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prevails, and that, even if they seriously injured the nation against which they were employed, they would be as mischievous to the country blockading. In 1861 Cobden gave it as his opinion that railways had to a great extent nullified blockades as instruments of warfare. His remark has now much more point than it then had. Even in our war with Russia, when railway communication on the Continent was undeveloped, the feeble coerciveness of blockades was demonstrated. Exports to that country fell off after the blockade was established; but the reduction was to a large extent accounted for by the increased imports into Prussia of goods which found their way overland into Russia. It is usual to mention the blockade of the Confederate States as proving the efficacy of a rigorous commercial blockade. Undoubtedly they were reduced to dire straits as months went on, and as the cordon of cruisers drew closer. Shut out from a market for their staple article of export, which was left unpicked to rot in the fields, or given to the flames on the approach of the Federal troops, the Confederate States could not procure, except so far as blockade runners could provide, commodities of luxury or comfort. But the privations of a community mainly agricultural, dependent on the exportation of cotton, and with no domestic manufacture, are no safe guide as to the effect on countries with highly developed manufactures and able to supply their own wants. In such cases even a stringent blockade might not be more injurious than a Tariff Act on McKinley lines. Only naval experts can speak decisively as to the possibility of squadrons remote from their 'coal base' effectually preventing the going out or coming in of merchant vessels steaming almost as swiftly as the cruisers. The ease with which Greek vessels passed the blockaded zone round Crete-only about 150 miles in length-though patrolled or guarded by a fleet of unprecedented size, makes one doubt whether a blockade of a long coast such as that of Cuba or Spain can be rigorously maintained. But suppose the contrary ; suppose that all Spanish ports were sealed by an American fleet, would there be a serious diminution of imports to or exports from Spain? There would be a diversion of trade to Bordeaux and Marseilles. The consumer might pay some part of the additional costs of carriage by land. Captures by American cruisers might embitter and ruin some individuals, of whom probably few would be Spaniards, and raise premiums of insurances. They could not shorten the war, or appreciably determine the issue. It is conceivable that a blockading squadron could practically prevent the exportation of bulky articles of raw produce, which cannot readily be carried long distances by rail. Unfortunately we, a nation of manufacturers, live by the abundance and cheapness of such articles. Imagine a blockade by Spanish cruisers of the eastern seaboard of the United States so stringent that no cargoes of grain found their way to Europe. One of the first effects would be the embarrassment or ruin of English exporters dependent on the American market. A second effect would be a serious rise in the price of bread stuffs. As to this the experience of the cotton famine in Lancashire is a warning. Mills were shut, workmen were discharged by thousands, a great industry lay prostrate, because millions of bales of cotton stored at Charleston and elsewhere could not be landed at Liverpool. We are not so dependent on the United States for wheat as we were dependent in 1861 on them for raw cotton. But an early effect such a blockade must be a riseif we may judge from the effect on Mark Lane of the imminence of war, an immense rise--in the price of wheat, discontent among our workmen, and a serious blow to our industries. The strongest objection to blockades on a large scale is that they injure both the nations resorting to them, and all neutrals. England probably suffered as much as Russia from the blockade of 1854–56, and it was found necessary to relax our strict rights and to permit the sailing of vessels laden with corn for England and France. So close are our commercial relations with America that were this or any future war to result in a blockade of American ports, public opinion would probably insist on our Government disregarding it. Those who recall the commercial blockades which our fleets once enforced, forget that an essential part of the system was 'the rule of 1756 '-a rule which prevented neutrals from entering into new trades—to the detriment of belligerents. Our Government were pressed during the Crimean War to revive this rule, and to apply it to goods intended for consumption in Russia, but conveyed to Dantzic and Stettin. Our Government refused to comply with this request; and 'the rule of 1756' disappeared from international law, to the great advantage of neutrals, but to the impairment of blockades. One State might indeed be conceivably crippled by a commercial blockade; a State which cannot obtain supplies across a land frontier, and which is dependent not merely for luxuries, but the food of its people and the raw material of its manufactures, on foreign countries. The only Power so situated is England."

