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Baltimore Privateer, pirate, prize law, 1818, Latin American revolutions, Spanish consul, prize law, neutrality, South American revolutions, duty of neutral, outfitting


The Consul General of Portugal filed a libel in the District Court of Maryland, alleging silver and gold coin had been taken out of the Portuguese ship, Gran Para, and the specie subsequently deposited in the Marine Bank of Baltimore. In 1818, The Gran Para was sailing to Lisbon from Rio de Janeiro when the privateer, La Irresistible, captained by John Daniel Danels, took her cargo as prize. The lower courts entered decrees in favor of the Consul of Portugal, restoring property to the original owners. The Supreme Court affirmed the lower court decrees, finding it very clear that La Irresistible was armed and manned in Baltimore, in violation of the laws and of the neutral obligations of the United States. Chief Justice Marshall delivered the opinion of the court. The Court found La Irresistible was not commissioned as a privateer, nor did she attempt to act as one; the size of the crew and the lack of a cargo evidenced the ship’s intent to sail against a nation with whom the United States was at peace.


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