페이지 이미지

piracy, according to maritime law, as equivalent to a conviction in their own. Panda.

1236. CoRSAIRs.—Pirates of the second class are gentlemen privateers, patriots, in a hurry to serve their country and themselves, who arm their vessels without waiting for the supreme command; and gentlemen privateers, the subjects of neutral nations, who with surpassing sympathy for the belligerent cause, sometimes a sympathy fluctuating with the prospects of the day, arm their ships and furnish them with a flag of one or each of the belligerents, and of the state to which they belong. 1237. Those of the first subdivision are sometimes indulged by their own country with the jackal's share of the prey, and through fear of retaliation treated by the adversary with greater leniency than they deserve. Those of the second, so long as they are faithful to his cause, are too often regarded by a belligerent with favour on account of the assistance they afford; but they may be justly and without pretence for retaliation treated as pirates by the adversary, and are as such amenable to their national courts.

1238. A capture by pirates effects no change of property; but that for which no owner is found, belongs to the sovereign by whose ship the pirates are taken, and is generally distributed among the officers and crew in the same manner as prize of war. Panda.

1239. The 15th Congress of the United States, statute 1, c. 88 (20 April, 1818), declared guilty of a high misdeameanour, any citizen who, without its limits, should fit out and arm, or attempt to fit out and arm, or procure to be fitted out or armed, or knowingly aid or be concerned in the furnishing, fitting out, or arming of any pirate ship, or vessel of war, or privateer, with intent that she should be employed to cruise or commit hostilities upon the citizens of the United States, or their property, or should take the command of or enter on board such vessel for that intent, or purchase any interest in such vessel with a view to share in its profits.

