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United States Statutes at Large/Volume 3/13th Congress/3rd Session/Chapter 31

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Feb. 4, 1815.
Chap. XXXI.—An Act to prohibit intercourse with the enemy, and for other purposes.

Custom-house officers authorized to enter on board vessels in adjoining districts, as well as their own, to seize dutiable articles.Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That it shall be lawful for any collector, naval officer, surveyor, or inspector of the customs, as well in an adjoining district, as that to which he belongs, to enter on board, search, and examine any ship, vessel, boat, or raft, and if he shall find on board the same any goods, wares, or merchandise, which he shall have probable cause to believe are subject to duty, the payment of which is intended to be evaded, or have been imported into the United States in any manner contrary to law, it shall be his duty to seize and secure the same for trial.

And to stop, in adjoining district, carriages, &c., destined to the dominions of the enemy.
Goods forfeited which are illegally brought from the possessions of the enemy.
Officers allowed to search in the day time only, for prohibited articles supposed to be concealed.
Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That it shall be lawful for any collector, naval officer, surveyor, or inspector of the customs, as well in any adjoining district, as that to which he belongs, to stop, search, and examine any carriage or vehicle of any kind whatsoever, and to stop any person travelling on foot, or beast of burden, on which he shall be suspect there are any goods, wares, or merchandise, which are subject to duty, or which shall have been introduced into the United States in any manner contrary to law; and if such officer shall find any goods, wares, or merchandise, on any such carriage, vehicle, person travelling on foot, or beasts of burden, which he shall have probable cause to believe are subject to duty, or have been unlawfully introduced into the United States, he shall seize and secure the same for trial. And if any of the said officers of the customs shall suspect that any goods, wares, or merchandise, which are subject to duty, or which shall have been introduced into the United States, contrary to law, are concealed in any particular dwelling house, store, or other building, he shall, upon proper application, on oath, to any judge or justice of the peace, be entitled to a warrant, directed to such officer, who is hereby authorized to serve the same, to enter such house, store, or other building, in the day time only, and there to search and examine whether there are any such goods, wares, or merchandise which are subject to duty, or have been unlawfully imported; and if on such search or examination, any such goods, wares, or merchandise, shall be found, which there shall be probably cause, for the officer making such search or examination, to believe are subject to duty, or have been unlawfully introduced into the United States, he shall seize and secure the same for trial.

Forfeitures and penalties for attempting to transport goods, &c., to the enemy.Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That if any citizen of citizens of the United States, or any person or persons inhabiting the same, shall transport, or attempt to transport, over land, or by water, in whatsoever way, or by whatsoever means, naval or military stores, arms, or munitions of war, cattle, live stock, any articles of provisions, cotton, tobacco, goods, money, or supplies of any kind, from any place in the United States, to any of the provinces or territory belonging to the enemy, or of which they may be in possession, such naval or military stores, arms, or munitions of war, cattle, live stock, articles of provisions, cotton, tobacco, goods, money, or other supplies, together with the carriage or wagon, cart, sleigh, vessel, boat, raft, or vehicle, of whatsoever kind, or horse, or other beast, by which they, or any of them, are transported, or attempted to be transported, shall be forfeited to the use of the United States, a sum equal in value to the said enumerated articles, or other supplies, forfeited as aforesaid, as well as of the carriage, wagon, cart, sleigh, vessel, boat, raft, or other vehicle, or beast used to transport the same; and the said citizens and persons so offending, their aiders and abettors, and also the owner or owners, of any of the said enumerated articles, or other supplies, knowing of such illegal act, and the owner or owners of the carriage, wagon, cart, sleigh, vessel, boat, raft, or other vehicle, or beast used with his, or her, or their knowledge and consent, to transport the same, shall, moreover, be considered as guilty of a misdemeanor, and be liable to be fined, in any sum not exceeding one thousand dollars, and imprisoned for a term not exceeding three years: Provided,Proviso. That nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit any transportation, for the use or account of the United States, or any of them, or the supply of their troops or armies, wheresoever they may be.

