London, Declaration of

views updated May 23 2018


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.


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.


Richard W.Van Alstyne

See alsoInternational Law ; World War I .

Declarations of Indulgence

views updated May 17 2018

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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Declaration of London

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Declaration of London