The Wren
73 U.S. 582

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U.S. Supreme Court

The Wren, 73 U.S. 6 Wall. 582 582 (1867)

The Wren

73 U.S. (6 Wall.) 582




1. The liability to confiscation, which attaches to a vessel that has contracted guilt by breach of blockade, does not attach to her longer than till the end of her return voyage.

2. A vessel condemned below as enemy's property restored by this Court, the proofs being of a hearsay and loose character and such as did not rise to the dignity of evidence within the law of that subject. But costs were withheld.

The steamship Wren, a merchant vessel, left the port of Havana on the 12th of June, 1865, for Liverpool via Halifax, Nova Scotia, with a crew of about thirty-five persons, who, on the morning of the next day, mutinied, confined the officers in their quarters, carried the vessel into the port of Key West, and delivered her as prize to the acting admiral commanding at that station. The seizure was in pursuance of secret arrangements with the United States consul at Havana, before the vessel left that port. A libel was filed against the vessel by the United States District Attorney, before the judge of the Southern District of Florida, as prize of war. The master, one Stiles, put in a claim in behalf of John Laird, a British subject, as owner.

This Stiles had been an officer in the Navy of the United States. The record also disclosed this answer of his to the standing interrogatory as to the papers of the vessel:

"All the letters and papers of which he has any knowledge of having been on board on the present voyage were taken by the asserted captors with the exception of one letter to himself from the agent of the vessel, Mr. Helms, at Havana, which was destroyed, and an order in favor of this deponent from Mr. Helms

Page 73 U. S. 583

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