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public-for the principle it lives by and keeps alive-for | I could not take the office without taking the oath. Noe man's vast future-thanks to all.
was it my view that I might taku an oath to get power, and Peace does not appear so distant as it did. I hope it will break the orth in usiog the power. I understood, too, that come soon and come to stay; and so come as to be worth in ordinary and civil administration this oath cren forbade the keeping in all future time. It will then have been me to practically indulg. my primary abstract judgment on proved that among freemen there can be no successful ap- the moral question of slavery. I had publicly declared this peal from the ballot to the bullet, and that they who take many times, and in many ways. And I avor that, to this such appeal are sure to lose their case and pay the cost. day, I have done no official act in mere deference to my ab And there will be somo black men who can remember that strict judgment and feeling on slavery I did understand, with silent tongue, and clinched tecth, and steady eve, and however, that my oath to preserve the Constitution to the well-poised bayonet, they have helped mankind on to this best of my ability, imposed upon me the duty of preserv. great consummation, while I fear there will be some white in, by every indispensable means, that Government-tbat ones unable to forget that with malignant heart and deceit nation, of which that Constitution was the organic law. ful speech they have striven to hinder it.
Was it possible to lose the nation and yet preserve the ConStill, let us not be over-sanguine of a specdy, final tri- tution ? By general law, life and limb must be protected; umph. Let us be quite sober. Let us diligently apply the yet often a limb must be amputated to save a life; but a means, never doubting that a just God, in his own good life is never wisely given to save a limb. I felt that meas. time, will give us the rightful result.
ures, oberwise unconstitutional, mizot become lawful, by Yours, very truly,
A. LINCOLN. becoming indispensable to the preservation of the Coostita.
tion, through the preservation of the nation. Rigbt or
wrong, I assumed this ground, and now avow it. I could THE PRESIDENT'S LETTER TO THE NORTH AMERICAN
not feel that, to the best of my ability I had even tried to REVIEW.
preserve the Constitution, if, to save slavery, or any minor EXECUTIVE MANSION,
matter. I should permit the wreck of Government, country, WASHINGTON, January 16, 1864.
and Constitution, altogether. When early in the war.Ge Messrs. CROSBY & NICHOLS:
eral Fremont attempted military emancipation, I forbade GENTLEMEY: The number for this month and year of the
it, because I did not then think it an indispensable decat North American Review was duly received, and for which
sity. When a little later, General Cameron, then Secretary please accept my thanks. Of course, I am not the most
of War, suggested the arming of tho blacks, I objected, boite impartial judge, yet, with due allowance for this, I venture
cause I did not yet think it an indispensable pecessity. to hope that the article entitled “ The President's Policy." |
W ben, still later, General Hunter attempted military em.. will be of value to the country. I fear I am not quito
cipation, I again forbade it, because I did not yet think the worthy of all which is therein kindly said of me personally.
indispensablo necessity bad come. When in March and The sentence of twelve lines, commencing at the top of
May, and July, 1862, I made earnest and successive appeals page 252, I could wish to be not exactly as it is. In what
to the border States to favor compensated emancipation, I is there expressed the writer has not correctly understood
believed the indispensable necessity for military emancip me. I have never had a theory that secession could absolve
tion and arming the blacks would come, unless averted by States or people from their obligations. Precisely the con
that measure. They declined the proposition, and I was, in trary is asserted in the inaugural address; and it was be
my best judgment, driven to the alternative of either sur cause of my belief in the continuation of these obligations
rendering the Union, and with it, the Constitution, or of that I was puzzled, for a time, as to denying the legal rights
laying strong hand upon the colored element. I chose the of those citizens who remained individually innocent of
latter. In choosing it, I hoped for greater gain than loss, treason or rebellion. But I mean no more now than to
butof this I was not entirely confident. More than a year of merely call attention to this point.
