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ment in 1807, that this is an event altogether impossible. The case is brought forward, because it is one, in which the whole civilized world are concerned, and because in certain supposable contingencies it would involve difficulties, which could not be easily settled.
The remarks, which have been made applicable to the Baltic, are in a good degree applicable to the Black or Euxine sea. The commerce of other nations on that sea has been regulated for many years at the option of the Turkish government; being granted or withheld according as the Turks found it for their interest or pleasure.—Undoubtedly it might be said with much plausibility, that in their peculiar situation the Ottoman government are bound to take measures for their own security and preservation, even to the exclusion of all foreign commerce whatever, by the complete shutting of the Dardanelles; but on no other principle could it be justly done, and even this is obviously liable to such perverse and iniquitous applications, as to renderit, as a principle, essentially untenable. Under the influence of an inordinate jealousy, they might pretend the apprehension of danger from all Christian nations, and unjustly regulate their conduct by such false apprehensions.
On this whole subject, the inquiry arises, what ground ought to be taken by the law of nations ? We do not say-What ground is taken; but what ground ought to be taken. We are aware, that we may be reminded here, that the law of nations is built upon custom and precedent. This is true in part, but it is equally true, that this portion of the public code stands amenable to, and is liable at all times to be examined and corrected by that higher department of international law, which is founded upon enlightened reason and conscience. We imagine there is but one ground, which can be safely taken ; but one position, which will secure
the just rights of all, and at the same time make for the peace of all. It is, that all navigable waters of the ocean whatever are the common property and highway of the whole world beyond low water mark ; with the exception, FIRST, of small inlets, bays, roadsteads, and harbors, the jurisdiction of which, on natural and equitable principles, can hardly admit of a dispute ; and second, of those shallow places in the ocean, bordering upon particular countries, which can be conveniently set off and held as property, in much the same way as the land is.
On this plain principle, which is obviously conformable to nature and to common sense, the claims of the British, Venetians, Portuguese, Spaniards, Danes, and Turks, and all other similar pretensions, which it is well known have been a fruitful source of dispute and war, must be set aside at once. At the same time, if a particular country, bordered by a navigable portion of the ocean, incurs expense in rendering such waters more safe and easy of navigation, it would be right, that foreign ships, which avail themselves of these advantages, should pay a part of the expense. If, for instance, frequent buoys and light-houses are found to be necessary, as undoubtedly they are, in the passage of the Cattegat and Elsinore, and can be furnished and kept in order more conveniently by Denmark than any other neighboring power, she ought to be permitted, not on the ground of the exclusive possession of those waters, but on the ground of having incurred expense in rendering them more safe and convenient, to indemnify herself hy exacting a toll from vessels passing through.—But it may be said by way of objection, that, by adopting this doctrine, we greatly expose ourselves to hostile attacks. If this be true, it is a mere incidental and contingent evil, such as all general principles are liable to. And besides, the adoption of the opposite doctrine, viz., that we can
claim and hold certain portions of the ocean, on the ground of their being convenient for us in the case of a threatened attack, would be to proceed upon the false and discarded principle of Hobbes, that, in all political doctrines, men are to be regarded, as in a state of actual hostility with each other; a principle, which is not only false, but labors under the disadvantage, to use no stronger term, of tending to make men as bad, as it describes them to be. The true view, sustained by the soundest philosophy as well as by common sense, is to regard men as naturally friends to each other; separated sometimes, indeed, by misunderstandings and by private interests ; but in the main, strongly inclined to seek each other's society, to sympathize in each other's misfortunes, and to promote each other's good. And if this be true, why should we be reluctant to see their flag floating over the expanse of the ocean, even at our own doors? Why should we let our bosoms glow with an unworthy jealousy, and draw a line of demarcation upon the great highway of the world, which the great Creator, who holds the same relation of preeminence and authority to us as he does to them, never drew, and never meant should be drawn?
OF FISHERIES AND NAVIGABLE RIVERS.
There are other important questions, connected with the great fisheries, such as the pearl, herring, and cod fisheries. England formerly exercised the right of excluding other nations, particularly the Dutch in the 17th century, from the herring fishery, to the distance of ten miles from her shores. A few remarks, however, on the cod fishery of Newfoundland, which in some of its aspects is peculiar and striking, will sufficiently. illustrate this part of our subject. The Great Bank of Newfoundland, the seat of the largest and most valuable codfishery in the world, is 330 miles in length, and 75 in breadth ; the water on it varying its depth from 15 to 60 fathoms. The possession and jurisdiction of this Bank are claimed by England, chiefly on the ground of prior discovery of the island, to which the Bank attaches. And that power has not shown a disposition, except perhaps in the single instance of the United States, to admit a common right in any other nation. If the fishery were exhaustible, and of course apparently destined for the special support and benefit of the inhabitants of the neighboring regions, the exclusive claims of England, to whom the island of Newfoundland belongs, would have the appearance of justice ; and perhaps there would be no disposi
tion to question them. But the simple fact, decisive of this point, is, that millions of this species of fish have been taken on the Great Banks annually during the three past centuries, and yet without any perceptible diminution of their number. The conclusion, therefore, is, that Providence las herein made an offering for the benefit of mankind, which cannot be appropriated to the use of one part to the exclusion of others, without an infringement of those beneficent intentions.-Dr. Paley, in his Moral and Political Philosophy, briefly refers to this subject. He lays down the general principle, that nothing ought to be made exclusive property, which can be conveniently enjoyed in common. After other illustrations, he introduces the instance of a mineral spring, discovered in a piece of ground which is private property.-On the supposition that the spring is copious enough for all the purposes it can be applied to, he would award a suitable compensation to the owner of the field and the discoverer of the spring, but he considers it a matter of doubt, whether any human laws or claims whatever would be justified in prohibiting mankind in general from a use of the water. He then makes the remark, very important and apropos here ; "If there be fisheries which are inexhaustible, as for aught I know, the codfishery upon the Banks of Newfoundland, and the herring fishery in the British seas are ; then all those conventions, by which one or two nations claim to themselves and guarantee to each other, the exclusive enjoyment of those fisheries, are so many encroachments on the
general rights of mankind.”
Such fisheries, therefore, and the locations of them are, in certain respects at least, 'to be reckoned among the general rights of mankind. The jurisdiction in the case of the Great Banks, so far as jurisdiction can exist in consistency with the beneficial claims of other nations,