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Opinion of the Court.
one of the seamen for having made use of the boat without leave." This was clearly because the things done were not such as to disturb "the peace or tranquillity of the port." Wheaton's Elements Int. Law, 3d ed. 154. The case of The Sally was simply a quarrel between certain of the crew while constructively on board the vessel, and that of The Newton grew out of a punishment inflicted by an officer on one of the crew for disobedience of orders. Both were evidently of a character to affect only the police of the vessel, and thus within the authority expressly granted to the consul by the treaty.
No other treaty or convention bearing on this subject, to which our attention has been called, was entered into by the United States until a treaty with Sweden and Norway, on the 4th of September, 1816, 8 Stat. 232, where it was agreed, by Art. 5, that: "The consuls and their deputies shall have the right, as such, to act as judges and arbitrators in the differences which may arise between the captains and crews of the vessels of the nation whose affairs are intrusted to their care. The respective governments shall have no right to interfere in matters of this kind, except the conduct of the captain or crew shall disturb the peace and tranquillity of the country in which the vessel may be, or the consul of the place shall feel himself obliged to resort to the interposition and support of the executive authority to cause his decision to be respected and maintained. It being, nevertheless, understood that this kind of judgment or award shall not deprive the contending parties of the right which they have, on their return, to recur to the judicial authorities of their own country."
Substantially the same provision is found in treaties or conventions concluded with Prussia in 1828, Art X, 8 Stat. 382; with Russia in 1832, Art. VIII, id. 448;' with Greece in 1837, Art. XII, id. 504; with Hanover in 1840, Art. VI, id. 556; with Portugal also in 1840, Art. X, id. 564; with the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin in 1847, Art. IX, 9 Stat. 916; with Oldenburg in 1847, id. 868; with Austria in 1848, Art. IV, id. 946; with the Hanseatic Republics in 1852, Art. I, 10 Stat. 961; with the Two Sicilies in 1855, Art. XIX, 11 Stat.
Opinion of the Court.
650; with Denmark in 1861, Art. I, 13 Stat. 605; and with the Dominican Republic in 1867, Art. XXVI, 15 Stat. 487.
In a convention with New Grenada concluded in 1850 the provision was this:
"They [the consuls, &c.] may cause proper order to be maintained on board of vessels of their nation, and may decide on the disputes arising between the captains, the officers, and the members of the crew, unless the disorders taking place on board should disturb the public tranquillity, or persons not belonging to the crew or to the nation in whose service the consul is employed; in which case the local authorities may interfere." Art. III, clause 8, 10 Stat. 903.
Following this was a convention with France, concluded in 1853, 10 Stat. 996, Art VIII of which is as follows:
"The respective consuls-general, consuls, vice-consuls, or consular agents, shall have exclusive charge of the internal order of the merchant vessels of their nation, and shall alone take cognizance of differences which may arise, either at sea or in port, between the captain, officers, and crew, without exception, particularly in reference to the adjustment of wages and the execution of contracts. The local authorities shall not, on any pretext, interfere in these differences, but shall lend forcible aid to the consuls, when they may ask it, to arrest and imprison all persons composing the crew whom they may deem it necessary to confine. Those persons shall be arrested at the sole request of the consuls, addressed in writing to the local authority, and supported by an official extract from the register of the ship or the list of the crew, and shall be held, during the whole time of their stay in the port, at the disposal of the consuls. Their release shall be granted at the mere request of the consuls made in writing. The expenses of the arrest and detention of those persons shall be paid by the consuls."
The same provision in substantially the same language was embraced in a convention with Italy in 1868, Art. XI, 15 Stat. 609; and in another with Belgium, also in 1868, Art. XI, 16 Stat. 761. This convention with Belgium continued in force until superseded by that of 1880-81, under which the present controversy arose.
Opinion of the Court.
The form of the provision found in the present convention with Belgium first appeared in a convention with Austria concluded in 1870, Art. XI, 17 Stat. 827, and it is found now in substantially the same language in all the treaties and conventions which have since been entered into by the United States on the same subject. See the conventions with the German Empire in 1871, Art. XIII, 17 Stat. 927; with the Netherlands in 1878, Art. XI, 21 Stat. 668; with Italy in 1881, Art. I, 22 Stat. 832; with Belgium in 1881, as stated above; and with Roumania the same year, Art. XI, 23 Stat. 714.
