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United States Supreme Court

15 U.S. 76

The Dos Hermanos

APPEAL from the district court for the Louisiana district.

This was the case of a Spanish schooner captured on the 18th of October, 1814, by Mr. Shields, a purser in the navy, commanding an armed barge, in the service of the United States, ostensibly bound with a cargo of crates and dry-goods, on a voyage from Jamaica to Pensacola, but in fact in pursuance of an asserted change of destination, then in prosecution of a voyage to New-Orleans. The schooner was delivered up, and prize proceedings were instituted against the cargo, in the district court for Louisiana district. Upon the return of the monition various claims were interposed for small adventures or parts of the cargo; but the only questions before the court arose upon the claim of Mr. Basil Green, calling himself a citizen of the Republic of Carthagena, who, by his agents, Mr. John F. Miller and Messrs. Lewis & Lee, asserted an ownership to nearly the whole of the cargo. Mr. Miller, in his affidavit annexed to the claim, states, 'that he purchased the goods so claimed, with moneys in his hands belonging to the claimant; that at the time of the purchase, he expected to have had an interest therein, but that on his arrival at New-Orleans, the attorney in fact of the said claimant (meaning Mr. Lewis) refused to allow any such interest, and the deponent is therefore obliged to give up the same; and this deponent further saith, that the facts contained in the said claim are true to the best of his knowledge, information, and belief.' At the hearing in the district court, the claim was rejected, and the goods were condemned as the property of enemies, or of citizens trading with the enemies of the United States.

Mr. Harper, for the appellant and claimant, argued, upon the facts, that the proprietary interest in the cargo was in the claimant, and that he (though a native citizen) had a right to change his domicil, and did change it bona fide to Carthagena, in South America, where he was a resident merchant, and in his neutral character had a right to trade with the enemy of his native country.a He further suggested that the captor was not duly authorized to capture, there being no evidence that the armed barge, which made the capture, was duly incorporated into the navy.b

Mr. Key, contra, argued that the residence of the claimant at Carthagena was temporary only, and that the whole transaction was infected with fraud and falsehood.

Mr. Justice STORY delivered the opinion of the court.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).