Imágenes de páginas

the act on the part of the neutral State depend, not on its own intrinsic quality, but on some extrinsic consequence. The safer principle seems to be to hold that the consequence to one of the belligerents cannot of itself affect the character of the act of the neutral. Still, it may be quite right that in 'such cases the Executive of the neutral State should have in their hands the means of preventing the use of their ports for such objects, when the use which is made of them is not merely commercial, but is also for hostile and strategic purposes. The Foreign Enlistment Act, as it was originally passed in 1819, was not at variance with the freedom of neutral commerce, for the acts prohibited implied something beyond construction - an equipping and arming within the territory which were not necessarily incident to the commercial transaction.

Whether the recent addition to it has not materially altered its real character well deserves to be re-considered. But there are powers which, although rightly vested in the Executive as a matter of internal regulation, ought to be entirely within their own control, to be used or not used as justice and the well-being of the State may demand. When they are made the subject of external obligation their character is entirely changed, and they become, in the language of Sir Roundell Palmer, in his masterly pleading before the Arbitrators, a series of traps and pitfalls, fraught with vexation and danger to the State which undertakes them, neutralising the object they were meant to serve, and inviting the very perils they were intended to avoid.

The other two general questions which are dealt with by Sir Alexander Cockburn we shall speak of very shortly. They were difficult, in the circumstances in which they arose, and may come, in future belligerent operations, to be of more moment even than the main issue involved. The first of these was whether the escaped ships, which afterwards put into British ports abroad, with a regular commission from the Confederate States, ought to have been seized and detained by the British authorities, and whether the neglect or failure to detain them was a breach of neutrality. The Arbitrators hold that they should have been detained.

It seems quite clear, on acknowledged principles of public law, that the commission from the Confederate States-an acknowledged belligerent Power, with a Government de facto

was a commission which all neutral Powers were bound to respect. It is also certain that a ship belonging to a foreign Power remains foreign territory, not subject to the laws and jurisdiction of any other Power into the ports of which it

may have occasion to come. These two propositions are very clearly demonstrated in the Protest,' which contains a very complete exposition of a branch of public law in these days rarely studied. It was not, however, on either of them that the difficulty of the Arbitrators arose. It was contended for the United States that, conceding this to be the general law, the Confederates had been guilty of a breach of the neutral character of British territory by removing the vessels; that the British authorities were entitled to have pursued and brought them back; and that consequently, when they came again within their power, still in the hands of the wrong-doer, they were entitled and bound to have seized and detained them.

If the view of the Chief Justice in regard to the nature of the Foreign Enlistment Act is right, and if the removal of the vessels were only a breach of our own municipal law, it certainly lay with us to enforce our rights or not as we thought fit, and the non-detention of the vessels could be no legitimate ground of complaint. But if the Arbitrators were right in holding that we were internationally bound to the United States to prevent the escape of these vessels, the international obligation might plausibly be said to have continued, as long as the wrong we had done admitted of remedy.

We think, however, that to seize on euch grounds a lawfully commissioned ship would, in any view of the general question, be an act subject to the gravest doubt. The ship was to all the rest of the world lawfully accredited. She was entitled to be treated by all the other Powers as a ship of war, belonging to a recognised belligerent, and could claim from them all the privileges and immunities belonging to that character. It might be true that we had claims against the Confederate States for the removal of the vessel in breach of our laws; but it did not follow that this would justify us in depriving the regularly commissioned officers and crew of the vessel of which they were in charge, merely because they had brought her into the asylum of a British port, without any warning of the fate which awaited them. As we were not at war with the Confederate States, but were, on the contrary, at peace with them, and had made no denunciation in regard to this matter, or demanded reparation from them, we think we were bound to have accorded them the same recognition which we should certainly claim for vessels under the British Aag, and to have made our claim for redress in another form.

Such is our impression from a perusal of the views expressed by the counsel and the Arbitrators; but the question is novel, and has not, as far as we know, ever been the subject of adjudication, although it once arose in the American Courts. The dissertation of the Lord Chief Justice on this head will well repay study.


The remaining question, in regard to the supplies of coal given to these Confederate vessels in British ports abroad, also possesses some novelty. These supplies were clearly not excessive in amount, if they had been furnished to an ordinary cruiser. The peculiarity of the question arises from the fact that the cruisers were homeless wanderers; that they did not put into port for supplies to enable them to prosecute their journey to its end, for they had no destination. Their calls from time to time at these ports were to enable them to continue their predatory career, and therefore constituted these ports themselves their only base of operations.

We state the question, without stopping to solve it. But the argument would seem to prove too much, by reaching the conclusion that no port in the world was entitled to give to a Confederate vessel the same supplies which it gave to the Federals without committing a breach of neutrality. It resolves again into the maritime status and rights of a Power whose ships are at sea, but whose ports are blockaded.

