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Chapter 10:

The Whig aristocracy cannot govern England— Newcastle's administration continued.


The open declaration of war was not made by
chap. X.} 1756.
England till May; though her navy had all the while been employed in despoiling the commerce of France. At the commencement of avowed hostilities, she forbade neutral vessels to carry merchandise belonging to her antagonist. Frederick of Prussia had insisted, that, ‘by the law of nations, the goods of an enemy cannot be taken from on board the ships of a friend;’ that free ships make free goods. Against this interpretation of public law, the learning of Murray had been called into service; and, pleading ancient usage against the lessons of wiser times, he gave the elaborate opinion which formed the basis of English policy and Admiralty law,1 that the effects of an enemy can be seized on board the vessel of a friend. This may be proved, said Murray, by authority; and the illustrious jurist did not know that humanity appeals

1 Representation to the King (drawn by Murray), 18 January, 1753. Duke of Newcastle to Michell, Secretary to the Prussian Embassy at London, 8 February, 1753.

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