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Neutral Rights and Obligations in the Anglo-Boer War by Robert Granville Campbell

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This essay is the outgrowth of work done in the Political Science
Seminary of the Johns Hopkins University and is a portion of a larger
study dealing with the causes of the Anglo-Boer War and the questions of
international law arising during that conflict.

At the beginning of the war the English Government was inclined to view
the contest as one which would not make it necessary to call into
operation the neutrality laws of third parties. It was soon realized,
however, that the condition of insurgency was not broad enough to
sustain the relations between the two Governments. Toward the close of
November Great Britain's declaration with a retroactive effect put the
contest upon a distinctly belligerent basis and accepted the date of the
Transvaal's ultimatum, 5 p.m., October 11, 1899, as the commencement of
the war.

Other Powers which had awaited this announcement with some anxiety at
once declared their attitude toward the war. Among the first to assume
this neutral position was the United States with the announcement that
its attitude would be in accordance with the requirements of the
strictest neutrality.

It is the purpose of the first chapter to inquire how far these
obligations were fulfilled by the United States Government, and in the
second chapter the attitude of European Governments is considered. In
the third chapter the rights and obligations of belligerents and
neutrals are discussed with regard to neutral commerce. Under this topic
the wide divergence of English practice from Continental as well as from
American opinion on points of international law cannot fail to be

The chief sources of information used in the preparation of the present
paper have been the British Blue Books; the Foreign Relations of the
United States; the House and Senate Documents not included in the
Foreign Relations; the Congressional Record, Debates in Congress,
Resolutions and Reports in answer to requests for information. Other
sources and authorities are indicated in the footnotes.

I wish to express my gratitude to Dr. W.W. Willoughby, not only for his
careful criticism of this study during its preparation, and for the
helpful suggestions by which he has attempted to correct some of its
obvious deficiencies, but especially for his kindly inspiration at all









The neutral attitude assumed by the United States was maintained
throughout the war. With reference to any official recognition of the
Transvaal as an independent State apart from the immediate purposes of
war no action was taken. This view of the situation in South Africa was
entirely consistent with the requirements of international law, and, in
carrying out the obligations of a neutral to the belligerents, the
governmental position was fully justified by a knowledge of the
relations which had existed between the Transvaal and Great Britain in
the past.

Early in October, before war had actually begun, it was understood that
Mr. Pierce, the Orange Free State consul-general in New York, had made
every effort to induce President McKinley to request other nations to
act with the United States as arbitrators in the dispute between the
Governments of the Transvaal and Great Britain, but the close friendship
existing between England and the United States and the very friendly
attitude assumed by Great Britain during the Spanish-American War made
such action impossible. The State Department at Washington announced
that in the event of war the Government would maintain an absolutely
neutral attitude, and issued instructions early in October to all
American consuls in South Africa directing them to secure protection for
all neutrals of the United States who had not affiliated politically
with either Great Britain or the South African Republics, either by
exercising the franchise or otherwise. While those whom this definition
did not cover were not to be directly under the protection of the United
States, the State Department expressed itself as ready to use its good
offices in their behalf in case they were involved in trouble resulting
from the war. Such had been the position of the Department in the case
of Mr. John Hays Hammond, a citizen of the United States who had been
involved in the Jameson Raid, although he had taken part in an
expedition which was not officially approved by Great Britain and which
was hostile to a Government with which the United States had no

[Footnote 1: For. Rel., 1896, pp. 562-581.]

On October 8, the day before the Transvaal ultimatum was presented to
Great Britain, the British Ambassador in Washington confidentially
inquired whether in the event of an attack upon the English forces by
the Boers, rendering necessary the withdrawal of the British agent, the
United States would allow its consul to take charge of the British
interests in the Transvaal.[2] Consent was very properly given on the
eleventh that the United States would gladly allow its consul at
Pretoria "to afford to British interests in that quarter friendly and
neutral protective offices."[3] On the thirteenth this courtesy was
acknowledged and the information given that the British agent had
withdrawn. On the same day Mr. McCrum was instructed, "with the assent
of the South African Republic, to afford to British interests the
friendly protective offices usual in such contingencies."[4]

[Footnote 2: For. Rel., 1899, p. 350, Tower to Hay, Oct. 8, 1899.]

[Footnote 3: For. Rel., 1899, P. 350, Hill to Tower, Oct. 11, 1899.]

[Footnote 4: For. Rel., 1899, p. 351, Tower to Hill, and Adee to Tower,
Oct. 13, 1899.]

Having thus assumed an attitude entirely in accord with the obligations
incumbent upon a neutral, the United States refused to heed the popular
demand to urge upon Great Britain its offices as mediator in a matter
which directly concerned the British colonial policy. Secretary Hay
properly refused to involve the Administration in the complications
which would have followed any official interrogation addressed to the
British Government with reference to its ultimate intentions in South
Africa. Moreover, it was authoritatively stated that any concerted
European intervention would not meet with favor in Washington, as such
action would only tend to disturb general commercial relations by
embroiling most of the nations of the world. Any attempted intervention
would certainly have led to a conflict of the Powers, and would have
involved questions of national supremacy, disturbed the balance of
power, and raised the Chinese question, in which last the United States
had an important interest. It was a sound policy therefore upon the part
of the United States not to encourage any intervention by European
nations in the affairs of Great Britain in South Africa.

This attitude not only reciprocated the friendly feeling shown by
England during the Spanish-American War, but was in strict accord with
the traditional American policy enunciated by Washington. The
acquisition of the Philippines had only served to exemplify the
soundness of this doctrine, and the State Department was not in a mood
to take the initial steps which might lead to added responsibilities
with reference to matters which, in this instance at any rate, were not
directly of American concern. The part to be played by the United States
was clearly that of an impartial neutral.

In his message to Congress in 1900 President McKinley stated that he was
happy to say that abundant opportunity had been afforded in the
situation at Pretoria to permit the United States consul there to show
the impartiality of the Government toward both the combatants.
Developments, however, were to show that things had not gone so smoothly
there as was supposed at the time.

On December 8 the President had appointed Mr. Adelbert Hay, son of the
Secretary of State, to succeed Mr. McCrum in his position as consul and
instructions were sent to him to proceed at once to Pretoria. Mr.
Hollis, the American consul at Lorenzo Marques, was directed at the same
time to act _ad interim_ at Pretoria after the departure of Mr. McCrum
and until Mr. Hay could reach South Africa. On December 18 Mr. Hollis
took charge of all British and American interests within the Transvaal
while still keeping an oversight of the affairs of the United States in
and around Lorenzo Marques.

Soon after the war had begun Mr. McCrum had reported to Washington, in
reply to inquiries with reference to the British prisoners in the hands
of the Boers, that it was the wish of the Republican Government that in
the future all requests for the payment of money to officers or other
prisoners, as well as inquiries regarding their welfare, should come
through the regular military channels at the front. The Republic at the
same time intimated that it could no longer recognize Mr. McCrum in any
official capacity on behalf of Great Britain.[5] The British
representative at once suggested that the United States consul be
instructed to point out to the Transvaal that such an attitude was a
departure from the usual practice in not permitting the American
Government to use its friendly good offices on behalf of the English
prisoners of war. Lord Salisbury called attention to the fact that
during the Crimean War "moneys" for the British prisoners in Russia were
distributed through the Danish representatives in St. Petersburg and
London; and that during the Franco-Prussian War such small sums of money
were handed to the French prisoners in Germany through the British
Foreign Office. It was understood as a matter of course that reciprocal
privileges would be extended to the Boer prisoners in the hands of the
English commanders.[6]

[Footnote 5: For. Rel., 1900, p. 619, Hay to Pauncefote, Nov. 11, 1899.]

[Footnote 6: Ibid., p. 619, Hay to Pauncefote, Nov. 22, 1899.]

Mr. McCrum, following instructions from his Government, had placed the
English view of the situation before the Transvaal authorities before he
left Pretoria, and had called their attention to the fact that for them
to permit the charitable and humane intervention of the United States
consul under the circumstances was the regular course in time of war.[7]
But not until Mr. Hollis reached Pretoria was the attitude of the
Republic explained. He inquired of the Secretary of State as well as of
the Secretary for Foreign Affairs with reference to the attitude he
would be allowed to assume toward British interests; to what extent he
might act on behalf of British prisoners of war in the Transvaal and
Orange Free State; and how far he might exercise the usual consular
functions on behalf of Great Britain during the war.

[Footnote 7: For. Rel., 1900, p. 620, Hay to Pauncefote, Nov. 28, 1900,
and Hay to Pauncefote, Apl. 9, 1900.]

The report was made to Washington "from many official and consular
sources that the late British agent at this capital [presumably Mr.
Green] was always a thorn in the side of this Government, and that he
is, in part, responsible for this present war."[8] It was pointed out
that since this was the attitude of the Republican Government there
existed at Pretoria a decided aversion to the recognition of any one who
might claim to act as a British agent. The Transvaal Secretary of State
expressed himself emphatically upon the point: "We got rid of the
British agent on the eleventh of October last, and God willing, we will
never have another one here."[9] Mr. Reitz even went so far as to
express the confident hope that at the close of the war a British
minister and British consuls would reside at Pretoria, but he was
positive upon the question of receiving any one who was known as an
agent of Great Britain. No one who assumed this relation toward the
English Government would be acceptable to the Transvaal and Orange Free

[Footnote 8: For. Rel., 1900, p. 621, Hollis to Hill, Feb. 2, 1900.]

[Footnote 9: For. Rel., 1900, p. 621, Hollis to Hill, Feb. 2, 1900.]

The attitude which the Republic alleged it had been willing and was
ready to assume was an unwillingness to recognize the consul of the
United States or any other consular officer as the official
representative of the British Government during the war; an objection to
the transmission of the official communications of the English
Government to that of the South African Republic, or of the official
despatches of the English Government addressed to the British prisoners
in the hands of the Transvaal, or of "moneys" or funds sent by the
British Government to the English prisoners of war. On the other hand
the Transvaal authorities were not unwilling to allow the United States
consul at Pretoria to perform certain enumerated services in behalf of
all British prisoners of war and their friends. No objection was made to
the forwarding of letters and papers sent by friends to the prisoners,
and, under the supervision of the War Office of the Transvaal, the
Republic expressed itself willing to permit the distribution of funds
sent to the English prisoners by their friends at home. But it was
understood that such services would be reciprocal, and that the Republic
would have the right to request similar services of the American
consular officers on behalf of the Boer and Afrikander prisoners in the
English possessions. The right was reserved to revoke any and all
privileges to receive letters, papers, parcels and money, which were
enjoyed by British prisoners in the Transvaal, should the fact be
sufficiently proved that Boer or Afrikander prisoners in the hands of
the English authorities were not receiving kind and humane treatment, or
were being denied privileges similar to those enjoyed by British
prisoners in the Republic. All concessions on the part of the Transvaal
Government would be instantly revoked on these grounds as sufficient
reason and cause for such action. The Republican Government asserted
that this had been the attitude in accordance with which it had acted
from the commencement of the war.[10]

[Footnote 10: For. Rel., 1900, pp. 621-622, Hollis to Reitz, Jan. 31,
1900, and Reitz to Hollis, Feb. 2, 1900.]

