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mighty deep. The caverns of the seas are filled with countless ships and millions of sea-voyagers engulfed age after age in the ocean's unfathomable waters. These vast and accumulated wrecks of human power and grandeur, over which the waves roll in sublime magnificence, attest that God is the only sovereign of the seas. In vain did Canute command the waves to stop as they approached his majesty, for they obey the voice of Him who hath said, thus far shalt thou come and no farther ; peace, be still. Nor has man yet been able to erect a single monument in the seas of his dominion, and he cannot even indent their waters by a passing keel but for a moment. The oceans are now as free from all trace on their surface of the track of fleets and navies, as if they had never ploughed the main. The Lord Almighty then truly measures the seas in the hollow of his hand, and they obey Him as their true Sovereign. Azuni in his Maritime Law says, that "the sea belongs to no one; it is the property of all men ; all have the same equal right to its use as to the air they breathe, and to the sun that warms them." Again he says, “the use of the sea, light and air are alike common to all."
Lord Byron illustrates God's sovereignty of the seas in the following sublime description:
“Roll on, thou deep and dark blue ocean-roll!
Thou glorious mirror where the Almighty's form
The royal Psalmist, in the 107th Psalm, beautifully discribes the omnipotence of the Lord upon the stormy seas and his terrible majesty in the great waters. In the 89th Psalm he says, “ Thou rulest the raging of the sea.”
The Almighty Ruler of the seas has given to all mankind the use of their waters, though he has made them in their nature incapable of private or national appropriation. This is the true ground of title to the high seas, and from their intrinsie nature all men are tenants in common forever of their use. It is but a use and a common use. As all nations are equal in rights under this divine gift to all, this equal common use is the inheri
tance of every state and kingdom. Vattel supports this view of the subject. Azuni in his Maritime Law maintains the same doctrine with equal force. Reason teaches us that the seas, like air and light, are free and common to all mankind. We have fully illustrated this doctrine in treating of maritime rights appurtenant to the territory of a nation, and of the right of search and maritime curtilage.
SECTION EIGHTEENTH. OF TRANSFER OF A NATION'S
RIGHT IN THE HIGH SEAS.
Our doctrine of the freedom of the seas, as a common birth-right is generally admitted, but in different ages aspiring and unscrupulous maritime States have claimed to own by virtue of superior naval power, a larger right in the seas and oceans than originally belonged to them. We have seen these unfounded claims most arrogantly asserted by the Athenians, the Portuguese and the English. This pretended jurisdiction over the high seas rests, so far as it has any foundation, upon conquest, upon usage and upon the consent, express or implied of other maritime States. Let us examine this subject by the light of reason and equity, and see if any nation can be recognized by the moral law of nations as ruler of the seas. No nation, it is clear, can acquire the common use of
the high seas which belong to another without transfer in some mode.
Some writers maintain that there are three ways by which such transfer may be made ; first by conquest, second by treaty, and third by presciption or long continued usage. By the moral law and by the Gospel, force cannot be a solid ground of title, and if applied by a foot-pad on the highway to the seizure of the goods of a traveler he gets no right by conquest. The same is equally true of national seizures of the property and dominion of other nations. Russia, Prussia and Austria by the sword of conquest dismembered Poland, because each of those kingdoms felt power and forgot right. Their title has no foundation in the moral law of nations, and the terrible insurrection of the Poles was a rising of insulted humanity against oppression and wrong. Napoleon conquered, devastated and pillaged Austria, Prussia, Italy, Holland and other countries, dismembering some and depriving others of their independence by the sword of conquest. By the same means he possessed himself of the wealth and of the splendid works of art of the conquered countries, and filled Paris with them, as trophies of his arms.
By these acts he has earned for himself the appropriate name of oppressor and devastator of Europe. His title, founded on the scimin
tar, was repudiated by the moral sense of Europe, and justly caused his dethronement by the allies, and the fundamental declaration of the Holy Al. liance, that the Gospel is the true basis of the law of nations. In the view of Christianity as well as of common sense, conquest either by a foot-pad, by Napoleon, Cæsar, Alexander or a nation confers no right to the property or dominion thus wrongfully acquired. Hence no maritime right of a state can be rightfully lost by conquest or any unjust and forcible aggression. Azuni maintains this position in his Maritime Law. Nor can it be transfered by treaty. The existing administration of every state and nation is appointed to regulate their affairs, not to sell their soil or dominion, or to grant away the national sovereignty or any part of it. This is a self-evident truth. Above in treating of the union of states, we have quoted Puffendorf to this point and Vattel also. As selfgovernment is a natural, inherent and inalienable right, the power to grant away such sovereignty, and thereby destroy its independence and national existence, resides in the people and not in the of ficers of government. In the the United States we have an apt illustration of this subject. The President, Senate and House of Representatives have certain specified national powers confered upon them, and all others, the great mass of