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1815.

does not shew that the defendant seized the John as an American prize; and if she were seized under

Faith this impression, there is an end of the question. and Others The want of the manifest was a strong circum

PEARSON. stance that she was not British. She had been in the American service; she had been fitted out in that service, and had the rigging and canvass of that nation on board. Then she had no manifest. The defendant sends a prize master on board; the captain and officers are treated as prisoners of war. On the whole, therefore, I am of opinion that this ship was seized as prize, and that the present action cannot be maintained. I consider it purely upon the general issue, and not on the special pleas.

Plaintiffs nonsuited.

Lens, and Vaughan, serjeants, and Abbott, for plaintiffs.

The Solicitor General, and Best, serjeant, and Richardson, for defendant.

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In the ensuing term, Lens, several conjoint pretences for serjeant, moved to set aside the the seizure, but only where nonsuit. He contended, that the ship was taken as prize ; it ought to have been left to the that action, he observed, was jury to say, whether the sei

for false imprisonment; here, zure was as prize, or on any the only question was, whether other ground. The case of the ship had been seized for Le Caux v. Eden, did not de- this cause only. The defend. cide that the plaintiff's could ant ought to have been called not recover where there were upon to prove that, in fact,

1815.

FAITH and Others

v.

PEARSON.

the vessel had been seized as naval officers, which can only prize, and that this was not properly be examined by the a mere after-thought on his equitable jurisdiction of Courts part.

proceeding in the latitude of Lord Chief Justice Gibbs re- the law of nations. Subse. peated in substance the opi. quent, however, to the cases of nion which he had'expressed at Le Caux v. Eden, it has been the trial. He added, I am still questioned, whether the comof opinion, that this ship was mon law should not exercise a seized as prize, and I am not jurisdiction, so far at least as sure that I ought not to have to ascertain whether a capture stopt the cause sooner than I or detention have been made did. The rest of the Court

upon reasonable and probable concurred.-Rule refused.2 grounds. Would not this be Marshall's Rep. 133.

at once to determine the ques

tion. In order to decide the The cases of Le Caux v. reasonableness of the capture, Eden, Dougl. 570, and Lindo would it not be necessary to env. Rodney, ibid. have so fully ter into the evidence of the cir. established the maxim, that cumstances which determined captures made on the high seas, the defendant to make it. In jure belli, are exclusively with

many cases the discretion of in the conusance of the Courts the king's officers, acting on of Admiralty, and thereby en- the high seas, necessarily retirely exempted from the juris- quires a most extensive latidiction of the common law, that tude. They may act, and in it is unnecessary to review the

some cases are bound to act, principles of the present deci. upon suspicion; they may act sion. The reason is as simple upon secret communications; as the maxim. Such cases, they may act

innumerawhether of capture or deten- ble causes, which, from their tion, form the subject matter vagueness, have not a sufficient of the Admiralty jurisdiction. body to be tangible at common They often arise from circum- law. But the rules of evi. stances which could not be dence in the Courts of Admi. given in evidence in Courts of ralty are framed accordingly; Justice without great public and a long practice and an unmischief; and are frequently interrupted course of precemade upon the discretion, the dents have marked out an opinion, the apprehension, of equitable compass to their discretion, and administered a prize or no prize presents itself 1815. remedy against a dangerous upon the evidence.

upon

FAITH generality or abuse of power.

With respect to privateers,

and Others It is no answer to say a Court or letters of marque, the Courts of Admiralty has acquitted a of Admiralty have a more ex- PEAŘSON. ship seized as prize. There tensive jurisdiction than as might have been cause for the respects king's ships. As redetention, though none for the gards the former, if any act of condemnation. There might oppression, cruelty, or general be a reasonable suspicion upon abuse, have been committed, which an officer would be they have not only the power wanting in his duty if he should of awarding a suitable comnot make a seizure. The pensation to the party injured, Courts of Admiralty adminis- but they are authorised to de. ter justice bctween the parties prive them of their letters of in all those cases.

