Abbildungen der Seite

his country's independence; impressed with these feelings, I cannot withhold from you the grateful acknowledgements of an individual, who has read with admiration, your late masterly papers, respecting our dispute with America, and our Dominion of the Sea. —I most cordially agree with you, that the mere cirumstance of the posesssion of naval power, is nothing, unless it be used to demonstrate to the surrounding nations, how

effectually we can annoy them with it, whenever, and at the very instant, their

hostile threats, or the measures of our inveterate foe, shall force us so to do. On this account, as well as the other advantages, resulting from so bold and decided a measure, the attack on Copenhagen is likely to do us more essential service, than the capture of fifty such places as Buenos Ayres. —It is calculated to impress our enemies with some idea of the magnitude of our power; and, we are actually called upon at this, moment, under “the particular circumstances in which we are placed, to make Continental Europe feel our power at her very doors, ..". in distant and remote parts of the go." such cases, they on y see, and fet

forcement, of that grand foundation of all our national security and glory, the act of navigation, as a perpetual nursery for seamen, we have more than adequate means for the stipport, or even increase, of our present gigantic naval power; and the whole effect of our taking possession of the remainder of the colonies, still in possession of our enemies, may be produced, in as complete and effectual, and much less expensive mauner, . means of our navy alone, than with the co-operation of our länd forces. 'What I allude to is, that we should at once, and at the very commencement of every succeeding war, declare, that we would not permit the smallest inter

course, or an ounce of merchandize, to be:

carried to or from our enemies colony, under the protection of any neutral flag whatever; otherwise, than in cases, and for such articles, which humanity might call upon us to permit them to receive. This principle I believe to be an extension, though not a considerable one, of the rule of 1756; and, to any neutral power, complaining ot its operation, we might with much propricy say, “this measure is not directed against ... you, or against any one thing you have the least reason to call your rights:—it is solely directed against our enemies; and, it is your misfortune and not our wish,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

that our measures of self defence, should prove injurious to your interests. By our power, we have driven our enemies from the very face of the ocean, and we calnot, nor indeed are we disposed, to permit you, under the character of neutrality, to render our power nugatory. By the same rule, and upon the very same principle, that our enemies forbid you to trade to their colonies in time of peace, we forbid you to do it in time of war: . by our naval power, we have cut off all sort of intercourse between their colonies and the mother country, and we have consequently, a just right to consider them as virtually in our possession. The prohibition, in both cases, is founded upon the temporary interest of each party, with which you have no right whatever, to interfere.” The rule here laid down, . founded on our just right of making an effectual use of our power by sea, whenever we may be necessitated to exercise that power for the annoyance of our enemies: nor does there appear the smallest degree

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

of injustice done to the neutral nations, ad

feel our power, in a slight or indirect manner. With the colonies thready in our possession, and a strict en

[ocr errors]

mitting, for argument's sake, that famous law—the law of nations. With what justice or propriety, can a neutral complain, of being prevented from tra'ing to a-place in

: time of war, to which he claims no preter

sions whatever in time of peace : " If, in ,

time of peace, the enemy says to the neu

[ocr errors]

tral, “ the trade to my colofiles is my prin“cipal source of commercial revenue, and “ nursery for seamen, I, therefore, cannot “ permit you to trade to thema,”“we, surely, stand in need of no better reason to prevent that trade in time of war.” “But, I would not stop here, I would prohibit the trade by sea, to or from any port in the world under the sovereignty of but enemies, without our special licence for that purpose; and the same principle and rule of conduct is equally open for their adoption. By not acting up to the full extent of our power of annoy.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

who, having each told his story according to

the bearings of his particular interest, had, in almost every instance, his wishes complied with, upon paying the required fee for a licence under the royal signature; and this too, in such a wholesale manner, that during the last summer, there were frequent instances of licences so granted, and orders in council issued, in the course of the same week, directly counteracting each other. The fees paid for these licences, or sale of the royal signature, in consequence of the silly measures adopted by the late administration, surpassed all bounds—from the lowest computation they must have amounted, to at least, from 20 to 25,000 pounds : my objection to the payment of these fees, however enormous they may appear, is not founded in any tenderness towards the persons who pay them, but, to the inducements it holds out to the needy underlings in office, amongst whom the money is divided, (and who you know perfectly well, are, in fact, the principals in transactions of this sort) to sell the vital interests of the country.—Reverting again to the main object of this letter—what would be the consequence of pursuing a system of warfare, founded upon the principle, of secession on our part, of any further colonial or territorial conquest, but at the same time adopting a total prohibition, upon pain of becoming legal prize, of all sort of intercourse by sea, through the medium of neutrals, with all the enemies ports and colonies, otherwise, than by means of our special permission ? The consequences resulting from such a sys

