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[272] ports or waters of a neutral, are, by the practice of nations, exempt from the jurisdiction of a neutral power. To withdraw or refuse to recognize this exemption without previous notice, or without such notice to exert or attempt to exert jurisdiction over any such vessel, would be a violation of a common understanding which all nations are bound by good faith to respect.

A vessel becomes a public ship of war by being armed and commissioned — that is to say, formally invested by order or under the authority of a government with the character of a ship employed in its naval service, and forming part of its marine, for purposes of war. There are no general rules which prescribe how, when or in what form the commissioning must be effected, so as to impress on the vessel the character of a public ship of war. What is, essential is that the appointment of a designated officer to the charge and command of a ship likewise designated, be made by the Government or the proper department of it, or under authority delegated by the government or department, and that the charge and command of the ship be taken by the officer so appointed. Customarily, a ship is held to be commissioned when a commissioned officer appointed to her has gone on board of her and hoisted the colors appropriated to the military marines.

The doctrine set forth in the above extracts clearly and incontrovertibly establish the claim of the Stonewall to the right and title of a Confederate man-of-war. This claim was immediately recognized by the Government at Madrid, so soon as counter representation was presented, and that international comity usually extended to belligerents was not denied the Stonewall. Neither was it withheld from the powerful man-of-war “Niagara,” for she too had put into Ferrol, not “crippled” nor in want of repairs, but simply to pay a visit, to enjoy the hospitalities of the port, or, as was said, to look after the Stonewall. On the same errand arrived the man-of-war steamer “Sacramento” in the port of Corunna, situated in the same crescent of the coast and distant from the entrances to. Ferrol only a few miles; so near that the departure of a vessel from the latter would be seen from the former.

The telegraph wires had been brought into requisition, and these two powerful men-of-war summoned to seek out and arrest the mad career of this “rebel rover.” They found her, but what then? If actuated simply by curiosity to see and learn something of this novel specimen of naval architecture, their subsequent course would indicate that they had become perfectly satisfied. The Niagara,

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