slightly greater than gunshot from the en-
trance; and to the treaty between Prussia
and Denmark of 1818, which stipulated that
two vessels should be stationed before every
blockaded port; but we do not think these
particular agreements of special importance
here, and, indeed Ortolan, by whom they
are cited, says that such stipulations cannot
create a positive rule in all cases even be-
tween the parties, "since the number of ves-
sels necessary to a complete investment de-
pends evidently on the nature of the place
blockaded." 2 Ortolan, 4th ed. 330, and note


coast of Porto Rico, but of the port *of San[519]
Juan, a town of less than 25,000 inhabitants,
on the northern coast of Porto Rico, with a
single entrance. From June 27 to July 14,
1898, the Yosemite, a merchant ship con-
verted into an auxiliary cruiser, blockaded
the port. Her maximum speed was fifteen
and one-half knots; and her armament ten
5-inch rapid firing guns, six 6-pounders, two
1-pounders, with greatest range of three and
one-half miles. While the Yosemite was
blockading the port she ran the armed trans-
port Antonio Lopez aground six miles from
San Juan; gave a number of neutral vessels
official notice of the blockade: warned off
many from the port; and on the 5th of July,
1898, wrote into the log of the Olinde Rod-
rigues, off San Juan, the official_warning of
the blockade of San Juan. Ou July 14 and
thereafter the port was blockaded by the ar-
mored cruiser New Orleans, whose maximum
speed was twenty-two knots, and her arma-
ment six 6-inch breech-loading rifles, four
4.7-inch breech-loading rifles, ten 6-pounders,
four 1.5-inch guns, corresponding to 3-pound-
ers; four 3-pounders in the tops; four 37-mil:-

Nor do we regard Sir William Scott's judgment in The Arthur (1814) Dodson, 423, 425, as of weight in favor of claimants. In effect the ruling sustained the validity of the maintenance of blockade by a single ship, and the case was thus stated: "This is a [518]claim made by one of His Majesty's ships to share as joint-captor in a prize taken in the river Ems by another ship belonging to His Majesty, for a breach of the blockade imposed by the order in council of the 26th of April, 1809. This order was, among others, issued in the way of retaliation for the meas-imeter automatic guns, corresponding to 1ures which had been previously adopted by the French government against the commerce of this country. The blockade imposed by it is applicable to a very great extent of coast, and was never intended to be maintained according to the usual and regular mode of enforcing blockades, by stationing a number of ships, and forming as it were an arch of circumvallation around the mouth of the prohibited port. There, if the arch fails in any one part, the blockade itself fails altogether; but this species of blockade, which has arisen out of the violent and unjust conduct of the enemy, was maintained by a ship stationed anywhere in the neighborhood of the coast, or, as in this case, in the river itself, observing and preventing every vessel that might endeavor to effect a passage up or down the river."

Blockades are maritime blockades, or blockades by sea and land; and they may be either military or commercial, or inay partake of the nature of both. The question of effectiveness must necessarily depend on the circumstances. We agree that the fact of a single capture is not decisive of the effectiveness of a blockade, but the case made on this record does not rest on that ground.

We are of opinion that if a single modern cruiser blockading a port renders it in fact dangerous for other craft to enter the port, that is sufficient, since thereby the blockade is made practically effective.

What, then, were the facts as to the effectiveness of the blockade in the case before us?

In the proclamation of June 27, 1898, occurs this paragraph: "The United States of America has instituted and will maintain an effective blockade of all the ports on the south coast of Cuba, from Cape Frances to Cape Cruz, inclusive, and also of the port of San Juan, in the island of Porto Rico." (Proclamation No. 11, 30 Stat. at L. 34.) The blockade thus announced was not of the

pounders. The range of her guns was five and one-half sea miles or six and a quarter statute miles. If stationary, she could command a circle of thirteen miles in diameter; if moving at maximum speed, she could cover in five minutes any point on a circle of seventeen miles diameter; and in ten minutes any point on a circle of nineteen miles diameter; her electric search lights could sweep the sea by night for ten miles distance; her motive power made her independent of winds and currents; in these respects and in her armament and increased range of guns she so far surpassed in effectiveness the old-time war ships that it would be inadmissible to hold that even if a century ago more than one ship was believed to be required for an effective blockade, therefore this cruiser was not sufficient to blockade this port.