On the one

marque. They, in fact, act as hand, they necessarily protect a Board of Admiralty to ships the proper discretion of the of such denomination, and king's officers, and will not have their summary jurisdicsubject them to ruin for errors tion. The law is laid down by natural and venial in the exer- the Prize Act, which expressly cise of a general prudence. On inflicts on all acts of cruelty the other hand, they will the forfeiture of the letters equally protect the neutral, or of marque. In 5 Robinson, 9. the native merchant, from op- Sir William Scott, speaking pression, caprice, or any loss on this point, says,

I consi. and damage, whether from der this to be no more than a negligence or criminal indiffer- formal declaration of what was ence. The rule, therefore, the ancient law of the Admi. seems to be this :—Whenever ralty.As regards the king's it appears, incidentally, in the ships, they are, in the first in. trial of a question of wrong stance, more immediately uncommitted on the high seas, by der the superintendance of the capture or detention, that such Lords Commissioners of the capture or detention has been Admiralty. The dignity of the made bona fide as prize, a flag, and even of the officers, Court of common law has no puts them in a degree above jurisdiction; they must dismiss the necessity of this vigilant the subject to its proper court, controul. the instant the question of It might be easy to cite

1815.

FAITH and Others

0.

PEARSON.

cases in which the courts of cisions of the Courts of Admi. common law have disclaimed a

ralty is a great benefit to both jurisdiction over matters of au parties; for, so admirably framanalogous kind. But the rule ed are the rules of that Court is sufficiently prominent in all for accelerating business of this of them.

kind, that a cause can hardly It may be necessary how- last beyond a month. There ever to observe in order to

is another great convenience in mark the distinction, that the the Admiralty suit, that all case of Le Caux v. Eden was parties concerned may join in an action of trespass for false one libel ; whereas if an action imprisonment of the plaintiff's at common law could be supperson. In the capture or

ported, the numberless suits to detention of a ship, the officers which every individual amongst and crew are necessarily impri- the captors would be exposed, soned for a time; and if the in the circumstance of costs principal question, that of seiz. alone, independent of damages, ing the ship, belong exclusively would bring rain upon the parto the Admiralty jurisdiction, ties involved in them. to separate the question of prize All the cases which have or no prize, and that concern- been determined opon this subing the incidental damage, ject have been decided upon would be to divide between the general issue pleaded by two different jurisdictions the the defendant. No special same entire transaction. It is pleading can be necessary, beequally a trespass to take a cause the courts of common man's ship as to take his per- law have not a concurrent juson; but if the original or prin- risdiction, but the Courts of cipal matter be not conusable Admiralty have the sole and at common law, neither are exclusive concurrence. If the the consequences. i Lev. 243, capture be, prima facie, a tres2 Lev. 25. Molloy, lib. 1. c.

pass at common law, it would 4. § 32.

be incumbent on the defendant The common law jurisdic- to plead specially that he seized 'tion, however, is not excluded, the ship as prize, and what was without a just consideration of the cause, or ground of seizure. the greater advantages to be the plea of not guilty, thereobtained before that tribunal fore, is the proper and sufficient to which the case is referred. plea; it is in the nature of a

The promptitude of the de. denial of the jurisdiction of the

common law courts, and an an action may be maintained

1815. assertion that the question is at common law. But to this alieni fori. In the great case it may be replied, if the ori- FAITH, of Rous v. Hassard, cited in ginal matter be not conus and Others Le Caur v. Eden, Douglas, able by the common law, the

PEARSON. 581, in which the question was, subsequent matter cannot; the whether an action of trespass whole question must altogewould lie for taking a ship as ther be appropriated to the prize, Lord Chief Justice Lee, jurisdiction of the Admiralty. having called two civilians to " That sentence (says Buller, his assistance, delivered the Justice,

Justice, in his admirable judgjudgment of the Court : that, ment, delivered in Le Caux v. though for taking a ship on the Eden) does not alter the nahigh seas trespass would lie at ture of the original taking. It common law, yet, when it was was still a seizure as prize, taken as prize, though taken which the common law does wrongfully, though it were ac- not take notice of, as a tresquitted, and though there were pass; and the sentence cannot no colour for the taking, the make that a trespass, which judge of the Admiralty was was not so at the time hen judge of the damages and costs, the fact was committed. as well as of the principal mat. “ Upon the whole, (addresster. And his Lordship laid it ing himself to the case of Le down as law, that if such an ac- Caux v. Eden) as the plaintiff tion were brought in England, has had, or may have, a remedy and the defendant pleaded not elsewhere, as there is no case guilty, the plaintiff could not in which it has ever been hold.

en that such an action can be Admitting the question of maintained, and it would be prize or no prize to be of ex- attended with great mischief clusive and peculiar jurisdic. and inconvenience if it could tion in the Courts of Admi- be maintained, and as there are ralty, it has been contended several authorities which say, notwithstanding, that if the the action will not lie, I am of sentence of that Court shall opinion that there must be declare the ship to be no prize, judgment for the defendant."

recover.

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