The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 26, July 1922 - April, 1923 Page: 54
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54 Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Houston, Dec. 14, 1837.
Hion. R. A. Irion Secretary of State,
Sir After an attentive examination of the case of the Brig
Pocket, I am satisfied the payment alledged to have been made
to the Master at New Orleans in behalf of this Government for
the vessel and freight, is obligatory upon the owners and con-
clusion of their right. The Master is the accredited Agent of
the Ship owner, the world over. His Agency terminated by no
means with the Captain of the vessel. He still represents the
Owners of Ship and Cargo and is bound to use every effort not
inconsistent with good faith to protect and benefit their interests.
He may arrange with the Captors and purchase the vessel in
behalf of the owners before or after condemnation. If the cap-
ture is adjudged unlawful he is the person to receive her after
judgment of restitution.
The Agency of the Master in this case was continued in behalf
of the owners, independent of receiving payment for the vessel
and freight by the most solemn act he is ever called on to per-
form in his official character, viz: his protest against the Capture.
This document bears date after the sale of the Brig to Messrs
Toby and Brothers, and after having received full payment for
vessel and freight. The insurers in New York should have been
apprized of this arrangement with the Master. Had the Pro-
test been accompanied with this information the Insurance Com-
pany would have given a prompt and decided refusal to any ap-
plication of the assured for either a total or partial loss. Whether
Messrs Barclay and Livingston were possessed of this informa-
tion does not appear-but as regards our responsibilities in the
matter it is in my judgment quite immaterial whether they were
or were not apprized of it. It would be most extraordinary if
these parties arranging with the general Agent of the assured as
the owners of the vessel were responsible for the faithful appli-
cation of funds committed to his hands in the regular course of
his agency, or for losses resulting from his bad faith or inatten-
tion. The demand in this case of the Insurance office does not
appear to have been paid, by any document presented to us. I
should infer from the deposition of the President of the Co. that,
it was suspended for investigation. If the payment to the Master,
made as it was in perfect good faith, and for the benefit of the
concerned, is brought to the knowledge of the Co. I cannot doubt
it will at once silence all claims on their part upon this Gov-
Very Respectfully Yours &c.
J. BIRDSALL, Atty. General.5
'The above is an accurate copy of the opinion of Attorney General J.
Birdsall on the Brig Pocket which is found in the Records of the Depart-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 26, July 1922 - April, 1923, periodical, 1923; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101084/m1/60/: accessed August 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.