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sive, contrary to the express and reiterated declarations of the instrument itself.

This assertion implies, that the war in question is an offensive war on the part of France.

And so it undoubtedly is, with regard to all the pow. ers with whom she was at war, at the time of issuing the proclamation.

No position is better established, than that the nation wbich first declares, or actually begins a war, whatever may have been the causes leading to it, is that which makes an offensive war. Nor is there any doubt, that France first declared and began the war, against Aus. tria, Prussia, Savoy, Holland, England, and Spain.

Upon this point there is apt to be some incorrectness of ideas. Those wbo have not examined subjects of such a nature, are led to imagine that the party which commits the first injury, or gives the first provocation, is on the offensive side, though hostilities are actually begun by the other party.

But the cause or the occasion of the war, and the war itself, are things entirely distinct. It is the commence'ment of the war itself which. decides the question, whe

ther it be offensive or defensive, All writers on the laws of nations agree in this doctrine, but it is most accurately laid down in the following extracts from Burlamaqui.*

6. Neither are we to believe (says he) that he who first “ injures another, begins by that an offensive war, and “ that the other who demands the satisfaction for the 6 injury received, is always on the defensive. There “ are a great many unjust acts, which may kindle a war, 6 and which, however, are not the war itself; as the ill “ treatment of a prince's ambassadors, the plundering of (6 his subjects, &c."

If, therefore, we take up arms to revenge such an unjust act, we commence an offensive, but a just war; and the prince who has done the injury, and will not give satisfaction, makes a defensive, but an unjust war.

Vol. II, Book IV, Chap. III, Sec. 4,5.

We must therefore affirm, in general, that the first who takes up arms, whether justly or unjustly, commences an offensive war; and he who opposes him, whether with or without reason, begins a defensive war.

France then being on the offensive in the present war, and our alliance with her being defensive only, it follows, that the casus federis, or condition of our guaran. tee, cannot take place; and that the United States are free to refuse a performance of that guarantee, if de. manded.

Those who are disposed to justify indiscriminately every thing in the conduct of France, may reply, that though the war, in point of form, may be offensive on her part, yet in point of principle, it is defensive; was in each instance, a mere anticipation of attacks meditated against her, and was justified by previous aggres. sions of the opposite parties.

It is believed, that it would be a sufficient answer to this observation to say, that in determining the legal and positive obligations of the United States, the only point of inquiry is, whether the war was in fact begun by France, or by her enemies ; that all beyond this is too vague, too liable to dispute, too much matter of opinion - to be a proper criterion of national conduct; that when a war breaks out between two nations, all others in regard to the positive rights of the parties, and their positive duties towards them, are bound to consider it as equally just on both sides; that consequently in a defensive al. liance, when war is made upon one of the allies, it is the duty of the other to fulfil the conditions stipulated on its part, without inquiry, whether the war is rightfully begun or not; as, on the other hand, when war is commenced by one of the allies, the other is exempted from the obli. gation to assist, however just the commencement of it may bave been..

Ithis doctrine is founded upon the utility of clear and certain rules for determining the reciprocal duties of nations, in order that as little as possible may be left to opinion, and to the subterfuges of an over-refining or un. faithful casuistry.

by one of the alhe other hand, the war is rightfalid on its

give, contrary to the express and reiterated declarations of the instrument itself.

This assertion implies, that the war in question is an offensive war on the part of France.

And so it undoubtedly is, with regard to all the pow. ers with whom she was at war, at the time of issuing the proclamation.

No position is better established, than that the nation wbich first declares, or actually begins a war, whatever may have been the causes leading to it, is that which makes an offensive war. Nor is there any doubt, that France first declared and began the war, against Austria, Prussia, Savoy, Holland, England, and Spain.

Upon this point there is apt to be some incorrectness of ideas. Those who have not examined subjects of such a nature, are led to imagine that the party which commits the first injury, or gives the first provocation, is on the offensive side, though hostilities are actually begun by the other party.

