The Palmyra Depau
APPEAL from the Circuit Court of South Carolina.
This was the case of an armed vessel called the Palmyra, taken under Spanish colours by the United States' schooner Grampus, (commanded by Lieutenant Gregory, and cruising, with instructions from the President, against pirates,) and brought into the port of Charleston, S.C.. for adjudication. A libel was filed by the captors, and a claim interposed by Mr. Depau, as agent of the alleged owners of the Palmyra, Spanish merchants domiciled at Porto Rico, and of the captain, offices, and crew. In the District Court the libel was dismissed, without costs and damages against the captors. The decree of restitution was affirmed in the Circuit Court, with costs and damages, and the cause was brought by appeal to this Court.
It was suggested by the Attorney General, (with whom was Mr. Hayne,) for the appellants, that after the decree of restitution, and for damages, in the Circuit Court, there had been a reference to commissioners to ascertain the amount of damages, and before the report of the commissioners had been acted upon by that Court, the appeal was taken. The question was, whether the appeal was not taken too early, the Judiciary Act of March 3, 1803, c. 353. [xciii.] having confined the right of appeal to 'final decrees.' [a]
Mr. Tazewell, contra, stated, that in the District Court there was a decree of restitution and a denial of damages. Both parties appealed from that decree, the libellants being dissatisfied with the decree of restitution, and the claimants with the denial of damages. These were, then, cross-appeals, and consequently there might be an appeal from the decision of the Circuit Court decreeing restitution, and affirming, in this respect, the decree of the District Court, although the decree of the Circuit Court, reversing that of the District Court as to damages, and awarding the latter to the claimants, was as yet undetermined. Feb. 20th.
Mr. Chief Justice MARSHALL delivered the opinion of the Court.
^a Ray v. Law, 3 Cranch, 179.