declare it. That is to say, it may elect to be annihilated
rather than to be unresistingly despoiled. What state
is likely to do so ? The existence of such a grim alter-
native, will only encourage the invader. It is precisely
because he knows that the only alternative to submission
is to incur a much more serious war than that which he
is waging and styling " peace," that he hopes to get his
way without opposition. It is to put temptation in
his very path, to offer him the bait of peaceably taking
all he wants, on the sure calculation that his opponent
will be only too glad to keep quiet.
There is no limit to the unjust, uncertain, or trivial
demands which might then be enforced. The nation
which would be ashamed or afraid to go to war in
pursuit of them, in the face of the world, will be under
no restraint in helping itself to compensation by a
peaceful little expedition which wall attract little or no
The great securities against aggression are the certain
risks and losses of war, and the odium which attaches
to those who disturb the peace of the world. Once
admit that a state can peaceably invade another, in
confidence that it will prefer submission to war, and
that security dissolves into thin air. There are no
risks : there are no losses : there is no odium or sus-
picion. The only irritation that neutrals will feel will
be against the invaded state, if it plucks up courage
to throw down the gauntlet and inaugurate a regime
of W ar : ā why could it not pay and look pleasant ?
250 TERRITORIALISM [chap, vi
States would be actually encouraged to aggression.
The strong would become stronger and the weak weaker.
At present, an invader knows that it must be war or
nothing. He may well hesitate to invoke that tremendous
issue. If the innovation of " conditional war ' were
admitted, he would inevitably trade on his adversary's
weakness, to gain the spoils of war without its responsi-
bilities. Sometimes he would miscalculate ; and a war
would supervene which never would have been so much
as thought of, if the aggressor had not thus been tempted
on to the slippery slope of peaceful hostilities.
Such deplorable occurrences, therefore, as the infringe-
ments of territorial sovereignty which have been witnessed
on rare occasions in Southern Europe and in Central
America, are on all grounds to be deprecated as intro-
ducing an element of anarchy into international affairs
which outweighs beyond comparison the petty advan-
tages supposed to accrue from them. Nations are
rightly jealous of allowing the shadow of foreign force
on their territory. An exaggerated jealousy of this
kind may be misplaced, as when the offer of Admiral
Sperry's marines was refused by the Governor of Jamaica
at the time of the Kingston earthquake. But in spite
of the feeling aroused by this incident, it was only a
year or two later that the Australian authorities de-
clined to permit the landing of sailors from the U.S.
fleet to attend a ceremonial parade unless they left
their rifles on board. The slightly ridiculous compromise
seems to have been arrived at, that they should bring
their rifles and leave their cartridges. The feeling which
prompts all such care, even to the point of punctiliousness,
is intelligible. Physical force in its highest expression
must be kept rigorously outside the limits of a state,
unless it is its own. No nation, however strong, can
afford to weaken the principle that a state must be free
within its borders. It is always open to the attacks
of combinations. Its very strength invites them. And
chap, vi] TERRITORIAL LEVITY 251
as Dr. Barbosa reminded the last Hague Conference, the
strong nation of to-day is not necessarily the strong
nation of a hundred years hence. Nations grow : and
1 1 icy have memories.
When we see Britain occupying a custom-house in
Nicaragua, and dispossessing the national troops by a
show of force : when we see the United States landing
marines at Colon or Amelia Island : when we see France
coolly laying hands on Mitylene or Chantabun, ā we
are witnesses of flagrant illegality which is in its essence
destructive of the independence of Britain, France and
the States. We see them bartering away principle and
security for the satisfaction of extorting a few thousand
piastres, or salving a few warehouses. The fabric of society
is territorial : if it is once admitted that one state can,
without war, carry out its will by force in the realm of
another, there is an end of all law and order. The national
law is converted from an axiom into an hypothesis.
In 1849, the British Charge d'Affaires (Chatfield) at
Guatemala seized a Honduras island by way of reprisals.
Palmerston " apprehended that such a proceeding was
an allowable means " ā but it went far beyond Mr.
Chatfield's instructions, and his act was disavowed, in
face of the complaints of the United States, to whom the
island had been ceded for an eighteen months' lease.
