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trabands and blockades. Neutrality is not a new state of things, as it respects the conduct of the neutral; he is placed in that situation by the conduct of other parties. The state of war or peace of a third party cannot, by any natural right, affect the right of a neutral nation to conduct its commerce, for neutrality is a continuation of its former condition. The condition of the belligerent is changed;-the right to disturb the condition of the neutral is, therefore, a conventional one. If the war opens a new course of trade in innocent articles, the neutral has a right to take advantage of it; he may in this way remunerate himself for the privations the laws of nations compel him to submit to. A neutral has a right to carry neutral commodities from one port to another of the mother country. Why not from a colony to the mother country? In time of war, the mother country may alter her commercial regulations ;—she may allow the neutral to export or to bring to her articles not permitted in time of peace. We see no difference, in this respect, between the trade of a colony and that of the mother country. systems of monopoly; both subject to such commercial regulations as the parent state may choose to adopt. This right cannot be conceded to the belligerent, because it would really throw into his hands the principal part of the commerce of the world. The neutral has no interest in the war; and the just construction of the laws of war is, that they should abridge the rights of a third party to the smallest possible degree ;-for example, the whole business of contraband is one of convention. We allow, too, the legitimacy of a blockade only on the consideration, that the belligerent has actual possession of the waters, or the territory, and has the means of establishing and enforcing on it his own municipal regulations, precisely as he could do at home. Great Britain has, also, repeatedly suspended her own colonial acts, in time of war, and opened new trades to the neutral. Contrabands, as they are specified in most conventions, constitute but a very small portion, indeed, of the trade of every country. But to supply one belligerent with them, may do a vast injury to the other. On this ground, the neutral
foregoes the slight benefit of a trade in those articles. The colonial trade has a very different character. To arrest vessels, engaged in this business, upon any part of the ocean, is conceding to the belligerent the exercise of a great power, exerted in an oppressive manner.
In itself the right of navigation is, of course, as unlimited as the ocean, and the right of commerce depends on the pleasure of the nation, whose ports we wish to frequent. The privileges of commerce do not depend upon the laws of nations, but upon the will of the parties; and these privileges are regulated by treaties. Nations are not under any obligation to account to the world for their commercial regulations; and regulations that depend upon treaties are (of course) not affected by a war in which either party may engage. War does not deprive neutrals of a single right,their commerce remains unshackled, with the exception of those articles, that are directly and immediately useful in Undoubtedly, it is for the benefit of the belligerent to contract as much as possible the trade of the neutral; but utility does not constitute a right. The neutral abandons the trade in contrabands because the belligerent considers these articles dangerous;—it is difficult to understand why he should abandon a trade, perfectly innocent. If belligerents are allowed to cut off the trade of neutrals,-to abridge their commerce, it is difficult to conceive, why the neutral should not be allowed to profit by all the trade that is open. Great Britain allows a relaxation in her navigation laws in time of war;she allows a trade to a colony whose supplies are intercepted by the war. She allowed a license trade, to a very great extent, during the war with France. from 1802 to 1811.* The rule of '56 annihilates the neutral character; it makes all trading nations parties to a war; it denies to a neutral the right of commerce during the war, for if the principle may be made to apply to a colony, it is obviously perfectly easy and just to transfer the whole seve
* From a statement, made to the House of Commons, it appears that 53,277 licenses to trade with the enemy, were granted during this period.
rity to the mother country. But, in truth, the belligerent has nothing to do with enforcing the municipal laws, the colonial acts of its enemy.
Mr. Pitt died in January 1806, and the formation of a new ministry in the beginning of February, in which Mr. Fox was Secretary of the Foreign Department, awakened hopes that American affairs would assume a more favourable aspect. No change, however, in the views or proceedings of government, took place. The new ministry appear to have imbibed the sentiments that governed former administrations. England had entered too deeply upon a system of policy, to be disturbed by the private or personal wishes or opinions of individuals. Nothing seemed to remain to ministers, from whatever political party they were taken, but to keep the nation firm and steady in its course. Mr. Fox died in September of the same year.
