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nation at peace with the Porte, in the passage of the Bosphorus or of the Dardanelles." Here is a solemn recognition of the principle, that straits connecting seas partake of their freedom, and are subject to the common use of all maritime nations, and of all merchant vessels of every State.
By Article 7th of the treaty between the United States and Great Britain made in 1842, called the Ashburton treaty, all the passes of the straits or rivers Detroit and St. Clair, connecting the Lakes Erie and Huron, are declared free to both parties. Here is an assent of the two most leading commercial nations of the globe to the doctrine that a common right to the use of seas draws after itą similar right in all straits connecting them. The free and common use of the St. Lawrence to both parties, to and from the ocean, seems to follow from the above cited precedents and from sound ethical principles. The application of these doctrines to the Sound leading into the Baltic is ob. vious, and it must be deemed free to all nations, We hold, therefore, as a principle of the moral law of nations, that all nations entitled to the com. mon use of seas, have a perfect natural right to the same use of connecting straits.
SECTION SIXTEENTH, NAVIGABLE RIVERS AND STRAITS.
The application of these principles of freedom and equity secure to all nations bordering navigable rivers the right of free navigation to and from
Mr. Clay, as above quoted, proves this forcibly. Great Britain and the United States by the 8th Article of the treaty of 1783, declared, that, “ The navigation of the river Mississippi, from its source to the ocean, shall forever remain free and open to the subjects of Great Britain, and the citizens of the United States.” At that time Spain owned Louisiana and both banks of the river from its mouths up to the 31st degree of north latitude. This is a clear recognition of this natural right of free navigation to all bordering nations.
The allied sovereigns at Vienna declared the same doctrine in favor of the nations bordering the Danube, the Rhine and other German rivers in 1815, as stated above by Mr. Secretary Clay. The right to all nations contiguous to navigable rivers to freely navigate to and from the sea is a natural right, thus solemnly admitted by the allied sovereigns of Europe and by the United States. It reposes upon the noble principle of equity, do
would be done unto. Our doctrine of the right of free passage along the strait or river St.
Lawrence, and all other navigable straits connecting seas bordered by two or more nations is sup: ported by the Abbe Galliani in his work Dei Doveri de Neutrali, lib. 1st, ch. 10th, s. 1st, quoted with approbation by Azuni in his Maritime Law, part 1st, ch. 20, s. 17th. Azuni in his work part 1st, ch. 3d, art. 2d, affirms the same principles. It is a just, equal and equitable principle.
Having explained upon the principles of the moral law of nations, the extent and nature of a nation's territorial rights, maritime curtilage, and its interests in navigable rivers washing its soil, we now pass to the examination of the title of every state to the high seas beyond the line of demarkation, which we have described as the limit of internal jurisdiction.
The nature of the seas and oceans covering the larger portion of our globe, places them beyond the power of man and subject only to the control of the Almighty. The seas are his, the stormy winds and mountain waves obey no other Lord. When He arises in terrible majesty to shake the earth and sends abroad his roaring tempests over the seas, war fleets and the richly laden argossies of commerce are scattered like chaff before the wind or overwhelmed by the breaking up of the
mighty deep. The caverns of the seas are filled with countless ships and millions of sea-voyagers engulfed age after age in the ocean's unfathomable waters. These vast and accumulated wrecks of human power and grandeur, over which the waves roll in sublime magnificence, attest that God is the only sovereign of the seas. In vain did Canute command the waves to stop as they approached his majesty, for they obey the voice of Him who hath said, thus far shalt thou come and no farther ; peace, be still. Nor has man yet been able to erect a single monument in the seas of his dominion, and he cannot even indent their waters by a passing keel but for a moment.
The oceans are now as free from all trace on their surface of the track of fleets and navies, as if they had never ploughed the main. The Lord Almighty then truly measures the seas in the hollow of his hand, and they obey Him as their true Sovereign. Azuni in his Maritime Law says, that “the sea belongs to no one; it is the property of all men ; all have the same equal right to its use as to the air they breathe, and to the sun that warms them.” Again he says, “the use of the sea, light and air are alike common to all."
Lord Byron illustrates God's sovereignty of the seas in the following sublime description :
“Roll on, thou deep and dark blue ocean-roll !
The royal Psalmist, in the 107th Psalm, beautifully discribes the omnipotence of the Lord upon the stormy seas and his terrible majesty in the great waters. In the 89th Psalm he
66 Thou rulest the raging of the sea.”
The Almighty Ruler of the seas has given to all mankind the use of their waters, though he has made them in their nature incapable of private or national appropriation. This is the true ground of title to the high seas, and from their intrinsic nature all men are tenants in common forever of their use.
It is but a use and a common use. As all nations are equal in rights under this divine gift to all, this equal common use is the inheri