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Judge Betts's decree was reversed in the circuit court, where the following opinion was delivered by Mr. Justice Nelson:
"This is an appeal in admiralty from a decree of condemnation in a libel of information for the violation of the neutrality laws of the United States. We have examined the pleadings and proofs in the case, and have been unable to concur in the judgment of the court below, but from the pressure of other business have not found time to write out at large the grounds and reasons for the opinion arrived at. We must, therefore, for the present, be content in the statement of our conclusions in the matter:
"1. Although negotiations were commenced and carried on between the owners of the Meteor and agents of the Government of Chile for the sale of her to the latter, with the knowledge that she would be employed against the Government of Spain, with which Chile was at war, yet these negotiations failed, and came to an end, from the inability of the agents to raise the amount of the purchase money demanded; and if the sale of the vessel in its then condition and equipment, to the Chilean Government would have been a violation of our neutrality laws, of which it is unnecessary to express any opinion, the termination of the negotiation put an end to this ground of complaint.
“2. The furnishing of the vessel with coal and provisions for a voyage to Panama, or some other port of South America, and the purpose of the owners to send her thither, in our judgment, was not in pursuance of an agreement or understanding with the agents of the Chilean Government, but for the purpose and design of finding a market for her, and that the owners were free to sell her on her arrival there to the Government of Chile or of Spain, or of any other government or person with whom they might be able to negotiate a sale.
"3. The witnesses chiefly relied on to implicate the owners in the negotiations with the agents of the Chilean Government, with a view and intent of fitting out and equipping the vessel to be employed in the war with Spain, are persons who had volunteered to negotiate on behalf of the agents with the owners in expectation of large commissions in the event of a sale, or persons in the expectation of employment in some situation in the command of the vessel, and very clearly manifest their disappointment and chagrin at the failure of the negotiations; and whose testimony is to be examined with considerable distrust and suspicion. We are not satisfied that a case is made out, upon the proofs, of a violation of the neutrality laws of the United States, and must, therefore, reverse the decree below, and enter a decree dismissing the libel."
An appeal was taken by the Government from the decision of the circuit court to the Supreme Court of the United States, but was not prosecuted to a hearing, being dismissed by consent November 9, 1868.
Report of the Case of the Steamship Meteor, by F. V. Balch (Little,
April 25, 1885, a libel was filed against the American steamer City of Mexico, at New York, for condemnation for violation of section 3 of the act of April 20, 1818, 3 Stat. 448, now section 5283, Revised Statutes, relating to neutrality. For some months an insurrection had existed in the State of Bolivar, Colombia, of which Barranquilla was the capital and Savanilla the seaport. March 12, 1885, the City of Mexico sailed from New York under charter to a local merchant for a voyage to Savanilla and return. She carried some arms and munitions of war consigned to merchants at Barranquilla and also some lumber and specie with which to procure a return cargo of fruit from Bocas del Toro. The steamer duly arrived at Savanilla and discharged her cargo, and the master went to Barranquilla and deposited the ship's papers with the United States consul. While there the master entered into a contract with the merchants, to whom the arms and ammunition had been consigned, to transport "about 250 passengers" from Savanilla to Rio Hacha, the latter port being then in the peaceable possession of the titular government, though the master was informed that it was in the possession of the insurgents. Under the contract he took on board about 150 troops, with arms and officers, and proceeded to Rio Hacha. When he arrived there the customs officials on coming aboard were seized and held by the troops against his protest. Subsequently the general in command of the troops demanded that the steamer should be used to capture a government vessel which was descried at a distance. The master and crew protested, and, as the chief engineer refused to work the engines, the project was abandoned. The master then proceeded to Savanilla, and afterwards entered a formal protest before the United States consul at Barranquilla. The de facto insurgent authorities disavowed the acts of the general and troops in making prisoners of the customs officials at Rio Hacha, and the City of Mexico was cleared for Bocas del Toro, where she obtained a partial cargo of fruit. She then returned to New York. The court held (1) that section 5283, Revised Statutes, prohibits only warlike or hostile voyages and not commercial ventures, and that the carrying of arms for the use of the insurgents to a port in their possession was not a violation of the statute; and (2) that, as the trip to Rio Hacha, no matter what may have been its intent, was not in contemplation when the steamer left New York, but was an independent diversion undertaken by the master on his own responsibility, it was not within the statute, because it was not planned" within the limits of the United States."
