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TO

NAVAL OFFICERS

AS TO THE LAW

OF

SEARCH, CAPTURE AND PRIZE

UNDER

THE LATE CONVENTION, ORDERS IN COUNCIL,

PRIZE ACT, &c.

BY

RICHARD WILDMAN, ESQ.,

RECORDER OF NOTTINGHAM, &c., AUTHOR OF “INSTITUTES OF INTERNATIONAL LAW.”

LONDON:
W. G. BENNING & Co., LAW BOOKSELLERS,

43, FLEET STREET.

LONDON : RAYNER AND HODOBS, PRINTERS,

109, Fetter Lane, Fleet Street.

LAW OF SEARCH, CAPTURE, AND PRIZE.

CHAPTER I.

EXEMPTIONS UNDER ORDERS IN COUNCIL,

First as to Russian merchant vessels sailing from any port of Great Britain or the British possessions.

By an order in council bearing date the 29th day of March, 1854, it is provided, that Russian merchant vessels in any ports or places within her Majesty's dominions, shall be allowed until the tenth day of May, 1854, for loading their cargoes and departing from such ports or places, and that such vessels if met at sea by any of her Majesty's ships, shall be permitted to continue their voyage, if on examination of their papers it shall appear, that their cargoes were taken on board before the expiration of the above term : provided, that nothing herein contained shall extend or be taken to extend to Russian vessels having on board any officer in the military or naval service of the enemy, or any article prohibited or contraband of war, or any despatch of or to the Russian government. By another order bearing date the 7th day of April, 1854, the same exemption from capture, subject to the same exceptions, is extended to Russian merchant vessels being at the date of publication of the last mentioned order in any ports or places in her Majesty's East Indian territories under the Government of the East India Company, or within any of her Majesty's foreign or colonial possessions, if on examination of their papers it shall appear that their cargoes were taken on board

before the expiration of thirty days from the time of the publication of this order in such Indian territories or foreign or colonial possessions.

Secondly as to Russian merchant vessels sailing from foreign ports.

By orders in council bearing date the 29th day of March and the 7th day of April, 1854, it is provided that any Russian merchant vessel which, prior to the 29th day of March 1854, shall have sailed from any foreign port bound for any port or place in her Majesty's dominions or in any of her Majesty's Indian territories or foreign or colonial possessions shall be permitted to enter such port or place and to discharge her cargo and afterwards forthwith to depart without molestation: and that any such vessel, if met at sea by any of her Majesty's ships, shall be permitted to continue her voyage to any port not blockaded.

By another order in council bearing date the 15th day of April, 1854, this indulgence is extended in respect of vessels sailing from the Baltic or White Sea, and it is provided that any Russian merchant vessel, which prior to the fifteenth day of May, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-four shall have sailed from any port of Russia situated either in or upon the shores of the Baltic Sea or of the White Sea bound for any port or place in her Majesty's dominions, shall be permitted to enter such last mentioned port or place and to discharge her cargo and afterwards forthwith to depart without molestation: and that any such vessel, if met at sea by any of her Majesty's ships, shall be permitted to continue her voyage to any port not blockaded.

These orders being in the nature of a general licence to all merchant vessels of the enemy falling within their terms are to be construed upon the same principles of construction as licences. They are consequently not to be extended beyond the plain intention of the grantor. The plain intention of

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the orders is to relieve enemy's merchant vessels falling within their terms from liability to capture arising from their national character. They are placed upon the same footing, but upon no better footing, than neutral vessels: and they would be liable to capture under the same circumstances, that would render neutral vessels liable. Thus any such vessel attempting a breach of blockade would be liable to capture notwithstanding the order. In addition to this the terms imposed by the order must be strictly complied with.

Russian merchant vessels having sailed from any port other than those of the Baltic or White Sea are not protected, unless they have sailed before the 29th March, 1854. Such vessels sailing from the Baltic or White Sea are not protected unless they have sailed before the 15th May, 1854. They are not protected in any breach of blockade; nor if they have on board contraband or enemy's despatches or naval or military officers of the enemy: nor are they protected unless at the time of sailing they were bound to some port in her Majesty's territories or possessions: nor even in sailing to any such port not being the port of their destination: nor are they protected on their return voyage unless in ballast, for the licence implied in the order does not extend to a return cargo ; to protect such a cargo there must be a special licence.

Thirdly, as to neutral or friendly vessels.

By an order in council bearing date the 15th day of April, 1854, after reciting that her Majesty is willing, for the present, to waive a part of the belligerent rights appertaining to her by the law of nations; it is provided that all vessels under a neutral or friendly flag, being neutral or friendly property, shall be permitted to import into any port or place in her Majesty's dominions all goods and merchandize whatsoever, to whomsoever the same may belong; and to export to any port or place in her Majesty's dominions to any port not blockaded any cargo or goods, not being contraband of war, or not requiring

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