8 See debate on Mr. Collier's motion on Trade with Russia, Hansard, 136, p. 1659, and Dr. Waddilove's paper in Journal of the Statistical Society, 1885, p. 21. 'To blockade the coast of a country having such a frontier as Russia is a mere absurdity. Of what avail is it to seal up Revel and Riga and to leave open Memel, Dantzic, and Konigsberg ? To guard one door and throw open others! What possible object can be gained—not by preventing, but by diverting the enemy's trade? The roads leading to Memel and Konigsberg are at this moment encumbered with interminable convoys, and the streets and squares of these towns are filled with Russian caravans, which, after a few days, return with merchandise for Russia.' (The War Policy of Commerce, by J. L. Ricardo, p. 14.) We did not injure the trade of Russia any more than it would have been injured by war without the exercise of that right, while our merchants paid double price for every article they required from that country, by Russian shippers being thereby obliged to send it to us through Germany, Holland, or France. It was estimated that the extra cost paid on Russian produce belonging to British merchants for its transport in Memel was no less than 2,500,0001., exclusive of the cost of transport, to other ports, which our blockade enforced.' (Extract from pamphlet by Mr. W. S. Lindsay, p. 108.) A blockade of the Elbe or Baltic ports in the event of war with Germany or Russia would not improbably produce much the same results as an unusually long or severe winter. Imports into these countries would go by more circuitous trade routes; they would take the routes which they follow when ice closes the Baltic ports; the total amount of exports even from England for these countries need not appreciably fall off. The experience of 1870 goes far to prove this. Summing up the effects of the blockade of the German ports by the French squadron in that year, the Economist said: 'To a country like Germany with so large a frontier, blockading the sea line is no rital injury. The loss ensuing compared with the other losses of the war is trifling, amounting to nothing more than the increased cost of transport; and in the case of many articles, and to some extent of all, now that there is so general a system of railways, the additional cost is not much. Actually, the cost to some ports of Germany was reduced to a minimum, the ports of Holland being almost as useful to those ports as the ports that were blockaded. The truth is that unless a country can be isolated as the South was during the American War, a blockade is “no good.” Then it is serviceable, being almost as effective in reducing a nation as the complete investment of a town or fortress in forcing its surrender ; but unfortunately such cases are of unfrequent occurrence. If we went to war now with almost any European Power singly, it would simply laugh at our blockade.'

From the point of view of jurisprudence there is a serious objection to commercial blockades. Though long recognised as a legitimate usage in war, they have never been placed on a very clear legal basis; they imply an exercise of the rights of occupation without the fact thereof, even if the blockade be effective;' they appear to derogate from the right of all nations to freely traverse the high seas ; and they do not fall into line with the practice as to land blockad es. The chief objection, however, is that they hamper commerce, injure neutrals, and do not advance the chief objects of war.


As one form of blockade is falling into disuse, another form is becoming common. In the present century, what is called 'pacific blockades have been exercised freely,' as appears from the following list of the principal 'pacific blockades : '

1827, Turkish ports by France, Great Britain, and Russia; 1831, the blockade of the Tagus by France ; 1833, the ports of Holland by England and France; 1837, New Grenada by England; 1848, the La Plata by France, and (later) by England; 1838, Mexican ports by France; 1850, the Piræus by Great Britain ; 1884, Formosa by France ; 1860, Gaeta by the Sardinian fleet; 1886, ports of the Greek coast by Great Britain and other Powers ; 1893, Siam by France; 1897, Crete by the combined squadrons of the Great Powers. It has been suggested that, instead of declaring war against Spain, the United States should have established a pacific blockade of Cuba or Porto Rico. In the eyes of statesmen a 'pacific blockade'

See Lawrence's Essays on Modern International Lan, p. 291.
10 See Professor Westlake's classical essay on Commercial Blockades.

needs no justification. It may avert war or stop war when begun. It avoids the responsibility of declaring war. It may be just the exact amount of pressure required to bring a small Power to reason. It is described in a recent work of international law as a convenient and salutary method of coercing a weak but aggressive power, and preventing it from presuming on its weakness. The nations against which this measure has been employed have been Powers of a second order. This is in the nature of things; such coercion employed against an equal would mean war. Some of these recommendations of 'pacific blockades' seem to me positive objections. They enable a strong nation to resort to war without bringing upon her all the consequences. All the precedents above cited indicate evolution, but it is to be feared in the wrong direction; the growth of a form of international law to be used by strong States in dealing with weak. We stand here at the top of an inclined plane down which public morality may slide to a level below that on which international law has hitherto built. The doctrine of the equality of States was never expressive of a literal fact; but it enshrined an ideal which has been, on the whole, to the advantage of the weak. We have heard much of late of the need of a revision of that doctrine; and in the Far East we have seen the revisers at work. The legalising of 'pacific blockades' may be one more blow struck at the theory of the equality of States.

