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his allies. The blockade was finally raised in April, 1874.^

Sulu (said to be Spanish and in insurrection) was blockaded by
the Spanish in 1873. Unlike many of these blockades of semi-
civilized districts, the Sulu blockade gave rise to several captures,
and an interesting correspondence with the British and German
Governments ensued.® The first measures of exclusion were
represented as an exclusion of foreign trade, in practice limited
to the exclusion of firearms, etc. cut on 15 August, 1873, a
German ship, the ** Marie Louise," was captured in Sulu waters,
and declared good prize for {tnUr a/ia) hreaich of a blockade,
which was asserted to have commenced de facto on 2 August, it

» State Papcra, LXVI, p. 939^ « Ittd^ LXVII, p. jaa

» IHd^ pw 601. * /tor.. Vol LXVI, p. 1033.

* Ibid., p. 1034. • Ibid,, VoL LXXI, pp. 228, 229.

^ Ibid., VoL LXV, p. vt^etsmi. « Ibid^ VoL LXXIlf, p. 932, et seq.

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not being thought worth while at the time to notify it^ How a
blockade could exist which it was not worth while to notify, on
the ground that it never occurred to the authorities that any ships
were likely to come, is inexplicable. The Spanish Foreign
Minister left this question unanswered, and refused to defend
the seizure on this ground

Nor did he regard the individual notification to the ship as
sufficient to affect it with notice of a blockade. He therefore
relied on the ground of contraband: and treated the use of
British colours by the German ship as fraud, which justified con-
demnation of the latter as prize of war. Lastly, he justified the
capture as valid by municipal navigation laws, and effected in
territorial waters.*

In November, a notification of blockade was published by the
Spanish Vice-Consul at Singapore, through the official "Gazette";
this was objected to by Germany as insufficient,' but in March,
1875, we find Sir Hugh Low writing from Labuan that "the
blockade is being intensified in vigour."* H.M.S. "Frolic" was
accordingly excluded from Sulu.^ But in the early part of the
same year there seemed some likelihood of an acceptance of
the Spanish terms by Sulu : and the blockade was raised quoad
Spanish ships, which on the principles of the " Franciska,"^ was
sufficient to invalidate it altogether.

Lord Derby, in a despatch to Lord Odo Russell, took occasion
to assert that the Spanish Government was not in a position to
proclaim a blockade in Sulu so long as she claimed sovereignty
over that archipelago.

'' Blockade/' he said, ^* is a belligerent right, and can only be exercised
against a State with which the blockading Power is at war. A Power
may prohibit foreign trade with its own ports ; but such prohibition does
not carry with it the same rights of interference with foreign vessels as are
conferred by a t&pAzx\y constituted blockade."— ^17 January, 1876.)

This is true : but it overlooks the fact that Spain and Sulu were
de facto belligerents, and it was extraordinary that Lord Derby
should have been advised to put forward such a contention as
that a nation cannot blockade its own ports, when twelve years
previously the United States had blockaded Charleston, Balti-
more, and New Orleans.

On 31 January, 1874, the Spanish Republic declared a blockade
of the north coast of Spain against the Carlists (excepting Gijon,

1 State Papers, Vol. LXXIII, p. 94a

* Ibid^ Mr. Carvahal to Baron von Canits, 22 December, 1873.
' Ibid,^ Count Munster to Earl Granville, 13 Februaiy, 1874.

* /feV/., p. 957. * IHd^ p. 958.

* Northcote v. Douglas, 10 Moa, P.CC. 37.