It thus appears that at first provision was made only for giving consuls police authority over the interior of the ship and jurisdiction in civil matters arising out of disputes or differences on board, that is to say, between those belonging to the vessel. Under this police authority the duties of the consuls were evidently confined to the maintenance of order and discipline on board. This gave them no power to punish for crimes against the peace of the country. In fact, they were expressly prohibited from interfering with the local police in matters of that kind. The cases of The Sally and The Newton are illustrative of this position. That of The Sally related to the discipline of the ship, and that of The Newton to the maintenance of order on board. In neither case was the disturbance of a character to affect the peace or the dignity of the country.
In the next conventions consuls were simply made judges and arbitrators to settle and adjust differences between those on board. This clearly related to such differences between those belonging to the vessel as are capable of adjustment and settlement by judicial decision or by arbitration, for it simply made the consuls judges or arbitrators in such matters. That would of itself exclude all idea of punishment for crimes against the State which affected the peace and tranquillity of the port; but, to prevent all doubt on this subject, it was expressly provided that it should not apply to differences of that character.
Next came a form of convention which in terms gave the consuls authority to cause proper order to be maintained on
Opinion of the Court.
board and to decide disputes between the officers and crew, but allowed the local authorities to interfere if the disorders taking place on board were of such a nature as to disturb the public tranquillity, and that is substantially all there is in the convention with Belgium which we have now to consider. This treaty is the law which now governs the conduct of the United States and Belgium towards each other in this particular. Each nation has granted to the other such local jurisdiction within its own dominion as may be necessary to maintain order on board a merchant vessel, but has reserved to itself the right to interfere if the disorder on board is of a nature to disturb the public tranquillity.
The treaty is part of the supreme law of the United States, and has the same force and effect in New Jersey that it is entitled to elsewhere. If it gives the consul of Belgium exclusive jurisdiction over the offence which it is alleged has been committed within the territory of New Jersey, we see no reason why he may not enforce his rights under the treaty by writ of habeas corpus in any proper court of the United States. This being the case, the only important question left for our determination is whether the thing which has been done the disorder that has arisen on board this vessel is of a nature to disturb the public peace, or, as some writers term it, the "public repose" of the people who look to the state of New Jersey for their protection. If the thing done -"the disorder," as it is called in the treaty-is of a character to affect those on shore or in the port when it becomes known, the fact that only those on the ship saw it when it was done is a matter of no moment. Those who are not on the vessel pay no special attention to the mere disputes or quarrels of the seamen while on board, whether they occur under deck or above. Neither do they as a rule care for anything done on board which relates only to the discipline of the ship, or to the preservation of order and authority. Not so, however, with crimes which from their gravity awaken a public interest as soon as they become known, and especially those of a character which every civilized nation considers itself bound to provide a severe punishment for when com
Opinion of the Court.
mitted within its own jurisdiction. In such cases inquiry is certain to be instituted at once to ascertain how or why the thing was done, and the popular excitement rises or falls as the news spreads and the facts become known. It is not alone the publicity of the act, or the noise and clamor which attends it, that fixes the nature of the crime, but the act itself. If that is of a character to awaken public interest when it becomes known, it is a "disorder" the nature of which is to affect the community at large, and consequently to invoke the power of the local government whose people have been disturbed by what was done. The very nature of such an act is to disturb the quiet of a peaceful community, and to create, in the language of the treaty, a "disorder" which will "disturb tranquillity and public order on shore or in the port." The principle which governs the whole matter is this: Disorders which disturb only the peace of the ship or those on board are to be dealt with exclusively by the sovereignty of the home of the ship, but those which disturb the public peace may be suppressed, and, if need be, the offenders punished by the proper authorities of the local jurisdiction. It may not be easy at all times to determine to which of the two jurisdictions a particular act of disorder belongs. Much will undoubtedly depend on the attending circumstances of the particular case, but all must concede that felonious homicide is a subject for the local jurisdiction, and that if the proper authorities are proceeding with the case in a regular way, the consul has no right to interfere to prevent it. That, according to the petition for the habeas corpus, is this case.
This is fully in accord with the practice in France, where the government has been quite as liberal towards foreign nations in this particular as any other, and where, as we have seen in the cases of The Sally and The Newton, by a decree of the Council of State, representing the political department of the government, the French courts were prevented from exercising jurisdiction. But afterwards, in 1859, in the case of Jally, the mate of an American merchantman, who had killed one of the crew and severely wounded another on board the ship in the port of Havre, the Court of Cassation, the highest judicial