With reference to the recall of the American consul and the appointment
of Mr. Adelbert Hay, it appears that there had been a certain amount of
friction between Mr. McCrum and the English censor at Durban concerning
the consular mails. In connection with this incident, and a little
unwisely it would seem, Mr. McCrum had reported unofficially that his
mail had been tampered with by the censor and had been forwarded to him
only after Colonel Stowe, the American consul-general at Cape Town, had
secured its release. He asserted: "I had the humiliation, as the
representative of the American Government, of sitting in my office in
Pretoria and looking upon envelopes bearing the official seal of the
American Government, opened and officially sealed with stickers,
notifying me that the contents had been read by the censor at Durban."
And he continues, "when I accepted my post as consul I knew nothing of
any secret alliance between America and Great Britain."[11] These
charges brought forth in the House of Representatives a resolution which
called upon the President to furnish information as to whether the
consul's mail had been opened and read by the British censor and, if so,
what steps had been taken in the matter. Information was also asked as
to what truth there was in the statement that a secret alliance existed
between the "Republic of the United States and the Empire of Great

[Footnote 11: H.R., Doc. 458, 56 Cong., 1 Sess.]

[Footnote 12: H. Res. 149, 56 Cong., 1 Sess.; also H. Res. 160.]

In response the President reported through the Secretary of State that
the Department had been in regular communication by mail and telegraph
with Charles E. McCrum, late consul at Pretoria, since his entrance upon
the duties of the office. Communications made to him had been answered
by him. His despatches forwarded through the consulate at Lorenzo
Marques had been regularly received during his incumbency in office. It
was pointed out that the only instance of complaint had been in
November, when a temporary stoppage of the mails had occurred at Cape
Town, against which both Mr. McCrum and the consul at Lorenzo Marques
had protested. But arrangements had been then made for the prompt
delivery of all the consular mails to the United States consulate at
Cape Town by which they were forwarded to the consul at Lorenzo Marques
and thence to Pretoria. The delay had continued only a few days and the
difficulty had not occurred again. It was pointed out also that this
arrangement had been made known to both Mr. McCrum and Mr. Hollis as
early as November 16, and that no obstacle had since existed to prevent
the unhampered correspondence from Pretoria to Washington. Moreover, the
Secretary of State asserted that Mr. McCrum had not officially reported
"any instance of violation, by opening or otherwise, of his official
mail by the British censor at Durban, or any person or persons
whatsoever, there or elsewhere;"[13] he had not so reported since he
left Pretoria, although ample opportunity was afforded him to do so by
mail or in person when he reported to the Department on his return.

[Footnote 13: H.R., Doc. 458, 56 Cong., 1 Sess.]

In regard to the second charge made by Mr. McCrum it seemed hardly
necessary to say that there was no truth in the statement that a secret
alliance existed between Great Britain and the United States; that no
form of secret alliance was possible under the Constitution since all
treaties required the advice and consent of the Senate. Mr. Hay
concluded, however, by emphatically assuring the members of Congress
that "no secret alliance, convention, arrangement, or understanding
exists between the United States and any other nation."[14]

[Footnote 14: H.R., Doc. 458, 56 Cong., 1 Sess.]

Mr. McCrum later appeared before the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the
House of Representatives and stated his side of the case. He declared
that while at Pretoria he had _understood_ that the British Government
was in possession of the United States cable ciphers but he was unable
to affirm this from personal knowledge. He based his belief, he said,
upon the fact that when on November 6 he had cabled by way of Durban to
the Department asking for leave of absence the incident had been
reported to have been published in a Durban paper on the following day,
although he had cabled in cipher. He was not able to say, however,
whether the fact of his desiring leave was actually published on
November 7, as he had not seen the paper, but had heard that the fact
had been published. He asserted that the first actual evidence of the
opening of his mail was in the case of two opened letters reaching him,
but he admitted that he had not reported the matter to the Department.
When Mr. Hay mentioned the matter to Sir Julian Pauncefote, the British
Ambassador in Washington, the English Government replied that it had no
knowledge of the incident, and gave the assurance that if it had
occurred it had been contrary to instructions. Colonel Stowe later
informed Mr. Hay that two letters from the consulate at Cape Town, one
for Pretoria, the other for Lorenzo Marques, had been opened by the
censor at Durban, but that Sir Alfred Milner, the British High
Commissioner, had afterward offered a very satisfactory apology.

In view of these facts the committee of the House, before which Mr.
McCrum appeared, made no report, and when Mr. Adelbert Hay reported that
he had failed to find on the files of the consulate any evidence of the
official mail having been tampered with, the incident was considered
closed. Mr. Hay declared that as far as he could ascertain, no
interference had occurred in the communication, either telegraphic or
postal, between the State Department and the consulate.[15]

[Footnote 15: For. Rel., 1906, p. 20, Hay to Pauncefote, Apr. 9, 1900.]

The new consul at Pretoria also reported that everything was as
satisfactory as could be expected under the circumstances of war, and
his official intercourse with the Transvaal Government afterwards fully
justified this assertion. The republics displayed a proper attitude
toward the consulate not only as representing American interests, but as
representing Great Britain during the course of hostilities. Every
facility was afforded the American consul for performing his duties. For
the efficient service he had rendered in connection with the British
prisoners he was publicly thanked by the British High Commissioner, who
expressed the feeling of gratitude which he said existed throughout the
British Empire for the good work which had been performed by both Mr.
Hay and Colonel Stowe, the latter at Cape Town.

While enforcing the obligations of a neutral State by an attitude of
strict impartiality toward both belligerents, the United States was not
inclined to allow popular sympathy for the Boers to lead to
complications with foreign nations over a matter with which it was only
remotely concerned. This position was known to the envoys of the
Transvaal and Orange Free State before they left Pretoria. Ample
opportunity to realize the situation had been afforded them before they
left Europe for America after an unsuccessful tour of the capitals of
the Continent. Nevertheless, they determined to appeal to the United
States, and with this purpose in view arrived in Washington on May 17,
1900. A resolution introduced in the Senate by Mr. Allen of Nebraska on
May 19, which would have extended the privilege of the floor to them,
was laid on the table,[16] a decision the wisdom of which is
unquestionable. The Senate stands before the world as an important part
of the treaty-making power of the United States. Such a privilege, if
extended to the mission, could have meant nothing to foreign powers but
an official reception to the envoys of a government which was not
recognized as legitimate by its former conventional suzerain. It was not
the part of the Senate to inquire into the substance of the past
relations between Great Britain and the Transvaal. Especially was this
true since the governmental position had been declared early in the war
and nothing had occurred to warrant any alteration in that position.
This was the view which President McKinley took of the situation, and
the policy of dealing with the problem was that of the strictest

[Footnote 16: 56 Cong., 1 Sess., Record, pp. 5735, 5783-86.]

On May 21 it was officially announced that the delegates had called by
appointment at the State Department. The notice given out to the press
read: "They were cordially received and remained with the Secretary of
State for more than an hour. They laid before the secretary at much
length and with great energy and eloquence the merits of the controversy
in South Africa and the desire of the Boer Republics that the United
States should intervene in the interests of peace and use its influence
to that end with the British Government."[17] The ambition of the envoys
on leaving the Transvaal for Europe had been "for the purpose of seeking
recognition and intervention," but the success of their mission at
Washington was not to be greater than it had been in European capitals.
Although Mr. Hay received them courteously their competence to treat
directly with the State Department was not recognized. When they
realized this fact they appealed directly to the people in the hope of
bringing a certain amount of pressure to bear upon the President from
that source. He fully realized, however, that under the circumstances no
interference was advisable. A departure from this policy would have
created a precedent which might later have been appealed to by any
European government in behalf of its subjects in this country. As
Presidential candidate, however, William J. Bryan, in effect, if not in
express terms, promised a mediation that would mean something should the
Democrats come into power, and it was hopes created by such utterances
which encouraged the Boers to believe that intervention on the part of
the United States was a possibility. Even the Senate passed resolutions
of sympathy which only held out a vain hope and naturally caused a
certain amount of criticism in England. In the end, however, the envoys
became convinced that nothing was to be hoped for in the way of
dictatorial interference by the United States.

[Footnote 17: Moore, Digest of Int. Law, Vol. I, p. 213]

In his message to Congress, in 1899, three months after the war began,
President McKinley had been able to declare: "This Government has
maintained an attitude of neutrality in the unfortunate contest between
Great Britain and the Boer States of Africa. We have remained faithful
to the precept of avoiding entangling alliances as to affairs not of our
direct concern. Had circumstances suggested that the parties to the
quarrel would have welcomed any kindly expression of the hope of the
American people that war might be averted, good offices would have been
gladly tendered." And in May, 1900, after the interview with the
Transvaal delegation, Mr. Hay gave out a statement through his secretary
in which it was declared that this entirely correct neutral attitude had
been strictly adhered to: "As the war went on the President, while
regretting the suffering and the sacrifices endured by both of the
combatants, could do nothing but preserve a strict neutrality between
them. This has been steadfastly and constantly done, but there never has
been a moment when he would have neglected any favorable occasion to use
his good offices in the interest of peace."[18] Mr. Hay also pointed to
the fact that on March 10, 1900, at the request of the Republics, the
United States consul at Pretoria had communicated with his Government
with a view to the cessation of hostilities, and that the same proposal
was made to European powers through their respective consuls.

[Footnote 18: Moore, Digest of Int. Law, Vol. VII, p. 19.]

The request of the Transvaal was at once despatched to London, and the
earnest hope was expressed by the President that a way might be found to
bring about peace, with the intimation that he "would be glad to aid in
any friendly manner to promote so happy a result." The Transvaal was
promptly informed of this action and the United States representative in
London communicated the President's instructions to Lord Salisbury. In
answer he was requested to "thank the President for the friendly
interest shown by him," but it was unmistakably declared that "Her
Majesty's Government could not accept the intervention of any
power."[19] This reply was communicated to Pretoria, and no further
steps were taken, since any insistence upon the part of the United
States would have been an unfriendly act.

[Footnote 19: Moore, Digest of Int. Law, Vol. VII, p. 20.]

In justification of the action of the President, in view of the popular
feeling that more urgent pressure might have been used to cause the
cessation of hostilities, Secretary Hay clearly showed that the United
States Government was the only one of all those approached by the
republics which had even tendered its good offices in the interest of
peace. He called attention to the fact that despite the popular clamor
to the contrary the action of the Government was fully in accord with
the provisions of the Hague Conference and went as far as that
Convention warranted. A portion of Article III of that instrument
declares: "Powers, strangers to the dispute, may have the right to offer
good offices or mediation, even during the course of hostilities," but
Article V asserts, "The functions of the mediator are at an end when
once it is declared either by one of the parties to the dispute or by
the mediator, himself, that the means of conciliation proposed by him
are not accepted."[20] Obviously any further action on the part of the
United States was not required under the circumstances, and Secretary
Hay seems fully justified in his statement that "the steps taken by the
President in his earnest desire to see an end to the strife which caused
so much suffering may already be said to have gone to the extreme limit
permitted to him." Moreover, had the President preferred not to present
to Great Britain the Republic's request for good offices, his action
could have been justified by the conditions under which the
representatives of the United States at the Hague signed that
convention. At that time the express declaration was made that "Nothing
contained in this Convention shall be so construed as to require the
United States of America to depart from its traditional policy of not
intruding upon, interfering with, or entangling itself with questions of
policy or internal administration of any foreign State."[21]

[Footnote 20: Moore, Digest of Int. Law, Vol. VII, p. 23.]

[Footnote 21: Moore, Digest of Int. Law, Vol. VII, p. 21.]

