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the case of Jones v. Neptune Marine Ins. Co., decided in the Exchequer Chamber in 1872, will afford sufficient insight into the points usually involved. In this case the ship was chartered for a voyage from Melbourne to Baker's Island, an inaccessible isle in the Pacific, where there is nothing but guano, which the vessel was to carry. The freight was ins. from Melbourne to Baker's Island, and during her stay there; and the question was, what portion of the risk was undertaken? The pol. was in a new form, entirely different from the common form, and the question was as to its construction. In the ordinary form of ins. of goods on a voyage it ran thus: "Beginning from the loading thereof on board the ship.' But nothing was said as to the time at which the risk was to begin in case of ins. of freight. So that in the common case the ins. would exist as to the ship during the voyage, but did not commence as to the goods until they were loaded on board. In the present case the ins. was on "freight, payable in respect of the voyage, from Baker's Island to the port of call or discharge in the U.K.; ins. on freight beginning from the loading of the vessel, and ending when the vessel was moored." The question was what these words meant. In point of fact, the vessel was lost on the rocky shores of the island, when the whole of the cargo was ready to be put on board, but when only a part of it had been actually loaded. Three different views were put-the one, that of the plaintiff-that, as a part of the guano was loaded, the pol. had taken effect, and the whole freight was recoverable; secondly, that at all events he was entitled to recover pro rata for as much as had been actually put on board; the third view-that of the underwriters-was that, as the whole of the guano had not been loaded, no part of the ins. was recoverable; and this was the view taken by the Court.
The different reasoning of the Judges, all tending to the same result, was very instructive : Mr. Justice Blackburn declared his construction of the pol. to be that the words in question, "to begin from the loading," did not extend the risk, but rather limited it, and required that the whole cargo should be loaded before the risk began at all. His conclusion was, that as the whole cargo had not been loaded when the loss occurred, the underwriters were not liable at all.
Mr. Justice Mellor concurred in the conclusion, but for an opposite reason—that the words extended the risk, and that they must be read "from the loading of the vessel at Baker's Island to the port of call or discharge." This led him to the same result, though the reasoning was founded on an opposite view of the construction of the contract. Mr. Justice Lush also agreed in the conclusion, though for a different reason. In his view, he said, the words were merely descriptive of the voyage, and were not intended to define the risk. The voyage was "from Baker's Island"-i.e. from sailing. Then the words, "Beginning from the loading," etc., were to be read as qualifying the inference to be drawn from those words, and they made the underwriters liable only from the time when the whole of the cargo was loaded, and not at all if the whole was not loaded. The verdict was therefore entered for the defendant Co.
Molloy [De Jure Maritimi et Navali ] said, 1701, "If a ship be ins. from the port of Lond. to Cadiz, and before the ship breaks ground, takes fire and is burnt, the assurers in such case shall not answer: for the adventure began not till the ship was gone from the port of Lond. But if the words had been, at and from the port of Lond, then they would -upon such a misfortune-have been made liable."
The Ins. Ordin. of Stockholm, 1750, says :-" Where the ins. for the outward-bound voyage of a ship, and that for its return, are underwritten by two different persons, the risk and obligation of the latter commences from the day and hour when the master begins to take in ballast or goods, though part of the former cargo be still remaining on board."
Valin, in his famous Commentary (1760), says :—“In case the voyage be commenced, and the ship a little while after remains in port, the assured cannot break up the voyage, or unload the goods, to the effect of annulling the ins. ; because the insurer hath begun to run a risque; in like manner as freight is entirely gained, when the freighter unloads the goods during the voyage."
The subject is treated of fully in all the leading works on maritime ins. law. COMMERCE.-The intercourse of nations in each other's produce and manufactures, in which the superfluities of one are given for those of another, and then re-exchanged with other nations for mutual wants. There is a distinction between commerce and trade; the former relates to our dealings with foreign nations, colonies, etc., the latter to mutual dealings at home. The affairs of commerce are regulated by the Law Merchant, Lex Mercatoria, or Commercial Law.-M 'Culloch's Comm. Dict.
The growth of commerce is intimately associated with the development of ins. in its various branches. It may be said that to merchants who traded in foreign lands, MARINE INS. became at a very early period a necessity. The development of this necessity will be traced in some detail in our hist. of MARINE INS. The pirates who infested the tracks of maritime commerce led to the masters of vessels seeking first ins. against CAPTIVITY, and next ins. of their LIVES. The stores of commerce accumulated upon land led to the necessity of protection by means of FIRE INS. Many, nay most, of the other branches of ins. now practised have arisen more or less out of the development or necessities of commerce. These facts are so obvious that we shall not attempt to dwell upon them under this head.
Dr. Price, in the Supplement to the 4th ed. of his famous Observations, pub. 1783, says: -"A flourishing commerce, though favourable to pop. in some respects, is, I think, on the whole, extremely unfavourable, and while it flatters may be destroying; particularly by increasing luxury, the worst enemy of pop. as well of public virtue; and by calling off too many persons from agriculture to unhealthy trades and sea service."
Dr. Price is not the only writer who has enunciated such views; but on the whole they have, we think, proved fallacious.
COMMERCIAL ACCIDENT INS. Co., LIM., founded in 1870, with an authorized cap. of £100,000, in shares of £1. The prospectus said:
There is but one assu. co. in England that has always strictly confined itself to accident assu. That Co. has for some years past paid to its shareholders upwards of 40 p.c. p.a. in div. and bonus. The present Co. is by its art. of asso, lim, to accident assu.
It is proposed to give to the assured who have not made a claim upon their pol. during each year a parti, in the profits of the So., in the shape of a reduction of prems. for the ensuing year, thus popularizing accident assu. in a way which has been found to work extremely well in L. assu.
Through the influence and connexion of the Directors and Man., aided by the co-operation of several of the existing L. and F. cos., a large agency staff has already been secured.
A special department for travellers, warehousemen, and clerks has been formed under the patronage of several large firms.
Ins. against accident, or the result of accident, is one of the wisest provisions that can be made, especially by those who rely on their bodily activity for the means of supplying their household wants. It is of great moment to those whose income depends upon their being able to fulfil certain duties, and to whom even a few days' confinement to bed or couch is a serious financial matter, that they should be able to provide against the contingency, and provide against it on terms as little onerous as possible.
Mr. R. Dolphin Wood, one of the founders of the Co., became its Man. After transacting a limited bus., its pol. and connexions were trans. to the Ocean, Travellers, etc., in 1872. COMMERCIAL CASUALTY MUT. ASSU. AND INDEMNITY SO.-This Asso. was projected in or about 1845 by Mr. R. Thompson Jopling. It was to be based on the mutual principle, with a Guar. Fund of £100,000. The profits were to be divided every three years among the insured; and a benevolent fund was to be established for the benefit of the subs. and their families, "to be applied under peculiar circumstances, and in a manner to be determined hereafter." The details of the scheme will be given fully in our art. COMMERCIAL CREDIT INS.; and we need only say of it here that it merits most careful attention, as well from the novelties of its features, as from its comprehensiveness of detail. The Co. never got beyond prov. regis.
CHARLES AND EDWIN LAYTON, PRINTERS, FLEET STREET AND GOUGH SQUARE, LONDON,