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SPRAIGUE V. THOMPSON, 118 U. S. 90 (1886)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Spraigue v. Thompson, 118 U.S. 90 (1886)

Spraigue v. Thompson

Argued April 5, 1886

Decided April 26, 1886

118 U.S. 90


Section 1512 of the Code of Georgia, which provides that:

"Any person, master, or commander of a ship or vessel bearing toward any of the ports or harbors of this state, except coasters in this state, and between the ports of this state and those of South Carolina, and between the ports of this state and those of Florida, who refuses to receive a pilot on board shall be liable, on his arrival in such port in this state, to pay the first pilot who may have offered his services outside the bar, and exhibited his license as a pilot, if demanded by the master, the full rates of pilotage established by law for such vessel,"

conflicts with the Constitution of the United States, and is annulled and abrogated by the provision in Rev.Stat. § 4237, that

"No regulations or provisions shall be adopted by any state which shall make any discrimination in the rate of pilotage or half-pilotage between vessels sailing between the ports of one state and vessels sailing between the ports of different states, or any discrimination against vessels propelled in whole or in part by steam, or against national vessels

Page 118 U. S. 91

of the United States, and all existing regulations or provisions making any such discrimination are annulled and abrogated."

A vessel owned in Philadelphia and running between Philadelphia and Savannah was licensed as a coastwise steam vessel. The master held a license as pilot under Title LII Rev.Stat. The owners employed S (a Savannah pilot also licensed under the laws of the United States to conduct vessels over Tybee Bar and up the Savannah River), as their regular pilot to conduct the vessel through those waters, with pay from the time of leaving Philadelphia. T, licensed as a pilot under the laws of Georgia, spoke the vessel off Cape Romain, before any other pilot spoke it, and tendered his services to conduct it over the bar and up the river, and they were refused. Subsequently S met the vessel under the general arrangement and piloted it over the bar and up the river. Held that pursuant to the provisions of Rev.Stat. §§ 4401, 4444, the vessel, both when T tendered his services and when it passed over the bar and up the river, was under the lawful control and direction of a pilot licensed under the laws of the United States, and could not be required to take a pilot licensed under the provisions of the laws of Georgia.

If a clause in a statute which violates the Constitution cannot be rejected without causing the act to enact what the legislature never intended, the whole statute must fall.

The case is stated in the opinion of the Court.

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