No. 986.

163 U.S. 632 (1896)


Supreme Court of United States.

Decided May 25, 1896.

Attorney(s) appearing for the Case

Mr. W. Hallett Phillips and Mr. William W. Kerr for plaintiffs in error.

Mr. Attorney General, Mr. Solicitor General and Mr. Assistant Attorney General Whitney for defendants in error.

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE FULLER, after stating the case, delivered the opinion of the court.

Title LXVII of the Revised Statutes, headed "Neutrality," embraces eleven sections, from 5281 to 5291, inclusive. Section 5281 prohibits the acceptance of commissions from a foreign power by citizens of the United States within our territory to serve against any sovereign with whom we are at peace. Section 5282 prohibits any person from enlisting in this country as a soldier in the service of any foreign power and from hiring or retaining any other person to enlist or to go abroad for the purpose of enlisting. Section 5283 deals with fitting out and arming vessels in this country in favor of one foreign power as against another foreign power with which we are at peace. Section 5284 prohibits citizens from the fitting out or arming, without the United States, of vessels to cruise against citizens of the United States; and section 5285, the augmenting of the force of a foreign vessel of war serving against a friendly sovereign. Sections 5287 to 5290 provide for the enforcement of the preceding sections, and section 5291, that the provisions set forth shall not be construed to prevent the enlistment of certain foreign citizens in the United States.

Section 5286 is as follows:

"Every person who, within the territory or jurisdiction of the United States, begins, or sets on foot, or provides or prepares the means for, any military expedition or enterprise, to be carried on from thence against the territory or dominions of any foreign prince or State, or of any colony, district or people, with whom the United States are at peace, shall be deemed guilty of a high misdemeanor, and shall be fined not exceeding three thousand dollars, and imprisoned not more than three years."

This section was originally section five of an act approved June 5, 1794, 1 Stat. 381, c. 50, carried forward as section six of an act of April 20, 1818, 3 Stat. 447, c. 88, and differs therefrom in no respect material here. The language of the section closely follows the recommendation of President Washington in his annual address December 3, 1793, when he said: "Where individuals shall ... enter upon military expeditions or enterprises within the jurisdiction of the United States ... these offences cannot receive too early and close an attention, and require prompt and decisive remedies." Annals 3d Congress, 1793-95, 11. The legislation is historically considered in Dana's Wheaton, § 439, note. The statute was undoubtedly designed in general to secure neutrality in wars between two other nations, or between contending parties recognized as belligerents, but its operation is not necessarily dependent on the existence of such state of belligerency. 13 Ops. Attys. Gen. 177, 178. Section 5286 defines certain offences against the United States and denounces the punishment therefor, but, although a penal statute, it must be reasonably construed, and not so as to defeat the obvious intention of the legislature. United States v. Lacher, 134 U.S. 624, 628.

The offence is defined disjunctively as committed by every person who, within our territory or jurisdiction, "begins, or sets on foot, or provides or prepares the means for, any military expedition or enterprise, to be carried on from thence."

This indictment charged that defendants did "begin, set on foot, and provide and prepare the means for a certain military expedition and enterprise."

Defendants' counsel did not seek to compel an election, nor in any manner, by their motion in arrest or otherwise, to raise the question of duplicity, nor do they now make objections to the proceedings on this ground. The district judge instructed the jury that the evidence would not justify a conviction "of anything more than providing the means for or aiding such military expedition by furnishing transportation for their men, their arms, baggage," etc. Under these circumstances, the verdict cannot be disturbed on the ground that more than one offence was included in the same count of the indictment, but it must be applied to the offence to which the jury were confined by the court. Crain v. United States, 162 U.S. 625.

We think that it does not admit of serious question that providing or preparing the means of transportation for such a military expedition or enterprise as is referred to in the statute is one of the forms of provision or preparation therein denounced. Nor can there be any doubt that a hostile expedition dispatched from our ports is within the words "carried on from thence." The officers of the Horsa were concerned in providing the means of transportation.

1. The first and the main question in the present case is whether the trial judge erred in his instructions to the jury in respect of what constitutes a "military expedition or enterprise" under the statute. The question is one of municipal law, and the writers on international law afford no controlling aid in its solution. They deal principally with the status of belligerents, and the rights and obligations of neutral nations when the existence of such a status is formally recognized or accepted as existing de facto.

