"Breaking bulk" is the discharge of any cargo below the hatches or on the ship's manifest, or the taking goods out of the packages in which they travelled so as to facilitate the handling of such goods.
- BREAKING BULK. The doctrine of breaking bulk proceeds upon the ground of a determination of the privity of the bailment by the wrongful act of the bailee. Thus, where a carrier had agreed to carry certain bales of goods, which were delivered to him, to Southampton, but carried them to another place, broke open the bales, and took the goods contained in them feloniously and converted them to his own use, the majority of the judges held that If the party had sold the entire bales it would not have been felony; "but as he broke them, and took what was in them, he did it without warrant," and so was guilty of felony; I. B. 13 Edw. IV. fol. 9. 'If a miller steals part of the meal, "although the corn was delivered to him to grind, nevertheless if he steal it It is felony, being taken from the rest;" 1 Rolle, Abr. 73, pl. 16; Com. v. James, 1 Pick. (Mass.) 375. This construction Involves the absurd consequence of Its being felony to steal part of a package, but a breach of trust to steal the whole.
- In an early case in Massachusetts, it was decided that If a wagon-load of goods, consisting of several packages, is delivered to a common carrier to be transported In a body to a certain place, and he, with a felonious intent, separates one entire package, whether before or after the delivery of the other packages, this is a sufficient breaking of bulk to constitute larceny, without any breaking of the package so separated; Com. T. Brown, 4 Mass. 580. But this decision is In direct conflict with the English cases. Thus, where the master and owner of a ship steals a package out of several packages delivered him to carry, without removing anything from the particular package; 1 Russ. & R. 92; or where a letter-carrier is intrusted with two directed envelopes, each containing a 51. note, and delivers the envelopes, having previously taken out the two notes; 1 Den. %Cr. Cas. 215; or where a drover separates one sheep from a flock Intrusted to him to drive a certain distance; 1 Jebb. 51; this is not a breaking of bulk sufficient to terminate the bailment and to constitute larceny; 2 Blsh. Cr. L. 860, 868. The Larceny Act of 1861 has met the difficulty of deciding this class of cases in England, by providing that a bailee of any chattel, money, or valuable security, who fraudulently takes the same, although not breaking bulk, shall be guilty of larceny.DCDuring TALK 19:42, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
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Rfv-sense: "To unload a ship."
I had originally contributed this entry with two senses, but the wording was wrong. I have reworded one sense to indicate a certain type of unloading of a shipment, not necessarily from a ship. I have ttbc'ed three translations of the reworded sense. I would have simply deleted this remaining sense, but there are translations and I still could be wrong. The reworded sense is intended to encompass the usage in old English legal cases, which still carries weight today. DCDuring TALK 20:11, 1 July 2012 (UTC)