« AnteriorContinuar »
If, however, it is desired that especial national observance be paid to
the anniversary of the issuance of the emancipation proclamation by making it a legal holiday and providing for appropriate services under national auspices, the matter should be brought to the attention of Congress, to the end that the appropriate enactment be had by the passage of a bill or joint resolution.
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,
April 26, 1911. SIR: A petition has been presented to you, signed by a number of prominent colored citizens, requesting that you issue a proclamation setting aside the 22d day of September, 1912, as a day of jubilee throughout the United States, in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the issuance of the emancipation proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln, forever abolishing slavery in the United States. This petition is referred to me by your direction, with a request for an expression of my opinion as to your powers to issue such proclamation.
There would seem to be no doubt whatever of your power to issue a proclamation requesting the citizens throughout the Nation to commemorate by appropriate observances the event referred to in the petition. Such action was taken by President Grant in issuing a proclamation inviting the people of the United States on the 4th of July, 1876, "in addition to the usual observances with which they are accustomed to greet the return of the day, further, in such manner and at such time as in their respective localities and religious associations may be most convenient, to mark its recurrence by some public religious and devout thanksgiving to Almighty God for the blessings which have been bestowed upon us as a Nation during the century of our existence, and humbly to invoke a continuance of His favor and of His protection.” (19 Stat. 664.)
Such are the annual proclamations which the President is accustomed to issue, designating a day as one of general thanksgiving, and calling upon the people on that day, laying aside their usual vocations, to repair to their churches and unite in appropriate services of praise and thanksgiving to Almighty God. (See, e. g., 36 Stat. 2503.) It is not within the power of the President,
however, to make by such proclamation, without the authority of Congress, a legal holiday of the day so designated. Such holidays, in so far as they allow the employees of the Government leave of absence with pay, are always established by act of Congress or joint resolution. (See 21 Stat. 304; 23 Stat. 516; 24 Stat. 644.)
Congress by act approved March 2, 1889, “in order that the centennial anniversary of the inauguration of the first President of the United States” might be commemorated, declared Tuesday, April 30, 1889, “to be a national holiday throughout the United States,” and by the same act made suitable provision for ceremonies in commemoration of that event. (25 Stat. 980.) If, therefore, it is desired that especial national observance be paid to the anniversary of the issuance of the emancipation proclamation by making it a legal holiday, and providing for appropriate services under national auspices, the matter should be brought to the attention of Congress, to the end that the appropriate enactment be had by the passage of a bill or joint resolution; but it is within the power of the President to issue a general proclamation calling the attention of the people of the country to the event, and inviting them to unite in an appropriate celebration of its anniversary. Very respectfully,
GEORGE W. WICKERSHAM. THE PRESIDENT.
LIABILITY OF OWNERS OF VESSEL FOR HOSPITAL CHARGES
AND TRANSPORTATION OF DISABLED SEAMAN.
An American seaman, disabled in the service of the vessel and who was
left in a hospital at a foreign port, is entitled to medical expenses incident to a recovery from the injury and transportation back to the United States, and where these expenses are paid out of funds belonging to the United States, after notice to the owners of the vessel that they were liable for the same and demand made for payment, the owners of the vessel may be held liable therefor.
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,
May 2, 1911. Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your communication of February 15, 1911, in which, and in the
documents accompanying the same, appear the following facts:
Oscar Frederickson, an American seaman, one of the crew of the American brig Geneva, sailing from San Francisco, had his leg seriously injured in the performance of his duty on such vessel. He received no medical attention for 10 days, when the vessel arrived at Tahiti, Society Islands, in May, 1910. His leg was then in a very serious condition, and he was wholly incapacitated for duty. The master of the vessel applied to the then American consul in that port for the discharge of the seaman for this cause, but the consul declined to discharge him. The master then placed the man in the hospital there, promising that the owners of the vessel would pay the reasonable charges for his care and treatment for a reasonable time, and ceeded with the vessel on his voyage. The seaman was never discharged from his contract of service until with the rest of the crew he was discharged at San Francisco at the close of the return voyage in July following. The owners of the vessel then deposited the wages due him to that time with the United States Shipping Commission at San Francisco; and also continued to pay the hospital charges until September 23, some time after his discharge. Then, after giving notice to the hospital authorities and the consul, they refused to pay any further expenses, and also refused to pay for the transportation of Frederickson to the United States, claiming that the consul should have discharged him, when such expenses would have been properly borne by the United States under section 4581, Revised Statutes, as amended. Upon such refusal, the consul agreed with the authorities to pay these hospital charges from the fund for the relief of destitute seamen, which he has done, and has likewise paid for Frederickson's transportation to the United States; and his acts in this respect have been approved by the State Department. However, before making these payments by direction of the State Department, the consul notified the Matthew Turner Co., the owners of the vessel, that they were primarily liable for same, and sent them bills therefor, which they refused to satisfy.