We are now at the close of this last chapter of a very interesting but unsatisfactory episode. We are glad to take leave of it.

We have rather tried to point the moral it teaches for the future, than to dwell on its details. We entertain a very sanguine hope, indeed a very thorough conviction, that the two great nations who were the actors in it will be found far more in accord for the future on the great principles involved in it, than they appear to have been in the voluminous pleadings before the Arbitrators at Geneva. The result has left no heartburnings behind it on this side the Atlantic, and ought to produce some complacency on the other. But there is a lesson involved in it which we ought to learn. If we wish to avoid such complications for the future, we should know our own minds clearly, and choose the ground we mean to occupy carefully ; having done so, we should intimate to all that the conditions of our own neutrality rest entirely with ourselves, and proclaim the terms on which alone our conduct will be guided. The last time which should be chosen for remodelling and patching our own code of laws as neutrals, is when the clash of arms and of interests around us drowns the voice of reason and prudence.

294 Note on the · Memorials of Baron Stockmar.' Jan. 1873.


on Art. III. in No. CCLXXVIII. on the 'Memorials of Baron

Stockmar.' We have received the following letter from General Sir William Codrington, with reference to a passage which occurs at p. 389 of our last Number, and it gives us great pleasure to correct a misapprehension which may have appeared, though it certainly was not intended, to reflect on the gallant Admiral who commanded the fleet in the Downs in 1831 :To the Editor of the 'Edinburgh Review.'

November 1, 1872. Sir,-In your review of the Life of Baron Stockmar'is the following statement relating to the separation of Holland and Belgium in 1831:

• The King appealed to France and England for assistance. Admiral Codrington appeared with the fleet off the Scheldt, but declined to go up the river. On the 10th Marshal Gérard entered Belgium at the head of a French army.'

This statement, as far as regards Admiral Codrington, is incorrect. The evolutionary squadron under his command in the Channel was ordered to the English anchorage of the Downs, and remained there from the 9th to the 18th of August, 1831. He had no directions even to cross over to the coast of Holland: he certainly did not decline to go up the river Scheldt, nor was he likely to decline if ordered.

Your obedient servant,

General. The fact is, as stated by Sir William Codrington and by Baron Stockmar's biographer, p. 178 of the German edition, that it was not the Admiral who declined to go up the Scheldt, but the British Government, which remained deaf to the entreaties of the Belgian Plenipotentiaries that he might be sent there. Nobody doubts that Sir Edward Codrington would have performed any duty on which he was sent with spirit and ability; but the writer of the article was mistaken in supposing that he had any discretionary powers to enter the Scheldt at that time.

As we have occasion to revert to this subject, we may mention that at p. 390 of the same article M. Gendebien is erroneously named as the coadjutor of M. Van de Weyer at the London Conference, instead of M. Goblet, who filled that post.

In speaking of King Leopold's annuity of 50,0001. a year, which, as we have shown, was never renounced by that Sovereign, though he ceased to draw any part of it for his own use, we might bave added that it was secured to him, not only by Act of Parliament, but by the Treaty which was formally signed between England and Prince Leopold on his marriage with the Princess Charlotte, and that Baron Stockmar's own stipend, to which his services to the King so well entitled him, was paid out of this very fund to the end of his lifecircumstance which his son and biographer appears unaccountably to have overlooked.


No. CCLXXX. will be published in April,



APRIL, 1873.


Art. I.-1. A Report on the Expedition to Western Yünan

via Bhamo. By JOHN ANDERSON, M.D., Medical Officer

and Naturalist to the Expedition. Calcutta : 1871. 2. Through Burmah to Western China; being a Journey in

1863 to establish the Practicability of a Trade Route between the Irrawaddi and the Yang-tse-Kiang. By CLEMENT

WILLIAMS. Edinburgh and London : 1868. 3. Correspondence respecting direct commerce with the West

of China from Rangoon. Presented to the House of Com

mons, 1865.

4. La Mission du Thibet, de 1855 à 1870, d'après les Lettres

de M. l'Abbé Desgodins. Verdun et Paris : 1872. 5. Travels in Indo-China and the Chinese Empire. By Louis

DE CARNÉ, Member of the Commission of Exploration of the Mekong

Translated from the French. London: 1872. FOR TOR more than a century past, geographers and ethnologists

have bent an eager but unsatisfied gaze upon the region which stretches eastward from the mountains of Tibet, reaching on one side the southern shores of the China Sea, and on the other the waters of the Bay of Bengal. Roughly speaking this area may be described as the segment of a circle, with radi formed by the mighty streams that issue from a common centre at the eastern extremity of the Himalayas. The Irrawaddy, which traverses Burmah to discharge its waters into the Gulf of Martaban; the Brahmaputra, falling into the Bay of Bengal at no great distance from the same spot, after a



« AnteriorContinuar »