« ForrigeFortsett »
Nutting v. Connecticut River Railroad, 1 Gray, 502; Darling v. Boston & Worcester Railroad, 11 Allen, 295; Burroughs v. Norwich & Worcester Railroad, 100 Mass., 26, and cases cited; 2 Redf. Amer. Railw. Cas., 288, et seq.; Redf. Carr., sec. 181, et seq.
No case can be found where the simple acceptance of goods for transportation beyond the terminus of the railroad, under the circumstances stated in this case, has been held as sufficient to render the Railroad Company liable for loss on a connecting railroad, except in those courts which countenance the English rule of a railway's liability. If the evidence in this case is sufficient to authorize a jury to find that there was an implied contract to deliver the horses safely in Boston, the American rule approved by this court is practically overthrown.
It is for the plaintiff in such case to prove the special contract. The liability sought to be imposed on the carrier is extraordinary. If the circumstances of the case show nothing beyond the ordinary case of the acceptance of goods for transportation to a place beyond the Company's terminus, nothing but the ordinary contract can be implied therefrom; otherwise it would be necessary for the Railroad Company to expressly limit its liability when so receiving goods.
The way-bill was a mere direction to the servants of the different railway companies. No copy of it was delivered to the plaintiffs below, and it had no tendency to prove that an express contract had been made to transport the horses through to Boston.
If the plaintiff's relied upon an express contract to transport the horses to Boston, they ought to have shown authority in Graves to make such a contract.
Burroughs v. Norwich and Worcester Railroad, 100 Mass., 26.
Such a contract has been held in Connecticut to be ultra vires.
Hood v. N. Y. & N. H. R. Co., 22 Conn., 1. If the plaintiff, knowing the defects in the cars, and that they were unsafe, nevertheless placed his horses therein, he cannot recover in an action like this for injury to them, caused, as this seems to have been, by the defects of which he thus had notice. In an action of tort there would seem to be no reason why the doctrine of contributory negligence should not apply as to other cases of injury caused by negligence of carriers.
Messrs. Asaph Churchill, Edward L. Pierce and B. W. Harris, for defendant in
v. Pontius, 19 Ohio St., 221; Wheeler v. San Fran. & A. R. Co., 31 Cal., 46.
The doctrine that a railroad company has no power to contract for the transportation of freight beyond its termini, is held only in Connecticut, where it is likely to yield to the pressure of the prevailing view.
See, Converse v. Norwich and N. Y. Trans. Co., 33 Conn., 166.
The authorities differ as to the implied contract where a common carrier receives goods directed or consigned to a place beyond the terminus of his line; some holding him prima facie liable only to such terminus, and others holding him prima facie liable to the place to which the goods are booked. The judge at the trial followed the authorities most favorable to the plaintiff in error in his instructions, of which, therefore, it cannot complain.
Whether the plaintiff in error did agree to deliver the horses in Boston, is a question of fact for the jury, whose verdict in favor of the defendant in error on that issue, this court, sitting in error, will not disturb.
It is not an extraordinary contract, but an ordinary and customary one in railroad transportation, and implied from circumstances and the course of business, as well as proved by express agreement.
Redf. Carr., §§ 182, 183; Gray v. Jackson, 51 N. H., 9, and cases cited.
The case of Morse v. Brainerd, 41 Vt., 550, in which the railroad carriers were held, related to the same line of transportation, and is similar in its facts to this case.
The authority of Graves to bind the plaintiff in error by a contract to deliver the horses in Boston, was a question of fact for the jury, and no instructions to which the plaintiff in error was entitled were requested and refused.
Redf. Carr., sec. 199; 2 Redf. Railw., 5th ed., 140.
Whether the evidence as to the authority of Graves was sufficient or not, is not before the court. It has been held by this court that, sitting in error, it will not pass on the weight or sufficiency of evidence or correct the supposed mistakes of juries.
Dirst v. Morris, 14 Wall., 484, 20 L. ed. 722; Mills v. Smith, 8 Wall., 27, 19 L. ed. 346.
The common carrier's liability as implied and defined by law, is not diminished except by an express agreement between him and the owner. An exemption from such liability (which is that of an insurer except against the act of God and the public enemy) should not depend upon implication or inference founded on doubtful or conflicting evidence, but should be specific and certain, leaving no room for controversy between the parties. Such an agreement is not implied from knowledge of defective means of conveyance, or acquiescence in their use.
New Jersey Steam Nav. Co. v. Merchants' Bank, 6 How., pp. 344, 383; N. J. R. Co. v. Penn. R. Co., 3 Dutch., 100; Conway Bank v. American Express Co., 8 Allen, 512; Powell v. Penn. R. Co., 32 Pa., 414.