Collectors, &c., authorized to stop the transportation of goods, &c., destined for the enemy, &c.Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That every collector, naval officer, surveyor, and inspector of the customs, shall, on probable cause, have full power and authority seize, stop, search for, detain, and keep in custody, until it shall have been ascertained whether the same shall have been forfeited or not, all naval or military stores, arms, or the munitions of war, cattle, live stock, articles of provisions, cotton, tobacco, goods, money, or other supplies, transported, or attempted to be transported, contrary to the provisions of the next preceding section of this act, as well as the carriage, wagon, cart, sleigh, vessel, boat, raft, or other vehicle or vehicles, beast or beasts, used to transport the same. And if the officers authorized as aforesaid, or any of them, shall have probable cause to suspect a concealment in any particular dwelling-house, store, or building, of any naval or military stores, arms, or munitions of war, cattle, live stock, articles of provisions, cotton, tobacco, goods, money, or other supplies, with intent to be conveyed or transported, contrary to the provisions of the next preceding section of this act, they, or either of them, shall upon proper application, supported by oath or affirmation, to any judge or justice of the peace, be entitled to a warrant, directed to such officer, who is hereby authorized to serve the same, to enter such dwelling-house, store, or other building, in day time only, and there to search for such said enumerated articles or other supplies, as aforesaid; and in case any be found, to seize, detain, and keep in custody, until it shall have been ascertained whether the same have been forfeited or not; and if such unlawful intent exist,Parties engaged in these illegal proceedings may be held to bail. as aforesaid, any judge or justice, acting upon probable cause as aforesaid, is hereby authorized and required, on the owner or owners of such enumerated articles, or other supplies, being brought on due process before him, to hold him or them to security in a sufficient sum, with sufficient bail for his or their good behaviour, as a person or persons suspected, upon probably cause as aforesaid, of carrying on trade or intercourse with the enemy; the said authority to bind to good behaviour, to extend also to the persons having the custody or charge of such prohibited articles or other supplies, with knowledge of the criminal intention to transport them as aforesaid; Provided always,Proviso. That the necessity of a search warrant arising under this act, shall in no case be considered as applicable to any carriage, wagon, cart, sleigh, vessel, boat, or other vehicle, of whatever form or construction, employed as a medium of transportation, or to packages, on any animal or animals, or carried by man on food. And provided also,Proviso. That all the said enumerated articles, or other supplies which shall be seized by virtue of this act, shall be put into and remain in the custody of the collector, or such other person as he shall appoint for that purpose, until it shall have been ascertained whether the same have been forfeited or not.

Collectors may employ such number of persons as they think proper as inspectors of the customs.
Their duties under this act.
Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That ever collector of the customs shall have authority, with the approbation of the principal officer of the customs shall have authority, with the approbation of the principal officer of the Treasury Department, to employ within his district such number of proper persons, as inspectors of the customs, as he shall judge necessary, who are hereby declared to be officers of the customs; and the said inspectors, before they enter on the duties of their offices, shall take and subscribe, before the collectors appointing them, or before some magistrate within their respective districts, authorized by law to administer oaths, the following oath or affirmation, to wit: “I , having been appointed an inspector of the customs, within and for the district of, do solemnly, sincerely, and truly swear or affirm (as the case may be,) that I will diligently and faithfully execute the duties of the said office of inspector, and will use the best endeavours to prevent and detect frauds and violations against the laws of the United States; I further swear or affirm, that I will support the constitution of the United States.”

Collectors to call upon naval officers, &c., to assist them in making search, seizures, &c.
In cases of resistance may demand the aid of the posse of the district.
Sec. 6. And be it further enacted, That any collector, naval officer, surveyor, or inspector, when proceeding to make any search or seizure authorized by this act, shall be, and is hereby empowered to command any person who shall be within ten miles of the place where such search or seizure shall be made, to aid and assist such officer in the discharge and performance of his duty therein, and if any person, being so commanded, shall neglect or refuse to aid and assist such officer in making such search or seizure, the person so neglecting or refusing shall forfeit and pay a sum not exceeding two hundred dollars, and not less than fifty dollars. And such officer may also demand, in cases of resistance, the assistance of the marshal of the district, or any of his deputies, who shall call upon the posse of the district, if necessary, in his or their judgment, to render effectual the execution of this act, and all citizens of inhabitants of the district, above the age of eighteen years, and able to travel, who refuse or neglect, on proper notice from the marshal or any of his deputies, to join such posse, shall be considered guilty of a misdemeanor, and be liable to be fined in any sum not exceeding three hundred dollars, and be imprisoned for any term not exceeding three months.

