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Page:United States Reports, Volume 2.djvu/280

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274 Cases ruled and adjudged in the I797· is Frcncl~; in another place, that it isdmcrican; and the feveral VV’V {latcrnents, that the veffel was employed in aflilting, or {up- plying, the I·i·rncl·, alfo imply that it belonged to a neutral owner. The decree, however, is general : but can we impute to it, the abfurdity of meaning to decide, that the vefiizl and cargo were, at the {`ame time. neutral and enemy property P Srnrrtzn, jgqficc. lf the libel had confined itfelf to alledge, that the property was Frcncb, and the decree had been general; or, if the decree had fpecifically {`ele£l:ed and {lated that allega- tion, as the ground of condemnation, ! {hould have been {ircug- . ly; inclined to think, that we were bound by the decifion. But t e objeil of the prefent enquiry is, to afcertain for what caufe thc ve{l`el and cargo have been confifcated? The couufel for the defendant, perceiving the biafs of the Court fo much againfl them, declined prefling any further the argument in fupport of the binding nature of the decree of con- demnation; and left their cafe to the ]ury, {imply upon the plaintifi"s alledged concealment of the information contained in the captain's letter, communicating the capture of the vefl`el. The oppofite counfel having, thereupon, proved that the plain- tiff was an Anirrican citizen, and {ole owner of the vellel and cargo, the following charge was delivered by the Cbigf _‘}’gq7ic:, after a general recapitulation of‘the fa£ls: M*l{r·:aN, Cbitfjzyicc. The firfl ground of defence at- tempted to be taken on this occalion, is; that the vefi`el was en- gaged in a trade with the 1·`rcnc}.v iflands, which, as it was not permitted by the Frrncb government previoufly to the war, Great Britain, it is {aid, had a right to deem unlawful, and to conllrue into a violation of our neutrality. The fact has not been eflablilhed: But, if it had been eftablifhed, I could not ae- cede to the conclufion, which the dcfendant’s counfel contem- _ plated. I cannot conceive, upon what principle, our accepting a benefit is to be converted into the perpetration of a wrong. What injury can be done to any bclligerent power, by our {end- ing the exports of America (not of a contraband nature) to a new marker ? W'here is the caufe of offence ? In what confifls the infraction of neutrality ? Ve are not afluated by motives of partiality and favoritilin, for, we are willing, of our own accord, to purine the {`amc courfe with Great Britain, as well as France; and we {ind that, in Etc}, the colonial governments of Great Britain often invite us, during a war, to an intercourfe in trade, which is, at other times, abfolutely interdivfted. Ve cannot grevent another nation from offering a bounty to our commerce, y opening a free port, or by relinquifhing its duties; and when. we merely accept thcfe advantages, on a principle of felf-intcreli, why {hall we be charged with a breach of our neutrality? No: The rule, on the point of neutrality, is juit and clear: lt is {imply