The Frances - 12 U.S. 354 (1814)
U.S. Supreme Court
The Frances, 12 U.S. 8 Cranch 354 354 (1814)
12 U.S. (8 Cranch) 354
A case of further proof. Goods shipped by a British to an American house, partly in conformity with orders and partly without orders, who had an option to accept or reject the whole invoice in a limited time, remain the property of the shippers until the election be made to accept them.
This is another case of goods by the Frances, captured by the Yankee and condemned in the Circuit Court of Rhode Island, brought up to this Court on appeal.
Messrs. Dunham & Randolph merchants of New York, claimed three bales and nineteen boxes of goods shipped by Alexander Thompson of Glasgow, a British subject, and consigned to Dunham & Randolph. The bill of lading is in their names, and the invoice purports to be on their account and risk. A letter from Thompson to Dunham & Randolph dated Glasgow, 11 July, 1812, after describing the goods and the labor he had employed in the business and stating that the goods were sent partly in the Fanny and partly in the Frances, says
"I have exceeded in some articles, and have sent you others not ordered. . . . I leave it with yourselves to take the whole of the two shipments, or none at all, just as you please. If you do not wish them, I will thank you to hand the invoices and letters over to Messrs. Falconer & Co. I think twenty-four hours will allow you ample opportunity for you to make up your minds on this point, and if you do not hand them over within that time, I will of course, consider that you take the whole."
On 15 July, Alexander Thompson again wrote to Dunham & Randolph a letter in which he mentions the information that a bill declaring war had passed the House of Representations. He then adds,
"Considering the circumstances of the times, I thought it best to inform Messrs. Falconer, Jackson & Co. fully of the conditions on which I have shipped you the goods by the Fanny and Frances."
In a letter to Messrs. Falconer, Jackson & Co. of the same date, he explains in full the proposition he had made to Dunham & Randolph and directs how those gentlemen are to act for him should Dunham & Randolph reject the consignment.
This property was condemned in the courts below, and from the sentence of condemnation the claimants appealed to this Court.