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officer of the ship. The indictment was found under the third section of the act of 1835, ch. 40, which provided: “That if any master or other officer of any American ship or vessel, on the high seas, or any other waters within the admiralty and marine jurisdiction of the United States, shall from malice, hatred, or revenge, and without justifiable cause, beat, wound, or imprison, any one or more of the crew of the ship or vessel, or withhold from them suitable food or nourishment, or inflict upon them any cruel or unusual punishment, every such person so offending, on conviction, shall be punished by fine or imprisonment.” The question presented in this case was, whether the offence when committed by the master upon the chief or other officer of the ship was an offence within the intent and purview of the statute; or in other words, whether the word “crew,” in this section, was used in contradistinction to officers of the ship, so as only to include the common seamen or mariners, or whether the word “crew,” in the sense of the statute, embraced all the officers except the master. It was held that it did: 1st. Because the word “crew” had several known significations. In its general and popular sense it was equivalent to company. Such was the definition which lexicographers had attached to it. The general sense of the word “crew” being equivalent to ship's company, it could scarcely be doubted, that it embraced all the officers as well as the common seamen; that sense ought not to be displaced unless it was manifest that the legislature had used the word in a more restricted sense, and this must be ascertained from the context, or from the object to be accomplished by the enactment. In examination of the laws upon marine subjects, the word “crew” was found to be used sometimes in this general sense, and sometimes in senses more limited and restrained. It was sometime used to comprehend all persons composing the ship's company, including the master; sometimes to comprehend the officers and common seamen, excluding the master; and sometimes to comprehend the common seamen only. 2d. Because there were various acts of congress in which the words “crew,” and “ship's company,” were used as equivalent to each other. The results of the examination of the leading provisions of statutes upon similar subjects showed that the word “crew” was ordinarily used as equivalent to “ship's company,” and that whenever it was not intended to embrace the officers the context manifestly excluded them by enumerating them as contradistinguished from the rest of the crew. 3d. Because that every offcer of the ship, except the master or commanding officer, ought to be deemed within the purview of the act as one of the crew. For the reason that he might commit the offence of usurping the command of the vessel as well as a common seaman, and the mischief was the same as in the case of a common seaman, and he was one of the crew and ship's company in the sense of the general maritime law. There was no reason why the section should not be construed to embrace all cases within the words, and within the mischiefs, or why resort should be had to the narrowest possible sense, instead of the general sense, if there was the same mischief in each case to be suppressed, and the same public policy in the protection of the commercial interest of the country. In another case,(a) one of the questions which arose was, whether an offence which was committed on board of a vessel on a voyage, although at the time of the act, lying at anchor, was within the provisions of the 2 R. S. 729, sec. 44, providing that, when an offence shall have been committed within this state on board of any vessel navigating any river, and an indictment may be found
within certain counties therein named, &c. Bronson, J., held that it was ; 1st. Because a different construction would amount to a virtual repeal of the statute, especially when applied to canal boats, if the vessel must necessarily be in motion. That it frequently happened that vessels on the river had to come to anchor for the purpose of supplies, or in consequence of calms and adverse winds, or may rest upon shoals and be obliged to wait for tide. It could not be supposed the legislature intended to make so idle a statute as this would prove if it did not extend to the whole voyage. 2d. Because the legislature had spoken of a particular kind of business or employment, and the language must be understood as men engaged in that business would understand it. No seaman or waterman would doubt that this vessel was “navigating” the river, although it happened to be temporarily at rest, in consequence of adverse winds when the crime was committed. 3d. Another statute, which provides that “whenever any vessel navigating the river,” shall be at anchor in the night time,(a) showed that the legislature thought a vessel might properly be said to be navigating the river although at the particular time at anchor. Another question arising in this cause was, whether the statute was applicable to any case except where the voyage commenced and ended within the river. It was held that it did, for there was no reason why it should be thus restricted. There was nothing in the letter or spirit which led to so narrow a conclusion. A ship trading between New York and Liverpool came as plainly within the language of the statute as to that part of the voyage which was performed within the fauces terra, as did a sloop trading between Albany and New York; the same reasons applied to both. 4th. Because this
(a) 2 R. S. 685, sec. 12.
statute was not, properly speaking, a penal one; it neither created an offence, prescribed punishment, or altered the mode of trial, it merely changed the venue. The latter consideration probably had great influence on the mind of Mr. Justice Bronson, who in all cases has ever been found in favor of a strict construction of penal laws and constitutional provisions, and hostile to any thing bordering upon judicial legislation. § 756. The numerous cases we have cited sufficiently define the rules which govern in the construction of penal statutes, and the qualifications and limitations to the rule, that in general they are to be construed strictly. From the frequency of questions arising out of this general doctrine, we have deemed it important to annote very fully the leading cases in this country, where this rule has come under consideration, and so far to present the circumstances under which they arose, as to give the reader a clear understanding of instances in which it has been applied, and the qualifications under which such application has been made, and thus obviate a necessity of a resort to the reported cases on this subject.
OF THE REPEAL OF STATUTES.
§ 757. If laws and statutes seem contrary to one another, it is by some supposed that the latter one will abrogate or repeal the former. This rule, however, has its qualifications. In such cases, if by interpretation they may stand together, they shall so stand; and if two laws only so far disagree or differ as that they may, by any other construction, both stand, they will both be upheld; for whenever this can be done, the rule that subsequent laws abrogate prior ones does not apply, and the last law will not operate as a repeal of the former.(a) When it is not manifestly the intention of the legislature that a subsequent act shall control the provision of a former act, the subsequent shall not be construed as having such an operation, even though the words, taken strictly and grammatically, would repeal the former act.(b)
§ 758. It may be laid down as a general rule, that it is deemed against the policy of the law to favor repeals by implication; and positive enactments are not to be construed as interfering with pre-existing contracts, rights of action, or suits of a civil nature not penal in their consequences, unless the intent thus to interfere has been expressed in the enactment. It is upon this principle that our courts have held, that the only effect the revision of
(a) Canal Co. v. Railroad Co. 4 Gill & John. 6. (b) Ibid. 6.