Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

facilities of saving shipwrecked persons and property, then the proportions of salvage, hitherto decreed to them, must be diminished also. Until then, unless I shall be sooner instructed differently by a superior tribunal, I shali continue to vindicate the policy, which seeks to lessen the perils of navi. gation, by insuring the present steady employment of wreckers on this coast.

But their compensation must not be too high, or else it will defeat its own object; and owners, instead of being benefited by their services, will be driven to an abandonment of their property to pay the salvage and ex. penses. It must be restricted within proper and reasonable limits ; and while, on the one hand, it should be sufficiently liberal to afford adequate encouragement to the wrecker, on the other, it should not be so large as to overburden the property charged with it.

Having thus briefly reviewed some of the leading cases of salvage, and noted the principles that governed their decision, I proceed now to consider the question, What is a reasonable salvage in the present case? The facts of the case have already been detailed. They show that the Montgomery and cargo were exposed to considerable danger. The master might possibly have extricated them, but he could have done so only by a jettison of a large portion of his cargo. Had he by such means gotten his ship afloat, and she had again gone ashore, in her damaged condition, she would probably have been totally lost. My experience of the loss of many vessels on this reef in similar situations, induces the belief that the exer. tions of the actors, if not the very means of saving this ship and cargo, greatly contributed thereto.

A prominent feature in the merit of the salvors, is the promptness with which their services were rendered. This is a quality highly commended in this court upon grounds of policy. A single anchor opportunely carried out, the assistance of a single wrecking vessel for half an hour, will often save a large amount of property from total loss. Bis dat, qui cito dat. On the other hand, tardiness in rendering such apparently slight, but really valuable services, is severely reprehended. The shares of the masters of the principal wrecking vessels, in the case of the barque Howard, although they had clearly saved the barque and cargo from total loss, were nevertheless forfeited, because they did not give that prompt and early assist. ance they might have done.

Viewing the case in all its relations, and comparing it with many other similar cases decided in this court, my opinion is, that the one-fourth of the value of the ship and cargo is a reasonable salvage. This proportion will give to the salvors the sum of $10,178—the ship and cargo having been appraised at $40,712. It is to be divided among the several vessels and their crews concerned, as their interests are set forth in the libel. Their great number will reduce the share of each man to about sixty dollars. The salvage upon the cargo must be paid in kind, and the salvage upon the ship in money. The decree will direct the officers of the court to set off and deliver to the libellants, as salvage upon the cargo, 275 bales of cotton of average weight and quality; and that time be given until the 20th of April, for the payment by the master, owners, or underwriters, of $875, as the salvage on the ship.

Another branch of this case still remains to be disposed of. The master has filed a petition, praying the appointment of surveyors, and, if proper, a condemnation and sale of the ship. Surveyors have been appointed, and

they have reported that her necessary repairs in this port will cost $7,035 ; that her present value here is $3,500, and that she will be worth, when repaired, $10,000. They advise that she be condemned and sold, rather ihan repaired here. But they say that she may be safely navigated to a northern port, after receiving slight repairs, and there repaired at an expense of $5,276.

I have no doubt of the jurisdiction of admiralty courts to order surveys, and to decree a condemnation and sale of vessels, whether such proceeding be an incident of some other suit or not. It is a highly useful jurisdiction too; and, if it were more frequently invoked, it would prevent many improper and fraudulent condemnations in distant ports. But the power to order a condemnation and sale of a vessel, on the ground of unseaworthi. ness, should be cautiously exercised. It is a power susceptible of great abuse. Before making such decree the judge should be satisfied that it is applied for in perfect good faith towards all parties interested, and that the vessel is so damaged as that no prudent man would think of repairing her. Vide case of the brig William Henry, decided in this court, 1839. To apply this rule to the present case-I am satisfied that the application is made in good faith towards all persons interested. The master does not seek the condemnation and sale in a manner that creates suspicions of any sinister motive. He simply submits the question, and prays the advice of the court. I am satisfied too, that no prudent man would think of repair. ing her in this port; but I am not satisfied that she may not be navigated to some other port and repaired to an advantage. I cannot, therefore, order the ship condemned, as irreparably unseaworthy, and sold.

The clerk will make out the decree in form, according to the directions given, and submit it to the court for final approval.

ART. VIII.-AGRICULTURE, COMMERCE, AND MANUFAC.

TURES.

