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be made to appear that the ship had been illegally fitted out in a port of the United States, other nations who might suffer by her warlike operations would have just cause to claim a compensation from the United States, and this independent of the ground already stated in considering the subject of forfeiture; because the request was believed to be without a precedent; and because it would in effect have been assuming the judicial power of determining on the important questions in view. The executive power was therefore restrained from affording further aid to the efforts of Mr. Adet until the court should meet at Yorktown, on the 11 th October. On the 27 September, Mr. Adet thought proper formally to signify to the Secretary of State that he had caused the Cassius to be dismantled, and abandoned her to the government of the United States.
From this time therefore the particular motives to urgency on account of the mission with which the Cassius was said to be charged seemed to have ceased. But the efforts to obtain a dismission of the suit were not on that account relaxed.
At the meeting of the circuit court at Yorktown, the district attorney filed a suggestion similar to that used in the district court.
The multiplicity of criminal business prevented his obtaining a decision, but it had the effect of suspending the progress of the information. The cause was necessarily continued till April session of-1796.
A letter from the district attorney to the Secretary of State, dated May 28th, 179C, relates the proceedings of that April session, which were somewhat delayed by a reluctance on the part of Mr. Adet to fiuTiish sufficient documents to establish the property of the Cassius. A copy of the letter, as a proper continuance of the narrative, is here inserted, viz.
Sir,—As soon as I received the supplemental certificates of the French minister, which was not till the 26th of April, I gave notice in court that before the session ended I should move to have the prayer of my suggestion granted and the information dismissed.
A jury trial then before the court prevented any thing else being done until the 29th, when the informant's counsel mentioned that they would on the following day come forward. This was then done by requesting me to show the foundation of my suggestion—I produced part of the correspondence between you and Mr. Adet, and the two certificates of that minister. It was urged by the informant's counsel that the same proof was necessary to authorize the receiving a suggestion as would be to support it on a trial, and that as such certificates would not be receivable in that case, so they ought not now to be received. But the court observed that much less was sufficient in one case than in the other. The informant's counsel then moved that my suggestion be dismissed—this I declared myself ready to argue with them; but as we were now at the close of the session i; appeared to the court impossible to go through the business—and it was therefcrr unavoidably continued till next October. It appeared, however, so plainly to be the sense of the court, that further evidence as to the property of the Cassius would be necessary on a trial of the facts, that I scarcely expect, with the aid of those two certificates only, to succeed. I am, &c.
May 28, 1796.
In October following the district attorney renewed his ffibrts to obtain a hearing with more success. In thr course of the argument the question of jurisdiction prescntfd itself. The court adjourned till the next day for the purpose of fully considering it, and on the following morning dismissed the suit.
December 21, 1796.
Abridgment of the Writ of Prohibition, directed to t ha District Court of the United Slates in and for the Pennsylvania District.
The prohibition recites, that by the law of nations and the treaties between the United States and France, the trial of prizes taken without the jurisdiction of the United States and brought into the jurisdiction of France, for ad
judication, by the vessels of war of the latter, and all questions incidental to it, belong exclusively to the judiciary establishments of the latter; that consequently its vessels of war and their officers are not liable to process of our courts predicated upon such capture and bringing into port; that particularly the jurisdiction of such causes does not belong to the district courts of the United States; that for such capture and bringing into their own ports, of neutral ships, to answer for any breach of the law of nations concerning the navigation of neutrals, the said vessels of war and their officers are only accountable to the sovereign under whose authority their commission is held ; that on the 20th May, 1795, Samuel B. Davis was a lieutenant of ships in the French navy and commander of the corvette called the Cassius, having a lawful commission; that James Yard of the city of Philadelphia merchant had caused the said Davis and the said corvette to be arrested to answer to his libel against them filed in the district court of the United States for the district of Pennsylvania, in which ho alleged, that on the said 20th of May, the said Davisr with the said corvette and as her commander, had captured on the high seas a schooner belonging to the said Yard, called the William Lindsay, and carried her to Port de Paix where she then remained; that the Cassius had been originally equipped for war in the port of Philadelphia, and that Davis, at the time of said capture, and then, was a citizen of the United States, but without alleging, that the said capture had been made within a marine league of the coast of the United States, or that the Cassius had been equipped for war in the United States with the privity of the French Republick, or by the said Davis, or that at the time of her being so equipped (if she ever was) she was the property of the Republick, or that the said Davis was any how concerned in such equipment, and without alleging that he was retained in the service of the Republick within the jurisdiction of the United States: the writ therefore prohibits the judge from further proceedings and commands him to release said Davis and the Cassius without delay. It is tested on the 24th August, 1795.
