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may be regarded as such, concurred in stipulating, that whenever any article, so becoming contraband according to the existing law of nations, shall for that reason be seized, the same shall not be confiscated, but the owners shall be completely indemnified in the manner provided for in the article." We cannot agree with our author in this view of the effect of the article, or of the intention of the parties. The parties, though unable to agree upon the precise cases in which provisions may be regarded as contraband, agree that there are some such cases, and provide for their occurrence. The objection to this is, that there are no such cases; and that the pretence that provisions may in any case be regarded as contraband, was a mere cover for belligerent cupidity. Mr. Wheaton intimates, that the American commissioner may have had in view the case of provisions bound to a blockaded port. But this construction can hardly be admitted, for two reasons; first, because in regard to articles bound to a blockaded port there is no distinction between contraband and not contraband, the whole being liable to confiscation on a different ground; and, secondly, it is apparent that this could not have been the intention of the parties, because the case of a blockaded port is provided for in another part of the same article. In making these remarks, we mean of course no disparagement to the character of Mr. Jay, whose patriotism and ability are generally acknowledged, and whose error is to be attributed to no other motive than an anxious desire to effect the object of his mission, and avert the impending danger of a war with England.
Of all the extravagant pretensions put forward by the belligerent powers during the late war, that of paper blockades was perhaps the most violent and absurd. A blockade is the investment by sea of a place, which the besieging party expects to compel by starvation to surrender. To carry supplies of any kind to a place so situated, would be to take a direct part in the war; and accordingly, the usage of nations authorizes the seizure and confiscation of neutral vessels bound to a blockaded port. But the rule requires, that the blockading force should be actually present; and the reason of the rule, which would of course govern its application in every impartial prize court, requires, that the place should be invested at the same time by land. Upon this narrow basis of admitted right, the belligerent powers erected the enormous pretension No. 94.
of establishing by a simple notification, a permanent blockade of all the ports, in the whole coast of kingdoms and continents. It should be added, that each justified these proceedings, chiefly on the ground that they were in retaliation for similar acts by the other. The condition of the neutral in this case, was even worse than that of the Achivi, in the Latin poet. Whatever extravagance was committed by either belligerent, the neutral (for there was only one), was sure to be plundered by both; and it can be no great matter of surprise to any one, that he was at last "kicked into war."
While the great powers were playing these fantastic tricks before high Heaven, the smaller ones occasionally tried their hands at the same game. In the years 1809, 1810, the king of Denmark undertook to capture a number of American vessels, on various pretences; one of which was, that some of them had made use of British convoy, a circumstance, which, according to his Danish Majesty's construction of the law of nations, subjected the offending vessel to capture and condemnation. A long negotiation ensued between the two governments, which was terminated, in 1830, by a convention, concluded on the part of the United States by Mr. Wheaton himself, in which Denmark stipulated to pay a fixed sum, by way of indemnity, to be distributed by our own government among the sufferers. Our author's account of the negotiation on this subject, (pp. 353-364,) may be advantageously consulted, for a specimen of the style and manner of the work.
Before we conclude, we are tempted to add a very few remarks upon another recent work, in which the same subject is treated, though in a different way. We allude to the "Manual of Peace," by Professor Upham, of Bowdoin College. Occupying the chair of Mental and Moral Philosophy, in that respectable institution, and known already to the public, in a favorable manner, by several works of great merit, Professor Upham will naturally be heard, with much respect, upon any subject connected with his line of study; and we regret to see the authority of his name lent to opinions, which we consider as decidedly untenable. Without intending to discuss the topics in question, we feel it a duty, to enter our protest against one leading view, in brief but distinct terms.
