Page images

line of demarkation naturally appertain to the state to which the coast belongs, and all beyond are the high seas; that the territory and jurisdiction of a nation are vested in the people, and that neither can be transfered to or intermingled with those of another state without an original act of sovereignty, or the assent of the people whose territory or government is affected; that all bordering nations have a common right to the free navigation of inland seas and navigable rivers to and from the oceans; that the use of the high seas and connecting passes is the common right of all mankind, like the air we breathe, and that in their nature they are incapable of appropriation by any nation ; that, as all have a right to such free and common use, no grant or transfer of it can be made to any maritime state without the assent of all nations; that, on this highway of nations, no natural right, in peace or war, exists in one nation to enter upon or search the ships of another state; that the flag protects the ship and all on board, free ships making free goods; that neutrality forbids the carrying of arms, ammunition or munitions of war to any belligerent, or transporting the soldiers of either party to the war, or taking any hostile part for or against either; that neutrals observing such neutrality have a right, by the law of nature, to trade with either belligerent; that, in

reason and equity, a blockade of any port ought not to affect neutral trade thereto, except as to strict contraband of war; that private property is justly entitled by sea to the same immunity that it enjoys by land, and ought not to be subject to belligerent capture; that defensive wars alone are justifiable, and that in their prosecution no more injury must be done to the offending state than is necessary to self-protection and indemnity; that peace, good faith, justice, kindness and hospitality are international duties; that free trade is the interest and duty of all nations; that it is not only the duty of all commercial states, but their interest to extend Christianity and civilization to all pagan nations as the means of increasing production and extending commerce.

These are some of the leading principles which we suppose we have proved to rest upon the precepts of the Gospel, the teaching of history and the fixed moral laws of our nature. Our doctrines are placed upon the strong foundations of human interest, as well as upon that higher, more worthy and more holy one, the law of the King of kings, An obvious result of these principles, if fairly enforced, would be the disuse of wars by making peace the interest of all nations. What a happy coincidence of duty and interest in international transactions is, illustrated by them! How cheer


ing the thought that the Christian communities of Europe and America may soon perceive that their interest, as well as their duty to God, demands of states and empires the observance of the golden rule of the Gospel.

When right reason and Christianity shall so far have enlightened Christian nations, as to bring into international practice the principles of the moral law of nations, as we have shown them to have been enacted by the Supreme Law Giver, war with its savage atrocities and its wide-spread devastations must cease, and the olive branch will displace the sword streaming with human blood.

We have shown the application of our code to the leading rights and duties of nations. In all other particulars and unexplained cases we refer to the great dial in the heavens to which the finger of God points us, do as you would be done unto. This is the law of universal application, which must decide in all cases the right and duty of nations. It is an infalible guide like the north star, and is ever radiant with light and glory.

We have endeavored to unfold the general elementary code of the moral law of nations as God has enacted it, and as it is recognized in the declaration of Alexander of Russia and his royal associates of the 26th day of September, 1815, and in the Farewell Address of Washington. Our

high authority is that of the Almighty Ruler of the universe, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and who ruleth over the hosts of heaven as well as the inhabitants of the earth. May the nations learn and obey the law of the High and Holy One, and find permanent peace and prosperity.

[ocr errors]


That we may repose our principles of American polity upon the highest authority, we annex extracts from the Farewell Address of President Washington, which embodies the principles of our republic as sustained by every succeeding administration to the present day; and the fundamental constitution of the Holy Alliance. This latter document written, as it is said, by the Emperor Alexander, declared the firm determination of the three subscribing sovereigns to administer their respective governments and to regulate their international relations with all states by “the doctrines of the Gospel, the precepts of justice, of charity and of peace, which, far from being applicable only to private life, ought, on the contrary, to influence directly the resolutions of princes, and guide all their steps, as being the only means of giving solidity to human institutions and of remedying their imperfeetions.” This Holy Alliance, “Sainte Alliance,” in the name of the Holy and Indivisible Trinity,” proclaimed to the

« PreviousContinue »