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[345] of the Provost Court, affirmed its decision, and ordered judgment of divorce, dissolving the bonds of matrimony, and dividing the property of the marriage, and awarding the custody and support of the children. De Barr vs. De Barr.

A Mr. Emerson during the rule of the Confederate authorities, held a mortgage on the property of one Guilloutet. He proceeded to foreclose it, and had obtained an order for the sale of the property. He directed the Sheriff to receive in payment of his mortgage only gold and silver. Guilloutet wished to pay it in Confederate notes. These Emerson refused to receive. Shortly afterwards Emerson was arrested by order of a Confederate Provost-Marshal and carried before him and questioned as to his refusal to receive Confederate notes in payment. He said that he had refused, and further said that as to debts like the mortgage arising out of contracts made prior to the Confederate rule, when the currency was specie or its equivalent, and on which he had paid or loaned specie, he should insist on payment in specie, and should decline to receive Confederate notes. The Provost-Marshal ordered him committed to the parish prison, telling him that he would discharge him whenever he would consent to receive Confederate notes in payment of all sums due him. Being an old man and infirm, he could not remain there without great danger to his life, and he soon yielded to the entreaties of his wife and friends, and gave a written promise to the Provost-Marshal that he would receive those notes in payment of all sums due him, and was discharged. Shortly afterwards the mortgage was paid off by Guilloutet in Confederate notes, and was cancelled off record.

Soon after the Provisional Court was opened, Emerson brought a suit to have the cancellation of the mortgage rescinded and the mortgage restored to its condition as a lien on the premises, and offered to return the Confederate notes to Guilloutet. Since the cancellation of the mortgage, Gilloutet had procured from another person, named Samony, having no knowledge of the manner in which the cancellation of Emerson's mortgage had been effected, another loan, and had given another mortgage on the same property. The holder of this mortgage was also made defendant in Emerson's suit, and the lien of his mortgage was also sought to be cut off or postponed to that of Emerson.

The Court ordered the cancellation to be vacated, and Emerson's mortgage to be restored as a lien on the property, but declined to vacate or postpone the lien of the subsequent mortgage, and excepted that from the operation of Emerson's lien, and established it as prior to that of Emerson's mortgage.

It is not a little remarkable that while things of this kind were of frequent occurrence during the rule of the Confederacy, there is no law of the Confederate States, or of any State of the Confederacy, making these Confederate notes legal tender, or obliging any one to accept them in payment, and the whole matter of urging this currency, so universal throughout the Confederacy, and of which instances were so frequent, and the modes often so fatally violent, was without the warrant or pretence of any warrant of law whatever.

The Court held that its powers to hear and determine finally all cases, embraced not only cases originating therein, but also those commenced and pending in other courts in the State, whose functions were suspended by the Rebellion, and not only those pending in courts of original jurisdiction, when they had been commenced in the State courts and the Federal courts, but also those pending in appellate courts of the State and of the United States within the boundaries of that State, and accordingly cases pending in the Supreme Court of the State, the appellate court of last resort, on appeal from the courts of the several parishes, and those pending in the Circuit courts of the United States on appeal from the District courts of the Eastern and Western districts of Louisiana, were considered as coming within the powers of this court to hear and decide, and some of them were transferred to it by order of this court, and were then heard and determined. Causes pending in other courts were transferred to this court only where the functions of the court in which they were pending were in suspense and they could not be prosecuted to a conclusion there. Where the courts in which they were pending were then in operation and justice could be had there, this court always declined to interfere. Among the cases in which the action of the court was early invoked, were many of a public character on behalf of the government by its officers. Of these some of the most attractive were those of maritime prize, and those arising under the Confiscation acts of 1862. Numbers of these were presented for consideration at an early day. The Court immediately decided that it had not jurisdiction in cases of prize, holding that, although such questions were embraced in the general terms of the order constituting the court, still that in the very nature of the court, deriving its powers, not from the Constitution or laws of the United States, but from the Chief Executive officer and military head of that government, exercising powers conferred on him as such officer by the law of nations, and constituted for and holding its sessions in territory held in military occupation by the forces of the United States, and over which his powers of government were derived from the conquest and military occupation of it, and from the necessities arising from that condition of things, it had not jurisdiction for such purposes, and it declined to entertain them.

Suits in considerable number were also brought on behalf of the United States to enforce the laws of 1862 for the confiscation of the property of those who had taken active part in the rebellion.

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