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CASE OF THE TRENT

OF

rights by the summary judgment of a quarter-deck. • Had these well-attested precedents been in his

mind, the gallant captain would not, for a moment, have been seduced from his allegiance to those principles which constitute a part of our country's glory."

This review of one of the most interesting and memorable cases in the history of international law, cannot be more fitly closed than by quoting the language of the distinguished Senator from Massachusetts (whose learning and research has been so largely availed of in this recital), in the eloquent sentences with which he closes his masterly oration.

“Let the rebels go. Two wicked men, ungrateful to their country, are let loose, with the brand of Cain upon their foreheads. Prison doors are open, but principles are established which will help to free other men, and to open the gates of the sea. Never before, in her active history, has Great Britain ranged herself on this side.

“Such an event is an epoch. Novus sæculorum nascitur ordo. To the liberties of the sea this power is now committed. To a certain extent, this cause is now under her tutelary care. If the immunities of passengers, not in the military or naval service as well as sailors, are not directly recognized, they are at least implied. If neutral rights are not ostentatiously proclaimed, they are at least invoked; while the whole pretension of impressment, so long the. pest of neutral commerce, and opera: ting only through the lawless adjudication of a quarter-deck, is made absolutely impossible. Thus is the freedom of the sea enlarged, in the name of

peaceful neutral rights; not only by limiting the number of persons who are exposed to the penal.. ties of war, but by driving from it the most offen. sive pretension that ever stalked upon its waves. To such conclusions Great Britain is irrevocably pledged. Nor treaty nor bond was needed. It is sufficient that her late appeal can be vindicated only by a renunciation of early, long.continued tyranny. Let her bear the rebels back. The consideration is ample; for the sea became free as this altered power went forth upon it, steering westward with the sun, on an errand of liberation.

“In this surrender, if such it may be called, our government does not even stoop to conquer.' It simply lifts itself to the height of its own original principles. The early efforts of the best negotiators—the patriot trials of its soldiers in an unequal war, have at length prevailed, and Great Britain, usually so haughty, invites us to practise upon those principles which she has so strenuously op

posed.

“There are victories of force. Here is a victory of truth. If Great Britain has gained the custody of two rebels, the United States have secured the triumph of their principles.

“Henceforth, the statutes of the sea, refined and elevated, will be the agents of peace, instead of the agents of war. Ships and cargoes will pass un challenged from shore to shore; and those terrible belligerent rights, under which the commerce of the world has so long suffered, will cease from troubling. In this work our country began early. It had hardly proclaimed its own independence, be. fore it sought to secure a similar independence of

the sea. It had hardly made a constitution for its own government, before it sought to establish a constitution similar in spirit, for the government of the sea. If it did not prevail at once, it was because it could not overcome the unyielding opposition of Great Britain. And now the time is come when the champion of belligerent rights has changed his hand and checked his pride. Welcome to this new-found alliance. Welcome to this peaceful transfiguration. Meanwhile, throughout all present excitement, amidst all. present trials, beneath all threatening clouds, it only remains for us to uphold the perpetual policy of the republic, and to stand fast on the ancient ways."

When we consider the past policy and present condition of the nation by whom the extraordinary demand in this case of The Trent was made-in connection with the past policy and present condition of the nation to whom it was made—it cannot but be the conviction of every honest mind, that it was a demand—not fit to be made. But what patriot of America, what philanthropist anywhere, will regret, or with bitterness remember, the temporary mortification of the concession to such a demand, if that concession shall carry with it, for the blessing · of future ages, the happy result thus eloquently foreshadwed by the distinguished Senator, who spoke so nobly in its defence; if the liberal and en. lightened sentiments and principles, springing from the very nature of the government, and the spirit of the institutions of the United States-and which have distinguished her policy from the beginningshall hereafter become vital among nations; if henceforth, Christianity and civilization live and la

bor together, in the construction of the great fabric of public law, by which alone can be secured the peace and happiness of nations; if it shall hasten the dawning of that auspicious day, when shall arise the glorious spectacle of the triumph of reason and principle, over power and interest,

“When Sovereign law, the world's collected will,

O'er thrones and globes elate,
Sits empress—crowning good, repressing ill :
Smit by her sacred frown,
The fiend discretion, like a vapor, sinks,
And e'en the all-dazzling crown
Hides his faint rays, and at her bidding, shrinks.”

CHAPTER VI.

THE

IZE

RISDICTION

OF THE PRIZE JURISDICTION OF COURTS OF AD

MIRALTY, AND OF THE PRACTICE AND PROCEED-
INGS OF PRIZE COURTS.

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WIL miralty.

JUDICIAL tribunals, constituted for the purpose Prize jurisdic

tion exclusiveof passing upon questions of maritime capture, ly vested in though different in different countries, are in all

au courts of adnations distinct from the ordinary municipal tribunals.

They are commissioned to decide in accordance with the law of nations and the conventional obligations of treaties; and therefore in the proceedings adopted for their administration of the law, and in the rules of evidence by which they are guided, they bear no analogy to the ordinary municipal or common law tribunals. In the United States and Great Britain, the In United

States and exclusive jurisdiction of maritime captures is vest- Great Britain. ed in courts of admiralty, which in the exercise of this power are usually denominated prize courts.

Courts of admiralty were originally established in England, in the reign of Edward III., and their powers were limited and defined by Richard II., who first conferred the title of admiral of England on a subject, by patent granted to the Earl of Arundel and Surrey. In Great Britain, this court is held by the lord high admiral, or by his deputy, who is called judge of the court of admiralty.

In the United States, this court is held by the several judges of the district court of the United

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