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prold, and havin we are, wi.commonestre, unable to can stand her,
our neighbours, to whom in soil and sky nature has been kinder, and who shut out the competition we invite. We can stand up before all Europe and say, “ Here we are, unable to grow in our country a sufficiency of the commonest necessaries of food and clothing - here we are, with our own ports free to all the world, and having to sell the products of our labour in your *protected' markets; and yet we are better fed, better clad, better paid, than any of you; and the less we have trusted to those restrictions on which you lay your help, the stronger, and happier, and richer, have we become.” In spite of all the barriers of protective tariffs, we sell more products than any other country in the world, and therewith we buy for our own use a far greater abundance of all things, from the commonest necessaries to the most costly luxuries, that are produced by all other climates. Never more than by this country at this time was exemplified the truth of that wise remark which Sir Josiah Child uttered centuries ago:-“ They that can give the best price for a commodity shall never fail to have it by one means or other, notwithstanding the opposition of any laws, or interposition of any power by sea or land; of such force, subtlety, and violence, is the general course of trade.” Nor ever did the striking, if after the manner of his day somewhat quaint, lines of Edmund Waller, depicting the reach and the fruits of English commerce under the Commonwealth, approach so near to the strict reality than now when that commerce has been emancipated and re-invigorated:
• As Egypt does not on the clouds rely,
But to the Nile owes more than to the sky,
Free from the scorching sun that makes it grow;
And, without planting, drink of every vine.
The unmixed satisfaction which we should derive from a contemplation of the successful working, on a large scale, of the beneficent principles of Free Trade, and of the national and social advantages which it has produced to this country, as exhi
bited in the preceding pages, is troubled by the painful recollection that the advent of an European war threatens to derange the operations of commerce, and, for a time, to close up some of its channels. Being ourselves destitute of all faith in the theory of commercial independence, and not admitting the advantages of national isolation for purposes of trade, we look without apprehension to a state of war, even with the powerful empire of Russia, as likely to impede our supplies of important articles of consumption.
Aurum per medios ire satellites,
Ictu fulmineo.' Partial losses may be sustained, and temporary inconveniences may be suffered, but the resources of modern trade will triumph over all obstacles. It is not from the direct operation of war that we anticipate an interruption of our commercial relations. It is not from diminished supplies of hemp and tallow from the northern ports, or of corn from the Black Sea, that we expect any national losses to accrue. The real danger to our trade lies, not in the war with Russia itself, but in its incidental consequences. It lies, not in our rupture with the hostile power, but in our new relations with pacific and neutral powers. The wealth of England mainly consists in the annual produce of its native industry, and that constant source of wealth will be partially dried up, if the surplus of our manufactures cannot be exchanged for the great supplies of food, and other articles of consumption, which we import from foreign countries. So long as our internal production proceeds at its present rate, and our vast external trade can be maintained undiminished, there will be adequate funds for supporting, though not without sacrifice, a great and expensive war. A large and well paid revenue is the first condition for efficient fleets and armies; and it is only by guarding our trade from all incidental and unnecessary causes of decline, that our national resources, and our means of fiscal contribution, can be preserved unimpaired. It is the paramount interest of England to keep the highways of trade open and secure.
The rights of search for enemy's goods, and for British seamen, which England has asserted in time of war, have always been sources of irritation with neutral powers, and have involved us in disputes with nations, strangers to the original grounds of quarrel ; have impeded our trade, multiplied our enemies, augmented our expenses, distracted our military and naval operations, lengthened our hostilities, and diminished our chances of victory. If our councils were now guided by the same narrowminded policy which dictated the too-celebrated Orders in Council of 1807, we do not doubt that we should speedily find ourselves at war, not only with the United States, as we were in 1812, but even with France; that our friendly relations with all neutral nations would be disturbed ; and that our trade would receive a shock from which it would not easily or quickly recover. It was, therefore, with the most sincere satisfaction that we read the recent declaration, by which her Majesty waives the right of seizing enemy's property laden on board a neutral vessel, unless it be contraband of war. Provided that the right of maintaining an effective blockade, and the right of seizing articles contraband of war,-rights which are necessary to a belligerent, and to which no neutral power can reasonably object, -are asserted and exercised, this country has nothing to fear from the concession which has been made. The concession, though expressed in a few words, is, however, most important. It constitutes a great era in the history of our maritime warfare. The assertion of the right, now abandoned, has been supported by a long series of judicial decisions; it has produced piles of articles in newspapers and reviews, of pamphlets, books, and state papers ; it has engendered angry remonstrances, disputes, and wars. We are satisfied, however, that the decision to waive the right of seizing enemy's goods in neutral vessels, on the commencement of an European war, is a measure of the soundest policy, and that it not only evinces a due respect for the rights of friendly States, but is grounded on a far-sighted regard for the solid interests of England. The doctrine that free ships make free goods' has been already embodied in several treaties between particular States : but a general declaration from the first maritime power in the world, which has the most effectual means of enforcing the right of seizure, must ultimately establish the new rule as a universal canon of international law.
