xt7cjs9h4j3t https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7cjs9h4j3t/data/mets.xml Cobden, Richard, 1804-1865. 1868  books b92-190-30610438v2 English W. Ridgway ; D. Appleton, : London : New York : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Eastern question (Balkan) Ireland Economic conditions. United States Economic conditions. Europe Politics and government 1848-1871. Free trade. Great Britain Colonies India. Depressions. Political writings (vol. 2) / Richard Cobden. text Political writings (vol. 2) / Richard Cobden. 1868 2002 true xt7cjs9h4j3t section xt7cjs9h4j3t 






     VOL. II.




         NEW YORK:
    (The right of translation is reserved.)

 This page in the original text is blank.



LETTER TO HENRY ASHWORTH, ESQ.                  PAG3 5
  Proposals of the United States, 7-Inconvenience of Blockades,
  11-Blockades practically inoperative, 13-The Crimean War,
  15-Free Trade incompatible with Blockades, 17-Right of
  search in time of war, 19-Postscript, 21.
    THE BURMESE WAm. .                         PAGE 23
  Introductory Note, 25-Prefacc, 27-How wars are got up in
  India, 29-Lord Dalhousie's instructions, 31-Commodore
  Lambert's action, 35-Alleged grievances, 39-Departure from
  instructions, 41-Dismissal of the Governor, 43-Deputation
  to the new Governor, 45-Captain Fishbourne's narrative, 49
  -Blockade of Rangoon, 53-The Governor's representation,
  55-Alarm of the Burmese, 61-The Governor of Dallah, 63-
  Outbreak of Hostilities, 65-Petition of foreign residents, 69-
  Letter of the Governor of Martaban, 71-Insult offered to the
  Burmese, 73-Lord Dalhousie's demands, 75-The Governor's
  reply, 77-Lord Dalhousie's Minute, 79-Colonel Bogle's dis-
  patches, 85-Lord Dalhousie and the King of Ava, 93-Lord
  Dalhousie's ultimatum, 95-Anomaly of double government,
  99-Probable results of occupation, 103-American Criticism,
WHAT NEXT-AND NEXT                   .        PAGE 107
Introductory Note, 109-What next-and next 111-Will
the Crimea be subdued 113-Will Russia come to terms
115-Difficulty of subduing Russia, 117-Protection in Russia,
121-Want of Railways in Russia, 127-Internal communica-
tions, 129-Fair at Nishni Novogorod, 133-Inefficacy of our
Blockade, 137-Supplies of the Russian Army, 139-Russian
love of Country, 143-Peacefulness of the Russian people, 145
-Appeals to Russian patriotism, 147-Sclavonic jealousy of


iV                    CONTENTS.

  other races, 149-Russian religious feeling, 151-Russian de-
  signs against Turkey, 153-Finances of Russia, 157-Russian
  financial weakness, 159-Income and expenditure, 161-Proba-
  ble deficit, 165-Operations upon the Currency, 167-Incon-
  vertible Notes, 169-Russian advantages, 173-Our own posi-
  tion, 177-Difficulty of our enterprise, 179-Obstacles to
  recruiting, 181-Empty bluster of " The Times," 185-Our
  ability to bear expenses, 187-Our bygone advantages, 189-
  Over estimate of our resources, 191-Probable war-loans, 193
  -Consequences of war-loans, 195-Distress of the people, 197
  -High price of food, 199-Terms offered to Russia, 201-
  Policy of Germany, 203-The Balance of Power, 205 -Increase
  of American navy, 207.

Introductory note, 211-Table of English and French naval
expenditure, from 1835 to 1859, 214-THE FIRST PANIc, 215
-French and English estimates, 217-Naval expenditure in
France, 219-Sir Robert Peel on Armaments, 221-Lord Pal-
merston and M. Thiers, 223-Prince de Joinville's pamphlet,
225-The Duke of Wellington's letter, 227-Groundless alarms,
229-Fall of Louis Philippe, 231-End of the first Panic, 232
-THE SECOND PANiic, 235-- The coup d'etat of 1851, 237-
English comments on the coup d'etat, 239-Lord John Russell's
  Militia Bill, 241-Lord Derby's Militia Bill, 243-Lord Pal.
  merston and General Evans, 245- Mr. Anderson's proposals,
  247-Persistence of Lord Palmerston, 249- A new Parliament,
  251-Further increase of defences, 253-Fall of Lord Derby's
  Cabinet, 255-Absurd Newspaper Stories, 257-Mr. Ewart
  and M. Ducos, 259-M. Ducos and his Colleague, 261-The
  French Navy in 1852, 263-Continued Alarms, 265-Reaction
  against the Alarmists, 267-Sudden change in the public mind,
  269-THE THIRD PANic, 271-Military Spirit in England, 273
  -English Fleet after the Russian War, 275-English and
  French Navies in 1857, 277-Ships of the line and gun-boats,
  279-Sir Charles Napier's delusions, 281-The famous " French
  Colonels," 285-Debates in Parliament, 287-Panic of 1859,
  289-English and French Navies compared, 291-Further in-
  crease of our Navy, 293-The English block-ships, 297-French


opinion of our block-ships, 299-Fallacious comparisons, 301-
Lord Derby's Committee, 303-Report of Lord Derby's Com-
mittee, 305-French and English Navies in 1852-1858, 307-
War between France and Austria, 311 -Panic among the
Peers, 313-Lord Clarence Paget in Opposition, 323-Lord
  Clarence Paget in Office, 325--Mr. Horsman's panic speech,
  327-The two Navies compared, 333-Rise of the Volunteer
  force, 335- French opinion on English panics, 337-The Navy
  estimates of 1860, 339-Facility of obtaining seamen, 341-
  More additions to the Navy, 3 t5-Wooden line-of-battle ships
  obsolete, 347-Lord Lyndhurst again, 349-Lord Lyndhurst's
  fallacies, 353-The Duke of Somerset's reply, 359-Propor-
  tionate English and French force, 363-English and French
  Maritime resources, 365-Parliamentary episodes, 367-Lord
  Palmerston's fortification bill, 369-Effect of Steam navigation,
  373-Peel and Palmerston on Steam, 375-Lord Palmerston's
  Speech, 377-The Commercial Treaty, 381-Creation of Panics,
  385-Probable change in Naval Armaments, 387-Beginning
  of reaction, 389-French official explanations, 391-Reckless
  mismanagement, 393-Comparative force of England and
  France, 895-Last scene of the third Panic, 399-Alarm of
  Sir John Pakington, 401-The French Iron-clad ships, 403-
  Groundlessness of the alarm, 405-Origin of Iron-clad ships,
  407-Admiralty incapacity, 411-Further extravagance, 413-
  Mr. Disraeli's proposal, 415-The American difficulty, 417--
  Friendly conduct of France, 421-Conclusion, 422-Appendix,
Pret'ce. To the American reader.


 This page in the original text is blank.

             A LETTER.

                            LoNDON, 10th April, 1802.

         I AVAIL myself of your kind permission to
address you a letter on the present unsatisfactory
state of International Maritime Law, as affecting the
rights of belligerents and neutrals.
  It is not necessary that I should dwell on the par-
ticular branch of the subject to which the debate on
Mr. Horsfall's motion was, as I venture to think, too
exclusively confined, namely, whether private pro-
perty at sea should be exempted from capture by
armed government ships in time of war.
  A statement of the simple facts of the case, as they
affect British interests, ought to be a sufficient
answer to this question, without the necessity of one
syllable of discussion. Here is a country, the ave-
rage value of whose ships and cargoes, afloat, exceeds
pound;100,000,000, which is more than double the amount
possessed by any other state. A proposal is made
by the United States, with the concurrence of France,
Russia, and other countries, to exempt this property
from legalised plunder in the event of war. (ur
  VOL. II.                      B



