Abbildungen der Seite
PDF

civilised society will feel it an imperious duty to observe, however he might neglect them with impunity. What is termed the Law of Nations then, I look upon, to be such rules as wise and just men have considered most conducive to the integrity and prosperity of nations, having for its basis, that great principle of self preservation, which the Lawgiver of the Universe, has for the wisest of purposes, implanted in the whole animal creation. The consideration of what is just or unjust as between man and man, has by analogy, led such authors as Grotius, Puffendorff, Vattel, and others, to consider what is the duty, or rather, what line of conduct ought to be observed between one state or

society and another, and such rules as they.

have judged equitable between nation, and nation, and most likely to preserve the integrity of each, they have detailed under the

appellation of the Law of Nations. With

state of cultivation to afford more than suffi. cient means of subsistence for three times the number of settlers; what right, let me ask, can such settlers have to refuse to an half-starved traveller the liberty of supporting himself by such surplus produce, or of adopt*ing a part of that spot for his local habitation? If right be a virtue, and synonymous with justice and equity, which I have always considered it, I can discover none in the instance I have put... What! is accident to be said to confer a right in one mau to starve another ? Such an idea is revolting to the judgment. All this imaginary right then, resolves itself in this; that when accident has placed me in a more fortunate situation than my neighbour, policy dictates...that I should use my best exertions to preserve my post against his and other aggressions. How absurd it is to suppose that the navigator i who happens to discover an island in some

respect to the tribunal which must enforce. | hitherto unknown portion of the sea, suffi.

the observance of these rules, the interest of the whole creates such tribunal, by producing a confederacy of the different states for that purpose. If in society, it would be dangerous to its welfare, to permit one member to be refractory with impunity, so among states, it would equally endanger their existence, if one were permitted to act contrary to the policy of the whole. . Self preservation then, that great cement of society,

would, so long as the different powers were pretty well balanced, have enforced an ob

servance to these rules or laws; but when once a power like France became capable of violating those rules, without the possibility of punishment, I admit with you, Mr. Cobbett, that the law of nations was from that moment dissolved, and that the states of Europe must be considered as no longer called upon to act upon that system, which there is no balance of power to maintain against violation. Thus much for the Law of Nations.—Now, your correspondent contends that “occupancy or first possession confers right,” in opposition to your principle, “ that foice alone confers right.” Now, it occurs to me, that “right” in both propo

sitions is improperly used; I neither think

that occupancy confers right, nor that fored confers it. . It seems to me, that all that con be advauced is, that occupancy gives an accidental advantage, which force alone must maintain ; but that neither occupancy hor force, have any thing to do with right. Suppose an association of men emigrating to South Aamerica, and that while, wanderin

there, they should find a considerable terri. tory uninhabited, of which they take possession, and that the spot so possessed, is in a

cient for the support of a multitude of inha| bitants, should by landing a few seamen upon it, thereby become possessed of the right of maintaining it against all the world, Having had the advantage of finding this uninhabited spot, if he can pursue the advantage, and prevent others from possessing themselves of it, it may be very well; but, to talk of a right, as if it were a divine right, which it would be unjust and impious to deprive him of, is o; farcical. The practice of nations fortifies this opinion. | When a Portuguese discovered the Brazils, what did Portugal do? Merely-inform the other European powers, that, by the discove.

ry they had the right; and to that they all assent? No! She sends out a force to maintain the advantage which accident has given her; colonizes the place, and fortifies it s with garrison3, and other means of defence; |