Calvo defines a military expedition as being an armed enterprise against a country, and he gives the expedition of Xerxes as an illustration. Dict. de Droit Int. verbo, Expédition Militaire.

Professor Lawrence (Prin. Int. Law, 1895, p. 508) is quoted by counsel to the effect that, to constitute a warlike expedition, "it must go forth with a present purpose of engaging in hostilities; it must be under military or naval command; and it must be organized with a view to proximate acts of war. But it need not be in a position to commence fighting the moment it leaves the shelter of neutral territory; nor is it necessary that its individual members should carry with them the arms they hope soon to use. When a belligerent attempts to organize portions of his combatant forces on neutral soil or in neutral waters, he commits thereby a gross offence against the sovereignty of the neutral government, and probably involves it in difficulties with the other belligerent, who suffers in proportion to his success in his unlawful enterprise."

In Hall's Rights and Duties of Neutrals, § 22, it is said: "In the case of an expedition being organized in and starting from neutral ground, a violation of neutrality may take place without the men of whom it is composed being armed at the moment of leaving... . On the other hand, the uncombined elements of an expedition may leave a neutral state in company with one another, provided they are incapable of proximate combination into an organized whole."

Boyd in his edition of Wheaton's International Law, § 439aa, says: "It is impossible to lay down any hard and fast line separating commercial transactions in munitions of war, and the organizing of hostile expeditions. International law is necessarily incapable of being defined and laid down with the precision attainable by municipal law. The question is one of intent, and it is the duty of a neutral government to exercise due diligence in ascertaining what the real character of the transaction may be. The elements of a hostile expedition are thus described by Professor Bernard: `If at the time of its departure there be the means of doing any act of war, — if those means, or any of them, have been procured and put together in the neutral port, — and if there be the intention to use them (which may always be taken for granted when they are in the hands of the belligerent), the neutral port may be justly said to serve as a base or point of departure for a hostile expedition.' Montague Bernard, Neutrality of Great Britain, p. 399."

But this statute is to be construed as other domestic legislation is, and its meaning is to be found in the ordinary meaning of the terms used. The definitions of the lexicographers substantially agree that a military expedition is a journey or voyage by a company or body of persons, having the position or character of soldiers, for a specific warlike purpose; also the body and its outfit; and that a military enterprise is a martial undertaking, involving the idea of a bold, arduous and hazardous attempt. The word "enterprise" is somewhat broader than the word "expedition"; and although the words are synonymously used, it would seem that under the rule that its every word should be presumed to have some force and effect, the word "enterprise" was employed to give a slightly wider scope to the statute.

The phrase "military expedition or enterprise" has been variously construed by the District Courts, but apparent differences in expression may be largely attributable to the differences in the facts under consideration in the particular case.

In United States v. O'Sullivan, 2 Whart. Crim. Law, § 2802, 4th ed. note, Judge Judson charged the jury that before they could "convict on this indictment, it must be proved to their satisfaction that the expedition or enterprise was in its character military; or, in other words, it must have been shown by competent proof that the design, the end, the aim and the purpose of the expedition, or enterprise, was some military service, some attack or invasion of another people or country, State or colony as a military force... . But any expedition or enterprise in matters of commerce, or of business of a civil nature, unattended by a design of an attack, invasion or conquest, is wholly legal, and is not an expedition or an enterprise within this act... . The term `expedition' is used to signify a march or voyage with martial or hostile intentions. The term `enterprise' means an undertaking of hazard, an arduous attempt."

Judge Maxey in United States v. Ybanez, 53 Fed. Rep. 536, concurred in this view and further said: "This statute does not require any particular number of men to band together to constitute the expedition or enterprise one of a military character. There may be divisions, brigades and regiments, or there may be companies or squads of men. Mere numbers do not conclusively fix and stamp the character of the expedition as military or otherwise. A few men may be deluded with the belief of their ability to overturn an existing government or empire, and, laboring under such delusion, they may enter upon the enterprise... . The proof must establish in your minds the fact that the expedition or enterprise was of a military character; and when evidence shows that the end and object were hostile to or forcible against the Republic of Mexico, then it would be, to all intents and purposes, a military expedition... . Evidence showing that the end and objects were hostile to or forcible against a nation at peace with the United States characterizes it, to all intents and purposes, as a military expedition or enterprise."