Suggestion of the Attorney of the United States for the Pennsylvania District, and the plea of Samuel B. Davis to the jurisdiction of the District Court for the said District.
AND afterwards, to wit, on the 21st day of August aforesaid, William Rawle, Esq. attorney of the United States in and for the Pennsylvania district, who acts for the said United States in this behalf, in his proper person comes into this court, and for the said United States gives the court to understand and be informed, that the said ship, ealled the Cassius, was on the said 20th day of May, in the year aforesaid, being the time, when the said libellant charges that the said schooner William Lindsay was taken and detained in manner by him alleged, and also at the time of her being arrested and attached by the marshal of the district aforesaid at the suit of the said libellant and now is the property of and belonging to the French Republick, a sovereign nation, in peace, amity and alliance with the said United States, and this he is ready, and offers to verify: wherefore the said ship the Cassius, so being the property of and belonging to the French Republick. cannot by law be rendered liable to civil process in the courts of the United States, at the suit of individuals; and the said United States, being answerable to foreign nations for the due observance of treaties with them subsisting and of the principles and usages of the laws of nations in respect to ships and other property to such nations bclonging and unduly seized, arrested or attached under colour of legal process within the territory of the said United States, and the peace and interests of the United States being deeply involved therein, the said attorney acting in the behalf aforesaid, prays this honourable court. that the said ship the Cassius may, by the sentence and decree of this honourable court, be released and discharged from the attachment and arrest aforesaid, and that the said libel, so far as the same relates to the said ship the Cassius, may be dismissed with such costs and damages as the court may adjudge for her said wrongful arrest and attachment. And the aforesaid Samuel B. Davis by force of the process of this honourable court in the said court being, and not acknowledging the jurisdiction thereof in the instance now pending, exhibits to this honourable court with all due respect a certificate under the hand of citizen Adet, minister plenipotentiary of the French Republick to the United States, dated the 27th Therniidor, to wit, the 14th of August, instant, certifying that the said corvette the Cassius is a vessel of war of the French Republick, and that the said Samuel B. Davis is a commissioned officer in the navy of the said Republick, also a commission or order of Etienne Laveaux, governour of the island of St. Domingo, attested to be lawful and authentick under the hand and seal of the said minister of the French Republick, which said commission or order is dated the 22d Pluviose, to wit, on the 10th of February last, recorded in the registry of the French marine at Port de Paix, the 9th Floreal, to wit, the 28th of April following, directed to him the said Samuel B. Davis, lieutenant in the navy of France, commander of the said corvette of the French Republick, the Cassius, authorizing him to cruise with the said corvette for two months at least against the enemies of the French Republick, and to take their ships and property on the high seas, together with true copies and translations of the said exhibits, which copies and translations being duly compared with the originals now exhibited, he prays may be filed and remain among the acts of court: whereupon he prays and respectfully moves this honourable court, that any thing in the libel of the said James Yard contained notwithstanding (he nevertheless not confessing or in any wise acknowledging the same) the said corvette the Cassius and the said Samuel B. Davis may be discharged from arrest.
Joseph Fauchet, Minister Plenipotentiary of the French Republick, to Mr. Randolph, Secretary of State of the United States. Philadelphia, 16th Prairial, 2d year of the French Jiepublick, one and indivisible, (June 4, 1794.)
Sir,—I have already had the pleasure to inform you, verbally, of the interest which the committee of publick safety of the National Convention had taken in due seavoi». jr. 54