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as a work of profound erudition. Bynkershoeck has also written a treatise on the same contested subject, in which he concedes to Selden much of his argument, and admits that the sea was susceptible of dominion, though he denies the title of the English, on the ground of a want of uninterrupted possession. He said there was no instance, at that time, in which the sea was subject to any particular sovereign, where the surrounding territory did not belong to him.b
The claim of dominion to close or narrow seas, is still the theme of discussion and controversy. Puffendorf admits that in a narrow sea the dominion of it may belong to the sovereigns of the adjoining shores. Vattel also lays down the position, that the various uses to which the sea contiguous to the coast may be applied, render it justly the subject of property. People fish there, and draw from it shells, pearls, amber, &c.; and who can doubt, he observes, that the pearl fisheries of Bahram and Ceylon may not be lawfully enjoyed as property? Chitty, in his work on commercial law,e has entered into an elaborate vindication of the British title to the four seas, surrounding the British islands, and known by the name of the British seas, and, consequently, to the exclusive right of fishing, and of controlling the navigation of foreigners therein. On the other
hand, Sir Wm. Scott, in the case of the Twee Gebroeders, did not treat the claim of territory to contiguous portions of the sea with much indulgence. He said, the general inclination of the law was against it; for in the sea, out of the reach of cannon shot, universal use was presumed, in like manner as a common use in rivers flowing through conterminous states was presumed; and yet, in both cases,
a Harg. Law Tracts, 10. Co. Litt. lib. 3. n. 205.
b Dissertatio de Dominio Maris. Bynk. opera. tom. 2. 124. c Droit de la Nat. et Gens. lib. 4. ch. 5. sec. 5-10.
d B. 1. ch. 23.
e Vol. 1. 88-102.
f 3 Rob. Adm. 386.
there might, by legal possibility, exist a peculiar property, excluding the universal, or the common use. The claim of
Russia to sovereignty over the Pacific ocean north of the 51st degree of latitude, as a close sea, was considered by our government, in 1822, to be against the rights of other nations. It is difficult to draw any precise or determinate conclusion, amidst the variety of opinions, as to the distance to which a state may lawfully extend its exclusive dominion over the sea adjoining its territories, and beyond those portions of the sea which are embraced by harbours, gulfs, bays, and estuaries, and over which its jurisdiction unquestionably extends. All that can reasonably be asserted is, that the dominion of the sovereign of the shore over the contiguous sea, extends as far as is requisite for his safety, and for some lawful end. A more extended dominion must rest entirely upon force, and maritime supremacy. According to the current of modern authority, the general territorial jurisdiction extends into the sea as far as cannon shot will reach, and no farther, and this is usually calculated to be a marine league; and the Congress of the United States have recognised this limitation, by authorizing the District Courts to take cognizance of all captures made within a marine league of the American shores. The executive authority of this country, in 1793, considered the whole of Delaware bay to be within our territorial jurisdiction; and it rested its claims upon those authorities which admit that gulfs, channels, and arms of the sea, belong to the people with whose lands they are encompassed; and it was intimated that the law of nations would justify the United States in attaching to their coasts an extent into the sea, beyond the reach of cannon shot.d
a Mr. Adams' Letter to the Russian Minister, March 30th, 1822. b Azuni on the Maritime Law of Europe, vol. 1. p. 206.
c Bynk. Q. Pub. J. c. 8. Vattel, b. 1. c. 23. sec. 289. Act of Congress, June 5th, 1794, ch. 50.
d Opinion of the Attorney General concerning the seizure of the
Considering the great extent of the line of the American coasts, we have a right to claim for fiscal and defensive regulations, a liberal extension of maritime jurisdiction; and it would not be unreasonable, as I apprehend, to assume, for domestic purposes connected with our safety and welfare, the control of the waters on our coasts, though included within lines stretching from quite distant headlands, as, for instance, from Cape Ann to Cape Cod, and from Nantucket to Montauck Point, and from that point to the capes of the Delaware, and from the south cape of Florida to the Mississippi. It is certain that our government would be disposed to view with some uneasiness and sensibility, in the case of war between other maritime powers, the use of the waters of our coast, far beyond the reach of cannon shot, as cruising ground for belligerent purposes. In 1793, our government thought they were entitled, in reason, to as broad a margin of protected navigation, as any nation whatever, though at that time they did not positively insist beyond the distance of a marine league from the sea shores; and, in 1806, our government thought it would not be unreasonable, considering the extent of the United States, the shoalness of their coast, and the natural indication furnished by the well defined path of the Gulf Stream, to expect an immunity from belligerent warfare, for the space between that limit and the American shore. It ought, at least, to be insisted, that the extent of the neutral immunity should correspond with the claims maintained by Great Britain around her own territory, and that no belligerent right should be exercised within "the chambers formed by headlands, or any where at sea within the distance of four leagues, or from a right line from one headland to another. In the case of the Little
ship Grange, dated 14th of May, 1793, and the Letter of the Secretary of State to the French Minister, of 15th of May, 1793.