tem, would seem of almost equal magni

tude, and at the same time attended with

circumstances tending less to wound the

feelings of honour of foreign nations, as your plan of universal tribute; inasmuch as our prohibition would be solely directed at our enemy, and, however the interest of

some neutrals might beinjured thereby, they

would not be boond, for the mere sake of

their houcur or independence, to resent it,

as a measure of hostility directed equally against them, unless they actually chose to

do so, for the very purpose of quarrelling: with us.--The system above alluded to,

vigorously enforced, would have three, at least, very beneficial effects : first, the

dread of so heavy a calamity, as must in

evitably fall on the population of the enemy, in a war with this country, carried on in this energetic manner, must make him pause, before he dared, from the very im

pulse of personal safety, to provoke our hos. tility wantonly. Secondly, the enemies colonies in the course of a few years of war, would be under the necessiy of trading with us, in order to get rid of the produce of the soil; and for which purpose, we might grant licences, without fee or reward, to neutral vessels according to circumstances, or the situation of our own colonies; by which means we should enjoy all the substantial benefit of an extended colonial commerce, without the expence and inconvenience of its protection; and, in a political point of view, the opening the communication again to the mother country, at a peace, would be equal to the actual restoration of them, were they really in our possession. Third: ly, it would give a most stable, and most ef. fectual prop to our commerce and navigation, at a time when it has, in many cases, almost insurmountable difficulties to contend with ; and it would tend particularly to benefit thot class of men, at whose constant grumbling, when measures of real energy are employed, you entertain such well founded fears, under the present critical circumstances. I mean the commercial interest: by this system our colonial productions would have the almost total monopoly of the continental market; and even our enemies, though still in possession of the local sove

reignty of their colonies, must absolutely

supply themselves with the produce thereof through our means; and that too, in such proportions, as we may deem it our interest

to permit them to receive at our hands. In order to carry this system into effect to the

utmost possible bonefit to ourselves, I would have the trade to the enemy's colonies limited, or extended, in proportion to the capability of our own islands being sufficiently productive for the general supply of the continent. I would grant licences to neutral vessels, to bring the produce of the enemy's colonies to this country, at such times and in such quantities only, as the state of our own market should warrant.—Būt, to follow up

[blocks in formation]

ed; in the distribution of the productions of

each respective nation or soil, he has rendered a very frequent and extensive communication ly sea, between the various nations of the world, absolutely necessary to their respective existence, and which necessity has become very considerably heightened from the present enlightened and cultivated state of the European nations.—These facts being admitted, how ought a Briton to exult, in being a native of that land, which seems by the very situation in which it is placed, and the noble and independent spirit and intrepidity of her sons, to be pointed out as that favoured nation, who has it in her power resolutely to assert her freedom, in defiance of the whole of Euroe (or, perhaps,

the world) raised up in arms against her ?— Which has the power to prescribe the very . terms of intercourse, not of any one or two nations, but the intercourse by sea, of every nation upon the face of the globe ' ' ' Ought then a nation so gloriously situated to think of assuming a tone of despondency, upon the mere fact, of a few misgoverned or dastardly nations, having fallen into the grasp of a most haughty, artful, ambitious, and, at the same time (with the powerful aid of his advisers). a most ingenious and clever individual We are possessed of vast real and effective power—let us not abuse it, but exercise it in a manner, that shall not only evince to foreign natious our consciousness of its possession, but also, convince the whole world, by our moderation and generosity, that we are worthy of so great a trust: let us assume a commanding and dignified line of conduct, that shall equally scorn the meanness, of cither wounding the feelings of a weak and defenceless nation, or brook an insult from the most powerful, And this principle would seem to me, whatever other persons may think of the matter, to be perfectly reconcileable with our conduct with regard to Denmark. It was necessary for our national safety and security, as the most powerful and only means, under the extraordinary circumstances in which this country is placed, of effectually destroying the possibility of any formidable maritime confederacy being formed against us, to demand the possession of her navy, and raval stores, upon certain. conditions; that demand was made, (and at the same time supported in a magner to ensure success), in a tone of the utmost candour, manliness, and humanity, and it was no fault of ours that a single shot was fired. Let the terms upon which we can make peace with safety, be made known to the world; let those terms be even very much within the bounds of those we are justly entitled to demand, and are able to enforce; but let them be such only, as shall ensure to our country, for the sacrifices she has made, the full and unadulterated reward, so justly her due ; perfect safety, freedom, and independence.——I cannot possibly comprehend upon what sound principle it is, that the late ministers and their advocates, should take so much pains to hold up the terrors of a rupture between this country and America; and, even to go so far, as to preoch up the

