The S.C. Tryon/Opinion of the Court
A bill of exceptions is not necessary to give this court jurisdiction of an appeal in admiralty under the provisions of the act of Feb. 16, 1875, c. 77 (18 Stat., pt. 3, p. 315). That act expressly provides that the review here shall extend to the determination of the questions of law arising upon the record, and to such rulings of the court, excepted to at the time, as may be presented by a bill of exceptions, prepared as in actions at law. At law a bill of exceptions is only used to put into the record that which would not appear without. The findings which the statute requires must be stated by the court. These, therefore, become part of the record without any action of the parties, and errors of law arising on them need not be presented by exceptions. They are in the nature of a special verdict, as to which the inquiry is always open in the reviewing court, whether, when taken in connection with everything else that appears, it is sufficient to support the judgment.
The motion to dismiss must, therefore, be overruled, but on looking into the record we are satisfied the appeal was taken for delay. The only question presented arises on the findings of fact. From these it appears that the collision was due solely to an unjustifiable change of course by the schooner when the vessels were in close proximity, which baffled the steamer in her efforts to pass in safety. It is so well settled that a steamer is not liable for the consequences of a collision occurring in this way, that we do not deem it proper to retain the cause for further consideration.
Motion to affirm granted.