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1588. Every person so building, fitting out, equipping, loading, or otherwise preparing, or sending away any vessel, knowing, or intending that she shall be employed in such trade, or any way aiding or abetting therein, shall forfeit and pay the sum of two thousand dollars, one moiety thereof to the use of the United States, and the other to the prosecutor.(1)
1589. No citizen or other person shall for himself or others, either as master, factor, or owner, build, fit, equip, load, or otherwise prepare any vessel in any place within the United States, for the purpose of procuring any negro, mulatto, or person of colour, from any foreign country, to be transported to any place whatsoever, to be held, sold, or otherwise disposed of as a slave, or to be held to service or labour; and such vessel so built, fitted out, equipped, laden, or otherwise prepared for such purpose, her tackle, apparel, furniture, and lading, shall be forfeited, one moiety to the United States, and the other to the use of the prosecutor. And such vessel may be seized, prosecuted, and condemned in any court of the United States, having competent jurisdiction.(2)
1590. Every person so building, fitting out, equipping, loading, or otherwise preparing, or sending away, or causing any such act to be done, with intent to employ such vessel in such trade, or who shall, in any wise, be aiding or abetting therein, shall, on conviction, forfeit and pay a sum not exceeding five thousand dollars, nor less than one thousand dollars, one moiety to the United States, and the other to the prosecutor; and shall be imprisoned for a term not exceeding seven, nor less than three years. (3)*
(1) Act 22d March, 1794, sec. 2. (2) Act 20th April, 1818, sec. 2.
(3) Ibid. sec. 3.
foreigners, and whether the act is done suo jure, or by an agent for the benefit of another person, who is not a citizen or resident of the United States.-The Plattsburg, 10 Wheat. 133.
A pretended transfer to a foreign subject, and the commencement of a new voyage in the foreign port, does not break the continuity of the original adventure and avo.d the forfeiture.-Ibid. 139.
• In an indictment under the act of April 20th, 1818, it is not necessary to specify the particulars of the fitting out; it is sufficient to charge the offence in the words of the statute. But the indictment should aver that the vessel was fitted out, &c. or caused to be sailed, or be sent away within the jurisdiction of the United States. An averment, that the ship was fitted out, &c. with intent that the said vessel should be employed," is fatally defective, the words of the statute being "with intent to employ" the vessel in the slave trade, and referring exclusively to the intent and act of the party himself.—United States v. Gooding, 12 Wheat. 460.
But it is not necessary that there should be any principal offender, to whom the defendant might be aiding and abetting. These terms in the statute do not refer to the relation of principal and accessary in cases of felony; both the actor and he who aids and abets the act are considered as principals.-Ibid.
In an indictment under such act, if the offence be laid to be on a certain specified day, now last past, and on divers days and times, before and since that day, it is sufficient. The words now last past, mean last past before the caption of the indictment, and the words on divers days and times, may be rejected as surplusage, if the offence be but a single offence.
It is not necessary in such indictment to allege that the negroes were to be transported to the United States, or their territories, nor that they were free, and not bound to service, nor that the defendant was a citizen or resident within the United States, nor that the offence was committed on board an American vessel; it is sufficient if the indictment in these particulars follow the language of the statute, and is as certain.
The phrase "persons of colour," being used in the statute, it is sufficient in the indictment to use the same words, without specifying their meaning.-United States v. La Coste, 2 Mason, 129.
