Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

sure and altogether cheerful process it is! How the promise out of the operation of the statute of swiftly, and with what an admirable confidence in frauds. Elliott, J., said: " Where the owner of its infallibility it progresses! Every penny sheet in property undertakes to pay for work and materials the land is a tribunal of home-made justice. Con- to be subsequently done and furnished by a subviction follows suspicion, and punishment follows contractor in order to secure the completion of a conviction, with the swiftness and inevitableness of building, in a case where the principal contractor gravitation. We suspect that people, especially has failed to carry on the work, the promise is an lawyers, who do not like this method of disposing original one, and not within the statute of frauds. of grave charges, fail to realize how great an im- This principle is intrinsically just, and its enforceprovement it is upon older and more primitive ment does not in the slightest degree tend to the forms of extra-judicial procedure, such as trial by mischief the statute of frauds and perjuries was incombat, the ordeal of fire, and the like. In these tended to repress. In the well-reasoned case of the accused, whether innocent or guilty, sometimes Emerson v. Slater, 22 How. 28, the Supreme Court got off with bis life, but who ever heard of an es- of the United States gave the subject full considercape from their modern substitute - unless indeed ation, and held that a promise similar to that made the offense charged was newspaper libel! More by the appellant was enforceable. It was there over the earlier modes of trial had the sanction of said: “But whenever the main purpose and object religion, which was sheer superstition, while our of the promisor is not to answer for another, but to modern equivalent has the sanction of that lovely subserve some pecuniary or business purpose of his substitute for religion, which its devotees call Pub-own, involving either a benefit to himself or damage lic Opinion, and in whose voice they detect the ac- to the other contracting party, his promise is not cents of the voice of God. But in other respects the within the statute, although it may be in form a modern device for dispensing with justice is very promise to pay the debt of another, and although similar to the earlier ones. There is the same lofty the performance of it may accidentally have the efdisregard of law, the same sublime contempt for the fect of extinguishing that liability. It is possible processes of courts, and the same pious satisfaction that the language quoted states the doctrine rather in the results attained. It is not to be marveled, too broadly, but we shall not inquire whether it then, that these inerrant organs of a divine inspira- does so or not; for here we are not required to detion have little patience with the fallible decrees of cide what the rule is where the promise relates to our judges and the merely approximate results ob- the past, inasmuch as we are concerned only with tained by the operation of legal and judicial ma- what relates to the future at the time the new promchinery. In view of all which, no one will be sur- ise was made. This is so because the only question prised to learn that at the recent convention of the in this case is whether the appellee is entitled to reNew York State Press Association, held at Bluff cover for work done and material furnished after Point, on Lake Champlain, last week, it was unani- the new contract was made. If the claim asserted mously concluded that there are too many lawyers was to the sum owing before the new promise was in the Legislature, and that the bar of the State made, there would perhaps be more difficulty in constitutes the principal obstacle in the way of abol- solving the legal problem; but the sum due when ishing the control which the courts of law continue the new promise was made was paid, so that the to exercise over the newspapers. This is veritable controversy concerns only the right to recover the gospel truth, this last charge against the lawyers, sum that subsequently became due for work done and we are almost prepared to go a step further and and materials furnished. We do not decide, we claim that the bar of the land is the principal bul- may say by the way, that the sum due might not be wark of society and of our institutions against the recovered under the new promise, had it not been persistent encroachments of a licentious press paid. We simply decide the question before us,

and that relates to atters that at the time the new

promise was made concerned the future, and not the NOTES OF CASES.

past. These were promises in their nature severa

ble, and the valid promise may certainly be enIN Board, etc., v. Cincinnati Steam Teating Co., forced. Lowman v. Sheets, 124 Ind. 416. Resum