but, if it were an acknowledged right, and

so recognized by all civilized nations, such precautions would have been superfluous, and merely an insult to the other, powers. The principle of the Dominion of the Seas comes then, merely to this; that astron accided: tal, circumstances we have become the occu. pers of this island, and that we tolerablywell approve the spot, coulmon prudence dictato that we should adopt the best and safest mode of preserving it; and as Buouapartés in1 mense territorial acquisitions aré such, that we are in imminent danger of being iner. Wii. by his troops if he had any means of transporting them, we are urgedly ero ray of grasp N and policy to maintain the Duminion of the Seas; and every argument to the contrary seems to droop under to l pressure of its own folly. Thus much to the Dominion of the Seas “ExPATRIAtion of BRITI sh Subjects.” The writer upon this subject has advanced a doctrine, that mey suit the policy of some Englishman having a considerable preperty in the American funds; bat, that it is a doctrine either consistent with the safety of any nation, or compatible with the judgment that the most superficial consideration affords, is, what I must be permitted to deny. A Frenchman in defence of revolutionary principles, in a revolutionary age, has advanced an absurd opinion which your correspondent has given us, and which is in substance this, “That a citizen, as an inhabitant of the world,” (I cannot help observing by the way, that this chimerical Frenchman is an enomy to the idea of occupancy conferring a right, as upon that principle, it would be difficult to make out that every citizen is an inhabitant of the world,) “preserves a sort of natural liberty “to renounce his allegiance to his king and “country when he pleases, and to become “ the adopted citizen of another with equal “facility; without which liberty man would “be really a slave;” that is, that when a man has been reaping for years all the benefits and privileges which the laws of the country in which he has resided has afforded him, and after he has realised a pretty large fortune, (the emoluments of some situation that have been paid out of the hard earnings of the people), he is to be at liberty to ship of the property to soule foreign country, and return when he pleases afterwards, with a band of ruffians, to plunder us of our property and cut our throats. Now, this doctrine, says your correspondent S.V. is “certainly consoriant to reason," and why it should not be adopted generally, and the spirit of it incorporated with the Law of Nations, he cannot conceive. Is it possible, Mr. Cobbett, for the most uncivilized wretch, or the most licentious of libertines, to promulgate a doctrine more repugnant to integrity, gratitude, and humanity than this? Werethere no other memorial, characteristic. of a Frenchman's disposition, this alone would indelibly stamp the truth of Voltaire's option of his countrymen," that in

their exterior they are monkies, and in ... their hearts tigers." In opposition to this F 's doctrine, we have that, of Sir # Coke, that “no man can divest himself of his allegiance to the country in which, "he is born." S. V. who has given us this * well as the former quotation, pbserves, that he fitids upon investigation, that it was only a dictum of Sir E. Coke's, what is the doctrine, let me ask, of the Frenchman, Pic*tj is that anything more than a dictum 2

God forbid that it should ! If there be no black letter of the law, by which a Briton's incapacity of expatriating himself is laid down, it is, that the understanding of every man must have rendered it unnecessary. Only imagine, Sir, the case of a temperary dissatisfaction prevailing in a nation, and that inflamed with the intrigues of a country who has her destruction in view, and that every inhabitant was permitted to expatriate himself at pleasure, and shake off his allegiance; what is to become of the country in such a crisis? The fact is, that no reasonable man, unconnected with the interests of a foreign country, and having the welfare of his own nearest his heart, can for one moment entertain a doubt of the impropriety of such doctrine as that insisted upon by S. V. The only authority of S.V. (if it be not misusing the term when applying it to M. Pecquet) is the opinion of that French revolutionist, the foundation of whose opinion as stated by himself, is an insidious sophism : he says, unless a subject can shake off his allegiance he is really a slave. Why, no doubt every citizen of a country is subservient to the laws of that country; all governments being public compacts to which each inhabitant is a member; and as far as such com

t restrains the natural liberty of the memto: he is so far dispossessed of his freedom; but, then it is to be considered, that he has exchanged that freedom for some supposed equivalent. Universal freedom is inconsistent with political society. For the government of every society, however small, there must be laws, and in proportion as each member of the society is affected by those laws, so far he is deprived of his natural liberty; but whether that is a situation which the understanding contemplates when speaking of slavery, I leave to the judgment of the impartial reader. I presume, Mr. Cobbett, that your only object for inserting the letter of your expatriating correspondent, was to expose to your readers the danger of listening to the subtleties of those gentlemen who are so prone on all occasions to deprecate an American war, and to abuse this nation for every exertion in favour of her independence; if, so, I agree with you, Sir, that the letter of S. V. has been peculiarly

fitted for the purpose; though when I call

to my mind the observation of that same Lord Coke, who says, interulum fucata falsitas in multis est probabilios, et sarpe rationilus vincit nudan veritatem,” I almost question the philosophy which has yielded to its publication. * - - CAND IDUs.

