THE PLATTSBURGH, 23 U. S. 133 (1825)

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U.S. Supreme Court

The Plattsburgh, 23 U.S. 10 Wheat. 133 133 (1825)

The Plattsburgh

23 U.S. (10 Wheat.) 133


A question of fact under the slave trade acts as to a vessel claimed by a Spanish subject, as having been engaged in the trade under the laws of his own country, but proved to have been originally equipped in the United States for the voyage in question.

Under the Slave Trade Act of 1794, c. 11, the forfeiture attaches where the original voyage is commenced in the United States, whether the vessel belong to citizens or 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.

Circumstances of a pretended transfer to a Spanish subject and the commencement of a new voyage in a Spanish port held not to be sufficient to break the continuity of the original adventure and to avoid the forfeiture.

It is not necessary, to incur the forfeiture under the slave trade acts, that the equipments for the voyage should be completed. It is sufficient if any preparations are made for the unlawful purpose.

This was a seizure of the schooner Plattsburgh, otherwise called The Maria Gertrudes, on the Coast of Africa, made by the United States ship of war The Cyane in the year 1820. The

Page 23 U. S. 134

vessel was brought into the port of New York for adjudication, and a libel of information was filed in the district court under the Acts of Congress of 1794, c. 11. and of 1800, c. 205, prohibiting the slave trade. A claim was given in on behalf of Juan Marino, a Spanish subject and a resident merchant of St. Jago de Cuba. Upon the proofs taken, a decree of condemnation was pronounced in the district court, which was affirmed in the circuit court pro forma and the cause was brought by appeal to this Court.

Page 23 U. S. 135

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