merchants and shipowners are, naturally, eager to
accept so advantageous an offer, which is, however,
rejected by the British Government.
  One of the arguments urged by a member of the
Cabinet to justify this rejection need not alarm us.
It is alleged that such a stipulation would not be
respected in time of war. At the worst, this would
only leave us where we now are. If, however, an
engagement were entered into, by a formal conven-
tion of the maritime powers, for insuring the inviol-
ability of private property at sea, it would become a
recognised part of international law; and I do not
believe that a judge, sitting in any prize court in the
civilised world, would afterwards condemn, as legal
capture, ships or cargoes seized in violation of that
law. Sure I am, at least, that it is the duty of those
filling high office in this country to brand with dis-
honour the violators of such a solemn engagement,
and not to seem, in anticipation, to justify, or even
palliate, their infamy.
  I have had some difficulty in believing in the sin-
cerity of those who, in order to reconcile us to this
unequal game of pillage, put forth the argument that
it is desirable to subject our shipowners to the pe-
nalty of ruin, in the event of war, as the best means
of binding the nation over to keep the peace. If a
majority of the Cabinet, and of both Houses of Par-
liament, were composed of shipowners, there might
be some consistency in this proposition. But if
power and responsibility are to be united in the same
hands, there is another body of proprietors whose
fortunes might with greater justice be made liable to



confiscation in case of war. The argument is, how-
ever, unworthy of serious refutation.
  Had not some of the opponents of Mr. Horsfall's
motion professed to doubt whether the Paris decla-
ration in favour of neutrals was irrevocable, they
would obviously have been unable to oppose it.
But the Paris Congress of 1856 merely recognized a
state of things which, as Mr. Baring remarked, had
arisen out of the progress of events; it no more
created those events than the adoption of the Grego-
rian Calendar in 1752 produced the astronomical
laws which rendered that reform in our style neces-
sary; and any attempt of our statesmen, now, to re-
vert to the treatment of neutrals sanctioned by our
prize courts in 1810, would place them on a level
with those politicians whom Hogarth depicts, in his
famous election scene, clamouring to their candidates,
"Give us back our eleven days I"
  My principal object, however, in writing, is to
show that the issue raised by Mr. Horsfall's motion,
when taken alone, is now of little practical value.
The question has assumed larger proportions, owing
to the progress of events, and in consequence of the
later proceedings of the United States Government.
The facts of the case, which are not sufficiently
known to the public, are as follows:-
  In 1856, as you are aware, Mr. Marcy, foreign
secretary to President Pierce, when replying to the
communication from the Paris Congress, inviting the
American Government to adhere to the declaration
abolishing privateering, made the memorable counter-
proposal to Europe to exempt the private property
                                     B 2



of belligerents at sea from capture, both by priva-
teers and armed government ships. This offer, as I
have stated, was favourably received by France,
Russia, and other maritime powers, but met with no
encouragement from the British Government.
  The election for the Presidency took place in the
autumn of 1856, when Mr. Buchanan was chosen the
successor to Mr. Pierce. The question of interna-
tional maritime law now underwent further discus-
sion in America, and it was contended that, in
addition to the exemption of private property from
capture, when at sea, it should be free from molesta-
tion whilst entering or leaving a commercial port;
that, in fine, blockades should be restricted to naval
arsenals, and towns which were at the same time
invested by an army on land. One of the New
York journals, the organ of the mercantile body,
offered the following as a substitute for the fourth
article of the declaration of the Paris Congress:-
  " Blockades are henceforth abolished, in regard to
all vessels and cargoes engaged in lawful commerce;
but they may be enforced as heretofore against ves-
sels having contraband goods on board, and against
all Government vessels, whether armed or unarmed."
At a subsequent stage of these discussions, President
Buchanan addressed a letter to the Chairman of the
New York Chamber of Commerce, in which he said:
" We must obtain the consent of the powerful naval
nations that merchant vessels shall not be blockaded
in port, but be suffered to pass the blockading squad-
ron, and go out to sea." The consequence of this
               The Journal of Commerce.



