fines imposed by the court.. The words. are, "imposed by any ,section of this act." The intent of the statute is to'create it lien upon the vessel for the amount of any fine permitted by any section of the act to be imposed upon the master ill case of his conviction in aeriminal proceeding. If this be not the true construction, the result would follow that all that. would be necessary to charge the vessel herself would be. to, aver and prove the conviction and sentence of the master. A conviction of the master might be had upon the master's plea of guilty in a proceeding to which the owners would be no party, and under the construction contended for by the owners would render the owners of the ship, through their vessel, liable to a fine without any opportunity on their part to contest the facts. In view of such .a result, I think the statute must be construed as permitting the vessel herself to be proceeded against in admiralty as if personally responsible, subject to be fined upon proof of acts done by her master which are forbidden by the statute, and permit him to be fined when the proceeding is against him. Upon amendment of the libel, as suggested, within 10 days, the exceptions to the libel in behalf of the claimants will be overruled; otherwise they are allowed.
HAMBURG-AMERICAN PACKET CO.l
(District Court, E. D. New York. June 24,1889.)
Libelant is an American citizen, who sues as assignee of the owners of the British ship A., and the action is brought to recover damages caused by a collision in the English channel between the A. and the German steamer B. The steamer has never been in the United States, none of her witnesses are here, and her owner asks the court, on the above facts, to decline to entertain ju. risdiction ofthe action. The owner of the German steamer has been requested, and has refused, to appear in an action instituted against bim in a British court. Held, assuming, but not deciding, that it is competent for a court of admiralty, in its discretion, to decline to entertain jurisdiction of a cause of collision on the high seas where all the parties are foreigners. this cil;se' presents no grounds on which the court should so decline jurisdiction.
In Admiralty. On motion that the court decline to entertain jurisdiction. Goodrich, Deady &; Goodrich and R. D. Benedict, for libelant. Butler, StiUman &; Hubbard, for the Borussia. BENEDICT, J. This is an action brought to recover for damage13 caused to the British ship Astracana, by a collision that occurred in the:British channel between that ship and the steamer Borussia. The ship Astracana was an English vessel, owned by English subjects, and the steamer Borussia was a German vessel, owned by the defendant. The libelant is an American citizen, who sues as assignee of the English owners of the
by Edward G. Benedict, Esq., of the New York bar.
Astracana. The defendant has appeared in the action. No testimony now the defendant requests this court has been taken on either side, to decline jurisdiction. That this court has jurisdiction to adjudicate the rights of these parties arising out of the collision in question is not denied, but it is contended that there are circumstances which should impel the court in the exercise of its rliscretion to decline to exercise that jurisdiction. The facts put forth in support of the application are that the steamer Borussia has never been in the Uniterl States; that none of the witnesses to be called in the cause are in the United States; and the injured vessel was a British ship. Upon these facts it is contended by the defendant that to require hini to try the cause in the United States, under such circumstances, would impose hardship upon him without cause. In opposition it is shown that the defendant has been requested to appear in an action instituted against him in a British court for the same cause of action, and has refused so to do, from which it is implied that it is not possible for the libelant to secure jurisdiction of the defendant in a British court. It is evident, therefore, that a refusal by this court to entertain jurisdiction of this cause is equivalent to requiring the cause to be tried in Germany, and the questi'ln, then, is whether justice requires that the question of the liability of the German ship for the loss of this English vessel in a collision on the high seas shall be adjudicated in Germany. Assuming, but not deciding, that it is competent for a court of admiralty, in the exercise of its discretion, to decline to entertain jurisdiction of a cause ofcollision arising on the high seas, when all the parties are foreigners, I am unable to see any good ground upon which to decline the jurisdiction in a cause like this. The inability of the English courts to acquire jurisdiction of the defendant in behalf of the English owners of the Astracana affords no ground upon which to ask this court to decline a jurisdiction over the defendant which the laws of this country enables it to acquire. I see no hardship upon the defend. ant in cQmpelling him to meet the libelant's demand in the courts of the United States., It.is true, their witnesses to this collision are not here; neither,are the libelant's witnesses in Germany. To transmit the libelant to Germany would therefore impose as great a hardship upon the other side as would follow by retaining the cause. The defendant has a regular agent here, and runs a line of steamers to this port. Moreover, the general rule is that when there is a choice of forums the libelant has the right of choice. To grant the· defendant's application in this case would be to give to the defendant the right of choice. Still further, the libelant is an American citizen, and if, as contended in behalf of the defendant, the caUse of action was assigned to him for the mere purpose offacilitating a resort to the courts of the United States, still the fact reo mains that the party seeking the intervention of this court is an American citizen. That fact alone seems sufficient to reqnire the court to reo tain the cause.' Themotion·isdenied.
UNITED STATES V. SHAW.
UNITED STATES V. SHAW et
(Circuit Court, S. D. Georgia, E. D. January 15, 1889.) 1.
The limitation as to amount in a controversy necessary to give the circuit court jurisdiction, fixed by section 1 of the act of March H, 1887, (24 St. at Large,) does not apply to suits in which the United States is plaintiff or peti. tioner.
The old law embraced in section 629, Rev. St., gave jurisdiction of all suits at common law and in equity where the United States are plaintiffs or peti· tioners, and it also contained an independent special clause, giving jurisdic· tion of all suits arising under the revenue, internal revenue, or postal laws. The act of March 3, 1887, conferred jurisdiction of all suits at common law or in equity where the United States are plaintiffs or petitioners, without reference to said special subjects. It is held, that the latter provision does not repeal by implication the grant of jurisdiction over the special subjects mentioned in the independent clause of the original statute.
SAME-AcTIONS BY GOVERNMENT.
It is a settled policy on the part of the United States to have its leg-al rights determined in its own courts,-a policy founded upon sound and vital reasons.
The right to sue in its own courts, having once attached, becomes a prerogative rig-ht, and congress will not be presumed to intend to deprive the go vof such right, unless the intention appears in plain and unambiguous terms.
When. under one of two possible constructions, a statute would divest the public of a right. violate a principle of settled policy, and avoid the methods of procedure which have been clearly indicated by many acts of previons legislation, in such case, if there is doubt about the proper construction, the doubt should be resolved in favor of the government. (Syllabus by the Court.)
Du Pont Guerry, for the Unitea States. John M. Guenard and Denmark & Adams, for defendants.
SPEER, J. This is a suit upon a postmaster's bond. It appears upon the face of the declaration that the amount in controversy is less than $2,000. Defendants demur to the declaration, and move to dismiss the suit for want of jurisdiction. Counsel for defendants contend that if there is any jurisdiction to try this cause, it must be found in some act of congress now of force expressly conferring that jurisdiction upon this particular courtj that where congress has not expressly conferred upon the courts the entire judicial power inherent in the government under the constitution, the jurisdiction of the court is limited to the express grant, and may not be helped by the residual ungranted powers that may be found in the constitution. In support of this position they rely upon the following authorities: Kempe v. Kennedy, 5 Cranch, 185; Kennedy v. Bank, 8 How. 611; Ex petrte Watkins, 3 Pet. 207; McIntire v. Wood,7 Cranch, .506; Kendall v. U. S., 12 Pet. 616; Cary v. Curtis,3 v.39F.no.9-28