p.2 On Monday last a case was tried which deserves particular notice, as affecting the interests of the mercantile part of the community. This action was brought by Joseph Bruce, Merchant of Kingston, to recover the value of certain goods lost in the rapids of the river St. Lawrence, by the sinking of a Bateau belonging to Stephen Finchley, a Forwarder of Lachine. The Counsel for the Plaintiff contended that the loss of the goods was not attributable to the act of God, or the King's enemies, and consequently that the Plaintiff had a legal right to recover the amount of damages proved.
On behalf of the Defence evidence was offered to prove that it is and always has been the understanding of both Forwarders and Merchants, that the dangers of the navigation were excepted from the risks assumed by the forwarders in this Province -and evidence was further offered to shew that the loss of the goods in question was entirely attributable to the dangers of the navigation, and that no charge of carelessness could attach to the Defendant. The Judge refused to receive evidence of this, and held that the forwarders were bound in this country as in England, to make good all losses not occasioned by the act of God or the King's enemies, and that no evidence of a general understanding, in opposition to this rule, could be received.
The Solicitor General then endeavoured to shew that the loss of the goods in question was attributable to the act of God, failing in establishing which, he held that as this was a hard case, the Jury might, as had often occurred in England in cases which he mentioned, refuse to adhere to the strict rule of law, and render a verdict according to the equity of the case in favour of the Defendant, which verdict rendered under such circumstances would be upheld by the Court.
The Judge charged the jury in favour of the Plaintiff, declaring that he could not believe that the Solicitor General was serious in addressing them as he had done. Verdict for the Plaintiff, and £461 2 8 damages.
We understand the principal point in question, viz. whether evidence might not be given of the general understanding among Merchants and Forwarders, that the dangers of the navigation were excepted from the risks assumed by the latter, will undergo a more serious discussion in the Court of King's Bench next term. [Herald]
Great Expedition - to be held at Niagara Falls on Oct. 6; the schooner Superior, a stout, staunch vessel, has been purchased for the purpose of being sent over the falls in the style of her predecessor, the Michigan, which, it is believed, will pass the rapids in safety, and that the spectators will see her launch 150 feet below, impelled by a current that moves at the rate of 25 or 30 miles per hour; also to pass the first vessel through the Welland Canal should the state of the work permit. [Farmer's Journal]