The Schooner Exchange v. M'Faddon

Case Date: 02/26/2021

The Schooner Exchange v. M'Faddon, 11 U.S. 116 (1812) is a United States Supreme Court case. The Schooner Exchange, owned by John M'Faddon and William Greetham, sailed from Baltimore, Maryland, on October 27, 1809, for St. Sebastians, Spain. On December 30, 1810, the Exchange was seized by order of Napoleon Bonaparte. The Exchange was then armed and commissioned as a public vessel of the French government under the name of Balaou. M'Faddon and Greetham claimed that they owned and were entitled to possession of the Balaou, which had docked at a U.S. port due to bad weather. They believed that the Balaou was illegally seized by the government of France. At the time, France was involved with the War of 1812. The district court in the case found in favor of the French Government, finding that the M'Faddon and Greetham had no right to the Balaou as it belonged to the French government who were properly allies of the United States. The circuit court, on appeal, reversed the decision of the district court, granting property rights to the M'Faddon & Greetham.[1] The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court's decision, and affirmed the district court's dismissal of the action.