great value in the territories of the belligerents which may be exposed to danger from acts of confication and violence if the protection of their own Government should be witheld.
This is the case with respect to British subjects during the present civil war in North America. Acting upon these principles, Sir William Scott in the case of the Caroline during the war between Great Britain and France decided that the carrying of dispatches from the French ambassador resident in the United States to the Government of France by and U. S. merchant ship was no violation of the neutrality of the United States in the war between Great Britain and France, and that such dispatches could not be treated as contraband of war.
The neutral contry [he said] has a right to preserve its relations with the enemy, and you are not at liberty to conclude that any communication between them can parkate in any degree of the nature of hostility against you. The enemy may have his hostile to be attemted with the neutral State, but your reliance is on the integrity of that neutral State, that it will not favor nor participate in such designs but as far as its own councils and actions are concerned will oppose them. And if there should be private reasons to suppose that this confidence it the good faith of the neutral State has a doubtful foundation that is matter for the good of the government to be conteracted by just measures of preventive policy; but it is no ground on which this court can pronounce that neutral carrier has violated his duty by bearing dispatch which as far as he can know may be presumed to be of an innocent nature and in the maintenance of a pacific connection.
And he contines shortly afterward:
It is to be considered also with regard to this question what may be due to the convenience of the neutral State; for its interest may require that the intercourse of correspondence with the enemy's country should not be altoge. It might be thought to amount almost to a declaration that an ambassador from an enemy shall not desire in the neutral State if he is declared to be debarred from the only means of communicating with his own. For to what useful purpose can he reside there without the opportunities of such a communication? It is too much to say that all the business of the two States shall be transacted by the minister of the neutral State resident in the enemy's country. The practice of nations has allowed to neutral States the privilege of receiving ministers from the belligerent States and the use and convenience of an immediate negotiation with them.
That these principles must necessary extend to every kind of diplomatic communication between government and government, whether by sending or receiving ambassadors or commisioners personally or by sending or receiving dispatches from or to such ambassadors or commisioners, or from or to the respective governments, is too plain to need argument; and it seems so less clear that such communications must be as legitimate and innocent in their first commencement as afterward, and that the rule cannot be restricted to the case in which diplomatic relations are already formally established by the residence of an accreditel minister of the belligerent power in the neutral country. It si the neutrality of the one party to the communications and not either the mode of the communication or the time when it first take place which furnished the test of the true application of the principle.
The only distincion arising out of the peculiar circumstanes of a civil war and of the non-recognition of the independence of the de facto government of one of the belligerents either by the other belligerent or by the neutral power it this, that-
For the purpose of avoidig the difficulties which might arise from a formal and positive solution of these questions diplomatic agents are frequently substituted who are clothed with the powers and enjoy the immunities of ministers, though they are not invested with the representative character nor entitled to diplomatic honors. *
* Wheaton: "Elements," Part III, Chap. I, sec. 5.