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officers, the supercargo, purser, or agent of the prize, and any person found on board whom he may suppose to be interested in or to have knowledge respecting the title, national character, or destination of the prize. He shall send the prize, with the documents, papers, and witnesses, under charge of a competent prize-master and prize crew, into port for adjudication, explaining the absence of any usual witnesses; and in the absence of instructions from superior authority as to the port to which it shall be sent, he shall select such port as he shall deem most convenient in view of the interests of probable claimants, as well as of the captors. If the captured vessel or any part of the captured property is not in condition to be sent in for adjudication, a survey shall be had thereon and an appraisement made by persons as competent and impartial as can be obtained, and their reports shall be sent to the court in which proceedings are to be had; and such property, unless appropriated for the use of the government, shall be sold by the authority of the commanding officer present, and the proceeds deposited with the assistant treasurer of the United States most accessible to said court, and subject to its order in the
Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That if any vessel of the United States shall claim to share in the prize, either as having made the capture, or as having been within signal distance of the vessel or vessels making the capture, the commanding officer of such vessel shall make out a written statement of his claim, with the grounds on which it is rested, the principal facts tending to show what vessels made the capture, and what vessels were within signal distance of those making the capture, with reasonable particularity as to times, distances, localities, and signals made, seen, or answered; and such statement of claim shall be signed by him and sent to the court in which proceedings shall be had, and shall be filed in the cause.
Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the prize-master to make his way diligently to the selected port, and there immediately deliver to a prize commissioner the documents and papers and the inventory thereof, and make affidavit that they are the same and in the same condition as delivered to him, or explaining any absence or change of condition therein, and that the prize property is in the same condition as delivered to him, or explaining any loss or damage thereto; and he shall further report to the district attorney, and give to him all the information in his possession respecting the prize and her capture; and he shall deliver over the persons
sent as witnesses to the custody of the marshal, and shall retain the prize in his custody until it shall be taken therefrom by process from the prize court.
Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That the attorney of the United States for the district shall immediately file a libel against such prize property, and shall forthwith obtain a warrant from the court directing the marshal to take it into his custody, and shall proceed diligently to obtain a condemnation and distribution thereof, and to that end shall see that the proper preparatory evidence is taken by the prize commissioners, and that the prize commissioners also take the depositions de bene esse of the prize crew and other transient persons cognizant of any facts bearing on condemnation or distribution. It shall also be the duty of the district attorney to represent the interests of the United States in all prize causes, and he shall not act as separate counsel for the captors on any private retainer or compensation from them, unless in a question between the claimants and the captors on a demand for damages. The district attorney shall examine all fees, costs, and expenses, sought to be charged on the prize fund, and protect the interests of the captors and of the United States. The district attorneys of all districts in which any prize causes are or may be pending shall, as often as once in three months, send to the Secretary of the Navy a statement of the condition of all prize causes pending in their districts, in such form and embracing such particulars as the Secretary of the Navy shall require.
Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That any district court may appoint prize commissioners, not exceeding three in number, of whom one shall be a retired naval officer, approved by the Secretary of the Navy, who shall receive no other compensation than his pay in the navy, and who shall protect the interests of the captors and of the Department of the Navy in the prize property, and at least one of the others shall be a member of the bar of the court, of not less than three years' standing, and acquainted with the taking of depositions.
Sec. 6. And be it further enacted, That the prize commissioners, or one of them, shall receive from the prize-master the documents and papers and inventory thereof, and shall take the affidavit of the prizemaster hereinbefore required, and shall forth with take the testimony of the witnesses sent in, separate from each other, on interrogatories prescribed by the court, in the manner usual in prize courts; and the witnesses shall not be permitted to see the interrogatories, documents, or papers, or to consult with counsel or with any persons interested,
without special authority from the court; and the witnesses who have the rights of neutrals shall be discharged as soon as practicable. The prize commissioners shall also take depositions de bene esse of the prize crew and others, at the request of the district attorney, on interrogatories prescribed by the court. They shall also, as soon as any prize property comes within the district for adjudication, examine the same, and make an inventory thereof, founded on an actual examination, and report to the court whether any part of it is in a condition requiring immediate sale for the interests of all parties, and notify the district attorney thereof; and if it be necessary to the examination or making of the inventory that the cargo be unladen, they shall apply to the court for an order to the marshal to unlade the same, and shall, from time to time, report to the court anything relating to the condition of the property or its custody or disposal which may require any action by the court, but the custody of the property shall be only in the marshal. They shall also seasonably return into court, sealed and secured from inspection, the documents and papers which shall come to their hands, duly scheduled and numbered, and the other preparatory evidence, and the evidence taken de bene esse, and their own inventory of the prize property ; and if the captured vessel or any of its cargo or stores are such that, in their judgment, may be useful to the government in war, they shall report the same to the Secretary of the Navy.