Moreover 'pacific blockades' seem, in a legal point of view, open to grave objections. Whether this form of blockade is recognised by International Law, is apt to turn into a question of words; the changes being rung on 'uses' and 'abuses.' It is easy to draw up a list of jurists who have strongly condemned the practice in all forms. Some of the latest writers on the subject are emphatic in condemning this 'monstrous doctrine' as based on no sound principle and as a deplorable retrogression." Still, no doubt, another list of writers, no less eminent, who have approved it subject to restrictions could be compiled. The Institute of International Law has by a majority passed a resolution approving of pacific blockades, if qualified by certain conditions. It is no disrespect to say of a body which has done very much for International Law, what Lord Stowell said of the opinion of another body not less illustrious : 'Great as the reverence due to such authorities may be, they cannot, I think, be admitted to have the force of overruling the established course of the general law of nations. If pacific blockades are legalised, what are the rules thereof ? The law applicable to blockade was reduced to order about the beginning of this century, chiefly by the luminous genius of Lord Stowell. He found fragmentary rules, uncertain practices, and no clear principles. By a series of decisions, as much creative as the genius of the great men of letters who were his contemporaries, he perfected

-1 Un véritable mouvement de recul.' Fauchille, Du Blocus Maritime.

a coherent system. What part of it, if any, applies to a pacific blockade ? Is a captured vessel to be sunk or otherwise dealt with as the admiral of the blockading squadron thinks fit? Are there to be no prize courts? When a blockade is notified, and war really though not nominally exists, are the governments of neutral States bound to refuse the use of their ports to either belligerent as a basis of operations ? Will the provisions of the Foreign Enlistment Act apply? If a blockade may exist in a time of peace, what was the value of the contention of England, that Lincoln's proclamation of blockade necessarily implied a state of war ?

Of the examples above given, France has been a party to the majority ; France has insisted upon her right to exclude from the blockaded zone the vessels of all Powers; she has repeatedly exercised this claim, and in the last diplomatic correspondence on the subject she reiterated this contention. And we may expect that other countries will make claims similar to those which France has often made. This indeed is a necessary contention if a pacific blockade is to be of much use. The organ of the shipping interest in this country puts this point distinctly:

That it (such blockade) must be binding on all States, certainly appears to us to be equally clear. Its effect would be so weakened as to be useless otherwise. If the ships of any Power not actively taking part in the blockade were entitled to sail through the lines with provisions, arms and ammunitions, troops, general merchandise and so on, the whole object of the blockade would be neutralised, and the end would be that the blockading power would be forced to declare war, the very result to avoid which the scheme of pacific blockade was instituted. 12

Suppose that an English vessel had been stopped in forcing the blockade of Crete; suppose that, refusing to be overhauled, she had been fired upon, and that a shot had injured her hull or killed one of the crew. If civil proceedings were taken against the officer who ordered the

guns to be fired, it is not easy to see the answer to an action for damages by the owners. The orders of the Government or their ratification of the officer's conduct might not avail him, if the act were unlawful. Buron v. Denman shows such an action would not lie at the suit of a foreigner; it decides nothing more. • The decision leaves the right of action as between subject and subject wholly untouched.' 13

If one of the crew of the English ship had been killed by a shot from a cruiser, and the officer in command on his return to England had been indicted for murder, it is also a little difficult to understand the answer to the charge. The royal prerogative, it has been said, is wide enough to cover such a case ; the officer's conduct would be an‘act of State.' Undoubtedly judicial phrases sanctioning it may be found ; but whatever colour may be given by dicta uttered in other times than ours to the opinion that there is an unexhausted and

12 Shipping Gazette. 13 Feather v. The Queen, 6 B. and S., p. 296.

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