The City of Mexico (1885), 24 Fed. Rep. 33.
H. Doc. 551-vol 7-58
See For. Rel. 1885, 253, 254, 259, 260, 261. Also, Mr. Bayard, Sec. of State, to Mr. Garland, At. Gen., April 22, 1885, 155 MS. Dom. Let. 171; Mr. Bayard, Sec. of State, to Sec. of Treas., Feb. 19, 1886. 159 MS. Dom. Let. 124; Mr. Bayard, Sec. of State, to Mr. Garland, Feb. 25, 1886, id. 163; same to same, Feb. 27, 1886, id. 184.
As to the Claribel, see For. Rel. 1885, 263–264; Mr. Bayard, Sec. of State,
As to the Vertumnus, see Mr. Bayard, Sec. of State, to Attorney General,
Where a vessel is chartered by a consul of a foreign government to carry a cargo of arms, deliverable as per bill of lading to his representatives, she can not be seized under section 5283 for being fitted out and armed to aid warring factions in another foreign government, though there is slight evidence that the arms may ultimately be employed for such purpose.
The Carondelet, 37 Fed. Rep. 799.
See Mr. Rives, Asst. Sec. of State, to Mr. Walker, Feb. 9, 1889, 171 MS.
See, also, For. Rel. 1889, 515, 520, 521, 522, 526, 527.
The evidence showed that a vessel was to be dispatched from New York to Samana in a condition unfit for the commission of hostilities, to be delivered there to the Government of the Dominican Republic. It was held that the use to which she might thereafter be put by that Government was a matter for which it and not the United States was responsible, and that a well-founded suspicion that the Dominican Government would use the vessel to commit hostilities in the service of a faction in Hayti under one Hyppolite and against an organization controlled by one Légitime, neither of which factions had been recognized as a belligerent power by the United States, would not justify a finding that the vessel was fitted out in New York with an intent to be used in hostilities in contravention of section 5283 of the Revised Statutes.
The Conserva, 38 Fed. Rep. 431.
As to the case of the Conserva or Madrid, see Mr. Preston, Haytian min., to Mr. Bayard, Sec. of State, Jan. 25, 1889, For. Rel. 1889, 515; Mr. Bayard to Mr. Preston, Jan. 28, 1889, id. 520; Mr. Preston, to Mr. Bayard, tel., Feb. 4, 1889, id. 521; Mr. Bayard to Mr. Preston, Feb. 5, 1889, id. 521; Mr. Preston to Mr. Bayard, Feb. 14, 1889, id. 522; same to same, Feb. 15, 1889, id. 526; Mr. Bayard to Mr. Preston. tel., Feb. 18, 1889, id. 527.
See, also, Mr. Bayard, Sec. of State, to Mr. Wilber, Jan. 28, 1889, 171 MS. Dom. Let. 427; Mr. Bayard, Sec. of State, to the Attorney-General. Feb. 5, 1889, id. 499; Mr. Bayard, Sec. of State, to collector of customs at New York, Feb. 15, 1889, id. 623; Mr. Blaine, Sec. of State, to Attorney-General, May 27, 1889, 173 id. 205.
As to the purchase of the steam yacht Natalie by the Haytian Government, see Mr. Uhl, Act. Sec. of State, to Attorney-General, Mar. 20, 1894, 196 MS. Dom. Let. 131.
No forfeiture can be claimed under section 5283, Revised Statutes, of a vessel which is only employed to transport arms and munitions of war to a vessel fitting out to pursue the forbidden warlike enterprise.
