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The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History - 02539 (Page 9)

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The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History - 02539
GLC02539
We conceive it certain that vessels bound to New Orleans & laden with cargoes proper
for the ordinary use of the citizens of the United States who inhabit the Mississippi & its waters,
cannot, meerly on account of the port to which they are bound, be justly said to carry those
cargoes to an enemy.
By the treaty with Spain, New Orleans is made for the present, a place of deposit for the
merchandizes & effects of our citizens. Merchandizes designd for the consumption of those
citizens who reside on the Mississippi or its waters, & which is to be transported up that river,
will, in the present state of its commerce, be, almost universally, shipd for New Orleans. This
port being by stipulation, & of necessity, common to the subjects of Spain, & to the citizens of
the Uni[19]ted States, the destruction of the cargo can be no evidence of its being designd for an
enemy, &, therefore liable to confiscation when composd of articles that might be used in war. In
justice other testimony to this point ought always to be receivd.
But the destination to New Orleans ought rather to exempt from confiscation articles of
ordinary use but which may also serve to the equipment of vessels. It is well known not to be a
port usually resorted to for that object. The Spaniards do not there build or equip vessels, nor has
it ever been a depot for naval stores. When then a vessel bound for New Orleans, containing a
cargo proper for the ordinary use of those citizens of the United States who are supplied through
that port, & evidence that it is designd for them, shall be captured, such cargo is not a just object
of confiscation" altho a part of it shoud also be deemed proper for "the equipment of vessels,"
because it is not "attempted to be carried to an enemy."
2.
dly
The right to confiscate vessels bound to a blockaded port has been unreasonably extended to
cases not coming within the rule as heretofore adopted.
On principle it might well be questioned, whether this rule can be applied to a place, not
completely [20] inverted by land as well as by sea. If we examine the reasoning on which is
founded the right to intercept & confiscate supplies designd for a blockaded town, it will be
difficult to resist the conviction that its extension to towns inverted by sea only, is an
unjustifiable encroachment on the sights of neutrals. But it is not of this departure from
principle,-a departure which has receivd some sanction from practice,- that we mean to
complain. It is that ports not effectually blockaded by a force capable of completely inverting
them, have yet been declared in a state of blockade, & vessels attempting to enter them have
been seized, &, on that account, confiscated.

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