Re: 1812 Re: Impressment and US sovereignty and supposed Brit disrespe ct of same
- I do think that the existence or lack of a state of belligerency is important. A country can do things to a belligerent that it cannot do to a neutral. In my mind the issue here is not whether Britain, or another country, has the right to seize a deserter or whatever, but whether it has the right to go onto the ship, or territory, of a country with whom it is not at war to do so. I think that a more recent comparison would be American Vietnam era deserters who went to Canada. If they were caught under American jurisdiction they could be and were arrested and prosecuted. In my view what the British did in stopping and boarding American shipping to get the deserters would be comparable to the U.S. forcing down Air Canada flights to take off deserters. In my opinion either one of them would have been illegal and wrong. Jim raises the point that sometimes an act may be illegal but powers do it anyway if it is deemed necessary. It was probably illegal to kill Bin Laden the way it was done but the heck with it. I believe that I recall that there were cases in which planes were forced down to apprehend terrorists. Those may have been illegal but, under the circumstances the acting powers thought that the act was justified. The same argument could be made about the seamen. It may have been illegal to board American ships to get them but was the need so great that it was justified anyway? A defense based on the wartime needs of Britain is not necessarily based on legality.
Are these postings achieved so that we can access them without keeping them in the in-box?
- --- In WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com, "Jim & JoAnn Gallen" <jmgallen1@...> wrote:
>I disagree with the comments as they apply to the necessity of a state of belligerency being required.
> I do think that the existence or lack of a state of belligerency is important. A country can do things to a belligerent that it cannot do to a neutral.
On the high seas, there are a special set of rules. A belligerent blockading an enemy coastline can stop and search neutral ships bound for ports on that coastline for contraband. In some cases, the blockade can be "total" i.e. every ship will be turned away.
The British were blockading Napoleonic France and its allies. When the Americans declared war, the British started a blockade of the U.S. coast. Neutral shipping was affected in both cases.
In the American Civil War, the U.S. blockaded the Confederate coast.
In WW1, the Allies blockaded the Central Powers coasts. The Germans retaliated with a submarine blockade. This was OK until they stepped over the line and started sinking neutral ships bound for the UK on sight and without warning.
I can go on... both forward and backward in history.
Ships were (and are to this day) searched for signs that they were slave traders, or committing acts of piracy.
I do agree that a country can do things to a belligerent that it cannot do to a neutral: like seize/capture/confiscate the ship, or sink it. But search it and enforce general rules of the international community (like, you can't be a pirate), or seize contraband, like drugs, is allowed under international law by any nation's warships.
I don't think the analogy to airplanes was rigorous enough to be applicable here. You can't stop a plane and search it in mid-air. I agree you can't force it to divert and land in your territory either. But the British were not seizing American ships and taking them to British-controlled ports just to search them for deserters and other British subjects they wished to press. And obviously British landing parties were not coming ashore in Boston etc. and seizing people. So a British deserter in 1811 actually ashore in the U.S. or an American deserter in 1966 actually living in Canada were "safe"...
- Desperate times call for desperate measures. If your national survival
is at stake, do you think hurt feelings of a non-combatant (especially
one with a weak military) is much of an impediment?
From: Jim Gallen
It may have been illegal to board American ships to get them but was the
need so great that it was justified anyway? A defense based on the
wartime needs of Britain is not necessarily based on legality.
- My points in my obnoxious message were that, though many like to intimate that the US had no legitimate reason to declare war, I disagree within the context of the era and today. In the context of the time, the US believed (rightly in many cases) its lawful citizens (by birth or under established American Law) were being "kidnapped" (and some within US territorial waters.) Despite all efforts a peaceable coercion it continued. Thus, in the minds of the contemporary majority, war was justified.
And I stand by my assumption that if thousands of one county's citizens were taken and held by another country, it can be, could be and in some cases (sounding "war hawkish" here) should be a cause for military action.
The case of the 300+ hostages in Iran in 79-80 brought about military action by the US...didn't pan out the way it was supposed to though. I am sure there are other instances in the historical record. Barbary Wars come to mind. It was a ancillary reason for the US invasion of Grenada.
As for Pakistan and Afghanistan raids and targeted bombings, there is a de-facto state of war amongst the "shipper and receiver of the packages" and while Pakistan complaints are recorded I can only assume that the same people complaining publicly that the US executed such a strike, are smiling behind closed doors as most of those struck in those raids are enemies of the Pakistani state as well.
To me, through much of this conversation, since it was began by Jim, there are some that seem place Britain and her needs throughout history as superseding those of other nations, because, after all they were either:
-fighting the Corsican Tyrant
-Bringing "civilization" to those who could not do for themselves
In some minds it is necessary, in others it is an insult or a curse.
This also brings another "then and now" similarity to mind.
One of the stated reasons for the US Declaring war was the aid Britain game to Indians in the western areas of the US. Ie.. Britsh weapons in their possession. So attacking the British Territory in Canada, from whence the arms came, and to which the Indians went following Tippecanoe could be seen in the same light as attacking Afghanistan and or Pakistan or anyplace that provides aid and comfort to America's modern enemies.
Not saying it is a perfect similarity or if it right, wrong, "kinda," "sorta" one way or the other....again....just thinking.
This is fun. I don't get good conversations like this from my wife, friends or my students.....yet!
USS CON 1812 MG
--- In WarOf1812@yahoogroups.com, "Ian Gardner" <igardner@...> wrote:
> Desperate times call for desperate measures. If your national survival
> is at stake, do you think hurt feelings of a non-combatant (especially
> one with a weak military) is much of an impediment?
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jim Gallen
> It may have been illegal to board American ships to get them but was the
> need so great that it was justified anyway? A defense based on the
> wartime needs of Britain is not necessarily based on legality.
- Diane Williams wrote:
> Depending on when in 1803 that was reported, my French-born ancestor mayWay to stick up for your ancestor, Diane!
> have been one > of those 12. He had waited 5 years to get his citizenship
> (having been in the United States since > 1794 anyway) and he received it
> on Sept. 6, 1803. He was taken by the British shortly after
> that because I know he was nearly killed in Egypt in late 1803. I'm sure
> his American merchant > ship captain protested his impressment, but any
> letter citing the protest by the Department of
> State was ignored by the Royal Navy, because my ancestor served in the
> Royal Navy until he > escaped in 1812 when his ship put in to Toulon,
> France after mostly being stationed in Egypt. > If I were the Royal Navy,
> I'd have ignored any request to release him because he spoke both > French
> and English and was a superb sailor having been educated from apprentice
> cabin boy
> at age 13 to achieving first mate at the latest by age 22 (and probably
> earlier) on his American > merchant ship.
With friends like you ....
John Matthew IV