(The case is noteworthy as a very early instance of
. " cession by lease.") l
Ferrara was occupied by Austria in 1847, 2 but under
treaty powers. Subsequently, in July 1848, Austria
invaded the States of the Church ; 3 and it can hardly
be doubted that the subsequent operations presented
all the essential characteristics of war. They were so
characterized by Antonelli, 4 after good relations had been
restored. Corinto was invaded by Britain in 1895, 5 and
1 40 S.P. 1002. 2 36 S.P. 1245, 1280.
3 41 S.P. 1210. 4 45 S.P. 407.
6 Infra, p. 274.
252 TERRITORIALISM [chap, vi
Mitylene by France in 1900 : ! the occupation was only
for a week or two in each case. The French occupation
of Siamese territory in 1893 was much more prolonged.
All were alike unjustifiable and dangerous, except on
the hypothesis of war.
In 1879 a Chilian ship, the Amazonas, cut out a Peruvian
torpedo-boat, the Alay, in Ecuadorian waters. Protests
were made by Ecuador, but in view of the possibility
that she would not have been able to enforce the
observance of neutrality upon the A lay, an expression
of regret by the Chilian Government was accepted in
In all these cases, there was an open and reckless
violation of territory. There is a proceeding, almost
as reprehensible, which consists in besetting the coasts
of the recalcitrant power, and seizing any of its ships
which put to sea. This is called a " blockade " ; though
it has few features in common with the war-measure
bearing that name : and it approaches very nearly
indeed to a violation of territory. It can hardly avoid
involving an actual violation of territory : for the tempta-
tion is extremely great to enter the territorial waters
and to take the ships that are there, if they will not ven-
ture outside. Sometimes it has been made to resemble
closely an actual warlike blockade, when for particular
reasons it has been inconvenient to admit that war
actually existed. In such cases, not only the ships of
the recalcitrant power, but those of foreigners com-
municating with the ports beset, have been seized. It
is certain, at the present day, that such a proceeding as
this, directed against third parties, can only be justified
by the existence of war : and we may dismiss it from
further consideration ; only observing that it appears
actually to have been resorted to on three occasions only
1 Supra, pp. 237-8. Sec references there given, and Arch. Dipl.
2 82 S.P. 12S9.
chap, vi] PACIFIC BLOCKADE 253
ā the Granadan case of 1837, the Mexican of 1838 and
the Argentine case of 1838-48, though it was threatened
in the Turkish case of 1827, the Formosan of 1884, the
Siamese of 1893.
In the other form ā that of seizing the foreign state's
own vessels ā it is still open to grave objections on the
part of third parties whose subjects may have goods on
board or to whose flags the ships may have been trans-
ferred during the currency of the proceedings. Great
difficulties were occasioned to the British during the
Greek proceedings of 1850 on this ground, and possibly
some just cause of complaint was given to foreigners.
Passing over this objection by third parties, the seizure
is said to be justified against the recalcitrant state on
the ground of " reprisals." Reprisals are an antiquated
and discredited survival of mediaeval licence and unlaw.
A sovereign whose subjects had suffered some unlawful
damage simply helped himself to compensation at the
expense of the aggressor's marine. That was a kind of
rough justice : and it was well recognized that it must
be strictly limited by the amount of the original wrong.
The demand must be a clear and undeniable demand for
a clear and liquidated sum, and the distress levied must
be no more than is necessary to satisfy it.
That is a very different thing from besetting the
coasts of a friendly nation and absolutely cutting off
its home-borne trade unless it agrees to do what is de-
manded of it. Convenient such a course no doubt is.
It avoids the eclat of war, and presents the demandant
to the world in the light of a mild and gentle adver-
sary ā a sheep instead of a wolf. None the less is it
an unheard-of innovation, insolent in assumption and
illegitimate in execution. The sheepskin disguise de-
Such " pacific blockades " have not even the poor
justification of success. We do not say that uniform
success would justify a nation in parading its warships in
254 TERRITORIALISM [chap, vi
sight of a foreign population and openly seizing on their
vessels, in the confident assumption that they are too
weak to resent it. It seems not only to be illegal, but
to carry bad taste beyond the borders of insolence. But
it is not amiss to point out, what is insufficiently recog-
nized, that it does not succeed.
The arguments of those who see a new institution
rising from the waters, which shall enable a state to
get its way at no cost or inconvenience to itself, are
singularly unconvincing. If it can be predicated of
an institution, designed to avoid war, that it has led
to war on ten occasions and attained its object blood-
lessly in two, it will be admitted that it does not com-
mend itself by results. The intolerable confusion into
which it throws neutrals as to whether there is peace
or war between two of their friends, is admitted even
by its apologists. Neutrals are entitled to be assured
that the vitally important line between peace and war
shall not be blurred. It affects them too profoundly.
