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English Prize Cases.
the use and advantage of the enemies of the other,” and as this prohibition is connected in the same article with the subject of contraband, it is argued that the carrying of contraband articles in the present cargo is such a lending as comes within the meaning of the treaty; but I can not agree to that interpretation. To let a ship on freight to go to the ports of the enemy can not be termed lending but in a very loose sense, and I apprehend the true meaning to have been that they should not give up the use and management of their ships directly to the enemy, or put them under his absolute power and direction. It is, besides, observable that there is no penalty annexed to this prohibition. I can not think such a service as this is will make the vessel subject to confiscation.
But it is said there is a contraband cargo. That there are some contraband articles can not be denied. Hemp, the produce of Russia, exported by a Danish merchant, would be confiscable even under the relaxation which allows neutrals to export that article only where it is of the growth of their own country; but to a Dane hemp is expressly enumerated among the articles of contraband in the Danish treaty (July 4, 1780); and to say that a Dane might traffic in foreign hemp, whilst he is forbidden to export his own, would be to put a construction on that treaty perfectly nugatory. The hemp must certainly be condemned; but I do not know that under the present practice of the law of nations a contraband cargo can affect the ship.
By the ancient law of Europe such a consequence would have ensued; nor can it be said that such a penalty was unjust or not supported by the general analogies of law, for the owner of the ship has engaged it in an unlawful commerce. But in the modern practice of the Courts of Admiralty of this country, and I believe of other nations also, a milder rule has been adopted; and the carrying of contraband articles is attended only with the loss of freight and expenses, except where the ship belongs to the owner of the contraband cargo, or where the simple misconduct of carrying a contraband cargo has been connected with other malignant and aggravating circumstances. (1 C. Robinson, Admiralty Reports, p. 89.)
In the case of the Jonge T'obais in the following year Lord Stowell set forth the accepted doctrine of the liability of the vessel when vessel and contraband cargo belonged to the same person:
Formerly, according to the old practice, this cargo would have carried with it the condemnation of the ship, but in later times this practice has been relaxed and an alteration has been introduced which allows the ship to go free, but subject to the forfeiture of freight on the part of the neutral owner. This applies only to cases where the owners of the ship and cargo are different persons. Where the owner of the cargo has any interest in the ship the whole of his property will be involved in the same sentence of condemnation; for where a man is concerned in an illegal transaction the whole of his property embarked in that transaction is liable to confiscation. (Ibid., p. 329.)
Lord Stowell regards the old rule of condemnation of the vessel for carriage of contraband as having a logical basis but as relaxed in modern practice. In 1801, in the case of the Neutralitet, he says:
The modern rule of the law of nations is, certainly, that the ship shall not be subject to condemnation for carrying contraband articles. The ancient practice was otherwise, and it can not be denied that it was perfectly defensible on every principle of justice. If to supply the enemy with such articles is a noxious act with respect to the owner of the cargo, the vehicle which is instrumental in effecting that illegal purpose can not be innocent. The policy of modern times has, however, introduced a relaxation on this point, and the general rule now is that the vessel does not become confiscable for that act. (3 ibid., p. 294.)
American decisions. The United States courts have, in general, followed the doctrine of the British courts in regard to the carriage of contraband:
According to the modern law of nations, for there has been 'some relaxation in practice from the strictness of the ancient rules, the carriage of contraband goods to the enemy subjects them, if captured in delicto, to the penalty of confiscation, but the vessel and the remaining cargo, if they do not belong to the owner of the contraband goods, are not subject to the same penalty. The penalty is applied to the latter only when there has been some actual cooperation on their part in a meditated fraud upon the belligerents—by covering up the voyage under false papers and with a false destination. This is the general doctrine when the capture is made in transitu, while the contraband goods are yet on board. (Carrington v. The Merchants Insurance Co., 1834, 8 Peters Supreme Court Reports, p. 495.)
Treaty provisions.--Article XVII of the treaty of 1794 (expired by limitation in 1807) between the United States and Great Britain limited the penalty for carriage of contraband to the delay consequent upon prize procedure:
It is agreed that in all cases where vessels shall be captured or detained on just suspicion of having on board enemy's property, or of carrying to the enemy any of the articles which are contraTreaty Provisions.
band of war, the said vessels shall be brought to the nearest or most convenient port; and if any property of an enemy should be found on board such vessel, that part only which belongs to the enemy shall be made prize, and the vessel shall be at liberty to proceed with the remainder without any impediment. And it is agreed that all proper measures shall be taken to prevent delay in deciding the cases of ships or cargoes so brought in for adjudication, and in the payment or recovery of any indemnification adjudged or agreed to be paid to the masters or owners of such ships. (Treaties and Conventions, 1776–1909, vol. 1, p. 601.)
