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U.S. Supreme Court

The Monte Allegre and the Rainha de los Anjos, 20 U.S. 7 Wheat. 520 520 (1822)

The Monte Allegre and the Rainha de los Anjos

20 U.S. (7 Wheat.) 520




A question of fact upon the bona fides of an alleged sale of Portuguese ships and their cargoes which had been captured in violation of our neutrality. Restitution to the original owners decreed.

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE MARSHALL delivered the opinion of the Court.

The Monte Allegre was captured by the private armed vessel called La Fortuna, cruising at the time under a commission from the chief of the Oriental Republic. She was completely fitted out, equipped, and manned in Baltimore, from which port she sailed on her first cruise in December, 1816, owned and commanded by citizens of the United States but commissioned by the government of Buenos Ayres. She sailed again on her second cruise in August, chanrobles.com-red

Page 20 U. S. 521

1817, from the port of Baltimore. This cruise terminated at Buenos Ayres, where she was in part dismantled, some of her rigging and arms being deposited in a store ship which lay near her. The crew also were discharged. After lying in port four or five weeks, she sailed on her third cruise, having the same armament with which she sailed from Baltimore and about twenty or thirty of the same crew. Her commander was changed, but was still a citizen of the United States, and she sailed under a commission from the Oriental Republic. On this cruise, the Monte Allegre was taken and sent into the port of Baltimore, where she was libeled by the Consul General of Portugal. She was claimed by William Foster the prize master in behalf of the Oriental Republic, who alleged that while she lay in the port of Buenos Ayres she was purchased by the government of the Banda Oriental.

The reality of this sale constitutes the only question which can arise in this case.

The testimony in support of it is found in the depositions of James Brown, James Williams, William Towson, and Alexander Towson. They mention the partial dismantling of the vessel and speak of a report that she was sold, but they give no positive information on the subject, nor did they even hear to whom the sale was made. This testimony would weigh very little were it even uncontradicted. But the regular transmission of her prizes to Baltimore, her returning to that port at the termination of her cruise, the depositions taken to show that the original proprietors had not parted with their interest chanrobles.com-red

Page 20 U. S. 522

are proofs of a continuing American ownership which are entirely conclusive. There can, then, be no doubt but that the captures made by the Fortuna are in violation of the laws of the United States enacted for the preservation of our neutrality, and that they ought to be restored when brought within our territory.

The Rainha de los Anjos was a Portuguese vessel captured by the La Fortuna in the same cruise in which she captured the Monte Allegre. The cases are in all material respects the same.

Sentences affirmed with costs.


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