Supreme Court of Indiana, May 14, 1891, plain-ing our consideration of the decided cases bearing tiff contracted with defendant's principal contractor directly upon the question before us, we take up to furnish a steam-heating apparatus for a court- that of Sert v. Geise, 80 Ga. 698, where an owner house, the plans agreed upon differing from the promised to pay for materials furnished to complete original specifications. Defendant, being unwilling a building then in progress of construction, and to advance pay therefor its principal contractor, where it was said: “If the supply of lumber was paid an amount due thereon to plaintiff, who exe- about to stop, and the owner of the building procuted a bond for the completion of the work, which cured its continuance by promising to pay for it, his was verbally assented to by the defendant, and com- undertaking was not collateral, but original, and he pleted the same. Defendant took possession of the is bound.' Another case is that of Kutzmeyer v. building, and continued to use the heating appara- Ennis, 27 N. J. Law, 371, where the court said, tus. Plaintiff sued for an unpaid balance. lleld, speaking of the owner of a building: 'He was inthat the contract was not a collateral one, and there terested in the completion of the work; he received was a consideration moving to defendant that took the benefit of it, and he had it in his power to in

[ocr errors][merged small]

demnify himself for the advance to Ennis by with- In Bruyn v. Russell, New York Supreme Court, holding the money from the contractors.' In dis- General Term, Third Department, May 21, 1891, 38 cussing a question which arose in a case very simi- N. Y. St. Rep. 50, it was held that the words lar to the present, the Supreme Court of Vermont " value received ” in a promissory note import a said: 'If in this case a third person make an entire, consideration, but if the evidence upon the question substantive and independent contract with him to of consideration is equally balanced, the plaintiff perform the same service, this may be enforced, must fail. It does not lie with the defendant to though not in writing, as it is not collateral.' Sin- show that the note was without consideration. The clair v. Richardson, 12 Vt. 33. But without quoting burden throughout the case is upon the plaintiff to from the decisions, or commenting upon them, we show that upon all the evidence there was a considcite some of them, and affirm that our conclusion eration. Learned, P, J., said: “ This question was that the appellant's contract is original, and not considered in Perley v. Perley, 144 Mass. 104. The collateral, is sustained by the overwhelming weight court said of a note that its production and proof of of authority. Yoeman v. Mueller, 33 Mo. App. 343; defendant's signature made a prima facie case. Crawford v. Edison (Ohio), 13 N. E. Rep. 82; Clif-But the burden of proving a consideration still reford v. Luhring, 69 Ill. 401; Bayles v. Wallace, 10 mains on the plaintiff, notwithstanding this preN. Y. Supp. 191; Hagadorn v. Lumber Co. (Mich.), sumption, and if there is any evidence on this point 45 N. W. Rep. 650; Railway Co. v. Hororin (Tex.), in behalf of the defendant, the plaintiff must show 9 S. W. Rep. 661; Greenough v. Eicholtz (Penn.), 15 by a preponderance of the whole evidence that the Atl. Rep. 712; Fitzgerald v. Morrissey (Neb.), 15 N. note was given for a valuable consideration. The W. Rep. 233; Young v. French, 35 Wis. 116. Of court pointed out that if the defendant sought to the cases cited by the appellant the only ones in meet the note, not by evidence showing want of point are Ellison V. Jackson Water Co., 12 Cal. 542; consideration, but by proving another and distinct Noyes v. Humphreys, 11 Gratt. 636; Ware v. Stephen- proposition, then the burden of proving the son, 10 Leigh, 155. The Virginia cases are out of latter proposition was on him. For instance, if line with authority, and so is the California case. he attempted to meet the note by proving The latter cites as authority a single case, that of payment, the burden of that proof would be on Puckett v. Bates, 4 Ala. 390, and that case is in con- him. But, on the other hand, when the defendant flict with the later and better-considered case of disputed the fact of a consideration and produced Jolley v. Walker, 26 Ala. 690. Our own cases very evidence to show that no consideration existed, clearly recognize the distinction between original then on that point the burden remained with the and collateral contracts. The earlier cases are plaintiff on the whole evidence. This same doccollected in Anilerson v. Spence, 72 Ind. 315, and it trine is held in Simpson v. Davis, 119 Mass. 269; was shown that the case of Green v. Creswell, 10 Delano v. Bartlett, 6 Cush. 364; where it was held Adol. & E. 453, which asserted a doctrine contrary that the evidence on both sides, being applicable to to that here declared, had been overruled in Eng- the same issue of consideration, the jury were propland and denied in America. In Palmer v. Blain, erly instructed that the burden was, throughout, on 55 Ind. 11, it was held that a promise by a third the plaintiff to satisfy them on the whole evidence person to an execution creditor, that if the creditor of the consideration of the note. This doctrine is would satisfy the execution he would pay the judg- recognized in Carnright v. Gray, 57 Hun, 518, in ment, was not within the statute. A very similar both the prevailing and dissenting opinions. The decision was made in Frash v. Polk, 67 Ind. 55. In rule is laid down in 1 Daniel on Negotiable InstruAughie v. Landis, 95 id. 419, it was held that a ments, section 164, where it is said, “if the whole promise by a defendant to pay for work which the evidence offered on both sides leaves it in doubt plaintiff agreed to do for a third person was not whether there was any good consideration or not, within the statutory inhibition, The case of Shaf- | the plaintiff fails of making out his case, and the fer v. Ryan, 84 Ind. 140, illustrates the difference defendant will be entitled to a verdict.' We have between an original promise and a collateral one, as examined the cases cited by the plaintiff on this does also the case of Hackleman v. Miller, 4 Blackf.point, and we do not think that they hold the con322. The case before us is not dependent upon the trary of this proposition. Keteltas v. Myers, 19 N.Y. doctrine of novation, so that the cases of Langford | 231, and Underhill v. Phillips, 10 Hun, 591, and v. Freeman, 60 Ind. 46; Krutz v. Stewart, 54 id. Peets v. Bratt, 6 Barb. 662, presented questions of 178; Crosiny v. Jeroloman, 37 id. 264; Ellison v. pleading. Foote v. Valentine, 48 Hun, 475, held Wisehart, 29 id. 32, are not of controlling influence that affirmative proof of consideration was not necIt is not dependent upon that doctrine, for the essary in the outset, when a note written for value manifest reason that what was done after the new received was given in evidence. Raubitschek v. promise was made was done for the promisor, for Blank, 80 N. Y. 478, held that on the evidence its benefit, and at its request, and it is only for the there was no proof of want of consideration. The value of what was so done that the appellee sues. point was not involved in Kimball v. Huntington, As to the value of the work and materials furnished 10 Wend, 679. The question presented in this case under the new promise, the contract was one be- was not passed upon in these cases. General extween the appellee and the appellant, and it did not pressions may be found that the words 'value reconcern any debt due from Miller to the former.” ceived’are prima facie sufficient, and that the plain

[ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]

tiff may rest on them, the defendant then being hinted at in the evidence, we need not be surprised permitted to give evidence of a want of considera if a jury should find a note to be in the handwriting tion. But the point we are considering is where of the deceased, though it were printed on a typethe burden lies on the whole evidence, and we think writer." it lies with the plaintiff. And on this point it seems to us that the learned justice used language in his

THE BACCARAT SCANDAL - SIR EDWARD charge which would mislead the jury, and which

CLARKE. would induce them to think that the defendant must satisfy them that the note was without consid. THE

HE statement which has been going the rounds of

the press that several English clubs propose to exeration, while the true rule is that the plaintiff must

pel Sir Edward for his remarks upou the Prince of satisfy them that the note had a good consideration.

Wales during the trial of Sir William Gordon CumThis view is strengthened by the remarks of the ming's case, and that Her Majesty and her council are learned justice, when the defendant moved for a to consider the matter, recalls Wendell Phillip's renonsuit on the ground, among others, that it ap

marks upou the duty of a fearless lawyer, and his con

trast between such, and one who counted favor or peared that the note was without consideration.

success at the expense of a fearless discharge of duty. The learned justice said that there had been no

"Suppose we stood in that lofty temple of jurispruabandonment by the plaintiff of her legal presump- dence on either side of us the statues of the great tion in respect to the consideration of the note by lawyers of every age and clime - and let us see what the introduction of any testimony which showed, or part New Evgland-Puritan, educated, free New Engtended to show, what the consideration of it was.

land--would bear in the pageant. Rome points to a

colossal figure and says, “That is Papiniau, who, when This seems to imply that if the plaintiff had given

the Emperor Caracalla murdered his own brother, and evidence tending to show the actual consideration,

ordered the lawyer to defend the deed, went cheerfully the introduction of such evidence would have been to death, rather than sully his lips with the atrocious au abandonment of the legal presumption, and plea; and that is Ulpian, who, aiding his priuce to hence that the failure to give such evidence made

put the army below the law, was massacred at the foot

of a weak, but virtuous throne.' the legal presumption stronger than it would have

