ruler and of every citizen, an end to which all other considerations must yield. Then came the casuists with their teaching that the end justifies the means, and we at once get the doctrine of political assassination, that where State expediency requires the removal of a foe, that may be legitimately accomplished by any means in your power. And yet, although the doctrine was thus formulated as a tenable thesis in political ethics, and assassination had been sanctioned as a legitimate weapon in the hands of government, it is impossible to read the documents relating to the question without feeling that men had a bad conscience on the matter. The Council of Ten dreaded the publication of their secrets; they insist upon secretezza et iterum 'secretezza,' not solely through fear of reprisals in kindas we have pointed out, reprisals in kind against a corporation were difficult, if not impossible-but also through fear of the infamy such revelations would bring upon their State. The truth is, that human conscience had already been formed upon the Christian principle 'Love your enemies.' The bonds were laid upon the conscience of humanity, however far human action might depart from that rule. We hardly desire a stronger proof of the absolute impossibility and impracticability of the Roman Catholic doctrine-the surrender of the conscience to another's keeping. The conscience cannot be surrendered. No doctrine laid down by jurists and supported by cogent arguments, no absolution on the part of the Church, no ex cathedra dogmas as to the nonculpability of such acts, were of any avail to free these men
from the sense of crime before the bar of their own conscience.
So far we have endeavoured to trace the origin and growth of this doctrine, that political assassination is a legitimate weapon in the armoury of nations. What the doctrine looks like when stated in its fullest form we shall best gather from the treatise of the anonymous author to whom we have already referred. The document throws a most valuable light upon the whole discussion, and contains as cold and as precise a statement of the position as we can hope to find. Our author entitles his paper, Of the Right that Princes ' have to compass the Lives of their Enemies' Allies:
The Marquis of Pescara as Minister and Captain-General of the Emperor Charles V. organises and conducts a conspiracy against the life of Ercole, Duke of Ferrara, ally and relation of Francis, King of France. The conspiracy does not take effect; and coming to the knowledge of the duke, he loudly complains of this particular machination against his life. There seems to be some doubt, then, whether one prince, in order to weaken another prince, his enemy, may and can procure the death of his enemy's allies. For the complaints of the Duke of Ferrara are of such a nature that they almost amount to a declaration that actions of this sort are entirely illicit and unjust.
Upon this point I repeat what I said incidentally at the moment when the event was under discussion, and I add some considerations with which a more profound analysis of the subject furnishes me; and I maintain that in all strictness of sound policy you may and can debilitate your enemy in any way you choose, even by the treacherous murder of his allies; and if the Duke of Ferrara complained at the time of the arrangements made to his disadvantage, he did so more because of the particular and personal position of the marquis, the promoter and conductor of the conspiracy, than because of the conspiracy itself.
'And, to prove the first clause of my thesis, I affirm that political expediency, or reasons of State as we call it, teaches and permits each prince to secure above everything the preservation of his State, that he may subsequently proceed to its aggrandisement; and, therefore, weighing and foreseeing all that may injure and all that may benefit his State, he must take every possible means to anticipate the one in order to prevent it, and to court the other in order to appropriate it; and hence it follows that all action taken with such ends in view is said to be taken for reasons of State, and that is a rational justification of all actions which have for scope and object the conservation of the status quo, or the maintenance of the State itself.
'These rules of political expediency, which, be it observed, are obligatory for no other object save for the service, the security, and the perpetuation of sovereignty, interpret the laws, alter prescription, change habits, and as it were arbitrate, dispose, and convert all the accidents of time and all human operations to their own proper use
and benefit, to such an extent that, magnifying the good and justifying, the evil by this sanction of reasons of State, they curb and predominate the vulgar estimate of actions, vivify the will and the conduct of princes, and constitute themselves mistress in spite of custom and morality.
'In every State political expediency rules absolutely in its own right; but in the more powerful States it acquires a peculiarly extended jurisdiction and authority from the very power and pre-eminence of those States; and, therefore, we see the moral laws contravened and superseded by great princes much more lightly than by their inferiors, because in their case every title, every positive prescription of laws human and divine, must be made to bow to their advantage; hence for great princes that is lawful and customary which is absolutely forbidden and impossible for others. We argue that war no less than peace is a necessary and efficacious agent in the preservation and aggrandisement of dominion; in war, however, political expediency and reasons of State vigorously assert their authority within this their proper jurisdiction; and they do so with all the more resolution that war proceeds by fury and violence, by outrageous and impetuous acts, and by these very means procures the extension and advantage of the State. And so, if the Emperor Charles, warring against the King of France, perchance condescended to attempt the life of Ercole, Duke of Ferrara, friend and relation of that king, he only did what war and the customary reasons of State enabled and obliged him to do.
Moreover, in the conduct and progress of a war, since the sovereign is bound for his own advantage and security to debilitate his foe by all the ways and means in his power, this method of depriving him of friends and adherents is both most opportune and obligatory. And should it haply be urged that the murder of an allied prince is an action too base to be compassed, we may reply that in the fury and duration of the war there is no action so base that it may not be demonstrated as a direct consequence of the war itself, and that this very quality of base iniquity is to be found in all wars, even in those justified by necessity; nay, further, we argue that the iniquity which achieves the highest amount of safety to him who employs it in such cases is always the least damnable iniquity. And this holds good if we apply our universal proposition to the particular case before us; for it was of the highest importance to the Emperor to sunder the Duke of Ferrara and the King of France, and political expediency pointed out to him that if all other means failed or were difficult, he ought to adopt that kind of sundering which would prove final and secure. By the murder of his ally you effectually rob your foe of his forces, counsel, and support. This could not be done so easily either by attacking the ally in his State, for that would only nerve him to fresh efforts, nor yet by expelling him from his kingdom, for we have often seen exiled sovereigns return to their dominions, after a brief period of revolution, nourishing hostility and meditating revenge. Nor should any methods you may adopt towards such an end seem strange and iniquitous, for open war does not exclude methods quite as vicious. I will even venture to declare that conspiracy may be the least impious method you