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Santander and S. Sebastian) as from 20 February. It was, how*
ever, never put in force^

The Dahomey coast within certain limits was blockaded by the
British Government (by Commodore's declaration) on 3 July,
1876. A previous blockade had been instituted by the Commo-
dore, but postponed by the Government*

A notification dated 28 June, 1877, was subsequently published
in the " London Gazette," to the effect that the Admiralty had
transmitted to the Foreign Office information received from the
senior officer on the station that the blockade had been raised
from 12 May, 1877.*

The Turkish blockade of the Black Sea in 1877 was notified by
the Ambassador at Constantinople to the British Government on
4 May. A delay of three days for entrance and five for clear*
ance was allowed (subsequently extended).* The armistice of
1878 involved the raising of the blockade, which was officially
notified on 4 February.*

In October, 1879, Porto Plata and Monte Christi (in insurrec-
tion) were blockaded by San Domingo, lengthy indulgences being

At the outset of the Chili- Peruvian war of 1879 the Chilians
blockaded Iquique,^ and the fact was notified to Foreign Ministers.
The blockade was raised on 5 August^ Arica was blockaded
(with due notification) on 6 December,^ Callao on 10 April,

In the last case the Chilian naval authorities alone gave the
notification, communicating with the consular doyen at Callao;
and short notice to leave was given (ten days). Ilo and
MoUendo were blockaded in a similar manner in the same

The years 1883 and 1884 saw several minor blockades, and one
(Formosa) of noticeable importance.

J^^ie and Jacmel (in Hayti) were blockaded by presidential
decree on 5 June and 24 July. A blockade of Mirago4ne, in the
same island, had been announced to the British Consul on 3 May,^'
and on 14 December through the same channel it was notified
that the blockade of Jacmel had become effective through the
arrival of the corvette " Dessalines.'* This double declaration of
blockade and effective blockade suggests possible complications
which might be worth consideration. As a matter of fact, Jacmel

1 State Papers, LXV, p. 642 «/ sea. > Ibid,, LXVII, p. 53a

« IbiiL, LXVII I, p. 82. * IbiiL, p. 922.

» IbiiL, VoL LXIX, p. 626. • JM., VoL LXX, p. iSi.

' Ibid^ p. 1 195. * Ibid,<i p. 1 195.

• IHd,, Vol. LXXI, p. 128. i« Ibid., p. 374.

" Ibid^ p. 763. " Ibid^ VoL LXXIV, pp. 762, 763.

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was taken very shortly afterwards,^ and Mirago&ne early in 18S4.'
when the insurrection ended.

The capture of the shipwrecked crew (British^ Dutch» and
other) of the " Nisero'' by an Achin rija (the Rdja of Tenom) was
the occasion of a blockade of his territories by ue Dutch/ after a
fruitless and devastating land expedition.^ The actual motive of
the Raja's action was to put pressure on the Dutch in order to
remove restrictions on his trade.^

Earl Granville observed that the blockade would constitute

"an act of war . . . giving other Powers the right to recognize the
Achinese as belligerents. To this it was replied," he says, "that the pro-
posed blockade was not intended as a blockade jure gentium^ but as a
munidpal act under which the ports would be closed to trade. I pointed
out that the closing of ports to foreign trade as a municipal act could
only apply to ports in the possession of the Netherlands Government, but
that as regards those ports which were in the possession and under the
control of the hostile Achinese, the access of neutral vessels thereto could
only be lawfully interdicted by an effective h\oc\idLdQ jure gentium.**^

In 1884, France blockaded certain ports in Madagascar, by no
further formality than the declarations of the Admiral (Micot) to
the diplomatic body in the island/ She also blockaded the north
and west coasts of Formosa. In this case a declaration by the
Admiral appeared in the ** Journal Officiel," and a copy was sent
by the French Foreign Office to the British Ambassador. At the
same time the blocl^de was notified to Lord Granville by the
French Ambassador in London. The Admirars declaration ran
thus : —

" Nous, eta, d^clarons qu'i partir du 23 Octobre, 1884, tous les ports et
radea de Ttle Formose compris entre le Cap Sud ou Cap Nansha et la Baie
Soo-an, en passant par Touest et le nord (ces points plac6s, le premier par
21* 55' lat. N. et I iS"* 30' long. E. de Paris ; le second par 24* 30^ lat N. et
1 19* 33' long. E. de Paris), seront tenus en ^tat de blocus effectif par les
forces havales plac6es sous notre commandement, et que les b&timents
amis auront un delai de 3 jonrs pour achever leur chargement et quitter les
lieux bloqu^s. II sera proc6d6 contre tout bitiment qui tenterait de violer
le dit blocus conform6ment aux lois internationales et aux traitds en
vigueur. A bord du cuirass^ fran^ais ; ' Bayard,' le 20 Octobrc, 1884."