The following extract from the annual message of President Adams to congress, December, 1828, has been sent us with reference to the article in the December number of this Magazine, on “the comparative advantages of agriculture, commerce, and manufactures," as there is a coincidence of views :

“In our country, a uniform experience of forty years has shown that whatever the tariff of duties on imported articles has been, the amount of importations has always borne an average value, nearly approaching to that of the exports, though occasionally differing in the balance, sometimes being more and sometimes less. It is indeed a law of prosperous commerce, that the real value of exports should, by a small, and only a small balance, exceed that of imports; that balance being a permanent addition to the wealth of the nation. The extent of the prosperous commerce of the na. tion must be regulated by the amount of its exports, and an important ad. dition to the value of these will draw after it a corresponding increase of importation. It has happened in the vicissitudes of the seasons, that the harvests of all Europe have, in the late summer and autumn, fallen short

of their usual average. A relaxation of the interdict on the importation of grain and flour from abroad has ensued ; a propitious market has been opened to the grainaries of our country, and a new prospect of reward presented to the labors of the husbandman, which for several years had been denied. This accession to the profits of agriculture, in the middle and western parts of our Union, is accidental and temporary; it may continue only for a single year. But we may consider it certain, that for the approaching year it has added an item of large amount to the value of our exports, and that it will produce a corresponding increase of importations. This new element of prosperity to that part of our agricultural population which is occupied in producing the first article of human subsistence, is of the most cheering character to the feelings of patriotism.

The great interests of an agricultural, commercial, and manufacturing nation are so linked in union together, that no permanent cause of prosperity to one of them can operate without extending its influence to the others. All these interests are alike under the protecting power of legisla. tive authority; and the duties of the representative bodies are to conciliate them in harmony together. So far as the object of taxation is to raise a revenue for discharging the debts and defraying the expenses of the country, it should, as much as possible, suit the burden with equal hand upon all, in proportion with their ability of bearing it without oppression. But the legislation of one nation is sometimes intentionally made to bear heavi. ly on the interest of another. That legislation, adapted, as it is meant to be, to the special interests of its own people, will often press most unequally on the several component interests of its neighbors. Thus, the legislation of Great Britain, when, as has recently been avowed, adapted to the des pression of a rival nation, will naturally abound with regulations of interdict upon the productions of the soil or industry of the other, which come in competition with its own; and will present encouragement, per. haps even bounty, to the raw material of the other state which it cannot produce itself; and which is essential for the use of its manufacturers, competitors in the markets and the world with those of its commercial rival.

“Such is the state of the commercial legislation of Great Britain, as it bears upon our interests. It excludes, with interdicting duties, all importations, except in time of approaching famine, of the great staple produc. tions of our middle and western states. It proscribes, with equal rigor, the bulk in lumber and live stock of the same portion, and also of the northern and eastern part of our Union. It refuses even the rice of the south, unless aggravated with a charge of duty upon the northern carrier who conveys it to them. But the cotton, indispensable for their looms, they will receive almost duty free, to weave it into a fabric for our own wear, to the destruction of our own manufactures, which they are enabled thus to undersell.

“Is the self-protecting energy of this nation so helpless, that there exists no power to counteract the bias of this foreign legislation ? That the growers of grain must submit to this exclusion from the foreign markets of their produce; and the shippers must dismantle their ships; the trade of the north stagnate at the wharves, and the manufacturers starve at their looms, while the whole people shall pay tribute to foreign industry, to be clad in a foreign garb? That the congress is impotent to restore the balance in favor of native industry, destroyed by the statutes of another VOL. III.NO II.

21

realm ?"_Mr. Adams proceeds to show, that commercial enterprise will not be impeded by a reasonable encouragement given to manufactures, nor the interests of navigation injured; but that these, so essential to national wealth and prosperity, would probably be extended.

RECENT PUBLICATIONS.

1. The History of Michigan, civil and topographical, in a compendious form, etc. By JAMES H. LANMAN. New York: E. French.

