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U.S. Supreme Court

The Arrogante Barcelones, 20 U.S. 7 Wheat. 496 496 (1822)

The Arrogante Barcelones

20 U.S. (7 Wheat.) 496


This court will restore to the former owners property captured in violation of the neutrality of the United States, where it is claimed by the original wrongdoer, though it may have come back to his possession after a regular condemnation as prize.

This was a libel filed by the Consul General of his Catholic Majesty in the District Court of Maryland against the Spanish ship Arrogante Barcelones and cargo, praying restitution to the original Spanish owners upon the ground of the same having been captured on the high seas in violation of the laws, treaties, and neutral obligations of the United States and brought within its territorial jurisdiction. A claim was filed by Joseph Almeida, who insisted upon his title as a bona fide purchaser, under a capture made by the Buenos Ayres privateer Louisa and a regular sentence of condemnation in the prize court at Juan Griego, in the Island of Margaritta, within the territory of a co-belligerent. It appeared by the proofs taken in the cause that the capturing vessel was a prize to the Buenos Ayrean privateer El Congresso, and was purchased by the claimant, Almeida, armed and equipped by him at Ensenada, and in April, 1818, came to Baltimore

Page 20 U. S. 497

to be refitted. She was there refitted, and sailed from that port in August, 1818, under the command of the claimant, ostensibly bound on a sealing voyage to the northwest Coast of America, with a crew of ninety-six men, principally citizens of the United States, and armed with ten guns and some small arms. The ship anchored off Patuxent, and there received a considerable addition to the armament. Before the crew left Baltimore, they had signed the usual ship's articles for the voyage, but after they had been at sea some days, the claimant produced privateering articles which he required them to sign. Some of them refused, and were put in irons, and two were put on board another vessel. The crew finally signed the articles, and proceeded to cruise off Lisbon, where, on 9 September, 1818, they captured the Spanish ship Arrogante Barcelones and cargo, and proceeded with them to the port of Juan Griego, in the Island of Margaritta, where proceedings were instituted, under which the ship and cargo were condemned in the court of admiralty as Spanish property and good prize of war, and purchased by the claimant at public auction. The copy of the sentence produced in evidence was certified by the Notary or Secretary of Marine, and his signature was verified by the certificate of Lino Clemente, Deputy of the Republic of Colombia to the United States, but who had not then been received in that capacity by our government. Decrees of restitution to the original Spanish

Page 20 U. S. 498

owners were entered pro forma in the district and circuit courts, and the cause was brought by appeal to this Court.

Page 20 U. S. 518

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