On the institution of the blockade of Formosa, Lord Granville
wrote to the French Ambassador that H.B.M/s Government
were limiting their action to the observance of the Foreign Enlist-
ment Act. If the French proposed simply to interdict the access

1 State Papers, Vol. LXXV, p. 492. * Ihid^ p. 493.

« Ibid,, pp. 493, U35, 1144, "5if "54i et passim.

* Ibid,, p. 1124. , ^ Ibid., Pb II33.

• Ibid^ p. I I4S. ^ I^d, pp. 493» 495,

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to Formosa of neutral ships by force, he was prepared to let
matters remain on that footing. But if they were to be seized
and captured, further steps would have to be taken ^ such as the
issue of a proclamation of neutrality would entail.^ This sugges-
tion M. Waddington failed to appreciate. He declared* that
Britain and France were accustomed to establish blockades in
time of peace, and that the sanction of their courts (" juridictions
sp^ales ") had been given to such a proceeding. Earl Granville
reiterated his view that France and China were at war, and put
the Foreign Enlistment Act in active execution. The blockade
was thus legitimated, and affords another instance of the tendency
of '^ pacific ' blockades to furnish an avenue to war.

Tne French blockade of Madagascar gave rise to one or two
points of interest. The British vessel "Or^noque" was given
notice to leave one of the blockaded ports within five hours ; this
was protested against by Lord Granville, who stated that the
more recent custom was to allow fifteen days for egress.*

The Egyptian coast of the Red Sea, within certain limits, was
blockaded in the autumn of 1885.^

A blockade of Carthagena, in Colombia, was established in
February, 1885. I^ possesses this feature of interest for the
student of federal constitutions, that it was established by the
State of Bolivar over an insurgent port within its own territory
without reference to the central government of Santa F6 da

The blockade of Carthagena was declared on i6 February, 1885,
and a note to that effect was directed to H.B.M. Consul at Barran-
quilla by the Bolivar Secretary-General there. It was maintained
by a tug-boat of 120 tons with two guns. The whole proceedings
seem very confused, because another Colombian State (Panama)
had already declared Barranquilla (and the other port at the
mouth of the Magdalena, Savanilla) "closed to foreign com-
merce" on 14 January, and had been seconded by an officer
styled the Fiscal Inspector of the Custom Houses of the Atlantic,
who, as "the immediate representative of the national executive
power/' had (from Carthagena) declared Savanilla and Barran-
quilla closed to foreign commerce and coasting trade, and had
declared that duties would be exacted over again from vessels
disregarding the prohibition. The outcome of this interesting
situation is unfortunately not apparent,^ but the result of the
general conflict seems to have been unfavourable to the Panama

* State Papers, VoL LXXVI, p. 424. * Mdn p. 43^'

* I^^ p, 425. « Jh'd., p. 4S5. * JM.i p. 719-

* IM^ pp. ioi6ri9. ^ '* Annual Register."