The contract of the plaintiff in error to deliver the horses in Boston was not ultra vires. R. Co. v. Harris, 12 Wall., 65, 20 L. ed. 354; Noyes v. Rutland & B. R. Co., 27 Vt., 110; Morse v. Brainerd, 41 Vt., 550; Perkins v. Portland & Saco R. Co., 47 Me., 573; McCluer v. Manchester & L. R. Co., 13 Gray, 124; Najac v. Boston and Lowell R. Co., 7 Allen., 332; Hill Mfg. Co. v. Boston and Lowell R. Co., 104 Mass., 122; Feital v. Middlesex R. Co., 109 Mass., 398; Bissell v. Michigan Southern, etc., R. Co., 22 N. Y., 258; Buffett v. Troy & Boston R. Co., 40 N. Y., 168, 36 Barb., 420; Candee v. Penn. R. Co., 21 Wis., 582; Ill. Cent. R. Co. Railroad Co. v. Manufacturing Co., 16 Wall., v. Copeiand, 24 Ill., 332; Cin, H. & D. R. Co. | 318, 21 L. ed. 297; see, Perry v. Thompson, 98
This court has declared itself against any further relaxation of the common law liability of common carriers.
Mass., 252; R. Co. v. Lockwood, 17 Wall., 357, | laws of New York, and against the trustees and 21 L. ed. 627.
The circuit court was right in its instruction that, "If the carriers furnish unsafe or unfit cars, they are not exempt from liability by the mere fact that the plaintiff knew them to be defective, but accepted and used them. Nothing less than a distinct agreement by the plaintiff to assume that risk would have that effect."
managers of the Vermont Central and Vermont and Canada Railroad Companies. The action was brought to recover the value of sundry horses killed and injured by fire while being transported from Potsdam in New York to Boston, and when upon the road of the Vermont Central Railroad Company. A verdict was found in the Superior Court for the plaintiffs, which was set aside and a new trial was ordered by the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, upon grounds not now presented. Pratt v. The Ogdensburg and Lake Champlain Railroad Comremoved by the defendants to the Circuit Court of the United States and a new declaration filed. At the trial in the circuit court, the jury found a verdict against the Ogdensburg and Lake Champlain Railroad Company for the sum of $3,919.17, and found a verdict in favor of the other defendants. Judgment was tered upon this verdict, to which the present writ of error is brought.
Hannibal R. Co. v. Swift, 12 Wall., 262, 20 L. ed. 423; Pratt v. Ogdensburg R. Co., 102 Mass., 557; Mallory v. Tioga R. Co., 39 Barb., 488; Powell v. Penn. R. Co., ubi supra; Robin-pany, 102 Mass., 557. Thereupon the case was son v. Dunmore, 2 Bos. & P., 416; Hollister v. Nowlen, 19 Wend., 134.
Even an express agreement would not relieve the Company from the consequences of its negligence; and its failure to furnish sufficient cars and to protect them from fire is in itself negligence.
R. R. Co. v. Lockwood, 17 Wall., 357, 21 L. ed. 627; Express Co. v. Kountze, Wall., 342, 19 L. ed. 457; Railroad Co. v. Manufacturing Co., 16 Wall.. 318, 21 L. ed. 297; Welsh v. Pittsburgh, Fort W. & C. R. R. Co., 10 Ohio St., 65; Indianapolis, P. & C. R. R. Co. v. Allen, 31 Ind., 394; McManus v. Lancashire & Y. R. Co., 4 Hurl. & N., 327, Story, Bail., Bennet's ed., § 562, p. 518; Sager v. R. R. Co., 31 Me., 228.
And this is law when the negligence is beyond its own line, under an agreement to carry through.
Cin., H. & D. R. Co. v. Pontius, 19 Ohio St.,
Is the action defeated by any negligence or act of the defendants in error?
Nine causes of error are assigned in the brief of the plaintiffs. They present four separate principles, and the questions may be thus stated:
1. Had the Ogdensburg and Lake Champlain Railroad Company power or right to contract as a common carrier to transport the horses to Boston over another railroad and beyond its own terminus?
2. Was there competent evidence given on the trial that the Company did so contract in relation to the horses in question?
3. Did the plaintiffs, by putting their horses into a car which they knew was defective and unsuitable, thereby assume the risk of such de-effects and relieve the Company from the responsibility of the same?
The question of the negligence of the fendants in error was one for the jury, and was properly left to them by the instruction. The general instruction that "If the plaintiffs or either of them by their own negligence or misconduct caused or contributed to the loss, they cannot recover," covered the matter of the request so far as the regulations of the Vermont road could possibly apply to the plaintiffs in error.
Notice of such regulation is not to be presumed, but must be proved.
Malone v. Boston & W. R. R. Co., 12 Gray, 388; Perry v. Thompson, 98 Mass., 249, 252.
*4. Was there error in admitting in [*129 evidence the way-bill made and forwarded with the property by the defendants, or in allowing the witness to state for whom the station agent assumed to act?
First. As to the power of the Railroad Company to contract as a common carrier for the transportation of property beyond the terminus of its own road.
The distinction between the liability of a carrier, in carrying goods upon his own line, and in forwarding them when the duty to The mere use of straw, without concealment, carry is at an end, is well defined. In the laneven if there had been regulations to the con- guage of Mr. Justice Davis, in R. Co. v. Mfg. trary, would not in law be negligence or fraud, Co., 16 Wall., 324, 21 L. ed. 301, "It is the or a breach of contract by the defendants in duty of the carrier, in the absence of any speerror which would affect their full rights cial contract, to carry safely to the end of his against the carrier. It was for the plaintiff in line, and to deliver to the next carrier in the error, who had full control of its cars, to have route beyond." What constitutes a sufficient kept the straw out, if its knowledge and ex-delivery to the succeeding carrier is often a perience in that business showed its use to be dangerous.