trial now shows no loss by it in our foreign relations, done Yours respectfully,
A. LINCOLN. in our home popular sentiment, pone in our wbite military
force, no lose by it any how, or anywhere. On the contrary, The sentence in the January number, refered it shows a gain of quite a hundred and thirty thousand sol. to by Mr. Lincoln, is as follows:
diers, seamen, and laborers. These are palpable facts, abcut
which, as facts, there can be no cavilling. We have the Even so long ago as when Mr. Lincoln, not yet convinced
men, and we could not have had them without the mess of the danger and magnitude of the crisis, was endeavoring
ure. to persuade himself of Union majorities at the South, and
" And now let any Union man who complains of this to carry on a war that was half peace in hope of a peace that
measn re, test himself by writing down in one line, that he would have been all war, while he was still enforcing the
is for subduing the rebellion by force of arms; and in the fugitive slavo law, under some theory that secession, how
next, that he is for taking three hundred and thirty thooever it might absolvo States from their obligations, could
sand men from the Union side, and placing them where not excheat them of their claims under the Constitution,
they would be best for the measure he condemns. If he and that slaveholders in rebellion had alone, among mor
cannot face his case so stated, it is only because he cannot tals, the privilege of having their cako and eating it at the
face the truth." same time the enemies of free government were striving
I add a word which was not in the verbal conversation to persuade the people that the war was an abolition cru
In telling this tale, I attempt no compliment to my own Bade. To rebel without reason was proclaimed as one of
sagacity. I claim not to have controlled events, but confes the rights of man, while it was carefully kept out of sight
plainly that events have controlled me. Now at the end of that to suppress rebellion is the first duty of the Govern
three years' struggle, the nation's condition is nut what ment.
either party, or any man devised, or expected. God alone To this the editors of the Review append a can claim it. Whither it is tending seems plain. If God
now wills the removal of a great wrong, and wills also that note, as follows:
we of the North, as well as you of the South, shall pay fairly Nothing could have been further from the intention of for our complicity in that wrong, impartial history will find the editors than to misrepresent the opinions of the Presi therein now causes to attest and revere the justice and dent. They merely meant that, in their judgment, the goodness of God.
Yours, truly, policy of the administration was at first such as practically
A. LINCOLN. to concede to any rebel who might choose to profess loyalty, rights under the Constitution whose corresponding obligations he repudiatod.
TO A NEW YORK MEETING.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, THE PRESIDENT'S LETTER TO COLONEL HODGES OF
WASHINGTOX, June 3, 1864.
Hon. F. A. CONKLING, and others:
GENTLEMEN: Your letter, inviting me to be present at a
the 4th inst. for the purpose of expressing gratitude to MY DEAR SIR: You ask me to put in writing the sub- Lieutenant General Grant for his signal services, was stance of what I verbally said the other day, in your pres-ceived yesterday. It is impossible for me to attend. I apence, to Governor Bramlette and Senator Dixon. It was prove, nevertheless whatever may tend to strengthen ad about as follows:
sustain General Grant and the noble armies now under his "I am naturally anti-slavery. If slavery is not wrong, direction. Dothing is wrong. I cannot remember when I did not so My previous high estimate of General Grant has been tbink and feel, and yet I have never understood that the maintained and heightened by what has occurred in the Presidency conferred upon me an unrestricted right to act remarkable campaign he is now conducting. While tbe officially upon this judgment and feeling. It was in the magnitude and difficulty of the task before him do not oath I took that I would to the best of my ability preserve, prove less than I expected, he and his brave soldiers ar rotect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. now in the midst of their great trial, and I trust at you
desting you will so shape your good words that they may taxation, and of all the burdens that the war has imposed turn to men and guns, moving to his and their support. upon us, giving proof that the national resources are not at Yours, truly,
A. LINCOLN. all exhausted, and that the national spirit of patriotism is
even firmer and stronger than at the commencement of the
war. SPEECH OF MR. LINCOLN AT THE PHILADELPHIA
It is a pertinent question, often asked in the mind priPAIR, JUNE 16, 1864.
vately, and from one to the other, when is the war to end? I suppose that this toast was intended to open the way ! S
Surely I feel as deep an interest in this question as any
other can, but I lo not wish to name a day, a month, or a for me to say something. War, at the best, is terrible, and this war of ours, in its
year when it is to end. I do not wish to run any risk of magnitude and in its duration, is one of the most terrible. See
seeing the time come, without our being ready for the end, It has deranged business, totally in many localities, and
for foar vi disappointment, because the time had come and pitially in all localities. It has destroyed property and
not the end. We accepted this war for an object, a worthy
object, and the war will end when that object is attained. runel homes; it his produced a pational debt and taxation precedented, at least in this country; it has carried
Under God, I hope it never will end until that time. Speak. mourning to almost every home, until it can almost be said
ing of the present campaign, General Grant is reported to diat the heavens are hung in black.”
