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and the

with this preparation, whether it consists in build 1824. ing, fitting, equipping, or loading, the purpose The Emily for which the act is done. The law looks at the

Caroline intention, and furnishes authority to take from the offender the means designed for the perpetration of the mischief. This is not punishing, criminally, the intention merely; it is the preparation of the vessel, and the purpose for which she is to be employed, that constitute the offence, and draws after it the penalty of forfeiture. As soon, therefore, as the preparations have progressed, so far as clearly and satisfactorily to show the purpose for which they are made, the right of seizure attaches.' To apply the construction, contended for on the part of the claimant, that the fitting or preparation must be complete, and the vessel ready for sca, before she can be seized, would be rendering the law in a great measure nugatory, and enable offenders to elude its provisions in the most easy manner.

The intention or purpose for which the vessel is fitting, must be made out 30 as to leave no reasonable doubt as to the object. This is matter of proof, and, generally speaking, to be collected from the kind of preparation that has been made. It is unnecessary to notice minutely the evidence taken in these cases. It shows conclusively, and beyond the possibility of doubt, that both the Emily and the Caroline were fitting out for the slave trade. In this the witnesses, both on the part of the United States and the claimant, concur. All the preparations were such as were peculiarly adapted to what the witnesses call slaving vessels, and not to those for the mer

and the Caroline.

1824. chant service. The ship carpenter, a witness on The Emily

the part of the claimant, and who, of all others, was best qualified to give information on this subject, says, the vessels were fitting in a manner similar to that in which vessels generally are for the slave trade; that the Emily was almost complete, and the work in which he was engaged on the Caroline, was of the same character and descrip!ion. There was no attempt whatever by the claimant, to explain the object of these peculiar fitments, or to show that the destination of the vessels was other than that of the slave trade. Nor has his counsel, on the argument here, set up for him any such pretence. We may, therefore, safely conclude, that the purpose for which these vessels were fitting, was the slave trade; and if so, the right of seizure attached. We can discover no sound reason for delaying the seizure until the vessels were on the point of sailing. It could only be necessary to render more certain, from their complete fitment, the purpose for which they were to be employed; and if that be satisfactorily ascertained, at an earlier stage of the preparation, the delay would be useless, and evasion of the law rendered almost certain.

Decrees affirmed.

1824.

(INSTANCE COURT, Slave TRADE ACTS.]

The Merino,

et al.

The MERINO. The CONSTITUTION. The Louisa.

BARRIAS, and others, Claimants.

The technical niceties of the common law are not regarded in Ad

miralty proceedings. It is sufficient, if an information set forth the offence so as clearly to bring it within the statute upon which the information is founded. It is not necessary that it should con

clude contra formam statuti. The District Court of the District where the seizure was made, and

not where the offence was committed, has jurisdiction of proceed

ings in rem for an alleged forfeiture. If the seizure is made on the high seas, or within the territory of a

foreign power, the jurisdiction is conferred on the Court of the

District where the property is carried and proceeded against.
A municipal seizure, within the territory of a foreign power, does not

oust the jurisdiction of the District Court into whose District the

property may be carried for adjudication. The prohibitions in the Slave Trade Acts of the 10th of May, 1800,

C. 205. (li.) and of the 20th of April, 1818, extend as well to the carrying of slaves ou freight, as to cases where the persons transported are the property of citizens of the United States; and to the carrying them from one port to another of the same foreign empire, as well as from one foreign country to

another. Under the 4th section of the act of the 10th of May, 1800, c. 205.·

(li:] the owner of the slaves transported contrary to the provisions of that act, cannot claim the same in a Court of the United States, although they may be held in servitude according to the laws of his own country. But if, at the time of the capture by a coinmissioned vessei, the offending ship was in possession of a non-commissioned captor, who had made a seizure for the same offence, the owner of the slaves may claim; the section only applying to persons interested in the enterprise or voyage in which the ship was employed at the time of such capture.

APPEAL from the District Court of Alabama. These were the cases of several vessels, and their

el al.

182-1. eargoes of African slaves. The information filed

in the case of the Constitution was, as well on The Merino,

behalf of the United States, as of George M. Brooke, a colonel in the army of the United States. The first count, after stating the seizure of this vessel, with a valuable cargo on board, and eightyfour African slaves, by the said Brooke, on waters navigable from the sea by vessels of ten tons burthen and upwards, alleges, that the said vessel, being a vessel of the United States, owned by citizens of the United States, was employed in carrying on trade, business or traffic, contrary to the true intent of an act of Congress, passed on the 10th of May, 1800, entitled, “an act to prohibit the carrying on of the slave trade from the United States to any foreign place or country,” that is to say, was employed or made use of in the transportation of slaves from one foreign country to another, viz. from Havanna to Pensacola, both places belonging to the king of Spain, contrary to the form of the said act, whereby the said vessel and her cargo became forfeited.

It was admitted, by the counsel for the respondents, that the second and third counts were unşupported by the evidence, and they were, therefore, abandoned.

The fourth count charges, that certain citizens of the United States did, in June, 1818, take on board, or transport from one foreign place or country to another, certain negroes, in a vessel, for the purpose of holding, selling, or otherwise disposing of them as slaves, or to be held to labour or service. In the case of the Merino, the information

et ad

contains three counts, the second of which alone 1824, was relied upon by the counsel for the respon- The Merino, dent, and this states, that on the day of June, 1818, certain citizens of the United States received on board of the said vessel, belonging to citizens of the United States, and transported from one foreign place or country, viz. from Cuba to Pensacola, a certain number of negroes, for the purpose of holding the said negroes as slaves; and that the said vessel, with her cargo, and the negroes, were, on the 21st of June, 1818, seized on the high seas by Capt. M.Keever, commander of the United States ketch Surprise, and were brought into the District of Mobile, for a violation of the laws of the United States, and particularly of the 4th section of the act of 1818.

The information in the case of the Louisa and her cargo, was substantially the same as the one last mentioned, the second count being also founded on the 4th section of the act of 1818.

The evidence in these cases established the following facts, viz. that the above vessels, owned by citizens of the United States, and registered as such, sailed from certain ports in the United States to Havana, where they each received on board certain goods, as also a number of slaves, newly imported from the coast of Africa, the latter belonging to subjects of Spain, residents either of Havana or Pensacola, to be transported from the former to the latter place. The Merino cleared out at Havana on the 2d of June, 1818, for Mobile, and the Constitution and Louisa, on the 10th of the same month, for New-Orleans.

Vol. IX.

50

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