The final utterance of the President in regard to the mission of the
Boers was the conclusive statement made through Secretary Hay: "The
President sympathizes heartily in the desire of all the people of the
United States that the war ... may, for the sake of both parties
engaged, come to a speedy close; but having done his full duty in
preserving a strictly neutral position between them and in seizing the
first opportunity that presented itself for tendering his good offices
in the interests of peace, he feels that in the present circumstances no
course is open to him except to persist in the policy of impartial
neutrality. To deviate from this would be contrary to all our traditions
and all our national interests, and would lead to consequences which
neither the President nor the people of the United States could regard
with favor."[22]

[Footnote 22: Moore, Digest of Int. Law, Vol. VII, p. 21.]

The attitude of the United States in the immediate vicinity of the war
as well as the manner in which the envoys of the Transvaal were received
in Washington rendered criticism impossible with reference to the
fulfilment of the obligations of a neutral State. But serious charges
were repeatedly made by the Transvaal sympathizers with reference to the
use to which American ports and waters were put by British vessels or
British-leased transports plying between the United States and South
Africa. It was alleged that Great Britain was able to create here a base
of warlike supplies, and thus to obtain material aid in her operations
against the Boer forces. The probability of the truth of the Transvaal's
allegations would seem at first thought to be slight considering the
distance of the scene of war from the coasts of the United States, but
upon closer inspection these charges become more worthy of belief. That
warlike supplies were actually transported from at least one of the
ports of the United States under such a systematic scheme as to
constitute a base of hostile supplies for the English forces in South
Africa, would seem to be established.

Individual commercial transactions with belligerents always occur, and
it is not the part of neutral governments to assume responsibility for
all such transactions, but the principles of the international law of
the present day do require all neutral states to see to it that their
respective territories are not made bases for hostile operations.

A few minor incidents showed that the obligations of neutrality would be
enforced by the United States when it became apparent to the Government
that the neutrality laws were being evaded. In Cincinnati a Frenchman
giving his name as Pierrot was summoned before the United States
Attorney on a charge of a violation of neutral restrictions. He had been
known, it seems, as a recruiting officer for the Transvaal Government,
but avowed that he had engaged men only for the Boer hospital corps and
not for the army of the Republics. The warning that he must cease
enlisting men even for this branch of the republican service proved
sufficient in this case, but undoubtedly such recruiting on a small
scale continued to evade detection.

Later, the New York courts restrained the steamer _Bermuda_ from leaving
the port upon the application of a British subject, who alleged that he
had been informed that the _Bermuda_ was carrying contraband to the
Transvaal. After a detention of five days the ship was allowed to sail
because it was not shown that the allegation had any foundation in fact.

Toward the close of November, 1900, a charge of a more serious nature
was made. It was reported that a British remount establishment was
operating in the United States and had just purchased fifty thousand
horses and mules for the British forces in South Africa, and
considerable attention to this alleged violation of neutral obligations
was drawn by that portion of the press which was in sympathy with the
Boers. A resolution was adopted by the House of Representatives calling
upon the President to furnish information "whether our ports or waters
had been used for the exportation of horses, mules, and other supplies
for use in South Africa, and if so, to what extent and what steps had
been taken to prevent such a use being made of neutral territory in time
of war."[23] The request was also made that full information be
furnished with reference to the number of horses and mules which had
been cleared from the ports of the United States since the beginning of
the war, with a detailed statement of the shipments from each port and
the dates of such clearances.

[Footnote 23: H. Res. 414, 418, 56 Cong., 2 Sess., Feb. 28, 1901.]

The reply submitted to Congress was that the ports of the United States
had been used for the exportation of horses and mules and other supplies
for use in South Africa; that between October, 1899, and January 31,
1901, the value of such shipments had amounted to $26,592,692; that no
steps had been taken to prevent the "lawful exportation of horses,
mules, and other supplies to South Africa;" and that the number of
horses and mules shipped from the ports of the United States during this
period had been 76,632. It was not practicable, it was asserted, to give
the shipments from each port and the dates of such shipments without
examining the copies of the manifests of each vessel that had cleared
for South Africa. Such an examination and compilation could not be
presented to Congress before its adjournment, although copies of the
clearance papers were filed with the collectors of the customs at the
different ports of the country.[24]

[Footnote 24: H.R., Doc. 498, 56 Cong., 2 Sess.]

In the same report it was shown that of the entire exports to South
Africa during this period a large proportion had been of warlike
supplies, if horses and mules for army purposes can be considered
warlike in character; 28,598 horses valued at $2,698,827; 48,034 mules
valued at $4,611,365. Gunpowder to the value of $1472 had also been
exported; other explosives to the value of $7073, and firearms valued at
$924, in all $7,310,661 worth of such supplies exported to one or both
of the belligerents in South Africa. Possibly the larger proportion of
the gunpowder, other explosives, and firearms was run into the Transvaal
by way of Delagoa Bay as contraband under the usual risks, or was used
for purposes apart from the war, but with reference to the supplies for
the British army it would seem that a very free use was made of the
ports and waters of the United States. One reason why the English
Government was able to supply its armies in South Africa with horses and
mules in such large numbers may have been the fact that a better market
supply existed in this country, but it is more probable that the evasion
of the strictest neutral requirements was easier here than elsewhere.
The distance from the scene of war, although it involved an additional
cost for transportation, also rendered an evasion of the requirements of
neutrality less conspicuous. The supply of horses and mules in the
European market was scant, especially in the class of animals which was
needed, but it seems obvious that the motive which actuated the
purchases was rather the greater ease in evading neutral prohibitions
than the desire to secure a better market at a distance of ten thousand
miles from the seat of war. Possibly both motives actuated the
purchases, but it is nevertheless true that the United States ports were
used to a far greater extent than those of any other neutral Government.
The last statement is borne out by the Report of the Royal Commission on
the War in South Africa, which shows that from November, 1899, to June,
1902, inclusive, no fewer than 191,363 horses and mules were shipped
from the ports of the United States for the British forces in South
Africa, aggregating a total cost to Great Britain of approximately
$20,175,775. The entire cost in the United States and elsewhere for such
purchases at the end of July, 1902, amounted to $52,000,000 in round
numbers. The entire cost incurred within the United States was greater
than that incurred in any other country. In Hungary the cost to Great
Britain for horses and mules was $8,203,505; in Spain $1,667,695; in
Italy $688,690; in the Argentine Republic, the British colonies and
elsewhere, $21,284,335.[25]

[Footnote 25: Sessional Papers of the House of Commons, C. 1792 (1903),
p. 260.]

In view of this undoubted use of the ports and waters of the United
States by one of the belligerents in a war toward which a neutral
attitude had been declared, it may be inquired how far the condition of
affairs was known to the Administration and what opportunity there was
for executive action, especially with reference to the allegation made
by the Transvaal that the port of New Orleans was used as a base of
warlike supplies for the British forces.

On April 10, 1902, a resolution of the House of Representatives called
upon the President for copies of "any report and communication of the
Governor of Louisiana, together with all accompanying affidavits,
documents and communications concerning the shipments of horses, mules,
and other supplies from Louisiana to the seat of war in South
Africa."[26] In response a report of Secretary Hay disclosed the fact
that on February 1, 1902, a certain Samuel Pearson had appealed to the
President against the use to which Great Britain had been allowed to put
the ports of the United States in supplying her armies in South Africa.
Pearson had affirmed that "the port of New Orleans was being made the
basis of military operations and the port and waters for the purpose of
the renewal and augmentation of military supplies for the British army."
He further alleged that the attention of the courts had been called to
the matter and the United States circuit court for the eastern district
of Louisiana had declared that the case was not within the cognizance of
the court since the matter could be taken up only by the executive
branch of the government.[27] In making his plea directly to the
President, Pearson asserted that at the port of Chalmette, a few miles
below New Orleans, a British post had been established; that men and
soldiers had been assembled there and were daily engaged in warlike
operations not only for the renewal and augmentation of military
supplies, but for the recruitment of men. He alleged that no concealment
was made of the facts as he had stated them; that although the English
officers did not appear in uniform war was actually being carried on in
behalf of the British Government from the territory of the United
States. He concluded: "With every respect for the authority of the
United States Government, may I not consider your silence or inaction
the equivalent of consent for me to stop the further violation of the
neutrality laws of this port, or to carry on war here for the

[Footnote 26: H.R., Doc. 568, 57 Cong., 1 Sess., p. 1.]

[Footnote 27: Pearson _v_. Parson, 108 Fed. Rep. 461.]

[Footnote 28: H.R., Doc. 568, 57 Cong., 1 Sess., p. 3.]

The President referred the matter to the Mayor of New Orleans with the
intimation that a breach of the peace was threatened. The Mayor shifted
the responsibility to the Governor of the State on the ground that the
acts complained of were alleged to have been committed in the parish of
St. Bernard and consequently outside the jurisdiction of the city
authorities. Finally, under the orders of the Governor the Sheriff of
St. Bernard parish made an investigation and reported that Pearson's
statements had been incorrect in a number of points.[29] It was admitted
that mules and horses had been and were then being loaded at Port
Chalmette for the British Government either directly or indirectly; that
the operation was being carried out by local men all of whom were
citizens of the United States; that the work was being supervised by
Englishmen who might or might not be officers of the British army,
although none of them wore the uniform of Great Britain. But the Sheriff
positively asserted that a British post with men and soldiers was not
established at the port; that no recruiting of men was taking place
within the parish; that the only men taken on the ships were muleteers
who were employed in the city of New Orleans by the contractors; that
these men were taken on board the ships when in mid-stream by tugs which
set out from the city wharves.

[Footnote 29: H.R., Doc. 568, 57 Cong., 1 Sess., p. 4; Nunez, Sheriff of
St. Bernard, to Heard, Governor of Louisiana, Feb. 28, 1902.]

In a personal interview "General" Pearson made the same charges to the
Governor that he had made in his letter to the President. He asked that
he be allowed to offer forcible resistance to the shipments to South
Africa, and to the enlisting or employing of men as muleteers, who, he
alleged, were later incorporated in the British army. This interview
took place the day following the Sheriff's letter partially denying the
charges to the Governor, and the latter was not disposed to take any
action in the matter until proof of the accuracy of the averments was
produced, although the facts which were alleged had become widely known.

The attitude of the Administration with reference to Pearson's letter,
it was believed by the press, was not of a character to inspire great
confidence in the strict performance of neutral duties. To ignore an
allegation of so flagrant a character as the breach of neutrality, it
was declared, constituted a disregard of American ideals in the interest
of British imperialism which could not be excused by jocular references
to "General" Pearson's request to the President "to either put an end to
this state of affairs or permit me to strike one blow."[30]

[Footnote 30: The Republic of Chicago, Feb. 15, 1902.]

It was pointed out that the problem raised by Pearson was not one that
might be laughed out of the White House, but was the serious question
whether the British Government should any longer be permitted, in
violation of American neutrality, to use an American city and port as a
base of warlike operations against a friendly people. The newspapers,
too, had made public the movements of the English army officers in
charge of the shipments. It seems that the base of operations at first
used by Great Britain was Southport, but that Chalmette had later been
selected. The efficiency of the latter station was reported upon in
March, 1902, by General Sir Richard Campbell Stewart of the British
army. Everything pertaining to the efficiency of the transportation
service was carefully inspected on behalf of the British Government.
Colonel DeBergh, who was in command of the remount service in the United
States, declared that he had not received orders from the British War
Office to discontinue the shipments, and that they would be continued
"unless General Pearson and the Boer army drive our garrison away."[31]

[Footnote 31: The New Orleans Picayune, Mar. 28, 1902.]

