« PreviousContinue »
proceeds of the sale will be placed on secure deposit, according to the judgment of the Judge or Court, to be handed over to its lawful owners.
This applies, in a roundabout way, the sweet simplicity of a suit in rem in the Admiralty Court in England, which is available in all cases of salvage, and which, if no one intervenes to protect his interest, results in a sale of the property and a payment out of the salvage award.
F. W. RAIKES.
V.-CURRENT NOTES ON INTERNATIONAL
Public International Law.
The Behring Sea Question. THE very serious illness of Mr. Secretary Blaine, greatly
as we must regret it in itself, has undoubtedly served to facilitate the solution of the Behring Sea dispute. At the beginning of May, Mr. Blaine, in a long letter* to Sir Julian Pauncefote, replied to Lord Salisbury's communication of February last. He agreed to arbitration, provided that the matters to be referred to the arbitrators be couched in the form of the six questions set forth by him. As several of these are more or less irrelevant to the real point at issue, and one at least is quite frivolous, further negotiations will probably be necessary in order to arrive at a satisfactory basis of arbitration. Mr. Blaine's argument in the same letter, derived from a supposed analogy between the U.S. Behring Sea Order and the Herring Fishery (Scotland) Act of 1889, can hardly be taken seriously. It would seem, however, that President Harrison and his Secretary of State are not
* Times, 8th May, 1891.
absolutely at one in the desire to prolong the dangerous state of friction between the two countries. At all events, during Mr. Blaine's illness, on the 15th June last, an agreement for a modus vivendi was entered into between Great Britain and the United States upon the terms of a close season for seals being established in Alaskan waters, until May, 1892.*
During the breathing space thus afforded, it is hoped that some definite agreement for arbitration will be speedily arrived at. It is satisfactory to know that two British Commissioners, Sir George Baden Powell and Dr. Dawson, have been despatched to the Prybilof Islands to consider on the spot the best means of checking the threatened extermination of the seals in Alaskan waters.
Meanwhile, the Judicial proceedings in the W.P. Sayward case are progressing, though slowly. The arguments of counsel for and against the writ of prohibition have been delivered.t The two main questions propounded by Mr. Choate well epitomise the whole British view of the matter. Owing to the desire of the Supreme Court to have a full Bench, and the unfortunate indisposition of Mr. Justice Bradley, the final hearing of the case has been postponed till gth October.
We may mention that there is an admirable article in the Revue de Droit International (Brussels), No. 3, 1891, on La Question d'Alaska, by Dr. Geffcken.
The Civil War in Chili.
The melancholy interest in the deadly Chilian contest has not been confined to members of the Stock Exchange and connoisseurs in torpedoes and armour plates. The war has produced several incidents of importance in International Law. In the first place, the Orders of
* Times, 16th June, 1891.
† Times, 25th and 27th April, 1891.
President Balmaceda closing to foreign Commerce such ports as Iquique and Pisagua are of doubtful validity, and may at any moment cause trouble. *
Then, the Itata affair, which recalled to the U.S. Government unpleasant memories of the Alabama claims, promised at first to be somewhat exciting. The Itata appears to have been a vessel in the service of the Congressionalist Party or "insurgents," and to have put in to the Californian port of San Diego, about the end of April, with the intention of shipping arms, coal, and provisions. While the U.S. Executive was doubtless considering how to apply to the case its own hazy doctrine of “due diligence,” the delinquent vessel slipped out of port, shipped arms and ammunition outside the harbour from a U.S. schooner, the Robert and Minnie, and having already taken on board 600 tons of coal, was speeding southwards before the U.S. authorities had quite made up their minds what to do.t
In spite of Mr. Blaine's grave doubts as to the legal position, the U.S. Government appears to have sent the Charleston in pursuit, with orders to capture the fugitive “at all hazards.” I In doing this it seems to have relied on the rather questionable proposition laid down by its Solicitor-General in the W. P. Sayward case that "the seizure of a ship on the high seas after it has committed an illegal act within our territory is justifiable."$ At the same time, a Chilian senator, Sr. Ricardo Trumbull, was arrested as having aided and abetted the Itata's “ breach of neutrality.” The Robert and Minnie was also seized, but subsequently released.|| The chase of the Itata proved to be a stern chase, but when she reached Iquique Harbour, she (together with 5,000 rifles still on board) was voluntarily
* Times, 21st April and 5th June.
+ Times, 7th May, 11th May.
handed over by the Provisional Junta to the U.S. cruisers, and by them somewhat ignominiously conducted back to San Diego.
Her ultimate fate has yet to be decided, and International Jurists, our own in particular, will watch the further development of the case with interest. The French Government at the end of May ordered the sequestration of three ships which were being built for President Balmaceda, one at Havre and two at Toulon,* but very recently they were allowed to leave. One of them, the Presidente Pinto, ran aground before she had left Toulon Harbour; another, the Presidente Errazuriz, manned with a motley crew of various nationalities, visited Penzance, and then put in at Lisbon, and after causing great trouble to the Portuguese Authorities, started for Chili. During the
progress of the Chilian Civil War there have been several cases of entry into neutral territory (with or without permission) by the combatants. Thus the Argentine Republic allowed 2,000 soldiers to cross its frontier, upon the condition of their previously submitting to be disarmed.† Peru, on one occasion, also gave a similar permission to a portion of the retreating garrison of Tacua and Arica upon a like condition, and it subsequently prevented the troops from. re-crossing the frontier. I More recently still, Col. Cadmus's division forcibly entered and crossed Argentine territory in order to join the southern army corps.Ş On another occasion the Bolivian authorities had to imprison the officers of some fugitive Presidential troops for punishing their men with the lash in Bolivian territory.ll
As regards the recognition of the Congressionalists as belligerents by foreign powers, this does not appear to have
I Ibid., 17th April.
* Times, 1st June. § Ibid., 21st April.
+ Ibid., 13th April.
yet generally taken place, notwithstanding a special application to the French Government,* and a Circular Note sent more recently to all the European Governments by the Provisional Junta.f Bolivia seems to be the only State which has accorded formal recognition, which it did on the 27th May. I
An application on the 3rd July last to the Chancery Division for an order to restrain Messrs. Rothschilds and Baring Brothers from parting with certain funds belonging to the “Republic of Chili,” succumbed to the preliminary objection that there was no Sovereign power in the “Republic of Chili” at present recognised by our Government.
A claim for compensation seems likely to arise in the case of an English ship, the Gulf of Trinidad, sunk in Caldera Harbour by a stray torpedo,ll and possibly out of the illtreatment of two English Consular officials; T but otherwise the rights of neutrals have been tolerably well observed.
If all reports are true, the humanitarian principles enunciated by the Brussels Conference seem to have been violated by both combatants, but especially by the Balmaceda Party. The extraordinary Dictatorial powers given to President Balmaceda by his Congress read like a chapter in the later history of the Roman Republic,** and would certainly tend to alienate European sympathy from what already appears to be the losing side. It is perhaps too late even to hope that the attempts at arbitration made by
* Times, 4th May. + Ibid., 11th June. I Ibid., ist June.
§ See Times, 4th July. The report of the case is not very full, and it is difficult to apprehend exactly the nature of the objection taken. Undoubtedly we do recognise a Republic of Chili, for we receive an accredited representative of the Republic. The real difficulty is as to who constitutes the Sovereign power now. As Kekewich, J., said, there are two "contending parties.” || Ibid., 4th June.
Ibid., 3rd July. ** Ibid., 19th June.