"And France stretches fortb her grateful hands, been if such evidence had been given. This tends

crying, “That is D'Aguesseau, worthy, when he went to show that the meaning of the charge was that the to face an enraged king, of the farewell bis wife addefendunt must have a preponderance of evidence dressed him-Go! forget that you have a wife and before the jury could find that there was no consid- children to ruin, and remember only that you have

France to save.' eration. To test this, let us suppose that the plain

“ England says, “That is Coke, who flung the laurels tiff had herself been called as a witness, and had

of eighty years in the face of the first Stuart, in detestified to the same circumstances as to the execu- fense of the people. This is Selden, on every book of tion of the note which she stated to Mr. Bruyn. whose library you saw written the motto of which he Could there have been a recovery? Yet the testi- lived worthy, ‘Before every thing, Liberty!' That is mony of Mr. Bruyn, not contradicted by her, is

Mansfield, silver-tongued, who proclaimedalmost as weighty as her own testimony would have

Slaves cannot breathe in England; if their lungs

Receive our air, that moment they are free.' been. When we consider that Mr. Bruyn was the plaintiff's own witness, and that she therefore must

This is Romilly, who spent life trying to make law

synonymous with justice, and succeeded in making life be held to have believed him to be truthful, and

and property safer in every city of the empire. And that she does not deny that she made the statement that is Erskine, whose eloquence, spite of Lord Eldon to which he testified, it is difficult to understand and George III, made it safe to speak and to priut. how the jury could have found that there was a

* Then New England shonts, “This is Choate, who

made it safe to murder; and of whose health thieves good consideration, unless they gave to the words * value received ’in the note some greater legal ef

asked before they began to steal.'

“Always think twice when saints and sinners, honfect than they are properly entitled to have. They est men and editors, agree in a eulogy.” may have thought that a legal presumption was English clubs and British royalty will do well to weightier than the testimony of an honest witness." ponder upon these remarks before noting. In the same case it was held that when the genuineness of a signature is to be determined, not by the

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW-SHIPS ON INLAND testimony of those who saw it written, or by any

RIVERS LIMITING LIABILITY. such direct evidence, but by the belief of witnesses as to its resemblance to other writings, and by the UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT, MAY 25, 1891. comparison of other writings, the appellate court, if such other writings are produced before it, is sub

MATTER OF GARNETT.

The Federal statute (Act June 19, 1886, $ 4) which extends the stantially as well able to judge as the jury. The

benefit of the Limited Liability Act to the owners of court stated that from an examination of the exbib

steamboats used on rivers in inland navigation is constiits produced at the trial and on the appeal, it was tutional and valid. satified that the note was not given, and in answer

ETITION for writ of prohibition to the judge of to the suggestion that the jury had twice held the note to be genuine, said: “And we may say that Eastern Division of the Southern Distriot of Georgia. where the plaintiff is a woman, and the defendants are executors of a deceased old bachelor of good

Saml. B. Adams, for petitioners. means, and where a glamour of elderly affection is R. G. Erwin, for respondents.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