Our own government determined, at this time, to make a fresh and stronger effort for a maritime arrangement; not only induced to this step by a change of ministry in England, but feeling every day more and more the great necessity of securing a formal protection for neutral commerce. In May, a commission was issued, appointing Mr. Monroe, still resident in London, and William Pinkney, of Maryland, jointly and severally, ministers plenipotentiary and envoys extraordinary to the court of St. James.* They were directed to propose the terms of a convention more ample, and embracing a greater number of points, than the one unsuccessfully presented in 1804 by Mr. Monroe. These commissioners concluded, on the 31st December 1806, a treaty of amity, navigation and commerce with lords Holland and Auckland. Although this instrument was not ratified by the United States, yet, as the most favourable arrangement ever made with Great Britain, it is in every view an important event in the diplomatic history of the country. We shall briefly
It is proper to state in this place, that Anthony Merry, appointed in February 1803, succeeded Mr. Liston as envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary. He remained till the appointment of Mr. Erskine.
state the principal provisions of it. The articles of the treaty of 1794, not expired, were confirmed in their full tenor; -the trade to India was made a direct one ;* the treaty of '94 allowed any trade to, but only a direct trade from, the British possessions in the East Indies ;-a reciprocal and perfect liberty of commerce and navigation was agreed on between the United States and British dominions in Europe. As to the West Indies, all parties remained in full possession of their rights; but the colonial trade (11th article) with an enemy's colony, was regulated in a manner satisfactory to this country. The commissioners were permitted, by their instructions, to adopt the principle, in relation to a colonial trade, that is found in the supplement of the treaty (added in October) of June 1801, between England and Russia. This was not a departure from the principle of the rule of '56, though not a full enjoyment of the right on the part of the belligerent; it was only an abridgment of the right. The United States could not consent to destroy the continuity of the voyage more than by landing the goods and securing the duties on changing the vessel. This is all the government could concede, and no other evidence of this fact could be furnished, than the documents of the custom house officers. The American government have never acknowledged the validity of the rule of '56; but as the commerce of the country had accommodated itself to the various relaxations, introduced since '92, and as this commerce was exceedingly valuable,—without renouncing any principle whatever, they were desirous of conferring upon it all the consistence and protection, circumstances would admit. The precise meaning of the 11th article, taken in connexion with the British orders, instructions and decisions of courts, does not appear to have been altogether understood. At the time the convention was made, the only point in controversy, on the application of the rule of '56, between the two governments was, what constituted a continuity of a vogage.
* In this respect Jay's treaty was preferable, the homeward trade being only a direct one. A direct outward trade would be attended with many inconveniences to this country.
The convention defined this; and, in reality, obtained all the United States at the time sought. Provisions were exempted from the list of contraband. This was a great improve
ment on the treaty of '94. On the right of search and impressment, no stipulations, at all effectual, were made. Our government, in their instructions, consented to the right of search, but with such modifications as exist in conventions with other states ;—that is, that the neutral should never be compelled to send his boat on board an armed vessel, nor be required to assist the belligerent in the very detention, from which he is suffering. It is sufficient, that he should be detained, and it is more convenient for the belligerent to send, as he is supposed to be prepared for these purposes. It is, also, in many cases exceedingly dangerous for the neutral to undertake that business; the crew being often small, and the boats bad. The papers of the vessel, and the lives of the men, are, in this way, put in jeopardy.
The President, without consulting the Senate, refused to ratify this treaty, principally because the instrument did not contain a provision against impressments on the high seas. It is certainly now a subject of great doubt whether this proceeding was judicious. The treaty gave a permanent, and, in most respects, a satisfactory character to American commerce, for ten years at least, in Europe, and in the East and West Indies; and, compared with previous and subsequent treaties, is probably the most favourable arrangement ever made with Great Britain. It was concluded with lords Holland and Auckland, under the Grenville administration, of which Mr. Fox was a principal member till his death. This country could not have expected to obtain such advantageous terms from any other ministry. The parties had laboured with great zeal upon the points in dispute; and they brought to the consideration of the subject uncommon talents and an unusual portion of experience. It cannot be questioned but that they entered into the undertaking with a sincere desire. to conduct a long, irritating, and unprofitable discussion to an honourable conclusion.
This treaty is another of the illustrations furnished by