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Bolivia, Texas, Venezuela, and the Re- Mr. Pickering, Secretary of State :-"My public of the Equator, ranging over a “object has been to prove that there can period from 1828 to 1843, contain in- “ be no effectual blockade, without a structions couched in the same spirit. "competent force stationed or present There can be no reasonable doubt that, “at or near the entrance of the blockin respect of blockade “by cruisers," of "aded port.” On May 23d, 1799, Mr. diplomatic “notice," of "special notice," King warns Lord Grenville that “the and of other details branching out of “presence of a blockading force is esthis part of the question, England may “sential to constitute a blockade.” On be broadly said to be at variance with February 4th, 1844, Mr. Smith, Secrethe rest of the naval world.?
tary of State, informed Commodoro Having hitherto been the advocates Preble, then blockading Tripoli, that of belligerent as well as neutral rights; "the trade of neutrals in articles not
-having—as we do not doubt, in the “contraband cannot be rightfully obabsence of evidence to the contrary “structed to any port, not actually even so late as the Congress of 1856 “blockaded by a force so disposed berefused to allow the difficulty to be “fore it as to create an evident danger settled in the interest of neutral powers, “ of entering it.” This doctrine, proEngland cannot now, with seemliness, claimed by the United States so early insist on forcing down the throat of in their national career, they have never America an interpretation of the law of abandoned until now. They are unwise blockade against which we have always to abandon it even under the pressure of openly or tacitly protested. We may a gigantic civil war. But if America take it for granted that the American cannot properly defend her “blockade blockade is nothing much better and by cruisers," neither can we demur to nothing much worse than a blockade by it, unless its defectiveness be more “cruisers.” For a blockade by cruisers glaring than it has been shown to be. it is tolerably effective. In estimating Doubtless there are Admiralty decisions its efficiency allowance must indeed be to the effect that an occasional cruiser made for the many ships which would appearing off a port does not constitute break the blockade, were they not un. a blockade, any more than one swallow willing to run a risk, which for anything makes a summer. Still, we have conthey know may be a slight one. Yet, with.. tended too stoutly against the views of out doubt, the large ports along the coast, the “armed neutrals” to permit of our and most of the creeks that communicate forming ourselves, in company with with them, are closed virtually to general France, into that thing so hateful to us commerce; and if they are not hermeti- of old—"an armed neutrality.” Lord cally sealed, it does not lie in our mouths Malmesbury and the Tory organs find to be too inquisitive or strict. America themselves in a dilemma. They are certainly ought to do more than cruise anxious to precipitate the separation of off the Southern coast if she wishes to be North and South, but they are equally consistent with herself. Her own official anxious that we should relax nothing documents are a testimony against her of our old belligerent theories. We do On July 5th, 1799, Mr. King, United not agree with them. For the present, States' Envoy at London, writes thus to we ought not to bear ourselves impa
tiently towards an exaggerated doctrine i The Danish Government's definition, ac- which in other days we refused discording to its order of 1st May, 1848, steers
tinctly to sacrifice, when it was to our midway between the definitions of the AngloRussian Convention of 1801 and of the armed benefit to retain it. But, for the future, nentralities of 1780 ; and is,-" est regardé warned by this experience, let us accept “commé port bloqué celui devant lequel un a wider view of blockades and the rights “ ou plusieurs vaisseaux de guerre sont station.
of neutrals in general. The true theory “nés de manière que nul batiment ne puisse " entrer ni sortir sans un danger évident
of blockade has not yet been advocated
for the interests of civilization and commerce, it must also, we venture to think, in spite of Lord Malmesbury, be one for the advantage of ourselves.
