tance of every state and kingdom. Vattel supports this view of the subject. Azuni in his Maritime Law maintains the same doctrine with equal force. Reason teaches us that the seas, like air and light, are free and common to all mankind. We have fully illustrated this doctrine in treating of maritime rights appurtenant to the territory of a nation, and of the right of search and maritime curtilage.




Our doctrine of the freedom of the seas, as a common birth-right is generally admitted, but in different ages aspiring and unscrupulous maritime States have claimed to own by virtue of superior naval power, a larger right in the seas and oceans than originally belonged to them. We have seen these unfounded claims most arrogantly asserted by the Athenians, the Portuguese and the English. This pretended jurisdiction over the high seas rests, so far as it has any foundation, upon conquest, upon usage and upon the consent, express or implied of other maritime States. Let us examine this subject by the light of reason and equity, and see if any nation can be recognized by the moral law of nations as ruler of the seas. No nation, it is clear, can acquire the common use of


the high seas which belong to another without transfer in some mode. Some writers maintain that there are three

ways by which such transfer may be made ; first by conquest, second by treaty, and third by presciption or long continued usage. By the moral law and by the Gospel, force cannot be a solid ground of title, and if applied by a foot-pad on the highway to the seizure of the goods of a traveler he gets no right by conquest. The same is equally true of national seizures of the property and dominion of other nations. Russia, Prussia and Austria by the sword of conquest dismembered Poland, because each of those kingdoms felt power and forgot right. Their title has no foundation in the moral law of nations, and the terrible insurrection of the Poles was a rising of insulted humanity against oppression and wrong. Napoleon conquered, devastated and pillaged Austria, Prussia, Italy, Holland and other countries, dismembering some and depriving others of their independence by the sword of conquest. By the same means he possessed himself of the wealth and of the splendid works of art of the conquered countries, and filled Paris with them, as trophies of his arms. By these acts he has earned for him. self the appropriate name of oppressor and devastator of Europe. His titie, founded on the scimi. tar, was repudiated by the moral sense of Europe, and justly caused his dethronement by the allies, and the fundamental declaration of the Holy Alliance, that the Gospel is the true basis of the law of nations. In the view of Christianity as well as of common sense, conquest either by a foot-pad, by Napoleon, Cæsar, Alexander or a nation confers no right to the property or dominion thus wrongfully acquired. Hence no maritime right of a state can be rightfully lost by conquest or any unjust and forcible aggression. Azuni maintains

. this position in his Maritime Law. Nor ean it be transfered by treaty. The existing administration of every state and nation is appointed to regulate their affairs, not to sell their soil or dominion, or to grant away the national sovereignty or any part of it. This is a self-evident truth. Above in treating of the union of states, we have quoted Puffendorf to this point and Vattel also. As selfgovernment is a natural, inherent and inalienable right, the power to grant away such sovereignty, and thereby destroy its independence and national existence, resides in the people and not in the officers of government. In the the United States we have an apt illustration of this subject. The . President, Senate and House of Representatives have certain specified national powers çonfered upon them, and all others, the great mass of

municipal and sovereign powers, remain with the states and the people. The national government has no authority to sell or assign any part of the territory or maritime rights of the republic to any foreign nation. Treaties may be made by the President and two thirds of the senators present, but to be valid they must be pursuant to the specified powers granted by the Constitution of the United States. A treaty, therefore, if made, granting to Britain the right to compel our ships to pay tribute or to impress our seamen in American ships on the high seas would be void for want of .constitutional authority to make it. The same upon general principles seems true in all cases of cessions of national sovereignty by any prince, or executive. A nation's right to the free navigation of the seas is an essential part of the sovereignty of every maritime state, and if parted with by treaty the independence and national character of the granting power would cease and a colonial dependence would ensue. 'ment, of any people, no matter what its form, can be deemed vested with authority to transfer the nation, its independence and sovereignty to another. No such treaty could, therefore, bind the nation thus betrayed. Such was the treaty of Napoleon at Bayonne with Charles the 4th of Spain and Ferdinand the 7th. Now no such

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trenty assigning to another a nation's right in the high seas, ever was made or ever will be, unless coerced by the sword or brought about by the purchase of a traitorous executive. As coercion, force and fraud vitiate all transactions between individuals, so do they, according to sound ethics, between nations. Any treaty thus obtained is void by the moral law of nations. Azuni, in his Maritime Law, part 1st, art. 1st, s. 16, says : order that the empire of the sea may belong to any particular nation, it is necessary that all others should renounce the right of navigation and fishing, which nature has conferred equally on all mankind. By this means, only, by the general consent and agreement of all sovereign and independent societies, can the sea become the apanage, or, if we may be allowed the expression, the dower of such fortunate nation."

It is self-evident then that no treaty can transfer the maritime rights of one nation to another. Nor can prescription, usage or long continued unjust aggression of one nation upon the maritime jurisdiction of others, destroy the inalienable rights of the latter, or transfer them to the former. Force and coercion are here the only ground of claim, which we have shown to be inadmissable. It is like a neighboring farmer seeking to make title to my land or fish pond by forcible entries

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