necessity of concessions, upon the occasion of every new demand, our good nature, or

perhaps, more properly, timerous conduct, has induced her to make. It is surely, to be seen in every walk of life, that a man, without the least assumption of arrogaoce, may carry a degree of firmness and resolution. about him, to resist all encroachments devogatory to his honour, as shall at once, prevent either an in proper favour being asked of him, or his being insulted; whilst on the other hand, a mau, adopting a different carriage, and who shall have once shewn symptops of fear, is sure to be insulted and innposed upon. The latter appears to me, to be our case with respect to America, we have goue on conceding one point after another in such a manner, as to induce her to entertain an opinion of our actually being afraid of her power; and in consequence, she presumes to hold that insolent and domineering language, we have been so much accustomed to hear of late. As a combination of trifling circumstances, with those of greater magnitude, may induce her to entertain such a mean opinion of us, I cannot help mentioning to you the circumstance of, what appears to me, a very in proper preference given to their ships, over those of other neutral nations, during the time they lay in the River Thames. You must know, that for some (good no doubt) reason or othcr, no 'foreign vessels of any nation or description whatever, have for these 6 or 7 years last past, been permitted to come up nearer to London, than the Isle of Dogs opposite Deptford, those belonging to America only excepted; who are permitted to lay in any part of the river they may chuse, for their own convenience; now, though this may be considered as a very foolish circumstance only, yet, I can see no good reason why these domineering gentry should have sneh a preference of civility. shewn tiem, . Why swell the pride of these injolent and contemptuous people with an affected distinction or preference : Why not permit the humble Pappehburg or . Kniphausen vessels, to enjoy the same privi-. leges, as neutrals, as those of America?, I cannot but fear, indeed, from the Whole. view of our conduct towards these people, that we have only our own imbecility to blame, for the arrogant and menacing tone. they have ventured to assume... You have in your late papers, handled our present, dispute with America in such an admirable manner, that it is almost presumption to attempt the mention of it. But, it occurs to me, that, in your paper, taking a view of the probable loss this country might sustain, in consequence of a rupture § Annerica, you did not state one very great advantage which would have resulted from it, and which the system pointed out in the preceding part of this letter, is also calculat

ed to produce;

namely, the position of

America supplying the Continental market, , which she does at this moment solely to our total erclusion, with East India and Čolonial produce ; and which would consequeñtly, . force as it were, the consumption of our own produce and manufactures upon the Continent, on a scale equal or nearly 39, so the diminusion of our expoits to America;, —at all events, if it did not open a market to our manufactures to the extent of op. loss, the advantage derived to our East all West India Merchants takcu into the calculation, would fully balance the accogni, is a transaction of national, loss of gin. In short, as our prescnt forbearance, leaves the advantage in favor of the mounsacturers, so the event of war, would throw the advantage in favor of our colonial merchants the effect, therefore, would be precisely the same as far as the uation is concerned, the difference being merely, an exchange of advantages, anioligot a few individuals.-I would not, however, be understood from this sort of calculation, to entertain a moment's hesitation, of sacrificing every idea of commercial profit or gain, whenever the salvation of the honour or independence of our country were at stake, My notions, indeed, of the foreign commerce of this country, are somewhat similar to yomrows .

—I am of opinion it inay be carried too far,

and most certainly so, if the basis of its extension, is that of seizing and consequently garrisoning colonies (to say nothing of the . expence of the civil department) in distant: . parts of the world. From the rature of ot. offensive and defensive power, as a nation, it is obvious, that we require a more extoided foreign and domestic commerce, that any other nation, for the very put * maintaining our power; the most prominent feature of which power being the possession of ships and seamen, and, those resources and regulations, dependent upon commerto, which continue to supply them; and second ly, the pecuniary, resources j to put in motion and keep up that power. If we can extract the first, and some portion of the second, of these our means of de; fence, from our commerce, it is all we want from it as a nation; and, so long as we can manage fo make our national power and safety go hand in hand with the extension, of our commerce, so long ought that com: merce to be encouraged and protected, but not one moment longer.—H. C.—Londo", 25 Sept. 1807. - - - ** * - —

* . . . . - § posilstow of THE SEAs.