The deep sea-we submit with all deference to received opinions—is, indeed, what foreign writers seek to make it, the neutral highway of all nations. It cannot be occupied or conquered, because human science, as yet, is unable to appropriate and farm it, though the day, perhaps, may come when man's labour will make vast portions of the now barren sea productive as a garden. But by a justifiable fiction of international jurisprudence, the waters within a certain distance of the coast are regarded as subject to the dominion of man. A naval force which invests a port or territory conquers and takes possession of the jurisdictional waters of the coast in the name of the belligerent sovereign, so far as the investment reaches. The new sovereign acquires thereby a right of sovereignty within the limits of the conquered waves. In virtue of this right he may prohibit neutral transit, or impose on it such regulations as he chooses; but, the blockading force once gone, the waters revert to their original owners, and the natural privilege of neutral intercourse revives. For a blockade can only be, at best, a temporary interruption of the ordinary and natural right of neutrals to trade with all the world. With the traffic that comes and goes on the broad and free ocean the blockaders have no authority to interfere. Their right is confined to the occupation of such waters as it is possible for man to occupy and make his own. A blockade is a naval investiture and siege carried on within these latter. During siege, the necessities of war compel the suspension of all communication with the beleaguered spot; and those who choose to attempt to raise the siege by traversing the conquered strip of waters must take the consequences. “They are of the party of the " enemy,” says Grotius, “who supply “him with what is necessary in war;" and it is impossible to say that communication with the outer world may not
be a necessity to a besieged town. The neutral who gratuitously violates the cordon of blockade may be considered as having gratuitously interfered in the hostilities to befriend the besieged.
We have said that a blockading force takes possession of the blockaded waters so far as the possession reaches. How far over the jurisdictional waters of the invested territory does the blockading fleet extend the dominion of its flag? The whole question of the effectiveness of blockades seems to depend upon the answer. No satisfactory reply, however, is returned by most writers on the subject of blockade. Some French authorities contend that a fleet can only take possession of the stretch of water within gunshot of its artillery. We cannot accept so strict a limitation. The narrow theory in question rests, no doubt, upon the analogy of the international rule, that the dominion of the sovereign of the shore extends no further than gunshot from the shore itself. Finitur dominium terræ ubi finitur armorum vis. But the analogy must not be taken to be more exact than it really is. A stationary fort, or a battery mounted on the land, may justly be said to dominate those waters only which are within range of its cannon. But a ship is a floating, not a stationary battery, and its motive power must be taken into consideration when we wish to measure its possible dominion. Doubtless we may accept the maxim, Finitur dominium ubi finitur 'armorum 'vis. The error lies in supposing that the offensive power of a man-of-war is as limited as the offensive power of a fort upon the shore. The introduction of the use of steam into the royal navies of the world renders the distinction be tween floating and stationary dominion still more important. A vessel which attempts to break blockade cannot be said to be safe from the cannon of an armed cruiser, because at the moment of the attempt the cruiser is not within gunshot. Allowance must be made for the celerity with which the guardian of the blockade can sail down and cover the entrance of the blockaded port. No rigid law, indeed, can be laid down by which to measure the necessary range, but it is a range which, in each particular case, may easily be ascertained. The question should never be whether, looking to the vague possibility of cap. ture from a force which infests the adjacent ocean, a ship can venture to approach the mainland with the idea of attempting to break blockade. The true test is whether, in view of the force that is besieging the very spot, a vessel may hope to run for land without the reasonable certainty of being intercepted. If, indeed, the right of blockade is to be permitted to base itself on the monstrous assumption that belligerents may lawfully interfere with neutral traffic wherever they are strong enough to do so, it is difficult to say where a line can be drawn between a blockade that is effective and one which is the reverse. But a belligerent has no right to infest the seas, under the pretence of block. ading the contiguous mainland. One foreign writer, and one only, Lucchesi Palli, has ever maintained seriously the proposition put forward by Napoleon I. in the preamble of his Berlin decree, that none but strong places or fortresses can properly be subjects of blockade. The notion is a blunder, for if it were wellfounded a belligerent might disarm his enemy's fleet by dismantling all his own defences. But, blunder as it is, it points to a just conception of the basis of the true theory. It is possible, certainly, to blockade coasts as well as harbours, because the blockade of a coast may have its military uses as well as any other; and no objection can be taken to the Anglo-French proclamation of 1854, which recognises coasts as fit subjects for the exercise of this belligerent privilege. But blockade, to be justifiable at all, should be a military operation, and not merely an annoyance done to commerce.
