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within our prohibition. All like practices are disallowed by reason and sound ethics. The diplomatic character of Metternich as drawn by the English historian Allison, and that of Talleyrand, are disapproved by sound ethical principles.
OF BELLIGERENT RIGHTS.
The right of self-defence is the only well found. ed ground for war, the only basis of belligerent right. If the duties above enjoined were honestly observed, no nation would be injured or assaulted by another, and no occasion for self-defence would arise. But ambition, avarice and the passions of men are fertile sources of aggression even among nations called Christian. According to the exposition of the precepts of the Gospel by John Jay, former Chief Justice of the United States, in his published works, self-defence is allowed by Jesus Christ. The learned Wheaton, in his Elements of International Law, affirms this self-evident doctrine in these words: “Of the absolute international rights of States, one of the most essential and important, and that which lies at the foundation of all the rest, is the right of self-preservation. It is not only a right with respect to other states, but a duty,” &c.
“ This right necessarily involves all other rights which are essential as means to give effect to the
principal end : among these is the right of self-defence."
Lord Ashburton, and Daniel Webster, Secretary of State of the United States, in their negotiation relative to the Caroline, admit this obvious principle.
Horne in his Introduction, (vol. 1st, p. 163) says: “ The Christian religion makes no alteration in the natural rights of mankind, nor does it forbid necessary self-defence, or seeking legal redress of injuries, in cases where it may be expedient to restrain violence and outrage."
President Van Buren, nobly illustrating this doctrine in his annual Message to Congress in Decem. ber, 1837, declared that it has been the settled policy of our republic from the days of Washington to resist force and unjust aggression, but not to seek acquisitions by force. If the persons or property of any individuals of a state are invaded in a foreign country or on the high seas, it becomes the duty of the nation to which they belong to see the wrong righted and justice done. The first step is negotiation and a presentation of the case to the foreign state for redress, and appealing to its sense of justice. The second is to accept of the mediating offices of a third power, a common friend of the differing nations, if offered ; and the third last peaceful remedy is an offer to submit to a third
friendly power the matter in dispute, and to agree to the decision of the umpire. Unless the injury is one affecting the national sovereignty and independence, war ought not to be resorted to, as it could not be called a war of self-defence ; for if my neighbor throw a small apple at me and I throw a large stone back at him, it would not be an act of self-defence. When a nation treats another as Britain did the United States before the war of 1812, searching our ships on the high seas by force, and kidnapping seamen from on board, many of them being native Americans, and many more naturalize ed citizens, compelling our ships trading with France and her allies, to pay tribute to Britain and persisting that she had the right because she had the power to do these acts of atrocity, when a nation thus assaults a peaceful neutral, presenting, as President Madison well said, the singular spectacle of war on the one side and peace on the other, se defence becomes an imperative duty. No submission of such questions can properly be made. In carrying on such defensive war no more injury must be done than full and complete defence requires. For example, we have said that no nation can acquire title by conquest, but for the purpose of self-defence and obtaining the reparation of past wrongs and the prevention of future ones; hence a nation may conquer any part or portion of
any other state in a defensive war, provided it is held as a pledge for payment of damages and reieased upon full satisfaction and proper security given against future injury. Upon this principle, during the last war, the conquest of Canada would have been justifiable, but at the close of the war we should upon sound ethical principles have been obliged to offer to restore the conquered colony to Britain upon her renouncing her unjust pretensions by treaty, paying all damages done to the persons and property of Americans and our expenses of the war. If Britain refused this just reparation the conquered colony might have been justly retained in pledge for a reasonable time; and if Britain still refused, the colonists ought to have been offered their freedom from the mother country, the United States confiscating the crown lands and public property so far as might be necessary to pay the above damages and expenses of the war. If the colonists declined freedom, they might have been governed as free territories of the United States. This is the extent of the right of territorial conquest.
OF CONFISCATION OF DEBTS.
Our rule of self-defence disallows the confiscation of debts due to enemies before the war. The 9th Article of our convention or treaty with France of 1800 so provides, and such an unjust proceeding is not necessary to defence. It also reasserts the liberal principles of the treaty of Utretcht. The 4th Article of our treaty of 1783 with Britain provided properly that neither party should impede the collection of bona fida debts before contracted. The 10th Article of the treaty between Great Britain and the United States of November 1794, commonly called Jay's treaty, declared all debts, shares or money in public funds, or in public or private banks, should never in the event of war be confiscated, “it being," says the Article, “ unjust and impolitic" that such property should be affected by war. By the 28th Article of the treaty the 10th is declared to be a permanent rule. It shows the sense of the contracting parties that the old rule of pirating on private property is condemned by the enlightened spirit of the age. The same principle is equally applicable
. to all private property in all situations at sea and on land. Upon the same principle there is no belligerent right of employing savages or the enemies' slaves or privateers in war, as such acts are