THE DEN ONZEKERENAnnotate this Case
3 U.S. 285 (1796)
U.S. Supreme Court
THE DEN ONZEKEREN, 3 U.S. 285 (1796)
3 U.S. 285 (Dall.)
Geyer, et al.
Michel, et al. and the ship Den Onzekeren.
February Term, 1796
This was a Writ of Error to the Circuit Court, for the District of South Carolina; and, on the return of the record, the following pleadings appeared:
On the 2nd of February, 1795, a libel was filed by the Plaintiffs in error, stating, That the ship Den Onzekeren and her cargo, on the 16th of November, 1794, were and ever since have been, the property of Spooner and Springer, and other citizens of the United Netherlands, owners and freighters of the same: That peace and amity subsisted between the United States and the United Netherlands, and that a treaty between the two powers, was concluded on the 8th of October, 1782, which is in full force: That the Den Onzekeren sailed with her cargo from Demarara, in the West Indies, bound to Middleburg, in Holland, and in the course of her voyage on the 16th of November, 1794, was captured on the high seas, in lat. 27, N. and long. 63, W. by a French armed ship, called the Citizens of Marseilles, commanded by Captain Victor Chabert; That the said armed ship pretended to be called the Citizen of Marseilles, was fitted out, armed and equipped for war, in the port of Philadelphia, in the United States, contrary to the laws of nations, etc. that she went to sea, not having a legal commission to cruze; and that at the time of capturing the said ship Den Onzekeren, she was bound to Cayenne, to obtain a commission to cruize against the enemies of the French Republic: That the Citizen of Marseilles was armed, equipped, and fitted out for war at Philadelphia, New Jersey or Delaware, contrary to the laws of neutrality, etc. That she was armed, equiped, and fitted out for war while in Philadelphia, with 12 guns, and military stores equal to that force; but that after quitting the said port, to wit, in the river of Delaware, within the jurisdiction of the United States, her force was added to, and augmented by opening certain other port holes, and mounting certain other cannon, to wit, 16 guns, which she had concealed in her hold, and brought, or procured to be brought from the port of Philadelphia; and by providing herself with other military stores, contrary to the laws of neutrality, etc: That the Captain, officers, and crew of the said ship, Citizen of Marseilles, could not legally have any commission power or authority from any Prince or State, for a vessel fitted out, armed and equipped for war, in the United States; nor for a vessel whose force had been augmented in the United States, by adding to the number or size of her guns, or by addition thereto of any equipment solely applicable to war, much less could they have authority to carry and detain her prizes in the ports of the United States: That the said Victor Chabert, pretends to have a lawful commission from the French Republic, which the libellants pray he may be obliged to shew and file; but which said pretended commission, (if any there be) having been issued to a vessel, then actually being fitted, armed [3 U.S. 285, 287]