APPEAL from Circuit Court for the Southern District of New York; the case being thus:
Boyce, a coal dealer in Baltimore, filed a libel against the steamer Patapsco, in the District Court at New York, to recover a demand for six separate supplies of coal furnished between the 3d of February and the 26th of March, 1866, to the steamer. One Borland intervened as claimant. The question was whether the coal had been furnished on the credit of the vessel or on that of her owners only.
The facts, as the court assumed them from the weight of the evidence, itself somewhat inconsistent, were thus:
The Commercial Steamboat Company, a corporation of Rhode Island, owned and chartered certain steamers, the Kingfisher, &c., and used them as a line of steamers from New York to Baltimore. The Patapsco was chartered by the company to run on the line, and registered at New York in the individual name of one Bacon, president of the company; though the company controlled her. The company had an agent at Baltimore, and the course of dealing was as follows:
When the steamers would arrive at Baltimore, their engineers would inform this agent of the amount of coal they needed for their different vessels. Thereupon the agent would fill up a printed circular directed to Boyce, requesting him to furnish 'with invoice,' to that steamer, by name (in this case the Patapsco), so many tons of coal; saying nothing about charging anybody. Boyce would then fill up a printed order to his clerk, directing him to furnish the coal to the steamer named. On receipt of this latter order, the coal would be delivered on board the steamer. At the end of a month a bill would be made of all the deliverances to all the boats. The object of making out a general bill at the end of each month, it appeared, was to avoid a multiplication of bills, and for the sake of convenience.
The entries in the libellant's journal were thus–one example showing all:
80 tons Geo. C'k, st'r. Kingfisher,. $7,. $560
25 " " " " Patapsco, 7,... 175
80 " " " " Kingfisher, 7,... 560
42 " " " " Patapsco, 7,.....294
And in his ledger they were thus:
Jan'y 30th........................... To. coal ...