Assuming that the Olinde Rodrigues attempted to enter San Juan July 17, there can be no question that it was dangerous for her to do so, as the result itself demonstrated. She had had actual warning twelve days before; no reason existed for the supposition that the blockade had been pretermitted or relaxed; *her commander had no[520] right to experiment as to the practical ef fectiveness of the blockade, and, if he did so, he took the risk; he was believed to be making the attempt, and was immediately captured. In these circumstances the vessel cannot be permitted to plead that the blockade was not legally effective.

After the argument on the motion to discharge the vessel, application was made by counsel for the claimant to the district judge, by letter, that the Navy Department be requested to furnish the court with all letters or despatches of the commanders of vessels blockading the port of San Juan in respect to the sufficiency of the force. And a motion was made in this court "for an order authorizing the introduction into the record of the despatches of Captain Sigsbee and


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Commander Davis," dated June 27, 1898, It is true that in closing his letter of June
and July 26, 1898, and published by the Navy | 27 Captain Sigsbee said: "I venture to sug-
Department in the "Appendix to the Report
of the Chief of the Bureau of Navigation,
1898," pp. 224, 225, 642.

To this the United States objected on the grounds that isolated statements transmitting official information to superior officers, and consisting largely of opinion and hearsay, were not competent evidence; that the claimants had been afforded the opportunity to offer additional proof, and had not availed themselves thereof; that if the court desired to have these papers before it, then the government should be permitted to define their meaning by counter proofs; and certain explanatory affidavits were, at the same time, tendered for consideration, if the motion were granted.

We need not specifically rule on the motion, or as to the admissibility of either the despatches or affidavits, as we are satisfied that the despatches have no legitimate tendency to establish that the blockade was not effective so far as the exclusion of trade from this port of the belligerent, whether in neutral or enemy's trading ships, was concerned. This country has always recognized the essential difference between a military and a commercial blockade. The one deals with the exclusion of trade, and the other involves the consideration of armed conflict with the belligerent. The necessity of a greater blockading force in the latter case than in the former is obvious. The difference is in kind, and in degree. [521] *Our government was originally of opinion that commercial blockades in respect of neutral powers ought to be done away with; but that view was not accepted, and during the period of the Civil War the largest commercial blockade ever known was established. Dana's Wheat. Int. Law, 8th ed. p. 671, note 232; 3 Whart. Int. Dig. § 361.

The letters of Captain Sigsbee, of the St. Paul, and of Commander Davis, of the Dixie, must be read in the light of this recognized distinction; and it is to be further remarked that after the letter of Captain Sigsbee or June 27 the New Orleans was sent by Admiral Sampson officially to blockade the port of San Juan, thereby enormously increasing its efficiency.

gest that, in order to make the blockade of
San Juan positively effective, a considerable
force of vessels is needed off that port, enough
to detach some to occasionally cruise about
the island. West of San Juan the coast, † al-
though bold, has outlying dangers, making
it easy at present for blockade runners hav-[522]
ing local pilots to work in close to the port
under the land during the night."

But we are considering the blockade of the port of San Juan and not of the coast, and while additional vessels to cruise about the island might be desirable in order that the blockade should be positively effective, we think it a sufficient compliance with the obligations of international law if the blockade made egress or ingress dangerous in fact, and that the suggestions of a zealous American naval commander, in anticipation of a conflict of armed forces before San Juan, that the blockade should be brought to the highest efficiency in a military as well as a commercial aspect, cannot be allowed to have the effect of showing that the blockade which did exist was as to this vessel ineffective in point of law.

And the letter of Commander Davis of the Dixie, of July 26, 1898, appears to us to have been written wholly from the standpoint of the efficiency of the blockade as a military blockade. He says: "Captain Folger kept me through the night of the 24th, as he had information which led him to believe that an attack would be made on his ship during the night. There are in San Juan, Porto Rico, the Terror, torpedo gunboat; the Isabella II., cruiser; a torpedo boat, and a gunboat. There is also a German steamer, which is only waiting an opportunity to slip out." And further: "It is Captain Folger's opinion that the enemy will attempt to raise the blockade of San Juan, and it is my opinion that he should be reinforced there with the least possible delay."

