The Thomas Jefferson
23 U.S. 428

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

The Thomas Jefferson, 23 U.S. 10 Wheat. 428 428 (1825)

The Thomas Jefferson

23 U.S. (10 Wheat.) 428

Syllabus

The district court has not jurisdiction of a suit for wages earned on a voyage in a steam vessel from Shippingport, in the State of Kentucky, up the River Missouri and back again to the port of departure as a cause of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction.

The admiralty has no jurisdiction over contracts for the hire of seamen except in cases where the service is substantially performed upon the sea or upon waters within the ebb and flow of the tide.

But the jurisdiction exists although the commencement or termination of the voyage is at some place beyond the reach of the tide. It is sufficient if the service is essentially a maritime service.

Quaere whether, under the power to regulate commerce among the several states, Congress may not extend the remedy by the summary process of the admiralty to the case of voyages on the western waters.

However this may be, the Act of 1790, c. 29, for the government and regulation of seamen in the merchant service confines the remedy in the district courts to such cases as ordinarily belong to the admiralty jurisdiction.

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