364 False Colors and Ruses of War. which would expose the merchant marine of the Netherlands to the dangers of a war." 1 We refer the reader to the developments in the question of deception by misuse of flags as given in the two preceding chapters. One may justly declare that there is scarcely one great maritime power in the world to-day whose neutrality in this war has not been outraged by England either by the abuse of its flag or by other means. 2 1 Flagrant violations of neutrality and a shameless misuse of flags have been shown by the English in the following cases (March, 1915) : Captain Wilson, who was taking a Swedish cargo from Spain to Karlskrona, was held up at Dover. A number of English soldiers came aboard and their commander said to the Captain.: "I have orders to accompany neutral ships for a certain distance, so that my men can let fly at any German submarine that shows itself." Although the Captain made a formal protest and characterized the conduct of the Englishmen in strong language as in the highest degree outrageous and dishonorable, the English crew remained on board. In the same fashion the English forced Captain John L. Duffy of the American ship "Brynhilda," to receive one officer and ten men aboard, for the purpose of attacking German submarines. When the submarine officer ascended the turret to ascertain the nationality of the ship, he would be shot. In spite of protests, the ship was brought into Aberdeen. What of the American Government ? Could there be a greater or more wanton outrage against neutrality ? What German U-boats have to expect from ships under neutral flags, under certain circumstances, is shown by the following statements of neutral ships' officers. Captain Hanssen and First Officer Jannssen, both American citizens, of the American steamer "Oliver J. Olson," made coinciding statements to the following effect: "We put out from Savannah via Scotland for Bremen. Off the Island of Foula, west of Scotland a lieutenant, a cadet, and six seamen came on board from the English auxiliary cruiser "Celtic," and brought us into Kirkwall. During this voyage the lieutenant, who had taken command of the ship, declared that if a German submarine appeared, he would endeavor to ram her with the "Oliver J. Olson." And even self-subsisting, independent states apparently condone these piratical methods without protest. In connection with such practices, which knock all conceptions of law on the head, the methods of warfare of the German navy are quite justifiable and logical, even against those states which suffer, allow and give countenance to such actions without taking the most rigorous measures against them. 2 Holland has in her Statute Book of the State registered a severe
False Colors and Ruses of War. 365 The enemy press has repeatedly announced that the arming of merchant-vessels with guns as had been planned by Mr. Churchill as early as 1913, was soon to be put into execution not only by England but also by France. The German Prize Court law of 1909 was given a special appendix on June 22, 1914, that is before the beginning of the war, in which it was plainly stated that all hostile acts on the part of an armed merchant vessel would be regarded as piracy and that the crews were to be treated as freebooters and pirates, and not as regular troops, "in accordance with the regulations appertaining to extraordinary acts of war." III. England, enraged by the heavy losses which she suffers, now advises her merchant vessels to ram war-vessels, that is to say, our "U-boats"—to refuse to obey their signals to stop, to attack them, and offers premiums and equips merchant vessels for this purpose. It has always been recognized as a law among nations that a vessel which resists a warship is subject to seizure without further consideration. Thus the emission of this general order to English merchantmen and the arming of these with cannon, renders every English vessel liable to be treated as an enemy vessel of war without further formality. Whosoever, without being a part of the regular armed forces of a country, or being recognized as such, undertakes hostile actions against the armed forces of another country —"U-boats" in this instance—must be considered as a freebooter—a guerilla— and by virtue of the prevailing penalties deserves death upon the gallows for piracy. And when English ships sail under an alien flag with hostile intent, they must, according to the law of nations, be held to be guilty of so-called indirect piracy and must be placed upon the same basis as pirate craft, even though they may receive their official orders from the British Government. Not even this government has the right to give a legal sanction to freebooters. The recognition of such arbitrary insolence punishment against such of her own people as shall misuse the Dutch flag; but no more than Sweden, Denmark, Norway, the United States, etc., can she prevent the misuse of her flag by England.