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CIRCUIT AND DISTRICT COURTS OF THE UNITED STATES FOR
THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
DURING THE PERIODS OF THESE REPORTS.
SAMUEL R. BETTS, District Judge of the United States for the Southern District of New York.
The compilation of the cases contained in this volume was undertaken at the request of the Department of State of the United States. The cases reported are all the prize suits decided in the circuit and district courts of the United States for the southern district of New York during the rebellion, with, perhaps, the exception of a very few cases in which decrees were entered without any opinion or memorandum of decision having been filed by the court.
For the information of those who are not acquainted with the constitution of the courts of the United States, it may be well to say that the district court is held by the district judge, and that the circuit court is, as a general rule, held by the justic eof the Supreme Court of the United States, who is assigned to the circuit embracing the court, and the district judge of the district, sitting jointly, or by either of them, sitting alone. But it is provided by law that, in all cases which are removed by appeal or writ of error from a district to a circuit court, judgment shall be rendered in conformity to the opinion of the judge of the Supreme Court presiding in the circuit court. Practically, therefore, the justice of the Supreme Court always sits alone in hearing cases removed by appeal or writ of error from the district to the circuit court. Down to the 3d of March, 1863, appeals from decrees made by the district court in prize cases were taken to the circuit court in like manner as appeals to the circuit court from decrees made by the district court in other cases. But by the seventh section of the act of Congress approved March 3, 1863, entitled "An act further to regulate proceedings in prize cases, and to amend various acts of Congress in relation thereto," (12 U. S. Stats. at Large, 760,) it was provided that appeals from the district courts of the United States in prize causes should be directly to the Supreme Court. This provision was re-enacted by the thirteenth section of the act of Congress approved June 30, 1864, entitled "An act to regulate prize proceedings and the distribution of prize money, and for other purposes,” (13 U. S. Stats. at Large, 310,) and is still in force. Therefore, after the 3d of March, 1863, no appeals in prize cases were taken from the district court to the circuit court.