a Mr. Jefferson's Letter to M. Genet, November 8th, 1793.
b Mr. Madison's Letter to Messrs. Monroe and Pinckney, dated May 17th, 1806.
Belt, which was cruising many miles from shore between Cape Henry and Cape Hatteras, our government laid stress on the circumstance that she was "hovering on our coasts;" and it was contended on the part of the United States, that they had a right to know the national character of armed ships in such a situation, and that it was a right immediately connected with our tranquillity and peace. It was further observed, that all nations exercise the right, and none with more rigour, or at a greater distance from the coast, than Great Britain, and none on more justifiable grounds than the United States. There can be but little doubt, that as the United States advance in commerce and naval strength, our government will be diposed more and more to feel and acknowledge the justice and policy of the British claim to supremacy over the narrow seas adjacent to the British isles, because we shall stand in need of similar accommodation and means of security.
It was declared, in the case of Le Louis, that maritime states claim, upon a principle just in itself, and temperately applied, a right of visitation and inquiry within those parts of the ocean adjoining to their shores. They were to be considered as parts of the territory for various domestic purposes, and the right was admitted by the courtesy of nations. The English hovering laws were founded upon that right.
The statute of 9 Geo. II. c. 35, prohibited foreign goods to be transhipped, within four leagues of the coast, without payment of duties; and the act of congress of March 2d, 1799, ch. 128, sec. 25, 26, 27. 99, contained the same prohibition; and the exercise of jurisdiction, to that distance, for the safety and protection of the revenue laws, was declared by the Supreme Court, in Church v. Hubbard, to be conformable to the laws and usages of nations.
As the end of the law of nations is the happiness and per
a Mr. Monroe's Letter to Mr. Foster, October 11th, 1811, and President's Message, November 5th, 1811.
b 2 Dodson's Adm. Rep. 245. c 2 Cranch, 187.
Rights of fection of the general society of mankind, it enjoins upon every nation the punctual observance of benevolence and good will, as well as of justice, towards its neighbours. This is equally the policy and the duty of nations. They ought to cultivate a free intercourse for commercial purposes, in order to supply each other's wants, and promote each other's prosperity. The variety of climates and productions on the surface of the globe, and the facility of communication, by means of rivers, lakes, and the ocean, invite to a liberal commerce, as agreeable to the law of nature, and extremely conducive to national amity, industry, and happiness. numerous wants of civilized life, can only be supplied by mutual exchange between nations of the peculiar productions of each; and who that is familiar with the English classics, has not dwelt with delight on the description of the extent and blessings of English commerce, which Addison has given with such graceful simplicity, and such enchanting elegance, in one of the Spectator's visits to the Royal Exchange? But, as every nation has the right, and is disposed to exercise it, of judging for itself, in respect to the policy and extent of its commercial arrangements, the general freedom of trade, however reasonably and strongly it may be inculcated in the modern school of political economy, is but an imperfect ́right, and necessarily subject to such regulations and restrictions, as each nation may think proper to prescribe for itself. Every state may monopolize as much as it pleases of its own internal and colonial trade, or grant to other nations, with whom it deals, such distinctions and particular privileges as it may deem conducive to its interest. The celebrated En
a Vattel's Prelim. sec. 12, 13. b. 2. ch. 1. sec. 2, 3.
b l'attel, b. 2. c. 2. sec. 21.
c Spectator, vol. 1. No. 69.
d. Puff. b. 4. c. 5. sec. 10.
Vattel, b. 1. c. 8. sec. 92. 97.
tens' Summary of the Law of Nations, 146. 148. 1 Chitty on Commercial Law, 76-81. Mr. Canning's Letters to Mr. Gallatin, of September 11th and November 13th, 1826. Mr. Gallatin to Mr. Canning, of September 22d and December 28th, 1826, and Mr. Clay to Mr. Galtatin, November 11th, 1826.