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dominions of warlike expeditions and armaments against either belligerent; we see also, from the law and practice of Great Britain in other cases, that all facilities for this purpose exist in that kingdom, and that they may be and have been employed by the authorities of their own motion; and we gather, from the spirit and language of the Memoire Justificatif, that, in 1779, Great Britain considered that the practice of casting upon the representatives of the offended belligerent-strangers in the land-all the burden of proving the guilty character of such enterprises before any intervention of the neutral government can be obtained, is but little better than a fraudulent evasion of international duties. We gather also that America, in 1793, and at all times since, has acted in good faith upon the same opinion, always interposing at the request of foreign powers and requiring its own officers to be vigilant and positive in the effort to detect and suppress unneutral preparations; and that as between this nation and Great Britain the latter has demanded and we have always rendered the fullest and freest performance of neutral obligations. It is also seen that by reason and usage the failure of a neutral nation to perform in good faith, and to the best of its ability, its obligations in this respect, is deemed to sustain a claim for compensation for all pecuniary damage growing out of its derelictions; and even to justify reprisals and absolute war.

Yet, nothwithstanding all this, we find that Great Britain has permitted, within her harbors and domain, the fitting out of armaments notoriously intended to cruise against our commerce; and that the hostile armament has been permitted to sail unopposed from English shores upon its criminal business of lighting up the seas with burning merchantmen, days after the government had been in possession of what itself admitted to be sufficient proof of its clandestine character. Indeed, on the contrary from the Alabama being opposed, it is stated by the press, that the officials of the “circumlocution office,” in the prosecution of the great business of “How not to do it,” decided upon the value of a breach of the law of nations, by receiving a bond of twenty thousand pounds as the consideration and indemnification for permitting the Alabama to proceed to sea, thus making the British nation a partner in her crimes and surety for all her acts of pecuniary damage. And the only excuse for this unprecedented fraud is drawn from the

state of a queen's advocate's digestion; national honor, international justice, and the peace of great nations bound up with the bandages of Sir John D. Harding's gouty toe! Moreover, although the culprit defies English revenue laws by sailing without a clearance; and although the true nature of her voyage is soon made known in England by her burnings and destroyings ; and although she was known to be destined for the neighborhood of certain British ports, and does in fact make her appearance and cruise there for months, she is at the end of that time permitted to enter and lie in safety in a British port, without any effort to seize or detain her ; but, on the contrary, the local authorities of Kingston are seen coming actively to her assistance, and returning her escaped crew by force, the same as if she were a lawfully commissioned vessel, with whom the seamen might have a lawful contract of service.

The legal liabilities which, under these circumstances, attach to the offending nation, are easily understood. Every nation, while it maintains the semblance of domestic government, is responsible for the execution of its own laws, especially such as are, in their nature, promises or compacts with other nations.* If the Confederate States were an independent and recognized nation, so that these vessels could have a bona fide national character, England would still, under the circumstances of their outfit, be responsible for them as if they were her own.

And this would be so even if all the persons engaged in the matter were foreigners in England; for a stranger owes the same allegiance to the laws of a country, while he remains in it, as a citizen; and the law has equal power over him to compel his obedience; and, consequently, the government of the State has no ground here for a distinction as to the liability it shall bear. It was upon this principle that, by the treaty of 1794, this nation agreed to make com

* Indeed, a state may not take refuge behind defects of its municipal laws; for it is bound at its own peril to provide effective domestic machinery to execute its international duties. It was upon this principal that England stood in the matter of Alexander McLeod in 1838. McLeod had done an act for the British government, for which he was arrested as an offender against the laws of New York. His government avowed the responsibility of his act, and demanded from the United States bis release. The Secretary of Stute, Mr. Webster, admitted, that since the act had been done under orders, it was no longer an individual offence, but a matter between the two nations, and recommended his release, but explained that the Federal Government had no power to take him from the custody of the state officers. England refused -very properly-to entertain as an excuse any defect in our system; saying, that every nation, pretending to hold relations with other nations, is bound to provide itself with the power to meet all just demands; and had not the New York jury disagreed at the trial, we should have had war upon that question.

pensation for damages inflicted by French privateers fitted out in our ports. The philosophic statement of the principle is given by Burlemaqui, who cites Grotius and Heineccius, and is in turn cited by Phillimore (vol. ii., p. 230), with approval, in these words:

“In civil societies, when a particular member has done an injury to a stranger, the governor of the commonwealth is sometimes responsible for it, so that war may be declared against him on that account. But to ground this kind of imputation, we must necessarily suppose one of these two things, sufferance or reception, viz.: either that the sovereign has permitted this harm to be done to the stranger, or that he afforded a retreat to the criminal. In the former case, it must be laid down as a maxim, that a sovereign who, knowing the crimes of his subjects—as, for example, that they practise piracy on strangers—and, being able and obliged to hinder it, does not hinder it, renders himself criminal, because he has consented to the bad action.

Now it is presumed that a sovereign knows what his subjects openly and frequently commit; and as to his power of preventing the evil, this is always presumed, unless the want of it be clearly proved.”

