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part of those governments whom we have expressly benefited in
Third, That, so far as our present relations with England are supposed to call for a new definition of our international attitude, both interest and a regard to consistency call upon us e to stand upon the old ways," and to hold up our past record to the courteous and considerate attention of that power as a motive for her making good to us those rights, or granting an indemnity for their omission, which we believe she has withheld from us during the late civil struggle.
Fourth, That if the Monroe doctrine, as it is called, is supposed to connect itself with the proposed new line of neutral (or belligerent) policy on the part of our Government, it is clearly made to appear that the authors and promoters of that doctrine would be the opponents of any such change, unless in the opposite direction to that inaugurated by the House of Representatives at its late session.
Fifth, That the experimental adoption of our neutral legislation at successive steps and by temporary enactments, confirmed as it now is by a consolidation of nearly half a century's duration, so far from proving that the time has arrived for abandoning that policy and experimenting upon a new theory, demonstratively shows that that legislation is suited to our Government in its international position and relations, and affords the best argument for extending, rather than contracting, the fundamental basis on which that legislative policy rests.
This leads me to the consideration of my next topic, - the proposed "scaling"-down of the American neutral laws to the alleged lower level of British legislation.
THE TRUE ESTIMATE OF BRITISH NEUTRAL LAWS
AND BRITISH NEUTRALITY,
General Banks quoted as to “scaling” American neutral laws down to the
level of the British. — The assertion, that British neutral laws are laxer than our own, an unfortunate one. - On the contrary, British laws are decidedly the more stringent and complete of the two. — This natural, because they profess to be an improvement, and were adopted after a thorough discussion, in which Mackintosh, Canning, &c., took part. - The only wonder that the British improved so little upon Hamilton's model. - At least ten important heads of superiority on the part of the British code:— (1) Its provision against the incipient offences of “agreeing to enlist,” &c., for the land service. - Illustrated by Fenianism, and case of Sir James Crampton's recruiting. — (2) In forbidding recruiting for foreign ships from among foreigners.
- Illustrated by Laird's recruiting for the “Alabama” in his ship-yard. — It was useless for Sir Roundell Palmer to urge this point upon the Court of Exchequer, when the British Government had so scandalously neglected to prosecute Laird. — The American act, however, hits other violators of the law than “the natural-born subjects” of the United States. - Illustrated again from Fenianism. — (3) In embracing British subjects everywhere, while ours is limited to acts within United-States territory. — (4) In authorizing the detention of vessels about leaving with recruits “enlisted, or engaged to enlist,” for foreign service. — It is under this provision that the crew of the “ Alabama” ought to have been stopped at Consul Dudley's demand. —(5) In prohibiting the fitting-out of any transport or storeship for belligerent use. — Reference to American practice in Crimean War, and to the new provision authorizing free traffic in ships of war as merchantable articles. — (6) In forbidding the fitting-out or arming, &c., of a ship of war, when our act only prohibits “ fitting out and arming,” with an exception which General Banks takes pains to subvert. — Laird's iron-clads stopped on this use of the word “or” in the British act. Importance of this word “or” in several of our leading cases ignored. — Did General Banks mean to strike hands with ChiefBaron Pollock, of “ Alexandra” fame ? — Baron Bramwell's “ quibble” and “evasion” noticed. - (7) In using the terms “in order that” in addition to “ with intent” of our law. - Baron Pigott's friendly demonstration of this superiority alluded to. — (8) In employing the terms “persons, assuming to exercise the powers of government,” in addition to “colony, province," &c.
Illustration from description of Jefferson Davis in the “ Alexandra” and
Pampero” cases. – Notice of Lord Curriehill's keen point, that neither the American nor the British act forbids the fitting-out of privateers. — The writer meets it with the American decisions. — Cases of Guinet and Quincy noticed. — The point may hold good of letters of marque.
The Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs thus states their motive for seeking to conform the new legislation of their proposing, to the tenor and terms of the British Foreign-Enlistment Act of 1819 (59th George III., chap. 69), which constitutes the only British neutral legislation now in force. I quote General Banks's oral explanation in debate, as more explicit than any thing contained in his written report :
“ The object of the committee has been to scale the [United States] neutrality act of 1818 to the standard of the Foreign-Enlistment Act enacted by Great Britain in 1819. The provisions of the Bill which has been read are essentially the same as the provisions enacted for the same purpose in the Foreign-Enlistment Act of Great Britain. With the exception of the section giving citizens of the United States authority to sell vessels, the material of which they are made, and munitions of war, to governments or citizens of governments with whom the United States may not be at war, there is nothing in this Bill which is not contained in that act, and there is no provision in that act which is not substantially embraced in this Bill." ("Globe," July 30.)
The Chairman had previously stated in his Report (p. 6),
" Its restrictions [those of the British act] are nominal, compared with those of the American statute.”
So that, by " scaling,” I understand General Banks to mean that he proposes to lower the requisitions of the new American act to the level of the imperfections of the British statute; his line of reasoning being, that, whereas England has not been faithful to the fulfilment of her neutral duties towards this country in the late civil struggle, we now propose to put ourselves in a position to practise towards her, whenever it shall be deemed advisable, the same treatment which her imperfect legislation has enabled her to practise towards us.
When the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives asserts that "the restrictions of the British statute are nominal, compared with those of the American,” he hazards a statement which I shall be sorry to have meet the eye of any English jurist or statesman. So far is it from being true that we shall have to make a descent in our legislation on this head, in order to come down upon a level with that of England, that I venture to affirm, that in many, if not in most, respects, the English statute is decidedly the more high-toned and comprehensive of the two.
Why should it not be so? It was passed the year after ours ; it was professedly modelled upon ours, and with the bonâ-fide intent, as I believe, of improving upon it; and it had the benefit of one of the ablest and most thorough discussions that any measure involving the enforcement of international duties ever received in the British Parliament. When I mention that Sir James Mackintosh, Sir William Scott, Henry Brougham, Thomas Denman, James Scarlett, John Singleton Copley, all took active and prominent parts in the discussion; that Sir James Mackintosh made one or more of his most eloquent and celebrated speeches upon the Bill; and that George Canning, in closing for the ministry, replied to Mackintosh in one of his greatest efforts, in which he did us and himself equal honor for vindicating the good faith of the law of nations (as I have already briefly quoted in part), - I think I hardly need add any thing to show that the British Foreign-Enlistment Act is primâ facie as honest and thorough a piece of legislation as our own. The only wonder to me is, that the English publicists and statesmen were able to improve so little as they did upon Hamilton's model, in that part of the Bill borrowed from us; and I regard it as one of the greatest tributes to the genius of that extraordinary man, that all the legal talent of England combined, virtually confessed, twenty-five years after his act was penned, that it hardly knew how to better the groundwork of his scheme for enforcing international neutrality on the ocean.
Yet, with this actual or professed adherence to the American