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One who undertakes for hire or reward to transport the goods of
any who may choose to employ him, from place to place. 1 Pick. 50,
53; 1 Salk. 249, 250; Story, Bailm. Sec. 495 1 Bouv. Inst. n. 1020.
2. Common carriers are generally of two descriptions, namely, carriers
by land and carriers by water. Of the former description are the
proprietors of stage coaches, stage wagons or expresses, which ply
between different places, and' carry goods for hire; and truckmen,
teamsters, cartmen, and porters, who undertake to carry goods for
hire, as a common employment, from one part of a town or city to
another, are also considered as common
carrier. Carriers by water are the masters and owners of ships
and steamboats engaged in the transportation of goods for persons
generally, for hire and lightermen, hoymen, barge-owners, ferrymen,
canal boatmen, and others employed in like manner, are so considered.
3. By the common law, a common carrier
is generally liable for all losses which may occur to property entrusted
to his charge in the course of business, unless he can prove the
loss happened in consequence of the act of God, or of the enemies
of the United States, or by the act of the owner of the property.
8 S. & R. 533; 6 John. R. 160; 11 John. R. 107; 4 N. H. Rep.
304; Harp. R. 469; Peck. R. 270; 7 Yerg. R. 340; 3 Munf. R. 239;
1 Conn. R. 487; 1 Dev. & Bat. 273; 2 Bail. Rep. 157.
4. It was attempted to relax the rigor of the common law in relation
to carriers by water, in 6 Cowen, 266; but that case seems to be
at variance with other decisions. 2 Kent,. Com. 471, 472; 10 Johns.
1; 11 Johns. 107.
5. In respect to carriers by land, the rule of the common law seems
every where admitted in its full rigor in the states governed by
the jurisprudence of the common law. Louisiana follows the doctrine
of the civil law in her code. Proprietors of stage coaches or wagons,
whose employment is solely to carry passengers, as hackney coachmen,
are not deemed common carriers; but if the proprietors of such vehicles
for passengers, also carry goods for hire, they are, in respect
of such goods, to be deemed common carriers. Bac. Ab. Carriers,
A; 2 Show. Rep. 128 1 Salk. 282 Com. Rep. 25; 1 Pick. 50 5 Rawle,
1 79. The like reasoning applies to packet ships and steam-boats,
which ply between different ports, and are accustomed to carry merchandise
as well as passengers. 2 Watts. R. 443; 5 Day's Rep. 415; 1 Conn.
R. 54; 4 Greenl. R. 411; 5 Yerg. R. 427; 4 Har. & J. 291; 2
Verm. R. 92; 2 Binn. Rep. 74; 1 Bay, Rep. 99; 10 John. R. 1; 11
Pick. R. 41; 8 Stew. and Port. 135; 4 Stew. & Port. 382; 3 Misso.
R. 264; 2 Nott. & M. 88. But see 6 Cowen, R. 266. The rule which
makes a common carrier responsible for the loss of goods, does not
extend to the carriage of persons; a carrier of slaves is, therefore,
answerable only for want of care and skill. 2 Pet. S. C. R. 150.
4 M'Cord, R. 223; 4 Port. R. 238.
6. A common carrier of goods is in all cases entitled to demand
the price of carriage before he receives the goods, and, if not
paid, he may refuse to take charge of them; if, however, he take
charge of them without the hire being paid, he may afterwards recover
it. The compensation which becomes due for the carriage of goods
by sea, is commonly called freight (q.v.); and see also, Abb. on
Sh. part 3, c. 7. The carrier is also entitled to a lien on the
goods for his hire, which, however, he may waive; but if once waived,
the right cannot be resumed. 2 Kent, Com. 497. The consignor or
shipper is commonly bound to the carrier for the hire or freight
of goods. 1 T. R. 659. But whenever the consignee engages to pay
it, he also becomes responsible. It is usual in bills of lading
to state, that the goods are to be delivered to the consignee or
to his assigns, he or they paying freight, in which case the consignee
and his assigns, by accepting the goods, impliedly become bound
to pay the freight, and the fact that the consignor is also liable
to pay it, will not, in such case, make any difference. Abbott on
Sh. part 3, o. 7, Sec. 4.
7. What is said above, relates to common carriers of goods. The
duties, liabilities, and rights of carriers of passengers, are now
to be considered. These are divided into carriers of passengers
on land, and carriers of passengers on water.
8. First, of carriers of passengers on land. The duties of such
carriers are, 1st. those which arise on the commencement of the
journey. 1. To carry passengers whenever they offer themselves and
are ready to pay for their transportation. They have no more right
to refuse a passenger, if they have sufficient room and accommodation,
than an innkeeper has to refuse a guest. 3 Brod. & Bing. 54;
9 Price's R. 408; 6 Moore, R. 141; 2 Chit. R. 1; 4 Esp. R. 460;
1 Bell's Com. 462; Story, Bailm. Sec. 591.
9. - 2. To provide coaches reasonably strong and sufficient for
the journey, with suitable horses, trappings and equipments.
10. - 3. To provide careful drivers of reasonable skill and. good
habits for the journey; and to employ horses which are steady and
not vicious, or likely to endanger the safety of the passengers.
11. - 4. Not to overload the coach either with passengers or luggage.
12. - 5. To receive and take care of the usual luggage allowed to
every passenger on the journey. 6 Hill, N. Y. Rep. 586.
13. - 2d. Their duties on the progress of the journey. 1. To stop
at the usual places, and allow the..Usual intervals for the refreshment
of the passengers. 5 Petersd. Ab. Carriers, p. 48, note.
14. - 2. To use all the ordinary precautions for the safety of passengers
on the road.
15. - 3d. Their duties on the termination of the journey. 1. To
carry the passengers to the end of the journey.
16. - 2. To put them down at the usual place of stopping, unless
there has been a special contract to the contrary, and then to put
them down at the place agreed upon. 1 Esp. R. 27.
17. The liabilities of such carriers. They are bound to use extraordinary
care and diligence to carry safely those whom they take in their
coaches. 2 Esp. R. 533; 2 Camp. R. 79; Peake's R. 80. But, not being
insurers, they are not responsible for accidents, when all reasonable
skill and diligence have been used.
18. The rights of such carriers. 1. To demand and receive their
fare at the time the passenger takes his seat. 2. They have a lien
on the baggage of the passenger for his fare or passage money, but
not on the person of the passenger nor the clothes he has on. Abb.
on Sh. part 3, c. 3, Sec. 11; 2 Campb. R. 631.
19. Second, carriers of passengers by water. By the act of Congress
of 2d March, 1819, 3 Story's Laws U. S. 1722, it is enacted, 1.
that no master of a vessel bound to or from the United States shall
take more than two passengers for every five tons of the ship's
custom-house measurement. 2. That the quantity of water and provisions,
which shall be taken on board and secured under deck, by every Ship
bound from the United States to any port on the continent of Europe,
shall be sixty gallons of water, one hundred pounds of salted provisions,
one gallon of vinegar, and one hundred pounds of wholesome ship
bread for each passenger, besides the stores of the crew. The tonnage
here mentioned, is the measurement of the custom-house; and in estimating
the number of passengers in a vessel, no deduction is to be made
for children or persons not paying, but the crew is not to be included.
Gilp. R. 334.