Lincoln's Inn, Sept. 22.

DOMESTIC OFFICIAL I APERS.

captured at Monte Video;) the Medusa,

Et, ENos. AYREs —From the London Ga- Nereide, and Thisbe to receive the seamen

zette Extraordinary, dated Downing street, September 12, 1807. (Continued from p. 473.) Alstract of Ordnance of Stores, captured from the Enemy in the Suburbs and City of Buenos Ayres, on the 2d and 5th of July, 1807. ... -43 Garrison and field pieces of different calibres, and mounted on travelling carriages. —About 25,000 round shot for field pieces, of various calibres; and about 1000 shells for mortars of various natures; and an arsena), containing every description of ammunition and military stores; of which a return will be given as soon as possible. (Signed) Avg. S, FRAzer, Capt. Horse Artillery, Commanding. To his Ecc. Lieut Gen. IWhitelocke, Commander of the Forces. Adora!!y Office, Sent. 12, 1807. Dispatches, jo, the following are copies and extracts, have this day been received at this effice from Rear Admiral Murray, addressed to William Marsden, Esq. Mercide, off Barragon, June 30, 1807. Sir, –––1 did myself the honour of informing you, by the last opportunity which soiled from Monte Video, of my proceeding from St. Helena until my arrival off Monte Video with the squadron and transports under my orders, a duplicate of which letter I now transmit.—Rear Admiral Stirling had made every necessary arrangement for the intended expedition before my arrival; it being necessary on account of the shoals in the river, that the line of battle ships should remain at anchor off Monte Video, as well as for the protection of that place, I directed Admiral Stirling to remain with them.—On the 17th inst the secend division of troops, consisting of all those who had come out with Gen. Craufurd, being ready to proceed to Colonia, where Gen. Whitelocke wished he whole to be assembled, Capt. Prevost, in is Majesty's ship Saracen, taking with him the Encounter gun brig and Paz schooner, sailed with the transports. On the Sth, 213 marines of the squadron were landed at Monte Video, by request of the General, to strengthen the garrison. I likewise ordered 440 seamen to be ready to land, under the command of Captains Rowley, Prevost, and Joyce, with a proportion of officers to assist in working the artillery, to go up in the frigates, and Capt. Bayntun to proceed up the North Channel to Colonia, in the Haughty

gun brig, with 6 gun boats, (Spanish prizes'

[ocr errors][merged small]

intended to land, and 3 boats from each cf

the line of battle ships.--On the 21st, the

wind moderating, I shifted my flag to the

Nereide, and Gen. Whitelocke did me the

honour of accompanying me; and having

directed Capt. Bouverie, in the Medusa, and

Capt. Shepheard, in the Thisbe, to proceed

with the Rolla and Olympia, and the last di.

