St John v. Paine

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St John v. Paine by Samuel Nelson
Syllabus
Court Documents
Opinion of the Court

United States Supreme Court

51 U.S. 557

ST JOHN  v.  PAINE

THIS was an appeal from the Circuit Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York.

The circumstances of the case will be best explained by inserting the libel and answer, which were as follows:

'To the Honorable Samuel R. Betts, Judge of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York.

'The libel and complaint of Zebulon A. Paine of Eastport, in the state of Maine, owner of one half part of the schooner Iole, and owner of part of the cargo lately shipped on board thereof; Sarah Norwood of Eastport, in the state of Maine, aforesaid, owner of the other half part of the said schooner; John Bucknam, owner of part of the cargo lately shipped on board thereof; Andrew Bradford, owner of part of the cargo also lately shipped on board thereof; Joseph Sumner, master of the said schooner; James McCollar, mate thereof; Ambrose Tucker, James Woorster, seamen, and Henry Cuff, cook, all of said schooner; and Augustus Norton of Eastport, a passenger on board of the said schooner, against the steamboat Neptune, all parties intervening for their interest in the same, in a cause of civil and maritime jurisdiction.

'And thereupon the libellants allege and propound respectively upon and according to their respective best knowledge, information, and belief, as follows:--

'1st. That the said schooner Iole, belonging and owned in Eastport, aforesaid, whereof the said Joseph Sumner was master, on or about the 7th of July, 1846, set sail and departed from the port of Eastport, in the state of Maine, aforesaid, with the said Joseph Sumner as master, having on board of said schooner a cargo consisting of laths, pickets, plaster, fish in barrels, thirty empty barrels, and two barrels of beer, and two packages of money, bound for the port of New York; and that the said schooner was then tight, stanch, and strong, and well manned, tackled, apparelled, and appointed, and was, in every respect, fit for the voyage the so undertook.

'2d. That in the evening of the 14th day of July, aforesaid, the said schooner, with three passengers, and with the said cargo on board, had successfully proceeded in and upon her said voyage past and about one mile to the south of the light-boat stationed off the Middle Ground, a shoal nearly opposite to Stratford Point, and that the said schooner passed the light-boat, being about one mile to the southward thereof.

'That the said schooner was then steering about a west course, the wind being nearly from the north; that the night was clear, and the said vessel could be easily discerned at a considerable distance; that whilst sailing upon her course, about west, with a fresh wind, going at from six to eight knots per hour, and a short time after the said schooner had passed the said light-boat, and between the hours of nine and ten o'clock at night, on the high seas, and within the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction of this court, she was negligently run against and into, by the said steamboat Neptune, which steamboat eas then and there proceeding down the Sound from the city of New York; and the said steamboat then and there run and struck against the hull of the said schooner, between the fore and main rigging, on her larboard side, with such great force and violence as to break and tear open the hull of the said schooner, and cut her nearly in two, so that she filled and sunk almost immediately; and the said vessel and her cargo, and the clothes, money, and personal effects of the crew and passengers were totally lost; and two of the passengers, viz., a female named Murphy, and her child, were drowned.

'3d. That the crew of said schooner and one of the passengers, viz ., the libellant Augustus Norton, saved their lives by jumping from the said schooner on to the deck of the said steamboat; that they made inquiries for the captain of the said steamboat, but could find no captain on board; that they asked those on board of said steamboat to despatch a boat with assistance, to endeavor to save the lives of the woman and child aforesaid; but that, no assistance being offered or given, two of the crew of the said schooner, with two of the passengers of the steamboat, took the small boat of the said steamboat, and went in search of the said female and child, but that their efforts were unavailing, the said schooner having sunk, and the said female and child having disappeared.

'4th. That the said steamboat was at the time aforesaid carelessly, improperly, and unskilfully navigated, and that the loss of the said schooner, with the cargo on board thereof, and the clothes, money, and effects of the crew and passengers, and the lives of the said female and child, was occasioned solely by the fault, carelessness, and unskilful management of the said steamboat. That the crew, and those having the control and management of the said steamboat, as your libellants are informed and believe, were inexperienced in the command of the said steamboat, and were incompetent, unskilful, and insufficient, or else were careless and negligent, and by their want of skill, or carelessness and negligence, occasioned the said disaster, without the fault of the said schooner and her crew. That Long Island Sound, where the disaster occurred, is very wide, and there was ample room for the said steamboat to have passed and avoided that said schooner without any difficulty whatever.