state of opinion was that Mr. Dallas, the United
States minister at London, was in 1857 instructed by
his Government to suspend the negotiations which
he was still attempting to promote, upon the basis of
Mr. Marcy's proposition.
  Thus the matter remained till the spring of 1859,
when, on the breaking out of the war in Italy, a cir-
cular dispatch was transmitted from Mr. Cass, Presi-
dent Buchanan's foreign secretary, to the representa-
tives of the United States at the European capitals,
suggesting still further reforms in international
maritime law. An unsuccessful effort was made by
Mr. Lindsay to induce our Government to lay on the
table of the House a copy of this document; but the
substance of its most important proposal was ex-
plained by Lord John Russell, when communicating
to the House (February 18, 1861) the particulars of
the interview at which Mr. Dallas had read to him,
as foreign minister, this dispatch:-Mr. Cass was
represented by His Lordship to have declared that
he " considered that the right of blockade, as author-
ised by the law of nations, was liable to very great
abuse; that the only case in which a blockade ought
to be permitted was when a land army was besieging
a fortified place, and a fleet was employed to blockade
it on the other side; but that any attempt to inter-
cept trade by blockade, or to blockade places which
were commercial ports, was an abuse of the right
that ought not to be permitted." Lord Russell took
this opportunity of explaining to the House his
reasons for opposing these views of the American
Government, and which were in substance the same


as those with which Mr. Marcy's proposal had been
met,-namely, that the system of commercial block-
ades is essential to the maintenance of our naval
  These incidents have a most important significance,
if viewed in connection with present events. We
live in an age of revolutionary transitions, which
warn us against too obstinate an adherence to ancient
precedent or blind routine. If the proposal of the
United States to abolish commercial blockades had
been favourably received by the British Government,
there can be no doubt, from the known tendency of
other maritime powers, that it might have become a
part of the law of nations, in which case the com-
merce between England and the Southern States of
the American Union would have been uninterrupted
by the present war,-for the blockade is acknow-
ledged by Europe only as a belligerent right, and
not as an exercise of municipal authority. Injustice
to the American Government, and to -prevent any
misapprehension of the following statement, I am
bound to express the opinion that the closing of the
cotton ports is virtually our own act. We have im-
posed upon ourselves, as neutrals, the privations
and sufferings incidental to a commercial blockade,
because we assume that we are interested in reserv-
ing to ourselves the belligerent right which we now
concede to others.
  Let us consider, for a moment, whether this policy
will bear the test of reason, fact, and experience.
  One-third of the inhabitants of these islands, a
number equal to the whole population of Great Britain


at the commencement of this century, subsist on i-
ported food. No other country contains half as many
people as the United Kingdom dependent for sub-
sistence on the produce of foreign lands. The grain
of all kinds imported into England in 1861 exceeded
in value the whole amount of our imports sixty years
ago: and the greater portion of this supply is brought
from the two great maritime states, Russia and
America, to whom, if to any countries, the belligerent
right of blockade must have for us a valuable appli-
cation. If left to the free operation of nature's laws,
this world-wide dependence offers not only the best
safeguard against scarcity, but the surest guarantee
for regularity of supply; but a people so circum-
stanced is, beyond all others, interested in removing
every human regulation which interferes with the
free circulation of the necessaries of life, whether in
time of peace or war,-for a state of war increases
the necessity for insuring the means of feeding and
employing the people.
  This is, however, a very inadequate view of the
subject. For the raw materials of our industry, which
are in other words the daily bread of a large portion
of our population, we are still more dependent on
foreign countries. Of the 3,127,000 bales of cotton
exported in the year 1860-61 from the United States,
Great Britain received 2,175,000 or 69 per cent. Of
the total exports, from Russia, of flax, hemp, and
codilla, amounting, in 1859, to 282,880,000 lbs., we
received 205,344,000 lbs., or 80 per cent. Of the
101,412,000 lbs. of tallow exported from that country,
91,728,000 lbs., or 90 per cent, reached our shores.