United States v. The Robert and Minnie, 47 Fed. Rep. 84.
"I am informed by the minister of Chile that he has authentic information that the American schooner Robert and Minnie, in tow of the tug Vigilant, which has put into a port in California (sailing from San Francisco), has aboard a large amount of arms and ammunition purchased by agents of the insurgents now engaged in insurrection against the established Government of Chile; that said schooner has been fitted out in the United States with hostile purpose against said Government, and that it is designed to transfer the said arms and ammunition to a vessel transport believed to be now hovering off the coast of California. In view of this information, it is desirable that prompt measures be taken to prevent the neutrality laws being violated to the injury of a friendly government." (Mr. Blaine, Sec. of State, to Attorney-General, May 4, 1891, 181 MS. Dom. Let. 592.)
The purchasing of arms and munitions of war and placing them on board an armed transport to be carried to a foreign country to be used in carrying on hostilities there is not a fitting out, or arming, or furnishing of a vessel under section 5283, Revised Statutes.
United States v. Trumbull, 48 Fed. Rep. 99. See, to the same effect,
For the citation of this decision in the case of the American schooner
To bring a vessel within section 5283, Revised Statutes, it must be shown that her employment in the prohibited service was pursuant to an intention formed within the territorial limits of the United States; and the formation of such intention on the high seas, after she has left those limits, can not be construed, because she is an American vessel, as being within the statute.
United States v. The Laurada (1900), 98 Fed. Rep. 983; 39 C. C. A. 374; affirming United States v. The Laurada (1898), 85 Fed. Rep. 760. But it is not necessary that the furnishing, fitting out, or arming should be completed within the limits of the United States. (United States v. The Laurada (1898), 85 Fed. Rep. 760.)
"It is believed that the presence of a United States cruiser off the coast of Florida, in the vicinity of Key West especially, might render valuable aid in preventing violations of the neutrality laws of the United States and in saving misguided citizens of the United States from the consequences of such violations.
"If the vessel be sent as suggested, it is thought her commander might properly be instructed not only to render all possible assistance
to marshals and other civil officers of the United States in the service of process at sea and otherwise, but to stop and examine, and if the result of the examination be not satisfactory, to take to the nearest port for further investigation, any vessel whose papers, cargo, armament, passengers or any other circumstances, tend to show that said vessel or those found on board are liable to prosecution for breach of the neutrality laws of the United States.
"The commander of the vessel will undoubtedly be familiar with the provisions of such neutrality laws. It might not be out of place, however, to call his attention to the fact that section 5283 of the Revised Statutes has been authoritatively construed and has been held not to cover the case of a vessel which receives arms and munitions of war in this country with intent to carry them to a party of insurgents in a foreign country, but not with intent that they shall constitute any part of the fittings or furnishings of the vessel herself.
"It has also been held that, under the same section of the Revised Statutes, a vessel cannot be condemned as piratical on the ground that she is in the employ of an insurgent party which has not been recognized by our Government as having belligerent rights."
Mr. Olney, Sec. of State, to Sec. of Navy, June 10, 1897, 202 MS. Dom.
"If the Newark can be employed to intercept the Dauntless and to take
4. AUGMENTATION OF FORCE.
"Every person who, within the territory or jurisdiction of the United States, increases or augments, or procures to be increased or augmented, or knowingly is concerned in increasing or augmenting, the force of any ship of war, cruiser, or other armed vessel, which, at the time of her arrival within the United States, was a ship of war, or cruiser, or armed vessel, in the service of any foreign prince or state, or of any colony, district, or people, or belonging to the subjects or citizens of any such prince or state, colony, district, or people, the same being at war with any foreign prince or state, or of any colony, district, or people, with whom the United States are at peace, by adding to the number of the guns of such vessel, or by changing those on board of her for guns of a larger caliber, or by adding thereto any equipment solely applicable to war, shall be deemed guilty of a high