The San Pedro
Annotate this Case
15 U.S. 132 (1817)
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U.S. Supreme Court
The San Pedro, 15 U.S. 132 (1817)
The San Pedro
15 U.S. 132
Under the Judiciary Act of 24 September, 1789, ch. 20, and the Act of 3 March, 1803, ch. 93, causes of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction or in equity cannot be removed by writ of error from the circuit court for reexamination in the Supreme Court.
The appropriate mode of removing such causes is by appeal, and the rules,-regulations and restrictions contained in the twenty-second and twenty-third sections of the Judiciary Act respecting the time within which a writ of error shall be brought and in what instances it shall operate as a supersedeas -- the citation to the adverse party, the security to be given by the plaintiff in error for prosecuting his suit, and the restrictions upon the appellate court as to reversals in certain enumerated cases -- are applicable to appeals under the act of 1803, and are to be substantially observed, except that where the appeal is prayed at the same term when the decree or sentence is pronounced, a citation is not necessary.
This was a libel of information filed in that court against the schooner San Pedro and cargo, alleging 1st, that the San Pedro departed, on 1 February, 1813, from Mobile for the Island of Jamaica, a colony of Great Britain, in violation of the Embargo Act of 22 December, 1807, and the several acts supplementary thereto, of the nonintercourse act of 1 March, 1809, and of the laws of the United States; 2d, that sundry goods, wares, and merchandise were imported in the San Pedro into
the District of Mobile on 1 May, 1813, from the said Island of Jamaica in violation of the nonintercourse act; 3d, that sundry goods, wares, and merchandise "were intended to be imported in the San Pedro, from the said Island of Jamaica into the United States and into the District of Mobile, contrary to the provisions of the nonintercourse act," &c.
The San Pedro was originally a vessel of the United States, called the Atlas, and the property of Mr. Philip A. Lay, of New Orleans, but had given up her register, and (as alleged) was transferred to Mr. Valverde, a Spanish subject, resident at Pensacola. On 1 February, 1813, she sailed from Mobile with a cargo of cotton and tobacco for Jamaica which was disposed of there, and on 10 April, 1813, she sailed from Jamaica with a cargo, on her return voyage for the coast of Florida. On 23 April, she was captured and brought into Mobile by an American gunboat, and on the 29th of the same month was liberated by the commander of the flotilla and seized by the collector of the port, in whose name the libel was filed. It was contended by the libellants that the transfer of the vessel was collusive and fraudulent, and that she, together with the cargo, belonged to citizens of the United States.
A claim was interposed on behalf of Mr. Valverde, and the vessel and cargo were decreed to be restored in the court below, from which decree the cause was brought by writ of error to this Court.