The doctrine advanced, and maintained throughout the work, is that of the universal inviolability of human life. No individual acting in a private or public capacity, is justified in voluntarily taking the life of another, either in the way of punishment for crime, or the strictest self-defence. If defensive war be considered as lawful, says Mr. Upham, there will never be wanting pretences for attributing that character to all wars, however violent and unjustifiable. This may be to a certain extent true; but the question is not how a certain principle, if true, may be abused, but what the truth is. It may be said in the same way, that, if the use of food, or the intercourse between the sexes, be allowed, the permission will certainly be abused, for purposes of vicious sensual indulgence, and, therefore, that they ought to be entirely prohibited. Though the fact must be admitted, in regard to both, few judicious persons would consider it as authorizing the conclusion. However sophistically the plea of selfdefence may be used at times by nations and individuals, there are certainly many cases, in which it may be urged with perfect truth. The laws of nature, and of God, which are the same, authorize in such cases, where necessity requires it, the taking of life; nor has any nation, of ancient or modern times, ever scrupled to found its legislation upon this basis. Our author relies very much in argument, upon the humane and pacific spirit of our religion, as evinced in various passages of the Scriptures, and particularly the article of the Decalogue, which is emphatically confirmed in the New Testament; Thou shalt not kill. Concurring with him entirely, in his view of the spirit of Christianity, we conceive that his construction of the commandment in question, is contradicted alike by the plain common sense of the world, and by the practice of the people to whom it was originally given; and who certainly never understood it in the sense now given to it by Mr. Upham. Indeed, the case in which an individu-, al must either lose his own life, or take that of another who is violently attacking him, is obviously one in which the rule admits of no application, because the individual must, in either event, sacrifice life. If, in order to avoid taking the life of his antagonist, he voluntarily gives up his own, he commits suicide; and this is as clearly within the prohibition of the commandment, as homicide of any other kind. He must necessarily kill; and the only question is, whether he will kill
a sanguinary ruffian, or a quiet and peaceable citizen; problem, which, apart from any prejudice founded on the amour propre of the individual, can only be solved upon any principle of religion, morals, or common sense, in one way.
We need not, however, go into this minute criticism; nor are we disposed to restrict the right of taking the life of another, in self-defence, to the single case, where it is absolutely indispensable to the preservation of our own. Life is not the greatest of goods; nor is the preservation of it in ourselves, or our neighbours, to be held paramount to all other considerations. Life must be freely and unscrupulously sacrificed, if necessary, in a good cause of any kind. Such is the dictate of the noblest feelings of the heart; and such has been the doctrine and practice of the best and wisest men of every age and country. The voice of God within us confirms it as true, and denounces the opposite sentiment, as cowardly and base. The man who could stand by to see his wife dishonored, and his children slaughtered, and then acquiesce in the loss of his own life, rather than take that of the ruffian, who should undertake to perpetrate these outrages, would not deserve to be classed with his species.
The case is equally clear, of a nation engaged in a really defensive war. The question was put to the late Mr. Grimké, of Charleston, S. C., who was an enthusiast upon this subject, what he would do, if a band of pirates should assail a town, of which he should happen to be the responsible magistrate. His answer, which Mr. Upham quotes at length, and with high approbation, was substantially as follows. "If any fellow-citizen insisted upon my taking measures for a forcible defence, I would at once resign. If I could have my own way, I should make proclamation, that all the churches be opened, and that prayer be offered by the clergy, and all the pious, that God would be pleased to change the hearts of our invaders, and to manifest his power and mercy in our deliverance. That done, I should throw open the gate that fronted the enemy. Thence would I issue forth, not with a band of cavalry and infantry, but with all the clergy, and a long succession of Sunday School teachers and scholars, dressed in the white robes of peace, and chanting no battle song of the Bruce, but the hymn of Christian faith and hope. Can it be doubted, that such a spectacle would soften the hearts, and change the purposes, of that band of greedy, lustful, bloodthirsty pirates?"
It is unnecessary, we presume, to comment upon this passage. We are induced to notice it, because we consider such extravagancies in the professed, and, no doubt, sincere advocates of humanity and justice, as exceedingly prejudicial to the cause. We regret to see them countenanced by the authority of Mr. Upham.
E. J. Channing,
ART. III. The Works of William Cowper, Est. With a Life of the Author, by the Editor, ROBERT SOUTHEY, Esq., LL. D., Poet Laureate, &c. London. 1835-36. Five Volumes. 16mo.
COWPER'S genius, character, and singular history would alone account for the interest that has been felt in the particulars of his life; but several circumstances have no doubt aided to strengthen and sustain it. A large part of his Biography being composed of his familiar letters, and even shadowed forth, not ambiguously, in his most popular poetry, an acquaintance next to personal has been established between the author and his readers. Again, the whole of his case was not laid at once before the world by his biographers; some facts, and not the least striking, were disclosed at distant periods. If attention had drooped, it was sure to be revived by some new form of horror; and curiosity was no doubt animated by the suspicion, that there was yet more in reserve. And further, the undisputed facts of his life have led to differing opinions, sometimes upon points, which, to say the least, are exceedingly curious, and at others upon those which are always important, if for no other reason than that they are always agitating. There are questions not yet at rest concerning the religious aspects of his case; new theories are still offered to explain the phenomena of his mental disease; and, unnatural as it may seem in connexion with Cowper, at portion of the zeal that is now manifested in relation to him bears some marks of party feeling.
Hayley, his friend and earliest biographer, was induced, by tenderness to the living and to the memory of the dead, and no doubt by a reluctance to injure the pleasing idea which the readers of his poetry had formed of the man, to withhold or touch lightly upon, the particulars of his insanity. He