1240. We have little to say for guerillas, properly so termed. Their exploits are on land, but of all pirates guerillas alone are not unfrequently justified by the conduct of the war. The consideration of their case also involves one which occurs on the sea, for all men have a right to fight in self-defence, and to repel an attack upon their property or themselves. 1241. Consequently, although the merchant of a belligerent country is not justified in equipping vessels for war on his own account, he is entitled to arm and man his ship for self-defence; and if attacked by a foe, be he merchant ship, pirate, privateer, a ship or war, his vessel may repel the assault, and if victorious is entitled to the prize. Yet the genial law of the Admiralty affords her only the same reward as it bestows upon the private volunteer. Guerillas are not unfrequently fighting in self-defence; not in the abstract defence of the sovereign and his nation. That is the business of the regular troops. 1242. The invader is bound to respect not only the persons, the lands and the crops, but all the moveable property of the peaceable inhabitants of the parts of a country which he has subdued. Having by conquest replaced the former sovereign and brought the people under his temporary rule, he is bound not to plunder but to protect them. Allegiance and protection, though temporary, are reciprocal rights. 1243. When these rights are violated by the victor, (of course we except the ordinary incidents, the destruction of the battle, the march of the soldiers, the wrack in the passage of war), -when these rights then are further violated by the victor, when the property, the lives, the chastity of the unresisting inhabitants are assailed, they are rightfully roused to resistance, and justified in retaliation for such atrocities by resort to irregular arms. 1244. PRIVATEERs.-This class was the natural progeny of the first and the second. The buccaneers and corsairs crowded to the distributor of commissions and flags, that their sins might be forgotten, except that indistinct rumour of their exploits which approved them to the belligerent whose service they sought; who—in mercy!—conceived it his right and his duty to exert every force he could employ to distress and exterminate the enemy, and thus to shorten the war. For such belligerents privateers are the fittest instruments; the worst of them are the best, for they are best adapted to the process of distressing and destroying the foe. 1245. The belligerent took a bond from the newly-created captain, with sureties for his good behaviour. In what does the good behaviour of a corsair consist P The captain may forfeit his bond, his sureties may come to grief. So may his ship, and the crew, with all they and their sureties may possess. What is good behaviour towards those whom he is commissioned to take and destroy P. The bond is scant security for vexation of the neutral; to vex the enemy is his avocation. Avarice is the incentive, and on his vexation the only restraint. 1246. All maritime nations more or less employed them. They improvised a navy, as they called it. They hired the buccaneers and corsairs, robbers and bandits, the pirates of every description and clime. Their leaders were honoured with rank, and the royal authority to take, plunder, and destroy. We have seen that the middle ages of Europe are full of their exploits. 1247. Comparatively modern precedent rendered privateers lawful, as more venerable precedent had rendered the rest of the piratical craft. 1248. Although the courts of the nations which engaged them took little account of the fulfilment of their natural or unnatural obligations, they were careful to classify these adventurers with reference to their interest in the prize; somewhat in accordance with the following scale:—No. 1, Buccaneers: no interest; they therefore kept all that was not wrested from them. No. 2, Corsairs: a small share of what remained after law and other expenses had been paid. No. 3, Privateers: what remained after law and other expenses had been paid. To constitute a privateer, the private-armed vessel bore the commission of a belligerent Power; the filibuster was converted into a captain. The Rover may be more rash, more hard-hearted, more rapacious, more bloodthirsty, and more reckless than the educated commander of a ship of war; but in other military virtues, although he bear a more independent commission, he is not likely to excel. Mere excess of power, as it was called, was not piracy in the commissioned privateer. 1249. But the Rover must bear a commission from a belligerent Power, and he must be thereby authorized to war against another belligerent Power in that commission named. The Power conferring that authority may be designated his protector. He is said to have been subject to a few restraints. If a Rover, commissioned against one Power, made war against another Power hostile to his protector, it was not deemed piracy; but it was deemed irregular, although the war with the second Power broke out after the commission had issued. 1250. A Rover bearing the commissions of each of two allied Powers against the common enemy, making captures, occasioned a doubt as to the commission to which his captures should be referred, for his protectors might act upon different constructions of the laws of war. This also was not piracy, but an irregular act of war. The courts even held that capture by a neutral ship bearing a belligerent's commission, was not piracy, but merely an irregular act of War. 1251. When the act was held irregular, the commissioned Rover was degraded from Class No. 3 to Class No. 2; so that others participated in the plunder. It was even said that the state which granted the second commission was responsible, unless it was issued in ignorance of the first. The neutral's chance of reparation seems to have rested on the slender security of the bond. As to the enemy injured by those outrages of war, how could any reparation be obtained P 1252. Adventurers of piratical sentiments require no such encouragement; there is hardly a pretext too flimsy for these rash and reckless men. After James II. was expelled from the shores of all these kingdoms, without a port, without a ship, a refugee in a foreign land, dependent upon a foreign sovereign, he dared to grant, and rovers were hardy enough to accept, commissions to plunder the commerce and ravage the coasts of a people which had its king, lords, and commons, its armies, its fleets, and the attributes and power of a nation, competent and prepared to encounter the nation in which he who granted the commission was sheltered, with all her allies. See 1 Phill. 398–406. 1253. It has however been held that the taking and plundering of a neutral ship by a commissioned privateer is piracy; and that the commission of a privateer did not authorize the capture of an enemy's property on land, as that was deemed to be governed by a different rule of international law. 1254. The nations against which the privateers were armed, did not always treat them with equal consideration. The natural-born subject capturing the ships of his country under the commission of the foe is a pirate and a traitor. 1 East, P. C. c. 17, s. 5. 1255. IRREGULARs.—This being a division of the third class, carrying on their wars for the most part by land, we have not much to do with their operations. It is enough to declare that irregulars, whether such as were summoned throughout Europe by William and his nobles for the conquest of England, or such as were collected by a Mahratta subahdar proclaiming war, and the Indian Company’s license to loot, or such as were hired and enlisted in foreign countries one by one, or condottieri hired by the lot, or Hessian mercenaries rented from their prince by the thousand, are all unfit instruments of war. They constitute no part of the responsible troops

« 이전계속 »