Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

tions to acknow

at

ents.

dent can indi- tions entitling it to be regarded as something other cate the obligation of na- than the transient aberrations of a deluded moh,

he there have existed circumstances, of more or less olters as significance, which commended the revolt to the lawful bellig.

sympathies of Christian nations,

The impartial reader of history will seek in vain for the record of such a revolt, that may not fairly be referred to some direct, pressing, urgent cause, or, at least, in which the leading spirits of the movement were not themselves in perfect accordance, in their assignment of the reasons which impelled them to resistance. But in this unnatural rebellion, against as mild, and benignant, and beneficent a government as ever existed upon earth, is presented the extraordinary spectacle of grave and apparently well-considered public documents, prepared for submission to the judgment of the world, emanating from the two prominent conspirators in the revoltone calling himself the president, and the other the vice-president of the Confederate States-in which each sets forth elaborately what he considers the aggregation of causes which have induced the attempt to overthrow the government, so utterly discordant, so diametrically differing, each from the other, that one who should, for the first time, read the manifestos, without any previous information of current events, might suppose them to refer to different nations and a different people.. .

It is quite safe to declare that rebellion to be causeless, in which it is scarcely possible to find any two prominent insurrectionists agreeing in their as. signment of the causes which have produced it.

It is quite safe to declare that rebellion to be causeless, that is raised against a government, which,

from its commencement, to the dawn of revolt, has been controlled and administered, in all its departments, in the interests of those by whom the rebellion has been incited. And it is quite safe to declare that rebellion to be causeless which has no other avowed basis than a pretended apprehension of a future indisposition of the government to protect the peculiar rights in the peculiar property of the revolting people—which, if successful, can have no other end than to leave those rights so utterly with. out all protection, that their eventual annihilation would be inevitable. •

Revolting people of other nations have risen to throw off the yoke of the oppressor—to free themselves from an odious thraldom—to cast away the burdens heaped upon them by an iron despotism, and to go forth an independent people. Never before, in the world's history, was a rebellion against a constituted government resorted to with the avowed and sole purpose and object of encouraging, protecting, extending, and perpetuating human slavery, and making the perpetual bondage of a race the chief corner-stone of the social and political fabric.

Considerations such as these, might well have justified Great Britain in declaring that such recognitions of a revolted people as lawful belligerents, which have hitherto been made by nations, before their independence was acknowledged, furnish no precedent for a case like this.

CHAPTER II.

OF THE LEGAL OBLIGATIONS OF BELLIGERENTS AND

THEIR ALLIES.

ISOD

War terminates commerce Tue existence of war between nations immediatebetween bel. ligerents.

*** ly terminates all legal commercial intercourse be

tween their citizens or subjects. This principle is of a character so obviously just, resulting from the very nature of war itself, and having its source in that natural reason and natural justice which are alike binding on the whole community of the civil. ized world, that all the great writers who have treated of the law of nations have assumed it as incontrovertible. There is no such thing, as has been

justly said, as a war for arms and a peace for com. merce. The existence of war places each individual citizen of the respective belligerent nations in a condition of common hostility. By it, all treaties, all

civil contracts, all rights of property, are terminated The foundation of this or suspended. Its existence confers the power, if it doctrine.

does not impose the duty, on every citizen to attack

[ocr errors]

Grotius, Lib. III., c. iv., $ 8; Bynkershoek, Lib. I., c. iii.; Vattel, Lib. III., c. iv.; Valin, Lib. III, Tit. 6, Art. 3.

the enemy and seize his property, though, by established custom, this right is restricted to such only, as are the commissioned instruments of the government for such purpose.

Trade and commerce presuppose the existence of civil contracts and business relations, and a recourse to judicial tribunals; and this is necessarily incompatible with a state of war.

Trade and commerce, by enriching the merchants of the enemy, and thus enabling them to contribute to the support of their government, as well as by replenishing the treasury of the enemy by the payment of export duties upon the merchandise brought from his country, operate directly to aid and assist the enemy, by furnishing him with the very sinews of war.

Besides, any individual profit or advantage which might accrue from the continuance of commercial intercourse, is far outweighed by a consideration of the public welfare, which requires a cessation of the extraordinary facilities which it affords, of conducting a traitorous correspondence with the enemy, and of conveying intelligence that the public safety demands should be withheld. A review of the English and American authori. Review of

judicial decis ties, and the luminous and learned commentaries of ions on the Sir William Scott (Lord Stowell) and of Mr. Jus- subject. tice Story, illustrating the true character and extent of the principle by, which all commercial intercourse is interdicted between belligerents, and of the circumstances under which it has been applied and enforced, cannot fail to be instructive, as well to the statesman and lawyer, as the merchant.

The leading English cases are, “The Hoop” (1

Robinson, 196) and Potts vs. Bell et als.” (8 Term. Rep. 548). In the case of The Hoop,” it appear. ed that Mr. Malcolm of Glasgow, and other merchants of Scotland, had traded with Holland, for articles necessary for the agriculture and manufactures of Scotland. They had several times applied for, and procured, the king's license for this trade during the war; but, after the passing of certain acts of Parliament, being erroneously informed by the commissioners of the customs at Glasgow, that such licenses were no longer necessary, they omitted to procure one upon the occasion in question, and, in consequence of this, the cargo being taken, was condemned as prize.

The case of Potts vs. Bell et als.” was upon a policy of insurance effected by the plaintiff, a British subject, upun goods purchased by him from the enemy, during hostilities, and shipped from the enemy's country on board a neutral ship. The policy was held to be illegal and void.

“There exists,” says Lord Stowell, “a general rule in the maritime jurisprudence of this country, by which all trading with the public enemy, unless with the permission of the sovereign, is interdicted. It is not a principle peculiar to the maritime law of this country; it is laid down by Bynkershoek, as a universal principle of the law. Ex natura belli commercia inter hostes cessare, non est disputandum. He proceeds to observe:

“ The interests of trade, and the necessity of ob: taining certain commodities, have sometimes so far overpowered this rule, that different species of traf: fic have been permitted, but it is, in all cases, the act and permission of the sovereign (Bynk. 6, 1

« EdellinenJatka »