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voice into dollars, at the rate of 46 cents per ruble, and PLEA deducting therefrom the 36,900 dollars covered by the eight prior policies, then bis remaining interest to be covered by this policy would be more than the 6,000 MARY'D. dollars insured thereby.
The only question saved by the bill of exceptions at the trial below, was whether the Plaintiff should recover according to the first or according to the latter mode of calculation.
The Plaintiff, contended for the latter, but the Court over-ruled him, and directed the jury that he was only entitled to recover according to the former-they found a verdict accordingly: whereupon the plaintiff brought his writ of error.
The point was now submitted to the Court without argument, by HARPER for the Plaintiff in error, and Jones and PINKNEY for Defendant.
February 21st.... All the Judges being present,
JOHNSON, J, delivered the opinion of the Court as follows:
This is the case of an insurance on 'a voyage from St. Petersburgh or Cronstadt to Philadelphia, effected in the year 1810. The vessel was captured and the assured abandoned. The only difficulty arises on the principles upon which the loss shall be adjusted.
Besides this policy, eight others were effected in Philadelphia. In seven of them no valuation was attached to the ruble. In the eighth it was valued at 40 cents, and on this, which was the ninth in order, at 46 cents. In settling the seven first the ruble was estimated at thirty-three and a third cents, which was the receiv. d value at Philadelphia. On the eighth it was settled at the stipulated value of 40 cents. The value of goods laden on board the ship was proved to be 95,565 rubles. The sums pajd on the eight first policies corresponded to the adjusted value of 94,084 rubles, leaving a balance of only 1,481: equal, at 46 cents, to about 682 dollars unpaid. But if the whole amount of VOL. VIII.
the cargo be brought into dollars at 46 cents to the ruble, and the sum in dollars actually paid on the other
policies be deducted, there will still remain more unpaid MARY'D. than would exhaust the whole sum underwritten on the INS. co. ninth policy.
On the part of the Defendant it is contended that the compensation paid to the Plaintiff on the other policies, is absolute and complete as to the corresponding amount in rubles, leaving only 1,481 unpaid. On the other hand, the Plaintiff contends that the compensation was only relative, and cannot affect his rights as between himself and this Defendant. And of this opinion is the majority of the Court.
The object to be attained is, to secure to the assured a fair indemnity under all the advantages which he has purchased of the insurers.
The intention of the parties, in attaching a fixed value to the ruble, appears in the order for insurance, to wit: “to distinguish between the paper and specie Tuble."
It is very well known that the ruble is the money of account in Russia. It was originally a coin corresponding in value to the American dollar. But by the forced circulation of a paper representative of the ruble, dependent on nothing but mere national faith or national force for its value, the silver ruble has nominally doubled or trebled itself in value. The astonishing and rapid fluctuation in its value appears from the evidence. in this case, in which it is stated that in the year 1810 it varied from forty-eight to twenty-five cents.
To secure the assured against the effects of this fluctuation, was the object of the parties in attaching a specific value to the ruble; and as the whole cargo would bc affected in value by this cause, and the policy was opon the cargo generally, we are of opinion that no other principle in calculating the loss would afford him the indemnity stipulated for in the policy.
The principle contended for by the Defendant is subject to this obvious objection that it is not reciprocal.
Had the adjustment of the value of the ruble in the other cases exceeded forty-six cents that adjustment would not in any respect have resulted to his benefit.
MARY'D. There is one difficulty of which the Court are fully ins. co. aware, which is, that the interest assigned in the abandonment if estimated in rubles will be inversely as the rate at which the ruble is estimated, so that lie who pays most would acquire least. But in this case the objection does not arise ; as thc Plaintiff by a compromise with the underwriters on some of the other policies has reserved a sufficient interest in the subject of abandonment, to meet the just claims of these underwriters. And in no case would this consideration create a difficulty as between the parties to a policy. Among the underwriters alone in the distribution of the proceeds of the thing abandoned would it be necessary to determine on the correct rule to be applied in such a case,
Had the policy, which is the subject of this suit, been a valued policy, and declared the value of tie whole cargo to be $ 43,929, the actual amount at the stipulated valuation of the ruble, the same objection would have presented itself, but certainly would not have availed to prevent a recovery.
The judgment below must therefore be reversed and the case remanded.
M-CALL AND AL.
THE MARINE INSURANCE COMPANY,
ERROR to the Circuit Court for the district of If a policy inMaryland.
rests, This was an action on a policy underwritten by the traints and de Defendants, upon all kinds of lawful goods and mer- all kings, prin. chandize, on board the ship Cordelia, on a voyage' from ces, &c. the the Island of Teneriffe, to Surabaya, and at and from unlawful,
M'CALL thence to Philadelphia, warranted American property.
The ship sailed on the voyage, on the 5th of April, 1811, MARINE having on bard a cargo of lawful goods, the property of INS. co. the Plaintiffs, of the value of 15,000 dollars, and pursued
the voyage until the 18th of July following, when, beextends in its ing in a place called Madura Bay, within about twelve operation as
hours sail of Surabaya, she was boarded by an officer traints and de- of a British frigate, forming one of a squadron, then tainmen's" as
actually blockading the port of Surabaya, and all the
enter Surabaya, but was chased by the same British
The policy contained the usual risks, except that the word “ unlawful,” was printed before “arrests," so that the clause stood, “ unlawful arrests, restraints, and detainments of all kings, princes, or people of what nation, conditin or quality soever.” The declaration alleges, hat the ship and cargo were, during the voyage, “ by persons acting under the authority of the British government, and by a certain ship of war belonging to that government, unlawfully seized, restrained, and dem tained," and thereby become totally lost.
The Circuit Court directed the jury, that, on this
state of facts, the Plaintiffs were not in law entitled to M-CALL recover; to which the Plaintiffs excepted and brought this writ of error.
v. MARINE INS. CO
HARPER, for the Plaintiffs,
Insisted that this direction was erroneous; because the voyage was broken up, and lost.
1st. By men of war ;
2d. By detention of princes; the blockade having prevented the accomplishment of the voyage.
That the plaintiffs had therefore a right to abandon, and were entitled to recover for a total loss.
In support of his argument, he cited the case of Barker v. Blakes, 9 East, 280, cited also in 2 Marshall, 835, Appendix.
This case is very distinguishable from that of Barker v. Blakes.
1st. In that case, the voyage was interrupted as to the ultimate and only port of destination. Here, there was an interruption as to an intermediate port only, which cannot, we contend, constitute a total loss. The adventure from Teneriffe to Philadelphia, might have been as profitable as the accomplishment of the whole voyage.
Another distinction between the two cases arises from the different phraseology employed in the respective policies. The English policy employs general words, so as to include any detention of princes, &c. Here, the policy is limited to unlawful detention of princes, &c. Unless, therefore, this detention can be shown to be unlawful, the case is not within the policy; and it is clear, that it was not unlawful, unless the blockade was só. But this is not contended; the blackade was maintained by an adequate force', and was in every respect conformable to the law of nations.