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It is further urged that neutral powers ought not to complain of this retraint, because they stand under it, on the same ground, with respect to that commerce, which they held in time of peace. But this fact, if true, gives no support to the pretension. The raim involves a question of right, not of interest. If the neutral powers have a right in war to such commerce with the colonies of the enemies of Great Britain, as the parent states respectively allowed, they ought not to be deprived of it by her, nor can its just claims be satisfied by any compromise of the kind aliuded to. For this argument to have the weight which it is intended to give it, the commerce of the neutral owers with those colonies should be placed and preserved through the war, in the same state, as if it had not occurred. Great Britain should in respect to them take the place of the parent country,and do every thing which the latter would have done had there been no war. To discharge that duty, it would be necessary for her to establish such a police over the colony, as to be able to examine the circumstances attending it annually, to afoertain whether the crops were abundant, supplies from other quarters had failed, and eventually to decide whether under such circumstances the parent country would have opened the ports to neutral powers. But these offices cannot be performed by any power which is not in possession of the colony ; that can only be obtained by conquest, in which case, the victor would of course have a right to regulate its trade as it thought fit. It is also said, that neutral powers have no right to profit of the advantages which are gained in war by the arms of Great Britain. This argument has even less weight than the others. It does not, in truth, apply at all to the question. Neutral powers do not claim a right, as already observed, to any commerce with the colonies which Great Britain may have conquered of her enemies, otherwise than on the conditions which she imposes. The point in question turns on the commerce which they are entitled to with the colonies which she has not conquered, but still remain subječt to the dominion of the parent country. With such it is contended,for reasons that have been already given, that neutral powers have a right to enjoy all the advantages in trade which the parent country allows them : a right of which the mere circumstance of war cannot deprive them. If Great Britain had a right to prohibit that commerce, it existed before the war began, and of course before she had gained any advantage over her enemies. If it did not then exist, it certainly does not at the present time. Rights of the kind in question, cannot depend on the fortune of war, or other contingencies. The law which regulates them is invariable, until it be changed by the competent authority. It forms a rule equally between belligerent powers, and between neutral and belligerent, which is dictated by reason and sanctioned by the usage and consent of nations. The foregoing confiderations have, it is presumed, proved that the claim of Great Britain to prohibit the commerce of neutral powers, in the manner proposed, is repugnant to the law of nations. If, however, any doubt remaincd on that point, other considerations which may be urged cannot fail to remove it. The number of orders of different imports which have been iffued by government, to regulate the seizure of neutral vessels, is a proot that there is no established law for the purpose. And the firićtness with which the courts have followed those orders, through their various modifications, is equally a proof that there is no other authority for the government of their decisions. If the order of the 6th of November, 1793, contained the true doctrine of the law of nations, there would have been no occasion for those which followed, nor is it probable that they would have been issued ; indeed if that order had been in conformity with that law, there would have been no occasion for it. As in the cases of blockade and contraband, the law would have been well known without an order, especially one so very descriptive, the interest of the cruisers, which is always sufficiently active, would have prompted them to make the seizures, and the opinion of eminent writers, which in that case would not have been wanting, would have furnished the courts the best authority for their decisions. -


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tween the parties ; one which authorized the just expectation, that it would
never have become again a cause of complaint between them. The sense of
both was expreoed on it in a manner too marked and explicit to admit of a
different conclusion. The subject too was of a nature that wheu once settled
ought to be confidered as settled forever. It is not like questions of commerce
between two powers, which affect their internal concerns, and depend, of
course, on the internal regulations of each. When these latter are arranged
by treaty, the rights which accrue to each party under it, in the interiour of
the other, cease when the treaty expires. Each has a right afterwards to de-
cide for itself in what manner that concern shall be regulated in future, and in
that decifian to consult solely its interest. But the present topick is of a very
different charaćter. It involves no question of commerce or other internal
concern between two nations. It respects the commerce only, which either
may have with the enemics of the other, in time of war. It involves, there-
fore, only a question of right, under the law of nations, which in its nature
cannot fluêtuate. It is proper to add, that the conclusion, above mentioned,
was further supported by the important fact, that, until the late decree in
the case of the Essex, not one American vessel, engaged in this commerce, had
been condemned on this doćtrine ; that several which were met in the chan-
nel, by the British cruisers, were permitted, after an examination of their pa-
pets, to pursue the voyage. This circumstance justified the opinion, that
that commerce was deemed a lawful one by Great Britain.
There is another ground, on which the late seizures and condemnations
are confidered as highly objectionable, and furnish just cause of complaint to
the United States. Until the final report of commissioners under the 7th article
of the treaty of 1794, which was not made until last year, it is admitted
that their arbitrament was not obligatory on the parties, in the sense in which
it is now contended to be. Every intermediate declaration, however, by G.
B. of her sense on the subject, must be confidered as binding on her, as it laid
the foundation of commercial enterprizes, which were thought to be secure
while within that limit. Your lordship will permit me to refer you to sever-
al examples of this kind, which were equally formal and official, in which the
sense of his majesty’s government was declared very differently from
what it has been in the late condemnations. In Robinson’s reports, vol. 2,
page 368, (case the Polly, Laskey, o it seems to have been clearly estab-
lished by the learned judge of the court of admiralty, that an American has 4
right to import the produce of an enemy's colony into the United States, and
to send it on afterwards to the general commerce of Europe; and that the
#35&ing the goods, and paying the distics in the United States should preclude

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