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THE ABBOTSFORD, 98 U. S. 440 (1878)

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U.S. Supreme Court

The Abbotsford, 98 U.S. 440 (1878)

The Abbotsford

98 U.S. 440


1. Under the Act of Feb. 16, 1875, which took effect May 1 of that year, entitled "An Act to facilitate the disposition of cases in the Supreme Court of the United States, and for other purposes," 18 Stat. 315, the finding of facts by the circuit court in admiralty cases is conclusive, and only rulings upon questions of law can be reviewed by bill of exceptions.

2. Where words in an act limiting the reviewing power of this Court in cases where the facts have been found below "to a determination of the questions of law arising upon the record and to the rulings of the court excepted to" have acquired, through judicial interpretation, a definite meaning by which that power, on exceptions, is confined to questions of law, they will, when found in a subsequent act, be presumed to be used in the same sense unless a contrary intention appears from the act.

3. Two schooners were sailing down the Delaware River, when a steamer proceeding in the same direction, at the rate of eight or nine miles an hour, was, in daytime, approaching near enough to them to render it necessary to make calculations to keep out of their way. They were in parallel courses, not far apart, beating upon their starboard tack and nearing the Jersey bank. Instead of going outside of them, she, without seasonably slackening her speed, attempted to pass between them, and came into collision with and sunk the one nearer the bank, as the latter, having run her starboard tack and come about on her port tack, tacked again before she was under full headway to avoid colliding with the other schooner, which was still properly on her starboard tack. Held that the steamer was liable.

The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.

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