But the cause or the occasion of the war, and the war itself, are things entirely distinct. It is the commencement of the war itself which decides the question, whether it be offensive or defensive, All writers on the laws of nations agree in this doctrine, but it is most accurately laid down in the following extracts from Burla

ma Neither areer, begins bands the saefensive..

“ Neither are we to believe (says he) that he who first 6 injures another, begins by that an offensive war, and 6 that the other who demands the satisfaction for the “ injury received, is always on the defensive. There “ are a great many unjust acts, which may kindle a war, “ and which, however, are not the war itself; as the ill 6 treatment of a prince's ambassadors, the plundering of « his subjects, &c.

If, therefore, we take up arms to revenge such an unjust act, we commence an offensive, but a just war; and the prince who has done the injury, and will not give satisfaction, makes a defensive, but an unjust war.

Vol. II, Book IV, Chap. III, Sec. 4,5.

e with the offensive war

We must therefore affirm, in general, that the first who takes up arms, whether justly or unjustly, commences an offensive war; and he who opposes him, whether with or without reason, begins a defensive war.

France then being on the offensive in the present war, and our alliance with her being defensive only, it fol. lows, that the casus federis, or condition of our guaran. tee, cannot take place; and that the United States are ,free to refuse a performance of that guarantee, if demanded.

Those who are disposed to justify indiscriminately every thing in the conduct of France, may reply, that though the war, in point of form, may be offensive on her part, yet in point of principle, it is defensive; was in each instance, a mere anticipation of attacks meditated against her, and was justified by previous aggres. sions of the opposite parties.

It is believed, that it would be a sufficient answer to this observation to say, that in determining the legal and positive obligations of the United States, the only point of inquiry is, whether the war was in fact begun by France, or by her enemies ; that all beyond this is too vague, too liable to dispute, too much matter of opinion - to be a proper criterion of national conduct; that when a war breaks out between two nations, all others in regard to the positive rights of the parties, and their positive du. ties towards them, are bound to consider it as equally just on both sides; that consequently in a defensive al. liance, when war is made upon one of the allies, it is the duty of the other to fulfil the conditions stipulated on its part, without inquiry, whether the war is rightfully begun or not; as, on the other hand, when war is commenced by one of the allies, the other is exempted from the obligation to assist, however just the commencement of it may have been...

l'his doctrine is founded upon the utility of clear and certain rules for determining the reciprocal duties of nations, in order that as little as possible may be left to opinion, and to the subterfuges of an over.refining or unfaithful casuistry.

Some writers indeed of high authority affirm, that it is a tacit condition of every alliance, that one ally is not bound to assist the other in a war wanifestly unjust. But this is questioned by other respectable authorities on the ground which has been stated. And though the manifest injustice of the war has been affirmed by some, to be a good cause for not executing the formal obliga. tions of a treaty, I have no where seen it maintained, that the abstract justice of a war will of itself oblige a na. tion to do what its formal obligations do not enjoin: if this however were not the true doctrine, an impartial examination would prove that, with respect to some of the powers, France is not blameless in the circumstances which preceded and led to the war; that if she received, she also gave causes of offence, and that the justice of the war, on her side, is in those cases not a little problematical.

There are prudential reasons, which dissuade from going largely into this examination, unless it shall be rendered necessary by the future turn of the discussion.

It will be sufficient here, to notice cursorily the following facts;

France committed an aggression upon Holland, in declaring the navigation of the Scheldt free, and acting upon that declaration ; contrary to treaties in which she hàd explicitly acknowledged, and even guaranteed, the exclusive right of Holland to the use of that river; and contrary also to the doctrines of the best writers, and the established usages of nations in such cases.

She gave a general and very serious cause of alarm and umbrage by the decree of the 19th of November, 1792, whereby the convention, in the name of the French nation, declare, that they will grant fraternity and assis. tance to every people who wish to recover their liberty; and cbarge the executive power to send the necessary orders to the generals to give assistance to such people, and to defend those citizens who have been, or who may be vexed for the cause of liberty, which decree was ordered to be printed in all languages.

This very extraordinary decree amounted, exactly to what France herself had most complained of; an inter.

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