Antelope Case

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ANTELOPE CASE. The Antelope was originally a Spanish vessel that was taken by an American privateer in March 1820. Later, while carrying a cargo of slaves captured from Spanish and Portuguese ships, the Antelope was seized by a U.S. revenue cutter. The vessel and the Africans were claimed by Spanish and Portuguese vice-consuls on behalf of their citizens. Chief Justice John Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court (10 Wheaton 66) ruled that the African slave trade was not contrary to the law of nations and that the American cutter had no right of search and seizure in peacetime. Marshall directed that the slaves be restored to the foreigner in possession at the time of the capture.


Brandon, Mark E. Free in the World: American Slavery and Constitutional Failure. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1998.

Noonan, John T., Jr. The "Antelope." Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977.

Lionel H.Laing/a. r.

See alsoSlave Trade .