But the principal reason why " pacific ' blockade is
inadmissible is that it is one-sided. It is absurdly justified
asa" mild measure " by persons who ought to be able
to distinguish between lawful violence and illegal coercion.
If a state goes to war, it accepts all the risks and re-
sponsibilities of war. It incurs the odium of breaking
the peace of the world. Neutrals must not give it
sixpennyworth of powder, nor allow it the free use of
their ports. Its ships may be torpedoed ā its commerce
paralyzed. Its despised enemy may find unexpected allies.
The resistance may be desperate. The conscience of the
world may be stirred to fierce condemnation. All these
things a nation will weigh. They will make it cautious.
Its rulers will remember Marathon, Morgarten, Ban-
nockburn, Hochkirch, Saratoga, Baylcn, Magersfontein.
Constitutional difficulties may lie in their path. Senates,
Law-Courts, Representatives, may have to be consulted
if war is to be faced. All this has the wholesome result,
chap, vi] PACIFIC BLOCKADE 255
that nations think twice and thrice before they enforce
their will on another land. And we are invited to dis-
pense with every one of these checks, and to leave a
nation free to work havoc on the trade of its adversary,
in the name of " mildness."
Permission is graciously granted to the state thus
attacked, to repel the attack by declaring war. But
what weak state is likely to do so ? The offer is a simple
mockery. The alternative presented is to submit to
the blockade or to risk annihilation. The nation is
invited to put up with an insolent demonstration of her
weakness, or else to display a superhuman heroism.
Is it replied that, if pacific blockades are disallowed,
nations will go to war instead ? It is a false assumption :
they will drop their trivial and dubious claims.
War is the expensive litigation of nations. It is
well to introduce less expensive methods. But they
are less than useless if they are absolutely one-sided.
They are then not litigation ; but mere oppression.
They are not a duel, but an assault.
It is surprising, in the face of the complaisant attitude
of jurists, on how few occasions " pacific " blockades
have been instituted, and on how very few they have
been successful. We may certainly rule out those
cases in which fighting has supervened. Not even
the most sophistical rhetorician or Quaker would care
to talk of " peacefully bayonetting " or " pacifically
rupturing the pericardium " of an adversary. Mr.
Balfour showed an accurate intuition when he replied
to Mr. T. Healy, on the latter's inquiring if we were
at war with Venezuela in 1902 ā " Does the hon. and
learned gentleman suppose that without a state of war
you can take the ships of another power and blockade its
ports ? " ā the language of mere good sense and candour.
Mr. Balfour observed further that he thought it was very
likely that the U.S. Government would think there
could be no such thing as a pacific blockade, and
256 TERRITORIALISM [chap, vi
that he personally took the same view. 1 Lord Lans-
downe's support to the same thesis has already been
mentioned. 2 Sir E. Grey said, on 27 May 1909 : " It
is no good talking of peaceful blockade. Blockade is
blockade (Hear, hear). It is the use of force. If you
are to have blockade you must be prepared to go to war.
. . . Do not let the House think that by smooth words
such as by applying the adjective ' peaceful ' to blockade,
you are going to minimize what will be the ultimate
consequences of the step you are taking." 3 Accordingly,
the blockades which were intended to be consistent
with peace, but which involved actual fighting or a state
of war, can find no place in a list of " pacific " events.
They are the Dutch blockade of 1832, which synchro-
nized with the siege of Antwerp : the Mexican blockade
of 1838, which was treated as war by Mexico : 4 the
Argentine blockades of 1829 and 1838, which were
treated as war by the Argentine : 5 the Ecuadorian
blockade of 1858, which was treated as war by Ecuador : c
the Neapolitan blockade of 1861 (Gaeta) : the Siamese
blockade of 27 July 1893, which was actually preceded
by heavy fighting on the 13th and 14th : 7 and the Vene-
zuelan blockade of 1902, of which the British Prime
Minister's opinion is above cited.
Others ran out into measures of violence, and can
only be claimed, in their pacific character, in the aspect
of dismal failures. These are the Turkish blockade of
1827, which ended in Navarino : the Tagus blockade
of 1831, which ended in the seizure of the Portuguese
1 Han sard (4th Ser.), 1490,1491. 2 Supra, p. 241.
3 Times, 28 May 1909 (3 c). * Supra, p. 105.
6 And in the course of which, France captured an Argentine
island. See 26 S.P. 961, 1024. Cf. pp. 96, 107, supra.