The evidence which Pearson was able to place before Governor Heard and
which the latter laid before the President seemed to substantiate the
fact that at least one of the ports of the United States had been
constantly used and was then being used as a base of military
transportation to the British forces in South Africa. It was shown that
William B. Leonard, of New Orleans, had contracted with Major H.J.
Scobell, representing the British Government, for the purchase of mules
to be shipped to South Africa for military purposes. The contract had
been signed in October, 1899, and during the months from October, 1899,
to May, 1900, large numbers had been shipped to South Africa under the
immediate direction of British army officers.[32] P.B. Lynch made
affidavit that he had been employed as clerk and bookkeeper in the
bureau of the British remount service in New Orleans from December,
1899, to September, 1901. He explained the operations of the remount
service as well as its methods, and indicated clearly the direct
connection of regularly appointed officers of the British army with the
purchase and shipment of horses and mules to South Africa. The
purchases, it seems, were made at different points in the country and
afterward assembled at a place designated by the officer in charge in
New Orleans. The British army brand was then placed upon the animals,
which were immediately consigned to the British officer in New Orleans
but without giving his military title. They were then transferred to
ships the charter parties of which were agents of the English
Government. It was shown that the ships' agents usually employed
muleteers taken on by tugs from the city of New Orleans, and it was
proved that the whole operation was controlled by English army officers
who were detailed from London or from South Africa for the purpose.[33]

[Footnote 32: Leonard _v_. Sparks Bros. & McGee, Civil District Court,
Parish of New Orleans, Division E, No. 62,770, Feb. 24, 1902.]

[Footnote 33: H.R., Doc. 568, 57 Cong., 1 Sess., p. 9; also pp. 10-13

The testimony of Charles J. Cole showed that as foreman in charge of
seventy or more men he had made six trips to South Africa in the service
of the British Government or of its agents. His testimony was
substantiated by certificates for seamen discharged before the
superintendent of a mercantile marine office in the British Empire, a
British consul, or a shipping officer on board the vessel on which he
had sailed. He had been employed on the transports _Prah, Montcalm,
Knight Bachelor, Montezuma_, and _Rosetta_, all engaged in transporting
horses and mules to the British army in South Africa. He testified that
the transports were in charge of regular officers of the English army
and that from them all orders were received. He also avowed that many of
the men were urged and solicited by the officers to join the British
army, and were unable to obtain their pay unless they complied with the

[Footnote 34: Pearson et al. _v_. Parson et al., United States Circuit
Court, Eastern District of Louisiana; also H.R., Doc. 568, 57 Cong., 1
Sess., p. 20.]

The affidavit of R.J. Tourres showed that he had served on the ship
_Milwaukee_. He averred that the ship's articles were signed by him
before the vice-consul of the British Government; that he was finally
referred to an officer of the English army for duty and acted under his
orders during the voyage from New Orleans to Cape Town; that when the
vessel was not allowed to land its cargo at that place on account of the
plague the consignment of horses and mules for the British army was
delivered at Durban to English officers in uniform; that he was not
allowed to go ashore except upon the condition of signing with the
recruiting officer and joining the British army; that during the entire
voyage a British military officer in uniform controlled the ship's crew;
and that among the men the _Milwaukee_ was known as a transport under
the direct command of regularly detailed officers of the English

[Footnote 35: Sworn to before notary public Mch. 21, 1902. H.R., Doc.
568, 57 Cong., 1 Sess., p. 21.]

The testimony of a number of other witnesses sworn before the
commissioner for the eastern district of Louisiana showed that the wages
of the men employed upon the ship _Montcalm_ had been refused by the
captain unless they would agree to enlist in the British army, but as
American citizens they had refused to enlist and had demanded the wages
due them under the ship's articles. August Nozeret, an American citizen,
foreman of a corps of muleteers on board the _Montcalm_, testified that
he was told by the ship's officers that the only way to secure his
discharge at Port Elizabeth was to have a recruiting officer vouch for
his enlisting in the British army; and that he complied with this demand
and escaped enlistment only by pretending to be physically unable to
count the number of perforations in a card when required to do so as a
test of sight at the recruiting office. The affiant was able to say from
his own personal knowledge that certified discharges were not given
unless the men were willing to enlist in the English army.[36] An
abundance of other evidence to the same effect was produced, and it was
shown that both the _Montcalm_ and the _Milwaukee_ were under the direct
control of the British war authorities. Both had their official numbers
painted from their hulls before entering the Portuguese harbor of Beira.

[Footnote 36: Cramer et al. _v_. S.S. _Montcalm_, United States District
Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, in Admiralty, No. 13,639; also
H.R., Doc. 568, 57 Cong., 1 Sess., pp. 22-23.]

The evidence which was thus placed before the President would seem to
show that the spirit at any rate of the neutrality laws of the United
States[37] had been violated, and that this violation had been
systematically carried out by the British Government and not by
individual citizens merely as a commercial venture.

[Footnote 37: Revised Statutes, Title LXVII, Sections 5281-5291,

The first section of the neutrality laws which were passed by Congress
in 1818 defines the offense of accepting a foreign commission and lays
down the penalty for such an offense. The second section forbids any
person within the territory of the United States to enlist in a foreign
service "as soldier, or as a mariner, or seaman, on board of any vessel
of war, letter of marque, or privateer." The three following sections
prohibit the arming of a vessel to cruise against a people at peace with
the United States, or against the citizens of the United States, or the
augmentation of the force of any foreign vessel of war. The next
prohibits military expeditions of any kind. This section reads:

"Every person who, within the territory or jurisdiction of the United
States, begins, or sets on foot, or provides or prepares the means for,
any military expedition or enterprise, to be carried on from thence
against the territory or dominions of any foreign prince, state, colony,
district or people, with whom the United States are at peace, shall be
deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be fined not exceeding $3,000,
and imprisoned not more than three years."[38]

[Footnote 38: Sec. 5286.]

Section 5287 provides for the enforcement of the foregoing provisions.
It leaves the cognizance of all complaints in the hands of the several
district courts, but empowers the President to employ the land and naval
forces to enforce all of the restrictions embodied in the neutrality
provisions. The following section empowers the President to compel
foreign vessels "to depart the United States in all cases in which, by
the laws of nations, or by the treaties of the United States they ought
not to remain within the United States," Section 5289 requires that a
foreign armed vessel shall give bond on clearance. Section 5290 empowers
the collectors of the customs to detain foreign vessels: "The several
collectors of the customs shall detain any vessel manifestly built for
warlike purposes, and about to depart the United States, the cargo of
which principally consists of arms and munitions of war, when the number
of men on board, or circumstances render it probable that such vessel is
intended to be employed by the owners to cruise or commit hostilities
upon the subjects, citizens or property of any colony, district or
people with whom the United States are at peace, until the decision of
the President is had thereon, or until the owner gives such bond and
security as is required of the owners of armed vessels by the preceding
section." Section 5291 defines the construction to be put upon the
neutrality laws. They are not to be construed to extend to any subject
or citizen of any foreign State who is only transiently within the
United States, nor directly to be construed in such a way as to prevent
the prosecution or punishment of treason, or of any piracy defined by
the laws of the United States. Possibly the alleged unneutral acts in
the territorial waters of the United States did not fall within the
strict letter of the restrictions contained in these laws. But if the
provisions of 1818 are construed so as to require the maintenance of a
perfect neutrality it would seem that they were evaded in the
transactions which were permitted at the port of New Orleans.

In this connection the neutrality clause of the Treaty of Washington is
of interest. This treaty was signed in 1871 by Great Britain and the
United States and is illustrative of the requirements of neutrality as
understood by these two nations should either be at war with a third
party. For the immediate purposes of war the allied republics of South
Africa by the fact of their recognized belligerent status possessed
rights equal in international law to those held by Spain or by the
United States with reference to third powers during the Spanish-American
War. On April 26, 1898, the day after this war was declared, the British
declaration of neutrality referred to the Treaty of Washington as
embodying the terms upon which a neutral attitude should be observed: "A
neutral government is bound ... not to permit or suffer either
belligerent to make use of its ports or waters as the base of naval
operations against the other, or for the purpose of the renewal or
augmentation of military supplies of arms, or the recruitment of men, ...
to exercise due diligence in its own ports and waters, and as to all
persons within its own jurisdiction, to prevent any violation of the
foregoing obligations and duties,"[39]

[Footnote 39: Art. VI; London Gazette Extraordinary, April 26, 1898;
For. Rel., 1899, pp. 865-866.]

Illegal enlistment was clearly defined as understood by Great Britain:
"If any person ... being a British subject, within or without Her
Majesty's dominions, accepts or agrees to accept any commission or
engagement in the military or naval service of any foreign state at war
with any foreign state at peace with Her Majesty, ... or whether a
British subject or not, within Her Majesty's dominions, induces any
other person to accept any commission or engagement in the military or
naval service of any ... foreign state ... he shall be guilty of an
offense" against this act. And, "If any person induces any other person
to quit Her Majesty's dominions or to embark on any ship within Her
Majesty's dominions under a misrepresentation or false representation of
the service in which such person is to be engaged, with the intent or in
order that such person may accept or agree to accept any commission or
engagement in the military or naval service of any foreign state at war
with a friendly state ... he shall be guilty of an offense against
this act." [40]

[Footnote 40: British declaration of neutrality, Apl. 26, 1898. It was
pointed out that this act extended to all Her Majesty's dominions,
including the adjacent territorial waters.]

The last clause of Article six of the Treaty of 1871 read: "And the High
Contracting Parties agree to observe these rules as between themselves
in future and to bring them to the knowledge of other maritime Powers
and to induce them to accede to them."[41]

[Footnote 41: Gushing, Treaty of Washington (1873), p. 260. Great
Britain was averse to the acceptance of this article of the treaty, but
finally acceded to it in the above terms by signing the mutual

These provisions were strictly enforced during the Spanish-American War,
and other countries in their declarations defined the neutral attitude
which they assumed.

The Brazilian Government in its proclamation of April 29, 1898,
declared: "The exportation of material of war from the ports of Brazil
to those of either of the belligerent powers, under the Brazilian flag,
or that of any other nation, is absolutely prohibited."[42] It was also
pointed out that: "Individuals residing in Brazil, citizens or
foreigners, must abstain from all participation and aid in favor of
either of the belligerents, and may not do any act which might be
considered as hostile to either one of the two parties and, therefore,
contrary to the obligations of neutrality."[43] Neither belligerent was
to be permitted "to promote enlistment in Brazil, not only of its own
citizens, but also of the citizens of other countries, for the purpose
of incorporating them in its forces of land and sea."[44] Not even
merchant vessels were to be permitted to weigh anchor in Brazilian ports
until permission from the port authorities had been granted, and any
movements of the belligerents were to be under the supervision of the
customs authorities for the purpose of verifying the proper character of
the things put on board.[45]

[Footnote 42: Art. IV of the Brazilian proclamation of neutrality; For.
Rel., 1898, pp. 847 ff.]

[Footnote 43: For. Rel., 1898, pp. 847 ff., Art. I.]

[Footnote 44: Ibid., Art. II.]

[Footnote 45: Ibid., Arts. XVII and III.]

The decree of Denmark forbade Danish subjects to commit certain
enumerated offenses, and among them: "On or from Danish territory to
assist any of the belligerent powers in the enterprises of war, such as
supplying their ships with articles that must be considered contraband
of war."[46] Danish subjects were forbidden "to take service in any
quality soever in the army of the belligerent powers or on board their
government ships, such prohibition to include piloting their ships of
war or transports outside the reach of Danish pilotage, or, except in
case of danger of the sea, assisting them in sailing the ship;"[47] "To
build or remodel, sell or otherwise convey, directly or indirectly, for
or to any of the belligerent powers, ships known or supposed to be
intended for any purposes of war, or to cooperate in any manner on or
from Danish territory in the arming or fitting out of such ships for
enterprises of war;"[48] "To transport contraband of war for any of the
belligerent powers, or hire or charter to them ships known or supposed
to be intended for such use."[49]

[Footnote 46: Section I (3) of Danish proclamation of neutrality, Apl.
29, 1898; For. Rel., 1898, p. 855.]

