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SEARCH—SEA-SERPENT

was what, in accordance with the limitations of sea-power, may be expected of a navy. It made the transport of the army across the sea possible, and enabled it to do what 'of itself the army could not have done, viz. overcome the last resistance of the enemy. The issue of the Spanish-American War, at least as regards the defeat of Spain, was a foregone conclusion. That Spain, 5, ,, ,|, |, . even without a seriousfinsurrection on her hands, American was unequal to the task of meeting so powerful an W"" antagonist as the United States must have been evident 1898. even to Spaniards. However that may be, an early collapse of the Spanish defence was not anticipated, and however one-sided the war may have been seen to be, it furnished examples illustrating rules as old asnaval warfare. Mahan says of it that, “ while possessing, as every war does, characteristics of its own differentiating it from others, nevertheless in its broad analogies it falls into line with its predecessors, evidencing that unity of teaching which pervades the art from its beginnings unto this day ” (Lessons of the War with Spain, p. 16). The Spaniards were defeated by the superiority of the American sea-power. “ A million of the best soldiers, ” says Mahan, “ would have been powerless in face of hostile control of the sea.” That control was obtained and kept by the United States navy, thus permitting the unobstructed despatch of troops-and their subsequent reinforcement and supply-to Spanish territory, which was finally conquered, not by the navy, but by the army on shore. That it was the navy which made this final conquest possible happened, in this case, to be made specially evident by the action of the United States government, which stopped a military expedition on the point of starting for Cuba until the sea was cleared of all Spanish naval force worth attention. It is unnecessary here to, dwell on the results of sea-power in the war between Great Britain and the Boers, in which troops had to be transported by sea from- England to South Africa, or in that between Russia and Japan, in which the culminating blow given by ]apan was the defeat of the Russian fleet at the battle of Tsushima.

The events of the long period which we have been considering will have shown how sea-power operates, and what it effects. What it involves will have appeared from this narrative more clearly than would have been possible from any mere definition. Like many other things, sea-power is composed of several elements. To reach the highest degree of efficacy it should be based upon a population naturally maritime, and on an ocean commerce naturally developed rather than artificially enticed to extend itself. Its outward and visible sign is a navy, strong in the discipline, skill and courage of a numerous personnel habituated to the sea, in the number and quality of its ships, in the excellence of its rnatériel, and in the efficiency, scale, security and geographical position of its arsenals and bases. History has demonstrated that sea-power thus conditioned can gain any purely maritime object, can protect the trade and the communications of a widely extended empire, and while so doing can ward off from its shores a formidable invader. There are, however, limitations to be noted. Left to itself its operation is confined to the water, or at any'rate to the inner edge of a narrow zone of coast. It prepares the way for the advance of an army, the work of which it is not intended and is unable to perform. Behind it, in the territory of which it guards the shores, there must be a land-force adjusted in organization, equipment and numbers to the circumstances of the country. The possession of a navy does not permit a sea-surrounded state to dispense with all fixed defences or fortification; but it does render it unnecessary and indeed absurd that they should be abundant or gigantic. The danger which always impends over the sea-power of any country is that, after being long unused, it may lose touch of the sea. The revolution in the constructive arts during the latter half of the r9th century, which has also been a period of but little-interrupted naval peace, and the universal adoption of mechanical appliances, both for ship propulsion and for many minor services-mere materiel being thereby raised in the general estimation far above really more important matters-make the danger mentioned more menacing in the present age than it has ever been before. The classic works on Sea-power are those of Captain A. T. Mahan: Influence of Sea-power on History (1890); Influence of Sea-power on the French Revolution and Empire (1892); Nelson: the Embodiment of the Sea-power of Great Britain (1897), &c. See also the bibliography of the article NAVY., (C. A. G. B.)


SEARCH, or Visit and Search, a term used in international law and apparently derived in some confused way from the French word visite, which means search, combined with the English translation of the word visite. An attempt made by some writers to distinguish between visit and search only leads to misunderstanding. Search is the exact English equivalent of visits, and in the translation of the Declaration of London (Feb. 26, 1909) the translator has rightly rendered it as such (art. 63).

The right of search belongs to belligerents alone. Its object is to verify the nationality of the vessel and if neutral to ascertain whether it carries contraband. The consequence of resistance to search is capture and trial in a Prize Court. “ Forcible resistance to the legitimate exercise of the right of stoppage, search and capture,” says art. 63, of the Declaration of London, 1909, “ involves in all cases the condemnation of the vessel. The cargo is liable to the same treatment as the cargo of an enemy vessel. Goods belonging to the master or owner of the vessel are treated as enemy goods.” At the Hague Conference of 1907 the question of the liability to search of mail-ships gave rise to much discussion based on incidents arising out of the South African and Russo-Japanese Wars. It was ultimately decided that postal correspondence of neutrals and even of belligerents, and whether official or private, found on board a neutral or even an enemy ship should be “ inviolable,” and that though the ship should be detained, this correspondence had to be forwarded to its destination by the captor “ with the least possible delay.”[1] The only exception to this exemption is correspondence destined for or proceeding from a blockaded port. As regards the mail-ships themselves, apart from this inviolability of the correspondence, no exemption or privilege is extended beyond the injunction that they should not be searched, except when absolutely necessary, and then only “ with as much consideration and expedition as possible,” which might just as well be said of all ships stopped or searched on the high seas.  (T. Ba.) 


SEA-SERPENT. The belief in enormous serpents, both terrestrial and marine, dates from very early times. Pliny (H .N viii. 14), following Livy (Epit. xviii.), tells us of a land serpent 120 ft. long, which Regulus and his army besieged with balistae, as though it had been a city, and this story is repeated by several other writers (Florus ii. 2; Val. Max. i. 8; Gellius vi. 3). The most prolific in accounts of the sea-serpent, however, are the early Norse writers, to whom the “ S6-Orm ” was a subject both for prose and verse. Olaus Magnus (Hist. gent. sept. xxi. 24) describes it as zoo ft. long and zo ft. round, and states that it not only ate calves, sheep and swine, but also “ disturbs ships, rising up like a mast, and sometimes snaps some of the men from thedeck, ” illustrating his account with a vivid representation of the animal in the very act. Pontoppidan, in his Natural History (Eng. trans., 1755, pp. 195 seq.), says that its existence was generally believed in by the sailors and fishermen of his time, and he recounts the means they adopted to escape it, as well as many details regarding its habits. The more circumstantial records of comparatively modern times may be conveniently grouped according to the causes which presumably gave rise to the phenomena described. (1) A number of porpoises swimming one behind another may-, by their characteristic mode of half emerging from and then re-entering the water during respiration, produce the appearance of a single animal showing a succession of snake-like undulations. The figure given by Pontoppidan was very likely suggested by such an

appearance, and a sketch of an animal seen off Llandudno by

  1. Convention relative to certain restrictions on the exercise of the right of capture in maritime war (art. I).