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(Another claim for the other half was filed by another claimant.)
At a stated term of the District Court of the United States, for the Southern District of Florida, held in the United States Court Rooms at Key West, on the day of May, 1898.
PETITION OF BAILEE OF OWNERS OF VESSEL
The United States v. The Steamship X and her cargo
And now 0. P., intervening as bailee for the interest of [names) in the said Steamship X, her engines, boilers, tackle, apparel, furniture and equipment, appears before this Honorable Court and makes claim to the said steamship etc., as the same are attached by the Marshal, under process of this Court, at the instance of the United States of America, under a libel against said steamship, her cargo etc., as a prize of war, and the said O. P. avers that before and at the time of the alleged capture of said steamship, her cargo etc., the above named [names], residing in England, and [names] residing in Spain, all of whom are Spanish subjects, were true and bona fide owners of the said vessel, her engines, boilers, tackle, apparel and furniture; that no other person was the owner thereof, that he was in possession thereof for the said owners, and that the vessel, if restored, will belong to the said owners, and he denies that she was lawful prize.
Wherefore the said 0. P., for and in behalf of the said owners, for whom he is duly authorized to make this claim, prays to be admitted to defend accordingly, and to show cause pursuant to the terms of the monition issued herein and served upon the said steamship, and upon the master thereof, as bailee, why the said steamship, her engines, etc., were not liable to be treated enemy's property at the time and place, and under the circumstances of the alleged cap
ture, and why she should not be condemned as lawful prize of war, but should be restored with damages and costs.
0. P. Sworn to before ine this 18th day of May, 1898. [SEAL] G. H., Dy. Clerk.
Claim to X by 0. P. Q. R., Proctor for Claimant. — Filed May 18th, 1898. E. F., Clerk.
U.S. DISTRICT COURT, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF
The United States v. The Steamship X and her cargo
TEST AFFIDAVIT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA, S.S. 0. P. being duly sworn, deposes and says:
1. I am the claimant herein and have verified the claim on knowledge derived from my position as master of the vessel about three and a half years and from my official communications with the ship owners and their representatives; the names and residences of the part owners I have learned since my examination in preparatorio, from cables to my counsel to the said owners.
2. The X is a Spanish merchant vessel, and since I have been in command of her as aforesaid has traded between ports in England and Spain and the United States and West Indies; the vessel carries no passengers or mails, but is exclusively a cargo carrier.
3. In the ordinary course of her said business as a common carrier, the vessel, in the month of April, 1898, loaded a full cargo of lumber, at Ship Island, Miss., and on the 14th of April, 1898, the vessel and cargo were cleared at the Custom House in Scranton, Miss. The cargo was destined for Rotterdam, in the Kingdom of Holland, but the vessel was cleared coastwise from Scranton for Norfolk, in the State of Virginia, to which port the steamer was bound for coals. In the ordinary course of such a voyage the foreign clearance of a vessel for Rotterdam would have been obtained and issued from the Custom House in Norfolk.
The vessel was laden at the loading port under the agency of W. S. K. & Co., an American firm as I am informed and believe, and conformed there in all things to the laws and regulations of the United States and of said port. She was detained at Ship Island by the low water on the bar until April 19th, 1898, between 8 and 9 o'clock A.M., when she sailed from said place and proceeded on her voyage toward Norfolk, Va., as aforesaid.
But for her capture and detentions as heretofore set forth, she would have reached Norfolk, and would have coaled and sailed from said port prior to May 21st, 1898.
4. It appeared from the ship's papers delivered to the captors, and was a fact, that her cargo was all taken on board prior to May 21st, 1898. And as I am informed and believe, the vessel was not otherwise excluded from the benefits and privileges of the President's Proclamation of April 26th, 1898.
5. At all times before the ship's seizure on April 22d, 1898, I and all my officers were ignorant that war existed between Spain and the United States, and the vessel was bound and following the ordinary course of her voyage.
6. While on the said voyage and in due prosecution thereof, at about 7 or 7.30 of the clock in the morning of April 22d, 1898, said steamship X being then about eight or nine miles from Sand Key Light, was seized and wrongfully captured by the United States ship of war N., under the command of a line officer of the United States Navy, and by means of a prize crew then and there placed on board, was forcibly brought into this port of Key West. On being stopped by said United States ship of war, N., and being informed of the existence of war, the master and officers of the X submitted without resistance to seizure and to the placing of a prize crew on board of said vessel, proceeding therewith, under her own steam, into port.
7. Deponent is informed and believes that by the existing policy of the Government of the United States, as evidenced by the repeated declarations of its Executive, and by the Proclamation of the President of the United States, issued and published April 26th, 1898, as well as upon principles in harmony with the present views of nations and sanctioned by recent practice, in accordance with which the President has directed that the war should be conducted, the steamship X, at the time and place, and in the circumstances under which she was seized, was not liable to be treated as enemy's property, but on the contrary, having sailed from a port of the United States prior to the 21st of April, 1898, and being bound to another port of the United States, which in the ordinary course of her voyage she would have reached and left, with her coals, long prior to May 21st, 1898, was exempt from capture as prize of war.
0. P. Sworn to before me this 18th day of May, 1898.
[SEAL] G. H., Dy. Clerk. ENDORSED:
Test affidavit for X. - Filed May 16th, 1898, E. F., Clerk.
IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES,
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
PRIZE. DECREE This cause having come on to be heard upon the allegations of the libel, the claims of the master, and testimony taken in preparatorio, and the same having been fully heard and considered, and it appearing to the Court that the said steamer X was enemy's property, and was upon the high seas and not in any port or place of the United States upon the outbreak of the war, and was liable to condemnation and seizure, it is ordered that the same be condemned and forfeited to the United States as lawful prize of war; but it appearing that the cargo of said steamer was the property of neutrals, and not contraband or subject to condemnation and forfeiture, it is ordered that said cargo be released and restored to the claimants for the benefit of the true and lawful owners thereof.
It is further ordered that the Marshal proceed to advertise and sell said vessel, and make deposit of the proceeds in accordance with law.
A. B., Judge.
Key West, Florida, May 27th, 1898. ENDORSED:
Decree. — Filed May 27th, 1898. E. F., Clerk.
thereof, that the Marshalt of the procee.
FORM OF DECREE OF DISTRIBUTION.
DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES, SOUTHERN
DISTRICT OF FLORIDA.
A Final Decree of Condemnation of Vessel and Cargo having been pronounced in this case, and no Appeal being taken, and it Appearing to the Court that the Gross Proceeds of the Sales are as follows, – to-wit,
Total, And the Costs, Expenses and Charges as taxed and allowed are as follows, –