In an indictment under the 2d and 3d sections of such act, it is sufficient to allege
1591. If any citizen, or other person, resident within the jurisdiction of the United States, shall take on board, receive, or transport from any of the coasts or kingdoms of Africa, or from any other foreign country, or from sea, any negro, mulatto, or person of colour, not being an inhabitant, nor held to service by the laws of either of the states or territories of the United States, or be aiding or abetting therein, he shall, on conviction, forfeit and pay a sum not exceeding five thousand, nor less than one thousand dollars, one moiety to the United States, and the other to the prosecutor; and shall suffer imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven, nor less than three years. And every vessel, on which such negro, mulatto, or person of colour, shall have been so taken on board, received or transported, with her tackle, apparel, and furniture, and the goods and effects that shall be found on board, or shall have been imported therein in the same voyage, shall be forfeited, one moiety to the United States, and the other to the prosecutor; and such vessel shall be liable to be seized, prosecuted and condemned, in any court having competent jurisdiction.(1)*
1592. The owner, master, or factor of every foreign vessel, clearing out for any of the coasts or kingdoms of Africa, or suspected to be intended for the slave trade, and such suspicion being declared to the officer of the customs, by any citizen, on oath, and such information being to the satisfaction of such officer, shall first give bond, with sufficient sureties, to the treasurer of the United States, that none of the natives of Africa, or of any other foreign country, shall be taken on board such vessel, to be transported or sold as slaves in any other foreign place whatever, within nine months thereafter.(2)
1593. If any citizen of the United States shall, contrary to law, take on board, receive, or transport, any such persons, for the purpose of selling them as slaves, he shall forfeit and pay, for every person so received on board, transported or sold, the sum of two hundred dollars, to be recovered in any court of the United States proper to try the same; the one moiety to the use of the United States, and the other moiety to the use of the prosecutors.(3)
1594. No citizen within the United States shall directly or indirectly hold, or have any right or property in any vessel employed in the transportation or carrying of slaves from one foreign country to another, and such property shall be forfeited, and may be libelled and condemned, for the use of the per
(1) Act 20th April, 1818, sec. 4. (2) Act 22d March, 1794, sec. 3.
(3) Ibid. sec. 4.
that the offence was committed after the passing of the act, at some time between certain specified days, though no day certain on which it was committed is specified. And it is not necessary to aver that the defendant knowingly committed the offence. It is also sufficient to allege that the defendant, as master, for some other person, the name whereof being to the jurors unknown," did cause the vessel to sail.United States v. Smith, 2 Mason, 143.
It is not essential for the fitting out of a vessel under the slave trade act, that every equipment necessary for a slave voyage, or any equipment peculiarly adapted to such voyage, should be put on board. It is sufficient that the vessel was actually fitted out with the intent to be employed in the illegal voyage.—United States v. Gooding, 12 Wheat. 460.
Under the 1st and 2d sections of the act of 1818, the offence of sailing from a port in the United States with an intent to engage in the slave trade, is not committed, unless the vessel sails out of the port, and is on the high seas.
The terminus a quo is the boundary line of the port; and when the vessel passes from that, she sails from the port, and is on the high seas.-United States v. La Coste, 2 Mason, 129.
The prohibitions of this article extend as well to carrying slaves on freight, as to cases where the slaves are the property of citizens of the United States, and to he carrying them from one port of a foreign country to another, as well as from one country to another.—9 Cranch, Rep. 303, 304.
