United States v. Lap Ene

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Court Documents

United States Supreme Court

84 U.S. 601

United States  v.  Lap Ene

APPEAL from the Court of Claims; the case being thus:

'On the 20th of February, 1862, while the whole State of Louisiana, including the city of New Orleans, was in the possession and under the control of the rebels, Lap ene & Ferr e, a mercantile firm in the said city, sent their travelling clerk from the said city of New Orleans into certain parishes in the interior of the State, to collect moneys due to the firm there, and gave him authority to purchase sugar and cotton for the firm.

'In March or April, 1862, they requested one Avegno, who was then going from New Orleans to the said parishes, to remit to their said clerk the sum of $5000, and to assist the said clerk in the business of buying sugar and cotton. Avegno agreed to do this; and, in pursuance of his agreement, did deliver the said sum to the said clerk, in the said interior parishes, then in the possession and under the control of the rebels.

'While the said clerk and the said Avegno were in the said parishes, on the 27th day of April, 1862, the city of New Orleans was captured by the United States forces, and thenceforth through the whole term of the rebellion was held by those forces.

'After the said capture, the said clerk with the said sum of $5000 and other moneys collected by him in the said parishes, which parishes were, when the purchases were made, in the possession and under the control of the rebels, bought in different lots a quantity of cotton, and left it at the places where it was purchased.

'He returned from those parishes to New Orleans on the 14th of July, 1862. There was no evidence of any communication having been had between him and Lap ene & Ferr e, in relation to the said purchases of cotton, between the capture of New Orleans and his own return to that city, except the aforesaid delivery to him by Avegno of the said $5000.

'The cotton so purchased remained at the points at which it was purchased until April and May, 1863, when it was captured by military forces of the United States and shipped to and received by the Federal authorities at New Orleans.'

Hereupon Lap ene & Ferr e filed a petition in the Court of Claims, claiming the cotton or the proceeds of it as their property; and the Court of Claims decreed that it belonged to them. From this decree the United States took the present appeal.

Mr. S. F. Phillips, Solicitor-General, for the appellant, relied on Griswold v. Waddington, 1 and Montgomery v. United States. [3]

Mr. W. P. Clarke, contra, sought to distinguish the case from the cases mentioned, and relied on United States v. Anderson. [4]

Mr. Justice HUNT delivered the opinion of the court.


^3  15 Id. 395.

^4  9 Id. 56.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).