In our judgment these naval officers did not doubt the effectiveness of the commercial blockade, and had simply in mind the desirability of rendering the blockade, as a military blockade, impregnable, by the possession of a force sufficient to successfully repel any hostile attack of the enemy's fleet. The In his report of June 28, Appendix, Rep. blockade was practically effective; had reBur. Nav. 220, 222, Captain Sigsbee describes mained so; and was legal and binding, if an attack on the St. Paul off the port of not raised by an actual driving away of the San Juan, June 22, by the Spanish cruiser blockading force by the enemy; until the hap Isabella II. and by the torpedo boat destroy-pening of which result the neutral trader had er Terror, in which engagement the St. Paul severely injured the Terror, and drove the attacking force back into San Juan, and in his letter of June 27 he wrote: "It is advisable to constantly keep the Terror in mind as a possible active force; but, leaving her out of consideration, the services to be performed by the Yosemite, of blockading a well-fortified port containing a force of enemy's vessels whose aggregate force is greater than her own, is an especially difficult one. If she permits herself to be driven away from the port, even temporarily, the claim may be set up that the blockade is broken."

no right to ask whether the blockade, as
against the possible superiority of the ene-
my's flect, was or was not effective in a mil-
itary sense.

*But was this ship attempting to enter the[523;
port of San Juan, on the morning of July
17, when she was captured? It is contended

†The coast thus referred to is described in a work entitled "Navigation of the Gulf of Mexico and the Carribean Sea," issued by the Navy Department, vol. I. 342. thus: "The shore appears to be skirted by a reef, inclosing numerous small

cays and islets, over which the sea breaks vio

lently, and it should not be approached within

a distance of four miles."

by counsel for the claimant that if the rul-on fifty first-class passengers, and he replied ings of the district court should be disap- that the ship would not touch at San Juan, proved of, an opportunity should still be but would be at St. Thomas on the 17th. given it to put in further proofs in respect The purser testified that on the receipt of of the violation of the blockade, notwith- the cable from the consignee at San Juan, standing it had declined to do so under the he told the captain "that since we were adorder of that court. That order gave ninety vised of the blockade of Porto Rico by the days to the captors for further proofs, and war ship, it was absolutely necessary not to to the claimant, thereafter, such time for stop"; and that "before me, the agent in testimony in reply as might seem proper. Af- Cape Haytien, sent a cablegram, saying ter the captors had put in their proofs, the 'Daim [the vessel] will not stop at San Juan, claimant, without introducing anything fur- the blockade being notified.""" ther, moved for the discharge and restitution of the steamship on the ground of the ineffective character of the blockade, and because the evidence did not justify a decree of condemnation; but undertook to reserve the right to adduce further proof, in the event that its motion should be denied. The district court commented with disfavor upon such an attempt, and we think the claimant could not as matter of right demand that the cause should be opened again. The settled practice of prize courts forbids the taking of further proofs under such circumstances; and in the view we take of the cause it would

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On the proofs before us the case is this: The Olinde Rodrigues was a merchant vessel of 1675 tons, belonging to the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique, engaged in the West India trade and receiving a subsidy from the French government for carrying its mails on an itinerary prescribed by the postal authorities. Her regular course was from Havre to 3t. Thomas, San Juan, Puerto Plata, and some other ports, returning by the same ports to Havre. She sailed from Havre, June 16, and arrived at St. Thomas July 3, and at San Juan the morning of July 4. The proclamation of the blockade of San Juan was issued June 27, while she was on the sea. The United States cruiser Yosemite was on duty in those waters, blockading the port of San Juan, and when her commander sighted the Olinde Rodrigues coming from the eastward toward the port he made chase, but before reaching her she had turned in and was under the protection [524]*of the shore batteries. He lay outside until the next morning-the morning of July 5when he intercepted the steamship as she was coming out, and sent an officer aboard, who made this entry in her log: "Warned off San Juan, July 5th, 1898, by U. S. S. Yosemite. Commander Emory. John Burns, Ensign, U. S. Navy." The master of the Olinde Rodrigues, whose testimony was taken in preparatorio, testified that when he entered San Juan, July 4, he had no knowledge that the port was blockaded, and that he first heard of it from the Yosemite on July 5, when he was leaving San Juan. After the notification he continued his voyage on the specified itinerary, arriving at Gonaives, the last port outward, on July 12. On his return voyage he stopped at the same ports, taking on freight, passengers, and mail for Havre. At Cape Haytien, on July 14, he received a telegram from the agent of his company at San Juan, telling him to hasten his arrival there by one day in order to take

The ship's master further testified that on the outward voyage at each port he had warned the agency of the company and the postal department that he would not touch at Porto Rico, that he would not take passengers for that point, and that the letters would be returned to St. Thomas, and that having received his clearance papers at Puerto Plata at half-past five o'clock on the evening of July 15, he did not leave until six o'clock in the morning of July 16, as he did not wish to find himself at night along the coast of Porto Rico.