have said, I am going through on this line if it takes all Yet the war continues, and soveral relieving coincidents
summer. This war has taken three years; it was begun or bare accompanied it from the very beginning which have
accepted upon the line of restoring the national authority Dit been known, as I understand, or have any knowledge
over the whole national domain, and for the American peoof, in any former wars in the history of the world. The
ple, as far as my knowledge enables me to speak, I say we Sanitary Commission, with all its benevolent labors; tho
are going through on this line if it takes three years more. Christian Commission, with all its Christian and benevolent
My friends, I did not know but that I might be called laburs; and the various places, arrangements, so to speak, upon to sa
| upon to say a few words before I got away from here, but and institutions, have contributed to the comfort and relief!
liet I did not know it was coming just here. I have never been of the soldiers. You have two of these places in this city
in the habit of making predictions in regard to the war, but the Couper Shop and Union Volunteer Refreshment Saloons.
I am almost tempted to make one. If I were to hazard it, Ani lastly, these Fairs, which, I believe, began only in last
it is this: That Grant is this evening, with General Meado August, if I mistake not, in Chicago, then at Boston, at
and General Hancock, and the brave officers and soldiers Cincinnati. Brooklyn, New York, at Baltimore, and those at
with him, in a position from whence he will never be dispresent held at St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia.
lodged until Richmond is taken, and I have but one single The motive and object that lie at the bottom of all these proposition
a proposition to put now, and, perhaps, I can best put it in the are most worthy; for, say what you will, after all, the most
form of an interrogative. If I shall discover that General due to the soldier, who takes his life in his hands and
Grant and the noble officers and men under him can be gree to fight the battles of his country. In what is con.
greatly facilitated in their work by a sudden pouring fortriligted to his comfort when he passes to and fro, and in
ward of men and assistance, will you give them to me? shat is contributed to him when he is sick and wounded,
Are you ready to march? (Cries of "yes.”] Then, I say, b whaterer shape it comes, whether from the fair and
stand ready, for I am watching for the chance. I thank tender hand of woman, or from any other source. it is | you, gentlemen. [Laughter and cheers. manch, very much. But I think that there is still that This speech was repeatedly interrupted by whirb is of as much value to him in the continual re
applause, and at its close three cheers were minders he sees in the newspapers that while he is absent be is yet remembered by the loved ones at home. Another given for the army of the Potomac, and sucview of these various institutions, if I may so call them, is cessive cheers for Grant and Meade and Hanwirthy of consideration, I think. They are voluntary.con- I cock, and their brave soldiers. tributions, given zealously and earnestly, on top of all the
In the mean disturbances of business, of all the disorders, of all the time the President retired from the room.
OUR FOREIGN RELATIONS.
The Trent Affair.
mand was made that the commander of the Trent should
proceed on board the San Jacinto, but he said he would not SECRETARY SEWARD TO MR. ADAMS.
go unless forcibly compelled likewise, and this demand w
not insisted upon. NOVEMBER 30, 1861.
