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invitation, not of command. A blank cartridge may be fired, lest the signal of the flag may have been unobserved; but the firing of a shot at, or the menacing pursuit of a public vessel cannot be endured. Search of the neutral ship of war can in no case be permitted,—it is derogatory to the independence of the state. Search of private ships under convoy may be conceded on conditions to which we shall refer. 1386. The right to maintain and protect the national commerce is the right of the state; the right to enjoy it is that of the subjects. 1387. The state is not a trader; even were its prince a merchant, his mercantile vessels and merchandise would be private merchandise and private ships, until he chose to give them a military commission. The state cannot carry contraband; the state cannot be guilty of breaking blockade. If the state furnish, whether by gift or sale, munitions of war to either belligerent, it is not contraband, but military assistance, a breach of neutrality, a just ground for war; if the public armed ships of the state force, or attempt to force, their way through the blockade, it is irregular war; if they clandestinely escape through the blockade, they cannot be pursued or captured, but the state must make reparation for the wrong, or it affords a just ground for war. 1388. So that which would be contraband on board private unprotected merchant ships, when conveyed in merchant ships under the protection of the public vessels of the neutral, constitutes military supply, and a violation of belligerent rights. The ships which sail under convoy, except in conformity with conventions, are not independent traders, but members of a national fleet; they are responsible to their sovereign for their cargoes and conduct, and the sovereign is responsible to the belligerent state as though their misconduct were his own. 1889. CoNvoy.—Subject to the undertaking of such responsibility, the neutral nation is entitled to take her commerce under her protection and her flag as long as it traverses her own waters or the open sea, Ships are not the independent creatures which some writers have asserted; they are subjects of their country wherever they go, amenable to and entitled, so long at least as they obey it, to the protection of their state. Were it otherwise, every vessel might wage an independent warfare, and the nationality to which belligerents appeal would not exist. 1390. A neutral nation is entitled to demand the absolute recognition of her sovereignty, and to protect her commerce with all her power, to extend her aegis over her private vessels, and to prohibit visitation and search. She takes upon herself a duty towards each belligerent for every vessel, for every member of their crews, and for every portion of every cargo, that there shall be no offence, and that the expedition shall not convey to the adversary any military aid. If that duty is violated, the responsibility to the injured belligerent, as we have already observed, rests upon the state. 1391. So great is the inconvenience, so difficult, so almost impossible is the security for the performance of the duty it undertakes, so full of suspicion is a convoyed fleet with total immunity from search, that the state, anxious to maintain her neutrality and character, will not resort to this proceeding except in extremity, and when prepared to windicate her conduct by open war. But if there is just cause, by reason of vexation in the exercise of visitation and search, or in the imposition of an unlawful blockade, or in the unjustifiable condemnation of her vessels, or in the refusal of indemnity to those which have been captured without having given offence, the neutral has a right to place her merchantmen under the protection of her flag, to forbid the interference of the marauding belligerent with her ships, and to summon all the insulted neutrals to her aid in maintaining the neutral law. We need not stay to inquire to what extent the armed neutralities of the North were justified, or whether they in any respects exceeded the vindication of neutral rights. The first example of such a neutrality was afforded by Rhodes. 1392. The exercise of this right obviously brings the nations upon the verge of hostilities, as each will act upon her own construction of international law, or, perhaps, her appreciation of her opportunity and power. The neutral nation must therefore offer the belligerent every practicable guarantee. Her laws against the export of contraband must be rigorous, and vigorously and impartially enforced. The examination of the vessels under convoy must be rigid and frequent; every ship must be identified, her character, her conduct, her cargo carefully recorded and vigilantly watched; and the whole fleet must sail, and, so far as possible, continue under the immediate protection and surveillance of the vessels of war. The commander of the convoy must hold frank and candid communication with the commanders of all the belligerent vessels who may inquire as to the destination and cargoes of the fleet. 