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United States Supreme Court

61 U.S. 296

Jackson  v.  Magnolia

THIS was an appeal from the District Court of the United States for the middle district of Alabama.

The case came up on an appeal from the judgment of the District Court, dismissing the libel for want of jurisdiction, after the following agreement had been filed:

Be it remembered, that on the trial of this cause, which was a libel in admiralty, it was agreed that the question of jurisdiction should be submitted to the court on the facts hereinafter stated, which were admitted to be true; and if the court should be of the opinion that the court had jurisdiction of the cause, then the cause should be submitted to a jury for trial. But if the court should be of opinion that it was without jurisdiction, the libel would be dismissed, and in the event an appeal was taken to the Supreme Court of the United States, and the judgment of that court should reverse the judgment of this court, then the cause should be remanded to this court for trial.

The court agreed so to try the question of jurisdiction on the facts, which are admitted to be as follows: The steamboat Wetumpka was a vessel engaged in navigation and commerce between the port of New Orleans, in Louisiana, and the port of Montgomery, in Alabama, and was regularly licensed and enrolled as a coasting vessel, and was of more than thirty tons burden. The steamboat Magnolia was a boat regularly licensed and enrolled for the coasting trade, but was built for a packet boat to be employed between Mobile, Alabama, and Montgomery, Alabama. She was built in the Western country, and brought round to this State, and has ever since been engaged in running between Mobile and Montgomery, and has never been engaged in any other trade.

The collision, which is the subject of the libel against the Magnolia, took place between her and the Wetumpka, on the Alabama river, about two hundred miles above tide-water. The Magnolia is a boat of over thirty tons burden. The foregoing are the facts in which the question of jurisdiction is submitted to the court, together with the libel and claim, and answer thereto.

WATTS & DARGAN, For the Magnolia and Claimants.

HENRY C. SEMPLE, For the Libellants.

The case was argued at the preceding term of this court upon printed arguments by Mr. Francis Lee Smith for the appellants, and Mr. Dargan for the appellees; also orally by Mr. Phillips for the appellees.

The difficulty of abbreviating arguments made by counsel upon constitutional points, and the circumstance that both sides of the question of jurisdiction are fully presented in the opinion of the court and in the dissenting opinions of Mr. Justice DANIEL and Mr. Justice CAMPBELL, are reasons why the Reporter omits sketches of the arguments of counsel. It will be perceived, also, that Mr. Justice McLEAN delivered a separate opinion, although concurring in the judgment of the court.

Mr. Justice GRIER delivered the opinion of the court.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).