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Port

loading, safety, lord, time and limits

PORT. A place to which the officers of the customs are appropriated, and which in cludes the privileges and guidance of all members and creeks which are allotted to them. 1 Chitty, Com. Law 726; Postlewaith, Corn. Dict. According to Dalloz, a port is a place within land, protected against the waves and winds and affording to vessels a place of safety. By the Roman law a port is defined to be locus conclusus quo timpor tautur coerces et unde exportantur. Dig. 50. 16. 59. See Packwood v. Walden, 7 Mart. N. S. (La) 81. In the revenue laws it is synony mous with district, when the limits of the port and district are the same; Ayer v. Thacher, 3 Mas. 153, Fed. Cas. No. 684. As used in the R. S. § 4347 it means any place from which merchandise may be shipped.

A port differs from a haven, and includes something more. First, it is a place at which vessels may arrive and discharge or take in their cargoes. Second, it comprehends a ville, city, or borough, called in Latin caput corpus, for the reception of mariners and merchants, for securing the goods and bring ing them to market, and for victualling the ships. Third, it is impressed with its legal character by the civil authority. Hale, de Portibus Mar. c. 2; 1 Hargr. Tracts 46, 73; Bac. Abr. Prerogative (D 5) ; Com. Dig. Navigation (E); Co. 4th inst. 148; 2 Chitty, Com. L. 2 ; Dig. 50. 16. 59; 43. 12. 1. 13; 47. 10. 15. 7 ; 39. 4. 15.

The exact meaning of the term was con sidered by Lord Esher, M. R., in .15 Q. B. D. 580. He held that it was not usually the le gal port as defined by acts of Parliament, but, "a place of safety for the ship and goods, whilst the goods are being loaded and un loaded"; that there never would be a port in the ordinary business sense of the Ivord, unless there was some element of safety in it for the ship and goods, and that nothing was more certain to be such a port than a natural port; that a natural port was "a place in which the conformation of the land with regard to the sea is such that, if you get your ship within certain limits, she is in a place of safety for loading and unloading"; that any place at which the loading and un loading took place might safely be inferred to be within "the port," as understood by the parties; that beyond the place of loading and unloading, the port would extend to any fur ther space over which the court authorities were in the habit of exercising "port disci pline."

In L. R. 4 Ex. 238, 245, Byles, J., said: "The passage from Lord Hale, de Portibus Maris (ch. 2, p. 46), shows that the limits of a port may depend on the existence of wharves, quays, buildings, and other con veniences. It may accordingly, from time to time, vary and increase with the increase of population and of buildings. Lord Hale further says : "The port of London anciently extended to Greenwich in the time of Ed ward I. and Gravesend is a member of it. The extent of a port therefore after a lapse of years may become a question of fact." In the same case below the meaning of "port" generally was considered by Martin, B.; L. R. 3 Ex. 330, 345. See HOME PORT ; DOMESTIC PORT.