1393. The question of the right of sailing under the convoy of her own nation is not a question for the prize court, but a question of politics, to be determined by the state: until the state has resolved to make it, and made it, a cause of war, the prize court may not usurp its office or treat the act as a hostile act, or in any manner interfere. The question is not with the neutral vessel, but with the neutral state. So long as the governments are at peace, to capture the neutral ship under convoy is an act of piracy, to condemn her is an outrage upon international law. Notwithstanding the trumpeting with which it was paraded, the condemnation of neutral vessels, in the case of the Maria, for sailing under the convoy of their national ships, covered the English prize court with disgrace. 1894. When it is adopted under conventions, the extent and mode of relieving the merchant vessels from search is carefully explained. It is generally required that they shall be under convoy of a ship well informed of all their characters and cargoes. Her commander is bound to see that all belong to his nation, that their destinations are free from suspicion, and, if destined to a belligerent port, that they carry no contraband of war. And he is bound to afford that assurance to every war-ship of the belligerent concerned in the treaty, which he may happen to meet. 1395. Unless it is accorded by treaty, or agreed, on an alliance of neutral nations for the protection of their rights, the convoying ship cannot take under her charge any vessel, though neutral, which does not belong to her own country. She must not permit a neutral of another nation to obtain in any manner the protection of her flag. The belligerent cruiser is entitled, without inquiry, to believe that the convoy can give the assurance which it is her duty to give; her flag in effect offers it. To permit the association of the neutral vessel is therefore a breach of the honour of her commander, and of his nation's faith. 1396. The master or commander of any merchant ship under convoy wilfully disobeying any signals, instructions, or other lawful commands of the commander of the convoy, or deserting the convoy without notice and leave obtained, is liable in the English Admiralty to a fine not exceeding #500, and imprisonment not exceeding one year. 17 Vict. c. 18, s. 40. 1397. BELLIGERENT SHIPs.—Each belligerent has the same right to visit the waters and ports of each neutral state with his public vessels as he enjoyed before the war; but as his attitude is altered, the neutral is entitled to place such ships under restrictions which did not previously exist. These vessels, when admitted, must be entertained with the same respect as before the commencement of hostilities.
But the neutral may restrict their visits to convenient ports,
or, if there is reasonable apprehension of danger, altogether exclude them, except when driven in by distress. If he restrict the ships of one belligerent to particular ports, he must equally restrict those of the other; if he entirely exclude those of one, those of the other must be excluded, unless there be such cause of suspicion as to the one as to justify the neutral's putting himself more on his guard against the excluded nation. To this extent only we admit the proposition (Santissima Trinidad), that a neutral government is not bound to admit belligerent ships of war within its waters, and that it is entitled, if it admit them, to prescribe the terms of admission. The sixteenth congress of the United States (sess. 1, c. 110) restricted for two years the entrance of foreign armed vessels into any of its harbours except Portland, Boston, New London, New York, Philadelphia, Norfolk, Smithville in North Carolina, Charleston, and Mobile, unless forced by distress, by dangers of the sea, or by being pursued by an enemy, and unable to make any of the excepted ports. 1398. The state is bound by its neutrality not to permit a naval force to pass over its waters to invade or attack the adversary. All agree that it is entitled to prohibit such passage; but some assert that it is at liberty, according to the law of nations, to permit it, on condition that it grants similar permission to the hostile state. The proposition is incorrect. How can there be equality in such a concession, even if a neutral were at liberty to afford equal aid in war? The invaded nation may be conquered, or never able to claim the supposed equivalent. How can there be equal enjoyment of such a right P 1399. When the ships of one belligerent are admitted into the harbours of a neutral, those of the other are, except under circumstances of suspicion, entitled to the same privilege in every respect. They must enter the neutral waters in amity, the authority of their sovereign is confined to their internal government and their crews, and the courtesy which they are entitled to expect. 1400. Within those waters the ships of both belligerents are subject, with this qualification, to the neutral law, and entitled to the protection of the neutral state. The hostile