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that he carries with him such a portion of the sovereign authority as may be essential to provide for such an exigency. But not only can no blockade exist as a legal fact which has not been declared by competent authority, but it must also have an actual physical existence. “The very notion of a complete blockade,” says Lord Stowell, “ includes that the besieging force can apply its power to every point of the blockaded state. If it cannot, then there is no blockade of that part where its power cannot be brought to bear.”2
By this, it is not intended that the blockading force must be at all times present, if the absence be temporary and accidental, and its cause known (as by being blown off the coast by tempestuous weather), but that the presence of the sufficient force, barring such accidents, must be continuous, and if not so, by reason of remissness on the part of the cruisers stationed to maintain it, it is considered as having no legal existence. “It is in vain," says Lord Stowell, “ for governments to im. pose blockades if those employed on that service will not enforce them. The inconvenience is very great, and spreads far beyond the individual case. Reports are eagerly circulated that the blockade is raised, foreigners take advantage of the information, the property of innocent persons is ensnared, and the honor of our country is involved in the mistake."
i The Henrick and Maria, 1 Rob., 146; The Rolla, 5 Rob., 367.
The Mercurius, 1 Rob., 80 ; The Stert, 4 Rob., 66, 1 Acton, 64.
$ The Frederick Molke, 1 Rob., 86-93, 94, 147, 156, and 1 Acton, 59.
4 The Juffrow Maria Schroeder, 3 Rob., 156, and note.
There is no limit to the right of a belligerent to blockade the ports of the enemy, but that which results from the deficiency of naval force. If a nation possess the power and resources, and will incur the hazard and
possesses to blockade the entire coast of the enemy, upon the same principle which confers the right to blockade a single port, and is entitled thereby to the same exemption from neutral interference.
Such a blockade is undoubtedly rendered more practicable and efficacious in modern times by reason of the vast improvements in the construction, and naviga
tion by steam, of ships of war. Knowledge of Not only must the blockade be ordered by the requisite. sovereign power of the nation, and be physically
actual and complete, but to be legally valid and effectual, so as to subject a neutral to the penalty consequent upon its violation, it is necessary that he should be sufficiently informed of its existence.
There are two modes by which information may be communicated—either by formal notification by the blockading power, or by the notoriety of the fact itself.
All that is requisite to the sufficiency of a notification, is that it be communicated in a credible manner. Any such communication, whether formal or not, being such as to leave no doubt of its authenticity, is obligatory upon the neutral; but the practice of nations in modern times has been to disseminate such intelligence to the world by proolamation, so distinctly expressed, as to leave no room for the defence of want of information. The legal effect of a notice officially given to a foreign government is, that it becomes binding upon every individual of that nation. “It is the duty of gov. ernments,” says Lord Stowell, “ for the protection of their subjects, to communicate the information which they have received, and no individual is allowed to plead ignorance of it. I shall hold, therefore, that a neutral master can never be heard to aver, against notification to his government, that he was ignorant of the fact." It has been even held, that a formal notification to one nation, after the lapse of a reasonable time, will be presumed to have been received by the subjects of a neighboring nation, operating however, upon them, not from the time when it was formally given to the one nation, but from such period when it may fairly be presumed to have been received by the subjects of the other.192
1 Marshall on Ins., B. I., c. ii., & 3; 1 Acton, 63. * The Rolla, 6 Rob., 367.
It is well established that when notice of the blockade, either actual or constructive, is given, the neutral cannot lawfully go to the station of the blockading force, under the pretence of obtaining information of its continuance. “The merchant," says Lord Stowell, “is not to send his vessel to the mouth of the river, and say, 'If you don't meet a blockading force, enter; if you do, ask a warning, and proceed elsewhere.' Who does not at once perceive the frauds to which such a rule would be introductory? The true rule is, that, after the knowledge of an existing blockade, you are not
· The Neptunus, 2 Rob., 110; vide also The Welvaart Van Pillaw, 2 Rob., 128, and 1 Acton, 61.
The Adelaide, 2 Rob., 110, and note; The Jonge Petronella, 2 Rob., 131 ; The Calypso, 2 Rob., 298.
to go to the very station of blockade upon pretence of inquiry."
The rule, with regard to notification of a blockade, is somewhat relaxed on behalf of nations at a great distance from the blockading power; and this relaxation was made to operate favorably to adventures from America, during the war at the close of the last century, between France and Great Britain, by the tribunals of the latter nation.
It is not to be presumed that such a relaxation of the rule would now be permitted, since maritime nations have been brought into such proximity by ocean steam navigation.
A definite rule as to notification of a blockade, is established by the treaty of 1794, between the United States and Great Britain, in the following terms: “Whereas, it frequently happens that vessels sail for a port or place belonging to an enemy, without knowing that the same is either besieged, blockaded or invested, it is agreed that every vessel so circumstanced may be turned away from such port or place; but she shall not be detained, nor her cargo, if not contraband, be confiscated, unless after notice she shall again attempt to enter; but she shall be permitted to go to any other port or place she may think proper.”
The receipt of notice of blockade will not operate to prevent a neutral from retiring without molestation from the blockaded port where she was lying at the time of such notification. And she may retire with a cargo on board, provided the
The Spes and Irene, 5 Rob., 76; The Betsy, 1 Rob. 332; The Neptunus, 2 Rob., 114; vide also, 1 Acton, 141, 161.
same were actually laden, and had become neutral property at the time of the receipt of such notification. But where the notification of blockade gives to neutral vessels lying in the blockaded ports a certain number of days to retire, they are not at liberty to purchase cargo to be laden after such notification, even though they may retire before the expiration of the time limited in the notification, And a cargo actually delivered on board a neutral vessel, under such circumstances, after the notification, is, in law, deemed a fresh purchase.
An actual notice of a blockade must be regular and specific, in order to be legal.
A blockade was ordered by Great Britain of the single port of Amsterdam, but a British commander notified a neutral about entering, that a blockade existed of all the Dutch ports. It was held to be an illegal and insufficient notice, even as to Amsterdam. “Because," says Lord Stowell, “it took from the neutral all power of election as to what other port of Holland he would enter, when he found the port of his destination under blockade. mander of a ship must not reduce a neutral master to this kind of distress, and I am of opinion that if the neutral had contravened the notice, he would not have been subject to condemnation."
A neutral may be charged with sufficient knowledge of a blockade to be binding upon his conduct without any formal notification, by the mere notoriety of the fact. Such formal notice is never requisite to neutrals lying in the blockaded ports. “The
1 The Rolla, 6 Rob., 364; The Betsy, 1 Rob., 92, and 152. · The Henrick and Maria, 1 Rob., 146; The Rolla, 6 Rob.,