It thus appears that certain individuals have been forcibly . . Since that conversation was held Captain | taken from on board a British vessel, the ship of a neutral Wilkes, in the steamer San Jacinto, has boarded a British Power, while such vessel was pursuing a lawful and innocent wlonial steamer and taken from her deck two insurgents | voyage an act of violence which was an affront to the who were proceeding to Europe on an errand of treason British flag and a violation of international law. against their own country. This is a new incident, un Her Majesty's Government, bearing in mind the friendly known to and unforeseen, at least in its circumstances, by l relations which have long subsisted between Great Britain Lord Palmerston. It is to be met and disposed of by the and the United States, are willing to believe that the United two Governments, if possible, in the spirit to which I have States naval officer who committed the aggression was not adverted. Lord Lyons has prudently refrained from open acting in compliance with any authority from his Goverd ing the subject to nte, as, I presume, waiting instructions I ment, or that if he conceived himself to be 60 authorized be from home. We have done nothing on the subject to anti greatly misunderstood the instructions which he had no cipate the discussion, and we have not farnished you with ceived. For the Government of the United States must le any explanations. We adhere to that course now, because fully aware that the British Government could not allow we think it more prudent that the ground taken by the such an affront to the national honor to pass without fall British Government should be first made known to us here, reparation, and her Majesty's Government are unwilling to and that the discussion, if there must be one, shall be had believe that it could be the delibernte intention of the Cross here. It is proper, however, that you should know one ernment of the United States unnecessarily to force intu fact in the case, without indicating that we attach much discussion between the two Governments a question of sa importance to it, namely, that, in the capture of Messrs.
mely, that, in the capture of Messrs. I grave a character, and with regard to which the whole Mason and Slidell on board a British vessel, Captain Wilkes | British nation would be sure to entertain such unanimity of huvius acted without any instructions from the Government, feeling. the subject is therefore free from the embarrassment which ller Majesty's Government, therefore, trust that when might have resulted if the act had been specially directed this matter shall have been brought under the consideration by us.
of the Government of the United States that Governmeut I trust that the British Government will consider the l will, of its own accord, offer to the British Government such subject in a friendly temper, and it may expect the best dis redress as alone could satisfy the British nation, namily, position on the part of this Government
the liberation of the four gentlemen and thei: Jelivery to EARL RUSSELL TO LORD LYONS.
your lordshir, in order that they may again be placed under
British protection, and a suitable apology for the aggreso NOVEMBER 30, 1861.
which his been committed. MY LORD: Intelligence of a very grave nature has reached
Should these terms not be offered by Mr. Seward, you will her Majesty's Government.
propose them to him. This intelligence was conveyed officially to the knowledge
You are at liberty to read this dispatch to the Secretary of the Admiralty by Commander Williams, agent for mails
of Stato, and, if he shall desire it, you will give him a copy on board the contract steamer Trent.
of it. It appears from the letter of Commander Williamg, dated SECRETARY SEWARD TO LORD LYONS. * Royal Mail Contract Packet Trent, at sea, November 9," that the Trent left Ilavana on the 7th instant, with her
DECEMBER 26, 1861. Majesty's mails for England, having on board numerous MY LORD: Earl Russell's despatch of November the soth passengers. Commander Williams states that shortly after a copy of which you have left with me at my request, is u noon, on the Sth, a steamer having the appearauce of a the following effect, nainely: man-of-war, but not showing colors, was observed ahead. That a letter of Commander Williams, dated Royal : On nearing her, at 1.15 p. m., she fired a round shot from Contract Packetboat Trent, at sea, November 9th, states her pivot-gun across the bows of the Trent and showed that that vessel left Havana on the 7th of November, with American colory. While the Trent was approaching her her Majesty's mails for England, having on board nunn es slowly, the American vessel discharged a shell across the passengers. Shortly after noon, on the 8th of November, bows of the Trent, exploding balf a cable's length ahead of the United States war steamer San Jacinto, Capt. Walke her. The Trent then stopped, and an othcer with a large not showing colors, was observed ahead. That steamer, og armed guard of marines boarded her. The officer demanded being neared ly the Trent, at one o'clock fifteen minutes in a list of the passengers; and, compliance with this demand | the afternoon, tired a round shot from a pivot-cut a T0-5 being refused, the officer said he had orders to arrest Messrs. her bows, and showed American colors. While the In B Mason, Slidell, McFarland, and Eustis, and that he had surel was approaching slowly towards the San Jacinto, sbe di information of their being passengers in the Treut. While charged a shell across the Trent's bowe, which explode some parley was going on upon this matter, Mr. Slidell half a cablo's length before her. The Trent then storpech stepped forward and told the American officer that the four and an officer with a large armed guard of marines bonded persons he had named were then standing before him. The her. The officer said he had orders to arrest Messrs. Vas Day Commander of the Trent and Commander Williams protested Slidell, McFarland, and Eustis, and had sure informativa against the act of taking by force out of the Trent these that they were passengers in the Trent. While some parley four passengers, then under the protection of the British I was going on upon this matter, Mr. Slidell stepped forward tlag. But the San Jacinto was at that time only two hun- and said to the American officer that the four persons he dred yards from the Trent, her ship's company at quarters, had named were standing before him. The commander of her ports open, and tompions out. Resistance wild there the Trent and Commander Williams protested against the fore out of the question, and the four gentlemen before act of taking those four passengers out of the Trent, they named were forcibly taken ou: of the ship. A further do then being under the protection of the British flag.
