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The abandonment by a sailor, of a ship or vessel in which he engaged to perform a voyage, before the expiration of his time, and without leave.

Desertion without just cause, renders the sailor liable, on his shipping articles, for damages, and will besides, work a forfeiture of his wages previously earned.

It has been decided in England, that leaving the ship before the completion of the voyage is not desertion in the case: 1. Of the seaman's entering into the public service, either voluntarily or by impress; and 2. When he is compelled to leave it by the inhuman treatment of the captain.