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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?

CHAPTER ELEVENTH.

2

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 has 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,

ought to be lodged in the sovereign of the Island, to which the Bank attaches, on account of proximity and the obvious intentions of nature. But on the supposition of the fisheries being inexhaustible, which Paley makes, and which undoubtedly the facts warranted him in making, this jurisdiction can never be exercised so as to deprive others of their rights. Furthermore, if the country, which would naturally exercise jurisdiction over such portions of the ocean, sees that measures can be taken to render the navigation more easy and safe by erecting lighthouses and by other means, it is their duty to have it done. And it would be right in them to exact from the ships of other nations, who resort to the fisheries, a reasonable share of the expense.

There are important rights and benefits, associated with the use of great navigable rivers, which are occupied, in different places in their progress, by different and distinct sovreignties, such as the Scheldt, Rhine, Danube, and St. Lawrence. A similar remark applies to bays, sounds, and lakes, particularly the great lakes of North America. In all these cases we are to consult the principles of Natural law; we are to consider carefully the intentions of nature; we are to interrogate those marks of design, which the great Author of nature has in various ways disclosed. The author of the MARE CLAUSUM, the great British authority in support of British pretensions, could no doubt give us a learned Treatise on the FLUVIUS CLAUSUS. The learned ingenuity, which could shut the Baltic, Adriatic, and British seas, would of course find no difficulty in closing the navigation of so inconsiderable a body of water as a river. But a collection of authorities, gathered from barbarous ages and barbarous countries, however they may display the learning and ingenuity of their collector, can certainly have but little weight in these latter days, when set in opposition to the

radiant signatures of justice. If there is any principle, which bears the stamp of common reason, or the indelible impress of the great Creator's approbation, it is, that all navigable rivers, through whatever different countries and conflicting jurisdictions they may pass, are the common property, so far as the use of their waters for the purposes of navigation is concerned, of all that occupy their banks. Against this principle, which takes deep root in the heart of the great mass of mankind, prescription and authority will have no weight. They will have no weight, because they do not deserve to have any. It is the voice of nature and of the God of nature, that every such river, like the beams of the sun and the free air of heaven, shall be open and undisturbed to the use of all who inhabit it; not merely so far as they happen to occupy its banks, but onward through its whole length, till it mingles with the great high-way of the ocean.

We will propose an illustration, which will make this topic clear to Americans at least.- -The upper waters and branches of the Mississippi are inhabited by nearly four millions of Americans; we will suppose the mouth of the river to be occupied by the Spaniards, as it was a few years since, who obstinately refuse to the upper inhabitants a deposit for their goods and an egress into the ocean. Would the Americans, cut off from the rest of the world and suffering under a multitude of privations, consider such a proceedure right? Would they need a law-book to teach them, it is wrong? Might they not with propriety reply to the learning even of such an authority as Selden, that there is sometimes a wisdom of the heart, which has a preeminence over that of the head? They could no more believe against the evidence within them, than they could believe, that the sun is clothed in darkness against the testimony of their own eyes, when they behold around them all nature bathed in his beams.

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