Administrative Law Keyed to Lawson
Little v. Barreme
During hostilities with France, a non-intercourse act was annually passed that allowed the United States President to instruct the commanders of armed vessels to stop and seize ships bound for France. Such ships would forfeit their cargo and face prosecution. A separate order given by the executive enjoined seizure of American ships sailing from France, but this was not authorized by the Act of Congress. The Flying Fish was on a voyage from, and not to, a French port when it was seized; and it was Danish and not American. The judge before whom the case was tried directed a restoration of the vessel and cargo as neutral property, but refused to award damaged because, in his opinion, there was probable cause to suspect the ship was American. The circuit court reversed because the Flying Fish was on a voyage from, not to, a French port, and therefore would not have been liable to capture even if American.
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