Forfeitures and penalties, how to be sued for and prosecuted, and distributed.Sec. 7. And be it further enacted, That the forfeitures and penalties mentioned in this act, shall be sued for, prosecuted, and recovered, or inflicted by action of debt, or by information or indictment, in any court competent to take cognisance thereof, and try the same, and that all forfeitures and penalties so recovered by virtue of this act, shall, after deducting all proper costs and charges, be disposed of as follows: one moiety shall be for the use of the United States, and be paid into the treasury thereof, by the collector recovering the same; the other moiety shall be divided between, and paid in equal proportions to the collector and naval officer of the district, and surveyor of the port, wherein the same shall have been incurred, or to such of the said officers as there may be in the said district; and in districts where only one of the aforesaid offices shall have been established, the said moiety shall be given to such officer: Provided,Proviso. That where the seizure shall have been made by any inspector or inspectors, out of the presence of the collector, naval officer, of surveyor, such inspector or inspectors shall be entitled, in addition to such other compensation as may be allowed by them, to twenty-five per cent. on the moiety herein given to the collector, naval officer, and surveyor, as aforesaid, or to either of them: And provided also,Proviso. That in all cases where such penalties and forfeitures shall be recovered, in pursuance of information given to such collector, naval officer, or surveyor, by any private informer, the one half of such moiety shall be given to such informer, and the remainder thereof shall be disposed of between the collector, naval officer, and surveyor, in manner aforesaid, and the same allowance of twenty-five per cent. to inspectors, when the seizure is made by them as aforesaid: And provided likewise,Proviso. That whenever the value of the property seized, condemned, and sold, under this act, shall be less than two hundred and fifty dollars, that part of the forfeiture which accrues to the United States, or so much thereof as may be necessary, shall be applied to the payment of the costs of prosecution: And it is further provided,Proviso. That if any officer or other person, entitled to a part or share of any of the penalties or forfeitures incurred in virtue of this act, shall be necessary as a witness, on the trial for such penalty or forfeiture, such officer or other person may be a witness, on the trial for such penalty or forfeiture, such officer or other person may be a witness upon the said trial, but in such case, he shall not receive, or be entitled to, any part or share of the said penalty or forfeiture, and the part or share to which he otherwise would be entitled, shall revert to the United States.

Prosecutions or suits against officers for their acts under this act, or colour of it, may be removed to circuit court in certain cases.Sec. 8. And be it further enacted, That if any suit or prosecution be commenced in any state court, against any collector, naval officer, surveyor, inspector, or any other officer, civil or military, or any other person aiding or assisting, agreeable to the provisions of this act, or under colour thereof, for any thing done, or omitted to be done, as an officer of the customs, or for any thing done by virtue of this act or under colour thereof, and the defendant shall, at the time of entering his appearance in such court, file a petition for the removal of the cause for trial at the next circuit court of the United States to be holden in the district where the suit is pending, and offer good and sufficient surety for his entering in such court, on the first day of its session, copies of said process against him, and also for his there appearing at the court and entering special bail in the cause, if special bail was originally required therein, it shall then be the duty of the state court to accept the surety, and proceed no further in the cause, and the bail that shall have been originally taken, shall be discharged; and such copies being entered as aforesaid in such court of the United States, the cause shall there proceed in the same manner as if it had been brought there by original process, whatever may be the amount of the sum in dispute or damages claimed, or whatever the citizenship of the parties, any former law to the contrary notwithstanding; and any attachment of the goods or estate of the defendant, by the original process, shall hold the goods or estate so attached to answer the final judgment, in the same manner as by the laws of such state, they would have been holden to answer final judgment, had it been rendered by the court in which the suit was commenced. And it shall be lawful Proceedings on appeal or on writ of error.in any action or prosecution which may be now pending, or hereafter commenced, before any state court whatever, for any thing done, or omitted to be done, by the defendant, as an inspector or other officer of the customs, after final judgment, for either party to remove and transfer, by appeal, such decision, during the session or term of said court, at which the same shall have taken place, from such court to the next circuit court of the United States, to be held in the district in which such appeal shall be taken in manner aforesaid; and it shall be the duty of the person taking such appeal, to produce and enter in the said circuit court attested copies of the process, proceedings, and judgment in such cause; and it shall also be competent for either party within six months of the rendition of a judgment in any such cause, by writ of error or other process to remove the same to the circuit court of the United States of that district in which such judgment shall have been rendered, and the said circuit court shall thereupon proceed to try and determine the facts and the law in such action, in the same manner as if the same had been there originally commenced; the judgment in such case notwithstanding. And any bail which may have been taken, or property attached, shall be holden on the final judgment of the said circuit court in such action, in the same manner as if no such removal and transfer had been made as aforesaid; and the state court from which any such action may be removed and transferred as aforesaid, upon the party’s giving good and sufficient security for the prosecution thereof, shall allow the same to be removed and transferred, and proceed no further in the case: Provided however,Proviso. That if the party aforesaid shall fail duly to enter the removal and transfer as aforesaid in the circuit court, agreeable to this act, the state court, by which judgment shall have been rendered, and from which the transfer and removal shall have been made as aforesaid, shall be authorized, on motion for that purpose, to issue execution, and to carry into effect any such judgment, the same as if no such removal and transfer had been made: Provided nevertheless,Proviso.
Proviso.
That this act shall not be construed to apply to any prosecution for an offence involving corporal punishment. And provided also, That no such appeal shall be allowed in any criminal action or prosecution, where final judgment shall have been rendered in favour of the defendant, or respondent, by the state court; and in any action or prosecution, where final judgment shall have been rendered in favour of the defendant, or respondent, by the state court; and in any action or prosecution against any person as aforesaid, it shall lawful for such person to plead the general issue, and give this act and any special matter in evidence. And if in any such suit the plaintiff is non-suit, or judgment pass against him, the defendant shall recover double costs.