Judge Brawley, in United States v. Hughes, not yet reported, applied the test suggested by Mr. Hall as to capability of proximate combination of the uncombined elements of an expedition into an organized whole; and he said in reference to the passengers in that case: "But if after they got aboard they took the arms from the boxes, and organized into a company or organization, if they were drilled or went through the manual of arms under the leadership or direction of one man or more, if they themselves became a military organization by reason of such coming together, and of such drill or instruction, then from that time forth they would be a military organization or enterprise within the meaning of this statute."

In United States v. Pena, 69 Fed. Rep. 983, Judge Wales, and in United States v. Hart, not yet reported, Judge Brown, of the Southern District of New York, considered the statute as exacting a high degree of organization, but Judge Brown said: "I do not say that in order to constitute a military expedition to be `carried on from this country,' as the statute reads, it must be complete at the start, or possess all the elements of a military body. It is sufficient if there was a combination by the men for that purpose, with the agreement and the intention of the body that embarks that it should become a military body before reaching the scene of action. Such a combination and agreement, if means for effecting it were provided, followed by embarcation in pursuance of the agreement, would show such a partial execution of the design on our soil, as to bring the case within our statute, as `a military enterprise begun and carried on from the United States.'"

It is argued that as persons are not prohibited from going abroad for the purpose of enlisting in the service of a foreign army; and as the transportation of arms, ammunition and munitions of war from this country to any other foreign country is not unlawful, 3 Whart. Int. Law Dig. § 388 et seq.; The Itata, 15 U.S. App. 1, and authorities cited; therefore no offence was committed in the transportation of these men, the arms and munitions; and reference is made to an opinion of Mr. Secretary Fish on this subject during the Franco-German war of 1870. A statement of that matter is given in Hall's Rights and Duties of Neutrals, § 22, and in a letter of Sir Edward Thornton to Lord Granville, dated September 26, 1870, 61 State Papers, 1870-71, p. 822, and elsewhere. It seems to have been an informal communication to the Prussian Minister, who had complained of the fact that the transatlantic steamer Lafayette was carrying a large cargo of arms and ammunition for sale to the French, while at the same time she was carrying several hundred French passengers, all of whom, as was generally supposed, intended to enlist in the army of France on their arrival. These passengers, however, appear to have been all travelling as individuals without any concert of action, and they had no access to the arms and ammunition any more than an ordinary passenger on an ocean steamer has access to any part of the cargo. Sir Edward Thornton wrote that "Mr. Fish replied to the District Attorney that he was to be guided by the neutrality laws of the United States, and that with regard to the ship it could not be alleged that she was intended for hostile purposes against North Germany. As for the arms and ammunition, they were articles of a legitimate commerce, with which the United States would not interfere, although the vessel might run the risk of being detained by the cruisers of North Germany on her voyage to France."

The district judge ruled nothing to the contrary and charged the jury in this case that it was not a crime or offence against the United States under the neutrality laws of this country for individuals to leave the country with intent to enlist in foreign military service, nor was it an offence against the United States to transport persons out of this country and to land them in foreign countries when such persons had an intent to enlist in foreign armies; that it was not an offence against the laws of the United States to transport arms, ammunition and munitions of war from this country to any foreign country, whether they were to be used in war or not; and that it was not an offence against the laws of the United States to transport persons intending to enlist in foreign armies and munitions of war on the same trip. But he said that if the persons referred to had combined and organized in this country to go to Cuba and there make war on the government, and intended when they reached Cuba to join the insurgent army and thus enlist in its service, and the arms were taken along for their use, that would constitute a military expedition, and the transporting of such a body from this country for such a purpose would be an offence against the statute. The judge also charged the jury as follows:

"In passing on the first question, it is necessary to understand what constitutes a military expedition within the meaning of this statute. For the purposes of this case, it is sufficient to say that any combination of men organized here to go to Cuba to make war upon its government, provided with arms and ammunition, we being at peace with Cuba, constitutes a military expedition. It is not necessary that the men shall be drilled, put in uniform, or prepared for efficient service, nor that they shall have been organized as or according to the tactics or rules which relate to what is known as infantry, artillery or cavalry. It is sufficient that they shall have combined and organized here to go there and make war on a foreign government, and to have provided themselves with the means of doing so. I say `provided themselves with the means of doing so,' because the evidence here shows that the men were so provided. Whether such provision, as by arming, and so forth, is necessary need not be decided in this case. I will say, however, to counsel that were that question required to be decided I should hold that it is not necessary.

