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Opin on of the court.

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that there was a contract to carry it safely. And the steamer would be equally liable if the barge had been left at the landing by the fault of the officers of the boat. But the evidence not only fails to prove this, but establishes the coutrary conclusion. The only witness on the part of the libellant, whose testimony has any bearing on the subject, is his bookkeeper. He says, that on the night in question he gave to the second clerk of the steamer, who was on the levee checking freight, two bills of lading, with the statement (of this he is not positive), "These are the bills of that barge,' to which the clerk made some assenting remark. But the clerk denies that he knew the contents of the papers when handed to him, or that anything was said at the time from which he could infer their contents. And his subsequent conduct shows that the observation of the bookkeeper, if any was made, failed to arrest his attention; for he put the papers in his pocket and remained on the levee until he had completed his work, and afterwards, without examining them, placed them in the condition in which they were received by him on the desk of the first clerk.

If he is not mistaken in his recollection, that the first clerk was present on the occasion, and that he told him "here are the bills" (which is very doubtful from the evidence), yet it is manifest the first clerk attached no importance to the bills, for he did not notice them until after daylight, when the Keokuk was far on her way to La Crosse. Each clerk, doubtless, acted on the supposition that the other knew to what particular freight the bills related, but it seems both were equally uninformed concerning them. It is not pretended that in any other way than this, was any information conveyed to any one connected with the boat of the intended shipment of grain by the libellant. Neither the master, nor any person on the steamer, or in the employment of the company, had notice that he had taken the barge and loaded it with grain, or that he contemplated doing so. If it be conceded the course of business between the two parties justified him in taking possession of the barge and loading it, without the direct permission of the master, yet it falls far

Opinion of the court.

short of showing that the barge, when loaded, was considered in the custody of the steamer without notice to any of her officers. Indeed, it would be unreasonable to suppose the parties dealt with each other on any such understanding, for it would place the advantage altogether on the side of the shipper, who would be relieved of care and risk as soon as the barge was filled with grain, and the master could exercise no discretion about receiving it.

As there was, then, no agreement in this case which changed the legal rights of the parties, it is clear the steamer is not subject to a maritime lien. The wheat and barge were, at the time of the accident, in the control of the libellant, and their custody was not changed by handing unsigned bills of lading to the second clerk of the steamer, who did not know their contents, nor had any reason to suppose they related to the barge Farley. It was the misfortune of the libellant that he transacted his business so loosely, and if it be the corporation is somewhat to blame for this, the steamer has not on that account committed any fault for which she is chargeable in admiralty. As no one in her behalf contracted with the libellant to transport the barge to La Crosse, and as he did nothing to transfer the possession to the steamer, the libel cannot be sustained.

The case of Bulkley v. Naumkeag Cotton Company is cited in opposition to the views we have presented, but it is not applicable. There the goods were delivered to a lighter in the control of the ship; here the shipper took control of the barge, and did not deliver either barge or cargo to the


The decree of the Circuit Court is REVERSED, and this cause is remanded to that court with directions to


Statement of the case.


A steam vessel entering a short, narrow, and artificial channel, in some parts shoal, such as the "Straight Cut" at Milwaukee in which it is liable to meet tugs coming from the other end with tows, is bound to exercise caution as to the way it enters and proceeds, and to have and keep itself, both as to course and rate and speed, entirely under control

APPEAL from the Circuit Court for the District of Wis consin.

The owners of the schooner Winslow libelled the propeller Alleghany in the District Court for Wisconsin, to recover compensation for a collision by which the schooner had been greatly injured and sunk. The catastrophe occurred on a mild morning of May, when there was no wind, and nothing to obstruct the vision of those who had charge of the propeller, in what is known as the "Straight Cut" at Milwaukee, a sort of canal which makes the harbor entrance from the Milwaukee River to Lake Michigan, and of which an idea will perhaps be conveyed by a diagram on page 523. Although the testimony was in some particulars very conflicting, the controlling facts were either admitted in the answer, or were satisfactorily proved.

The cut is eleven hundred and fifty feet in length, and about two hundred and sixty feet in width between its piers. Its course is from east to west, and it enters the river nearly at right angles. At its west end, though between the piers, there is a bar extending inward from the north pier toward the middle of the cut, and, of course, reducing the depth of the water. The schooner had left her dock in the river, and she was proceeding out through the cut into the lake, in tow of the steamtug Muir, and about twenty-five feet astern of the tug. Shortly after leaving the dock the propeller was seen entering the eastern end of the cut from the lake, and the tug signalled to her by one whistle to keep to the starboard or north side. To this signal the propeller responded by a similar signal, thus announcing an intention to pass the tug and the schooner on their port side. A second signal

Statement of the case.

to the same effect was given by the tug when the vessels were nearer each other, but to this no answer was returned.

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The collision took place shortly after, soon after the tug had entered the cut, when she was still headed toward the south pier, and before she had been able to straighten out her tow. The exact place of the collision was not certainly established, but it was clearly south of the middle of the cut, and not far from its western entrance. Its effect was to break in, the bow of the schooner, and sink her in fifteen minutes. The propeller entered the cut at a high rate of speed. She had. been racing on the lake to reach the entrance in advance of another vessel, and, according to the answer made to the libel, she was running eight miles an hour when she entered. She did not shut off her steam at all until within half her length of the piers, and then only partially. Her steam was

Opinion of the court.

not entirely shut off until she had proceeded a considerable distance within the cut. She steered wildly, not obeying her helm. Her speed was too great for proper steering in shallow water, considering her draught. She kept on, however, in the middle, between the piers, instead of stopping or moving to the north side of the cut, as she had signified her intention to move by her answer to the tug's signal. The District Court decreed against the propeller, and on appeal the Circuit Court did the same.

Her owners now appealed to this court.

No argument was made at the bar for the appellants; but their counsel had leave to file a brief. Mr. Emmons, for the other side.

Mr. Justice STRONG, having stated the case much as above, delivered the opinion of the court.

If the facts of the case, about which there is little, if any dispute, be considered, there is no difficulty in determining where the fault of the collision rests. The tug, though a steamer, was incumbered with a tow. She was, therefore, not as manageable as the propeller. She could not back, or even stop, without danger of collision with the schooner. It was necessary in entering the cut from the river that both the tug and her tow should cross the bow of the propeller heading toward the south pier; and as the cut entered the river at nearly right angles, it was also necessary for her to increase her speed at the entrance in order to bring the schooner into line and prevent her running against the south pier. The course of both the tug and the schooner required to be changed not less than ninety degrees within a distance not much exceeding two hundred feet. All this was known to the master of the propeller. His steamer was entering the harbor. It was, of course, his duty to move with great caution. He knew that the entrance was narrow and diffi cult, especially if other vessels were to be passed. He knew that near the west end of the cut the water on the north side was shoal, and he knew how much water the propeller needed. He knew also that at the west end a tug passing

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