The Frances - 12 U.S. 363 (1814)
U.S. Supreme Court
The Frances, 12 U.S. 8 Cranch 363 363 (1814)
12 U.S. (8 Cranch) 363
Held that the commercial domicile of a merchant at the time of the capture of his goods determines the character of those goods hostile or neutral.
This also was an appeal from the sentence of the Rhode Island Circuit Court condemning certain goods captured on board the Frances by the Yankee privateer.
These goods were shipped by Colin Gillespie, the claimant, who had been naturalized in the United States, and consigned to Archibald Bryce and Alexander Muirhead for sale and remittance to the shipper at Glasgow.
To ascertain the national character of the claimant, further proof was ordered by the court below calling upon him to show how long after his naturalization he resided in the United States before he went to Great Britain, how long he had since resided in the United States at any time or times, how long in Great Britain, what was the nature of his business in the latter country, and in whom the property vested at the time it was shipped.
Upon the production of this further proof it appeared that the property was vested in the claimant at the time of its being shipped; that he was a native of Great Britain; that he emigrated to the United States in 1793; was naturalized in 1798; having in the interim returned to his native country on mercantile business in 1794 and 1796, and revisited the United States in 1795 and 1797; that he again returned to his native country in 1799, was there married, and revisited the United
States with his wife in the same year; that he continued to reside in New York until June, 1802, when he once more returned to Great Britain and resided there until November, 1805, when he came to the United States (Mrs. Gillespie having died in Scotland), formed a partnership with John Graham of New York, and returned to Glasgow in the same year, where he carried on the business of the partnership under the firm of Colin Gillespie & Co.; that he remained there until the partnership was dissolved and until 2 July, 1813, on which day he left the enemy's country and arrived in the United States with his family, in October, 1813; that he kept house at Glasgow and built a warehouse there which he still owns, and kept his counting house therein. He formed a determination to return to the United States, as he deposes, on being informed of the declaration of war by the United States against Great Britain, which took place on 18 June, 1812, and was known in England about 20 July following, but was prevented, by his engagements and commercial concerns from carrying that intention into effect until the period above mentioned, still leaving some of his affairs unarranged.
Upon this evidence, the property was condemned in the circuit court, and an appeal was taken by the claimant to this Court.