vision of the troops, at noon weighed

and stood to the southward, where we anchored in three fathom water—On

the 24th we anchored between Ensinada de Barragon and the northern shore, the winds and weather having prevented our getting to the westward of the Oltez Bank before. The General and myself finding time would be lost by going with this division to Colonia, sent for the troops to join at this anchorage; Gen. Gower went for them, with orders from Gen. Whitelocke to evacuate Colonia, if he thought it necessary; Colonia was accordingly evacuated.——On the 27th the troops from Colonia joined, with the Fly, Pheasant, Haughty, and the gun boats. I ordered the Paz up the river, with directions to the Statinch and Protector gun brigs to join me.—The transports having the troops and artillery on board, being in three divi. sions, I directed Capt. Thompson, in the Fly, who had made himself acquainted with the river, and particularly the place intended for landing, which was near Barragon, so lead the first division, having with him the Dolores schooner and 4 gun boats; Capt; Palmer, in the Pheasant, to lead the second division, with the Haughty and 2 gun boats; and Capt. Prevost, in the Saracen, to bring up the rear of the third division; o: Bayntum and Corbet to superintend the landing of the troops.-At day light on the 28th, the wind being favourable, I made the signal to the Fly to weigh with the first divi; sion, and immediately after a general signal to weigh, having ordered the Rolla to be placed on the west end of the bank, as a guide to the ships to join. 'I shifted my fog to the Flying Fish, and Gen. Whitelooke went in with me." As soon as the first divi" sion of transports anchored, I made the sonal to get into the boats, and immedio afterwards to put off—Soon after 9 A. \, the first boats, with Brig. Gen. Craufus'. division, landed about a mile to westward" the fort, from' which the enemy had some time before withdrawn their guns.

-----Queen Sureet, and published by R.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[graphic]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

“The Adam and Eve of this young nation came out of Newgate.”—Saying of a British Grenadier in 1776.

513] — SUMMARY OF POLITICS.

DoMixios of the SEAs (continued from

p. 422). Upon this subject, there was a letter, from a correspondent, inserted in the Register of the 19th of September, at page 439, which letter I should have answered, in my last, had it not been done in so able and complete a manner by my correspondent WRoc, of Lincoln's Inn, whose admirable letter will be found at page 502. Thus is the ground of “occupancy, or first possession, " completely demolished. A second correspondent, under the name of CAN Dipus, at page 506, takes up the same subject, and he differs from me inerely upon the propriety of my definition of law ; but, he has not, I think, satisfac. torly shewn, that it is propor to denominate law that which no tribunal can possibly enforce. “A law," says he, “is a rule of ac“tion, and I apprehend, that a conscien“tious man may lay down for himself a rule “ of conduct, from which he will not deviate, ‘ though there should be no tribunal that “ could enforce his obedience.” Very true, but, this is using the word law in a figurative sense ; and, as to the force of such a law, as applied to the affairs of nations, it would, I think, be very difficult to discover, in the history of the world, any, even the slightest, traces of it. My correspondent says, that, “ as to the tribunal “ for enforcing these rules, the interest of the whole creates such a tribunal, by “ producing a confederacy of the different states for that purpose " But, here we revert to might again, to force, to mere power, to the “ right of the strongest;" and, as I explicitly said before, the only defence of weak states consists in the opposite interests and the mutual jealousies of the strong ones With respect to the present state of things, however, Candidas agrees with me. that one power having swallowed up ali the others, upon the continent of Furope, the law of nations, or the rules of conduct, were, from that moment, at an end, and that no state can now be called t:pon to act according to those rules.—— But, the chief reason for my reverting to

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

this subject, at this time, was, that I thought

[ocr errors]

[514 it necessary to notice an article published in the Morning Chronicle of the 21st of September, which article I shall, according to a custom almost peculiar to myself, first submit to the perusal of the reader.—“A great deat “ of most unfounded clamour has been raised against the late Ministers, not only as having been willing to concede, but as having actually conceded, some of our most important naval rights to the Americans. We venture to assert most po“sitively, however, that in the Treaty concluded in this country in the end of last, or beginning of the present year, not a single naval claim is conceded, and that particularly the right of searching for seamen is not given up. With re spect to searching for seamen on board of ships of war, it neither has been exercised, nor, from the nature of things, can it be exercised, without necessarily leading “, to disturbance and irritation that would render peace between two countries little else than a feverish expectation of actual war. Regulations may be requisite to prevent the seduction of our seamen by “ the Americans, but the identity of lan“ guage, &c. which renders regulation “ necessary, would render the right of search on board of ships of war the worst

