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London, Declaration of

LONDON, DECLARATION OF

LONDON, DECLARATION OF. This was a code of laws relating to maritime warfare drafted on 26 February 1909 by the London Naval Conference. Conspicuous in the declaration were the issues of contraband and continuous voyage. The parties reached agreement on lists of contraband and on the classification of goods that could not be declared contraband. They restricted continuous voyage in application to contraband.

The declaration illustrates the strength and weakness of international legislation. Although the declaration was never ratified, the United States tried to make it an important instrument of policy. Secretary of State Robert Lansing secretly tried to persuade Britain to follow the declaration during World War I. Britain rejected the plan, and the United States fell back on the traditional principles of international law.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

International Naval Conference. The Declaration of London, February 26, 1909: A Collection of Official Papers and Documents Relating to the International Naval Conference Held in London, December 1908–February 1909. New York: Oxford University Press, 1919.

Perkins, Bradford. The Great Rapprochement: England and the United States, 1895–1914. New York: Atheneum, 1968.

Pyke, Harold Reason. The Law of Contraband of War. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1915.

HonorSachs

Richard W.Van Alstyne

See alsoInternational Law ; World War I .

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Declarations of Indulgence

Declarations of Indulgence. Charles II disliked the penal laws against protestant and catholic dissenters and in 1672, using his suspending power, issued a Declaration of Indulgence. The House of Commons protested vehemently: ‘we humbly conceive that Your Majesty has been very much misinformed, since no such power was ever claimed or exercised by any of Your Majesty's predecessors.’ Faced with a war with the Dutch, Charles climbed down and withdrew it. Learning nothing from the experience of his brother, James II issued another declaration in 1687, repeated it in 1688, and compounded matters with a foolish preface declaring, ‘we cannot but heartily wish, as it will easily be believed, that all the people of our dominions were members of the Catholic Church.’ He next prosecuted seven bishops for petitioning against the declaration. Several of the judges cast great doubt on the validity of the suspending power and the bishops were acquitted amid widespread rejoicing. The same day the ‘immortal seven’ (six noblemen and Compton, bishop of London) sent to William of Orange to rescue them.

J. A. Cannon

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London, Declaration of

Declaration of London, international code of maritime law, especially as related to war, proposed in 1909. The declaration grew largely out of the attempt at the second of the Hague Conferences to set up an international prize court with compulsory jurisdiction. Great Britain, then the chief naval power, felt that such a court should be governed by defined principles. At British invitation the leading European naval powers and the United States and Japan assembled at London in 1908. The Declaration of London that they issued comprised 71 articles dealing with many controversial points, including blockade, contraband, and prize. In general it was a restatement of the existing law, but in its high regard for the rights of neutrals it represented a distinct advance. Although the U.S. Senate ratified the declaration, unanimous ratification by the signatories did not follow, and the code never went into effect officially. In World War I a proposal of the United States that the belligerents voluntarily abide by the code was not adopted.

See study by N. Bentwich (1911).

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