And of her total exports of 1,026,000 quarters of
linseed, we received 679,000, or 67 per cent. If we
refer to other maritime states, we find similar results.
Of the 134,500,000 lbs. of tea exported last year from
China, 90,500,000, or 70 per cent, came to British
ports. And of the 2,752,000 lbs. of silk exported
from that country we received upwards of 90 per cent.
Of the total exports from Brazil, in 1860, of 185,000
bales of cotton, Great Britain received 102,000, or
55 per cent. Of the total exports from Egypt, in
1860-1, of 142,000 bales of cotton, we received 97,000,
or 70 per cent.
  It may be alleged of nearly all articles of food or
raw materials, transported over sea, that more than
one-half is destined for these islands. It follows that
were we, in the exercise of the belligerent right of
blockade, to prevent the exportation of those com-
modities, we should inflict greater injury on ourselves
than on all the rest of the world, not excepting the
country with which we were at war: for if we could
effectually close the ports of one or more of these
countries against both exports and imports, we should
be merely intercepting the supply of comparative
luxuries to them, while we arrested the flow of the
necessaries of life to ourselves; and for every culti-
vator of the soil, engaged in the production of cotton
or other raw materials, thereby doomed to idleness,
three or four persons would be deprived of employ-
ment in the distribution and manufacture of those
  These facts are an answer to those who maintain
that it is necessary to reserve in our hands the light




of blockade, as an instrument of coercion in case of
war. Against such countries as France, Germany,
Holland, Belgium, c., blockades have lost their force,
owing to the extension of the railway system through-
out the continent of Europe. In cases where a blow
may still be struck at the commerce of a nation,- of
what use, I would ask, is a weapon of offence which
recoils with double force on ourselves  It would be
but a poor consolation to our population, who were
subjected to the evils of enforced idleness and star-
vation, to be told that the food and raw materials
destined for their subsistence and employment were
rotting in the granaries of ruined cultivators in Russia
or America.
  These considerations have always led us, practi-
cally, to violate our own theory of a commercial
blockade, whenever the power to do so has remained
in our hands, even when the exigencies of our situa-
tion as a manufacturing people were far less pressing
than they are at present. If we consult the experi-
ence of our past wars, we shall find that, as a bellige-
rent, we have invariably abstained from taking effec-
tual measures for preventing the productions of our
enemies from reaching our shores. It is true we have
maintained, for our navy, the traditional right and duty
of a blockade, whilst (I beg your attention to the dis-
tinction) we have invariably connived at its evasion.
I will cite a few examples. We all know how syste-
matically our blockade of France, and other parts of
the coast of the Continent, was relaxed by licences
during the great war with the first Napoleon; and it
is notorious that, at the commencement of the present




century, during the height of that war, the deficiency
of our own harvests was repeatedly supplied fiom the
cornfields of our most deadly enemy. Nor must we
forget that the celebrated Orders in Council, the most
gigantic of all blockades, were ultimately revoked in
the interest of our own manufacturers and merchants.
Again, in the war with the United States, in 1813,
during the blockade of that coast, a powerful and
interested party in Parliament called for measures to
prevent the importation of American cotton into
England, but they were opposed by petitions from
Manchester, Stockport, Glasgow, and other places con-
nected with the cotton manufacture, and the result
was that the Government refused to take any steps
to intercept the cotton of the United States at our
Custom-house; and this occurred at a time when our
dependence on the produce of that region was, per-
haps, not equal to a twentieth part of that of the
present day.
  The Crimean war, however, affords us a more recent
example. That war was declared in March, 1854;
but the ports of southern Russia were not proclaimed
in a state of blockade until Mlarch, 1855. The Allies
temporised for a year with their right and power to
dlose the commercial ports of the Black Sea, whilst
carrying on a most sanguinary struggle before the
naval arsenal of Sebastopol, in order to allow the ex-
portation of food from Russia, to make good the de-
ficient harvests of France and England. Upwards of
half a million of quarters of grain reached our shores
from that region in 1854. Here at least is a precedent
for the policy of restricting blockades to fortified



