Schooner Paulina's Cargo v. United States
Annotate this Case
11 U.S. 52 (1812)
U.S. Supreme Court
Schooner Paulina's Cargo v. United States, 11 U.S. 7 Cranch 52 52 (1812)
Schooner Paulina's Cargo v. United States
11 U.S. (7 Cranch) 52
The third section of the Act of Congress of 9 January, 1808, which prohibited the transshipment of goods from one vessel to another, did not include the case of a vessel lading in port by means of river craft, &c.
The second section of the Act of Congress of 25 April, 1808, did not require a permit to lade any vessel nor authorize the forfeiture and condemnation of the vessel or cargo for lading without the inspection of a revenue officer; the only penalty for such lading being the denial of a clearance.
The schooner Paulina and cargo were seized and libeled by the collector of the port of Newport, alleging that the cargo was laden on board within the District of Newport between 1 June and the last of July in the year 1808, in the night season, without a permit from the collector and without the inspection of the proper revenue officers, and contrary to the 2d section of the
"Act of Congress entitled 'An act in addition to the act entitled an act laying an embargo on all ships and vessels in the ports and harbors of the United States, and the several acts supplementary thereto, and for other purposes,'"
passed 25 April, 1808, and contrary to the 50th section of the act to regulate the collection of duties, &c., passed 2 March, 1799. In the district court, the vessel and cargo were both ordered to be restored.
Upon the appeal in the circuit court, the libellant had leave to amend his libel by stating that on the waters
of Warwick Bay, in the District of Rhode Island, at a place called the Fulling Mill in Warwick, and about 120 fathoms from the landing, at sundry times, between 1 June and the last of July in the year 1808, the articles constituting the cargo of the Paulina were transshipped from a small sloop called the Mayflower into the schooner Paulina without the intervention of any other watercraft or of any intermediate landing, with intent to be transported without the United States contrary to the 3d section of the
"Act of Congress entitled 'An act supplementary to the act entitled an act laying an embargo on all ships and vessels in the ports and harbors of the United States,' passed on 9 January, 1808, whereby the said cargo is forfeited,"
The words of the 2d section of the Act of 25 April, 1808, vol. 9, p. 146, are
"That during the continuance of the act laying an embargo on all ships and vessels in the ports and harbors of the United States and of the several acts supplementary thereto, no ship or vessel of any description whatever, other than those described in the next preceding section, and wherever bound, shall receive a clearance unless the lading shall be made hereafter under the inspection of the proper revenue officers, subject to the same restrictions, regulations, penalties, and forfeitures as are provided by law for the inspection of goods, wares, and merchandise imported into the United States upon which duties are imposed, any law to the contrary notwithstanding."
By the 50th section of the Act of 2 March, 1799, vol. 4, p. 360, to regulate the collection of duties, &c., it is enacted
"That no goods, wares, or merchandise brought in any ship or vessel from any foreign port or place shall be unladen or delivered from such ship or vessel within the United States but in open day -- that is to say, between the rising and setting of the sun, except by special license from the collector of the port and naval officer of the same (where there is one) for that purpose, nor at any time without a permit from the collector and naval officer (if any) for such unlading or delivery, and if any goods, wares, or merchandise shall be unladen or delivered from any such ship or vessel contrary to the directions aforesaid, or any of them, the master . . .
shall forfeit and pay, each and severally, the sum of $400 for each offense, and shall be disabled from holding any office of trust or profit for a term not exceeding seven years, . . . and all goods, wares, or merchandise, so unladen or delivered shall become forfeited and may be seized by any of the officers of the customs,"
and if the value shall exceed $400, the vessel, &c., shall be subject to like forfeiture and seizure.
By the 3d section of the act of 9 January, 1808, vol. 9, p. 11, it is enacted
"That if any ship or vessel shall, during the continuance of the act to which this is a supplement, depart from any port of the United States without a clearance or permit, or if any ship or vessel shall, contrary to the provisions of this act or of the act to which this is a supplement, proceed to a foreign port or place, or trade with or put on board of any other ship or vessel any goods, wares, or merchandise of foreign or domestic growth or manufacture, such ships or vessels, goods, wares, and merchandise shall be wholly forfeited . . . and the master or commander of such ship or vessel, as well as all other persons who shall knowingly be concerned in such prohibited foreign voyage, shall each respectively forfeit and pay a sum not exceeding $20,000,"
The circuit court affirmed the sentence of the district court so far as it decreed the restitution of the vessel, but reversed it so far as it decreed restitution of the cargo, which the circuit court condemned.
To reverse this sentence of condemnation the present writ of error was sued out by Simeon Jones, the owner and claimant of the vessel and cargo.
On 20 February, 1810, a dedimus was issued from the supreme court to take depositions in Rhode Island, which was executed and returned on 14 March.
The material facts appearing upon these depositions were that the former owners of the Paulina, being prevented by the embargo from using their vessel, in order
to save expense, took her into Warwick Bay, which was near the residence of one of the owners. Shortly afterwards they sold her to the present claimant, Jones, who caused her to be publicly, and in open day, laden by means of the sloop Mayflower, which was a little vessel of 15 tons burden, whose usual business it was to carry goods from Providence to Warwick and East Greenwich. That he thus caused her to be laden in the expectation that the embargo would be very shortly taken off. There was also some evidence tending to excite suspicion that the intention was to evade the embargo.
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