BRADLEY, J. This is a petition for a writ of pro- ing and doing business in Savannah, and that they hibition to be directed to the judge of the District were the consiguees of the cotton constituting the Court of the United States for the Eastern Division cargo of the said steamboat, except a few bales. They of the Southern District of Georgia, to prohibit said state that the said steamboat was engaged exolusively judge from taking further cognizance of a certain suit in inlaud navigation of the Savannah river, between instituted before him in said court. The suit sought the ports of Augusta and Savannah and intermediate to be prohibited is a libel filed in said court by John ports aud places on either side of the said river, and Lawton, owner of the steamboat Katie, seeking a de- that she was not a sea-going vessel. They further state cree for limited liability for the loss and damage which the various suits brought by them respectively, accrued by fire on said steamboat in the Savannah | namely, ten different suits, mostly in the City Court river on the 12th of October, 1887. 40 Fed. Rep. 480. of Savannah, for different sums, amounting in the ag. A copy of this libel is annexed to the petition for pro- gregate to nearly $16,000; and that in all of said suits, hibition. It sets out the facts that Lawton was the except two attachments, personal service was made on owner of the steamboat; that she was an enrolled ves- the said Lawton, the owner of said steamboat. The sel of the United States, duly licensed to carry on the petitioners further state the filing of the said libel, and coasting trade; that she had for twenty years been that an appraisement of the steamboat and freight had engaged in transporting merchandise, goods and com- beou made, amouuting to a total of $3,496.75, for which modities from and to the ports of Savannah and Au- sum the said Lawton had entered into the usual stipugusta, and intermediate ports and landings on the Sa- | lation. They further state that afterward, on the 9th vanuah river, in the States of South Carolina aud of April, 1888, they objected to the said District Court Georgia; and that some of the said goods were trans- taking further cognizance of the case, and moved to ported by said steamboat as one of the through lives | dismiss the libel on the grouuds that the said court of carriers, issuing through bills of lading to and from was without jurisdiction in the premises, and that the ports and places within the State of Georgia and ports fourth section of the act of Congress, approved June and places in other States of the United States and 19, 1886, on which the said action was based, is unconforeign countries. The libel then states that on the stitutional and void; but that the said court overruled 8th of October, 1887, the said steamboat left Augusta the said motion, and determined to proceed with for Savannah and intermediate places on the river in the further cognizance of the cause. The petitioners South Carolina and Georgia, intending to load a cargo further state, and rely upon, the fact that the greater chiefly of cotton, being properly manned and equipped ; part of the cotton was shipped by Georgia consignors that on the 10th day of October, baving then on board from divers points or places within the State of six hundred and forty-three bales of cotton, she left a Georgia, to be transported to Savamab, Georgia, to landing called “ Burton's Ferry,'' and shortly after consignees who were residents and citizens of Savanstruck on a sand-bar, and notwithstanding the utmost nah, and was the subject of a commeroe strictly inendeavor of master and crew, remained there till Oc- terual. The act of Congress to which the petitioners tober 12th, when fire was discovered in the cotton refer as being the act on which the libel of Lawton was near the bow of the steamboat; that the fire spread | based, and which they contend is unconstitutional and with great rapidity, and some of the bales of cotton void, is the fourth section of the act approved June had to be thrown overboard to prevent it from spread- | 19, 1886, entitled “An act to abolish certain fees for ing more; and after three hours of the hardest and official services to American vessels, and to amend the most hazardous work, the master and crow succeeded | laws relating to shipping commissioners, seamen and in clearing the bow of the burning cotton, and saving owners of vessels, and for other purposes.” 24 St. 79. the vessel and a portion of the cargo, but leaving the By the section referred to, section 4289 of the Revised vessel much burned and damaged. A list of the cargo Statutes was amended so as to read as follows: “$ 4289. was attached to the libel, which proceeded to state The provisions of the seven preceding sections, that nearly all of the consignees of the cotton lost or and of section 18 of an act entitled 'An aot to removo damaged had brought suits against the libellant; and a certain burdens on the American mercbant marino list of the suits was also appended to the libel, in two and encourage the American foreign carrying trade, of which attachments were issued; that the amount and for other purposes, approved June 26, 1884, relatthus sued for, and the loss and damage happening by ing to the limitations of the liability of the owners of means of said fire, exceeded the value of the said vessels, shall apply to all sea-going vessels, aud also to steamboat and her freight on said voyage; that the all vessels used on lakes or rivers or iu inland navigafire was not caused by any negligence of the libellant, tion including canal-boats, barges and lighters.'” The or of the master and crew, and that by reason of the purport and effect of this section is apparent from an exception agaisst fire contained in the bills of lading inspection of the original Limited Liability Act, passed aud receipts, the libellant was not liable for the loss March 3, 1851. 9 St. 633. After exempting ship-ownand damage caused by said fire; that libellant did not ers from liability for loss or damage occasioned by fire kuow the cause of the fire, nor had any information as ou board of their ships, happening without any design to the cause, not being on board of the vessel at the or neglect of theirs, and for loss of precious metals or time; and that all the loss, destruction and damage to jewelry on which they or the masters of their vessels the bales of cotton happened by means of said fire, and have not received written notice; and declaring that that said fire was not caused by the design or neglect their liability shall in no caso exceed the value of their of the libellant, but was solely caused without his interest in the ship and freight then pending, for any privity or, knowledge. After an allegation that the loss, damage or injury to any property caused by the Savannah river is a navigable strenın lying partly in master, crew or other persons, without their privity or Georgia and partly in South Carolina, and that the kuowledge; and making other provisions for carrying contracts for carrying the cotton were maritime con- out the design of the act--a final clause is added in the traots, the libellapt proceeded to contest his entire lia- words following, to-wit: “This act shall not apply bility, under the act of Congress in that behalf, and to the owner or owners of any canal-boat, barge or under the bills of lading; and if he should be held lia- lighter, or to any vessel of any description whatever, ble he claimed the benefit of limited liability. The used in rivers or inland navigation.” The whole act libel concluded with the usual prayer for appraisement was afterward carried into the Revised Statutes, and of the vessel, and a monition to all persons claiming constitutes sections 4281-4289, inclusive, the section redamages to appear, etc., The petitioners, who now specting precious metals and jewelry having been come to this court for a prohibition, allege that they somewhat enlarged by an amendment made in 1871. The are cotton factors and commission merchants, resid- final words of the act above quoted constitute section