Officers not to be liable to costs upon judgments against them, in certain cases.Sec. 9. And be it further enacted, That in any suit or prosecution against any person, for any act or thing done as an officer of the customs, or any person aiding or assisting such officer therein, and judgment shall be given against the defendant or respondent, if it shall appear to the court, before which such suit or prosecution shall be tried, that there was probably cause for doing such an act or thing, such court shall order a proper certificate or entry to be made thereof, and in such case the defendant or respondent shall not be liable for costs, nor shall he be liable to execution, or to any action for damages, or to any other mode of prosecution for the act done by him as aforesaid: Provided,Proviso. That such property or articles as may be held in custody by the defendant, if any, be, after judgment, forthwith returned to the claimant or claimants, his, her, or their, agent or agents.

No citizen allowed to pass the frontier, or hold intercourse with the enemy, but with a regular passport.Sec. 10. And be it further enacted, That no citizen or person usually residing within the United States, shall be permitted to cross the frontier into any of the provinces or territory belonging to the enemy, or of which he may be possessed, without a passport first obtained from the Secretary of State, the Secretary of War, or other officer, civil or military, authorized by the President of the United States, to grant the same, or from the governor of a state or territory; nor shall any citizen, or person residing as aforesaid, of his own accord, upon any pretence whatsoever, be permitted, without such passport, to go on board of any of the ships, or vessels, or boats, of the enemy, on the lakes, along the seaboard, or elsewhere within the bays, sounds, rivers, or waters of the United States, or to hold any intercourse with such enemy, or with any officer thereof; nor shall any citizen or person residing as aforesaid, be permitted, without such passport, to visit or go to any camp of the enemy established within the limits of the United States, or elsewhere, or to hold any intercourse with the same, or with any officer belonging thereto; and whosoever shall voluntarily offend against any of the prohibitions aforesaid, mentioned in this section, shall be considered guilty of a misdemeanor, and be liable to be fined in any sum not exceeding one thousand dollars, and to imprisonment for any term not exceeding three years. And every person coming from any ofPersons coming from the enemy’s territories, &c., to report themselves forthwith. the enemy’s provinces or territory, into the United States, shall report himself forthwith, or as soon as practicable thereafter, to the military commander, or to the collector, or other chief officer of the customs, where there may be no collector, of the district within which he may first arrive; upon pain, wherever the same is omitted, of being liable to the same prosecution and punishment, as is above provided in cases of unlawful intercourse with the enemy, without the authority of a passport.

Persons hovering near the frontier without a passport, and under other suspicious circumstances, to be held to security, &c.Sec. 11. And be it further enacted, That any person or persons found hovering upon the frontier, near any of the provinces or territory belonging to the enemy, or of which he may be possessed, or travelling towards and near the same, at a distance from his or their usual place of abode or residence, and without any lawful business requiring his or their attendance there, and without a passport, shall be liable to be held to security for his or their good behaviour, in the manner pointed out in the fourth section of this act, as a person or persons suspected, upon probable cause, of being engaged in unlawful trade or intercourse with the enemy: Provided always, That nothing contained in any part of this act shall be construed to alter, in any respect, the law of treason.

President authorized to employ the land or naval force, for co-operating with officers of the customs in certain cases.Sec. 12. And be it further enacted, That it shall be lawful for the President of the United States, or such other person as he shall have empowered for that purpose, to employ, under proper instructions to be by him given, in cases of resistance, such part of the land and naval forces of the United States, or of the militia thereof, as shall be judged necessary, for the purpose of aiding and co-operating with the officers of the customs, and all other civil magistrates, in seizing and securing persons engaged, or suspected, upon probable cause as aforesaid, to be engaged, in unlawful trade or intercourse with the enemy as aforesaid, together with the articles or supplies, or vessels, boats, vehicles, or animals, employed as aforesaid, in such trade or intercourse, and searching for and seizing any property subject to duty, or which has been unlawfully imported.

Duration of this act.
Proviso.
Sec. 13. And be it further enacted, That this act shall continue in force during the continuance of the present war between the United States and Great Britain, and no longer: Provided, That the termination of said war shall not be construed to stop or annul any proceedings that may theretofore have been commenced, or concluded, or in any way destroy or impair any rights or privileges accruing under, secured, or given, by virtue of this act, but as applicable to any transaction prior thereto, the same proceedings shall and may be had, as though this act were in full force.

Approved, February 4, 1815.