No. 552.
Mr. Adee to Mr. Fish.

No. 176.]

Sir: Referring to General Sickles dispatch No. 973, in relation to the blockade of the northern coast of Spain, I have the honor to forward herewith a copy of the regulations for the Peruvian blockade of 1864, received to-day from Mr. Sagasta in response to my request to be furnished therewith. It will be remarked that these rules are framed with reference to the exercise of all the belligerent rights growing out of a recognized state of war between contending powers. It is extremely doubtful whether they will be insisted upon. I understand, through Mr. Layard, that Mr. Sagasta expressed the utmost surprise at the latitude given to the decree of January 31, by the inclusion of these regulations, and stated that the measure had been adopted without his knowledge.

I am, &c,


ministry of state.

Regulations concerning the blockading of ports held by the enemy and the capture of hostile or suspicious vessels.

ministry of marine—direction of armaments.—ministry of state—direction of political affairs.

  • Article 1. A port held by the enemy is considered blockaded when its entrance is guarded by a number of vessels sufficient to render the passage dangerous.
  • Art. 2. inasmuch as the blockade must be effective and constant in order to be considered valid, therefore, if storms or other circumstances drive or remove the blockading vessels from the entrance of the blockaded port, such neutral vessels as may enter or sail out during their absence shall not be considered to have violated the blockade.
  • Art. 3. A blockade shall not be considered fully in force until after notice shall have been given by the commander of the blockading squadron to the consuls of Neutral powers, by means of a circular, summoning them to name, without delay, such time as they may deem necessary, at the expiration of which vessels belonging to their respective nations are to leave the port; and if the time fixed by them shall seem admissible, he shall so inform them, allowing free passage to such vessels during the time granted.
  • Information of the establishment of a blockade is also to be communicated to the government of Her Majesty, to the end that it may give due notice, diplomatically, to the governments of all neutral nations.
  • Art. 4. Even after the publication of this notice, the existence of the blockade is not to be considered as known to any vessel that may be bound to the blockaded port until after the delivery to it of the special notification, which is to be placed among the papers of such vessel by the commander of the war-vessel that may be designated for the purpose.
  • Art. 5. After the delivery of the special notification, any attempt to enter the port constitutes a violation of the blockade, and the vessel having made such an attempt is a lawful prize.
  • Art. 6. If a vessel which has been specially notified shall attempt to run the blockade, it shall be captured under any of the circumstances specified below:
    If it shall be surprised in the act of passing the line of the blockading vessels.
    If, having attempted to do so, it shall be pursued by one of the blockading vessels, said vessel not losing sight of it; for, if this condition be wanting, or if the pursued vessel shall enter a neutral port, it shall be free.
    If, after having passed the line, it shall attempt to sail out of the port, or to run the blockade again.
  • Art. 7. If a neutral vessel shall appear in the vicinity of the blockaded port, or [Page 866] shall attempt to pass the line in the face of the fire of the blockading vessels, the shots fired shall be considered equivalent to the special notification, and the vessel may be captured.
  • Art. 8. If a neutral vessel of war shall attempt to run the blockade, after having been informed of its existence, it shall be driven back by force, being responsible for the consequences of its aggressive act.
  • Art. 9. If a vessel which is forced to seek a port in consequence of stress of weather, lack of provisions, &c, shall appear in the vicinity of the blockaded port, it may be allowed to enter, on furnishing proper evidence of the existence of the causes aforesaid. But if it shall have articles which are contraband of war on board, it must deposit such articles on board of one or more of the blockading vessels before entering the port, or pledge itself to keep them on board until its departure.
  • Art. 10. Under the designation contraband of war are comprised cannons, mortars, muskets, and arms of all kinds; bomb-shells, hand-grenades, balls, percussion-caps, fuses, powder, and saltpetre; articles of equipment, such as uniforms, straps, belts, saddles and bridles, and, in general, all instruments or articles manufactured for purposes of war.
  • Art. 11. The court which is to pronounce sentence in prize cases shall sit at—.
  • Art. 12. In case of a Spanish vessel being in danger, or being captured by the enemy, aid must be lent to it, and every possible effort made to recapture it, although such recapture shall give no right to the captured vessel. If such recapture shall have been made from a neutral vessel, it shall be considered as hostile in case of having remained in possession of the latter for more than twenty-four hours, unless there be special circumstances, the determination of which is reserved for Her Majesty.
  • Art. 13. Outside of the line of the blockade, and although no effort be made to run it, it is allowable to capture vessels belonging to the hostile state or to its citizens, together with all the property belonging to enemies which may be found on board, whenever a declaration of war has preceded the act of capture. The portion of neutral cargo that may be carried by such hostile vessels shall be free, provided it do not consist of contraband of war.
  • Art. 14. Under similar circumstances, any neutral vessel carrying goods contraband of war, official dispatches, troops, or seamen, to the enemy or for his account, shall be detained and captured; but if contraband goods do not constitute more than half of the cargo, the contraband articles only shall be confiscated, the remainder of the cargo, together with the vessel, remaining free.
  • Art. 15. Vessels whose neutrality is not shown by proper papers shall also be captured.
  • Art. 16. Vessels carrying double sets of papers, or such as appear fraudulent, shall be considered suspicious, and shall be searched. Also such as have not the papers required’by the laws of the country to which they belong, and such as shall not heave to, when summoned to do so by the cruiser, or shall refuse to permit an examination of the compartments in which it is supposed that there is contraband of war, such suspicious vessels shall be treated as hostile vessels, unless the suspicion attaching to them shall be removed.
  • Art. 17. Neutral merchant-vessels, convoyed by a neutral vessel of war, shall not be searched. It shall be considered that they carry no contraband of war if the commander of the convoy shall so declare.
  • Art. 18. There shall be a copy of these regulations on board of each vessel belonging to the Pacific squadron.

A correct copy: