war.* No authorities are more frequently appealed to, than those which have just been mentioned, on controverted questions of international law, and yet not one of them professes to establish or even to propose the doctrine under consideration; which, however, has been unhesitatingly assumed as established public law by maritime courts, and has been the basis of condemnation to millions of neutral property.

But this doctrine is not only excluded from these authorities and unsupported by them, it finds scarcely more countenance and support in the great body of modern treaties. The public code of nations is erected on the twofold basis of reason and usage; and in ascertaining what usage is, the treaties existing among nations are undoubtedly the readiest and surest help. On examination it is found, that the great mass of treaties sustain the acknowledged authorities on public law, by stipulations favorable to the general freedom of neutral commerce, excepting the cases of contraband, blockade, and the transportation of an enemy's property; but not making an exception in favor of the case in question. There is another remark worthy of notice. With the exception of Great Britain, no other nation seems to have maintained the principle, that the belligerent has a right to interrupt a neutral trade in time of war, which happened not to be permitted in time of peace. If it were otherwise, we should hardly fail to find the evidence of it in the direc tions given to armed cruizers, in the decisions of maritime courts, and in the immense devastations on neutral commerce. In this matter Great Britain may justly be regarded as standing alone, uncountenanced alike by the

Grotius, Bk. III, Chs. 1, 17-Vattel, Bk. III, Ch. 7—Martens, Bk. VIII, Ch. 6-See also a learned work, entitled "Examination of the British Doctrine, which subjects to capture a neutral trade not open in time of Peace," where the subject is very minutely and ably discussed.

letter of public law, and by the example of the rest of the civilized world. And yet she steadily maintains the correctness of her position; the DICTA of her maritime courts are made to harmonize with the mysteries of diplomacy; her judges go hand in hand with her counsellors; and in their own language, do themselves consider, and mean that others shall consider their doctrine as the universal law on this great question.


And what, then, is to be said? In this conflict and confusion, who is to determine? And who is to furnish the redress of wrongs, committed against right? neutral commerce, which is, or ought be the great portion of the commerce of the world, any adequate protection, sailing, as it does, on the broad ocean, without the possibility of knowing, what public law controls it, and without the ability of ascertaining what jurisdictions, and what liabilities it is itself subject to?

It is, indeed, difficult to answer these questions. If men would come at once upon the broad and elevated ground of the Gospel, which forbids, under any circumstances whatever, the destruction or the injury of man by his fellowman, they would then all be swept away at once. To this great result, to a consummation so devoutly to be desired, we cannot doubt, that the world is making progress; slowly, it is true, but still really so. In the meanwhile, among other usurpations which add to the frequency and miseries of war, let all unite in condemnation of the one under consideration; as flagrant, to say the least, as any that darkens the long list of violations of neutral and pacific rights. It is a doctrine, maintained by Great Britain alone; palliated and supported, as we should expect it would be under the various motives pressing upon them, by the decisions of her maritime courts, and enforced by the thunder of her thousand cannon; but which, beyond the reach of those

powerful influences, never has been received by the world; and such is its obvious outrage of neutral rights, in favor of belligerent purposes, it is to be presumed, it never will be. We may say here, what Vattel has so justly said of the exclusive pretensions of England and Venice to the Adriatic and British seas, "Such pretensions are respected, as long as the nation, that makes them, is able to assert them by force; but they vanish of course on the decline of her power."




By the law of nations, one state may attack another under certain circumstances, when the state thus attacked is de facto at peace; but the circumstances must be peculiar, well-defined, and incontrovertible. For instance, such an attack is held to be justifiable, if a neighboring nation, that has already demonstrated its ambitious policy in various ways, suddenly increases its armaments by sea and land, without consenting to give any satisfactory reason of such increase. This right is held to be admissible on the same ground, that it would be right to shoot a supposed highwayman or robber, who should suddenly meet us in a forest, and present a pistol, with

out our waiting to receive the first fire from him. In other words, the right is justified on the ground of a reasonable regard to our own preservation; and, stated in the most general terms, it amounts to this.-Whenever the internal situation of a nation and its arrangements of whatever kind, are of such an aspect as to render her dangerous to a neighboring nation, the latter, if peaceable means will not probably produce the desired result, may interfere by force of arms.

Now if nations were always governed by unerring foresight and justice, this principle would wear comparatively a very harmless appearance. They would wait with patience; they would carefully scrutinize every circumstance, which seemed to be of doubtful interpretation, and thus secure the approbation of surrounding nations, always prone to jealousy and hostile movements.-But the actual state of things is often very different from this. Too frequently the process of intervention by one nation in the internal concerns of another is prompted by other motives, and prosecuted in a different manner; being attended in its progress and its consummation, with unutterable selfishness on the part of the assailants, and with unmeasurable heartburning and wrath on the part of the assailed.

There is one remarkable peculiarity attending upon this principle; it is capable of an almost indefinite expansion or contraction according to circumstances; it will open and enlarge itself so as to embrace and crush a nation, or contract itself to the microscopic purpose of finding out and devouring some powerless individual. And this trait, which we shall endeavor to illustrate by a few facts, will tend to throw light on the doubtful and injurious character of the whole principle. In illustration of its application to individual cases, we may adduce the abduction and murder of the Duke D'Enghien. The

Duke was residing in the neutral territories of the Elector of Baden; he belonged to the house of Bourbon; but although he commiserated the situation of France, he had no hostile designs. He was violently seized by a force sent by the French government; hurried within the limits of the territory of France, and put to death by night in the ditches of the State-prison of Vincennes. It is not pretended that the measures attending the death of this young prince, who was not only free from crime, but ennobled by many virtues, were consonant with the existing laws of France. It is indeed true, that the final act in the consummation of this tragedy was preceded by a sort of trial; but it had only the appearance of legality; and at the present day, no defence of this sanguinary transaction will be set up, except on the broad ground of the Law of nations, and of the very principle of the Law of nations which is before us. In few words, the defence is this. The Bourbons, who had a distinct existence as a party, were formidable and dangerous to France; the Duke of D'Enghien was a Bourbon, beloved and influential, and supposed to be a leader among them; it was, therefore, necessary, on the ground of his being dangerous to France, that he should be kidnapped and shot.

We will now take another case, where the principle exalts its ambition, and instead of striking down an individual aims a blow at a city and a fleet. It is perfectly well understood, that, in the late dreadful wars of Europe, the kingdom of Denmark was desirous of maintaining a strict neutrality. Her position was difficult; but her intentions were honorable. She had placed her naval armaments on a respectable footing; but England, with a recreant spirit of prophecy dishonorable to her greatness and her good name, pretended to foresee danger to herself in the existence of those armaments. Ac

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