"Nor is it important that they intended to make war as an independent body or in connection with others. Where men go without combination and organization to enlist as individuals in a foreign army, they do not constitute such military expedition, and the fact that the vessel carrying them might carry arms as merchandise would not be important."

It appears to us that these views of the district judge were correct as applied to the evidence before him. This body of men went on board a tug loaded with arms; were taken by it thirty or forty miles and out to sea; met a steamer outside the three mile limit by prior arrangement; boarded her with the arms, opened the boxes and distributed the arms among themselves; drilled to some extent; were apparently officered; and then, as preconcerted, disembarked to effect an armed landing on the coast of Cuba. The men and the arms and ammunition came together; the arms and ammunition were under the control of the men; the elements of the expedition were not only "capable of proximate combination into an organized whole," but were combined or in process of combination; there was concert of action; they had their own pilot to the common destination; they landed themselves and their munitions of war together by their own efforts. It may be that they intended to separate when they reached the insurgent headquarters, but the evidence tended to show that until that time they intended to stand together and defend themselves if necessary. From that evidence the jury had a right to find that this was a military expedition or enterprise under the statute, and we think the court properly instructed them on the subject. This conclusion disposes of most of the errors assigned to the instructions given, qualified or refused. Some of the points requested on defendants' behalf were incorrect; some were covered by the general charge; and others were properly qualified.

2. The second material question is, whether if a military expedition or enterprise was made out, the court erred in its instructions in respect of defendants' knowledge or notice of the facts. And this involves the jurisdictional question which is raised by the exception to the qualification of the twelfth point. In that qualification and elsewhere, the district judge specifically and clearly instructed the jury that although this was a military expedition or enterprise, nevertheless the defendants were not criminally responsible unless they were aware of its nature before they sailed from Philadelphia. "To convict the defendants," said the district judge, "it is necessary that the government shall have satisfied your minds beyond a reasonable doubt that this was a military enterprise, and that the defendants when they started knew it. Otherwise they are not guilty." "The question, therefore, is: Did the defendants understand that they were to carry this expedition, and had provided for it, and understand what the expedition was before leaving here [Philadelphia]?" It is true that the expedition started in the Southern District of New York, and did not come into immediate contact with defendants at any point within the jurisdiction of the United States, as the Horsa was a foreign vessel; but the Horsa's preparation for sailing and the taking aboard of the two boats at Philadelphia constituted a preparation of means for the expedition or enterprise, and if defendants knew of the enterprise when they participated in such preparation, then they committed the statutory crime upon American soil, and in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, where they were indicted and tried.

The jurisdictional point was again presented by the motion in arrest, but its disposition calls for no further observations.

We repeat that on the second material question, namely, whether the defendants aided the expedition with knowledge of the facts, the jury were instructed that they must acquit unless satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that defendants, when they left Philadelphia, had knowledge of the expedition and its objects and had arranged and provided for its transportation. We hold that defendants have no adequate ground of complaint on this branch of the case.

3. An exception was taken to the statement of the court that the men were armed. The court said: "They were armed, having rifles and cannon, and were provided with ammunition and other supplies." This statement was based on uncontradicted testimony, and occurring as it did in a recapitulation of the evidence, no rule of law being incorrectly stated and the matters of fact being specifically submitted to the determination of the jury, we do not regard the exception as tenable. Baltimore & Potomac Railroad v. Fifth Baptist Church, 137 U.S. 568, 574.

4. Objection is also made because the court expressed its opinion that this was a military expedition. But what the court said was that this "would seem to the court to be free from reasonable doubt. The question, however, is one for your determination alone, and I submit it to you as such, reminding you that the responsibility of deciding it rests upon you only. If you find that this was not a military expedition, or, rather, if you are not fully satisfied that it was, your verdict will be for defendants without going further." Clearly the observation of the court thus guarded did not so trespass on the province of the jury as to constitute reversible error. Simmons v. United States, 142 U.S. 148, 155.

5. Again, it is urged that the court erred, when referring to the captain's testimony that "he was ignorant of the service required of him until he reached the point near Barnegat," in saying: "You must judge whether he should be believed or not, and from all the evidence must determine whether the defendants left here with the knowledge of, and provision for, what they were about to do." No exception was taken to this part of the charge; but if there had been, we cannot say that the trial judge was not justified in that remark in view of all the facts and circumstances.