B See the Treaty of Peace, 50 S.P. 1086, by Art. 11 of which
Peru agrees to makenoclaim " for the expenses of the campaign."
(Signed 25 Jan. i860.)
Ā» 87 S.P. 303.
chap, vi] " PACIFIC BLOCKADE \ ANALYSIS 257
fleet as prize of war after mutual shots had been ex-
changed : the Uruguayan blockade of 1864, which
led to the attack and capture by Brazil of Paysandu :
the Formosan blockade of 1884, which led to the capture
of the Tien-tsin forts by France after a sanguinary
engagement : and the Cretan proceedings of 1897 (these
indeed can hardly be called a blockade in any intelligible
sense) which formed the lever de rideau for the Greco-
Turkish war. The Tagus case was the subject of long
debates in the British Parliament. 1 It appears that on
2 July 1 83 1, the Fort of Cascaes 2 had an engagement
with the French fleet, and Lord Granville was informed
by Count Sebastiani that the French lost in the attack
on Lisbon 3 killed and 11 wounded, being fired upon
for ten minutes before replying. 3
Others again are mere limited reprisals, which always
have been, and still are, lawful. They are seizures of
floating property made to a limited amount for a liqui-
dated and indisputable claim ā " unc dette claire et liquide,"
Vattel says. It was no blockade, but an exercise of the
right of reprisals, when Britain seized five Brazilian
ships in 1862. Even these limited reprisals were termed
" a violation of territorial sovereignty " by Brazil, 4 the
prizes having been made and kept in territorial waters.
On that ground, diplomatic relations with Britain were
broken off. 5
Others failed to attain their object. Thus the Argentine
blockade of 1838 by France (if its pacific character be
admitted) resulted in the recognition of Rosas : and
that of 1845 by France and England ended in those
countries agreeing to salute the Argentine flag. In the
Granadan case of 1837, the prisoner had been liberated
1 See Hansard (3rd Scr.), V. 275, 398 ; VI. 99, 1103, 11 10. Cf.
Alherlcy-Jones, Commerce in War, 107-109.
2 18 S.P. 388.
3 lb. 409.
4 54 S.P. 799, Abrantes to Moreira, 8 Jan. 1863. B lb. 841.
258 TERRITORIALISM [chap, vi
17 days before the reprisals commenced : and they were
abandoned as soon as the fact became known.
Two, though not involving any formal assertion of
belligerency, are officially admitted to have amounted to
war. The Argentine blockade just referred to drew the
following remark from Palmerston ā " The real truth,
though we had better keep it to ourselves as much as
possible, is, that we have been at war with Rosas all
along." 1 As to the Greek measures of 1850, they are
styled " hostilities " in the semi-official Letters of Queen
Victoria (II. p. 277, note), edited by Viscount Esher.
They proved the occasion of the final loss by Palmerston
of Her Majesty's confidence, and they caused the French
and Russian Ministers to leave London.
Others were soi-disant blockades of a coast by the
authority of the territorial power. Needless to say, a
power cannot blockade ports in its own peaceable pos-
session, nor can it authorize other powers to do so.
Blockade is a war right. Operations of this kind, which,
whatever else they were, were certainly not blockades at
all, were carried on by Spain in the Sulu Islands in 1873/
by Germany and Britain in East Africa in 1889, and
by the Six Powers in Crete in 1893.
The East African case of 1889 above mentioned pre-
sented some features worthy of opera bouffe. The Sultan
of Zanzibar, by whose authority they were supposed to
be instituted, violently protested against the whole
proceedings and appealed to the divine clemency to
judge between him and the Anglo-German blockading
fleet. A good deal of the " blockaded " territory was
in the peaceable possession of the blockaders : and
the " blockade ' was limited to certain articles ā viz.
slaves and munitions of war. Any one of these curious
features was of course sufficient to invalidate the measure
1 Sec his Life by Dulling, III. 327. He added that, without
war one cannot even stop one's adversary's own ships.
2 IS S.P. 932, 954-
chap, vi] PACIFIC BLOCKADE 259
utterly and completely as a blockade : and in fact,
France had to be invited graciously to allow her dhows
to be searched by the soi-disant blockaders. When,
indeed, the German Admiral began stopping provisions,
he justified it as " a war measure," and quite " indepen-
dent of the blockade " : showing thereby that he con-
sidered the latter to be no blockade at all.
