The Treaties of 1785, 1799, and 1828 between the United States and Prussia, as Interpreted in Opinions of Attorneys General, Decisions of Courts, and Diplomatic Correspondence

By James Brown Scott; Carnegie Endowment for International Peace | Go to book overview
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Decisions of Federal Courts

THE BARK ELWINE KREPLIN1

Seamen's Wages.--Desertion.--Imprisonment on Shore.--Consul.-- Treaty With Prussia.--Jurisdiction.--Parties.--Practice.--Minor.

--Executive Recognition.

A Prussian bark, with a crew whose term of service had not expired, was laid up at Staten Island, on account of the War between Prussia and France. A difficulty arose between the captain and the crew, and they demanded leave to go and see the consul. This the captain refused to allow, but agreed that one of them, named L., might go. They insisted that they would all go, and the captain went ashore to get the aid of the police. After he had gone, the crew informed the mate that they were going to see the consul, and went ashore, without serious objection from the mate. The captain, returning, was told by the mate that the men had gone ashore, and high words passed between them, which resulted in the mate's saying that he would go too, and he went ashore, without objection from the captain. The captain, with a police officer, overtook the crew, and all hands went before a police justice, where the captain made a complaint against the mate and the crew for mutiny and desertion. The justice informed the captain that he had no jurisdiction, but he directed a policeman to take the men into custody, and they were locked up. The captain then went before the Prussian consul, and made complaint, requesting that the crew be punished, and that they be kept in custody preliminarily, and stating that he could not receive the mate on board again. The consul then issued a requisition to a commissioner of the Circuit Court of the United States, stating that the men had deserted, and asking for a warrant to arrest the men, and, "if said charge be true," that they be detained until there should be an opportunity to send them back. The requisition the captain took to the police justice, who thereupon, without examination, committed all the men to the county jail, where they lay for ten days. On the direction of the consul, they were then released, and came to the consul's office, where they were advised to go to the ship, and ask the captain for their wages. Some of them went, and the captain agreed to meet the crew at the consul's office next day. He came there, but the parties failed to meet each other, and thereafter the seamen executed assignments of their wages to the mate,

____________________
1
4 Benedict, 413; 8 Federal Cases, 592 (Case 4427), December, 1870. This case was reversed by the Circuit Court, on the ground that this court was prohibited, under the treaty with Prussia, from exercising jurisdiction. An application was made to the Supreme Court for a mandamus, to compel the Circuit Court to pass upon the merits, but was denied. Post, pp. 74 and 82.

-67-

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