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it appeared to be under the circumstances , nies. But in other respects the former which actually subsisted. Or if the com order still remained in force; and from plaint itself, however well founded, could that moment, to the close of last year, not have been attended to by this country, amidst the numerous, and often groundwithout practically conceding to our ene- less complaints of neutrals, I do not mies the means of bringing their colonial recollect that a single voice was produce to Europe, the paramount claim heard either to question the justice of our of our own defence would justly* have principle, which confined their commerce superseded every other consideration. With the enemy to those branches only But this was by no means the case; it was which they had carried on before the war; evident that no vessel laden with French or to dispute the correct application of colonial produce, and met with by our that principle, as detailed in the instruccruisers on its passage to Europe, could tions under which she British navy has allege a destination to New York, or uniformly been acting. Yet, in the preBoston, which the mere fact of the course sent treaty, the whole of this long-adshe was pursuing would sufficiently dis- mitted claim, its principle as well as its prove; whereas if a voyage to Hamburgh practice, is at once surrendered without or Copenhagen had been equally per reserve, and without compensation, by a mitted, the same ship might proceed under permanent and perpetual concession. Not this pretence to the very mouths of the one word of exception has been provided French ports, waiting the first oppor

for it; nor, as it should seem, has one tunity to enter safely, if not into Bourdeaux thought of interest been bestowed upon it. or Marseilles, at least into Cherbourg, My lords, I am happy to see that Havre, or Dunkirk. Nor was it likely I am honoured with the attention of my that the direct trade from the Islands to noble and learned friend who presides in America could, under the peculiar cir- this House, and whose situation pecumstances of a war which had placed culiarly calls upon him to insure to his in our hands almost the whole of the country that some remedy shall yet be West Indian possessions of France, be obtained, while a remedy is still within made the channel of any considerable our reach, for this unforeseen and almost circuitous_supply of French colonial pro- incalculable mischief. He is the first in duce to Europe. On these grounds a station among those venerable magistrates relaxation of our principle was admitted who administer to the subjects of this in favour of a friendly power ; but this realm, and to all foreign nations having was not done by any treaty, permanent, intercourse or commerce with us, the inor even temporary; it was a spontaneous estimable benefits of pure and impartial act of his majesty's government, resting justice. He is also the first in that high on the king's authority alone, and subject commission of appeal, where the rights to his discretion; and depending there and interests, the claims and the comfore for its duration, or its renewal, on plaints, not of individuals only, but of the continuance or recurrence of the same states and governments, are weighed with circumstances which then led to its adop- deliberate consideration, and determined tion.

with dignified and scrupulous integrity ; The new instruction issued for this pur- and if his continuance in that distinguished pose in 1794, by his majesty in council,t office shall be as long as his country wishes permitted neutral vessels, during that it, he will often be required to pronounce war, to carry to the ports of the United authoritatively upon the construction of States the produce of the French colo- this treaty, and to promulgate from the

seat of justice those numerous and impor* “ Lucrum illi commerciorum sibi perire tant changes which it has suddenly intronolunt. Angli nolunt quid fieri, quod contra duced into our whole system of maritime salutem suam es. Jus commerciorum aquum law. I have long known the uprightness est, at boc æquius tuendæ salutis ; est illud and integrity of his mind: I am certain, privatorum, hoc est Regnorum.” Albericus not only that when he decides as a judge Gentilis de Jure Belli. + Jan. 8, 1794, Art. 1. “ That they shall

he will forget that he is a minister, but bring in for lawful adjudication all vessels

, he delivers any opinion on matter of law,

that even when in debate in this House with their cargoes, that are laden with goods the produce of the French West India islands, he will speak to us as a lawyer, and not and coming directly from any port of the said as a politician. I take the liberty thereislands to any port in Europe."

fore to address myself to him, as to a per

son to whose opinion I always listen with doubts should still remain among the unfeigned respect: and I ask him with other powers of Europe, whether the confidence, whether, in determining a British government had really and knowquestion of property between individuals, ingly agreed to a concession, which must any earthly considerations could induce appear to all the world almost incredible. him to assert, that a neutral ship carrying Clearly and unequivocally indeed have on the trade of the French colonies with they spoken. For your lordships will Europe (but not having on board either observe, that the article from which this enemy's property or contraband of war), new and dangerous consequence is to has violated any one of those conditions result, does not stop even at the decisive subject to which alone this convention words which I have already quoted: it has expressly guaranteed an unlimited goes on to state, with a precision rarely freedom to neutral navigation ? Let my to be found in this treaty, that " it is noble and learned friend, before he answers agreed not to comprise, under the denothis question, look to the second section mination of enemy's property, the proof this third article of which I have be. duce, growth, or manufactures of the fore been speaking. He will there find it countries at war, acquired by neutrals, distinctly provided, that “ all effects em- and transported on their account.” Apply barked on board neutral ships shall be these words to the case which I have free," with no other exception than those already stated; their purport and effect of contraband of war, and of enemy's must be, that the produce of Martinique, property