There remains a pitiful harvest of one or two " block-
ades " where no violent hostilities followed, and where
substantial redress was obtained. These were the Greek
blockades of 1886 and (perhaps) of 1850. The benefits
accruing from the former, indeed, are not very obvious.
It staved off war, for the moment, but it embittered Greek
feeling, and did not prevent the final catastrophe of 1897.
The other proceeding, Palmerston pathetically protested
again and again, was " not a blockade " : there is no
doubt he was right, and equally little doubt that his
proceedings were wrong. The government was censured
for them in the House of Lords, and only saved by its
party majority in the House of Commons.
Pacific Blockade has not even the merit of modernity.
It is early Victorian, and particularly characteristic of
the age of Louis Philippe. From the Argentine case
of 1845 to the Formosan one of 1884, there is not a
single instance of its operation. 1 It has had an attraction
for recent writers, such as Hall : but contemporaneous
writers condemned it cordially. " Their minds were
fixed on its earlier form," 2 observes Hall in a mood
of reminiscent clairvoyance. But Hautefeuille, who
invented the name of " pacific blockade," puts it carefully
on record that as between the attacking and attacked power
ā " je ne puis concilier l'idee de paix et d'amitie avec
celle de blocus " ; s and he has nothing but condemnation
1 Except the negligible cases of Ecuador, Uruguay and Gaeta.
2 i.e. affecting neutral vessels. See the opinions collected, Law
Magazine and Review (1896), 285.
3 Droits des N.N., III. 179.
260 TERRITORIALISM [chap, vi
for the blockade of 1827, although " il n'eut aucun effet
sur les peuples neutres." ! Nor, writing at the time of
the American Civil War, did he see any cause to modify
his view even though the more recent practice of 1850
was fresh in mind.
Cauchy is still occasionally cited as a supporter of
pacific blockades, on the strength of an innocent ap-
proval of blockade as a self-sufficient war measure.
Probably this is not the last time when a denial that
he considered blockades possible in peace-time will be
We have seen that the ships of third powers cannot
be affected by such proceedings. Liibeck protested against
the notion that her ships could be seized, in 1838. 2 But
it is not only from the point of view of third parties
that such a step is improper. As a forcible interference
with her commerce, cutting her off from all commercial
intercourse with the rest of the world, it would be an
injury to the state attacked, greater and yet more un-
lawful than the flagrant injury of seizing her own ships.
That a blockade cannot affect neutrals in the absence
of war, British statesmen have laid down again and
again. Thus Lord Russell in 1864 3 informed the
Minister at Rio that ā " it was competent to the Brazilian
Government, in order to obtain justice for wrong inflicted
upon its subjects, to have recourse to reprisals against
the Republic of Uruguay ; but it was not competent
to the Brazilian Government to stop, visit, or take any
cargo whatever out of, neutral vessels, as a subsidiary
means of accomplishing that end. This right of inter-
fering with the commerce of the neutral is incident, and
incident only, to a state of war. ... It was of course
competent also for the Brazilian Government, in declaring
war, to announce a blockade also in due form in the
1 Histoire, p. 338.
2 See Annuaire de Vlnst. (1887), 292
3 66 S.P. 1208, Russell to Lettsom, 24 Dec.
chap, vi] " PACIFIC " BLOCKADE 261
exercise of belligerent rights. You will ascertain and
report to me by the first opportunity whether Brazilian
sea and land forces are exercising a right of reprisals
without war, or are acting under orders to make war ;
and if making war, whether with or without a blockade ;
and if with a blockade, within what limits."
So Granville, in 1884, ' ā " The contention of the French
Government, that a ' pacific blockade ' confers on the
blockading power the right to capture and condemn the
ships of third nations for breach of such a blockade is
opposed to the opinions of the most eminent statesmen
and jurists of France, and to the decision of its tribunals,
and it is in conflict with well-established principles of
International Law. H.M. Government consider that the
hostilities which have taken place, followed by a formal
notice of blockade, constitute a state of war between
France and China."
On the occasion of the 1850 " blockade " ā a singular
idea, that the Piraeus should be blockaded, when the
commerce of all nations was constantly arriving and
departing there ! ā Brunnow wrote to Palmerston ā :
" J'ai juge necessaire de demander a votre Excellence
l'explication d'un fait dont il m'etait impossible de