THE UNITED STATES v. THE STEAM FERRY BOAT "WM. POPE."
1 NEWB. ADM. REP. 256.
District Court of the United States.District of Missouri.In Admiralty.
HON. R. W. WELLS, JUDGE.
1. The act of July 7th, 1838, "To provide for the better security of the lives of passengers on board of vessels propelled in whole or in part by steam," was not intended by Congress to apply to all steamboats, but only to such as before the passage of that act were required to be enrolled and licensed for the coasting trade.
2. Under the laws of Congress enacted prior to that of 1838, ferry boats were not required to be enrolled and licensed.
3. The words, "coasting trade," mean, the trade along the shore, and the business of a ferry boat is not included therein.
4. A license from the United States, and a license from a state, are not both necessary to authorize the owners of a steamboat to employ her in ferrying.
5.The laws of the United States contain no regulations for ferries as such, while the states have exercised the right to license and regulate ferries from the commencement of the government to this day.
WELLS, J.—A libel was filed against the Wm. Pope for a violation of the act of Congress, approved 7th July, 1838, to provide for the better security of the lives of passengers on board of vessels propelled in whole or in part by steam.
The license required to be granted by the act of 1838, is a license to carry on "the coasting trade ;" such are the licenses now actually granted, and no other. The coast is the shore. To coast is to navigate along the shore. "The coasting trade" is the trade along the shore. How absurd would it be to require a license to carry on the coasting trade, for a vessel that was engaged in no trade at all, and certainly in no coasting trade. A vessel that merely crosses the river as a ferry boat, can in no proper sense be said to be engaged in any trade ; nor can it be said to coast or be employed in the coasting trade.