Nor was any exception taken to the closing observations by the court as to the importance of faithfulness in the execution of the law, although they are now assigned for error. We see in them nothing which could properly be regarded as prejudicial to the defendants.

6. Other assignments of error relate to the admissibility of declarations of members of the party, during the voyage, as to their destination. One of the witnesses for the prosecution testified on cross-examination "that he had spoken to a couple of those young fellows there, and they said they were going to Cuba." On redirect examination he was asked: "Did they tell you where they were going?" The answer, which was objected to, was: "They told me they were going to Cuba. They did not say what they were going to do." It was uncontroverted in the case that the party meant to go and did go to Cuba, and the evidence was not material. Another witness for the government was asked: "Q. Did you have any talk with any of those men? Objected to unless it was in the presence of these defendants. Objection overruled. Exception by defendants. A. Yes, sir. I was going in the forecastle one night and he told us, `I go down to Cuba to fight.' Q. To fight whom? A. The Spanish."

There was no objection to the second question, or to either answer, and no motion to strike out. It does not appear who made the statement or how many persons were present, or that defendants were not present. These assignments are without merit.

There was other evidence of declarations of members of the party as to their purposes, and the district judge in commenting thereon said that: "If these men were in combination to do an unlawful act, what was said by any of them at the time in carrying out their purpose was evidence against them all as to the nature of the expedition," and to this an exception was taken. The general rule was stated in American Fur Co. v. United States, 2 Pet. 358, 365, by Mr. Justice Washington, speaking for the court, that "where two or more persons are associated together for the same illegal purpose, any act or declaration of one of the parties, in reference to the common object, and forming a part of the res gestœ, may be given in evidence against the others." The declarations must be made in furtherance of the common object, or must constitute a part of the res gestœ of acts done in such furtherance. Assuming a secret combination between the party and the captain or officers of the Horsa had been proven, then, on the question whether such combination was lawful or not, the motive and intention, declarations of those engaged in it explanatory of acts done in furtherance of its object came within the general rule and were competent. St. Clair v. United States, 154 U.S. 134; People v. Davis, 56 N.Y. 95, 102; Lincoln v. Claflin, 7 Wall. 132, 139; 1 Greenl. Ev. § 111; Starkie Ev. 466.

The extent to which evidence of this kind is admissible is much in the discretion of the trial court, and we do not consider that that discretion was abused in this instance. Clune v. United States, 159 U.S. 590, 592.

7. No motion or request was made that the jury be instructed to find for defendants or either of them. Where an exception to a denial of such a motion or request is duly saved, it is open to the court to consider whether there is any evidence to sustain the verdict, though not to pass upon its weight or sufficiency. And although this question was not properly raised, yet if a plain error was committed in a matter so absolutely vital to defendants, we feel ourselves at liberty to correct it.

The Horsa was bound for Jamaica, and her course carried her along the coast of Cuba for about six hours. She took on board at Philadelphia two boats entered on the manifest as for Port Antonio, but intended for and ultimately devoted to the use of the party she transported. The captain received at the wharf written instructions, which he did not produce on the trial, and says he did not keep when he left the vessel, but in accordance with which he went north off Barnegat, anchored outside the three mile limit, and awaited orders. The inference was not unjustifiable that he was thus and then informed that safety required that whatever was to take place off Barnegat should take place beyond the jurisdiction of the United States, in other words, that a transgression of the laws of the United States was contemplated. The Horsa was boarded on the high seas off Barnegat as heretofore described, and the captain testified that he did not regard the occurrence as anything unusual or important. But the firemen said that they went to the chief engineer, when these men came aboard, and told him they would not go along. "We won't go down there and get shot." "We did not sign for that." The chief engineer bade them keep quiet, and the captain "told them if anybody had to hang for this I would be the man to hang for it. I told them they had better go below and mind their own business." The written instructions the captain there received were not produced, but he said he was to take the men and whatever they had and let them off when told to do so, delivering the two boats shipped at Philadelphia, and the two shipped from the tug, to them as soon as called for; and that this did not strike him as singular. The evidence shows that the nature of the enterprise was apparent at this time, and the jury may not unreasonably have inferred that the captain received the men and their arms, entered upon the hazards of the voyage, and quieted the complaints of the firemen, with an equanimity springing from a mind previously made up on the subject. We deem it unnecessary to go over the evidence. We cannot say as matter of law that there was no evidence tending to sustain the verdict against the captain.

