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Effect of the Queen's Proclamation.
insignificant, but because I feel it my duty to address myself to those points which touch more directly and more practically [the Budget] the matter in hand,”1
In a debate in the House of Lords, on the 10th of May, Lord Hardwicke’ said that he “was anxious that the House should not enter too strong a protest against that which was a natural consequence of war, namely, that vessels should be fitted out by private individuals under letters of marque. That was, no doubt, privateering, but it did not by any means follow that privateering was piracy. He believed that if privateering-ships were put in the hands of proper officers, they were not engaged in piracy any more than menof-war. He thought that a feeble State engaged in a war with a powerful one had a right to make use of its merchant-vessels for the purpose of carrying on the contest, and there was no violation of the law of nations in such a proceeding.”
In the more elaborate discussion which followed on the 16th of the same month in the House of Lords, the Lord Chancellor said : “If, after the publishing of the present Proclamation, any English subject were to enter into the service of either of the belligerents on the other side of the Atlantic, there could be no doubt that the · Hansard's Debates, 3d series, Vol. CLXII, page 1277. · Vol. IV, page 486.
3 Vol. IV, page 490.
Queen's Proclama. person so acting would be liable to be punished
for a violation of the laws of his own country, and would have no right to claim any interference on the part of his Government to shield him from any consequences which might arise. There could, however, at the same time, be no doubt that, although he would be guilty of a breach of the laws of his own country, he ought not to be regarded as a pirate for acting under a commission from a State admitted to be entitled to the exercise of belligerent rights, and carrying on what might be called a justum bellum. Anybody dealing with a man under those circumstances as a pirate, and putting him to death, would, he contended, be guilty of murder."
The distinguished jurist, who then sat upon the woolsack, described in that speech one legal effect of this hastily issued Proclamation with undoubted correctness. It relieved Englishmen or foreigners in England, and Englishmen on insurgent cruisers carrying on war against the United States, from the penalties of a high class of felonies. Lord Lyndhurst, one of the most eminent predecessors of Lord Campbell, in an opinion in the House of Lords in 1853, cited with respect by Sir George Cornwall Lewis, (himself one of Lord Palmerston's Cabinet,) said: “If a number of British subjects were to combine and conspire together to excite revolt among the inhabi
Effect of the Queen's Proclamation.
tants of a friendly State,
* and these
persons, in pursuance of that conspiracy, were to issue manifestoes and proclamations for the purpose of carrying that object into effect; above all, if they were to subscribe money for the purpose of purchasing arms to give effect to that intended enterprise, I conceive, and I state with confidence, that such persons would be guilty of a misdemeanor, and liable to suffer punishment by the laws of this country, inasmuch as their conduct would tend to embroil the two countries together, to lead to remonstances by the one with the other, and ultimately, it might be, to war. Foreigners residing in this country, as long as they reside here under the protection of this country, are considered in the light of British subjects, or rather subjects of Her Majesty, and are punishable by the criminal law precisely in the same manner, to the same extent, and under the same conditions, as natural-born subjects of Her Majesty.
The offense of endeavoring to excite revolt against a neighboring State is an offense against the law of nations. No writer on the law of nations states otherwise. But the law of nations, according to the decision of our greatest judges, is part of the law of England."!
On Foreign Jurisdiction and the Extradition of Criminals; by the Right Hon. Sir George Cornwall Lowis, Bart., M. P., London, 1859, page 66.
Mr. Bright's The United States will close this branch of the views.
examination by citing the language of Mr. Bright, in the House of Commons, on the 13th of March, 1865. “Going back nearly four years, we recollect what occurred when the news arrived of the first shot having been fired at Fort Sumter. That, I think, was about the 12th of April. Immediately after that time it was announced that a new minister was coming to this country. Mr. Dallas had intimated to the Government that, as he did not represent the new President, he would rather not undertake anything of importance; but that his successor was on his way, and would arrive on such a day. When a man leaves New York on a given day you can calculate to about twelve hours when he will be in London. Mr. Adams, I think, arrived in London about the 13th of May, and when he opened his newspaper next morning he found the Proclamation of Neutrality, acknowledging the belligerent rights of the South. I say that the
proper course to have taken would have been to wait till Mr. Adams arrived here, and to have discussed the matter with him in a friendly manner, explaining the ground upon which the English Government had felt themselves bound to issue that proclamation, and representing that it was not done in any manner as an unfriendly act toward the United States Government. But no
i Vol. V, pages 639, 640.
precaution whatever was taken. It was done with unfriendly haste, and had this effect: that it gave comfort and courage to the conspiracy at Montgomery and at Richmond, and caused great grief and irritation among that portion of the people of America most strongly desirous of maintaining amicable and friendly relations between their country and England." The United States have made this review of the sovereign
right to issue such the course pursued by Great Britain in recognizing i proclamathe insurgents as belligerents, with no purpose
of questioning the sovereign right of that Power to determine for itself whether the facts at that time justified such a recognition. Although the United States strenuously deny that the facts as they then were known to Her Majesty's Government did justify that Government in conferring upon the rebellious citizens of the United States the privilege of belligerents, and still less justified it in counselling France to do the same thing, yet they recognize and insist that in the language of the President to Congress on the 6th day of December, 1869) a “nation is its own judge when to accord the rights of belligerency, either to a people struggling to free themselves from a government they believe to be oppressive, or to independent nations at war with each other."!! But while thus firmly insisting upon the sover
friendly act. 1 Annual Message of the President to Congress, 1869.
It was an un