[Footnote 47: Ibid., Sec. I (1).]

[Footnote 48: Ibid., Sec. I (2).]

[Footnote 49: Ibid., Sec. I (4).]

Japan forbade "the selling, purchasing, chartering, arming, or equipping
ships with the object of supplying them to one or the other of the
belligerent powers for use in war or privateering; the assisting such,
chartering, arming or equipping,"[50]

[Footnote 50: Art. 4 of Japanese proclamation of neutrality, May 2,
1898. For. Rel., 1898, p. 879.]

The Netherlands proclamation warned all Dutch subjects under penalty
against exporting "arms, ammunition, or other war materials to the
parties at war [to include] everything that is adaptable for immediate
use in war."[51]

[Footnote 51: Art II (b) of Netherlands proclamation of neutrality. May
3, 1898. For. Rel., 1898, p. 888.]

Although the primary object of these prohibitions was the stoppage of
all dealings in articles of a contraband nature, when fairly construed
in the light of international opinion they would seem to render illegal
the wholesale dealing in horses and mules intended for army purposes by
one of the belligerents. Such animals are undoubtedly "adaptable for
immediate use in war" and were in fact a necessity for the successful
carrying on of the war. In the light of the express restrictions of the
Treaty of Washington as exemplified in the war between one of the
parties to that treaty and a third party in 1898, the obligation imposed
upon the United States, impliedly at any rate, by the sixth article of
the mutual agreement of 1871 might be read: "The United States is bound
not to permit Great Britain to make use of its ports or waters as the
base of naval operations against the South African Republics, or for the
purpose of the renewal or augmentation of military supplies."

It would seem obvious that horses and mules when intended for immediate
use in military operations are within the meaning of the term "military
supplies." In numbers of instances horses have been considered
contraband of war. The treaty of 1778 between the United States and
France declared: "Horses with their furnishings are contraband of
war,"[52] In the treaty of December 1, 1774, between Holland and Great
Britain it was understood that "Horses and other warlike instruments are
contraband of war." And Hall declares that horses are generally
considered contraband and are so mentioned in the treaties between
different States. He points out that the placing of an army on a war
footing often exhausts the whole horse reserve of a country and
subsequent losses must be supplied from abroad; the necessity for this
is in proportion to the magnitude of the armies. Every imported horse is
probably bought on account of the Government, and if it is not some
other horse is at least set free for belligerent use. "Under the mere
light of common sense," he says, "the possibility of looking upon horses
as contraband seems hardly open to argument."[53]

[Footnote 52: Article XXIV; Wharton, Digest of Int. Law (1886), Vol.
III, Sec.372.]

[Footnote 53: International Law (1880), pp. 579-580.]

Oppenheim shows that the importance of horses and beasts of burden for
cavalry, artillery, and military transport sufficiently explains their
being declared contraband by belligerents. He asserts that no argument
against their being held as conditional contraband has any validity, and
it is admitted that they are frequently declared absolute
contraband.[54] During the Russo-Japanese War Russia at first refused to
recognize any distinction between conditional and absolute contraband,
but later altered her decision with the exception of "horses and beasts
of burden," which she treated as absolute contraband.

[Footnote 54: International Law, Vol. II, p. 426.]

The tendency in modern times, however, is to treat horses as only
conditional contraband. The only reason that they were not expressly
declared contraband in the Anglo-Boer contest was the character of the
war. Had the Transvaal been able to issue an authoritative declaration
and insure respect for it by a command of the sea, horses and mules
would have been considered technical contraband as in fact they were
actual contraband, being nothing if they were not "warlike instruments."

The enforcement of the obligations incumbent upon the United States
under the circumstances undoubtedly lay with the Federal Government
rather than with the States. Early in 1901 a proceeding in equity had
been instituted in a federal court in New Orleans for the purpose of
enjoining the shipment of horses and mules from that port to Cape
Colony. The bill was filed by private individuals who alleged that they
had property in the Transvaal and Orange Free State which was being
destroyed by the armies of Great Britain, and that these armies were
able to continue their work of destruction only by means of the supplies
of horses and mules which were shipped from the port of New Orleans. The
application for an injunction was denied on the ground that the
enforcement of the treaty obligations of the Government is a function of
the President with which the courts have nothing to do.

The district judge in delivering the opinion declared that there was
nothing in the principles of international law or in the terms of the
Treaty of Washington, to which an appeal had been made, to prevent the
citizens of a neutral state from selling supplies of war to a
belligerent. The court went on to discuss the right of private citizens
to sell supplies to belligerents, but did not enter upon the question
whether or not the United States had permitted the British Government to
make use of its ports and waters as a base for the purpose of the
augmentation of its military supplies. The entire discussion of
questions of international law was considered by the court as beyond its
cognizance. The court said: "If the complainants could be heard to
assert here rights personal to themselves in the treaty just mentioned,
and if the mules and horses involved in the case are munitions of war,
all of which is disputed by the defendants, it would become necessary to
determine, whether the treaty is meant to prevent private citizens from
selling supplies to the belligerents." The court then proceeded: "But
the nature of this cause is such that none of the considerations
hereinbefore set out need be decided," because "the case is a political
one of which a court of equity can take no cognizance, and which in the
very nature of governmental things must belong to the executive branch
of the Government."[55]

[Footnote 55: Pearson _v_ Parson 108 Fed. Rep. 461]

It will be seen that the court did not pass upon the question of an
improper use of the ports of the United States. Clearly an injunction
could not be granted since such a measure would not have had the effect
of remedying the evil. It could not issue, for it was not established
that there were private property rights to be protected. The
complainants could show no property in the implications of the treaty,
nor could they establish the fact alleged, namely, that horses and mules
are munitions of war. The last question was one for the Federal
Government alone to pass upon under the circumstances. Political
obligations are not proper matters for enforcement by the courts. But
the court did declare emphatically that the enforcement of all neutral
obligations with reference to the ports and waters of the United States
was the function of the executive branch of the Government.

The question at once arose whether it was a function of the state or of
the federal executive to see that the neutrality laws were properly
enforced. In submitting the evidence of the operations of the British
agents within the State of Louisiana Governor Heard declared it to be
his opinion that it was the proper function of the federal and not of
the state Government to enforce obedience to these laws; but, he
concluded, "if such duty belongs to the State where the violations of
such laws occur, I would not hesitate to act as the laws may warrant and
in keeping with the dignity and responsibilities of statehood."[56] The
Governor asked that he be informed immediately what, in the opinion of
the federal authorities, were the powers and duties of the state
governments in matters of this character.

[Footnote 56: H.R., Doc. 568, 57 Cong., 1 Sess., p. 5.]

Unquestionably it lay with the federal executive to see to it that the
neutral obligations of all the States were properly observed. Certain
duties rest upon the governors of the different States, but it is the
function of the President to carry into effect the laws regulating
neutral obligations as well as the provisions of all treaties with
foreign powers as a part of the law of the land. This duty was pointed
out by Secretary Randolph in a circular of April 16, 1795, to the
governors of the different States during the war between France and
England. He defined the duties of neutrality and concluded: "As often as
a fleet, squadron or ship, of any belligerent nation shall clearly and
unequivocally use the rivers, or other waters ... as a station in
order to carry on hostile expeditions from thence, you will cause to be
notified to the commander thereof that the President deems such conduct
to be contrary to the rights of our neutrality.... A standing order
to this effect may probably be advantageously placed in the hands of
some confidential officer of the militia, and I must entreat you to
instruct him to write by mail to this Department, immediately upon the
happening of any case of the kind."[57]

[Footnote 57: Moore, Digest of Int. Law, Vol. VII, p. 934-935.]

It was the duty of the central Government to prevent as far as possible
any abuse of the privileges which the laws of war allowed to the
belligerents. "A Government is justly held responsible for the acts of
its citizens," said Justice McLean of the United States Supreme Court,
speaking of the Canadian insurrection of 1838. And he continued: "If
this Government be unable or unwilling to restrain our citizens from
acts of hostility against a friendly power, such power may hold this
nation answerable and declare war against it."[58]

Clearly the responsibility for the proper restraint rested upon the
President with reference to the incidents which occurred around New
Orleans. The fact that forbidden acts committed within the jurisdiction
of a State of the Union escape punishment within that State does not
relieve the central government of responsibility to foreign governments
for such acts. In view of this fact the citizens of the separate States
should remember the consequences which may result from their acts. The
warning of Justice McLean, speaking of the incident already cited, is to
the point:

[Footnote 58: Citing Reg. _v_. Recorder of Wolverhampton, 18 Law T.
395-398; see also H.R., Doc. 568, 57 Cong., 1 Sess., p. 17.]

"Every citizen is ... bound by the regard he has for his country, by
the reverence he has for its laws, and by the calamitous consequences of
war, to exert his influence in suppressing the unlawful enterprises of
our citizens against any foreign and friendly power." And he concludes:
"History affords no example of a nation or people that uniformly took
part in the internal commotions of other Governments which did not bring
down ruin upon themselves. These pregnant examples should guard us
against a similar policy, which must lead to a similar result."

In the end nothing came of the alleged unneutral conduct of the United
States in the use which had been permitted of the port of New Orleans
during the war. Had the South African Republic gained an international
status claims for indemnity would probably have lain against the United
States for a violation of its neutral duties. Had the Transvaal,
recognized in war as a belligerent, become an independent State as the
result of that war, such claims would doubtless have been honored and
compensation been made upon equitable grounds. Had the opponent of Great
Britain in the war been one of the recognized powers of the world such a
use of territorial waters could not have been permitted without an
effective protest having been made by the State which was injured. The
Republics, however, were treated at the close of the war as conquered
territory and their obligations taken over by the British Government.
Their rights as an independent State vanished when they failed to attain
the end for which they fought.

The extreme generosity afterward displayed by Great Britain in the
settlement of the claims of all citizens of the United States who had
suffered by the war may possibly be explained by the benefits which the
English forces were able to secure from the construction which was put
upon American neutrality.

A resolution of the House of Representatives inquiring as to the
treatment of citizens of the United States in the South African Republic
brought out the fact that the number of those who claimed compensation
was not large and that the British Government was willing to indemnify
them.[59] The terms of settlement allowed to the United States were in
marked contrast to those granted to other powers whose citizens or
subjects had also presented claims for indemnity through their
respective governments. This fact is evident from the transactions
before the Deportation Claims Commission, the appointment of which was
announced on April 8, 1901.

[Footnote 59: H. Res., 178, 56 Cong., 1 Sess.; also H.R., Doc. 618, 56
Cong., 1 Sess.]

The commission came together "for the purpose of investigating the
claims to compensation which have been made or may be made by persons
the subjects of various friendly powers in consequence of their
deportation to Europe by the British military authorities in South
Africa."[60] It was to be composed of five members, among them "R.K.
Loveday, Esq., formerly a member of the late South African Republic."
The commission was to meet in London to hear such cases as might be
presented there and then proceed to South Africa with the purpose of
continuing its investigations. Any further evidence that was considered
necessary was to be taken on the return to London. It was announced that
all claims should be filed on or before April 25, 1901, that claimants
might appear either in person or by counsel, and that the different
governments might represent the combined claims of their respective
citizens or subjects.

