The Mary and Susan
14 U.S. 46 (1816)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

The Mary and Susan, 14 U.S. 1 Wheat. 46 46 (1816)

The Mary and Susan

14 U.S. (1 Wheat.) 46

Syllabus

Goods, the property of merchants actually domiciled in the enemy's country at the breaking out of a war, are subject to capture and confiscation as prize.

The President's instructions of 28 August, 1812, must have been actually known to the commanders of vessels of war at or before the seizure in order to invalidate captures made contrary to the instructions.

An alien may be the commander of a privateer without invalidating a capture made by him.

This was a claim by Mr. Richardson for a portion of the cargo of the same ship mentioned in the preceding cause, which portion was condemned in the district and circuit courts. The claimant, a native of Great Britain, and a naturalized citizen of the United States, was a resident merchant of Liverpool at the breaking out of the late war, but returned to this country in the month of May, 1813, after knowledge of the capture and pending the proceedings in the district court. The capture was made on 3 September, 1812, within 18 miles of Sandy Hook in 13 fathoms of water, where vessels are frequently passing and anchoring, and the privateer had previously spoken at sea another privateer and a pilot boat schooner from Philadelphia.

Page 14 U. S. 47

There was also contradictory testimony as to whether the commander of the privateer had knowledge of the President's additional instructions of 26 August, 1812, before the capture, which, as it is noticed in the opinion of the Court, it is unnecessary to state. By those instructions the public and private armed vessels of the United States was not to interrupt any vessels belonging to citizens of the United States coming from British ports to the United States laden with British merchandise in consequence of the alleged repeal of the British Orders in Council, but were, on the contrary, to give aid and assistance to the same in order that such vessels and their cargos might be dealt with on their arrival as might be decided by the competent authorities.

Page 14 U. S. 54

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