[ocr errors]

4289 of the Revised Statutes, which, as before stated, tawanna, the maritime law is only so far operative as was amended by the act of 1886 so as to make the Lim- law in any country as it is adopted by the laws and ited Liability Act apply to all kinds of vessels, not only usages of that country; and this particular rule of the sea-going vessels, but those used on lakes or rivers, or maritime law had never been adopted in this country, in inland navigation, including canal-boats, barges and until it was enacted by statute. Therefore while it is lighters. The fourth section of the act of 1886 also now a part of our maritime law, it is nevertheless statregulates the application of the eighteenth section of ute law.' And in Providence & N. Y. S. S. Co. v. Hill au act approved June 26, 1884 (23 St. 57), which reduced Manufacturing Co., it was said: The rule of limited the iudividual liability of a ship-owner for all debts liability prescribed by the act of 1851 is nothing more and liabilities of the ship to the proportion of his indi: than the old maritime rule, administered in courts of vidual share in the vessel. This section requires no admiralty in all countries except Eugland, from time further notice. The only question in the case there- | immemorial; and if this were not so, the subject-matfore is whether the fourth section of the act of 1886, ter itself is one that belongs to the department of extending the Limited Liability Act to vessels used maritime law.' Page 593. These quotations are beou a river in inlaud navigation, like the steamboat in lieved to express tbe general, if not unanimous, views question is, as contended, unconstitutional and void. of the members of this court for nearly twenty years