[Footnote 60: For. Rel., 1901, pp. 216-222.]

Mr. R. Newton Crane appeared before the commission on the part of the
United States. In all, fifteen claims were presented. Five of these were
presented by persons who alleged that they were native-born citizens of
the United States, although no evidence was furnished as to the date or
place of their birth. Eight alleged that they were naturalized citizens,
while there were two who could produce no evidence whatever of their
status. Eight had been deported on the suspicion of having been
concerned in the Johannesburg plot to murder Lord Roberts and other
English officers; one had been imprisoned at Natal as a Boer spy;
another was captured on the field of battle while serving, as he
alleged, with a Red Cross ambulance corps attached to the Boer forces;
three others were compelled to leave the country for various reasons,
while two more could produce no evidence that they had been forcibly
deported; on the contrary it appeared that they had left South Africa
voluntarily and at their own expense. The whole amount claimed was
$52,278.29 on account of actual losses alleged. The commission heard all
claims by means of an _ex parte_ statement in each case, with the
exception of two for which no statement had been presented. These last
two had been mentioned as claimants by the Ambassador of the United
States on October 24, 1900, in a communication to Lord Landsdowne, the
English Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and were so presented to
the consideration of the commission.

In dealing with the cases the commission did not insist upon any
technical formality in the way of proof. The plan followed was to allow
the legal representative of the English Government an opportunity to
explain why each individual had been deported. The several claimants
were then permitted to put in evidence to clear themselves of these
charges. After the claims had all been considered in this way the
English representative announced the wish of his government to "agree
with the representatives of the various governments upon a lump sum to
be received by each of the powers in full satisfaction of the demands of
their respective claimants," it being understood that the British
Government "was not to be concerned as to how the sums so paid were
allocated among the various claimants."[61] This proposal was accepted
by the United States and by the other governments represented.

[Footnote 61: For. Rel., 1901, p. 221.]

With the announcement of the decision of the commissioners on October
28, 1901, Mr. Crane pointed out that it had been very difficult to
determine the real merits of most of the claims. Difficulty had been
experienced not only in ascertaining the real facts but in applying the
principles of international law as well. Many of the facts alleged by
the claimants were not substantiated, and it was only the considerate
view taken by the British Government which made possible a settlement so
favorable to the United States.

Holland put in a claim for L706,355 in behalf of 1139 persons who
alleged that they were Dutch subjects, and received 5.3 per cent, of
that amount, or L37,500, which was the highest actual award made,
although the lowest percentage of the sum claimed. Germany received
L30,000, or 12.22 per cent, of the amount claimed for 199 persons;
Austria-Hungary L15,000, or 34.24 per cent, for 112 persons; Italy
L12,000, or 28.52 per cent, for 113 persons; the United States L6,000,
or 22.22 per cent, for 15 persons. But Mr. Crane called attention to the
evident error of basing a calculation upon the relation the award in
each case bears to the amount claimed. The amount claimed in most cases
is not what the claimant thinks he is justly entitled to for the losses
he has sustained, but is the amount which his "caprice or cupidity fixes
as that which may possibly be allowed him."[62] Among the American
claims a number included demands for "moral" damages, and these claims
were larger than similar demands put in by citizens of other countries.
Even among the American claimants themselves there was a wide divergence
in appraising their losses, actual as well as moral. Of three in the
same occupation, the same employment, the same domestic surroundings,
deported together, at about the same time, and under almost identical
circumstances, one demanded $5,220, the second appraised his losses at
$11,112.50, and the third estimated his losses at $50,000.

[Footnote 62: For. Rel., 1901, p. 221.]

With reference to the American claimants the conditions under which the
persons were deported were practically the same, and there was little if
any distinction as to social rank or grade of employment. Mr. Crane,
therefore, seems justified in his conclusion that the idea conveyed by
the percentage relation of the amount demanded to the amount actually
awarded is misleading, and should not serve as a precedent without
comment for similar claims in the future. A much fairer method for
ascertaining what the award really amounts to is shown to be that of
computing what average sum each claimant received, since the claimants
were practically of one walk of life and employment and were deported
under like conditions. Such a computation shows that the United States
fared much better than any one of the other governments, the average sum
received by each claimant being L428 11s. 5d., as compared with L150
15s. for Germany; L142 17s. 1d. for Russia; L133 18s. 6d. for
Austria-Hungary; L133 6s. 8d. for Belgium; L125 for Norway and Sweden;
and L106 3s. 10d. for Italy.

The L6,000 offered by the British Government as full compensation for
all claims of citizens of the United States on account of wrongful
arrest, imprisonment and deportation from South Africa up to October 26,
1901, was accepted by Secretary Hay. Only L4,000 had been originally
offered, but the amount had afterward been increased to L6,000.
Throughout the negotiations the attitude of the English Government was
generous toward the United States. The claimants included good, bad and
indifferent, some of whom were not entitled to compensation at all,
since they were not citizens of the United States, while others had
actually taken up arms against Great Britain. The average amount awarded
to each alleged citizen of the United States was approximately $2000 as
against $216 for each claimant of all other Governments taken together.

In a number of cases the claimants had contracted with local attorneys
upon the basis of a contingent fee of 50 per cent, of whatever might be
awarded. In one case the fee of the attorney presenting the claim
amounted to $3750, although his services consisted in merely filing
memorials which were not supported by a single word of proof of the
assertions they contained, even after ample time had been given for the
introduction of such proof. Mr. Crane, therefore, urged that in future
similar claims should be presented directly by the citizens themselves
without the intermediation of attorneys. In the present cases he said
that his requests to the attorneys for the different claimants to
furnish evidence to meet the accusations of the British Government
against their clients had met with no response whatever. He felt
justified in believing that these attorneys had either given up the
presentation of the claims of their clients or that the latter were
dead. It was accordingly suggested that in either case the United States
would be justified in refusing to pay over to the attorneys such sums as
might be allotted to their clients until the latter had been directly
communicated with. In this way they would have the opportunity to
confirm or withdraw any powers of attorney which they might have
executed for the collection of their respective claims.



The attitude of the European powers was generally observant of the
requirements of neutrality in so far as governmental action could be
proved. The frequent charges which Great Britain made that the Transvaal
was recruiting forces in Europe were not proved against the States from
which the recruits came. The numbers in the parties which perhaps
actually joined the Boer forces were not large, and no formidable
fitting out of an expedition or wholesale assistance was proved against
any European government.

Germany, the power most nearly in touch with the Transvaal in South
Africa with the exception of Portugal, early declared the governmental
attitude toward the struggle. The German consul-general at Cape Town on
October 19, 1899, issued a proclamation enjoining all German subjects to
hold aloof from participation in the hostilities which Great Britain at
that time had not recognized as belligerent in character. If insurgency
be recognized as a distinct status falling short of belligerency, this
was perhaps such a recognition, but it was in no sense an unfriendly act
toward Great Britain. It was merely a warning to German subjects as to
the manner in which they should conduct themselves under the
circumstances. It did not recognize the Boers as belligerents in the
international sense, but it warned German subjects that a condition of
affairs existed which called for vigilance on their part in their
conduct toward, the contestants. Later, when the British Government
announced that the war would be recognized retroactively as entitled to
full belligerent status, Germany declared the governmental attitude to
be that of strict neutrality in the contest. An attempt of the Boers to
recruit in Damaraland was promptly stopped by the German officers in
control, who were ordered to allow neither men nor horses to cross the
border for the purposes of the war. All German steamship lines which
held subventions from the Government were warned that if they were found
carrying contraband they would thereby forfeit their privileges.
Stringent orders were also given by the different German ship companies
to their agents in no case to ship contraband for the belligerents. The
attitude assumed by the German Government was not entirely in accord
with the popular feeling in Germany. On October 5 a mass-meeting at
Goettingen, before proceeding to the business for which the conference
was called, proposed a resolution of sympathy for the Boers: "Not
because the Boers are entirely in the right, but because we Germans must
take sides against the English."[1] But despite popular sentiment, the
position which had been taken by the Government seems to have been
consistently maintained.

[Footnote 1: London Times, Weekly Ed., Oct. 5, 1899, p. 626, col. 2.]

In June, prior to the outbreak of war, President Kruger had been advised
by the Dutch Minister for Foreign Affairs that the Transvaal should
maintain a moderate attitude in the discussion of the questions at issue
with the British Government. The German Government, too, had advised the
Republics to invite mediation, but at that time President Kruger
declared that the moment had not yet come for applying for the mediation
of America. The United States, it was considered by both Holland and
Germany, could most successfully have undertaken the role of mediator
from the fact that England would have been more likely to entertain
proposals of the kind coming from Washington than from a European

In December, 1900, Count Von Buelow, the German Imperial Chancellor,
speaking of the neutral attitude of Germany, declared that when
President Kruger later attempted to secure arbitration it was not until
feeling had become so heated that he was compelled to announce to the
Dutch Government that it was not possible to arrange for arbitration.
The German Government, it was declared, regarded any appeal to a Great
Power at that time as hopeless and as very dangerous to the Transvaal.
The German and the Dutch Governments each believed that President Kruger
should not have rejected the English proposal then before him for a
joint commission of inquiry.[2] The German Government had nothing for
which to reproach itself in regard to the outbreak of war or with
reference to the fate of the Republics. "Of course there are certain
lengths to which we could not possibly go. We could not, in order to
prevent the door from being slammed, let our own fingers be crushed
between the door and the hinges; that would not have helped the Boers
and would only have harmed ourselves,--and when the war had broken out
it was impossible for us, in view of the general situation of the world
and from the standpoint of German interests as a whole to adopt any
attitude except that of strict neutrality."[3] Continuing, Count Von
Buelow pointed out the fact that the policy of a great country should not
at a critical moment be governed by the dictates of feeling, but should
be guided solely in accordance with the interests of the country, calmly
and deliberately calculated.

[Footnote 2: The German Chancellor seems slightly in error in assuming
that the Transvaal _rejected_ the English proposal for a joint inquiry.
It will be remembered that immediately following the Bloemfontein
Conference President Kruger had drafted a law considerably modifying the
Transvaal demands in the conference, and later submitted the proposals
of August 19, which he alleged had been" induced "by their implied
acceptance on the part of the British agent. When these proposals lapsed
from the fact of their non-acceptance by the British Government, he
declared that he was ready to return to the discussion of the proposed
joint commission of inquiry and was met by the English assertion that
the condition of affairs no longer warranted a discussion of the
original proposal for such a commission, and that Great Britain would
have to formulate new demands to meet the altered conditions. The
outbreak of war had forestalled these demands.]

[Footnote 3: Speech in Reichstag, London Times, Dec. 11, 1900, p. 5,
col. 1.]

The possibility of mediation with Germany in the role of mediator was
shown to have been made conditional upon the acceptance of such a step
by both the parties to the contest, as otherwise it would not have been
mediation but intervention, with the ultimate possibility of the
exercise of force for the purpose of stopping the hostilities.
Intervention of that kind, involving the idea of coercion, was never
considered by the German Government because of the general situation of
the world and of special German interests. The idea of anything other
than entirely peaceful and friendly intervention was not entertained by
any power in considering the situation in South Africa. The German
Chancellor declared that "even those Powers which academically
ventilated the idea of peaceful mediation invariably and expressly laid
stress upon the fact that they had no thought or intention of forcing
England to accept peace against her will." He asserted that the
possibility of mediation was thus excluded since the preliminary
condition of such a course was the consent of both parties to the

Count Von Buelow also called attention to the fact that the gentlest form
of diplomatic inquiry made by the United States had been rejected by the
English Government "officially and categorically in the most distinct
manner possible." And speaking officially, he continued, "We therefore
did what we could as a neutral Power and without imperilling direct
German interests in order to prevent the outbreak of war. In particular
we acted in the most straightforward manner toward the governments of
the South African Republics inasmuch as from the first and in good time
we left them in no doubt regarding the situation in Europe and also
regarding our own neutrality in the event of war in South Africa. In
both these regards we made matters clear to the two South African
Republics and did so in good time."[4] The Chancellor seems to have
fairly defined the position maintained by the German Government
throughout the war, although popular feeling often clamored for official
action in behalf of the Boers.