acquired by Danes or Swedes, may freely The sugars of Martinique or St. Do- be transported on their account to any mingo, if so embarked, will certainly not neutral country; or even to France itself, be contraband of war. The case which I for in that respect there is no limitation. put to my noble and learned friend, sup- Even this is not all. As if it had been poses them not to be enemy's property, thought that additional words were still but purchased by neutrals under a lawful wanting to ratify our submission, or that sale. What is then the sentence which repetition and tautology could give new he must pronounce upon them? I answer, validity and assurance to this explicit surin the very words of this article, by which render of our rights: the article subjoins he is to judge, “ the effects shall be free;" | (still speaking of the produce of a hosthey sball pass freely, without capture, de- tile country, purchased and transported tention, or delay, to Denmark, to Sweden, by neutrals), “ which merchandize canto Russia, or even to France itself. Would not be excepted, in any case, from the such a sentence be conformable to the freedom granted to the flag of the neutral present law of nations ?

Is this now the power.rule which guides the practice of our Now, my lords, let those who have cruisers, or the decisions of our courts? undertaken the sacred duty of maintainMy noble and learned friend well knows ing, in negotiation with foreign powers, that it is not. But we must hencefor- the rights of their sovereign, and the ward submit to receive and recognise it, interests of their couutry, weigh in their as an imperious and over-ruling principle, own minds all the effect and force of these which is to silence the concurrent opinions expressions. Let them ask themselves, of all civilians, to annul the uniform de- whether any words can be found in cisions of all British and all foreign courts language admitting of less doubt? Wheof prize jurisdiction, and to be applied, ther any purpose can be more distinctly as I shall hereafter show, not merely to expressed by an agreement, or any obligathe powers with whom we have ostensibly tion be more clearly binding on the public negotiated this transaction, but to the faith? The thing spoken of in the treaty, practice and the rights of every neutral is “ the growth, produce, and manufacstate. If indeed any English ministers ture of the territories of the belligerent could be suspected of having deliberately powers.” No man, I suppose, will deny conseoted to such a sacrifice, one should that the colonies of France are its territonot have wondered that a sense of the ries; or that the sugars, coffee, and cotton, fundamental change which it must intro. are their growth and produce. The sti. duce into the principles of our public law, pulation respecting this growth and proshould have rendered them so peculiariy duce is, that it may freely be acquired by solicitous to word it in the clearest and neutrals, and transported by them withmost decisive terms; lest some natural out restraint to any other place. I am

British navy.

not aware that even the possibility of sion which I have heré stated: and that cavil is left to us, on this subject, much no minister can in negotiation contend less any honourable plea, to which British against it, without betraying the deliberate ministers can now resort in defence of and dishonourable purpose of breaking this most important right, which all their the public faith, and wresting from their predecessors have successfully maintained, true construction the solemn engagements and the dereliction of which, when of his sovereign. Nor, until I hear the coupled with the other concessions of this contrary, will I believe that any man, convention, will place us in a situation capable of construing a treaty, can athitherto unexampled in the history of the tempt to controvert this interpretation,

however much he may wish to excuse the Can we now contend that neutrals negligence, or bope to palliate the error, may not transport to Europe the produce which constrains him to admit so dangerous of the colonies of France? Can we even a consequence. refuse to them an unlimited intercourse Having stated this as the firm and unal. with all the ports of all those colonies ? terable conviction of my mind, grounded Look at the treaty--the only object of on reasons which I am confident it is imwhich is to define and regulate such ques- possible to shake, I think it just to add, tions with a greater accuracy than before in this instance as in the former, that I prevailed, and, as the preamble declares, am thoroughly persuaded this effect was * to fix invariably the principles of the not in the contemplation of the framers contracting parties upon the rights of neu- of this treaty. It has, I have no doubt, trality." We have there expressly con- resulted only, like that of which I have cedei, not in any loose and general provi- before spoken, from precipitation and in. sion, having other points principally in its advertency. But I have much more satiscontemplation, but in the precise words faction in looking to the means of rectifyof an article, framed for the sole purpose ing the omission, than in examining its of certainty upon this very subject, that origin, or in tracing its consequences. I all neutrals “may sail freely to any port am therefore happy to remark to your of the belligerents ;” to their ports in lordships, upon this, and upon almost America, therefore, as well as to their every other concession of this treaty, ports in Europe: and that their commerce that they are all points still susceptible of in the productions of those countries amendment; points on which Russia, “ shall be free,” with such limitations disposed as she now is towards Great only as have no relation to this question Britain, can have had no real interest to of colonial trade. Must we then acquiesce insist. Very great advantage would cerin this change, and leave to neutrals the tainly result to other neutral powers from enjoyment of this new pretension? Or this particular concession; and its value shall we, in failure of every other plea, to France might be almost beyond calculay claim to some hidden exception, to lation; but to the Russian empire it can some implied reserve, by which we intend produce no benefit whatever. The colony to profit, but which we have omitted to trade of France in war, if we open it at express ? Shall we attempt to argue that all to neutrals, will naturally fall into the colonial trade is by us considered as a other hands than those of Russia. If, special case, to which this general conces. therefore, in the spirit of conciliation and sion does not apply?