It is unnecessary to inquire whether the section is past, and they leave us in no doubt, that while the valid as to all the kinds of vessels named in it; if it is general maritime law, with slight modifications, is acvalid as to the kind to which the steamboat Katie be- | cepted as law in this country, it is subject to such longs, it is sufficient for the purposes of this case. And amendments as Congress may see fit to adopt. One this question, we think, can be solved by a reference of the modifications of the maritime law, as received to two or three propositions which have become the bere, was a rejection of the law of limited liability. settled law of this country. It is unnecessary to in. We have recited tbat. Congress has restored that arvoke the power given to Congress to regulate com- ticle to our Maritime Code. We cannot doubt its power merce with foreign nations, and among the several to do this. As the Constitution extends the judicial States, in order to find authority to pass the law in power of the United States to 'all cases of admiralty question. The act of Congress which limits the lia- | and maritime jurisdiction,' and as this jurisdiction is bility of ship-owners was passed in amendment of held to be exclusive, the power of legislation on the the maritime law of the country, and the power to same subject must necessarily be in the National Legmake such amendments is co-extensive with that law. | islature, and not in the State Legislatures. It is true It is not confined to the boundaries or class of subjects we have held that the boundaries and limits of the adwhich limit and characterize the power to regulate miralty and maritime jurisdiction are matters of judicommerce; but in maritime matters, it extends to all cial coguizance, and cannot be affected or controlled matters and places to which the maritime law extends. by legislation, whether State or National. Chief JusThe subject has frequently been up for consideration tice Taney, in The St. Lawrence, 1 Black, 522, 526, 527; by this court for many years past, and but ove view The Lottawanna, 21 Wall. 558, 575, 576. But within has been expressed. It was gone over so fully however these boundaries and limits the law itself is that which in the late case of Butler 1. Steamship Co., 130 U. S. has always been received as maritime law in this 527, that we cannot do better than to quote a single country, with such amendments and modifications as passage from the opinion of the court in that case. We Congress may from time to time bave adopted. It bethere said: “The law of limited liability, as we have ing clear then that the law of limited liability of shipfrequently had occasion to assert, was enacted by Con- owners is a part of our Maritime Code, the extent of gress as a part of the maritime law of this country, its territorial operation (as before intimated) cannot and therefore it is 00-extensive, in its operation, with be doubtful. It is necessarily co-extensive with that the whole territorial domain of that law. Norwich Co. of the general admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, v. Wright, 13 Wall. 104, 127; The Lottavanna, 21 id. and that by the settled law of this country extends 558, 577 ; The Scotland, 105 U. S. 24, 29, 31; Providence wherever publio navigation extends — on the sea and & N. Y. S. S. Co. v. Hill Manufacturing Co., 109 id. the great inland lakes, and the navigable waters con578, 593. In The Lottawanna we said: 'It cannot be necting therewith. Waring v. Clarke, 5 How. 441; The supposed that the framers of the Constitution contem- Genesee Chief v. Fitzhugh, 12 id. 443; Jackson v. The plated that the law should forever remain unalterable. Magnolia, 20 id. 286; The Commerce, 1 Black, 574." Congress undoubtedly bas authority under the com- Pages 575-577. mercial power, if no other, to introduce such changes It being established therefore that the law of limas are likely to be needed.' Page 577. Again on page ited liability is part of the inaritime law of the United 575, speaking of the maritime jurisdiction referred to States, it only remains to determine whether that law in the Constitution, and the system of law to be ad- may be applied to navigable rivers above tide-water, ministered thereby, it was said: "The Constitution such as the Savannah river, and to vessels engaged in must have referred to a system of law co-extensive commerce on such a river, like the steamboat Katie, with, and operating uniformly in, the whole country. | in this case. Of this there can be no doubt whatever. It certainly could not have been the intention to place The question has been settled by a long course of de the rules and limits of the maritime law under the dis- cisions, some of which are here referred to: The Gen. posal and regulation of the several States, as that esee Chief v. Fitzhugh, 12 How, 443; Fretz v. Bull, id. would have defeated the uniformity and consistenoy 466; Jackson v. The Magnolia, 20 id. 296: Nelson v. at which the Constitution aimed on all subjects of a Leland, 22 id. 48; The Commerce, 1 Black, 574; The commercial character affecting the intercourse of the Hine v. Trevor, 4 Wall. 555; The Belfast, 7 id. 6:24; The States with each other or with foreign States.' In The Eagle, 8 id. 15; The Daniel Ball, 10 id. 557 ; The MonScotland this language was used: ‘But it is enough to tello, 20 id. 430; Ex parte Boyer, 109 U. S. 629. In all say that the rule of limited responsibility is now our of these cases it was held that the admiralty and marimaritime rule. It is the rule by which, through the time jurisdiction granted to the Federal government act of Congress, we have announced that we propose by the Constitution of the United States is not limto administer justice in maritime cases.' Page 31. ited to tide-waters, but extends to all public navigable Again in the same case (p. 29) we said: • But while lakes and rivers. In some of the casos it was held disthe rule adopted by Congress is the same as the rule tinctly that this jurisdiction does not depend on the of the general maritime law, its efficacy as a rulo de- question of foreign or inter-State commerce, but also pends upon the statute, and not upon any inherent exists where the voyage or contract, if maritime in force of the maritime law. As explained in The Lot- l character, is made and to be performed wholly within

« AnteriorContinuar »