come in person, and if they do, they may stand aside and put forward the shield of regal authority as they do in this case.
But this establishes no title to property. Suppose I admit that slaves are property. Yet Montes and Rues must possess the title in themselves. They have furnished no proof of payment — they have shewn no bill of sale — no witness has sworn that he was present when these negroes were sold. They have not shewn us from whom they desire their title. It is the naked possession when they bring these negroes upon the deck of the Amistad, on which they rely. When the right is disputed this is not enough.
Suppose a gentleman in Mississippi hires a slave of his neighbors for one year, as a travelling servant, and while in Kentucky sells him? He had the possession too, but he conveys no title, for it is the law of every country, in the civilized world, that a man must have title before he can grant it to another. Were a gentleman of N.H. to rent me his house and give me the possession, and another person from Havanna should come here and take a deed of that house from me, he would gain nothing from the grant, for the simple reason that he had no right (to) grant. This is so plain that the feeblest intellect cannot but see it.