The maxim of 'free ship, free goods,' has often been held to imply a correlative maxim of enemy's ship, enemy's goods ;' or, according to the old French version, "robe d'ennemi con• fisque celle d'ami.'* The effect of the latter rule is, that if the goods of a neutral are found in an enemy's ship, they are not restored to the neutral, but become, together with the enemy's goods, the property of the captor, according to the fable of the Stork and the Cranes. Her Majesty, however, declares that it is not her intention to claim the confiscation
* There is a great preponderance of modern treaties in favour of the maxim, free ships, free goods, sometimes, but not always, connected with the correlative maxim, enemy ships, enemy goods.' Wheaton, Elements of International Law, vol. ii. ch. 3., which chapter contains a lucid history of the law and practice respecting the rights of neutrals since the middle of the last century. A useful
of neutral property, not being contraband of war, found on • board enemy's ships. While, therefore, this country now admits the maxim of “free ship, free goods,' it renounces the doctrine of enemy's ship, enemy's goods, and sanctions the restoration of the goods of a neutral captured in an enemy's ship, if proved to be his bona fide property.
Lastly, her Majesty declares that, being anxious to lessen as much as possible the evils of war, and to restrict its operations to the regularly organised forces of the country, she does not at present intend to issue letters of marque for the commissioning of privateers.
The law of England, as may be supposed, treats as a pirate any English subject who accepts from an enemy letters of marque for the capture of English vessels. It is likewise a misdemeanour for an English subject to accept letters of marque against a State with which we are at peace. But hitherto it has been the practice for the Crown of England to issue to its own subjects letters of marque against a nation with which we were at war, and to authorise private warfare by sea against merchant vessels belonging to the enemy. By land all private warfare is forbidden: the laws of war, as they are now recognised by civilised nations, reduce hostilities on land to a duel between the armies of the contending nations. But by sea a different system has prevailed; and Sir Archibald Alison, after explaining the practice of England during the late war, lays it down that the rules of war by sea can never be assimilated to the rules of war by land, in this respect.
· Humanity would have just reason to rejoice,' he says, “if it were practicable to establish a similar system of restrained hostility at sea; if the principle of confining the right of capture to public property could be introduced on the one element as well as the other,
pamphlet on the Laws of War affecting Commerce and Shipping, has recently been published by Mr. Byerley Thomson, of Jesus College, Cambridge, and a barrister. We may take this opportunity of expressing our satisfaction at the attention which the University of Cambridge is now paying to the study of International Law, evidenced by such publications as the recent edition of Grotius by the accomplished Master of Trinity. There is no department of Political Science in which English writers have done so little as that of the Law of Nations.
and the private merchant were in safety to navigate the deep amidst hostile Aeets in the same manner as the carrier at land securely traverses opposing armies. But it has never been found practicable to introduce such a limitation, nor has it ever been attempted, even by the most civilised nations, as a restraint upon their own hostility, however loudly they may sometimes have demanded it as a bridle upon that of their enemies. And when the utter sterility of the ocean, except as forming a highway for the intercourse of mankind, is considered, it does not appear probable, that until the human heart is essentially changed, such an alteration, how desirable soever by the weaker States, ever can be adopted. It may become general when ambition and national rivalry cease to sway the human heart, but not till then.' (Hist. of Eur. c. 33.)
In spite of these confident declarations of the Tory historian respecting the unchangeable nature of the human heart on the subject of privateering, and the necessary consequences of the sterility of the ocean, her Majesty has actually announced that she will not, for the present, grant any letters of marque; and therefore the maritime war will be waged against Russia exclusively by ships of the royal navy. By this decision, the laws of war by sea are practically assimilated to those of war by land : for the doctrine of contraband of war,' though it may be put in a less technical form, applies to land as well as to sea. No general would allow munitions and stores of war to pass to the enemy by inland communications which he was able to command, but would use every effort to intercept and capture them.*
How far Russia may imitate the forbearance of England, and abstain from private warfare by sea, events will soon show. Russia, indeed, has not the means of equipping many privateers from her own ports ; but a rumour has reached us, that the Emperor will issue his letters of marque to the subjects of neutral States, for the purpose of molesting the trade of England, and, we conclude, of France likewise. The law of England prohibits a British subject from accepting letters of marque under such circumstances, and neutral privateering is, according to Vatel, proscribed by the law of nations. It is an . infamous proceeding on the part of foreigners,' he says, 'to "take out commissions from a prince, in order to commit
piratical depredations on a nation which is perfectly innocent • with respect to them.' (b. 3. § 229.) If neutrals accept letters
* The abandonment of the practice of capturing merchant ships, and the consequent assimilation of the laws of war by sea to those of war by land, was advocated by this Journal in the year 1806, in an article on The Frauds of the Neutral Flags. (Vol. viii. p. 13.)