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owner of a British ship does, or permits to be dorie, any matter or thing, or carries, or permits to be carried, any papers or documents with the intent to commit one or other of these offences, the ship is forfeited; and the master, if privy to the commission of such offence, is guilty of a misdemeanour.'
Who may enforce For the purpose of enforcing these forfeitures, any ship wholly or in part liable thereto may be seized and detained by any commissioned officer on full pay in the military or naval service of Her Majesty, or any British officer of customs, or any British consular officer, and may be brought by the same for adjudication before the High Court of Admiralty in England or Ireland, or any Court having Admiralty jurisdiction in Her Majesty's dominions. And any such officer, acting in pursuance of these provisions on reasonable grounds, is not liable civilly or criminally to any person whatever in respect of such seizure or detention, notwithstanding the ship is not brought before the Admiralty Court for adjudication, or, being brought, is declared not to have incurred any forfeiture.1
If any " passenger-ship " clear out or proceed to sea without Passengers' Act. the master's having first joined in executing the bond required by the Passengers' Act,3 or without having obtained the certificate of clearance required by that Act before commencing the voyage,* and again before putting to sea after having put into a port or place in the United Kingdom in a damaged state,5 such ship is forfeited, and may be seized by any officer of customs, if found at any time within two years subsequent thereto, in any port or place in Her Majesty's dominions.'
1 17 & 18 Vict. c. 104, § 103 no. 2. aggrieved, and make such other order
2 Ibid. §§ 103, 104. Such grounds in the matter as may seem tit. Ibid. must be shown to the satisfaction of the 3 18 & 19 Vict. c. 119, §§ 12, 63. iudge or court at the trial to be reason- 4 Ibid. § 11. able, otherwise such court or judge may 6 Ibid. § 50. award costs and damages to any party 6 Ibid. § 12.
THE EVIDENCE OF TITLE.
Policy of the Register . . .65
scheme thereof . . 66
Conditions of Registration . . 68
The Register . • . . . 72
Certificates of Mortgage and Sale . 77
Certificate of Registry . . .80
Persons to Effectuate the Law . . 83
Documents as Evidence . . 85
"when the policy which induced the Legislature of this Policy Of Tb» country to restrict our commerce by sea chiefly to our own ships, the building and repair of these ships chiefly to our own carpenters, and the manning and command of them chiefly to our native mariners, was abandoned, the purposes for which the register had been originally instituted then ceased to exist.1
* Mr. Abbott, after referring to this accumulation of restrictions as a kind of crowning glory to the reign of George tie Third, says of the registry provisions then existing:—"They have been often, and upon the whole perhaps truly, considered beneficial in another point of view, namely, as calculated to prevent the commission of private fraud upon individuals; but the instances in which fair and honest transactions have been rendered unavailable through a negligent want of compliance with the forms directed by these and other statutes requiring a public register of conveyances, ■uiakt the expedience of all suclt regulations, considered with reference to private lene jU only, a matter of question and eonirorersy." This latter admission continued to receive the most painful corroboration down to a very recent date, from the instances of private ruin wrought by the former enactments.
The following note by Mr. Abbott
is of sufficient historical interest to be transferred to this place.
"The registering of ships appears to have been first introduced into practice in this country by the Navigation Act, 12 Car. 2, c. 18, § 10; A.D. I860. For it is not mentioned in the Navigation Ordinance in the time of the usurpation; but the statute of Charles the Second only requires foreign ships British owned to be registered. The statute 7 & 8 W~. 3, c. 22, § 17, requires British or Plantation-built ships, British owned, if intended to be employed in the Plantation trade, and also prtze ships, to bo registered. And ships, for which Mediterranean passes were wanted, were also registered, in consequence of a regulation at the Admiralty, although a register was not required by statute for British ships employed in the Mediterranean trade ; as we learn from Reeves's History of the Law of Shipping and Navigation, p. 423. Louis the Fourteenth, by
But it had been turned in the meanwhile to a use quite beside the statute, and altogether in accordance with the wants and convenience of society, which is now become the recognised object of continuing it in an improved condition. The existing register is the appointed record of title to property in British ships, and, except for the ascertainment of the national character of vessels using the British flag, serves no other purpose.
Summary of the The register is framed under a definition of the property to
which it is to apply, the property, namely, in ships which are wholly British owned.1 It is founded on the ascertainment, first,
an Ordinance dated October 24, 16S1,
The particulars of this note have
to contrast with it the results of our later policy, may find them reviewed in a speech by W. S. Lindsay, M.P., in the House of Commons, on March 1, 1859. Hansard's Deb. 3d. ser. voL clii. p. 1068.
I cannot help remarking upon the maritime codes of the Hanse Towns since they are quoted here in support of a restrictive policy, that anything more narrow, illiberal and selfish, than the policy maintained in them is not to be found, except in the former legislation of this country; it is a most unhappy exhibition of the corporate spirit misapplied ; and, be it observed, it is the legislation of a purely commercial body.
