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they conceived to be their fellow-subjects. The practice was essentially irregular, arbitrary, and oppressive, but its most mischievous possibilities were yet to be developed in the conditions resulting from American independence. After Great Britain, in 1793, became involved in the wars growing out of the French Revolution, the nature and extent of those possibilities were soon disclosed. Not only were the native sailors of England and America generally indistinguishable by the obvious test of language, but the crews of American vessels often contained a large proportion of men of British birth, who, even when naturalized in the United States, were, under the doctrine of indelible allegiance then almost universally prevalent, still claimed by Great Britain as her subjects. Native Americans, if mistakenly impressed, ran the risk of being killed in action before an order could be obtained for their release; all others were firmly held to service. Nor was it a slight inconvenience that in this way American crews were sometimes so far depleted as to be unable to navigate their ships. The United States, while freely admitting the belligerent right of search, denied that it might be employed for any but the acknowledged purposes of enforcing blockades, seizing prize goods, and perhaps capturing officers and soldiers in the actual service of the enemy. "The simplest rule," declared Jefferson, when Secretary of State, “will be that the vessel being Amer

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ican shall be evidence that the seamen on board are such.” Efforts were repeatedly made by the United States to adjust the controversy, but in vain. President Madison gave it the chief place in his message of June 1, 1812, recommending war against Great Britain; but in the treaty of peace concluded at Ghent, December 24, 1814, it was not mentioned. Nearly thirty years later, Webster, when Secretary of State, recurring to Jefferson's rule, declared: “In every regularly documented American merchantvessel the crew who navigate it will find their protection in the flag which is over them.” These words were addressed to Lord Ashburton on August 8, 1842. The principle of protection and immunity which they announced was asserted in even broader terms, and was thus impliedly accepted by the British government in 1861. On November 8th in that year the British mail-steamer Trent, while on a voyage from Havana to St. Thomas, was overhauled by the American man-of-war San Jacinto, Captain Wilkes, and was compelled to surrender the Confederate commissioners Messrs. Mason and Slidell, and their secretaries, Messrs. McFarland and Eustis, all of whom were on their way to England. The sole reason given by Earl Russell for demanding their release was that “certain individuals" had “been forcibly taken from on board a British vessel, the ship of a neutral power, while such vessel was pursuing a lawful and innocent voyage-an

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act of violence which was an affront to the British flag and a violation of international law." No wonder that Mr. Seward, in assuring Lord Lyons that the demand would be granted, congratulated himself on defending and maintaining "an old, honored, and cherished American cause."

The controversy as to impressment involved no question as to search on the high seas in time of peace. Such a right had been asserted by Spain and other powers for the purpose of enforcing their colonial restrictions. The United States refused to admit it, and conceded a right of search in time of peace only in respect of pirates, who, as enemies of the human race, were held to be outside the pale of national protection. Beyond this the government refused to go. As the war-right of search had been perverted to the purpose of impressment, so it was apprehended that the peace-right, if any were admitted to exist, might be perverted to the same purpose or to purposes equally odious.

To this position the United States tenaciously adhered, even when strongly solicited to depart from it by the promptings of philanthropy. The movement so energetically led by Great Britain during the first half of the nineteenth century, for the suppression of the African slave - trade, found in all civilized lands strong support in public opinion. To its success, however, the voluntary co-operation of nations was discovered to be indispensable. Soon after the close of the Napoleonic wars, Lord Stowell, the greatest judge that ever sat in the English Court of Admiralty, declared in the case of a French vessel, which had been seized by a British cruiser on a charge of engaging in the slave-trade, that no nation could exercise a right of visitation and search upon the common and unappropriated part of the ocean except from belligerent claim. The vessel was discharged. As if to anticipate such an obstacle, the British government had already entered into treaties with Denmark, Portugal, and Spain, by which a qualified right of search was conceded; and it sought to make the measure universal. So steadfastly was the object pursued that by 1850 the number of such treaties in force between Great Britain and other powers was twenty-four. Among the assenting governments, however, the two most important powers were not found -- the United States and

France. When the proposal was submitted to the United States, the government at once repulsed it. No man condemned the slave-trade more strongly than did John Quincy Adams; on the other hand, no one more profoundly appreciated the fundamental principles of American policy and the importance of maintaining them. In 1818, when Secretary of State, he declared that the admission of the right of search in time of peace, under any circumstances whatever, would meet with universal repugnance in the United States. He steadily resisted in Monroe's cabinet, even in opposition to the yielding inclinations of Calhoun and other members from slave States, any abatement of this position. The subject was, however, taken up in Congress, and by an act of May 15, 1820, the slave-trade was branded as piracy. This act seemed to constitute the first step on the part of the United States towards the assimilation of the traffic, by the consent of the civilized world, to piracy by law of nations, thus bringing it within the operation of the only acknowledged right of search in time of peace; and by a resolution of the House of Representatives, passed on February 28, 1823, by a vote of 131 to 9, the President was requested to open negotiations to that end. Instructions in conformity with this resolution were given to the diplomatic representatives of the United States; and on March 13, 1824, a convention was signed at London which conceded a reciprocal right of search on the coasts of Africa, America, and the West Indies. The Senate of the United States, however, on May 21, 1824, by a vote of 36 to 2, struck out the word “America,” and, the British government declining to accept the amendment, the treaty failed. On December 10, 1824, the Senate rejected a similar convention with Colombia, although it did not apply to the American coasts. Negotiations on the subject were therefore discontinued, and the decision not to concede even a qualified right of search was adhered to.

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