Post v. Jones - 60 U.S. 150 (1856)
U.S. Supreme Court
Post v. Jones, 60 U.S. 19 How. 150 150 (1856)
Post v. Jones
60 U.S. (19 How.) 150
It cannot be doubted that a master has power to sell both vessel and cargo, in certain cases of absolute necessity.
But this rule had no application to a wreck where the property is deserted or about to become so and the person who has it in his power to save the crew and salve the cargo prefers to drive a bargain with the master, and where the necessity is imperative because it is the price of safety.
No valid reason can be assigned for fixing the reward for salving derelict property at "not more than a half or less than a third of the property saved." The true principle in all cases is adequate reward according to the circumstances of the case.
Where the property salved was transported by the salvors from Behring's Straits to the Sandwich Islands and thence to New York, the salvage service was complete when the property was brought to a port of safety. The Court allowed the salvors the one-half for this service, and also freight on the other moiety from the Sandwich Islands to New York.
This was a libel filed by the owners of the ship Richmond and cargo under circumstances which are particularly stated in the opinion of the Court.
The district court dismissed the libel, thereby affirming the sales.
The circuit court reversed this decree and declared the
sales invalid, but that the respondents were entitled to a moiety of the net proceeds in the New York market of the articles brought in their respective ships and sold by the said respondents respectively, and that they pay to the owners of the Richmond the other moiety of the said proceeds, with interest, to be computed at the rate of seven percent per annum, from the dates of the sales of the said articles.
The claimants appealed to this Court.