JACKSON V. THE MAGNOLIA, 61 U. S. 296 (1857)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Jackson v. The Magnolia, 61 U.S. 20 How. 296 296 (1857)

Jackson v. The Magnolia

61 U.S. (20 How.) 296


The admiralty jurisdiction of the courts of the United States extends to cases of collision upon navigable waters although the place of such collision may be within the body of a county of a state, and may be above the flux and reflux of the tide.

The district courts exercise this jurisdiction over fresh water rivers "navigable from the sea" by virtue of the Judiciary Act of 1789, and not as conferred by the act of 1845, which extends their jurisdiction to the Great Lakes and waters "not navigable from the sea."

This case came up on an appeal from the judgment of the district court dismissing the libel for want of jurisdiction after the following agreement had been filed:

"Be it remembered that on the trial of this cause, which was a libel in admiralty, it was agreed that the question of jurisdiction should be submitted to the court on the facts hereinafter stated, which were admitted to be true, and if the court should be of the opinion that the court had jurisdiction of the cause, then the cause should be submitted to a jury for trial. But if the court should be of opinion that it was without jurisdiction, the libel would be dismissed, and in the event an appeal was taken to the Supreme Court of the United States and the judgment of that Court should reverse the judgment of this Court, then the cause should be remanded to this Court for trial."

"The court agreed so to try the question of jurisdiction on the facts, which are admitted to be as follows:"

"The steamboat Wetumpka was a vessel engaged in navigation and commerce

Page 61 U. S. 297

between the port of New Orleans, in Louisiana, and the port of Montgomery, in Alabama, and was regularly licensed and enrolled as a coasting vessel, and was of more than thirty tons burden. The steamboat Magnolia was a boat regularly licensed and enrolled for the coasting trade, but was built for a packet boat to be employed between Mobile, Alabama, and Montgomery, Alabama. She was built in the western country and brought round to this state, and has ever since been engaged in running between Mobile and Montgomery, and has never been engaged in any other trade."

"The collision which is the subject of the libel against the Magnolia took place between her and the Wetumpka on the Alabama River about two hundred miles above tidewater. The Magnolia is a boat of over thirty tons burden. The foregoing are the facts in which the question of jurisdiction is submitted to the Court, together with the libel and claim, and answer thereto."


"For the Magnolia and Claimants"


"For the Libellants"

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