The ship was a large and valuable one, belonging to a great steamship company of world-wide reputation; she was on her return voyage laden with tobacco, sugar, coffee, and other products of that region; she had no cargo, passengers, or mail for *San Juan:[525] she had arrived off that port in broad daylight, intentionally according to the captain; her regular itinerary on her return to France would have taken her from Port au Platte to San Juan, and from San Juan to St. Thomas, and thence to Havre, but as San Juan was blockaded and she had been warned off, and could not lawfully stop there, her route was from Port au Platte to St. Thomas, which led her directly by and not many miles from the port of San Juan.

The only possible motive which could be or is assigned for her to attempt to break the blockade is that the consignee at San Juan cabled the captain at Cape Haytien that he must stop at San Juan and take fifty first-class passengers. At this time the fleet of Admiral Cervera had been destroyed; Santiago had fallen; and the long reign of Spain in the Antilles was drawing to an end. Doubtless the transportation of fifty firstclass passengers would prove remunerative, especially as some of them might be Spanish officials, and Spanish archives and records, and Spanish treasure, might accompany them if they escaped on the ship. It is forcibly argued that these are reasonable inferences, and afforded a sufficient motive for the commission of the offense. But as where the guilty intent is established, the lack of motive cannot in itself overthrow it, so the presence of motive is not in itself sufficient to supply the lack of evidence of intent. Now, in this case, the captain not only testified that he answered the cable to the effect that he should not stop at San Juan, but the purser explicitly stated that the agent at Cape Haytien sent the telegram for the captain, specifically notifying the agent at San Juan that the ship would not stop there, the blockade having been notified. It is true that the cablegram was not produced, but

this was not to be expected in taking the depositions in preparatorio, and particularly as it was not the captain's own cablegram, but that of the agent at Cape Haytien. There is nothing in the evidence to the contrary, and under the liberality of the rules of evidence in the administration of the civil law, we must take this as we find it, and, as it stands, the argument that a temptation was held out is answered by the evidence that it was resisted.

[526] *Such being the situation and the evidence of the ship's officers being explicit that the vessel was on her way to St. Thomas and had no intention of running into San Juan, the decree in her favor must be affirmed on the merits, unless the record elsewhere furnishes evidence sufficient to overcome the conclusion reasonably deducible from the facts above stated.

Among the papers delivered to the prize master were certain bills of health, five of them by consuls of France, namely, July 9, from St. More, Haiti, giving the ship's destination as Havre, with intermediate ports; July 11, from Gonaives, Haiti, giving no destination; July 13, from Port au Prince; July 14, from Cape Haytien; July 15, from Puerto Plata, all naming Havre as the destination: and three by consuls of Denmark, July 13, from Port au Prince, July 14, from Cape Haytien, and July 15 from Puerto Plata, all naming St. Thomas as the destination. When the captain testified August 2, in answer to the standing interrogatories, he said nothing about any Spanish bills of health. The deposition was reread to the captain, August 3, and on the next day, August 4, he wrote to the prize commissioners desiring to correct it, saying: "I fear I have badly interpreted several questions. I was asked if I had destroyed any papers on board or passports. I replied, no. The papers-documents on board for our voyage had been delivered up proper and legal to the prize master. This is absolutely the truth, not including in the documents two Spanish bills of health, one from Port au Prince and one from Cape Haytien, which we found in opening our papers, although they had not been demanded. Not having any value for us, I said to the steward to destroy them on our arrival at Charleston, as we often do with papers that are useless to us. The regular expedition only counts from the last port, which was Puerto Plata, and I refused to take it from our agent for Porto Rico. I swear that at my examination I did not think of this, and it is only on my return from signing that the steward recalled it to me. I never sought to disguise the truth, since I wish to advise you of it as soon as possible." On the 5th of August the purser answered [527]the interrogatories, and testified that papers were given him by the consignees of the steamer at Port au Prince in a box at the time of sailing, and he found in the box one manifest of freight in ballast, and it was the same thing at Cape Haytien. At Puerto Plata the agent of the company came on board on their arrival there, and "the captain told him that there was no Spanish clearance: there was no need of it; and it was not

taken." The captain said to the agent "it was not necessary because we are not going to San Juan, being notified of the blockade." "When we arrive in a port we put up a placard of the date of departure and the time of sailing and the destination, and it was put up by my personal order from the captain that we sailed from St. Thomas directly, and it was fixed up in the night of the 15th of July. We were to start on the morning of the 16th, at 6 o'clock in the morning, the captain saying he did not want to fall into the hands of the American cruisers during the night. The night before our arrival in Charleston, the doctor says to me, 'I have a bill of health, Spanish account, from Cape Haytien and Port au Prince,' and I told him I would speak to the captain and ask him what to do with these papers that I had found in assorting my papers-these papers in the pigeon holes. I told the captain that morning, and he told me that we had better destroy them, because we don't want them; that it is not our expedition, and that a true exposition is valuable only for the last port to the Spanish port."

