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the war from fulfilling its end. The only exception to this strict and rigorous rule of international jurisprudence, is the case of ransom bills, and they are contracts of necessity, founded on a state of war, and engendered by its violence. It is also a further consequence of the inability of the subjects of the two states, to commune or carry on any correspondence or business together, that all commercial partnerships existing between the subjects of the two parties, prior to the war, are dissolved by the mere force and act of the war itself; though other contracts existing prior to the war, are not extinguished, but the remedy is only suspended, and this from the inability of an alien enemy to sue, or to sustain, in the language of the civilians, a persona standi in judicio. The whole of this doctrine respecting the illegality of any commercial intercourse between the inhabitants of two nations at war, was extensively reviewed, and the principal authorities, ancient and modern, foreign and domestic, were accurately examined, and the positions which have been laid down established, in the case of Griswold v. Waddington, decided in the Supreme Court of New-York, and afterwards affirmed on error.
This strict rule has been carried so far in the British admiralty, as to prohibit a remittance of supplies even to a British colony, during its temporary subjection to the enemy, and when the colony was under the necessity of supplies, and was only very partially and imperfectly supplied by the enemy. The same interdiction of trade applies to ships of truce, or cartel ships, which are a species of navigation intended for the recovery of the liberty of prisoners of war. Such a special and limited intercourse is dictated by policy and humanity, and it is indispensable that it be conducted with the most exact and exclusive attention to the original purpose, as being the only condition upon which the inter
a 15 Johnson's Rep. 57. 16 Johnson, 438. S. C.
b Case of the Bella Guidita, in 1785, cited in the case of the Hoop, 1 Rob. Rep. 174
course can be tolerated. All trade, therefore, by means of such vessels, is unlawful, without the express consent of both the governments concerned. It is equally illegal for an ally of one of the belligerents, and who carries on the war conjointly, to have any commerce with the enemy. A single belligerent may grant licenses to trade with the enemy, and dilute and weaken his own rights at pleasure, but it is otherwise when allied nations are pursuing a common cause. The community of interest, and object, and action, creates a mutual duty not to prejudice that joint interest; and it is a declared principle of the law of nations, founded on very clear and just grounds, that one of the belligerents may seize, and inflict the penalty of forfeiture, on the property of a subject of a co-ally, engaged in a trade with the common enemy, and thereby affording him aid and comfort, whilst the other ally was carrying on a severe and vigorous warfare. It would be contrary to the implied contract in every such warlike confederacy, that neither of the belligerents, without the other's consent, should do any thing to defeat the common object."
In the investigation of the rules of the modern law of na- Judicial detions, particularly with regard to the extensive field of ma- public law. ritime capture, reference is generally and freely made to the decisions of the English courts. They are in the habit of taking accurate and comprehensive views of general jurisprudence, and they have been deservedly followed by the courts of the United States, on all the leading points of national law. We have a series of judicial decisions in England, and in this country, in which the usages and the duties of nations are explained and declared with that depth of research, and that liberal and enlarged inquiry, which strengthens and embellishes the conclusions of reason. They contain more intrinsic argument, more full and precise details,
a The Venus, 4 Rob. 355. The Carolina, 6 Rob. 336. The Nayade, 4 Rob. 251. The Neptunus, 6 Rob. 403.
more accurate illustrations, and are of more authority, than the loose dicta of elementary writers. When those courts in this country, which are charged with the administration of international law, have differed from the English adjudications, we must take the law from domestic sources; but such an alternative is rarely to be met with, and there is scarcely a decision in the English prize courts at Westminster, on any general question of public right, that has not received the express approbation and sanction of our national courts. We have attained the rank of a great commercial nation, and war, on our part, is carried on upon the same principles of maritime policy, which have directed the forces and animated the councils of the naval powers of Europe. When the United States formed a component part of the British empire, our prize law and theirs was the same; and after the revolution it continued to be the same, as far as it was adapted to our circumstances, and was not varied by the power which was capable of changing it. The great value of a series of judicial decisions, in prize cases, and on other questions depending on the law of nations, is, that they liquidate, and render certain and stable the loose general principles of that law, and show their application, and how they are understood in the country where the tribunals are sitting. They are, therefore, deservedly received with very great respect, and as presumptive, though not conclusive, evidence of the law in the given case. This was the language of the Supreme Court of the United States, so late as 1815, and the decisions of the English High Court of Admiralty, especially since the year 1798, have been consulted and uniformly respected by that court, as enlightened commentaries on the law of nations, and affording a vast variety of instructive precedents for the application of the principles of that law. They have also this to recommend them that they are pre-eminently distinguished for sagacity, wisdom, and learning, as
a 9 Cranch, 198.
well as for the chaste and classical beauties of their composition.
Many of the most important principles of public law have been brought into use, and received a practical application, and been reduced to legal precision, since the age of Grotius and Puffendorf; and we must resort to the judicial decisions of the prize tribunals in Europe, and in this country, for information and authority on a great many points, on which all the leading text books have preserved a total silence. The complexity of modern commerce has swelled, beyond all bounds, the number and intricacy of questions upon national law, and particularly upon the very comprehensive head of maritime capture. The illegality and penal consequences of trade with the enemy; the illegality of carrying enemy's despatches, or of engaging in the coasting, fishing, or other privileged trade of the enemy; the illegality of transfer of property in transitu, between the neutral and belligerent; the rules which impress upon neutral property a hostile character, arising either from the domicil of the neutral owner, or his territorial possessions, or his connexion in a house in trade in the enemy's country, are all of them doctrines in the modern international law, which are either not to be found at all, or certainly not with any fulness of discussion, and power of argument, any where, but in the judicial investigations to which I have referred, and which have given the highest authority and splendour to this branch of learning.