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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
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 : " In 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
and trespasses, and pleading their frequency and my fleeing before him and his lawless band to
This is absurd. Beside, if no such power can be transferred by treaty, a thousand years of unjust aggression would not do it. The moral law of nations repudiates any such transfer of maritime rights of one nation to another. These are the views of the American government as appears from the instructions of the Secretary of State of the United States to Mr. Munroe, in 1804, above quoted. Lewis Cass, our late distinguished Minister to France, has asserted the freedom of the seas with firmness and ability.
The freedom of the seas, and the equal right of all nations to their common use, are established principles of the public law as well as the moral law of nations. Vattel in his work on the law of nations
says: " No nation has then a right to lay claim to the open sea, or attribute the use of it to itself to the exclusion of others.” Again he says: “ The right of navigation and fishing in the open sea, being then a common right to all men, the nation who attempts to exclude another from that advantage, does it an injury and gives sufficient cause of war.” On this ground our republic declared war against Great Britain in 1812. The right of all mankind to the common use of the seas is sanctioned by
public law, by right reason, and by the golden rule.
OF A CONGRESS OF NATIONS.
As Christianity and civilization are pushed for. ward by the Bible and the Press, the public opinion of nations will become a potent instrument in advancing national ethics and national law. Meetings of the representatives of nations will gradually become common, and enlightened public opinion expressed by them will restrain the hand of violence and enforce the decisions of right reason and conscience. Such congresses as those of Panama, and of the allied sovereigns in Europe, called the Holy Alliance, are of this class, and if rightly directed they might have been, and may yet be, the means of improving international law and national felicity. We hope that Christianity and civilization may yet be advanced by their instrumentality. We trust that the Holy Alliance may return to its fundamental doctrine, that international law must conform to the Gospel, and make it the practical rule of all Christian nations. Then will this famed Alliance be indeed Holy.
OF ETHICAL AXIOMS.
The following propositions are self-evident, and prove themselves as clearly as the mathematical axiom, the whole is greater than a part. These self-proving axioms of the moral law of God and of nations, are these :
Do unto others as you would they should do
Conduct towards all men with courtesy and kindness.
Deal justly and love mercy.
Be patient of injury, though firm and resolute in pursuing peaceful measures to prevent a repetition of the wrong.
Observe good faith in all things, sacredly per: form every treaty and contract.
Grant to all men freedom of worship without any interposition between man and his Maker.
Concede to all men the right of self-government without hindrance or intervention.
Assist others in suffering and calamity, as in cases of shipwreck, pestilence, earthquake, &c.
Live peaceably with all men, and do all things necessary to promote peace.
If forced upon self-defence, which is right and sanctioned by the original law of our nature, do as much injury, and use so much force in such de