these parties en
England in the
St. Jaines, under
i Russell fina ly inrection
state, as I do al o upon the officers of the Trent,
the San Jacinto was at this time only two hundred was engaged in suppressing by the employment of land yards distant, her ship's company at quarters, her ports and naval forces; that in regard to this domestic strife the open and tompions out, and so resistance was out of the United States considored Great Britain as a friendly power, question. The four persons before named wore then forcibly wbile she had assumed for herself the attitude of a peu. taken out of the ship. A further d-mand was made that tral; and that Spain was considered in the same light, and tbe commander of the Trent should proceed on board tho had assumed the same attitude as Great Britain. San Jacinto, but he raid he would not go unless forcibly It had been settled by correspondence that the United compelled likewise, and this demand was not insisted upon. States and Great Britain mutually recognized as applicable
Upon this stutement Eurl Russell remarks that it thus | to this local strife theso two articls of the declaration appears that certain in iividuals have been forcibly taken made by the Congress of Paris in 1856, namely, that the from on board a British vessel, the ship of a neutral power, neutral or friendly flag should cover enemy's goods tot shile that Vessel was pursuing a. luwful and innocent contraband of war, and that neutral goods not contraband Sorage-an act of violenco which was an affront to the of war are not liable to capture under an enemy's flag. British flag and a violation of international law.
These exceptions of contraband from favor were a negative Eurl Russell next says that her Majesty's Government, acceptat ce by the parties of the rule hitherto everywhero bearing in mind the friendly relations which have long recognized as a part of the law of nations, that whatever alsisted betwern Great Britian and the United States, are is contraband is liable to capture and contiscation in all willing to believe that the naval officer who committed this cases. anesion was not acting in compliance with any authority James M. Mason and E. J. McFarland are citizens of the from his Government, or that, if he conceived himself to be United States and residents of Virginia. John Slidell and o authorized. he greatly misunderstood the instructions George Eatie ara citirana of the United States and rool which he hud received.
dents of Louisiana. It was well known at Havana when Earl Russell argues that the United States must be fully
these parties embarked in the Trent that James M. Mason aware that the British Government could not allow such
was proceeding to England in the affected character of a an atiront to the national honor to pass without full repara
minister plenipotenticry to the Court of St. James, under & tion, and they are willing to believe that it could not be pretended commission from Jefferson Davis, who had at the deliberate intention of the Government of the United suined to be presidentof the insurrectionary party in the l'niStates unnecessarily to force into discussion between the ted States, and E.J. VcFarland was going with him in a liko two Governments a question of so grave a character, and unreal character of secretary of legition to the pretended with regard to which the whole British nation would be
ritsh nation would be mission. John Slidell, in similar circumstances, was going sure to entertain such unanimity of feeling
to Paris as a pretended minister to the Emperor of the French, Eairi Russell, resting upon the statement and the argu
and George Eustis was the chosen secretary of legation ment which I ba ve ibus recited, closes with saying that her for that simulated mission. The fact that these persons had Majesty's government trust that when this matter sball assumed such characters has been since ayowed by the same bare been brought under the consideration of the Govern. Jefferson Davis in a pretended message to an unlawful and meut of the United States, it will, of its own accord, off r insurrectionary Congress. It was, we think, rightly preto the British Government such redress as alone could sit. sumed that these ministers bore pretended credentials and is the British nation, namely, the liberation of the four instructions, and such papers are in the law known as leyprisoners taken from the Trent, and their delivery to your patches. We are informed by our consul at Paris that these Erdebip, in order that they may again be placed under despatches, having escaped the search of the Trent, were British protection, and a suitable apology for the aggres actually conveyed and delivered to emissaries of the insursion which has been committed. Earl Russell finally in. rection in England. Although it is not essential, yet it is succts you to propose those terms to me, if I should not
proper to state, as I do also upon information and belief, first offer them on the part of the Government.