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In i886» San Domingo blockaded the district of Monte Christi
for two or three months,* and the " pacific " blockade of Greece
took place. This was a blockade limited to Greek vessels, and
so presenting few analogies with a real blockade. It has been
justified as a measure of reprisals, but obviously went very much
further than the mere seizure of a definite number of ships as
security for liquidated damages — which is all that reprisals property

France was not a party to this blockade, which, as is known,
was motived by the nervousness with which the Powers regarded
any possible outbreak of war in the Balkans. It was thought
at the time that any violent proceedings in that quarter would act
as a spark in a powder magazine. We now know that when
Greece and Turkey went to war ten years later there was little
difficulty in localizing the disturbance. Perhaps it is hard to
blame statesmen who were not so clear-sighted as M. de Frey-
cinet, who felt at liberty to declare' to Lord Lyons that he was
not disposed to send ships to Greek waters . . . that he shrank
from running the risk of placing the naval forces of France in a
position in which they might be called to fire upon Greek ships,
and that he felt sure that anything of this kind would be very
repugnant to public feeling in France.

The Gladstone as well as the Salisbury Government is, how-
ever, responsible for the adopdon of the " blockade " by Great
Britain, and Lord Rosebery strongly condemned the politics of
Greece in a lengthy justification of the attitude of the British
Government On 7 May, 1886, the Ambassadors left Greece.
The curious blockade was then instituted, which included some-
what improperly, in any event, "the entrance to the Gulf of
Corinth," — part of the high seas, — and which was declared to be
instituted ''against ships under the Greek flag.'** It was also
limited by the specific instructions given to commanders not to in-
terfere with Greek vessels carrying the goods of other Powers under
arrangements made prior to the "blocfcule." How the blockading
Powers proposed to justify to other nations (say the North
American States or France) the detention of ^oods belonging
to their subjects being on board sequestrated Greek vessels, or
damaged by remaining on shore for want of a ship during these
sweeping interferences with commerce, is a point regarding which
no interest seems to have been shown. The sequestrated vessels
were to be restored at the conclusion of the blockade (no liability
for compensation being admitted).*

The French Charg^ d' Affaires informed Lord Salisbury on

» State Papers, LXXVII., p. i(»9. ■ Ibid,, p. 653.

* IHd.^ p. 682. « md.y p. 69a

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9 October, 1887, that the French President at Grand Bassam had
established a blockade of the Ebrie coast from Abre to Dabou
inclusive.* It was raised 13 February, 1888.' In a precisely
similar way Portugal announced the blockade and reopening of
Quissembo. No delays were fixed — probably none were neces-
sary. Various Haytian ports were blockaded by Hayti at the
end of October, 1888 ;• this blockade is remarkable for the fact
that the British Consul-General in Hayti intimated in the follow-
ing June that it had plainly ceased to be effective, and would no
longer be respected.*

The blockade of the Zanzibar coast of East Africa by Britain
and Germany is worth a word of notice. Ostensibly established
by the assent of the Sultan of Zanzibar, it was directed to the
stoppage of the import of arms and the export of slaves,* and was
apparently justified by the fact that the continental dominions of
Zanzibar were in insurrection.* However, the Sultan's self-
constituted mandatories, Britain and Germany, were in possession
of Bagamoyo and other places on the coast, and the blockade
^eems illegal in so far as it prohibited access generally. The
Portuguese were induced to issue a notification of blockade of
their Mozambique coast, then in their effective occupation, "as
against the importation of arms and the exportation of slaves " —
a futile and absolutely illegal pretension* if the proclamation
meant what it said. Probably it merely meant that the ports
would be closed to such traffic under municipal penalties.

His Highness the Sultan of Zanzibar (whose subjects found
their commerce with the mainland interdicted) declined to co-
operate actively. The ** blockade" was notified by the British
Consul-General, and a British proclamation by him limited its
operation to the traffic in slaves and munitions of war. But no
Government can assume to prohibit certain kinds of traffic with
its ports under the penalties of blockade-running, and the British
and Germans were in this case trying to do exactly what they had
blamed the Spaniards for doing in Sulu.*

The actual establishment of the blockade — as distinguished
from the Sultan's and the Consul's notifications — was by a joint
declaration in the name of the Sultan by the British and German
Admirals, dated 2 December, 1888.