There is no more interesting portion of our extended territory than the west. Springing up within the memory of living man, from rude and uncultivated wastes into states second to none for intelligence and enterprise, developing daily new resources and new advantages, the future history of this section of country is reserved for those whose lot it will be to detail the important consequences of causes which seem to us even now remote. It is indeed impossible to estimate the gigantic results of civilization but from past experience, in any land, but the natural advantages of an extensive tract of country inhabited by a people of stern and stubborn independence, with all the intellect corresponding to the desire of making the best use of the facilities placed within their reach, under a pure and free republic, combined, bid fair to distance every competitor. The work before us purports to be a history of Michigan, civil and topographical, by James H. Lanman. That a work constructed on the plan adopted by Mr. Lanman was a desideratum, will not be doubted, and as to the manner in which the author has fulfilled his task, there can be as little. The style is concise and clear, and occasionally eloquent. Our author considers the history of Michigan as presenting three distinct epochs. The first is what he denominates the romantic, extending from the year 1760, when its dominion was transferred from France to Great Britain, a period, he says, “when the first beams of civilization had scarcely penetrated its forests, and the paddles of the French fur trade swept the lakes, and the boat songs of the traders awakened tribes as wild as the wolves which howl around their wigwams.

The second period is the military, dating downward from the Pontiac war, and the successive encounters of the British Indians and Americans for dominion; and the third he terms the enterprising, hardy, practical, mechanical age of Michigan.

The work opens with a general view of the French colonization, and brings the history of the state down to the present time; and as far as we have been able to decide, the entire volume we are disposed to pronounce one of the most useful and entertaining works published on this fruitful subject. Our author is disposed to give Michigan a preference over the other northwestern states, from the fact of its being encircled by the great lakes, and the possession of a fertile soil, various in its character, and capable of holding a dense population. The rapid increase of the population in Michigan may be traced from the official revision. In 1810, it was estimated at 4,762 ; in 1820, 8,896 ; in 1830, 31,639; in 1838, 175,000. The work of Mr. Lanman is entitled to high commendation. It contains much valuable statistical information, as well as an appendix of documents relating to the early history and government of the state.

2. A Description of the Canals and Railroads of the United States, com.

prehending Notices of all the Works of Internal Improvement through., out the several States. By H. S. TANNER. New York: Tanner & Disturnell. 8vo. 1840.

The present volume, accompanied by a map of the United States ex. hibiting the canals and railroads, is well calculated to elucidate, fully, the extent, courses, etc., of those great works, to which the attention of foreigners, in common with our own countrymen, is directed. In the arrangement of the several topics, particular care appears to have been taken to embody, under the head of each state, all the canals and railroads which exist in it; besides a variety of interesting facts of a useful character, relative to the designation, points of commencement and termina. tion, general course, locality, length, point of greatest elevation, ascent, cost of construction, present condition, etc., of each canal and railroad in the United States, as far as the requisite data could be obtained. The volume embodies a vast amount of information connected with the rise, progress, and present condition of internal improvements, and must have cost Mr. Tanner great care and labor. Errors will undoubtedly be discovered in the work by those who are familiar with the details of any of the works mentioned. We are, however, inclined to the opinion that it is as free from these as works of the kind generally.

3. Universal History, from the Creation of the World to the Decease of

George III., 1820. By ALEXANDER FRASER Tytler and Rev. EDWARD NARES, D.D. In six volumes. New York: Harper & Brothers.

This is a standard work, and we are pleased to see it appear in a form so convenient for general use, and so cheap withal - no small recommen. dation in these hard times. _The Messrs. Harper have very properly as. signed a place to it in their Family Library, so deservedly popular for the large number of excellent volumes which it contains. It is, perhaps, the highest merit of Professor Tytler, as an historical writer, that he is emi. nently philosophical and moral—ever mindful of the fact, that history is principally valuable for the practical instruction to be derived from it—ihat its noblest end is to make men wiser and better, through the experience of others. Hence it is, that his Universal History abounds with judicious and appropriate reflections, suggested by the incidents of the narrative, and rendered doubly striking and impressive in this connection ; so that, from this circumstance alone, without considering its many other excellences, there is probably no similar work that may be read with such decided advantage.

In speaking of history we would take this occasion to remark, that, as a study, it cannot be too highly recommended; nor is there, we are con. fident, any class of persons to whom this study is more important than to merchants. To be thoroughly accomplished in their profession, they should have an extensive and accurate knowledge of men-of their cha. racter, their conduct under given circumstances, and the motives by which they are ordinarily actuated—of the different states of society under which they are found to exist, their different laws, customs, habits, etc. ; and how is this full and perfect knowledge to be obtained, but by consulting the ample records of history?

« AnteriorContinuar »