The question which you submit is, whether the United States can recover from the owners of this vessel the sums so paid.
While it is stated that the master of the vessel applied to the consul for the discharge of Frederickson, and that the consul refused the application, yet the ground of the application and the reason for the refusal are not given.
Section 4580, Revised Statutes, as amended by the act of June 26, 1884, chapter 121, section 2 (23 Stat. 54), reads as follows:
“Upon the application of the master of any vessel to a consular officer to discharge a seaman, or upon the application of any seaman for his own discharge, if it appears to such officer that said seaman has completed his shipping agreement, or is entitled to his discharge under any act of Congress or according to the general principles or usages of maritime law as recognized in the United States, such officer shall discharge said seaman, and require from the master of said vessel, before such discharge shall be made, payment of the wages which may then be due said seaman; but no payment of extra wages shall be required by any consular officer upon such discharge of any seaman except as provided in this act.”
It will be observed that the causes for which a consul may discharge a seaman on the application of the master are not here stated, but it appears to be recognized that a consul may discharge a seaman at the instance of the master for any cause sanctioned by the usages and principles of maritime law as recognized in the United States. (The T. F. Oakes, 36 Fed. 442.) Some of the reasons justifying a discharge are stated in an opinion of Attorney General Griggs dated September 20, 1898 (22 Op. 212), and in the opinion of Judge Deady in The T. F. Oakes, supra.
There is nothing in your communication or the documents accompanying same which indicates that Frederickson had been guilty of any misconduct, or that the injury which he received was a result of his gross negligence; and hence the presumption is that the application of the master for his discharge was correctly refused by the consul, and section 4581, Revised Statutes, as amended
by section 16 of the act of December 21, 1898 (30 Stat. 759), has no application to this matter.
This being true, the owners of the vessel were liable, not only for the seaman's wages up to the termination of the voyage, but also for all expenses incident to medical care, nursing, and attendance necessary to a recovery from the injury. This does not mean that the expenses shall be borne until a complete cure is effected, as such recovery may be impossible; but it does mean that this liability exists until the condition of the seaman is such that he can be properly discharged from medical attention.
In The J. F. Card, 43 Fed. 92, Judge Brown (subsequently Mr. Justice Brown) expressed a doubt that the shipowner could be held liable for medical attention after the termination of the voyage, citing in support of this view Nevitt v. Clarke, Olcott 316; The Ben Flint, 1 Biss. 562; The Atlantic, Abb. Adm. 451; and The City of Alexandria, 17 Fed. 390; and he refused to charge the owner with such expenses when the injury occurred on a voyage upon the northern lakes, drawing a distinction between such voyages and ocean voyages.
But this view has not been adopted by the Federal courts. In The Osceola, 189 U. S. 158, 175, the opinion in which was delivered by the same learned justice, in laying down certain settled propositions of maritime law, it was said that:
“The vessel and her owners are liable, in case a seaman falls sick, or is wounded, in the service of the ship, to the extent of his maintenance and cure and to his wages, at least so long as the voyage is continued;" which shows that the Supreme Court had not adopted the view which the learned justice had formerly expressed, and that the question remained undetermined.
It has been subsequently held that the owners' liability for medical treatment to injured seamen does not cease with the termination of the voyage, in the following cases:
McCarron v. Dominion Atlantic Ry. Co. (opinion by Judge Lowell), 134 Fed. 762; The Svealand (C. C. A., 4th cir.) 136 Fed. 109; The Henry B. Fiske (opinion by Judge Dodge), 141 Fed. 188, 191; The Mars (C. C. A., 3d cir.), 149 Fed. 729.