English colonies, and of the countries occupied by English troops, and proceeding to England, or to the English colonies, or to countries occupied by English troops, is good and lawful prize, as contrary to the present decree, and may be captured by our ships of war, or our privateers, and adjudged to the captor."

Now when we consider, that these measures were professedly taken in accordance with an established doctrine of International law, and that too in an enlightened age and by the most enlightened states in the world, it cannot fail to be felt, that the intercourse of nations ought not to be subjected to the operations of a principle, which is liable to such disastrous perversions. It may perhaps be said, that the exceptionable measures now referred to were, in part, of a retaliatory character, and were adopted at a time of great excitement and irritation. The fact is not denied; but it may be asked, when were wars ever carried on without much irritation, and without a disposition to retaliate? Are we to expect, that men will be perfectly calm, reflecting, and rational, when seizing each other's property, and bathing their hands in each other's blood? In what court of justice was violence of passion ever accepted as an excuse for crime? Admitting the fact, that these nations were in a state of great hostility and excitement, it proves nothing. It only shows we ought to be exceedingly careful, how we give our assent to any principle, which is likely to fall into such improper hands.

In the THIRD place, the right of blockade, so far as it relates to neutrals, which is the most important aspect of the subject and is the one we have particularly in view, has no tenable basis in reason, and in the permanent principles of the Law of Nations. It rests, it is true, upon something which has the appearance of a principle; but it is one, which we cannot but regard as

involving a great perversion of truth and justice, viz., That the condition of the belligerent is the favorable one, and that of the neutral is the unfavorable one. In other words, where the rights of the belligerent and the neutral come in conflict, the latter must yield to the former. Now the right of carrying on commerce is a natural right; it is not only a right, but a duty; it is as much against nature and as much a sin for nations to refuse intercourse and trade with each other, as it would be for an individual wholly to exclude himself from his fellowmen, and to decline all acts of mutual kindness. No belligerent has a right to interrupt this sort of communication; on the ground of justice and reason the belligerent has nothing to do with the neutral, who merely carries on what would be considered in times of peace a legal and rightful commerce; the rights of peace, in other words the rights of neutrals, in the prosecution of a pacific intercourse, ought to be considered paramount to all others; and the flag of peace ought to float above all others, because such are the intentions of nature. It is the intentions of nature, which is to decide this question. Does she design, that men shall die or live-that they shall be foes or friends-that they shall help each other or destroy each other? It is believed, that the strange doctrine of Hobbes, which represents men as naturally in a state of hostility and war with each other, will find but few supporters at the present day. If there is any truth susceptible of being placed on a settled foundation, it is that the natural state of men is one of society, friendship, and peace. Hostility is undoubtedly an incident to man's character, when he is placed in certain situations; but, although it has been deplorably fostered by evil and designing men, it is by no means the predominant sentiment of his heart. The natural course of things runs in the line of sociality and friendship. War

is a sad and hateful deviation from it. It would seem, then, evidently to follow, that the spirit and decisions of the law of nations ought to foster and cherish the natural state of things, and to check, as far as possible, the deviations. We apprehend, it ought to speak as the friend of peace and peaceful nations, and to throw every proper obstacle in the way of the unnecessary commencement and prosecution of wars; and that in all cases of conflicting rights, it ought to take the side of the neutral and set itself against the claims of the belligerent.

In the FOURTH place, the doctrine is unsupported, and not only so, is wholly condemned, by all analogy. The true course of reasoning on these subjects, and that which generally obtains, is from individuals to communities. Let us apply this mode of reasoning. Here are three men, neighbors; two are contending with each other; and the third is pacific and neutral. But one of the contending parties undertakes to say to the person, who stands aloof from the contest, you must not go to the house of my enemy, nor approach within fifty rods of it; you are his neighbor and friend, it is true, but the rights of hostility are paramount, and those of friendship are subordinate; you must not go to him nor permit your wife and children to go; you must not send him a spade nor a pick-axe, nor a billet of wood nor a pint of meal nor a drop of water; because if you do, you necessarily give him encouragement and strength, which of course indirectly operates against me; and if you take these measures, however you may be called to do it by the suggestions of humanity and by the ties of friendship, I will destroy you. It is not to be supposed, that such assumptions on the part of a quarrelsome individual would be admitted in private life. There is no question, that they would be rejected and spurned at once, as wholly inadmissible. But the same principles apply here,

as in the case of nations; and if, in the case of individuals, we are correct in not considering the rights of the belligerent party paramount, if we altogether deny the justice and propriety of the quarrelsome individual's treating the pacific individual in this way, we may properly take the same ground in regard to nations.We know that various objections may be raised to these suggestions; but we have great confidence, that a full and minute examination of this subject, (such an examination as we are not now, for various reasons, permitted to go into,) would favor and confirm them.

It ought perhaps to be added, that the position, which requires the utter rejection of the whole doctrine of the right of blockade, is not wholly unsupported by the favorable sentiments of men, who stand high in public estimation as politicians and philosophers. We infer from various passages in his political writings, that such were the sentiments of Dr. Franklin. We know for certainty that he and Mr. Jefferson, (whose sentiments on neutral rights and other related subjects of public law seem to have been closely allied to those of Dr. Franklin,) participated in forming a treaty with Prussia, by the terms of which the right of blockade was abolished in respect to the parties to the treaty. Mr. Adams also was a signer to the treaty in question. This treaty may be regarded as an expression of the sentiments of these distinguished men in respect to the course, which they considered it right and proper for nations to pursue; particularly as we find them attempting to secure the same or equivalent provisions in the progress of other negociations.* The clause of the treaty, which relates to the subject before us, is as follows." If one of the contracting parties should be engaged in war with any other power, the free intercourse and commerce of the sub*Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, Vol. II, p. 429..

jects or citizens of the party remaining neuter with the belligerent powers, shall not be interrupted. On the contrary, in that case as in full peace, the vessels of the neutral party may navigate freely to and from the ports and on the coasts of the belligerent parties, free vessels making free goods, insomuch, that all things shall be adjudged free which shall be on board any vessel belonging to the neutral party, although such things belong to an enemy of the other; and the same freedom shall be extended to persons who shall be on board a free vessel, although they should be enemies to the other party, unless they be soldiers in actual service of such enemy."*



A prolific source of irritation and dispute among nations, and one which neither treaties nor express stipulations have been able to close nor even greatly to diminish, is the doctrine of Contraband of war. This matter furnishes so important a topic in the history of modern warfare and modern diplomacy, that it certainly demands some notice.

Under the head of contraband goods are usually included goods, that are particularly useful in war, such as arms, ammunition, timber for shipbuilding, all kinds of

*Secret Journals of Congress. Foreign Affairs, Vol. IV.—See also Spark's Diplom. Correspondence of the Am. Revolution, Vol. IV, pp. 119, 155.

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