that the owner and agent, and all the officers of the Trent, This doratch has been submitted to tho President. including Commander Williams, had knowledge of the as
The British government has rightly conjectured, what it sumed characters and purposes of the persons before named is now my duty to state, that Captain Wilkes, in conceiv- , when they embarked on that vessel ing and executing the proceeding in question, acted upon Your lordship will now perceive that the case before us, his own suggestions of duty, without any direction or in- instead of presenting a merely flagrant act of violence on struction, or even foreknowledge of it, on the part of this the part of Captain Wilkes, as might well be inferred from Government. No directions had been given to him, or any the incomplete statement of it that went up to the British other naval officer, to arrest the four persons named, or government, was undertaken as a simple leg any of them, on the Trent or any other British vessel, or tomary belligerent proceeding by Captain Wiravo w aureat on any other neutral vessol, at the place where it occurred and capture a neutral vessel engaged in carrying contraor lehere. The British government will justly infer band of war for the use and benefit of the insurgents. from these facts that the United States not only have had The question beforo us is, whether this proceeding was Doporose, but even no thought, of forcing into discussion authorized by and conducted according to the law of nathe question which has arisen, or any other which could tions. It involves the following inquiries: Bet in any way the sensibilities of the British nation. 1st. Were the persons named and their supposed despatches
It is true that a round shot was fired by the San Jacinto contraband of war? fra her pivot-run when the Trent was distantly approachi- 20. Might Captain Wilkes lawfully stop and search the in But, as the facts have been reported to this govern Trent for these contraband persons and despatches? ment, the shot was nevertheless intentionally fired in a | 3d. Did he exercise that right in a lawful and proper dinction so obviously divergent from the course of the manner? Treat as to be quite as harmless as a blank shot, while it 4th. llaving found the contraband persons on board and should be regarded as a signal.
in presumed possession of the contraband dispatches, had So also we learn that the Trent was not approaching the he a right to capture the persons? Sun Jacinto slowly when the shell was fired across her 6th. Did he exercise that right of capture in the manner bus, but, on the contrary, the Trent was, or seemed to be, allowed and recognized by the laws of nations? moring under a full head of steam, as if with a purpose to If all these inquires shall be resolved in the affirmativo Tess the San Jacinto.
the British government will have no claim for reparation We are in torined also that the boarding officer, (Lieuten
I address myself to the first ia quiry, namely, were the &pt Fairlax,) did not board the Treut with a large armed four persons mentioned, and their supposed despatches, guard, but be left bis marines in his boat when he entered contraband! Le Trent. He stated his instructions from Captain Wilkes Maritime law so generally deals, as its profeseors say, in to search for the four persons named, in a respectful and rem, that is with property, and so seldom with persons, tbat warteous, though decided manner, and be asked the capit seems a strainiog of the term coniraband to apply it to tap of the Trent to show his passenger list, which was re-them. But persons, as well as property, may become con14. The lieutenant, as we are informed, did not employ | traband, since the word means broadly “contrary to prooabsolute force in transferring the passengers, but he used | lamation, prohibited, illegal, unlawful." just so much as was necessary to satisfy the parties con All writers and judges pronounce naval or military percerned that refusal or resistance would be unavailing. sons in the service of the enemy contraband. Vattel says
so, als), we are informed that the captain of the Trept war allows us to cut off from an enemy all his resources, ras Got at any time or in any way required to go on board and to hinder him from sending ministers to solicit assistthe San Jacinto.