[Footnote 4: Speech in Reichstag, Dec. 10, 1900.]

A similar course was pursued by the French Government despite the fact
that in France popular sympathy was more strongly in favor of the
Transvaal than was the case in Germany. No official action, however, was
taken which could involve France in complications in view of the
declared neutral attitude assumed at the beginning of the war. The
administration at Paris ordered the prefects throughout the country to
have removed from the official minutes the resolutions of sympathy for
the Boers which had been adopted by the provincial councils. But opposed
to the correct attitude of the Government, popular feeling was
manifested in different ways. A committee of ladies in Paris made a
direct appeal to the French people. They declared: "We are not biased
enemies of the British Nation ... but we have a horror of grasping
financiers, the men of prey who have concocted in cold blood this
rascally war. They have committed with premeditation a crime of
_lese-humanite_, the greatest of crimes. May the blood which reddens the
battle-fields of South Africa forever be upon their heads.... Yes, we
are heart and soul with the Boers.... We admire them because old men
and young women, even, are all fighting like heroes.... Alas! to be
sure, there is no more a France, nor yet an America.... Ah! Ideal
abode of the human conscience, founded by Socrates, sanctified by
Christ, illuminated in flashes of lightning by the French Revolution,
what has become of thee? There is no longer a common temple for
civilized states. Our house is divided against itself and is falling
asunder. Peace reigns everywhere save on the banks of the Vaal, but it
is an armed peace, an odious peace, a poisoned peace which is eating us
up and from which we are all dying."[5] Such hysterical outbursts in
France were not taken seriously by the Government, and the feeling which
inspired them was possibly more largely due to historic hatred of
England than to the inherent justice of the Boer cause.

[Footnote 5: London Times, April 2, 1900, p. 5, col. 5.]

The Ninth Peace Conference, which was in session at Paris in the fall of
1900, without expressly assuming the right of interfering in the affairs
of a friendly nation further than to "emphatically affirm the
unchangeable principles of international justice," adopted a resolution
declaring that the responsibility for the war devastating South Africa
fell upon that one of the two parties who repeatedly refused
arbitration, that is, it was explained, upon the British Government;
that the British Government, in ignoring the principles of right and
justice, in refusing arbitration and in using menaces only too likely to
bring about war in a dispute which might have been settled by judicial
methods, had committed an outrage against the rights of nations
calculated to retard the pacific evolution of humanity; that the
Governments represented at the Hague had taken no public measures to
ensure respect for the resolutions which should have been regarded by
them as an engagement of honor; that an appeal to public opinion on the
subject of the Transvaal was advocated and sympathy and admiration were
expressed for the English members of the conference.[6]

[Footnote 6: London Times, Oct. 3, 1900, p. 3, col. 3.]

The usual French attitude toward Great Britain was expressed in these
resolutions, but the conference was not prepared to go so far as to
adopt a resolution proposed by a member from Belgium expressing the hope
that the mistake of depriving the Republics of their independence would
not be committed, and favoring an energetic appeal to the powers for
intervention. The resolution was rejected by a large majority on the
ground that it would be impolitic and naturally irritating to England
and without much probability of favorable results being attained.

When the delegation of the Boers which was sent to appeal to the
European Powers for action in behalf of the Republics reached Paris in
July, 1900, the attitude of the French Government was not altered, nor
were the envoys encouraged to hope for intervention. They were received
by the President but only in an informal and unofficial manner when
presented by Dr. Leyds. When they reached Berlin in August neither the
Emperor nor the Chancellor was in the city and consequently the visit
had no official significance, but in St. Petersburg a more favorable
reception awaited them. The Official Messenger announced on August 26
that Dr. Leyds had been received in audience by the Czar. This
statement, coming as it did from the official organ of the Foreign
Office, seemed to signify a full recognition of the accredited character
of the delegation, and Dr. Leyds was referred to officially as "Minister
of the South African Republic."[7] With the exception of the British
Minister, he was received by all of the diplomatic corps, a courtesy
which the members could not well have denied him, but as to practical
results the mission to Russia amounted to nothing.

[Footnote 7: London Times, July 26, 1900.]

On their return to Germany the envoys received no official notice. The
secret instructions which they had opened only upon reaching Milan were
supposed to have contained certain communications which had been
exchanged between the Governments of the Transvaal and Great Britain but
which it was alleged had not been published in the Blue Books. This
assertion of sinister motives on the part of Great Britain exerted
little influence upon foreign governments in Europe. The delegation
realized the impossibility of securing the interference of a concert of
Powers or of any one State against the wishes of England. The mission of
the Boers had been doomed to failure from the beginning.

The action of the Queen of Holland in receiving the delegation was
generally understood as not of an unneutral character but as inspired by
sympathy for a kindred people and a willingness to mediate though not to
intervene. It was recognized that no nation whose interests were not
directly concerned could afford to persist in offers of mediation in
view of the fact that Great Britain had already intimated to the United
States that such an offer could not be accepted. Although Holland
refused to intervene, the attitude assumed by the Dutch Government in
other respects caused severe criticism in England. The chief
circumstance which confirmed the opinion that Holland as a neutral State
had not displayed a proper attitude at Lorenzo Marques was the fact that
after the visit of the envoys of the Transvaal the Hague Government had
sent a man-of-war to the island of St. Helena, which was being used as a
prison for the Boers who were transported from South Africa. This
proceeding was viewed by England as officious from the fact that foreign
men-of-war were not usually received at that port. Popular feeling saw
in the despatch of the man-of-war an unfriendly act which might easily
have led to difficulty. But the incident, aside from the benevolent
character which Holland had given to the enforcement of her neutrality
laws throughout the war, had no significance in international law. It
was generally considered, however, that the feeling which England
manifested with regard to the visit of the cruiser gave some ground for
the suspicion that the British Government might have had something to
conceal at St. Helena.

The general attitude of Germany, France and Russia toward the Boer
mission was guided by a policy of strict adherence to the neutral
obligations assumed at the beginning of the war. These Powers in their
official statements all followed such a course, realizing that it was
demanded by a sound foreign policy. They considered the idea of
intervention out of the question, although friendly interest for the
Boers and for the peaceful purpose of their mission was evident.

From the beginning of the war the active duties of neutrality had fallen
upon Portugal, since neither the Transvaal nor the Orange Free State
possessed a seaport. Fifty miles of railway separated the Portuguese
harbor of Lorenzo Marques in Delagoa Bay from the Transvaal border, and
from this point the road continued to Pretoria. Lorenzo Marques being
neutral could not be blockaded, but, being neutral, it was the duty of
the Portuguese Government to observe the laws of neutrality. Great
Britain alleged that a constant stream of supplies and recruits passed
over the Portuguese border to aid the Boer armies. The difficulty on the
part of the English Government, however, was to prove that the goods
were in fact on their way to a belligerent destination or that small
parties of men were in reality organized bands of recruits for the
fighting forces of the enemy. It was asserted that the manner in which
Portugal performed her neutral obligations, demanding an absolutely
impartial treatment of both belligerents, made Delagoa Bay and the port
of Lorenzo Marques more valuable to the Republics than would have been
the case had they actually been in their possession.

The efficiency of Portugal's performance of neutral duties varied during
the war. As early as August 25, before negotiations had been broken off
between the Transvaal and Great Britain, the Portuguese Governor at
Lorenzo Marques refused to permit two cargoes of Mauser ammunition to
land because it was consigned to the Transvaal. The ammunition was
transferred to a Portuguese troop ship, and the Governor assigned as
sufficient reason for his action the fact that Great Britain had urged
the measure upon the Portuguese authorities. He stated that orders had
been received from Lisbon that guns and ammunition for the Transvaal
should not be landed until further notice from the Portuguese
Government. The Transvaal strongly protested against this act as a
breach of a treaty between the two Governments in which by Article VI
the Portuguese Government was prohibited from stopping ammunition
intended for the Transvaal, but upon representations by England might
stop ammunition on its way to any English colony. The opinion in the
Transvaal was that the act on the part of Portugal and Great Britain
constituted an act of war, in that peaceable negotiations were still
pending, a view which seems fully warranted since Portugal possessed no
right to treat any traffic as contraband before war had begun. A
petition was circulated at Pretoria advising the Government to
discontinue negotiations pending with England looking to a peaceful
settlement of the issues between the two Governments. Although this step
was not taken, the protestations made by the Transvaal seem to have had
their effect upon the Portuguese authorities, for upon the outbreak of
war the banks at Lorenzo Marques continued to accept Transvaal coin, and
after the first flurry caused by the transition from peace to war the
Transvaal notes were accepted at their face value.

By the middle of December the English Government had begun to view the
condition of affairs at the port of Delagoa Bay and the town of Lorenzo
Marques with grave dissatisfaction. It was publicly alleged that Lorenzo
Marques was nothing more nor less than a base from which the Transvaal
obtained everything that it needed. Further than this, it was declared
that the town was the headquarters of Transvaal agents of every
description who were in daily communication with their Government and
with Europe. The English authorities felt themselves helpless to prevent
the importation of machinery and other material required for the mines
which were worked by the Transvaal Government. Even explosives for the
government factory and actual ammunition reached the Transvaal by way of
Lorenzo Marques because of the inability of the English cruisers to make
a thorough search of foreign vessels bound for a neutral port and
professedly carrying foodstuffs. British shippers alleged that while
they were prohibited from trading with the enemy foreign shippers were
reaping the profits and materially aiding in the prolongation of the

It later developed that the apparent neglect on the part of Portugal to
observe a strict watch over the character of goods allowed to pass
through to the Transvaal was not entirely due to the governmental
attitude at Lisbon. It seems that the Dutch consul at Lorenzo Marques
had taken over in the way of friendly offices the interests of the
Orange Free State as well as those of the Transvaal. It was also
ascertained that the consul of Holland was the manager of the local
agencies for a number of steamboat companies, among them the Castle
Packet Company, the African Boating Company, the British India, and the
British and Colonial Steam Navigation Company. Only one English company
had put patriotism before profit and transferred its agency from the
Dutch consul upon the outbreak of war.

The British Government was also handicapped by the fact that local
British banks accepted the drafts issued by the Transvaal and Orange
Free State. The Transvaal dies of 1899 and 1900 had been seized by the
English, but despite this fact the coins issued with the date of the
dies of 1897 and 1898 were freely used by the local English banks.[8]
This unpatriotic action on the part of British subjects controlling the
banks made easy the work of the Boer forwarding agents; it was alleged,
and the fact seemed pretty well authenticated, that the Dutch consul,
Mr. Pott, facilitated this work by allowing contraband to be landed at
night. Such articles thrown into half-laden trucks upon the railway
often reached the Transvaal without detection. Cases labelled "candles"
were hoisted in without pretense of examination. It was alleged also
that guns and fifty tons of shells had been landed in December under the
very noses of two British warships, and that wholesale smuggling was
going on with the connivance of a nominally neutral consular agent.