This principle extends, it will be perceived, so far as to make the neutral sovereign prima facie responsible for the unneutral acts of the belligerents when done or initiated within his jurisdiction. All the more is he bound to prevent, or if he does not prevent, to compensate for such acts done by his own subjects; and the question remains, although no longer of the first importance, What is the national character of the Oreto and Alabama ? Each of those vessels was entirely built, equipped, and fitted, in British waters by Englishmen. They are permitted to enter and lie in British ports as safely as if they were commissioned in her Majesty's service, at the same time that our cruisers are warned off, and forbidden, even when in distress, to enter for coal-as in the cases of the Tuscarora, Flambeau, and Saginaw. The Oreto went to sea with a crew consisting of fifty-two Englishmen and one American. She sailed under English papers for a legitimate port. Both were, at or about their departure, ascertained to be the private property of Englishmen. Unless some change of title has taken place, these vessels are yet owned in England by Eng. lishmen. If any such change has taken place, to whom has the title passed ? Not to the Confederate States, or any rebellious citizen of that portion of this nation; for, as between England and the rest of the world, these rebels are to be con

sidered belligerents, and no contract between a citizen of a neutral state and a belligerent, to aid in any way the prosecution of war, is lawful; on the contrary, every such agreement is, ab initio, void, and these vessels still remain the property of the British citizens who built them. The principle of law here stated has been decided solemnly in both England and America. The English case is Demetrius de Wütz v. Hendricks (9 Moore, C. P. Rep., 586–7; tried in 1824). The facts of that case involved a contract to raise money to aid the Greeks in their revolt against the Porte, the plaintiff claiming to act for the exarch of Ravenna, under power of attorney, and the defendant being an English broker. The contract was declared by Lord Chief Justice Best to be void by the law of nations. The principal American case is Kennett v. Chambers (14 How. U. S. Rep., 38, 44). The facts were that Chambers, a Texan general, had agreed to convey a large tract of Texan lands in consideration of advances made, and to be made, at Cincinnati, for the purpose of aiding the Texans to carry on the revolution against Mexico, with which power we were at peace. The contract was made at Cinciņnati, in 1836, and the independence of Texas was not recognized by the President of the United States until 1837. A bill having been filed to obtain a specific performance of the contract to convey, the Court refused to enforce it, saying, “the contract is not only void, but the parties who advanced the money were liable to be punished in a criminal prosecution for a violation of the neutrality laws of the United States."

Thus, it is seen that the Oreto and Alabama, originally sailing from English ports, manned by English law-breakers, are still the property of English owners; because all attempts on their part, if any such have been made, to convey their interests to our rebellious citizens, or any one of them, are absolutely void and of no effect. And it is a fair question for judicial and professional consideration, whether, in addition to the criminal proceedings given by the Foreign Enlistment Act, the owners of the Jacob Bell may not have their action for damages against Fuwcett, Preston & Co., of Liverpool, the owners of the Florida; and the owners of the Brilliant, and other vessels destroyed by the Alabama, their respective actions against Messrs. Laird, of Birkenhead, the reputed owners of that vessel.

One more, interesting, but still less important question, practically, relates to the specific character of these vessels and their crews. Are they pirates? Piracy is defined to be the offence of depredating upon the high seas, without being authorized by any sovereign state. (Wheat. Int. L., P. 2, c. 2, § 15.) These English sea-rovers claim, doubtless, to cruise under some kind of commission from the self-styled and unrecognized “ Confederate States.” I do not propose to discuss, with much seriousness, here, a question, which being in this place of little import, may hereafter, in a different discussion, become of the first magnitude; still, I am compelled to say that, by the law and practice of nations, it appears that no commission from an unknown, unrecognized authority can relieve the persons upon those vessels from the character of pirates, liable to punishment as such by any nation who may have the power and the will to enforce the penalties for that crime. Hautefeuille says (Des Nations Neutres, tit. 3, ch. 2):

“ It is admitted by all nations, that in maritime wars every individual who commits acts of hostility without having received a regular commission from his sovereign, however regularly he may make war, is regarded and treated as guilty of piracy.

From what sovereign have the commanders of the Florida and Alabama received commissions ? Although, in view of what we now know has been done, it may be rash, I yet venture to assume that it is not from her Majesty; certainly not from the executive head of this nation. There is no government, such as they claim to represent, in existence—at least, having any such existence as would afford a legal protection to them in case some nation which has not conceded to them belligerent rights, should choose to seize and try them as pirates:

“For it is a firmly-established rule of British, American, and, indeed, all jurisprudence, tliat it belongs exclusively to governments to recognize new States; and that until such recognition, either by the government of the country in whose tribunal the suit is brought, or by the government to which the new state belongs, courts of justice are bound to consider the ancient state of things as existing.(2 Phillimore 25; Rose v. Himnely 4 Cranch, 272; Hoyt v. Gelston 3 Wheat. 324.)

Nor would it avail these men to plead that they are notaccording to the general description of pirates-enemies to all mankind; for in the case of the Magellan pirates, in 1851 (see the Jurist), the learned Dr. Lushington, of the High Court of

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