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seem to furnish reasonable grounds for the company's refusal to take charge of the goods, and would, accordingly, if true, be a good defence to an action for the non-carriage of the goods. (q)
413. Another duty of the company, viewed as carriers, is to provide suitable engines and carriages for the transportation of the goods, (r) together with all reasonable equipments, and proper servants to take care of them; they are also bound to take the utmost care of the goods from the moment of receiving them, to forward (s) them with all reasonable
(4) Storey on Bailments, sect. 508.
(r) Accordingly, where an animal is sent by a train, the company are liable for any injury that it may sustain, either by reason of the improper construction of the carriage, &c. in which it is placed, or the improper position of such carriage, &c. in the train. So ruled by Lord Denman, C. J., in Walker v. London and South Western Railway Company, Kingston Spring Assizes,
(s) Where a railway company give notice by a board over the door of their warehouse, that goods delivered after a particular hour will go forward the next working day, it has been ruled that they are not bound to forward goods received after that hour the same evening, and accordingly cannot be made liable for failing to do so without proof of a special contract to that effect; Pickford v. Grand Junction Railway Company, tried at the Guildhall Sittings after H. T. 1844. As to what sufficient evidence to go to the jury of such a contract, see same case, 12 M. & W. 766. Audeline v. London and South Western Railway Company, N. P. Dec. 17, 1841. The question was as to the liability of the company for the loss upon certain baskets of plums, incurred through delay in delivering the same. The company resisted the claim on the ground that the fault lay with an intermediate agent, from whom the company received them, and who misdirected the company as to the amount to be charged for them. It appeared however that some ten minutes before the starting of the train by which the goods were to go, fresh
speed, to obey the directions of the owner in respect of them, to carry them safely to their place of destination, and to make a right delivery of them there according to the usage of trade or the course of business. (1)
414. 2ndly. Of the risks for which the company are liable by the common law. A railway company, by receiving goods for the purposes of carriage, place themselves on the footing of common carriers. (u) They are responsible, accordingly, for all losses, except those occasioned by the act of God, or of the queen's enemies. (u) By enemies are to be understood public enemies. (x) Under the head of losses by the act of God would seem to be comprehended all misfortunes and accidents arising from inevitable necessity, which human prudence could not foresee or prevent, such, for instance, as losses occasioned by natural causes, viz. lightning, earthquakes, tempests, and the like. (y)
415. 3rdly. As to the commencement and termination of the risks of a railway company as common carriers; and (1st,) of the commencement of the risk.
directions were given to the company correcting the mistake. The judge directed the jury that in his opinion the fresh instructions being sufficiently intelligible, and being received the specified time before the train started, the company were bound to have corrected the charge, for which there was ample time, and that consequently they must be taken to have received the goods upon a contract to deliver them on payment of the altered and not the original charge. Verdict for the plaintiff.
(t) Storey on Bailments, sect. 509.
(u) Palmer v. Grand Junction Railway Company, 4 M. & W. 752.
(1) Storey on Bailments, sect. 526. (y) Ibid. sect. 511.
The liability of the company as carriers attaches from the time of their acceptance of the goods, whether that acceptance is in a special manner or according to the usage of their business. The usual mode is by a delivery of the goods to the servants of the company, or to some other person authorized to act on their behalf; and as soon as the delivery is complete, the responsibility of the company as carriers commences. An acceptance in some way, actual or constructive, is indispensable to charge the company. (2)
416. (2dly.) Of the termination of the risk; as soon as all is done with the goods that the duty of the company as carriers requires them to do, their responsibility as such ceases. If the company receive goods to be carried to the place of their destination, and there deposited, as soon as the goods arrive at the place in question, and are deposited in the company's warehouses, their responsibility as carriers ceases, that being the terminus of their duty as such. But if it is the duty of the company to deliver the goods to the consignees at the place of their destination, then their liability as carriers does not cease by such deposit; but they are chargeable for any loss which may occur until an actual delivery to the party. (a)
417. With regard to the extent of the company's duty in the matter of delivering the goods, it would seem that in general the company are bound to deliver them according to the address that is upon them, and consequently can only discharge themselves by
(z) Storey on Bailments, sects. 532, 533. (a) Ibid. sects. 538, 539.
such a delivery. (b) This general liability, however, may in particular instances be limited by a special contract between the parties, or, as it should seem, by some local custom or usage of trade. (c)
418. If a company take charge of goods directed to a particular place, and do not by positive agreement limit their responsibility to a part only of the distance, that is primâ facie evidence of an undertaking to carry them to the place to which they are directed, even although that place avowedly be beyond the known limits of the company's business as carriers. (d)
419. 4thly. Of the effect of special contracts, or particular statutory enactments, in qualifying the above liabilities, &c. of a railway company. And 1st, of special contracts. A railway company may, it is conceived, like any other common carrier, insist on special and qualified terms on receiving goods for the purpose of carriage; (e) and in this case, their liability will of course be measured by the particular terms of the contract. The usual practice of a railway company in this respect is, upon the receipt of goods, to deliver to the consignee a ticket explaining the terms upon which they are willing to
(b) Judgment of Lord Denman, C. J., in Syms v. Chaplin, 5 A. & E. 642; Hyde v. Trent and Mersey Navigation Company, 5 T. R. 389, by three judges, Lord Kenyon, C. J., dissenting; Golden v. Manning, 3 Wils. 429; Storr v. Crowley, M'Clel. &
(c) Storey on Bailments, sects. 540, 541, 543.
(d) Muschamp v. Lancaster and Preston Junction Railway Company, 2 Railw. Cas. 607; S. C. 8 M. & W. 421.
(e) See argument of counsel in Pickford v. Grand Junction Railway Company, 10 M. & W.399.
accept them. (ƒ) Proof of the delivery on the one side and the acceptance on the other of such a ticket would seem sufficient to constitute a special contract. (f) If there is no proof of the production and delivery of the ticket to the other party, the ground of exemption fails, and the company consequently must be taken to stand on the ordinary footing of carriers at common law. (f) But the company cannot, it seems, by any special agreement so limit their responsibility as to evade altogether the salutary policy of the common law. (g) They
(f) Palmer v. The Grand Junction Railway Company, 4 M. & W. 752.
(g) See Report of Officers of Railway Department of Board of Trade, (1842, p. xix.) which contains the following remarks upon this point:
The carriers' act distinctly provides that no general notice shall limit the liability of common carriers with regard to objects other than those enumerated in the act, and the proper rule appears to be, that although railway companies may refuse to take charge of passenger's luggage, unless such reasonable regulations as they find necessary to lay down are complied with, yet that, if they do actually take charge of such luggage, they incur the ordinary common law liability of carriers, subject only to the limitations of the carriers' act.
"The same principles apply to regulations limiting the company's liability as regards carriages and horses. This is sometimes done by refusing to carry horses or carriages unless the owner will sign a special agreement exempting the company from all liability. This is clearly illegal as regards the general liability, railway companies being bound like other carriers by the common law to undertake the carriage of all articles offered to them, unless there is some reasonable ground for refusal, and it is only allowable to the extent of guarding against any extraordinary risk arising from the nature or value of the object, unless a proper insurance is paid. In the case of carriages it is generally admitted that there is no ground for charging any insu