Sec. 7. And be it further enacted, That the marshal shall safely keep all prize property under warrant from the court, and shall report to the court any cargo or other property that he thinks requires to be unladen and stored, or to be sold. He shall insure prize property if, in his judgment, it is for the interest of all concerned. He shall keep in his custody all persons found on board a prize and sent in as witnesses, until they are released by the prize commissioners or the court. If a sale of property is ordered, he shall sell the same in the manner required by the court, and collect the purchase money, and forth with deposit the gross proceeds of the sales with the assistant treasurer of the United States nearest the place of sale, subject to the order of the court in the particular cause; and each marshal shall forward to the Secretary of the Navy, whenever and as often as he may require it, a full statement of the condition of each prize and of the disposition made thereof.
SEC. 8. And be it further enacted, That whenever any prize property shall be condemned, or shall at any stage of the proceedings be
found by the court to be perishing, perishable, or liable to deteriorate or depreciate, or whenever the cost of keeping the same shall be disproportionate to its value, it shall be the duty of the court to order a sale thereof; and whenever, after the return day on the libel, all the parties in interest who have appeared in the cause shall agree thereto, the court is authorized to make such order, and no appeal shall operate to prevent the making or execution of such order. The Secretary of the Navy shall employ an auctioneer or auctioneers of known skill in the branch of business to which any sale pertains, to make the sale, but the sale shall be conducted under the supervision of the marshal, and the collecting and depositing of the gross proceeds shall be by the auctioneer or his agent. Before any sale the marshal shall cause full catalogues and schedules to be prepared and circulated, and a copy of each shall be returned by the marshal to the court in each cause. The marshal shall cause all sales to be advertised fully and conspicuously in newspapers ordered by the court, and by posters, and he shall, at least five days before the sale, serve notice thereof upon the naval prize commission, and the goods shall be open to inspection at least three days before the sale.
Sec. 9. And be it further enacted, That in case a decree of condemnation shall be rendered, the court shall consider the claims of all vessels to participate in the proceeds, and, for that purpose, shall, at as early a stage of the cause as possible, order testimony to be taken tending to show what part should be awarded to the captors, and what vessels are entitled to share, and such testimony may be sworn to before any judge or commissioner of the courts of the United States, consul or commercial agent of the United States, or notary public, or any officer of the navy highest in rank, reasonably accessible to the deponent. The court shall make a decree of distribution, determining what vessels are entitled to share in the prize, and whether the prize was of superior, equal, or inferior force to the vessel or vessels making the capture. And said decree shall recite the amount of the gross proceeds of the prize subject to the order of the court, and the amount deducted therefrom for costs and expenses, and the amount remaining for distribution, and whether the whole of such residue is to go to the captors, or one half to the captors, and one half to the United States.
Sec. 10. And be it further enacted, That the net proceeds of all property condemned as prize shall, when the prize was of superior or equal force to the vessel or vessels making the capture, be decreed
to the captors; and when of inferior force, one half shall be decreed to the United States and the other half to the captors: Provided, That, in case of privateers and letters of marque, the whole shall be decreed to the captors, unless it shall be otherwise provided in the commissions issued to such vessels. All vessels of the navy within signal distance of the vessel or vessels making the capture, under such circumstances and in such condition as to be able to render effective aid if required, shall share in the prize ; and in case of vessels not of the navy, none shall be entitled to share except the vessel or vessels making the capture, in which term shall be included vessels present at the capture and rendering actual assistance in the capture. All prize money adjudged to the captors shall be distributed in the following proportions, namely:
First. To the commanding officer of a fleet or squadron, one twentieth part of all prize money awarded to any vessel or vessels under his immediate command.
Second. To the commanding officer of a division of a fleet or squadron, on duty under the orders of the commander-in-chief of such fleet or squadron, a sum equal to one fiftieth part of any prize money awarded to a vessel of such division for a capture made while under his command, the said fiftieth part to be deducted from the moiety due to the United States, if there be such moiety, otherwise from the amount awarded to the captors: Provided, That such fiftieth part shall not be in addition to any share which may be due to the commander of the division, and which he may elect to receive, as commander of a single ship making or assisting in the capture.
Third. To the fleet captain, one hundredth part of all prize money awarded to any vessel or vessels of the fleet or squadron in which he is serving, except in a case where the capture is made by the vessel on board of which he is serving at the time of such capture ; and in such case he shall share, in proportion to his pay, with the officers and men on board such vessel, as is hereinafter provided.
Fourth. To the commander of a single ship, one tenth part of all the prize money awarded to the ship under his command, if such ship at the time of the capture was under the command of the commanding officer of a fleet or squadron, or a division, and three twentieths if his ship was acting independently of such superior officer.
Fifth. After the foregoing deductions, the residue shall be distributed and proportioned among all others doing duty on board (including the fleet captain), and borne upon the books of the ship, in proportion to their respective rates of pay in the service.