son who shall sue therefor, and the person transgressing this prohibition, shall pay a sum of money equal to double the value of the right or property in such vessel, which he so held, and shall also forfeit a sum of money equal to double the value of the interest which he may have in slaves which at any time may have been transported in such vessel.(1)*
1595. No citizen of the United States, or other person, residing therein, shall serve on board any vessel of the United States, employed in the transportation or carrying of slaves from one foreign country to another: and any person voluntarily so serving, shall be liable, and may be indicted therefor, and on conviction, shall be liable to a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars, and to imprisonment not exceeding two years.(2)
1596. If any citizen of the United States shall voluntarily serve on board of any foreign vessel, which shall hereafter be employed in the slave trade, he shall, on conviction thereof, be liable to and suffer the like forfeitures, pains, disabilities, and penalties, as he would have incurred had such vessel been owned or employed, in whole or in part, by any person residing within the United States.(3)
1597. If any of the commissioned vessels of the United States seize and take any vessel employed in carrying on trade, business, or traffic, contrary to the act of 10th May, 1800, such vessel, with her tackle, apparel, and guns, and the goods or effects, other than slaves, which shall be found on board, shall be forfeited, and may be proceeded against in any of the district or circuit courts, and shall be condemned for the use of the officers and crew of the vessel making the seizure, and be divided in the proportion directed in the case of a prize. And all persons interested in such vessel, or in the enterprise or voyage in which such vessel shall be employed at the time of such capture, shall be precluded from all right or claim to the slaves, found on board, and from all damages or retribution on account thereof: and it shall, moreover, be the duty of the commanders of such commissioned vessels to apprehend and take into custody, every person found on board of such vessel so seized and taken, being of the officers or crew thereof, and him convey, as soon as conveniently may be, to the civil authority of the United States, in some one of the districts thereof, to be proceeded against in due course of law.(4)†
1598. The district and circuit courts of the United States shall have cog. nizance of all acts and offences against the prohibitions of the act 10th May, 1800.(5) But nothing therein shall be construed to authorize the bringing into either of the United States, any person, the importation of whom is, by the existing laws of the state, prohibited. (6)
(1) Act 10th May, 1800, sec. 1. (2) Act 10th May, 1800, sec. 2. United States v. Kennedy, C. C. U. S. P. April, 1821, MSS. Coxe's Digest, 228.
(3) Act 10th May, 1800, sec. 2.
This section prohibits not merely the transportation of slaves, but the being employed in the business of the slave trade; and, therefore, a vessel caught in such trade, though before she has taken on board any slaves, is liable to forfeiture.The Alexander, 3 Mason, 175.
The offence within the act of 10th May, 1800, consists in transporting persons from one foreign country to another, with a view to their being sold as slaves; and the offence is complete when vessel arrives at the port of destination, whether the slaves are sold or not.-United States v. Smith, 4 Mason, 121.
The owner of the slaves cannot claim them in a court of the United States, though they may be, according to the laws of his country, held to servitude. otherwise, if the vessel seized were at the time of the seizure in possession of a captor.-9 Wheat. 497.
1599. The forfeitures which shall hereafter be incurred under acts of 1794 and 1800, not otherwise disposed of, shall accrue, one moiety thereof to the use of the informer, and the other moiety to the use of the United States, except where the prosecution shall be first instituted on behalf of the United States, in which case the whole shall be to their use.(1)
1600. The president of the United States may, whenever he shall deem it expedient, cause any of the armed vessels of the United States to be employ. ed to cruize on any of the coasts of the United States, or territories thereof, or on the coast of Africa, or elsewhere, where he may judge attempts may be made to carry on the slave trade by citizens or residents of the United States, in contravention of the acts of congress prohibiting the same, and instruct and direct the commanders of all armed vessels of the United States, to seize, take, and bring into any port of the United States, all vessels of the United States, wheresoever found, which may have taken on board, or which may be intended for the purpose of taking on board, or of transporting, or may have transported, any negro, mulatto, or person of colour, in violation of any of the acts prohibiting the traffic in slaves, to be proceeded against according to law.(2)
1601. And the proceeds of all vessels, their tackle, apparel, and furniture, and the goods and effects on board of them, which shall be so seized, prosecuted, and condemned, shall be divided equally between the United States and the officers and men who shall seize, take, or bring the same into port for condemnation, whether such seizure be made by an armed vessel of the United States or revenue cutter thereof, in the same manner as prizes taken from an enemy.(2)
1602. But to entitle such officers and men to the one-half of such proceeds, they shall safely keep, and shall deliver every negro, mulatto, or person of colour, found on board of such vessel, to the marshal of the district into which they are brought, if into a port of the United States, or if elsewhere, to such person or persons as shall be lawfully appointed by the president of the United States, in the manner hereinafter directed, transmitting to him, as soon as may be after such delivery, a descriptive list of such negroes, mulattoes, or persons of colour, that he may give directions for the disposal of them.(2)
1603. The commanders of such commissioned vessels shall take into custody all persons found on board such vessel so taken, being of the officers and crew thereof, and convey them as soon as conveniently may be to the civil authority of the United States, to be proceeded against in due course of law, in some of the districts thereof.(2)
1604. And the commander of every armed vessel of the United States shall, whenever he shall make such capture, bring the vessel and her cargo for adjudication into some port of the state or territory to which she may belong, if he can ascertain it, if not, then into any convenient port of the United States.(3)
1605. A bounty of twenty-five dollars shall be paid by the secretary of the treasury to the officers and crews of the commissioned vessels and revenue cutters of the United States, for each negro, mulatto, or person of colour, who shall be delivered according to law to the marshal or agent duly appointed to receive them.(4)
1606. The president may make such regulations and arrangements as he may deem expedient for the safe keeping, support, and removal beyond the
(1) Act 10th May, 1800, sec. 7. (2) Act 3d March, 1819, sec. 1.
