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1824. treaty of peace. But, according to our munici
p al constitution, even if the territory had been at al ceded by treaty; it would require an act of Con
gress to apply the laws of trade for its government. (3.) The slave act of 1800, c. 205., does not affect the slaves transported, unless they belong to the owner of the vessel. Besides, it merely prohibited their transportation from one foreign country to another, and not from one place of the same country to another. This was the case of a removal of slaves, who were such by the laws of the island, from Cuba to another Spanish colony. Since the enactment of the first law on the subject, in 1794, down to the present time, the policy of the National Legislature has been limited to the suppression of the slave trade, (properly so called,) and to prevent, as far as could be done, the bringing into a state of servitude those persons who were free in their own country; and since the condition of persons who are already slaves, cannot be changed or made worse, by their removal from one slave-holding country to another, the statutes ought not to be so construed as to prohibit citizens of the United States from being concerned in such removals. (4.) The District Court of Alabama had no jurisdiction of these causes, under the Judiciary Act of 1789, c. 20. 8. 9., since the scizure was made, neither upon the high seas, nor upon waters navigable from the sea, within the district, but it was made within
a Grotius de S. B. ac P. lib. 3. c. 6, s. 4, 5. par Barbeyr. tom. 2. p.786. Mably, Droit de l'Europe. tom. 1. c. 2. p. 144.
the territorial jurisdiction of a foreign power. The waters where this seizure was made, form no part of the “high seas." He also insisted, that no regular Admiralty process had issued in the Court below, and that the informations were defective, in not concluding contra formam statuti, and, at the same time, not containing any express reference to the statutes under which the proceedings were commenced.
The Attorney-General and Mr. Kelly, contra;. (1.) insisted, that there was no ground for limiting the operation of the slave trade acts in the manner proposed on the part of the appellants. Foreigners cannot be permitted, with impunity, to employ our shipping in the transportation of slaves. The acts of Congress may attach to American vessels, wherever they may be, or however employed. Both the vessels and the slaves had here committed an offence, in the eye of the law, for which it pronounced a forfeiture, without regard to the national character of the owners of ship or cargo. Foreigners are bound to know, and are supposed to know, our laws of trade, in all cases where thosc laws may be justly applicd.; and they may be justly applied to the conduct of our vessels, whether in our own ports, in foreign ports, or on the high seas. Under the statutes now in question, it is not necessary that the two foreign ports or places, between which the traffic is carried on, should be in
a United States v. Wiltberger, 5 Wheat. Rep. 93. United States v. Pirates, Id. 200.
1824. different foreign countries or empires. Much of The Marine the slave trade was carried on from European fac
'tories on the coast of Africa to the colonies of the same nation in the West Indies or South America; and could there be a doubt, that this trade was meant to be prohibited by Congress ? It is sufficient to satisfy the words of the statute, if the two places are foreign with respect to the United States. Nor is it material, whether the American owner of the vessel has any proprietary interest in the slaves or not. Whether they are carried as his property for sale, or to be held to service, or are transported on freight for the slave merchant, or owner, the forfeiture equally attaches to vessel and cargo. (2.) By the 4th section of the act of 1800, c. 205. the claimants, if interested in the enterprise or voyage in which the vessel is employed, are expressly excluded from restitution of the slaves which belong to them. But here it may be doubted, whether they have proved any proprietary interest, which will entitle them to restitution. The onus probandi was on them. They must show, by positive evidence, that those persons were slaves according to the laws of Spain, and that they had a right to carry them from one colony to another, by those laws. Foreign laws are matters of fact, and as such, must be proved, according to the rules of evidence applicable to them, whether written or unwritten. (3.) It was not meant to be contended, that the United States acquired any sovereignty or jurisdiction over the Spanish territory, by its temporary occupation. It was unnecessary to
maintain such a position. Here was a fraudulent at tempt to violate our laws, by transportipg those persons from the Island of Cuba, with a colourable destination, for another Spanish colony, but with the real intention of introducing them into the United States. In order to give the District Court of Alabama jurisdiction, it is immaterial where the offence was committed ; and it is equally immaterial where the seizure was made, provided it was not made in any other district of the United States. In any other case, jurisdiction is given to the Court within whose district the property is carried for adjudication. The trespass on the Spanish territory cappot be so connected with the subsequent seizure, under the process of the Court below, as to invalidate the seizure. If there was any offence against the sovereignty of Spain in the original seizure, that is a matter to be adjusted between the two governments.
Mr. Justice WASHINGTON delivered the opinion Montilth of the Court; and, after stating the case, proceeded to enumerate the objections made by the counsel
a. The Richmond, 9 Cranch, 102.
6 The counsel was proceeding to argue the question as to the rights of Colonel Brooke, as a non-commissioned captor, or seizoen but was stopped by the Court, upon the suggestion, that the de crees of the Court below had reserved the question of distribution of the proceeds of the seizure, for its further directions, as in cases of prize and other Admiralty proceedings; and that nothing was before this Court upon the present appeal, but the question of forfeiture.
1824. for the appellants, to the several decrees of the
Court below. Tho Merino,
1. That the regular Admiralty process was not issued in these cases.
2. That the informations do not conclude against the form of the statute.
3. That the District Court of Alabama had not jurisdiction, the seizures having been made, not within the waters of that State, or on the high seas, but within the jurisdiction of a foreign natión.
4. That the acts of Congress, on which these informations are founded, were intended to apply exclusively to the suppression of the slave trade, from the coast of Africa, or elsewhere, for the purpose of holding or disposing of the subjects of the trade, as slaves, and not to the carrying of thent, when in a state of slavery, from one foreign country to another.
1. That the proceedings in these cases were not conducted with the regularity usually observed in Admiralty causes, must be admitted. But the Court is of opinion, that all objections of this nature were waived, by the appearance of the parties interested in the property seized, and filing their claimas to the same. Ineach case, a warrant issued to the Marshal to seize the property libelled, and to cite and admonish all persons claiming an interest in the same; to appear before the Court, and to sbow cause why the same should not be condemned, as forfeited to the United States. This process was returned executed, and claims were interposed for the several vessels and their