the place, bythe testimony bofore the commission, where the Salvador was at aunchor when the dprisoners came on hboard was more than a league from the shore in the open roadstead of Panama, and clearly on the high seas as regarded in this connection. See cases of United States v. William Ross, 1 Gallation, page 624; United States v. Griffin & Bailsford, 5 Wheaton, page 204; Kent's Commentaris, page 34 et seq.
It is true that publicists agree that of all "principles of public law there are none more sacred than those which secure the immunity of neutral territory from the exercise of acts of hostility by a foreing power," and that "the law of nations forbids sall use of neutral territory for hotile purposes, and declares that the rights of war shall only be exercised within the territory of the belligerents, on the high seas, or without the jurisdiction of any other power." Yet, notwithstanding, had the act and the arrest of the prisoners been made whithin the limits calimed by the neutral power of New Granada, it would have been a less departure from the rule, and more clearly an exception to it, than was made by General Jackson in the invasion of the then Spanish province of Florida in 1818, or by Sir Allen McNab in the invasion of the State of New York at Schlosser in 1837. And General Jackson's act was defended by John Quincy Adams, sustained by our Governemnt as an act of self-defense, and acquiesced in by the Governement of Spain; and the invasion of New York was approved by the British Government as having been--
One in the strictest sense of self-defense, rendered absolutely necessary by the circumstances of the occasion, for the safety and protection of Her Majesty's subjects, and justified by the ssame motives and principles which, upon similar and well-known occasions, have governed the conduct of illustrious officers of the United States. (Mr. Fox to Mr. Webster, December 19, 1840.)
In the course of the negotiations to which this care gave rise, and before the action of Great Britain was acquiesced in by the United States, as finally it was, our minister at London, Mr. Stevenson, and two of our Secretaries of States, Forsyth and Webster, though denying the applicability of it to the case of the Caroline at Schlosser, concurred in the exception to the rule of inviolability of neutral territory claimed by Greated Britain.
When the extent of the evil is considered which the act of these men in the Bay of Panama would, if successful, have brought upon the people of the United States, and it is borne in mind that the neutral country which they had adopted as the base from which they intended to set this expedition of foot is without a navy or any military power afloat, and that that Government was treated by our naval forces with every consideration possible, it will not be questioned that even had there been the vilation of neutral territory asserted to have been committed in this case, it would be claimed and admitted to have been a measure "in the strictest sense of self defense absolutely necessary, by the circumstances of the occasion, for the safety and protection" of American citizaens. this, however, is beside the question before the commission, which is-Ded the prisoners, as charged, vilate the rules and usasges of civilized war?
It is claimed their act "was a stratagem in war perfectly allowable under the laws and usages of civilized war."
That (as said by Halleck, p. 402) stratagems in war are snares laid for an enemy or deceptions practiced on him without perfidy and consistent with good faith. they are not only allowable, but have constituted a great share of the glory of the most celebrated commanders.