Strictly in accordance with the above the Supreme Court has given its opinion in the case already referred to. After reciting that the territory "held in hostility to the United States" has a "defined boundary," a which can be crossed only by force, the court adds:
All persons residing within this territory, whose property may be used to increase the revenues of the hostile power, are, in this contest, liable to be treated as enemies. * * * Whether property be liable to capture as enemies" property does not, in any manner, depend upon the personal allegiance of the owner. b
According to this decision, property of every kind held by residents of the insurrectionary States, no matter what their personal sentiments or political proclivities may be, is enemies" property. It becomes such in virtue of the domicile of the owner, and of the fact that it "may be used to increase the revenues of the hostile power."
It follows that so much of the law of nations as relates to the right of a belligerent to take or destroy the property of an enemy applies in this case to the property of every inhabitant of the insurrectionary States, without regard to his individual loyalty or disloyalty.
What are the rules of international law which bear upon this matter?
Grotius lays down the principle on the broadest ground. He says:
Moreover, by the law of nations, not only he who carries on war for just cause, but also any one engaged in solemn war, becomes the absolute and unconditional owner of all property taken from the enemy; so that both he and whoever claims under him are to be protected in possession of the same. c
Vattel is quite as explicit. He says:
We have a right to deprive our enemy of his possessions, of everything which may augment his strength and enable him to make war. This every one endeavors to accomplish in the manner most suitable to him. Whenever we have an opportunity we seize on the enemy's property and convert it to our own use; and thuishing the enemy's power, we augment our own, and obtain at least a partial indemnification or equivalent, either for what constitutes the subject of the war, or for the expenses and losses incurred in its prosecution. d
The Supreme Court, in the case already cited, indorsed this well- known principle of international law:
The right of one belligerent not only to coerce the other by direct force, but also to cripple his resources by the seizure or destruction of his property, is a necessary result of a state of war. e
These authorities settle the question as to the legality of one enemy taking or destroying the personal property of another.
In a general way, however, a belligerent does not become the legal owner of any personal property belonging to his enemy so long as it
a This boundary, earlier defined by the respective acts of secession, was officially declared by proclamation of the President, issued under date of July 1, 1862. This was done in accordance with a requisition contained in the second section of an act of Congress approved June 7, 1862. The list includes eleven States, reckoning Eastern Virginia as one. It does not include Western Virginia, nor Maryland, nor Delaware, nor Kentucky, nor Missouri. Nothing here said, therefore, applies to the constitutional rights of the inhabitants of any of these States. To a proper understanding of the legal points involved, it is indispensable to bear in mind which States are in the eye of the law insurrectionary and which are not.
b Case cited, Claimants of schooners Brilliant, &c. American Law Register for April, 1863, pp.343, 344.
c Ceterum, jure gentium non tantrum is qui ex justa causa bellum gerit, sed et quivis, in bello solemn, et sine fine modoque, dominus sit orem quae hosti eripit, eo sensu nimirum ut a gentiobiose omnibus et ipse et qui ab eo titulum habent in possessione rerum talium tuendi sint. (Grotius, l. iii, c. vi, s.2.)
d Vattel, Book III, Sec.161.
e Case cited. Amer. Law Register for April, 1863, p.341.