On the 5th the captain was permitted to testify, in explanation, saying, among other things: "The reason that we did not give up the two bills of health is because they did not form a part of the clearance of our ship for our itinerary, and they were left in the pigeon holes where they were. It was at the time of our arrival at the quarantine at Charleston that the purser spoke to me of them, and I told him that they were good for nothing and to tear them up. The captain wishes to add that he did not remember the instance the other day about the destruction of papers that he has just told us about and that he never had any intention to disguise anything or to deceive."

Counsel for the government insist that the528] intention of the Olinde to run the blockade is necessarily to be inferred from the possession of these bills of health and their alleged concealment and destruction. Doubtless the spoliation of papers, and, though to a less degree, their concealment, is theoretically a serious offense, and authorizes the presumption of an intention to suppress incriminating evidence though this is not an irrebuttable presumption.

In The Pizarro, 2 Wheat. 227, 241 [4: 226, 229], the rule is thus stated by Mr. Justice Story: "Concealment, or even spoliation of papers, is not of itself a sufficient ground for condemnation in a prize court. It is, undoubtedly, a very awakening circumstance, calculated to excite the vigilance, and to justify the suspicions, of the court. But it is a circumstance open to explanation, for it may have arisen from accident, necessity, or superior force; and if the party in the first instance fairly and frankly explains it to the satisfaction of the court, it deprives him of no right to which he is otherwise entitled. If, on the other hand, the spoliation be unexplained, or the explanation appear weak and futile; if the cause labour under heavy suspicions, or there be a vehement presumption of bad faith, or gross prevario tion, it is made the ground of a denial of far

ther proof, and condemnation ensues from defects in the evidence which the party is not permitted to supply."

It should be remembered that the first deposition of the captain was given in answer to standing interrogatories, and not under an oral examination; that the statute (R. S. § 4622) forbade the witness "to see the interrogatories, documents, or papers, or to consult with counsel, or with any persons interested, without special authority from the court", that he was born and had always lived in France, and was apparently not conversant with our language; indeed, he protested, as "neither understanding nor speaking English," "against all interpretation or translation contrary to my thought;" that the deposition having been read to him the day after it was taken, he detected its want of fullness, and immediately wrote the prize commissioners on the subject with a view to [529] correction; and that it was after this, and not before, that the purser testified.

Transactions of this sort constitute in themselves no ground for condemnation, but are evidence, more or less convincing, of the existence of such ground; yet, taking the evidence in this case together, we are not prepared to hold that the explanation as to how these bills came to be received on board, neg lected when the papers were surrendered, and finally torn up, was not sufficient to obviate any decisive inference of objectionable


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The log of the Olinde Rodrigues states: "6.30, noticed the heights of San Juan. At 7.20, took the bearings of the fortress at 45 degrees, eight miles and one-half crosswise. Noticed, at 7.50, a man-of-war. At 8.10, she signalled 'J. W.,' ["heave to and stop instantly"]. I went towards it and made ar rangements in order to receive the whale boat which is sent to us."

In a communication to the Ambassador of France at Washington, written July 17, and purporting to give a full account of the matter, the captain said that he "was some time before seeing her signal, on account of the distance and of the sun. Suspecting what she wanted, I hoisted the 'perceived' and stopped.'

He testified that he turned his vessel to the warship before the gun was fired, which was at 8.12, but on this point the evidence is strongly to the contrary. We are inclined to think that some allowance should be made for imperfect recollection in the rapid passage of events. The Olinde Rodrigues was comparatively a slow sailer (ten to twelve knots), and if the captain stopped on seeing the signal, and turned towards the war ship with reasonable promptness, a settled purpose to defy the signal ought not to be im-[530] Orleans just before, just after, or just as the puted, whether she started towards the New

shot was fired.

ment is, however, that the Olinde Rodrigues The stress of the contention of the governJuan at the time her progress was arrested. was on a course directly into the port of San It is extremely difficult to be precise in such a matter, as her course to reach St. Thomas necessarily passed in face of San Juan. The captain attached to his explanatory affidavit a sketch, "showing the usual route and the actual route which he was taking at the time of the capture, with the position of the capturing ship and his own ship," as follows:

174 U. S.

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