ance. And Sir William Scott says you may stop the ambas. These mod utications of the case, as presented by Com sador of your eneiny on his passage. Despatches are not mander Williams, are based upon our othcial reports. less clearly contraband, and the bearers or couriers who ut
I have now to remind your lordship of some facts which dertake to carry them fall under the same condemdout saly were omitted by Earl Russell, with the very | nation. props and becoming motive of allowing them to be brought A subtlety might be raised whether pretended ministers
to the case, on the part of the United States, in the way of a usurping power, not recognized as legal by either the E But actory to this Government. These facts are, belligerent or the neutral, could be held to be contraband. that at the time the transaction occurred an insurrection But it would disappear on being subjected to what is the Was existing in the United States which this Government | true test in all cases-namely, the spirit of the law. Sir
Tilliam Scott, speaking of civil magistrates who are arrest- oply courts of admiralty have jurisdiction in maritime ed and detained as contraband, says:
cases, and these courts have formulas to try only claims to “It appears to me on principle to be but reasonable that contraband chattels, but none to try claims concerning when it is of sufficient importance to the enemy that such contraband persous. The courts can entertain no proceedpersons shall be sent out on the public service at the pub- | | inga and render no judgment in favor of or against the allic expense, it should afford equal ground of forfeiture | leged contraband men. against the vessel that may be let out for a purpose so inti It was replied all this was true; but you can reach in mately connected with the hostile operations."
those courts a decision which will have the moral Weight I trust that I have shown that the four persons who were of a judicial one by a circuitous proceeding. Convey the taken from the Trent by Captain Wilkes, and their des suspected men, together with the suspected vessel, into patches, were contraband of war.
port, and try there the question whetber the vessel is conThe second inquiry is, whether Captain Wilkes had a traband. You can prove it to be so by proving the suspectri2bt liv the law of nations to detain and search the Tient. ed men to be contraband, and the court must then determ
The Trent, though she carried maile, was a contract or ine the vessel to be contraband. If the men are not conmerchant vessel-a common carrier for hire. Maritime law traband the vessel will escape rondemnation. Still, there knows only three classes of vessels-vessels of war, revenue is no judgment for or against the captured persons. But it vessels, and merchant vessels. The Trent falls within the was assumed that there would result from the determinalatter class. Whatever disputes have existed concerning tion of the court concerning the vessel a legal certainty a right of visitation or search in time of peace, none, it is concerning the character of the men. supposed, has existed in modern times about the right of a This course of proceeding seemed open to many objes beiligerent in time of war to capture contraband in neutral tions. It elevates the incidental inferior private interest and even friendly merchant vessels, and of the right of vis into the proper place of the main paramount publie one, itation and search, in order to determine whether they are and possibly it may make the fortunes, the safety, or the neutral, and are documonted as such according to the law existence of a nation depend on the accidents of a merely of nations.
personal and pecuniary litigation. Moreover, when the I assume in the present case what, as I read British au- judgment of the prize court upon the lawfulness of the cap thorities, is regarded by Great Britain herself as truo mari- ture of the vessel is rendered, it really concludes nothing, time law: That the circumstances that the Trent was pro- and binds neither the belligerent State nor the neutral ceeding from a neutral port to another neutral port does upon the great question of the disposition to be made of not modify the right of the belligerent captor.
the captured contraband persons. That question is still to The third question is whether Captain Wilkes exercised be really determined, if at all, by diplomatic arrangement the right of search in a lawful and proper manner.
or by war. If any doubt hung over this point, as the caso was pre- One may well express his surprise when told that the law sented in the statement of it adopted by the British Goy- of nations has furnished no more reasonable, practical, and ernment, I think it must have already passed away before I perfect more than this of dotermining questions of such the modifications of that statement which I have already grave import between sovereign powers. The regret we submitted.
may feel on the occasion is nevertheless modified by the I proceed to the fourth inquiry, namely: Having found reflection that the ditficulty is not altogether anomalous. the suspected contraband of war on board the Trent, had Similar and cqual deficiencies are found in every system of Captain Wilkes a right to capture the same?
municipal law, especially in the system which exists in the Such a capture is the chief, if not the only recognized, greater portions of Great Britain and the United States. The object of the permitted visitation and search. The principle title to personal property can harily ever be resolved by a of the law is, that the belligerent exposed to danger may court without resorting to the fiction that the claimant has prevent the contraband persons or things from applying lost and the possessor has found it, and the title to real esthemselves or being applied to the hostile uses or purposes tate is disputed by real litigants under the names of imagidesigned. The law is so very liberal in this respect that nary persons. It must be confessed, however, that while when contraband is found on board a neutral vessel not only all aggrieved nations demand, and all impartial ones con is the contraband forfeited, but the vessel which is the vecede, the need of some form of judicial process in determine hicle of its passage or transportation, being tainted, also ing the characters of contraband persons, no other form becomes contraband, and is subjected to capture and confis than the illogical and circuitous one thus described exists, cation.
