The Grapeshot (76 U.S. 129)
THIS case, which in its original form, was a libel in the District Court of Louisiana, on a bottomry bond, and, as such, involved nothing but the correct presentation of the principles of maritime law relating to that matter, and the examination of a good deal of contradictory evidence, to see how far the particular case came within them, presented subsequently, and in consequence of the rebellion and the occupation by our army of the mere city of New Orleans, while the region surrounding it generally was still held by the Confederate powers and troops, a great question of constitutional law, the question namely, how far, with that clause of the Constitution in force which declares that—
'The judicial power of the United States shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish,'--
the President could establish a Provisional Court, and how far Congress, on the suppression of the rebellion, could, by its enactment, validate the doings of such a court, transfer its judgments, and make them judgments of the now re-established former and proper Federal courts, from one of which, the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Louisiana, the cause purported to be brought here.
The case-which in this court consisted accordingly of three parts-to wit:
1. The matter of jurisdiction,
2. That of the principles of maritime law in regard to bottomry bonds,3. The one of their application to the particular case, on the evidence, is all stated in the opinion of the court, not all consecutively in the opening of it, but all completely enough and with distinctness from the opinion itself, in three different parts, as the three respective topics arise to be treated of.
Mr. C. Cushing, for the owners of the ship, appellants; Mr. T. J. Durant, contra.
The CHIEF JUSTICE delivered the opinion of the court.
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