The United States has a number of treaties containing the clause similar to article 18 of the treaty with Brazil of 1828:
The articles of contraband, before enumerated and classified, which may be found in a vessel bound for an enemy's port, shall be subject to detention and confiscation, leaving free the rest of the cargo and the ship, that the owners may dispose of them as they see proper. No vessel of either of the two nations shall be detained on the high seas, on account of having on board articles of contraband, whenever the master, captain, or supercargo of said vessels will deliver up the articles of contraband to the captor, unless the quantity of such articles be so great and of so large a bulk that they can not be received on board the capturing ship without great inconvenience; but in this and all the other cases of just detention the vessel detained shall be sent to the nearest convenient and safe port, for trial and judgment, according such ships. (Treaties and Conventions, 1776-1909, vol. 1, p. 601.) to law. (Ibid., p. 139.)
(See also article 19 of the treaty with Bolivia of 1858; article 19 of treaty with Colombia of 1846.)
Special regulations. In the nineteenth century there were differences, as in early days, in practice in regard to what would make a vessel liable to condemnation for carriage of contraband. Municipal laws and regulations were not uniform. The French rule that if three-fourths of the cargo is contraband the vessel is contaminated does not seem to have gained recognition. A Prussian law of June, 1864, declares a vessel ladened entirely with contraband is good prize. An Austrian decree of the same year is to similar effect. The Russian regulation published in 1900 provided that,
11. Merchant vessels of neutral nationality are subject to confiscation as prizes in the following cases: (1) When the vessels are caught conveying to the enemy or to an enemy's port; (a) ammunition, as well as objects and accessories for making explosions, independently of their quantity; (6) other objects contraband of war, in quantities exceeding, by volume or weight, half of the entire cargo.
Propositions as to proportion of contraband at International Naval Conference.—The proportion of contraband was made a ground for condemnation in some of the preliminary memoranda submitted in preparation for the International Naval Conference. The propositions show a considerable variation.
Germany: Le navire transportant la contrebande de guerre est sujet à confiscation
1. Si le propriétaire ou celui qui affrété le navire en totalité ou le capitaine ont connu ou da counaitre le présence de la contrebande à bord et que cette contrebande forme, par sa valeur, par son poids ou par son volume, plus d'un quart de la cargaison. (International Naval Conference, British Parliamentary Papers, Miscellaneous, No. 5, 1909, p. 70.)
Entre le système qui autorise la confiscation du navire transportant n'importe quelle quantité de contrebande, et le système qui ne consent une telle mesure que s'il y a eu résistance ou fraude, on pourrait établir cette formule de transaction: si le capitaine ou l'armateur ont connu ou pu connaître la présence de la contrebande à bord, le navire sera responsible au capteur d'une rançon ou compensation équivalente à trois fois la valeur de la contrebande et au quintuple du montant du fret. Si la rançon n'était pas payée, le capteur ne pourra dans aucun cas procéder à des mesures d'exécution que contre le navire et tant que celui-ci restera entre ses mains. (Ibid., p. 71.)
La marchandise neutre de contrebande trouvée à bord d'un navire ennemi est confisquée. Les navires neutres chargés de marchandises de contrebande déstinées à l'ennemi sont arrêtés; les dites marchandises sont saisies et confisquées. Les bâtiments et le surplus de leur cargaison sont relâchés, à moins que les marchandises de contrebande ne composent les trois quarts de la valeur du chargement, au quel cas les navires et la cargaison sont confisqués en entier. (Ibid., p. 71.)
Propositions, Naval Conference, 1908-9.
Les navires ayant de la contrebande de guerre, ainsi que le chargement se trouvant à bord et appartenant au propriétaire du navire, sont sujets à la confiscation dans les cas suivants :
(a) Lorsque des moyens frauduleux sont employés dans le transport des marchandises de contrebande;
(6) Lorsque le transport des marchandises de contrebande est l'objet principal du voyage. (Ibid., p. 72.)
Le navire transportant la contrebande n'est sujet à confiscation que:
1. Si une partie importante de la carga ison constitue de la con. trebande, à moins qu'il n'apparaisse que le capitaine, resp. le fréteur, n'a pu connaître le vrai caractère de la cargaison. (Ibid., p. 72.)
ART. 6. Les navires de commerce de nationalité neutre sont sujets à confiscation lorsqu'ils transportent:
(a) De la contrebande de guerre formant, par son volume, son poids ou sa valeur, plus d'un quart de toute la cargaison;
(6) Des objets de contrebande même en moindre quantité, si leur présence à bord du navire, de par leur nature même, ne pouvait évidemment ne pas être connue au capitaine.
ART. 7. Le navire transportant de la contrebande du guerre en quantité moindre d'un quart de la cargaison est passible d'une amende représentant la quintuple valeur de sa cargaison de contrebande. (Ibid., p. 72.)
The preliminary consideration of these propositions led to the following observations:
L'idée commune moderne est de considérer la confiscation comme une sanction et non comme un bénéfice ou une gratification pour le capteur.
En ce qui concerne soit le navire transportant de la contrebande, soit les marchandises autres que la contrebande, se trouvant a bord du même navire, la confiscation apparaît comme subordonnée soit à l'importance plus ou moins grande de la contrebande par rapport à l'expédition, soit à une complicité réelle ou présumée, sans que l'une ou l'autre de ces considéerations soit à elle seule unanimement consacrée.
The basis of discussion was accordingly formulated in somewhat general terms:
La confiscation du navire transportant de la contrebande ou des marchandises autres que la contrebande se trouvant à bord du