FEDERAL REPORTER t
obstacles in the river to. prevent the steamer from going to the right, on the New York side. Under these circumstances, the steamer is plainly in fault, for not observin,g the whistles of the Palrn,er; for not going to the right, as was her duty in that situation; and for making over, on the contrary, towards the Brooklyn side of the river. The Palmer seems to me to have done all that was incumbellt upon her, in the endeavor to avoid collision; and the libel must, therefore, be dismissed, with costs.
PRENTICE et al. v. UNITED STATES & OENTRAL AMERICAN STEAM:smp 00" (two cases.) 1 (District Court, S. D. New York. November 6, 1893.)
CHARTER PARTY-GENERAL AGENT OF COMPANy-AUTHORITY TO CHARTER.
When a steamship company, having no vessels of its own, had, by authority in writing, duly constituted one W. Its general agent, and he chartered two steamers by the authority of the board of directors, as l1e testified, but which authority was denied, and it appeared that he had previously chartered other vessels by similar charters, and the letter heads of the company expressly stated that W. was its general agent, and libelant dealt with him as such, held, that in such a case it was not necessary to produce record evidence of action by the board of directors, in order to bind the company; that W. had authority to make the charters; and that the company was liable to the shipowner for its refusal to accept the vessels under the charters.
In Admiralty. Libels for damages for refusal to accept chartered steamers. Decrees for libelants. . Convers & Kirlin, for libelants. F. E. Burrows, for respondents.
BROWN, District Judge. The above two libels were filed to recover damages for the refusal of the respondents to accept the steamships Aracuna and Burnley under two charters, dated March 21, 1893. The charters were negotiated and signed by R. Williams, Jr., the general agent of the respondents. The signature was "For the United States & Central American Steamship Company, R. Williams, Jr., General Agent." Due tender of the steamers was made to the defendant company, which refused to accept them. The defense is, an alleged want of authority in Williams to execute the charters on the defendant's behalf. The defendant was incorporated under the laws of West Virginia in 1892, for the purpose, among other things, of carrying on a maritime business in the transportation of passengers and freight between New York. Jamaica, and Central America. The company had no steamers of its own. It had entered upon its business, however, a few months before by the chartering of two other steamers before the present, both of which were chartered un'der instruments executed in the same manner as the charters in the prE!sent case. Williams, by due authority in writing, had been made the general agent of the company. He testifies that all the particulars of the negotiation before these charters were signed, were reI
Reported by E. G. Benedict, Esq., of the New York bar.
PRENTICE 1:. UNITED STATES & CENTRAL AMERICAN STEAMSHIP CO.
ported from time to time to the executive committee of the board of directors; and that when he had obtained orally the most favorable terms he could from the libelants, he was directed by the committee of the board to execute the charters in question, and that he then executed them accordingly. The president of the board was the only adverse witness examined. He testifies that no express authority of the board was given on the subject of these charters; and that no action was taken by the board as such, though he admitted that the matter had been spoken of with the members individually. It is not necessary, in cases like the present, to produce record evidence of action by the board of directors in order to bind the corporation. The chartering of vessels necessary to carry on the ordinary business of the company, was not an act of such importance, solemnity, or rarity, as necessarily to require any vote of the. board of directors. or of the executive committee, where no particular rules of the company require it; and here there is no evidence of any such rules or by·laws. The letter heads in daily use in the correspondence of the company, several of which are in evidence, expressly stated Mr. Williams to be the general agent of the company, and so held him out to the world. The libelants dealt with him as such. Previous charters. admitted to have been approved by the board. were executed by Mr. Williams as general agent, precisely in the same form as the present charters. There is no evidence that the act of chartering vessels was beyond the scope of the powers of a general agent, such as the company held out Mr. Williams to be. The very fact that in chartering the previous steamers the board authorized Mr. Williams to execute the charters as "general agent" of the company in the ordinary course of business, instead of having those charters executed under the seal of the company, and signed by the president and secretary, is of itself strong evidence that the execution of charters was an act appropriate to a general agent and within the scope of his ordinary powers, and that it was so regarded by the company. Even, therefore, if Mr.. Williams had exceeded his actual authority in executing the charters in question, I doubt whether the defense now m:;tde would have been available to the respondents. But the weight of evidence in the present case is, that he did have such authority. This does not rest on the testimony of the libelants alone. The letter of April 6, 1893, bearing the seal of the company, and the official signatures of both the president and the secI'(·tary, declares expressly that "this company has under charter the So S. Aracuna and Burnley; it is proposed to put these steamers on the Jamaica route. if established." I am quite satisfied, therefore, that these charters were executed by Mr. Williams, not merely under his lawful power as general but with the express knowledge and approval of the general officers, and of the board of directors of the company; that all 'Mr. Williams' negotiations were duly reported and known to the responsible officers of the company; and that the charters were approved by the executive committee before they were executed, and were ratified' by the board afterwards. The evidence indicates
that the subsequent refusal to the vessels when tendered, was only because the company then found itself in a straitened financial condition. Its refusal to accept the vessels may have been prudent; but that in no way absolved the company from its liability to make good the actual damages which the libelants have thereby sustained. Charters of vessels :have long been held to be maritime contracts; damages for the breach of such contracts are, therefore, recoverable in this court, as a court of admiralty. Ben. Adm. § 287. Decrees in each case for the libelants. with costs; with an order of reference to ascertain the damages, if not agreed upon.
THE BATTLER. (DIstrict Court, E. D. PennsylvanIa. November 14, 1893.) No. 115.
SHIPPING-LIMITATION OF LIABILITy-INTEREST.
Owners who surrender a vessel for the pUI'lpose of limiting liability cannot be reqUired to add interest on her appraised value from the time the .liability was Incurred, although they have long delayed the surrender.
SAME-GIVING BOND FOR VALUE.
Where the owners, instead of turning over the vessel herself, or paying her appraised value into court, elect to give a bond therefor, they may be required to provide for interest until such time as the money is paid.
In Admiralty. Petition by the owners of the steam tug Battler for limitation of liability in respect to the loss of the barges Tonawanda and Wallace. A libel against the tug was sustained, June . 2, 1893. ., See The Battler, 55 Fed. Rep. 1006. J. Rodman Paul and N. Dubois Miller, for owner of the Battler. Henry Flanders and Edward F. Pugh, for owners of barges sunk. John F. Lewis, for Western Assnrance Co. BUTLER, District Judge. The compensation earned by towage and salvage services is not "freight." The claim to have interest added to the appraised value of the vessel from time of the sinking of the barges Tonawanda and Wallace to this date, cannot be sustained. No case is found in which such a claim was allowed, or made. In The City of Norwich, 118 U. S. 492, [6 Sup. Ct. Rep. 1150,] and The Benefactor, 103 U. S. 239, there was equal reason for such a claim. The terms of the statute and the rules prescribed in pursuance of it, seem to forbid the demand. Assuming that the owners have not forfeited their rights by delay, as I do at present, (the question not being raised,) they are entitled to a discharge on turning over the vessel, or paying her value into court. It is proper, however, that they should provide for the payment of interest on her value until such time as the money is paid, if they prefer to give bond, instead of paying it at present. I have no doubt of the court's power. to require this. It was so decided in Re Harris, by the circuit court of appeals (2d Circuit, 57 Fed. Rep. 243.) The petitioners must therefore either turn over the vessel, pay in her appraised value, or enter into stipulation to pay it with interest, at such time as it may be required.