Howland v. Greenway - 63 U.S. 491 (1859)
U.S. Supreme Court
Howland v. Greenway, 63 U.S. 22 How. 491 491 (1859)
Howland v. Greenway
63 U.S. (22 How.) 491
The regulations at the port of Rio Janeiro require the master of a foreign vessel, upon her arrival at the port, to deliver to the proper officer, upon his visit to the vessel, his passport, manifest, and list of passengers. He is also required, at the end of the manifest, to make such declarations or statement for his security by adding any packages that may be omitted or exceeded in the manifest, giving his reason for such omissions; no excuse will afterwards be admitted for any omissions or error.
The regulations further declare that when it is proved that the vessel brought more goods than are specified or contained in the manifest, and not declared by the master, such goods will be seized and divided among the seizors, the master also paying into the national treasury a fine of one-half their value, besides the customary duties thereon.
Where the master of a vessel omitted to enter a part of the cargo upon his manifest, and in consequence thereof the boxes were seized and confiscated, the vessel and her owners were responsible to the consignees upon a libel filed in the district court of New York, where the contract of affreightment was made.
A delivery into the custom house under the order of the officers, and the payment of duties by the consignees, did not discharge the contract of the owners. The delivery contemplated by the contract was a transfer of the property into the power and possession of the consignees.
The evidence upon the amount of damages is not such as to justify this Court in reversing the decree of the court below.
This was a libel filed in the district court, sitting in admiralty, against the barque Griffin and her owners, by Greenway and Dickson, on a contract of affreightment. The circumstances are stated in the opinion of the court.
The district court passed the following decree:
"This cause having been heard on the exceptions to the commissioner's report, and argued by the advocate for the respective parties:"
"On reading the report of George F. Betts, Esq., United States commissioner, to whom the above matters were referred, by which there is reported due the libellant, on the bill of lading referred to in the libel, the sum of sixty-nine hundred and eleven dollars and fifty-two cents, on motion of Messrs. Weeks & De Forrest, proctors for the libellants, it is ordered that the report be in all things confirmed, and that the libellants recover in this action against the barque Griffin, her tackle &c., the amount reported due, with interest thereon from the date of the report, together with their costs to be taxed, and that the said barque, her tackle &c., be condemned therefor. And on like motion it is further ordered, that out of the proceeds of the stipulations of the claimants for cost and value, when paid into the registry of this Court, the clerk of this Court pay to the libellants or their proctor the amount reported due, together with their taxed costs. And on like motion of Messrs. Weeks & De Forrest, proctors for the libellants, it is further ordered, that unless an appeal be taken to
this decree, with the time limited and prescribed by the rules and practice of this Court, that on payment into the registry of the court of the amount of the stipulations for costs and value, that the clerk distribute the proceeds in satisfaction of this decree."
This decree was affirmed by the circuit court, and the owners of the barque appealed to this Court.