The Carlos F. Roses
177 U.S. 655 (1900)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

The Carlos F. Roses, 177 U.S. 655 (1900)

The Carlos F. Roses

No. 743

Argued January 12, 1900

Decided May 14, 1900

177 U.S. 655


The Carlos F. Roses, a Spanish vessel, owned at Barcelona, Spain, sailed from that port for Montevideo, Uruguay, with a cargo which was discharged there and a cargo of jerked beef and garlic taken on board for Havana, for which she sailed March 16, 1898. On May 17, while proceeding to Havana, she was captured by a vessel of the United States and sent to Key West, where she was libelled. A British company doing business in London, laid claim to the cargo on the ground that they had advanced money for its purchase to a citizen of Montevideo, and had received bills of lading covering the shipments. The vessel was condemned as enemy's property, but the proceeds of the cargo, which had been ordered to be sold as perishable property, was ordered to be paid to the claimants. Held,

(1) That as the vessel was an enemy vessel, the presumption was that the cargo was enemy's property, and this could only be overcome by clear and positive evidence to the contrary.

(2) That on the face of the papers given in evidence, it must be presumed

Page 177 U. S. 656

that, when these goods were delivered to the vessel, they became the property of the consignors named in the invoices.

(3) That the British company got the legal title to the goods and the right of possession only if such were the intention of the parties, and that that intention was open to explanation, although the persons holding the papers might have innocently paid value for them.

(4) That in prize courts, it is necessary for the claimants to show the absence of anything to impeach the transaction, and at least to disclose fully all the surrounding circumstances, and that the claimants had failed to do so.

(5) That the right of capture acts on the proprietary interest of the thing captured at the time of the capture, and is not affected by the secret liens or private engagements of the parties.

(6) That, in this case, the belligerent right overrides the neutral claim, which must be regarded merely as a debt and the assignment as a cover to an enemy interest.

The Carlos F. Roses was a Spanish bark of 499 tons, hailing from Barcelona, Spain, sailing under the Spanish flag, and officered and manned by Spaniards. She had been owned for many years by Pedro Roses Valenti, a citizen of Barcelona. Her last voyage began at Barcelona, whence she proceeded to Montevideo, Uruguay, with a cargo of wine and salt. All of the outward cargo was discharged at Montevideo, where the vessel took on a cargo consisting of jerked beef and garlic, to be delivered at Havana, Cuba, and sailed for the latter port on March 16, 1898. On May 17, when in the Bahama channel off Punta de Maternillos, Cuba, and on her course to Havana, she was captured by the United States cruiser New York, and sent to Key West in charge of a prize crew. The bark and her cargo were duly libeled May 20. All of the ship's papers were delivered to the prize commissioners, and the deposition of Maristany, her master, was taken in preparatorio. Kleinwort Sons & Company, of London, England, made claim to the cargo, consisting of a shipment of 110,256 kilos of jerked beef and 19,980 strings of garlic, and a further shipment of 165,384 kilos of jerked beef, alleging that they were its owners and that it was not lawful prize of war. In support of the claim, the firm's agent in the United States filed a test affidavit made on information and belief. In this, it was alleged that

Page 177 U. S. 657

Kleinwort Sons & Company were merchants in London; that the members of the firm were subjects of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland; that in February and March, 1898, the bark, being then in Montevideo, bound on a voyage to Havana, took on board a cargo of jerked beef and strings of garlic shipped by Pla Gibernau & Company, merchants of Montevideo, to be transported to the port of Havana, and there to be delivered to the order of the shippers according to the condition of certain bills of lading issued therefor by the bark to Pla Gibernau & Company; that the members of the firm of Gibernau & Company were citizens of the Argentine Republic; that the bark left Montevideo on March 16, and proceeded on her voyage to Havana, until May 17, when, being at a point in the Bahama channel off Martinique, she was captured by the United States cruiser New York without resistance on her part, and sent into Key West as prize of war; that, after the shipment of the cargo in Montevideo, claimants made advances to the shippers and owners of the cargo in the sum of

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