1 17 & 18 Vict. c. 104, § 18 & 19.
The provisions of this Act, relating to the registration of British ships, i.e., the whole of the Second part, sec. 17—107, apply to the whole of Her Majesty's dominions, with one exception, § 17.
This one exception is British India, which is still subject to the 3 & 4 Vict, c. 56, as regards all ships built and trading within the limits of the East India Company's charter; and the registration of such ships is still regulated, I am informed by the authorities at the India House, by Act X. of the Governor-General in Council, of the year 1841, passed in pursuance of the Imperial statute above referred to.
of the particular ship, identified by measurement, description, name, and an assigned number;1 and, secondly, of the individual owners, and their connection with the country which entitles them to hold registered property." The register itself, as being the appointed evidence of title,3 exhibits a description of the vessel, copied from the surveyor's certificate, and the names of the persons in whom the title is actually vested with absolute power of disposal, and the mortgages, if any, which burden the whole, or any, and which part of the property.4
The theory of the register divides the ship into sixty-four parts or shares, and assumes that these may be held in severalty by not more than two-and-thirty persons.* It fixes the minimum fraction of property, and the maximum number of owners in severalty, that can appear on the register. No person can be entitled to be registered as owner of a fraction of a share, but any number of individuals, not exceeding five, and holding jointly, or a body corporate, may form but one person for the purpose of holding and conveying one or more shares.
In consequence of the simplicity thus attained, the title to this description of property is so obvious as to be, what is popularly called, matter of eyesight. But as this record of title is necessarily local, and there might arise a wish to sell or mortgage the property at a distance, certificates of sale and of mortgage were devised.6 This certificate hi effect submits the authentic register, with all its contents and authority, to the eyes of the distant purchaser or mortgagee, without in any way withdrawing it from those who choose to consult it at the home port; it serves the purpose of distant sale or mortgage by maintaining the authority of the register, both at home and abroad, in its unqualified integrity as the appointed evidence of title. After this general view of the chief points connected with the registry of property in British ships, we come now to the particular rules which must be observed in connection therewith by those who are owners or registrars of such property.
1 17 4 18 Vict. c. 104, § 34, 36, 20, a small fee, ibid. § 92. D, 22, 23. 24, 25, 40. 4 Ibid. § 42, 43.
5 Ibid. S 35, 18, 38, 39. '• Ibid. § 37.
1 Open to inspection ou payment uf 6 Ibid. § 76—81.
As to Ships and
Every such Ship must be Registered.
The Eegister is open only to British ships.1 A British ship is a vessel which, wherever built, or however manned, belongs wholly to owners who are,2—(I.) Natural bora British subjects, provided that, if such an one has sworn allegiance to a foreign sovereign, he shall have subsequently taken the oath of allegiance to Her Majesty, and shall be, so long as he is such owner, resident in some place within Her Majesty's dominions, or member of a British factory, or partner in a house actually carrying on business in the United Kingdom, or in some other place within Her Majesty's dominions;—(II.) Persons made denizens by letters of denization, or naturalised by or pursuant to any act of the Imperial Legislature, or any act or ordinance of the proper legislative authority in any British possession, if, so long as they continue to be such owners, they are resident in some place within Her Majesty's dominions, or members of a British factory, or partners in a house actually carrying on business in the United Kingdom, or in some other place within Her Majesty's dominions, and have taken the oath of allegiance to Her Majesty subsequently to the period of their being so made denizens or naturalised;—(III.) Bodies corporate established under, subject to the laws of, and having their principal place of business in, the United Kingdom, or some British possession.
Every ship coming within this definition must, with two exceptions, be placed on the register.8 Without a certificate of registration, the master cannot clear out for sea at any British port/ Without registration, such a vessel cannot be recognised as a British ship.1 The effect of this is to deprive the owners of all benefit from the statutory provisions limiting their
1 17 & 18 Vict. c. 104, § 18, 19, 38, 39, 56, 62, 81 no. 10, § 103. 'Ships' shall include every description of vessel nsed in navigation not propelled by oars ; ibid. % 2.
s Ibid. § 18. See ante, p. 27, n. 2; p. 28, n.'.
3 17 & 18 Vict. c. 104, § 19. Vessels already registered under the 8 & 9 Viet, c. 89, are not required to he registered anew under this Act; but on and after the first of May, 1855, the day fixed
for the new statute, § 3, coming into operation, the old register books were closed, and separate register-books assigned for all such vessels, in which, any subsequent dealing with the property will be recorded in the forms, and subject to the rules of the Act of 1854. See Instructions to Registrars, p. 7, Issued by the Commissioners of Customs with the approval of tho Board of Trade.
4 Ibid. § 19.
! Ibid. § 19.