Even there also friendship, we propose at Petersburgh to the framers of this article have met us; explain this article in a manner more conand, as if they foresaw the evasion, but sistent, both with our rights and interests, were determined to guard against it, they we must believe that such an explanation have distinctly provided, not merely that will not be refused. There can be no this freedom of navigation shall in general reason to apprehend that the mere desire be permitted, but that is shall not " in of gratifying our common enemies, or any case" whatever, be refused. On the rivals, would induce that court to insist whole, therefore, I have, for my own on our adhering to an agreement into part, no hisitation, or difficulty, in de which we have been betrayed only by claring it to be my deliberate and con- negligence or inadvertence, and the conscientious opinion, that any judge, sit- sequence of which may produce so material ting to decide under this treaty as it now an injury to our naval power. stands, and having regard to the obliga- Having therefore expressed this hope, tion of his oath, must admit the conclu- and trusting that the measures by which it may best be realized, will neither be tions is to be considered as binding, this omitted nor delayed, by those who are stipulation was already contained in our charged with the conduct of the public treaties with both those powers, and was interests, I proceed to speak of the second perhaps still more distinctly expressed of the general principles, which I have than it is in the article of which I am before enumerated. It is that which is now speaking. But I am far from thinkopposed to the pretension that free ships ing that the recognition of the same make free goods. It is the principle on principle by Russia was therefore of which we maintain that the goods of an slight importance: and I am desirous to enemy embarked on board a neutral ship give to the convention, on this head, are not exempted from those natural rights the full credit to which I think it fairly of capture and confiscation, which accrue entitled. to a belligerent whenever he meets with Most sincerely do I wish that the next hostile property, not protected by the principle which we have to consider, were territorial jurisdiction of a friend. 'I am left by the result of this negotiation on a happy to declare, without reserve, that like footing of advantage and security to on this point the present convention seems Great Britain. It involves what is perto me to have obtained a sufficient re- haps the most valuable of all the interests cognition of the just and established prin- for which we have contended. It relates ciple asserted by Great Britain. Our ad to the important concern of contraband vantage in that recognition is indeed con- of war. But before I speak of the confined to the single case of Russia, whose sequences to be apprehended from the commercial navigation is of small extent. unparalleled inaccuracy of this part of With respect both to Denmark,* and to the convention, it is proper first to advert Sweden, † as far as the public faith of nato those more obvious and avowed con

cessions which it contains, and which, Treaty of 1670, between Great Britain apply to this essential point. The first of and Denmark, Art. 20.—" But, lest such these relates to the duration of the freedom of navigation, or passage of the one

preally, and his subjects and people, during the ties with Russia, which we had renewed

sent engagements. Our commercial trea. war, which the other may have, by sea or land, with any other country, may be to the in 1797, for a fresh period of ten years prejudice of the other ally, and that goods and only, had, by a temporary stipulation, merchandises, belonging to the enemy, may admitted the subjects of the Russian be fraudulently concealed under colour of empire to carry, in their own ships, naval being in amity, for preventing fraud, and stores to the ports of our enemies. By taking away all suspicion, it is thought fit that the second seperate article of the present the ships, goods, and men, belonging to the other ally, in their passage and voyages, be convention, the treaty of 1797, which furnished with letters of passport and certifi- had been suspended during the short cate, the forms whereof ought to be as follow." period of hostility between the two coun. Here follows the form of the passport, which tries, has been re-established for the expressly certifies that the whole cargo belongs remainder of its terms; but the period of to neutrals, and not to either of the belligerent parties.

