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HUDSON V. GUESTIER, 8 U. S. 293 (1808)

U.S. Supreme Court

Hudson v. Guestier, 8 U.S. 4 Cranch 293 293 (1808)

Hudson v. Guestier

8 U.S. (4 Cranch) 293


If a vessel seized by a French privateer within the territorial jurisdiction of the government of St. Domingo for breach of the French municipal law prohibiting all intercourse with certain ports in that island be carried by the captors directly to a Spanish port in the Island of Cuba, she may, while lying there, be lawfully proceeded against and condemned by a French tribunal sitting at Guadaloupe.

The possession of the sovereign of the captors gives jurisdiction to his Courts. The possession of the captors in a neutral port is the possession of their sovereign. If the possession be lost by recapture, escape, or voluntary discharge, the courts of the captor lose the jurisdiction which they had acquired by the seizure.

The trial of a municipal seizure must be regulated exclusively by municipal law. No foreign court can question the correctness of what is done unless the court passing the sentence loses its jurisdiction by some circumstance which the law of nations can notice.

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