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hostile act, by the neutral nation of the guilty subjects.
The minister of the belligerent nation, resident at the Court of St. James, lost no time in calling the attention of Her Majesty's government to the subject. The writer has not had an opportunity of consulting the correspondence which ensued between Mr. Adams and Earl Russell-but it is understood that the expectations expressed by the former, that the British government would direct the surrender of the captured property, and the arguments and authorities urged as the basis of his expectations, were met by a peremptory denial of the obligation on the part of the latter.
Upon the commencement of the civil war in the United States, Great Britain hastened to announce her position, as that of neutrality, between lawful belligerents.
The proclamation of the Queen was forthwith issued, in which it was said: “We have declared our royal determination to maintain a strict and impartial neutrality in the contest between the said contending parties.” And again, in this same proclamation, the British queen says: “We do hereby warn all our loving subjects, and all persons whatsoever, entitled to our protection, that if any of them shall presume, in contempt of this, our royal proclamation, and of our high displeasure, to do any acts in derogation of their duty, as subjects of a neutral sovereign in the said contest, or in violation or in contravention of the law of nations, as for example,”
by breaking or attempting to break any blockade, lawfully and actually established by or on behalf of either of the said contending parties, all persons so
offending, will incur and be liable to the several penalties and penal consequences, by the law of nations in that behalf imposed and decreed."
And in the same proclamation the British queen adds :
“ And we do hereby declare that all our subjects, and persons entitled to our protection, who may misconduct themselves in the premises, will do so at their peril, and of their own wrong, and that they will in no wise OBTAIN ANY PROTECTION FROM US against any liabilities or penal consequences, but will, on the contrary, incur our high displeasure by such misconduct."
If the law of nations, upon the subject of the rescue of a captured neutral vessel, for the violation of a belligerent blockade, has been here correctly stated, it would be a hopeless task to reconcile the course of the British government in the case of the Emily St. Pierre, with a sincere regard for the obligations of neutrality under the law of nations, or with the solemnly proclaimed determination of the British Queen, that her subjects offending against that law, “will in no wise obtain her protection.”
OF THE EFFECT OF WAR UPON THE COMMERCE
OF NEUTRALS—AND HEREIN OF BLOCKADE-OF
NEUTRAL nations are those which, in time of war, who are nou
, take no part in the contest, but, maintaining a strict impartiality between the belligerents, render assistance to neither.
The general commercial rights of neutrals have their general been thus stated by Lord Erskine in his speech of
rights. March 8th, 1808, upon the orders in council: “The public law establishes, that countries not engaged in war, nor interposing in it, shall not be affected by the differences of contending nations; but, to use the very words of the eminent judge who now presides with so much learning in the Court of Admiralty (Sir Wm. Scott-Lord Stowell), “upon the breaking out of war, it is the right of neutrals to carry on their accustomed trade, with an exception of the particular cases of a trade to blockaded ports, or in contraband articles, and of their ships being liable to visitation and search.'”
Under this succinct but comprehensive statement of the general commercial rights of neutrals, the subjects for consideration in this chapter are clearly indicated. It is the right of neutrals to carry on their accustomed trade, which suggests the first topic for review.
It has ever been the policy of nations to preserve, Coasting and with jealous exclusiveness, for the benefit of their
own citizens, the traffic carried on between ports of their own coast, and, as far as practicable, that with their colonial possessions.
It has been the practice, in time of war, for the belligerent, to permit neutrals to enjoy this com
Neutrals eroluded therefrom.
The impossibility of determining whether such permission is granted in good faith and with honest designs, or whether it is, as it is well known to be, in the vast majority of cases, a permission allowed with the collusive and fraudulent design of protecting the enemy's property by a neutral shield, and the incessant liability to abuse, incident to such permission, has resulted in the establishment of the general principle of total exclusion of neutrals from the enemy's coasting and colonial trade.
Under this general rule of exclusion, it is considered, that when a neutral presents himself in the capacity of a trader from port to port, or with the colonies of the enemy, he presents himself as an ally, as a willing and active instrument of the enemy, rather than as a neutral. He is regarded as departing from the line of impartiality which distinguishes a neutral, by engaging in the business of relieving one belligerent from the extremities to which he has been reduced by the lawful operations of the other—and being so regarded, is so accordingly dealt with.
The character and the reasons for the rule of rule of exclu- exclusion of neutrals from a commerce in war,
which they have been unaccustomed to enjoy in time of peace, are clearly and ably set forth by Lord Stowell in an early case involving the ques
Character and reason for the
“Is there nothing," said he, “like a departure from the strict duties imposed by a neutral character and situation, in stepping in to the aid of the depressed party, and taking up a commerce which so peculiarly belonged to himself, and to extinguish which was one of the principal objects and proposed fruits of victory? Is not this, by a new act and by an interposition, neither known nor permitted by that enemy, in the ordinary state of his affairs, to give a direct opposition to the efforts of the conqueror, and to take off that pressure which it is the very purpose of war to inflict, in order to compel the conquered to a due sense and observance of justice ?
“As to the coasting trade, supposing it to be a trade not usually open to foreign vessels, can there be described a more effective accommodation that can be given to an enemy during a war, than to undertake it for him during his own disability ? Is it nothing that the commodities of an extensive empire are conveyed from the parts where they grow and are manufactured, to other parts where they are wanted for use? It is said, that this is not importing any thing new into the country, and it certainly is not: but has it not all the effects of such an importation? Suppose that the French navy had a decided ascendant, and had cut off all British communication between the northern and southern parts of this island, and that neutrals interposed to bring the coals of the north, for the supply of the manufacturers and for the necessities of domestic life in this metropolis, is it possible to describe a more direct and more effectual opposition to the success of French hostility, short of an actual military assistance in the war ?"