MOREWOOD V. ENEQUIST, 64 U. S. 491 (1859)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Morewood v. Enequist, 64 U.S. 23 How. 491 491 (1859)

Morewood v. Enequist

64 U.S. (23 How.) 491


The admiralty jurisdiction of the courts of the United States extends to contracts of charter party and affreightment. These are maritime contracts within the true meaning and construction of the Constitution and act of Congress, and cognizable in courts of admiralty by process either in rem or in personam.

Appellants should not expect this Court to reverse a decree of the circuit court merely upon a doubt created by conflicting testimony.

This was a case in admiralty arising under the following circumstances:

The brig Gothland, owned by Enequist, was chartered by Burt, Myrtle & Co., of Batavia, to proceed to Padung, on the island of Sumatra, there to receive a quantity of coffee; to return thence to Batavia and complete her cargo, and deliver the same in New York, freight to be paid by the assignees of the bills of lading on delivery of the cargo.

It was admitted that the bills of lading were assigned for value to the appellants, composing the firm of G. B. Morewood & Company.

Page 64 U. S. 492

Enequist first filed a libel in rem against the cargo for the amount of the freight, but after some proceedings which it is not necessary to mention, this action was discontinued, and a libel in personam filed, which is the present case. The respondents alleged that, owing to the neglect of the carrier, the coffee, black pepper, and cassia were damaged to the amount of $4,720.60, which they claimed as a deduction from the freight. The whole freight claimed was $9,160.56, with interest from April, 1853.

The district court referred the case to a commissioner, who reported that the freight due in September, 1857, was $11,372.56, for which amount a decree was rendered, with costs.

The case, being carried to the circuit court, was there tried on the appeal from the district court and on additional evidence taken by the respondents. The decree of the district court was affirmed with costs, and the respondents appealed to this Court.

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