CERTIORARI TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT.
MR. JUSTICE GRAY delivered the opinion of the court.
This case comes up by writ of certiorari issued by this court to review a decree in admiralty of the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which reversed a decree of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York; and appears by the record to have been in substance as follows:
A libel in admiralty in personam was filed in the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York by the owners of the bark Kate Burrill against her charterers to recover fifty-three days' demurrage for her detention at Rio Janeiro in Brazil, in unloading a cargo of lumber shipped for that port from Pensacola in Florida, under a charter-party fated March 7, 1893, by which the charterers were to pay a stipulated rate of freight on proper delivery of the cargo at the port of discharge, and which contained these other provisions:
"Cargo to be furnished at port of loading at the average rate of not less than twenty thousand superficial feet per running day, Sundays excepted; and to be discharged at port of destination at the average rate of not less than twenty thousand superficial feet per running day, Sundays excepted.
"Lay days to commence from the time the vessel is ready to receive or discharge cargo, and written notice thereof is given to the party of the second part, or agent; and for each and every day's detention by default of the said party of the second part, or agent, fifty-nine 46/100 dollars United States gold (or its equivalent) per day, day by day, shall be paid by the said party of the
second part, or agent, to the said party of the first part, or agent.
"The cargo to be received at the port of loading within reach of ship's tackles, and to be delivered at port of discharge according to the custom of said port. Vessel to discharge at safe anchorage ground in Rio Bay designated by charterers.
"The bills of lading to be signed as presented, without prejudice to this charter. Any difference in freight to be settled before the vessel's departure from port of loading. If in vessel's favor, in cash, less insurance. If in charterers' favor, by captain's draft upon his consignees, payable ten days after arrival of vessel at port of discharge. Vessel to have an absolute lien upon the cargo for all freight, dead freight, and demurrage. Charterers' responsibility to cease when the vessel is loaded and bills of lading are signed."
The libel alleged, in the fourth article, that the vessel was loaded with the cargo of lumber at Pensacola, and sailed thence for Rio Janeiro, where she arrived about August 30, 1893; and, in the fifth article, "that on September 4, 1893, notice in writing that the vessel was ready to discharge her said cargo was duly given by the master of said vessel or her duly authorized agents to the Companhia Industrial do Brazil, the agent of the respondents at said port of Rio, who received the said cargo;" but that the vessel did not complete the discharge until November 28, 1893, being a period of fifty-three days beyond the twenty-six days, Sundays exclusive, allowed for the discharge by the charter.
The libel was allowed to be amended in the Circuit Court of Appeals, by alleging "that at the time of giving the notice of her readiness to discharge her cargo, mentioned in the fifth article, the said vessel was in fact ready to discharge upon the charterers designating a safe anchorage for that purpose;" by setting forth more particularly the times of the delay and suspension of the discharge of the cargo, and by alleging that during all those times the vessel was ready and willing to discharge the same; and by further alleging that there had been no payment or accord and satisfaction of the claim for demurrage.
Among the defences set up in the District Court, and more fully, but with no substantial difference, in an amended answer filed by leave in the Circuit Court of Appeals, and to the sufficiency of each of which defences the libellant filed exceptions in either court, were those which are here numbered, for convenience, as the exceptions were numbered in the Circuit Court of Appeals, and which were stated in the amended answer as follows:
Second. "That the charter-party referred to in the libel contained a clause providing that the vessel should have an absolute lien upon the cargo for freight and demurrage, and that the charterers' responsibility should cease upon the loading of the cargo and signing of the bills of lading; that said vessel was fully laden, as alleged in the fourth article of the libel, and that thereafter, and long prior to September 4, 1893, (the date upon which it is alleged in the fifth article of said libel that notice in writing was given to the agents of the respondents at Rio Janeiro that said vessel was ready to discharge her cargo,) bills of lading of similar tenor for the whole of said cargo were duly signed by the master of said vessel, a copy of which is annexed hereto, and made part hereof; and said bills of lading were duly assigned and delivered to the Companhia Industrial do Brazil, and by them assigned and delivered to Messrs. Manoel da Cruz & Filho, who thereby became the consignees of said cargo; and that thereupon all liability of these respondents to the owners of said vessel under said charter-party ceased, and it became the duty of the master and owner of said vessel, upon the failure, alleged in the fifth article of said libel, of the consignee of said cargo to discharge the same at the agreed rate per day, to notify said consignee of the amount of the demurrage claimed by reason of said failure, and to hold said cargo until the same should have been paid, in accordance with the terms of said charter party." The bills of lading (as appears by the copy annexed to the answer) state that the lumber had been shipped by the respondents, and was to be delivered "unto order or to their assigns, they paying freight for the said lumber as per charter party dated March 7, 1893, and average accustomed.
Third. "That when said vessel arrived at Rio Janeiro, the
owners of said cargo used all reasonable diligence in and about receiving the cargo shipped upon the said vessel, and removing the same therefrom; that the libellants were prevented from discharging the same, and the respondents were prevented from receiving the same, any sooner than they did, by reason of the acts of the public enemy, to wit, certain vessels of war which were then in the harbor of Rio Janeiro, and were engaged in firing upon the forts in said harbor, and making war upon the government of Brazil, and that the firing between said vessels of war and the said forts made it impossible to discharge the said cargo or to receive it from the said vessel, any sooner than it was discharged or received; that the said cargo was delivered according to the custom of said port of Rio Janeiro, and that the detention alleged in the libel, if any such there be, was caused by said acts of the public enemy, and not by any default of the respondents; that the captain of the said vessel and Messrs. Phipps Brothers & Co., the agents of the libellants, acquiesced in the said delay, and recognized the necessity therefor.
Fourth. "That when the said cargo was delivered, the said agents of the libellants accepted and received from the said consignee, the sum of five hundred and fifteen pounds, six shillings and five pence, British sterling, in full satisfaction and payment of all claim or demand under the said charter-party, and an account was made and stated between the said agents of the libellants and the said consignees respecting all claims under the charter-party aforesaid, and the balance due upon the said accounting was paid by the said consignee to the said agents, and accepted and received by them in full satisfaction thereof."
The District Court, understanding the facts stated in the answer to have been admitted, sustained the second exception, overruled the third and fourth exceptions, denied a motion to withdraw these exceptions and to amend the libel, and dismissed the libel. 65 Fed. Rep. 104.
The libellants appealed to the Circuit Court of Appeals, which, after allowing amendments of the libel and answer, sustained the second and third exceptions, and overruled the fourth exception, and authorized proofs to be taken upon the defence of
payment and accord and satisfaction; and afterwards, being satisfied upon proofs so taken that there had been no payment or accord and satisfaction of the claim for demurrage, entered a decree ...