'5th. That the said schooner or vessel, called the Iole, her tackle, apparel, and furniture, at the time of the said collision, was of the value of three thousand dollars of thereabouts, and was owned and possessed as follows; that is to say, the libellant Zebulon A. Paine was the owner of one equal half part thereof, and the libellant, Sarah Norwood was the owner of the other half part thereof.

'6th. That the libellant Zebulon A. Paine was at the time of the said collision the owner of two hundred thousand laths, 4900 pickets, and 1725 § pickets, thirty-five tons of plaster, and thirty-nine barrels of fish, shipped by him on board of the said schooner upon the said voyage, which were of the value of five hundred and fifty dollars, or thereabouts, and which cargo so shipped by him was totally lost by the said collision.

'7th. That the libellant John Bucknam was at the time of the said collision the owner of thirty-six barrels of pickled fish, which he had shipped at Eastport aforesaid, on board of the said schooner, and which was totally lost by the said collision, and which last-mentioned cargo was of the value of one hundred and seventeen dollars or thereabouts.

'8th. That the libellant Andrew Bradford was at the time of the said collision owner of thirty empty beer-barrels, and two barrels containing beer, which he had shipped on board of the said schooner at Eastport aforesaid, to be carried to New York, and which last-mentioned cargo was totally lost by the said collision.

'9th. That the libellants Zebulon A. Paine and Sarah Norwood have also lost, in consequence of the said collision, the freight and passage money which the said schooner would have earned upon the delivery of said cargo in New York, and have been deprived of the use and employment of the said schooner, and have been interrupted in their business and mercantile pursuits, to their great loss and damage.

'10th. That the libellant Joseph Sumner saith, that he was the owner of, and had on board of the said schooner at the time of the collision aforesaid, and totally lost, the articles, property, and effects enumerated and specified in the schedule hereto annexed, marked A, which he prays may be taken as a part thereof; which articles, property, and effects are truly valued in the said schedule.

'That the libellant James McCollar saith, that he had on board, and was the owner of, at the time of the said collision, and totally lost, the articles, property, and effects specified in schedule B, hereto annexed, and which he prays may be taken as a part of this libel, and that the value of said several articles is truly set forth therein. That the libellant Ambrose Tucker saith, that he was the owner of, and had on board of the said schooner at the time aforesaid, and totally lost, the property and effects specified, and being of the value stated, in schedule C, hereto annexed, and which he prays may be taken as a part of this libel. That the libellant James Woorster saith, that he was at the time of the said collision the owner of, and had on board the said schooner, and totally lost by the said collision, the property and effects specified and being of the value stated in the schedule hereto annexed, marked D, and which he prays may be taken as a part of this libel. That the libellant Henry Cuff said, that he was the owner of, and had on board of the said schooner at the time of the collision aforesaid, and totally lost, the articles mentioned in the schedule hereto annexed, marked E, being of the value therein stated, and which schedule he prays may be taken as a part of this libel. That the libellants Joseph Sumner, James McCollar, Ambrose Tucker, James Woorster, and Henry Cuff, were sailing in and on board of the said schooner, on monthly wages, and that they have been thrown out of employ and put to much expense and loss.

'That the libellant Augustus Norton saith, that he was a passenger on board of said schooner, and that he was the owner of, and had on board at the time of the said collision, the property and effects specified in schedule F, hereto annexed, and which he prays may be taken as a part of this libel; and that the said property and effects are truly valued in the said schedule, and they were wholly lost to him, and that in consequence he is now destitute, having saved nothing but one shirt, and that he has suffered great inconvenience, anxiety, and delay by reason of the said loss.

'11th. That after information of the loss of the said schooner and her cargo, as aforesaid, was received in New York, the libellants' agents in said city caused application to be made to George Law, who, as they are informed and believe, was at the time of the said collision the owner of the said steamboat, to pay the damages which the steamboat had improperly, carelessly, and negligently occasioned as aforesaid, but that he refused to comply with such request.

'12th. That all and singular the matters aforesaid are true, and within the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction of this honorable court, and that the said vessel, here tackle, apparel, &c., is within the district, and in verification thereof, if denied, the libellants crave leave to refer to the depositions and other proofs to be by them exhibited in this cause.

'Wherefore the libellants pray, thay process in due form of law, according to the course and practice of courts of admiralty, and of this honorable court in causes of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, may issue against the said steamboat Neptune, her tackle, apparel, and furniture, and that all persons having or pretending to have any right, title, or interest therein may be cited to appear and answer upon oath all and singular the premises. And that this honorable court will be pleased to pronounce for the damages aforesaid, and to decree such other relief to the libellants as shall to law and justice appertain.

Notes[edit]

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).