[Footnote 8: London Times, Weekly Ed., Jan. 12, 1899, p. 20, col. 4.]

Under the protests of the British Government, however, orders arrived
from Lisbon which revived an old law requiring all persons leaving
Portuguese territory to obtain passports signed by the Governor-general.
The applicants were required to give guarantees through their respective
consuls that they were not going to the Transvaal for the purpose of
enlisting. The Portuguese authorities took the matter in hand, and
persons attempting to go without passports were promptly sent back. The
customs authorities began a stricter watch over the Transvaal imports,
and on January 19 seized as contraband three cases of signalling
apparatus consigned to Pretoria.[9]

[Footnote 9: London Times, Weekly Ed., Jan. 19, 1900, p. 36, col. 3.]

It was claimed, however, that of the imports of L30,500 to Delagoa Bay
during December there had been forwarded to the Transvaal goods valued
at not less than L21,000. And it seemed evident to England, despite the
more stringent port regulations, that the number of foreigners daily
entering the Transvaal by way of Lorenzo Marques was far in excess of
the number which would be desirous of going to Pretoria for peaceful
purposes. Mr. Pott, it was still alleged, was acting as the head of a
Boer organization for facilitating the entrance of men desiring to
enlist with the Boer forces. He was consequently cautioned in January by
the Portuguese Governor that if he recruited for the Boer forces or was
detected doing anything inconsistent with the neutral obligations of
Portugal, a request would be made to the Netherlands Government to have
him transferred to another field. The Portuguese authorities at the same
time began a closer supervision of the persons who were allowed to enter
the Transvaal from Portuguese territory. The previous restriction that
passports be signed by the respective consuls of persons leaving for
Transvaal territory was considered insufficient, and the consuls of the
different countries represented at Lorenzo Marques were informed that
they must personally guarantee that the applicants whom they endorsed
were not military men, and were not proceeding to assist the Boer forces
in the field.

These restrictions, while giving evidence of Portugal's efforts to see
that the neutrality of the port was respected, did not satisfy the
English authorities. The latter still alleged that no doubt existed as
to the fact that Lorenzo Marques was being used by Boer agents as a
recruiting station for the Transvaal forces. It was asserted that large
numbers of "men of military stamp" landed daily at Lorenzo Marques from
all parts of Europe, and were allowed to proceed to the Transvaal for
the purpose of either actually enlisting with the Boers or working the
government mines. It was alleged, too, that a number of these newcomers
were "smart looking men," evidently officers. The majority, however,
were of a low class, mostly penniless adventurers. On February 2 the
report was made to the English authorities that twenty of the better
sort, many wearing riding boots and carrying field glasses, had left
Lorenzo Marques for the Transvaal, and as tending to throw suspicion
upon the purpose of their journey, a Transvaal detective was "most
assiduous" in his attentions to them.[10] The influence of the consul of
Holland largely defeated all efforts to stop entirely the imperfect
fulfillment of the duties of neutrality incumbent upon the port.

[Footnote 10: London Times, Weekly Ed., Feb. 5, 1900, p. 84, col. 2.]

At other places any attempts to convey prohibited goods into the
Transvaal were summarily stopped. Arms and ammunition which the Boers
attempted to land at Inhambane were seized by the Portuguese customs
authorities on the ground that they were consigned under a false
description. The consignment was not a large one and the attempt was
evidently made as an experiment. This incident, too, indicates the
extremity to which the Transvaal authorities had been reduced by the
increased watchfulness at Lorenzo Marques, for the distance from the
port of Inhambane to the Transvaal could be covered only by native
carriers and required fourteen days for the trip. The difficulties in
evading the customs surveillance at Lorenzo Marques had also been
increased by the fact that most of the steamship companies which had at
first employed the Dutch consul as their agent had later relieved him of
this duty. But, notwithstanding the continued protests by England, the
Hague Government seemed reluctant to take any official notice of the
evident partiality of its consular agent. With reference to the English
protests the Administration took the view that while acting as the
representative of the Transvaal and Orange Free State during the war Mr.
Pott was only fulfilling the duties incumbent upon him in this triple

As the war progressed, although the administration of the customs at
Lorenzo Marques was made more efficient, this improvement was inversely
proportional to the successes of the Boer forces in the field. Under the
circumstances it was almost impossible for England to prove that actual
governmental support had been given to any scheme for augmenting the
military forces of the Transvaal, but the whole manipulation of the
customs seemed to be controlled by a weak administration not too
scrupulous in seeing that an impartial view was taken of the situation.
The failure of the Boers to attain their ends in the field did more to
improve the efficiency of the administration of the customs than the
protests of England. It seems unquestionable that the resources of the
Transvaal had induced the Portuguese authorities at Lorenzo Marques to
display toward the Boers an attitude which, according to obsolete ideas,
was termed benevolent neutrality. But as the Boer hopes declined the
Portuguese authorities increased their vigilance, and in the end went as
far in favor of England as they had previously gone in their benevolent
attitude to the Republics. Passengers arriving by German and other
steamers were refused passports upon the instance of the British consul
where there was a strong suspicion that they were entering the Transvaal
for purposes hostile to Great Britain.

Portugal, too, refused to accept the offer of the Transvaal to advance
the amount required of the Lisbon Government by the Beirne Arbitration
Award.[11] The Portuguese Government, in courteously declining the
offer, stated that the amount had already been provided. Great Britain,
who already held a preemptive title to Delagoa Bay, was also ready to
advance the money, but was denied this privilege by Portugal.

[Footnote 11: London Times, Weekly Ed., April 20, 1900, p. 244, col. 2.]

By August, 1900, it had become evident that the Boer hopes of bringing
the war to any sort of favorable conclusion were doomed to failure. On
August 4 all the customs officials at Lorenzo Marques were dismissed and
their places filled by military officers, and a force of twelve hundred
men was sent out from Lisbon two days later. The Portuguese frontier was
put under a strong guard and all Boer refugees who arrived were summoned
before the Governor and warned against carrying on any communications
with the Transvaal Government or with the Boer forces still in the
field. Notice was given them that if they were detected in such
transactions they would be sent out of Portuguese territory and the
right of asylum denied them. And in the further performance of her
neutral duties at such a time Portugal assumed an entirely correct

In September three thousand Boers evacuated their position along the
frontier and surrendered to the Portuguese Governor. They were lodged in
the barracks at Lorenzo Marques and later, to prevent any disturbance in
the town that might be caused by their presence, were removed to the
Portuguese transports lying in the harbor. The Governor gave notice to
the English commander who had occupied the position evacuated by the
Boers that all the Transvaal troops which had surrendered were being
guarded and would not be allowed to rejoin the Boer forces still in the
field. A number of the refugees agreed to surrender to the British
commander as prisoners of war upon the stipulation that they would not
be sent out of the country, and thus better terms were obtained than by
those captured in the field. Others who surrendered to Portugal were
transported by Portuguese ships to Lisbon, land being assigned them in
the country where they were given permission to settle.

In other respects, also, during the later phases of actual warfare,
Portugal maintained a correct attitude. Especially was this attitude
noticeable with reference to the investigation of the conduct of the
Dutch consul at Lorenzo Marques. In spite of the protests of Great
Britain and of Portugal as to his unneutral attitude he had been
continued in his position. But on December 7, 1900, the strain to which
the relations between the two Governments had been put reached the
breaking point. The Dutch Minister, Dr. Van Weede, withdrew from Lisbon
and at the same time the Portuguese Minister at the Hague, Count de
Selin, returned to Lisbon.

The reason for this technical breaking off of friendly relations was
explained on December 11. A member of the Second Chamber at the Hague,
M. Van Bylandt, questioned the Minister for Foreign Affairs as to the
cause of the difficulties between the two Governments. M. Beaufort, in
his explanation of the situation, stated that as early as November 17,
1899, the Dutch Government had been informed that it would be necessary
for the Lisbon authorities to cancel the exequatur of Mr. Pott as consul
at Lorenzo Marques. This cancellation of the agent's credentials, it was
alleged, was deemed necessary on account of irregularities with
reference to the transshipment of contraband of war from Lorenzo Marques
to the Transvaal. It was further represented to the Dutch Government
that the consul under suspension had made an improper use of his
position as the acting consular agent for the Free State and the
Transvaal; he had taken advantage of the consular privileges accorded
him at Lorenzo Marques as the representative of a neutral Power at a
neutral port; the courteous communications made by the Portuguese
Government prior to the final withdrawal of his exequatur had not
received from the Hague Government the attention they deserved; every
opportunity had been given the Dutch Government to take the initiative
in the matter by merely recalling their agent, but this step had not
been taken.

M. Beaufort admitted that this had been the attitude of the Portuguese
Government, but asserted that he had not cared to suspend Mr. Pott
without an inquiry, and for this purpose had merely granted him leave of
absence for three months. This action, he said, had not been favorably
received in Lisbon, and he had therefore thought it necessary to warn
the Portuguese Government that the withdrawal of the consul's exequatur
would be considered an unfriendly act. But notwithstanding the warning,
the consul's credentials had been cancelled by the Lisbon Government. As
a consequence of this act M. Beaufort had requested the Dutch Minister
at Lisbon to come to the Hague that he might take part in a personal
interview with the consul under suspension. Later, M. Beaufort stated
that the specific incidents upon which Mr. Pott's conduct had been
arraigned were the illegal importation of heliographic apparatus for the
Transvaal artillery and a wrongful grant of passports in his dual
capacity as consular agent for Holland and the Republics.[12]

[Footnote 12: London Times, March 1, 1900, p. 5, col. 3.]

In the end diplomatic relations were resumed between the two
Governments. Holland, after an investigation of the charges against her
consul, acquiesced in the action of the Lisbon Government. But the
incident served to demonstrate the fact that the Government at Lisbon
was aware of the inefficient manner in which the duties of neutrality
had been enforced at Lorenzo Marques by the port administration.

From this time on to the close of the war the Portuguese Government
displayed greater care in asserting the neutral character of the port.
By placing the town under military supervision this purpose was more
surely attained, and the only other charge made against Portugal for the
failure to perform a neutral duty came from the Transvaal Government, an
allegation of a more serious character than any that had been advanced
by the English Government. The grounds upon which Portugal granted a
privilege of war to one of the belligerents under protest from the other
have not been made so clear as the reasons which led to her apparent
dereliction of duty at Lorenzo Marques. This incident placed the
Portuguese Government in an unfavorable light with regard to its duty in
the full and impartial performance of the obligation of neutrality.
British troops were allowed to pass across Portuguese territory in order
to reach belligerent British territory commanding the Transvaal position
on the north. From Rhodesia, the nominal objective point in this
movement of troops, the Transvaal might be conveniently invaded from the
north, as it was already attacked on the south.

Early in the war the British South Africa Company, a chartered company
which was responsible for the administration of the Rhodesian
Government, became apprehensive as to the fate of this section of the
country should the Boers decide to invade it. Troops had been raised in
Rhodesia for the war but were employed outside the colony. It was
asserted that this fact had left the province in such an unprotected
state that, aside from the fear of a Boer invasion, a Kaffir uprising
was imminent.

Mr. Chamberlain had refused to send forces into Rhodesia in December
upon the ground that troops could not be spared. But it was finally
arranged to send five thousand mounted men, some of them to be enlisted
in Rhodesia and all of them to be furnished outside of England. Before
the end of January, 1899, a commander had been appointed from the
English army, and it was expected that the forces would be upon the
borders of Bechuanaland by the end of May.

Difficulty at once arose with reference to the right of passage of these

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