Commerce is free to all, and on the belligerent who disturbs it lies the onus of showing that he disturbs it lawfully. If blockade is a temporary interference with the natural right of neutrals, and rests on a de facto occupation, no unne
it. Tantum occupanti jus conceditur quatenus occupat. Beyond the strictest limits of occupation the status ante revives, nor is the presumption in favour of blockade, but of liberty of commerce with the shore. If this be so (and we submit that it is so), a ship is fully at liberty, even after official notice of blockade, to visit the blockaded spot. and to assure herself that the official notice is not an idle menace. Lord Stowell's suggestion that the notice of a foreign Government is presumptive evidence of the fact which it asserts, will not satisfy this generation. Nor until special notice and warning from the blockading fleet should a vessel so approaching be seized and carried into port for punishment. In all these branches of the subject the law, as advocated by continental jurists, seems more unexceptionable than that put forward by our own.
But it is not merely because the theory of blockade, which is above suggested, can be grounded on intelligible legal maxims that its claims to consideration mainly rest. International law cannot be deemed to be a Divine revelation descended straight from heaven. It is, at best, a system passing through a very empirical phase, and built up by applying to the intercourse of a so-called family of nations abstract ideas which have been obtained from generalizing on phenomena of totally different kind. A doctrine of blockade more congenial to neutral commerce is chiefly to be advocated because the change would be à benefit to the world, and in particular a benefit to ourselves. Our statesmen have remembered long enough that England, when she is at war, is the greatest of belligerents. It is time they should remember also, that when she is at peace she is the greatest of neutrals. The interests of the most important trading nation of the age cannot really be at variance with the interests of neutral commerce. The abolishing of privateers was a piece of international legislation which the Congress of Paris carried out in the interests of universal
by the concession than our own. The Evidence is wanting to show that the Golden Maritime Law which should blockade of the South coast is so comguide us, both as to blockades and as pletely a paper blockade as to justify us to privateers, may be thus laid down. in protesting against it; and we are not England's interest is, that each nation's the proper people, nor is this the proper power of inflicting damage on its enemies' time perhaps, to raise the question. A trade, should be in exact proportion to great deal of denunciation has indeed the regular force which it can bring to been expended on the sinking of a stone bear in war-time on a given spot. Irre- fleet at the mouth of Charleston hargular warfare may be, perhaps, for the bour. If the harbour was thereby debenefit of those whose naval power is stroyed or permanently injured, the less overwhelming than ours. But measure would be a barbarous one, England is chiefly concerned to see that against which all Europe might consisthe greatest possible advantage shall be tently and properly protest. But engireserved for the country that has the neers know that it is extremely difficult most considerable fleet. To limit as to block up a channel by sinking chnarrowly as possible the right of block- structions at its mouth. In all proade ; to put an end, if possible, to bability, the bottom off Charleston “blockade by cruisers ;” and to insist harbour is composed of alluvial soil. upon the doctrine of blockade by an in- The action of the outward current in vesting force, is a policy which would such case will scoop out the bed of sand increase rather than diminish our naval or mud from beneath the sunken ships. predominance. It is astonishing that It is likely (judging from what is usually this truth should not be more generally the case with wrecks) that they will in seen. If the Continent in its wis time disappear entirely, and even the dom were to so state further, and to very weight of stone which they carry urge that no port should be held to be will increase the rapidity of their disblockaded off where less than a dozen appearance. If this view be correct, the or even twenty ships were stationed, sinking of the stones is not an outrage on we should gain, not lose, by the propo- the law of nations, though it is a severe sition. We can better spare twenty ships and unusual measure. We are not of than anybody else for the purpose. We the number of those who think that should be better off than other mari- America's difficulty is England's opportime powers in proportion to the facility tunity. It would be both unjust and with which we could detach the requi- unwise to interfere unnecessarily with site number of vessels on such a service. the naval operations of the North; and The result would be that the privilege a cogent case for interference has not yet of blockading would virtually pass alto- been established, either in respect of gether into English, and into French the stone fleet or of the blockade. But hands.