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

assailed in that ill-mannered tone of personal invective, which now disgraces political discussion. We have been accused of giving up the rights of the country, and advocating the cause of our enemies. Nay, the House of Lords itself, is censured for not haviug negatived a motion, that nations were entitled to be considered as equal, as to their rights. Such extravagant language is perfectly suited to those who contend that there is no law, by sea or land, but that of the strongest, and who admit Bonaparté's right to subdue the Continent, because he is able to do it,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

be acted upon. ‘ as to their rights, so far from being a new

and recommend that Great Britain should exact tribute from every ship that sails the sea; because she is able to do it. Our readers, however, cannot suppose that such doctrines ever were held by any statesman or politician, or are likely to The equality of nations

or dangerous doctrine, is the doctrine by which we have a Court of Admiralty which determines causes by that very Law of Nations which is called unmeaning jargon. We can have no better authority for this than Sir W. Scott, and those who have been so loudly reviling us, have in reality been attacking the principles of that learned and respectable Judge.— In giving judgment in the case of the Maria (the case of the Swedish convoy), Sir William Scott says, “In forming that

* judgment, I trust that it has not one mo

“ment escaped iny anxious recollection “what it is that the duty of my station “calls from me; namely, to consider “myself as stationed here not to deliver “occasional and shifting opinions to “ serve present purposes of particular “ national interest, but to administer “with indifference that justice which the “ law of nations holds out, without dis“ tinction, to independent states, some “happening to be neutral and some to “be belligerent. The seat of judicial “ authority is indeed locally here, in the “belligerent country, according to the “known law and practice of nations. “But the law itself has no locality. It “ is the duty of the person who sits here, “ to determine this question exactly as “he would determine the same question “if sitting at Stockholm ; to assert no “pretensions on the part of Great Bri“tain which he could not allow to Swe“den in the same circumstances, and to “impose no duties upon Sweden as a “ neutral country, which he would notad“mit to belong to Great Britain in the “same charãcter.” Here is the opinion of Sir Wm. Scott distinctly in favour of the equality of nations. Mr. Cobbett reprobates the mention of such an equality. The judicious reader may chuse which he likes best. We cannot help hinting, however, that if Mr. Cobbett's authority prevail, the Admiralty Court Tmay be forthwith abolished, and divers placemen cashiered. We humbly ap

prehend therefore, and with great de

ference to Mr. Cobbett's deep learning, who judiciously quotes the trite and com

mon-place Tory principle, that this coun

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

try should affect naval dominion, and not fight upon the Continent, in order to ‘establish the right of this country to universal naval property and dominion. The sweeping claims now made to the dominion of the sea is quite a different thing, and aims at different consequences from the old maxim of cultivating naval power, in contradiction generally to land force. At no time has this country claimed that dominion or property now talked of, and so strangely confounded with the encouragement of naval strength. We never claimed more than a sort of nominal superiority, confined entirely to the narrow seas, which by the Treaty with the Dutch in 1674, extending them as far as could be dreamt of, were defined to be the seas from Cape Finisterreto Cape Stat (in Norway). To this claim France neveryielded, and America of course had nothing to do with it ; but even this claim, if admitted to its fullest extent ; if revived by a treaty containing the clause left out in 1802, is utterly foreign to the right claimed all the world over. Selden himself offers as an argument in favour of our British seas, that others have similar rights in their seas, as the Venetiaus in the Adriatic, and the Danes in the North; and he is very well satisfied with being able to make out a claim of a servitude in our favour over the seas belonging to the Danish sovereignty. To talk then of our ancient sovereignty of the seas is an abuse of the words. Indeed, though we had always claimed and obtained this sove-. reignty in the sense now alluded to, of

a sovereignty over the whole ocean, it would & >

avail nothing; for even when admitted

in the narrow seas, it never has enabled

us to exert the right of searching ships of war. If any proof of this were wanting, we might refer to the demand made by

* Cromwell, in 1653, after a war ostensi

[blocks in formation]
« ZurückWeiter »