places, and leaving commercial-ports unmolested. If
we turn to the operations in the Baltic, during the
same war, we find that our blockade of Cronstadt had
merely the effect of diverting the produce of Russia,
destined for England, into more costly overland
channels. An attempt was made similar to that of
interested parties in 1813, referred to above, to induce
our Government to prevent the importation of Russian
produce into this country through Prussia, which
drew from the Dundee Chamber of Commerce a
memorial, declaring that the raw material from Russia
was indispensable to the very existence of the in-
dustry of that district. After due deliberation, our
Government refused to require a certificate of origin
at the custom-house, or to offer any other impediment
to the importation of Russian hemp, flax, tallow, c.,
into this country, through the territory of neutrals.
The consequence was that Prussia, which sent us
tallow to the value of pound;150 only in 1853, was enabled
in 1855 to supply us with that article to the amount of
pound;1,837,300; and other Russian commodities reached
this country in a similar manner.
  It is only necessary to point to the examples of
China, Mexico, c., to show that in our hostilities
with the weaker maritime powers, we carefully
eschew the policy of resorting, as a means of coercion,
to the blockade of their commercial ports.
  A fair deduction from these facts and premises
leads us to a very grave national dilemma. We
persist in upholding a belligerent right, which we
have always shrunk from enforcing, and shall never
rigorously apply, by which we place in the hands




of other belligerents the power, at any moment, of de-
priving a large part of our population of the supply of
the raw materials of their industry, and of the neces-
saries of life. In this respect the question of blockade
is essentially different from that of the capture of
private property at sea. In the latter case we are
only liable to injury when we choose to become
belligerents, whereas, in the former, we are exposed
to serious calamities as neutrals; and England, by
proclaiming the policy of non-intervention. has re-
cently constituted herself the great neutral power.
In this capacity we are now enduring the effects of a
blockade, by which it is estimated that the earnings of
labour in this country are curtailed to the extent of a
quarter of a million sterling a week. Should it con-
tinue, it will, I fear, bring many of the evils of war
home to our doors, and plunge the ingenious and in-
dustrious population connected with our cotton manu-
facture, whose recent improvement and elevation we
have witnessed with pride, into the depths of pauperism
and misery. Nor have we any assurance that this
will prove a solitary case. I can imagine a combi-
nation of events, not more improbable than the
blockade of the cotton region of the United States by
sea and land would have appeared to be three years
ago, by which we may be cut off from all commercial
intercourse with other countries on which we are
largely dependent for raw materials and food.
  Speaking abstractedly, and not in reference to the
present blockade,-for we are precluded from plead-
ing our sufferings as a ground of grievance against a
people whose proposals for the mitigation of the



barbarous maritime code we have rejected,-I do
not hesitate to denounce, as opposed to the principles
of natural justice, a system of warfare which inflicts
greater injuries on an unoffending neutral community
than on a belligerent. And, however sincere the
governments of the great maritime powers may be,
during a period of general peace, in their professions
of adhesion to this system, should any of them as
neutrals be subjected to severe sufferings from the
maintenance of a blockade, the irritation and sense
of injustice which it will occasion to great masses of
population, coupled with the consciousness that it is
an evil remediable by an appeal to force, will always
present a most dangerous incentive to war. Certain
I am that such a system is incompatible with the
new commercial policy to which we have unreservedly
committed ourselves. Free trade, in the widest de-
finition of the term, means only the division of labour,
by which the productive powers of the whole earth
are brought into mutual co-operation. If this scheme
of universal dependence is to be liable to sudden
dislocation, whenever two governments choose to go
to war, it converts a manufacturing industry, such as
ours, into a lottery, in which the lives and fortunes of
multitudes of men are at stake. I do not comprehend
how any British statesman who consults the interests
of his country, and understands the revolution
which free trade is effecting in the relations of the
world, can advocate the maintenance of commercial
blockades. If I shared their view, I should shrink
from promoting the indefinite growth of a population
whose means of subsistence would be liable to be cut