goods, and masters of the vessels, as also Treaty of 1661, between Great Britain the exact dates, without any fraud or collusion; and Sweden. Art. 12.-“ But lest such free-together with such other descriptions of that dom of navigation and passage of the one sort as are expressed in the following form of confederate should be of detriment to the a safe conduct and certificate. Wherefore, other, while engaged in war, by sea or land, if any, person shall affirm, upon oath by with other nations, and lest the goods and which he is bound to his king, state, or city, merchandises of the enemies should be con- that he hath given in true accounts, and shall cealed under the name of a friend and ally, afterwards be convicted, on sufficient proof, for the avoiding all suspicion and fraud of of any wilful fraud therein, he shall be severely such sort, it is agreed, that all ships, carriages, punished, as a transgressor of the said oath." wares, and men, belonging to either of the Here follows the form of passport, which is confederates, sball be furnished in their jour- to the same effect as that in the Danish nies' and voyages with safe-conducts, com- treaty. And the article goes on, after some monly called passports and certificates, such farther detail, to state, that “if the goods of as are underwritten, verbatim, signed and an enemy are found in such ship of the consubscribed by the chief magistrate of that federate, that part only which belongs to the province and city, or by the chief commissio- enemy shall be made prize, and what belongs ners of the customs and duties, and specify, to the confederate 'shall be immediately ing the true names of the ships, carriages, restored." (VOL. XXXVI.)

[Q]

its duration has not been extended. It republic has openly adopted it as the will therefore expire within a little more main spring of all her foreign policy, the that five years from this time; but the great instrument of her present and fu-' privilege which it conveyed to Russia of ture dominion. Left as she now is by carrying naval stores to our enemies, will our submission, tlie indisputed arbitress now not expire with it. The article which of Europe, what shall prevent her from contained that concession has been se- inducing the continental powers once parated from all commercial stipulations, more to recur to the same injustice; to and transferred from the treaty of 1797, quench their mutual jealousies in the which was of limited and short duration, blood of their unoffending neighbours, into the present convention, which is ex and to seek their own security, not by a pressly declared to be perpetual.* Let manly resistance against her encroachnot any man that hears me, imagine this ments, but by making themselves accominnovation to be a matter of inconsidera- plices with her in the plunder and division ble consequence. Hitherto, as often as of weak and defenceless states ? From our commercial treaties with Russia were the personal dispositions indeed of the to be renewed, so often was the policy of present sovereigns of those three mighty this concession brought under our view, monarchies, better things may perhaps be to be reconsidered, as any change should hoped. Happy will it be for Europe, have occurred in the circumstances of the and happy for themselves, if they shall' two empires, or in their mutual relations finally reject these revolting projects of to each other. In the present state of the iHegitimate aggrandizement! But if the commercial marine of Russia, this privi- danger to which Great Britain may be tege, confined as it is to Russian ships exposed by the consequences of the prealone, cannot materially affect the interests sent treaty, is to recur as often as the of Great Britain ; nor is likely that the system of partition shall revive in Europe, next five

years

will produce any essential we may too soon feel the want of some alteration in this respect.

better security. We may find abundant But is this country equally secure in cause to regret that we have not obtained the perpetual surrender of such a privi- for the interests of our country some lege? Are we certain that the marine of more lasting safeguard than can be found Russia will for ever continue incapable of either in the constancy of any personal exercising it to an extent highly preju- character, or in the precarious tenure of dicial to the most important interests of human life the British empire? What sentence of Yet, if it were as reasonable, as it is irrevocable law, what principle of reason in fact absurd, to contend that no Russian or of nature, has barred all farther pro- merchant ship can ever be constructed in , gress to a nation which has been raised, those harbours which now contain a miliwithin the last century, from a horde of tary marine not much inferior to that of barbarians to rank with the first among France; if it were clear that no naval the powers of Europe ? Or, where is stores could ever be exported in Russian that bold and visionary prophet who, cir- ships from the same ports to which the cumscribing by his predictions the exer

vessels of all other nations resort in crowds tions of a great and growing empire, has for the purchase of those very articles ; ventured to guarantee to us the perpetual if it were certain that Russia alone, of all duration of its present territorial bounda- the powers of Europe, never can henceries? Has he never heard of the three forth extend her navigable coast, either successive partitions of Poland ? Has by treaty or by conquest; if we had no he never looked to the present situation reason at this very hour for wishing to of Sweden and of Turkey? Or, is he to place at her disposal the commanding port learn, that it is yet a problem how far of the Mediterranean sea, as the only that desperate system of partition may at means which can now preserve it from an this very hour be actively extending itself absolute dependence upon France; if the on the continent of Europe ? The French benefit of this convention could justly be

withheld from all provinces or countries * Article 8. of this Treaty._" These sti henceforth to be acquired by either of the pulations shall be regarded as permanent, parties; a principle which we ourselves pulations shall be regarded as permanent, have never recognized as to our own contracting powers in matters uf commerce and quests, nor have maintained against Prus. navigation."

sia in the recent example of Dantzic

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