But we think the case as to Petersen and Johansen stands on different ground, and that we may properly take notice of what we believe to be a plain error, although it was not duly excepted to. These men were the mates of the vessel, and they proceeded on the voyage under the captain's orders. This would not excuse them if there were proof of guilty knowledge or participation on their part in assisting a military expedition or enterprise when they left Philadelphia. We are of opinion that adequate proof to that effect is not shown by the record, and that as the case stood the jury should have been instructed to acquit them. The captain testified that the mates "had nothing to do with this ship or with its business. They listened to my orders; they were under my orders. I was the master of that vessel. I am responsible for all that was done." The order he received to go north and await orders beyond the three mile limit does not appear to have been communicated to them; and whatever they must have known after the Horsa was boarded off Barnegat, there is nothing sufficiently justifying a presumption of knowledge when the vessel left the wharf.

It is not necessary to enlarge upon the public importance of the neutrality laws. This case is a criminal case arising on an indictment under a section of the Revised Statutes, and we dispose of it on what we deem to be the proper construction of that section, and after subjecting the correctness of the rulings of the court below to that careful examination which the discharge of our duty required.

The judgment against defendant Wiborg is affirmed; the judgment against defendants Petersen and Johansen is reversed, and the cause remanded with instructions to set aside the verdict and grant a new trial as to them.

MR. JUSTICE HARLAN dissenting.

I concur with my brethren in holding that the judgment against Petersen and Johansen should be reversed, and a new trial ordered as to them.

But I am of opinion that the judgment against Wiborg should also be reversed. It is conceded that the men on the tug were received on board the Horsa at a point off Barnegat which was more than three miles from our shore. It is clear from the evidence that at the time his vessel left Philadelphia, and previous to his receiving those men on board, Wiborg had no knowledge of the purpose for which the charterer ordered him, after he passed the Breakwater, "to proceed north near Barnegat and wait further orders." The movements of the vessel were under the control of the charterer. Wiborg was under no legal obligation to inquire from the charterer why the Horsa was ordered to that point, or what were the orders he was likely to receive after arriving there. His duty was to obey the orders of the charterer, unless such orders obviously contemplated a breach of the laws of this country. The only evidence in the case bearing upon the question whether Wiborg knew, when he left Philadelphia, of any arrangement for his vessel, after it passed beyond the territory and jurisdiction of the United States, to receive men destined for Cuba, was that given by himself. And he distinctly swore that when he started from Philadelphia he did not know that "we were going to take these people and their goods on the Horsa." There was not the slightest ground in the evidence to suppose that he ever had any communication with those people, or that he ever saw them, before they came on his vessel. Those persons had, of course, arranged with the charterer for passage on the Horsa. But the charterer did not communicate the fact of such an arrangement to the captain of the vessel while he was within the territory and jurisdiction of the United States. The direction that he should receive the men and their goods on board came to him, from the charterer, when he was not within the territory or jurisdiction of the United States. He cannot, therefore, be said to have provided or prepared, "within the territory or jurisdiction of the United States," any means for the expedition or enterprise against the territory or dominion of Spain. Under the interpretation placed upon the statute by the government, the charterer did provide for such means. But, curiously enough, the charterer was not indicted. The prosecution is against the officers of the vessel, no one of whom, according to the proof, had any knowledge, at the time the Horsa left Philadelphia, nor while it was within the jurisdiction of the United States, that the charterer had arranged that the vessel, after it got beyond the jurisdiction of the United States, should receive on board individuals destined for Cuba, and who intended, after they arrived there, to engage in the struggle to overthrow the authority of Spain in that island.

Independently of the view just expressed, this was not, I think, a military expedition or enterprise within the meaning of the statute. It had none of the features of such an expedition or enterprise. There was no commanding officer, whose orders were recognized and enforced. It was, at most, a small company of persons, no one of whom recognized the authority of another, although all desired the independence of Cuba, and had the purpose to reach that island, and engage, not as a body, but as individuals, in some form, in the civil war there pending — a loose, unorganized body, of very small dimensions, and without any surroundings that would justify its being regarded as a military expedition or enterprise to be carried on from this country.


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