(3) Ibid. sec. 5.
limits of the United States, all such negroes, mulattoes, or persons of colour, as may be so delivered and brought within their jurisdiction; and may appoint a proper person or persons residing on the coast of Africa as agent or agents for receiving the negroes, mulattoes, or persons of colour, delivered from on board of vessels seized in the prosecution of the slave trade, by commanders of the United States' armed vessels.(1)*
1607. The slave trade not being prohibited by the positive law of nations, may be lawfully carried on by the subjects of those nations who have not prohibited it by municipal acts, or by treaties; such trade not being piracy unless so made by the treaties or statutes of the nation to whom the party belongs; and the right of visitation and search not existing in time of peace, a vessel engaged in the slave trade, though prohibited by the laws of the country to which it belongs, cannot for that cause alone, be seized on the high seas and brought for adjudication, in time of peace, in the courts of another country.(2)†
1608. But if Africans be captured by a belligerent privateer, fitted out in violation of our neutrality, or by a pirate, and be recaptured and brought into the ports of the United States, under a reasonable supposition that a vi olation of the slave trade acts was intended, they will not be restored without full proof of proprietary interest in the claimants; for in such case the capture is lawful; and in such case the mere possession of the Africans is not sufficient evidence of property: the claimant must show that his posses. sion was lawfully acquired.(2)
Of the Slave Trade within the United States.
No master of vessel of less burthen than forty tons, to transport negro, for sale, &c.-penalty-limitation of this prohibition Master of vessel of more than forty tons, sailing coastwise, having on board negro to be sold as slave, to deliver descriptive ma
(1) Act 3d March, 1819, sec. 2.
nifest to collector, &c.-certifi-
Duty of master having such negro
(2) The Antelope, 10 Wheat. 66.
• By the 7th section of the act of 3d March, 1819, one hundred thousand dollars were appropriated to carry the act into effect; and by the acts of 24th May, 1828, and 31st May, 1830, the further sum of $30,000 was so appropriated.
+ But see the case of the United States v. La Jeune Eugenie, 2 Mason, 409, in which it is said that the African slave trade, abstractedly considered, is inconsistent with the law of nations; and a claim founded upon it, may be repelled in any court where it may be asserted, unless the trade be legalized by the nation to which the vessel belongs.
Seamen are not permitted to claim out of the proceeds of a forfeited vessel, for wages on a voyage undertaken in violation of the laws prohibiting the slave trade. But where the parties were innocent of all knowledge of, or participation in, the illegal voyage, the claims of seamen for wages, and of material men for supplies, will be preferred to the claim of forfeiture on the part of the government.—The St. Jago de Cuba, 9 Wheat. 409.
Upon an indictment under the slave trade act of April 20th, 1818, against the owner of the ship, evidence of the declaration of the master, being part of the res gesta, connected with acts in furtherance of the voyage, and within the scope of his authority, as agent of the owner in the conduct of the guilty enterprise, is ad missible testimony.-United States v. Gooding, 12 Wheat. 460.