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1820.

U. States

V. Smith.

sional men are not always acquainted. By the same clause of the constitution, Congress have

power to punish offences against the law of nations, and yet it would hardly be deemed a fair and legitimate execution of this authority, to declare, that all offences against the law of nations, without defining any one of them, should be punished with death. Such mode of legislation is but badly calculated to furnish that precise and accurate information in criminal cases, which it is the duty, and ought to be the object, of every legislature to impart.

Upon the whole, my opinion is, that there is not to be found in the act that definition of piracy which the constitution requires, and that, therefore, judgment on the special verdict ought to be rendered for the prisoner.

CERTIFICATE. This cause came on to be heard on the transcript of the record of the Circuit Court of the United States for the district of Virginia, and on the question on which the Judges of that Court were divided in opinion, and was argued by counsel. On consideration whereof, this Court is of opinion, that the offence charged in the indictment in this case, and found by the jury to have been committed by the prisoner, amounts to the crime of piracy, as defined by the law of nations, so as to be punishable under the act of Congress, entitled, “ an act to protect the commerce of the United States, and punish the crime of piracy.” All which is ordered to be certified to the Circuit Court for the district of Virginia.

a Vide Appendix, Note IV. for the new act of Coogress on the subject of piracy, passed May 15, 1820.

1820.

U. States

Pirates,

(CONSTITUTIONAL Law, and LAW OF NATIONS.)

5wh184 421 889

5wh184 1150 267

5wh 1841 85f 141

The United States v. Furlong, alias Hobson.

The UNITED STATES v. The SAME.
The UNITED STATES v. The SAME.

The UNITED STATES v. The SAME.
The UNITED STATES V. GRIFFEN and BRAILSFORD.
The UNITED STATES v. Bowers and Mathews.

THE UNITED STATES v. The SAME.

The 8th section of the act of the 30th of April, 1790, c. 36. for the

punishment of certain crimes against the United States, is not repealed by the act of the 3d March, 1819, c. 76. to protect the

commerce of the United States, and punish the crime of piracy. In an indictment for a piratical murder, (under the act of the 30th

of April, 1790,) c. 36. s. 8. it is not necessary that it should allege the prisoner to be a citizen of the United States, nor that the crime was committed on board a vessel belonging to citizens of the United States; but it is sufficient to charge it as committed from on

board such a vessel, by a mariner sailing on board such a vessel. A citizen of the United States, fitting out a vessel in a port of the

United States, in order to cruise against a power in amity with the
United States, is not protected, by a commission from a belligerent,
from punishment for any offence committed against vessels of the

United States.
It is competent, in an indictment for piracy, for the jury to find, that 2

vessel within a marine league of the shore, at anchor, in an open
road stead, where vessels only ride under shelter of the land at a
season when the course of the winds is invariable, is upon the high

seas.

The words “out of the jurisdiction of any particular State," in the act

of the 30th April, 1790, c. 36. s. 8. must be construed to mean out

of the jurisdiction of any particular State of the Union. The act of the 3d of March, 1819, c. 76. §. 5. furnishes a sufficient

definition of piracy; and it is defined to be robbery on the seas.

1820.

U. States

V. Pirates.

A vessel loses her national character by assuming a piratical charac

ter; and a piracy committed by a foreigner, from on board such a vessel, upon any other vessel whatever, is punishable under the 8th

section of the act of the 30th of April, 1790, c. 36. On an indictment for piracy, the jury may find the national character

of a vessel upon such evidence as will satisfy their minds, without the certificate of registry, or other documentary evidence, being pro

duced, and without proof of their having been seen on board. On an indictment for piracy, the national character of a merchant ves.

sel of the United States may be proved without evidence of her cer

tificate of registry. Each count in an indictment is a substantive charge; and if the find

ing of the jury conform to any one of the counts, which, in itself, will support the verdict, it is sufficient, and judgment may be given thereon.

These were several indictments in the Circuit Court of Georgia and South Carolina. The following are the cases as stated for the decision of this Court:

The United States v. John FURLONG, alias

Hobson.

The prisoner was indicted before the Circuit Court of Georgia, for the piratical murder of Thomas Sunley, on the act of Congress of the 30th April, 1790, c. 36. Verdict, guilty. The offence was committed on a vessel and crew, all English. The person murdered was an English subject. The piratical vessel was a vessel of the United States, and run away with by the captain and crew.

The prisoner is an Irishman, and a subject of the king of Great Britain. It was moved by the prisoner's counsel, that the judgment be arrested on the following grounds, viz.:

Vor. V.

24

1820.

U

v. Pirates.

Ist. Because the indictment does not charge the U. States prisoner as a citizen of the United States.

20. Because the indictment does not charge the act, as committed on board of an American vessel, but charges it as committed on board of a foreign vessel, or vessel of owners unknown.

3d. Because the 8th section of the act of 30th April, 1790, c. 36. is virtually repealed by the act of 3d March, 1819, c. 76. to protect the commerce of the United States, and punish the crime of piracy.

Upon which grounds, the judges being divided in opinion, at the request of the counsel for the prisoner, it was ordered, that the indictment and proceedings thereon, together with the grounds of the defendant's motion in arrest of judgment, be transcribed by the clerk of the Circuit Court, and certified by him, under the seal of the court, and sent to this Court, for their decision.

The UNITED States v. John FURLONG, alias

Hobson.

This was another indictment against the same prisoner, before the same Court, on the act of Congress,

of the 30th of April, 1791), c. 36. for the piratical murder of David May. Verdict, guilty. The same statement appears in the record, as in the case of the indictment of Furlong, for the murder of Thomas Sunley.

1820.

The UNITED STATES v. John Furlong, alias

HOBSON.

U. States

v. Pirates.

This was another indictment against the same prisoner, before the same Court, on the act of the 3d of March, 18199, c. 76. for the piratical seizure of an unknown vessel. Verdict, guilty. The offence was committed on a foreign vessel, by a foreigner, from a vessel of the United States, which had been run away with by the captain and crew. It was moved by the prisoner's counsel, that the judgment be arrested on the ground that, as the constitution of the United States gives the power to Congress, to define and punish the crime of piracy, it is necessary that Congress define before it can punish, and that a reference to the law of nations is not such a definition as the constitution requires. Upon which ground, the Judges being divided in opinion, upon request of counsel for prisoner, it was ordered, that the indictment and proceedings thereon, together with the ground of the defendant's motion in arrest of judgment, be transcribed by the clerk of the Circuit Court, and certified by him, under the seal of the Court, and sent to this Court for their decision.

The UNITED STATES V. John Furlong, alias

Hobson,

This was another indictment against the same prisoner, before the same Court, on the act of the 30th

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