** In accordance with instructions received from our respective Govern-
ments, and in the name of H.H. the Sultan of Zanzibar, we, the Admirals
commanding the British and German Squadrons, hereby declare a blockade

» State Papers, VoL LXXVIII, p. 169. * Ibid., Vol. LXIX, p. 234.

« Jbid^ p. 235. * Ihid., VoL LXXX^ p. 165.

» IHd,, Vol. LXXIX, p. 38a. • Ibid., p. 380.

^ Ibid, p. 385. * Svpra, p. 174.

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against the importation of munitions of war and the exportation of slaves
only, on the continuous line of coast of Zanzibar, including the Islands of
Mafia and Lamu and the lesser islands adjoining the coast from lo** 28' S.
to 2* 10' S. lat. The blockade will be in force from noon on the 2nd
December, 1888.

" (Signed) E. R. Fremantle, British Rear- Admiral,

C.-in-C. East Station.
** Deinhard, German Rear- Admiral,

Commanding Fljring Squadron."

The Consul-General who issued the proclamation was made
the judge for deciding^ cases of prize arising out of its violation.^
Italy joined the "blockading ' Powers in December.* By
February, Admiral Deinhard was stopping provisions, and the
German Government justified his action. They considered it
"independent of the blockade," which was a peaceful operation
directed against the slave-trade ; and that it was a measure called
for by the exigencies of war. Thus we have the full cycle — ^the
term ** blockade " has become so far wrested from its proper mean-
ing as to be actually treated as inapplicable to the isolation of a
besieged place.*

This blockade, which was nothing more than an exercise of
municipal law from first to last, was raised on i October, 1889/
The permission of France had actually to be asked for before her
dhows could be searched for arms in Zanzibar waters themselves,*
which shows that the measure partook in no respect of the nature
of a blockade.

On 7 April, 1890, a blockade of part of the Slave Coast was
instituted by France. It was established by a notice issued by the
Commander-in-Chief in the Bay of Benin, and a delay of only
three days was allowed.* It was notified in London by the
French Ambassador, and raised on 28 October. In 1892 it was
renewed (15 June) and notified by the Ambassador, being again
raised on 19 December.^

During the Franco-Siamese difficulty of 1893, Lord Dufferin
elicited from M. Develle the information that, should the Eastern
Power prove recalcitrant, the French fleet would blockade the
Menam.® This Lord Dufferin characterized as resembling "riding
another man's horse with one's own spurs" — as it would simply
damage British and German trade. The blockade was neverthe-
less imposed, and it can hardly be doubted that in view of the other
hostile measures which were taken by the parties, a state of war

1 State Papers, LXXXI, p. 98. « Md^ p. loa

• Ih'd,^ p. 119. * 3t'ii^ p. 132.

' /dt'd,, p. 121. (Consul Euan-Smith to Lord Salisbury, 26 February, 1889.)

• /^iV/., Vol. LXXXII, p. 1071. ^ Md., p. 1072.

• IM., Vol. LXXXIV, pp. 688, 689.

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then existed between them. The blockade was not restricted to
Siamese vessels ; and not only was the blockaded coast and ports
indicated, but the modem innovation was adopted of interdicting
access to zones of sea. The proclamations ran as follows : — ^

"Nous, eta, declarons qu'^ partir du 26 Juillet, 1893 [^^ date of the
document] i 9 h. de soir, tous les ports et rades de le cdte, et des lies
Siamoises compris entre la Pointe Chulal et la Pointe Lem-kra-bang, en
passant par le nord (ces pointes, le premier par 13* 2' de lat N. et gf 43'
de long. £. du meridian de Paris; le second par 13"* 5' de lat. N. and
98^ 31' de long. K du meridian de Paris), seront tenus en 6tat de blocus
effectif pas les forces navales sous nos ordres, et que les b&timents amis
anront un d^lai de trois jours pour quitter les lieux bloqu^s. II sera proc^d
contre tout b&timent qui tenterait de violer le dit blocus conformement aux
lois Internationales et aux trait^s en vigueur. A bord du croiseur le

"(Signed) A. Reculoux."

