Enquiry Into the Validity of the British Claim to a Right of Visitation and Search of American Vessels Suspected to be Engaged in the African Slave-trade

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Lea & Blanchard, 1842 - Great Britain - 151 pages

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Page 80 - No principle of general law is more universally acknowledged than the. perfect equality of nations. Russia and Geneva have equal rights. It results from this equality, that no one can rightfully impose a rule on another. Each legislates for itself, but its legislation can operate on itself alone.
Page 42 - That the admission of a right in the officers of foreign ships of war to enter and search the vessels of the United States in time of peace, under any circumstances whatever, would meet with universal repugnance in the public opinion of this country.
Page 166 - American citizens prosecuting a lawful commerce in the African seas, under the flag of their country, are not responsible for the abuse or unlawful use of that flag by others...
Page 80 - America embarked in it; and for nearly two centuries it was carried on without opposition, and without censure. A jurist could not say that a practice thus supported was illegal, and that those engaged in it might be punished, either personally, or by deprivation of property.
Page 168 - The Independence of the United States was acknowledged by Great Britain, and we took our place among the nations of the earth.
Page 161 - States composing this Union had made appeals to the civilized world for its suppression long before the moral sense of other nations had become shocked by the iniquities of the traffic. Whether this Government should now enter into treaties containing mutual stipulations upon this subject is a question for its mature deliberation. Certain it is that if the right to detain American ships on the high seas can be justified on the plea of a necessity for such detention arising out of the existence of...
Page 68 - ... this country, and our legislature has pronounced it to be contrary to the principles of justice and humanity. Whatever we might think, as individuals, before, we could not, sitting as judges in a British court of justice, regard the trade in that light while our own laws permitted it. But we can now assert that this trade cannot, abstractedly speaking, have a legitimate existence. " When I say abstractedly speaking...
Page 81 - ... American government on the subject of visitation and search, would decide any case in which that right had been exercised by an American cruiser, on the vessel of a foreign nation, not violating our municipal laws, against the captors. It follows, that a foreign vessel engaged in the African slave trade, captured on the high seas in time of peace, by an American cruiser, and brought in for adjudication, would be restored.
Page 65 - No one nation had a right to force its way to the liberation of Africa by trampling on the independence of other States ; or to procure an eminent good by means that are unlawful ; or to press forward to a great principle by breaking through other great principles that stand in the way.
Page 68 - ... restitution in a prize court, of human beings carried as his slaves. He must show some right that has been violated by the capture, some property of which he has been dispossessed, and to which he ought to be restored. In this case the laws of the claimant's country allow of no right of property of such as he claims. There can, therefore, be no right to restitution. The consequence is, that the judgment must be affirmed.

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