AITCHESON fl. THE ENDLESS OHAIN DREDGE.
Wheat. Int. Law, § 202. The following is an extract from the eleventh article of the compact of 1786: "And process from the state of Virginia may be served on any part of the said rivers upon any person, or property of an)' person, not a citizen of Maryland, indebt.ed to any citizen of Virginia, or charged with injury having been by him com\nitted." That is to say, process in persortam and process in rem may each be served, either on claims arising in contract or in tort. The defendant at bar, the River & Harbor Dredging Company, chartered under the laws of the state of Virginia, is a citizen of Virginia, and being such citizen, is not embraced in the exception provided in the eleventh article in favor of citizens of Maryland; and hence this case, by the express terms of said compact, is one in which this court has jurisdiction. Process can only emanate from judicial tribunals, and the expression "persons or property" show it to have been the intention of the treaty that the process should issue in proceedings in rem as well as in personam. Proceedings in admiralty were necessarily in the contemplation of the treatymaking parties, as well as the ordinary proceedings at common law; for at that time the states had not been divested of their admiralty jurisdiction, the federal constitution not having been ratified until 1787-88. The federal constitution vested in the federal tribunals all the admiralty jurisdiction theretofore possessed by the states, and this court possesses all the admiralty jurisdiction which the state of Virginia had possessed prior to the adoption of the constitution of the United States, and all such other admiralty jurisdiction as may have been conferred by said constitution and laws made in pursuance thereof. If this court were without jurisdiction on the vast area of navigation formed by the Potomac river from Georgetown to the Chesapeake bay, the commercial classes would be remediless in a large number of cases of maritime torts and contracts, because of the fact that the state of Virginia is without constitutional authority to endow its tribunals with admiralty powers. It was never contemplated that such a state of affairs could by possibility exist, for the prime object of our government was to secure to all citizens an equal distribution of public protection, rights, and blessings. A fourth objection to the proceedings in this case, raised in a brief very lately received from respondent's counsel, is that th-e Endless Chain . Dredge is a domestic vessel built at and belonging to the port of Alexandria, and that, under several decisions of the supreme court of the United States, she is not liable in remj the general rule being that a vessel is not liable to admiralty process in her home port for materials and repairs furnished there. It is true that the supreme court has held generally that vessels are not so liable in their home ports; but it has qualified the general ruling by excepting the vessels of those states wqich, by express legislation, have given a right of action in rem against home vessels for materials and repairs furnished them at home. The general ruling was founded on the presumption that in a home port materials and repairs would naturally be furnished on the credit of the owner, not on the credit of the ship; and the exceptional ruling was founded on the v.40F.no.4-17 .
equallyMturalpresurription that; if a state a right · of nction against the vessel in rem, these men would furnish materials and· tepliirson the credit of the vessel,tather than of the owner. Hence the supreme necessarily held that the admiralty courts could properly, in states which give the prit--ilegium, "entertain libels in rem against domestic vessels. . It is hardly necessary for me to cite section 2963 oftheCode of Virginia nsshowing that this statenas given the right of action and lien under consideration upon steam-boats and other tafts and river craft, owned or found within the jurisdiction of Therp, are some credits due upon the account of libelants, filed with their libel. These admit of ea,sy lldjustment between counsel, otherwise I will refer the accounts to a cOmmissioner for settlement. I will then decree for the libelants.
t1. rHE CoMMODORE.
(.DI.8trl.ct Court, E. D. Virginia. August, 19, 1887.)1
SHIPPING-LIABILITY Ol!' VESSEL l!'on TORT.
A steam-dredge, which negligentlY leaves its anohor in a naVigable channel where , it been at work, is .liable in admiralty for damages OAusQd. to a vessel which runs into the anohor. .
'In Admiralty. Libel for daihiiges.' Sharp & Hughes, for libelimt. . .. \ 'HarnuinsO'll & Heath, for respondent. I . HUgHES; J. On themorni.ng of the 21st December, 1884, a steamer ofthe libelant, the Jane Moseley, after backing out from the cut which has been dug from the wha,rves at Cape Charles City to the channel Of Cherrystone river, in rounding into the channel with bow to the southward,' strt\ckananchor which was lying on the bottom where she. was sunlt,andsustaineddamages, which are the subject of this· Ifq\ll.. The Moseley hall been pulled out through the cut from the wharf i,ntothechannel, by a tug, before upon the anchor. The an· c.b,or had been originally used at or near that place by the master of the Qre<;lge Commodore, for holding the dredge fast while at work there; was left there, with a buoy attached, to the southern side of the entrallCe of the cut into the .channel; and had not been remov.ed the ofpiles now standing there had been put in that place. Theancho!was,lying under the water, with or without a buoy attached, when the Jane Moseley ran foul of it on the morning which has been mentioned.
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