Insurance Companies v. Wright,
68 U.S. 456 (1863)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Insurance Companies v. Wright, , 68 U.S. 456 (1863)

Insurance Companies v. Wright

68 U.S. (1 Wall.) 456

Syllabus

1. Where a written contract is susceptible on its face of a construction that is "reasonable," resort cannot be had to evidence of custom or usage to explain its language. And this general rule of evidence applies to an instrument so loose as an open or running policy of assurance, and even to one on which the phrases relating to the matter in contest are scattered about the document in a very disorderly way. NELSON and FIELD, JJ., dissenting from the rule, or from its application in this case, in which there was a clause that, as they conceived, made the evidence of usage proper.

2. The expression "rate," or "rating" of vessels, as used in policies of assurance, means relative state in regard to insurable qualities. Hence, where a policy requires that a vessel shall not be below a certain

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