The above was issued by the commander of the squadron in
the Gulf of Siam. Its mention of "amis" shows that hostilities
then existed: and it was followed by a proclamation by the
Admiral of the P'ar Eastern fleet.

"Nous, etc., vu r6tat de repr^sailles existant entre le France et le
Siam . . . d^arons, qu'^ partir du 29 Juillet, 1893 [date of the document]
le c6te et les ports de Siam, compris : —

** Entre la Pointe Chulai' ... 4 la pointe Lem-krabang. . . .

"2. Entre la pointe S. de I'fle Ko-Samit, lat I2* 31' N., long. 99* 6' E.
et la pointe Lem-Ling, lat I2* 11' N., long. 99* 58' E.,

" seront tenus en ^tat de blocus effectif par les forces navales plac^es
sous notre commandement, et que les bitiments amis ou neutres auront
un delai de trois jours pour achever leur chargement et quitter les lieux

" Les limites du blocus s'^tendront, —

" I. Pour la premise zone bloqu^e jusqu'^ une ligne joignant la pointe
Chulal (ci-dessus designee) k la pointe Lem-kra-bang (ci-dessus design^).

'* 2. Four la deuxi&me zone bloqu^e jusqu*^ une ligne joignant la pointe
de nie Ko*Samit (ci-dessus design^) k la pointe Lem-Ling (ci-dessus
design^). ,

** II sera pToc6d6 etc A bord de la ' Triomphante ' etc.

"(Signed) HUMANN."

There is a manifest contradiction in styling the proceedings
reprisals, and at the same time talking about *^amts" and
^^ neutres'' Besides, "a state of reprisals" is an expression
unknown to International Law. States are either at war, or at
peace : and when at peace, one or other or both may commit
reprisals, which is a different matter. The word was probably
introduced as an equivalent for the phrase "war" employed in

> State Papen, LXXXVII, p. 351.

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the common form, and designed to be less alanning than ''war/'
and less ridiculous than '' peace."

The blockade was raised in two or three days by a proclamation
which it is unnecessary to quote. Before its institution (on
27 July), Lord Dufferin intimated to the Prime Minister that it
woiild be put in force on the 31st* Whether or not the fact had
been officially intimated does not appear. The news caused
Lord Rosebery the greatest surprise, especially as the British
Minister at Bangkok telegraphed on the 27th that the blockade
had already been established ; and he at once instructed Lord
Dufferin to ask for explanations. Later he intimated,' that if
the blockade affected neutral vessels, it must constitute a state of
belligerency. French vessels must therefore be restricted in
their visits to Singapore, where the ** Pepin " was daily expected.
The French Government maintained that the discrepancy in
dates (between the 31st and 26th) was due to a telegraphic
error: unfortunately, a British vessel was stopped and excluded on
the 27th or 28th. Eventually she was permitted to enter and
discharge, clearing on the 30th. The French Admiral notified
the British senior officer that the blockade applied to warships,
and the latter instructed the " Linnet " to leave Bangkok. Lord
Rosebery, however, telegraphed that the " Linnet " " must on no
account leave under the present circumstances/'*

M. Develle cited, in a despatch of 3 August, 1893, the stock
cases on the subject, beginning in 1827, It seems difficult to
say why France refused to admit that she was at war with Siam
—except for the very pressing, but inadmissible, reason that
belligerency entails responsibility. On 13 July, her gunboats
" Inconstant" and " Com^te " had passed the Menam bar under a
heavy fire from the forts at the mouth of the river.* On the 14th,
17th, and 19th, there had been fighting on the frontier, when 300

Online LibraryHugh Hale Leigh Bellot Llewellyn Archer Atherley-JonesCommerce in war → online text (page 23 of 79)