United States v. Schooner Emperor

United States v. Schooner Emperor

Lower Court

  • United States Supreme Court


  • 1839


  • 476


  • 864


Having refused to receive a pilot, thought it was her first visit to that Harbor, rounded St. Joseph's point: the afternoon and night of this day were passed between the Point and the main land- she did not enter at the custom house until the next day, Her cargo consisted of a few oranges in the hold and the Collector says she had neither register nor list of crew, and that soon after she left St. Joseph, a number of negroes supposed to be from a foreign country were discovered at St. Andrews in the vicinity of St. Joseph. It is also in proof that about this time several slaves to all appearances Africans crossed Loftens ferry on the St. Andrews Bay, and that eight slaves were placed in the possession of Adams the overseer of Crosky- by Crosky himself and these are the negroes which have been seized by the Marshal such is the evidence- does it show that the negroes in question were illegally brought into the territory of Florida in the Schooner Emperor? We do not think a reasonable doubt can be entertained of the fact Cox the master occupies himself in framing schemes and speculation having in view the introduction of slaves into the US and the evasion of the Laws of the land. He consorts with Malherbe who has a like purpose in view they go into the slave market at Havana and purchase slaves and Cox says together for Tobasco and arrive at St. Joseph under very suspicious circumstances, and immediately after, the departure thence of the Emperor. There eight negroes evidently native Africans, and recently arrived in the country are formed in the immediate vicinity of St. Joseph. It is true no witness says that he saw a negro on board the Emperor or landed from her. We of course reject the hearsay evidence of the last mentioned fact. But Cox had acknowledged that he was under contract to convey slaves to Apalachicola or St. Joseph: this admission and the presence of the negroes at St. Andrews and the way hither, connected with the other circumstances already derailed. Establish a presumption, which may not be resisted that these identical negroes were brought into country by Cox and Malherbe and in the Schooner Emperor.

We might rely upon what was said by the only one of these negroes who has learned a little English- upon the contradictory statements of Crosky as to the place whence the negroes came- upon his alleged part ownership with Malherbe and another person in Cuba we might reply upon these and upon other matters in the evidence as Res Gesto, but it is not necessary to cumber the case with a discussion upon this subject. The facts we have stated are indispretably in evidence. And they are wholly unexplained by the master, who is the only person before the Court, and whose duty and interest it is to remove from himself is he can the grave charges which the evidence implies. So far from attempting explanation- he had and subsequently to the seizure of his vessel used expressions which taken in reference to the circumstance we have related go to establish the truth of this case on the aprt of the US. To one of the witnesses said that