nor has any other yet been suggested. Practically, there Only the fifth question remains, namely: Did Captain fore, the choice is between that judicial remedy or no juul. Wilkes exercise the right of capturing the contraband incial remedy whatever. conformity with the law of nations?
| If there be no judicial remedy, the result is that the ques It is just here that the difficulties of the case begin. I tion must be determined by the captor himseli, on the deck What is the manner which the law of nations prescribes for of the prize vessel. Very grave objections arise against such disposing of the contraband when you have found and la course. The captor is armed, the neutral is unarmed. scized it on board of the noutral vessel? The answer would The captor is interested, prejudiced, and perhaps violent; be easily found if the question were what you shall do with the neutral, if truly neutral, is disinterested, subdued, and the contraband vessel. You must take or send her into a helpless. The tribunal is irresponsible, while its judgment conveniunt port, and subject her to a judicial prosecution is carried into instant execution. The captured party is there in admiralty, which will try and decide the questions compelled to submit, though bound by no legal, moral, or of belligerency, neutrality, contraband, and capture. So, treaty obligation to acquiesce. Reparation is distant and again, you would promptly find the same answer is the ques problematical, and depends at last on the justice, magnantion were, What is the manner of proceeding prescribed by | imity, or weakness of the State in whose behalf and by the law of nations in regard to the contraband, if it be prop- whose authority the capture was made. Out of these dis erty or things of material or pecuniary value?
putes reprisals and wars necessarily arise, and these are so But the question here concerns the mode of procedure in frequent and destructive that it may well be doubted regard, not to the vessel that was carrying the contraband, whether this form of remedy is not a greater social evil than nor yet to contraband things which worked the forfeiture | all that could follow if the belligerent right of search were of the vessel, but to contraband persons.
universally renounced and abolished forever. But carry the The books of law are dumb. Yet the question is as im case one step further. What if the State that has made the portant as it is difficult. First, the belligerent coptor has a capture unreasonably refuse to hear the complaint of the right to prevent the contraband officer, soldier, sailor, min neutral or to redress it? In that case, the very act of capister, messenger, or courier from proceeding in his unlaw. | ture would be an act of war-of war begun without notice, ful voyage and reaching the destined scene of his injurious and possibly entirely without provocation. service. But, on the other hand, the person captured may I think all unprejudiced minds will agree that, imperfect be innocent that is, he may not be contraband. He, I as the existing judicial remedy may be supposed to be, it therefore, bas a right to a fair trial of the accusation against would be, as a general practice, better to follow it than to him. The neutral State that has taken him under its flag is adopt the summary one of leaving the decision with the bound to protect him if he is not contraband, and is there. I captor, and relying upon diplomatic debates to review his fore entitled to be satisfied upon that important question. I decision. Practically, it is a question of choice between law, The faith of that State is pledged to his safety, if innocent, 1 with its imperfections and dela, 6, and war, with its erils as it justice is pledged for his surrender if he is really con and desolations. Nor is it ever to be forgotten that neutraltraband. Here are conflicting claims, involving personality, honestly and justly preserved, is always the harbinger liberty, life, honor, and duty. Here are conflicting national of peace, and therefore is the common interest of nations, claims, involving welfare, safety, honor, and empire. They which is only saying that it is the interest of humanity require & tribunal and a trial. The capture and the cap.
10 the cap- itself. tured are equals; the neutral and the belligereut State are! At the same time it is not to be denied that it may some equals.
times happen that the judicial remedy will become inupuis While the law authorities were found silent, it was sug.sible, as by the shipwreck of the prize vessel, or other cir gested at an early day by this Government that you should cumstances which excuse the captor from sending or taking take the captured persons into a convenient port, and insti. | her into port for confiscation. In such a case the right of tute judicial proceedings there to try the controversy. But the captor to the custody of the captured persons, and to