Acts passed by the Confederate Congress.
We continue the publication of important acts which have been passed into laws, and the secrecy removed therefrom:
An act Regulating the sale of prizes and the Distribution thereof:
- Sec. 1.
The Congress of the Confederate States of America do enact, That all prizes of vessels and property captured by private armed ships, in pursuance of the act passed by Congress recognizing the existence of war between the United States and the Confederate States, and concerning letters of marque, prizes and prize goods which may be condemned in any Court of the Confederate States, shall be sold at public auction by the Marshal of the district in which the same shall be condemned, within sixty days after the condemnation thereof, sufficient notice of the time and place and condition of sale being first given, on such day or days, on such terms of credit and in such lots or proportions, as may be designated by the owner or owners or the agent of the owner or owners of the privateer which may have captured the same: Provided, That the term of such credit shall not exceed ninety days; and the said Marshal is hereby directed to take and receive from the purchaser or purchasers of such prize vessel and property the money therefore, or his, her or their promissory notes, with endorsers, to be approved by the owner or owners of the privateer, to the amount of the purchase, payable according to the terms thereof.
- Sec. 2. That upon all duties, costs and charges, being paid according to law, the said Marshal shall, on demand, deliver and pay over to the owner or owners of the privateer, or to the agent of such owner or owners of the privateer which may have captured such prize vessel and property, a just and equal proportion of the funds received on account of the sale thereof, and of the promissory notes directed to be taken as aforesaid, to which the said owner or owners may be entitled, according to the articles of agreement between the said owner or owners, and the officers and crew of the said privateer; and a just and equal proportion of the proceeds of the sale as aforesaid shall, on demand, be also paid over by the said Marshal to the officers and crew of the said privateer, or to their agent or agents.
And if there be no written agreement, it shall be the duty of the Marshal to pay over, in manner aforesaid, one moiety of the proceeds of the sale of such prize vessel and property, to the owner or owners of the privateer which may have captured the same, and the other moiety of the said proceeds to the agent or agents of the officers and crew of the said privateer, to be distributed according to law, or to any agreement by them made; Provided, the said officers and crew, or their agent or agents, shall have first refunded to the owner or owners, or to the agent of the owner or owners of the privateer aforesaid, the full amount of advances which shall have been made by the owner or owners of the privateer to the officers and crew thereof.
- Sec. 3. That for the selling of prize property, and receiving and paying over the proceeds as aforesaid, the Marshal shall be entitled to a commission of one per cent., and no more, first deducting all duties, costs and charges, which may have accrued on said property: Provided, on no case of condemnation and sale of any one prize vessel and cargo shall the commissions of the Marshal exceed two hundred and fifty dollars.
- Sec. 4.
That it shall be the duty of the Marshal, within fifteen days after any sale of prize property, to file in the office of the clerk of the District Court of the District wherein such sale may be made, a just and true account of the sales of such prize property, and of all dues and charges thereof, together with a statement thereto annexed of the promissory notes taken on account thereof, which account shall be verified by the oath of the said Marshall, and if the said Marshal shall willfully neglect or refuse to file such account, he shall forfeit and pay the sum of five hundred dollars for each omission or refusal as aforesaid, to be recovered in an action of debt by any person interested in such sale, and suing for the said penalty, on account of the party or parties interested in the prize vessel or property sold as aforesaid, in any Court having cognizance thereof.
- Sec. 5. That the owner or owners of any private armed vessel or vessels, or their agent or agents, may, at any time before a libel shall be filed against any captured vessel or her cargo, remove the same from any port into which such prize vessel or property may be first brought to any other port in the Confederate States, to be designated at the time of the removal as aforesaid, subject to the same restrictions, and complying with the same regulations with respect to the payment of duties, which are provided by law in relation to other vessels arriving in port with cargoes subject to the payment of duties: Provided, That before such removal, the said captured property shall not have been attached at the suit of any adverse claimant, or a claim against the same have been interposed in behalf of the Confederate States.
An act Relating to telegraph lines of the Confederate States.
- Sec. 1.
The Congress of the Confederate States of America do enact, That during the existing war, the President be, and is hereby, authorized and empowered to take such control of such of the lines of telegraph in the Confederate States, and of such of the officers connected therewith, as will enable him effectually to supervise the communications passing through the same, to the end that no communications shall be conveyed of the military operations of the Government, to endanger the success of such operations, nor any communication calculated to injure the cause of the Confederate States, or to give aid and comfort to their enemies.
- Sec. 2. The President shall appoint trust-worthy agents in such offices and at such points on the various lines as he may think fit, whose duty it shall be to supervise all communications sent or passing through said lines, and to prevent the transmission of any communication deemed to be detrimental to the public service.
- Sec. 3. In case the owners and managers of said lines shall refuse to permit such supervision, or shall fail or refuse to keep up and continue the business on said lines, the President is hereby empowered to take possession of the same for the purposes aforesaid.
- Sec. 4. The President shall, from time to time, issue instructions to the agents or appointees, and to the operators of the various lines, to regulate the transmission of communications touching the operations of the Government, or calculated to affect the public welfare.
- Sec. 5. That the President, at his discretion, may employ the operators of the lines as the agents of the Government, so that in this, as in all other respects, there may be as little interference with the business and management of such lines as may be compatible with the public interest.
- Sec. 6. That the compensation of the agents appointed under this act, where such agents are not officers of the Company, and the expense attending the execution of the provisions of this act, shall be paid out of the Treasury.
- Sec. 7. That no communications, in cypher, nor enigmatical, or other doubtful communications, shall be transmitted, unless the person sending the same shall be known to the agent of the Government to be trustworthy, nor until the real purport of said communication shall be explained to said agent.
- Sec. 8. That the President is hereby authorized, whenever it may be found necessary or advisable for the successful prosecution of the war, to extend existing lines of telegraph or make connections between the same; the expense of constructing such additional lines to be paid out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated.
- Sec. 9. That all present and future officers of the telegraph lines engaged in receiving and transmitting intelligence within the Confederate States, shall, as soon as practicable, after the passage of this act, or after their appointment, take and subscribe before any judicial officer of any one of the Confederate States, the following oath: ‘"I, A. B., do solemnly swear that I will support and maintain the Constitution of the Confederate States of America, and will not, knowingly, directly or indirectly, transmit through the telegraph any communication or information calculated to injure the cause of the Confederate States, or to give aid or comfort to their enemies."’
- Sec. 10.
That, if any person shall knowingly send or transmit any message or communication touching the military operations of the Government, without the same being first submitted to the inspection of the agent of the Government, or any message calculated to aid and promote the cause of the enemies of the Confederate States, he shall be subject to indictment in the District Court of the Confederate States, and on conviction, shall be fined in a sum not less than five hundred dollars, and imprisoned for a term not less than one year.