off at any moment by a belligerent power, against
whom we should have no right of resistance, or even
of complaint.
  It must be in mere irony that the advocates of
such a policy as this ask-of what use would our
navy be in case of war if commercial blockades were
abolished Surely, for a nation that has no access to
the rest of the world but by sea, and a large part of
whose population is dependent for food on foreign
countries, the chief use of a navy should be to keep
open its communications, not to close them!
  There is another branch of this subject to which a
recent occurrence has imparted peculiar importance.
We require a clear definition of the circumstances
which confer on a belligerent the right of visitation
or search. The old and universally admitted rule
that any maritime power, when at war, was entitled
everywhere to stop and visit the merchant vessels of
neutrals, is allowed to be unsuited to this age of
extended commerce, of steamers, and postal packets.
The principal object which belligerents had in view
in the exercise of this power was the capture of
enemy's property. But, since the Paris Declaration
exempts the goods of an enemy from seizure in
neutral bottoms, there is little motive left for pre-
serving this belligerent right; and the question would
receive a very simple solution by assimilating the
practice in time of war to that which now prevails in
time of peace.
  Merchant vessels on the high seas are, during
peace, considered and treated as a part of the terri-
tory to which they belong. There is no point on




which the maritime powers are more clearly under-
stood than that, excepting cases of special conven-
tion to the contrary, such as that for suppressing
the African slave trade, the flags of merchantmen
afford an absolute protection against visitation or
obstruction by an alien ship of war. This rule
applies, of course, only to the high seas; for when
foreign merchant vessels approach so near the coast
of a maritime state as to place themselves within its
municipal jurisdiction, they are subject to all its
police and revenue regulations. Now, why should
not this be the invariable law of the sea, in time of
war as well as of peace Because two maritime
powers in some quarter of the globe choose to enter
upon hostilities is no good reason why neutral mer-
chant ships, sailing in every sea, should be subjected
to their authority.
   This change would simplify the question of con-
traband of war, and thus tend to obviate the risk of
international disputes. An article is rendered con-
traband of war only by its hostile destination. Were
the right of search on the high seas in time of war
abolished, the only admissible proof of this destina-
tion would be the fact of the vessel being found
within the waters of a belligerent state. If those
waters were in the possession of a hostile power, the
jurisdiction would appertain to the blockading fleet
of that power; and a neutral merchant vessel,
containing articles contraband of war, entering
voluntarily within that jurisdiction, would be ipso
facto liable to capture. As to the question what
should, under such circumstances, constitute an un-




lawful cargo, I see no reason why we should seek to
multiply impediments to commerce, by extending the
category of articles contraband of war beyond that
proposed by the United States, viz. arms and am-
  Without dwelling on minor details, the three great
reforms in international maritime law embraced in
the preceding argument are

       1. The exemption of private property from
    capture at sea, during war, by armed vessels of
    every kind.
       2. Blockades to be restricted to naval arsenals,
    and to towns besieged at the same time on land,
    with the exception of articles contraband of
       3. The merchant ships of neutrals on the high
    seas to be inviolable to the visitation of alien
    government vessels in time of war as in time of

  It is at the option of the English government at
any time to enter upon negotiations with the other
great Powers for the revision of the maritime code, and
I speak advisedly in expressing my belief that it de-
pends on us alone whether the above reforms are to
be carried into effect.. 1 will only add that I regard
these changes as the necessary corollary of the repeal
of the navigation laws, the abolition of the corn laws,
and the abandonment of our colonial monopoly.
We have thrown away the sceptre of force, to confide
in the principle of freedom-uncovenanted, uncon-
ditional freedom. Under this new regime our na-



tional fortunes have prospered beyond all precedent.
During the last fourteen years the increase in our
commerce has exceeded its entire growth during the
previous thousand years of reliance on force, c