Sir;—I have perused with attention the communications inserted in the last number, . . . . . . . . .


of your register on the subject of the dominion of the seas, by your correspondents who assume the signatures of Wroc and Candidus, but I am so far from being convinced by their arguments, that the doctrine which I maintained “that occupancy or first pos“ session confers right" is unsound, that with the additional reflection I have given the subject, I am, if possible, more confirmed in my opinion. It may be proper to observe in the outset, that I mean by the term occupancy, the seizing on and converting to exclusive use that matter which was before in common, and this I believe is the sense which Blackstone, and other writers have attached to the term. Although I have the misfortune to have one of your correspondents (Candidus) in opposition to me, you have but little reason to boast of his support; for he says, “I neither think that occupancy “ confers right nor that force confers it 5” now, as we have undeniably acquired the dominion of the sea by force, and as there occur to me only two ways in which this could be done; namely, rightfully and wrongfully; if it has not been effected righttully as your correspondent is of opinion, it must have been effected wrongfully; therefore we are, according to his own confession, wrongfully - in the possession of the dominion of the sea, so that in fact your correspondent and my

self come to the same conclusion. We travel

indeed, by different roads, but we both arrive at the same spot at last. Yet your correspondent after this admission inconsisttently'states, “ that we are urged by every “ray of reason and policy to maintain the “‘dôminion of the seas.” Occupancy or first possession I contend confers right. The Almighty when he created the world gave to man dominion over the sea and endowed hism" with reason; that reason shews that those gifts which were intended for all mankind, belong to him who first has the good fortune to possess himself of them, or such a portion of them as is necessary for his use and enjoyment. And it further shews that it is unjust to molest him in that possession or to deprive him of it. It is upon this ground I contend, that America and every other nation not in a state of war with this cout try, have a right to the uninterupted use of that port on of the sea which their vessels may occupy, for the time being, and that to interrupt them in the possession of it is unjust. The things which are the subject of occupancy at present are but few : malkind having consented to give up by far the greatest part in consideration of the advanages which they derive from society, but they did not give up all. Some of which

exist at this day: a few I roticed in my former communication. And if it be unjust to deprive a tenant sur autre vie of the estate he acquired by occupancy; if it be unjust to deprive a person of the seat at a theatre which he first possessed himself of; if it be unjust to deprive a ship in the rivers or docks of an advantageous situation which it occupies; and if an hundréd similar instances which might be adduced and which must occur to every reflecting mind be unjust; why is it not equally unjust to molest the ships of nations in amity with us in the enjoyment of that portion of the sea which they occupy for the time being * That reason which shews the injustice of the former cases shews in as strong a light the injustice of the last. The right we assume to the Dominion of the Sea consists,

it is contended, in the power we have. We possess the strength of a giant, and you would have us use it like a giant, and assert that it is not wrong to do so; but in main

taining this doctrine you become, in fact,

the apologist of Bonaparte. And, let me ask your correspondent Wroc, if the possession by occupancy which we have of this

country does not confer on us an exclusive right to it, on what ground can we have an exclusive right We evidently cannot

have any. So, if that scourge of humanity should succeed in landing on our shores with his army, instead of cheering your countrymen with the justice of their cause,

“ thrice are we armed because our quarrel's “just, and they but naked though locked

“ up in steel,” because their “ quarrel

“ with injustice is corrupted,” you would

damp their spirits by telling them that the

enemy possess just as much right to our country as ourselves. This is patriotic conduct with a vengeance If we have a right to the Dominion of the Sea I really do not see why we should not acquire a right to the dominion of the air. Let a fleet of balloons be filled out and impose such restrictions as

may be deemed expedient upon the dif

ferent neutral nations for the air they breathe: if they resist and should assert that they have a right to breathe uninteruptedly the air which God designed should be in common for all his creatures, tell then, you have acquired the right by force and infect the air with some foul disease, the plagte for instance, to enforce your just demand. A British prince in answer to the Roman ambassador who detmanded tribute said, “ tell your master we will nothing pay for “wearing our own noses,” and ‘I think we

might with just as "notch oright impose restrictions upon the different nations of th:

« ZurückWeiter »