It is asked, Where shall our privateers carry their prizes while our ports are blockaded?
We answer: To that neutral port which the captain shall prefer — that neutral port which may be nearest at the time of the capture — which may be reached with the least danger of re-capture — where his prize may be sold at the best price.
A neutral nation violates no neutral obligation in receiving a captured prize-ship into its port.
This is a matter which the laws of nations leave to the discretion of the neutral, and which it may regulate, like any other subject of internal police.
It is only required that it apply the same rule to both belligerents.
It is to be expected that a neutral nation not unfriendly to us will see with pleasure the arrival of prizes in its ports.
Every prize will benefit the neutral city by giving employment and paying money to its inhabitants; and by selling among them valuable stocks of merchandise at the lowest prices.
When admitted into the port, by the laws of nations the prize is under the protection of the neutral power; the possession by the captor is sufficient proof of his right, and his title cannot there be questioned.
But the captor is responsible to his own Government; and must show, in a court of his own country, that the captured vessel was the property of the enemy; and for this purpose, the papers of the prize vessel are sufficient evidence.
A district court of the Confederate States
will entertain jurisdiction of the case, and render judgment, in the absence of the prizevessel, and while it remains in safe-keeping, in the neutral port.--Mobile Register