should the question of effective blockIf the American civil war teach us to ades be raised at all, we trust it will examine the principles on which block- not be dismissed again until it has been ade should rest, and to abolish "blockade more satisfactorily settled. by cruisers," it will have taught us The war itself progresses-slowly, a valuable lesson. The day will per- but surely—towards its turning-point. haps come when all of us will acknow. General Maclellan's plan of campaign ledge—what in our opinion is certain— has apparently been conceived on a scale that by enforcing strictness of blockade, proportioned to the vastness of the conand by admitting the inviolability of test. The defeat and death of Zollienemies' private property at sea, as we coeffer at Somerset, and the landing of have admitted that of neutral property at the Burnside expedition, have been two sea, England and civilization will both heavy blows dealt at almost the same be gainers. We are far from approving moment to the Confederate cause and to of intervention in favour of the South. the spirits of its supporters. We may
look for a series of victories still more considerable than those which have recently been gained. The new Secretary of War, Mr. Stanton, brings to bear upon the conduct of the war an honest and industrious mind; and, at all events, the loss of Mr. Cameron will be a gain that must be felt. It is true that specie payments have been sus. pended, and that the national exchequer is empty. In a smaller country which was taxed already as far as it could bear, the suspension of specie payments would be a serious matter. But it is very different in the case of a nation which populates a continent, and whose central government has hitherto drawn from the population a revenue suited only to a peace establishment. The national treasury is empty thus early in the war, not because the North is exhausted, but because taxation in the North has not been, and cannot easily be put on a war footing. A Government loan, or heavy taxation, would have been the natural method of supply. ing the deficiency. Unfortunately Go vernment credit is always at a discount in the commercial world of America, owing to the fact that repudiation is at all times possible, and heavy taxation is never welcome to free and enlightened citizens. In such a case, the suspension of specie payments is simply equivalent to contracting a forced loan. The mea sure may be unconstitutional, or, as it is called by English writers, profligate ; but it does not prove that the country is on the verge of bankruptcy. If America can support a war by taxation, she can also support depreciation of the currency within reasonable limits Commercial confidence is not a bit more likely to be disturbed by the idea that Government will go on issuing paper money too long, than it would in any case be by the idea that Government might some day refuse to pay Government debts; and it would certainly seem that the American currency can well afford to take its chance of depreciation, if commercial confidence is not shaken by wanton extravagance.
a great extent the foreign trade, which is ordinarily conducted without any important transfer of specie. On the other hand, the war converts into combatants an important part, and reduces to idleness a still larger part of the population, none of whom, accordingly, pay in productive labour or in manufactures for the subsistence and the supplies which they require. The result is that more specie payments are necessary than would be necessary in a time of peace. There is a dearth in the country, not so much of wealth as of a circulating medium. The gold is drifting westwards, into the pockets of the western agriculturists. It is at a premium near to the seaboard, because there is not enough of it in the manufacturing States for purposes of internal exchange, and because the supply of it was only adapted to the require ments of a period at which a great deal of national trade was carried on without the assistance of a circulating medium at all. Whatever the signiticance of the financial state in which the Cabinet of Washington finds itself, the South is in a still sorrier plight. Nor do the Southerners appear to support their condition with cheerfulness. The tone of the Richmond press is extremely remarkable. The Confederate journals write in a spirit of discontent and despair of the prospects of successful resistance. It is reasonable to suppose that there is a large Union party in the South, as there seem to be Southern sympathisers even in the Northern capital, A few more Southern reverses, and their voices will be doubtless heard. Hitherto we have had little more than the prelude to the real contest. It is true that the North have undertaken to re-conquer a country as large almost as a continent. But it is also true that it is as easy to conceive of the conquest of the South as of any terms of peace which can be acceptable to both sides at once. What frontier line can possibly be devised to satisfy both belligerents? There are some quarrels which must apparently be fought out, because a compromise would be in reality a victory for one of