Powell v. Penn. R. Co., 32 Pa., 414; Ritz v. Penn. Cent. R. Co., cited in Redf. Carr., 231, n.
Mr. Justice Hunt delivered the opinion of the court:
difficult question, but we have no occasion to embarrass ourselves with it here.
The fair result of the American cases limits the carrier's liability as such, when no special contract is made, to his own line, although there are cases which hold the liability as continuing the same throughout the whole route, and such is the English doctrine. A discussion This is an action on the case originally begun on this point is unnecessary, as the judge on in the Superior Court of the Commonwealth of the trial held the rule as we have stated it, Massachusetts by Pratt and Brigham against and as was most favorable to the defendants. the Ogdensburg and Lake Champlain Railroad He charged the jury that the defendants were Company, a Corporation established under the only liable upon a contract, to be proved, that 22 WALL. 52
U. S., Book 22.
they had assumed a liability beyond that im- | the plaintiffs' favor on these points, upon eviposed by law. dence legally sufficient to justify it, this court cannot interfere with their findings (authorities supra).
The defendants were an incorporation or130*]ganized under the general railroad law of the State of New York. They possessed the powers given to corporations generally, and were subject to the corresponding liabilities. N. Y. L., 1848, p. 221; N. Y. L., 1850, p. 211. Assuming the case to stand upon the general principles applicable to the question, the doctrine that a railroad company may subject itself to the obligations of a carrier beyond its own line, has been distinctly held in the State of New York, where this contract was made; in the State of Massachusetts, where its performance was to be completed, and in the State of Vermont, where the alleged injury occurred. Bissell v. R. Co., 22 N. Y., 258; Buffett v. R. Co., 40 N. Y., 168; Root v. R. Co., 45 N. Y., 524; Burtis v. R. Co., 24 N. Y., 269; Hill Mfg. Co. v. B. & L. R. Co., 104 Mass., 122; Feital v. R. Co., 107 Mass., 398; Noyes v. R. Co., 27 Vt., 110; Morse v. Brainard, 41 Vt., 550; R. Co. v. Mfg. Co., 16 Wall., 324, 21 L. ed. 301; R. Co. v. Androscoggin Mills, ante, 724.
In the case of Burtis v. R. Co., supra, it was held that this principle applied to connecting roads extending beyond the limits of the State. The single exception to this holding, so far as we are aware, is in the State of Connecticut where the contrary has been held by its Supreme Court. Converse v. Trans. Co., 33 Conn., 166; Hood v. R. Co., 22 Conn., 502.
This case, however, does not stand upon the general principle only. By the statutes of New York (Stat. 1847, 299, § 9; 2 R. S., 5th ed., 693, § 67), it is enacted as follows: "Any railroad company receiving freight for transportation shall be entitled to the same rights and subject to the same responsibilities as common carriers. Whenever two or more railroad companies are connected together, any company owning either of said roads receiving freight to be transported to any place on the line of either of said roads so connected shall be liable as common carriers for the delivery of such freight at such place. In case any such company shall become liable to pay any sum by 131*] reason of the *neglect of any other company or companies, the company paying such sum may collect the same of the company by whose neglect it became so liable." This statute is declared by Rappallo, J., in Root v. R. Co. supra, to be declaratory merely.
We do not see that there is room to doubt the power of the Company to make the contract in question.
Second. Was there evidence in this case that the Ogdensburg and L. C. R. R. Co. did contact as a common carrier to transport this property beyond its own terminus over other roads to Boston?
The evidence on both these points may properly be considered at the same time. Pratt testified that he had for many years been in the habit of transporting horses over the defendants' road to Boston, to the number of two hundred a year, and that Graves had been the station agent at Potsdam for five or six years; that nearly a week before the present shipment Graves engaged to give him on that day two good stock cars to carry his horses to Boston, and that the cars furnished by Graves had always come over these roads and delivered the horses in Boston, and that the arrangements mads by him were recognized by the other roads; that Graves' office was in the Potsdam freight house, and that he paid the freight through, sometimes at Potsdam *and [*132 sometimes at Boston; that on this occasion he agreed with Graves upon the price through to Boston, viz.: $85 a car, and that a way-bill was made out for the horses and cars to Boston at the price mentioned. Other witnesses give testimony in corroboration, which it is not necessary to refer to. Graves testified that he was the station master at Potsdam, and that the cars were billed from Potsdam to Boston, via Concord, as per bill; that the price agreed upon was not paid in advance, but it might have been.
The way-bill was headed thus: "Way-bill of merchandise transported by Ogdensburg and Lake Champlain ` Railroad Company from Potsdam Junction to Boston via Cd., March 28th, 1868." It describes the two cars with horses, and as consigned to Pratt & Brigham, at Boston.
We see no sound objection to the admission of this way-bill as evidence. If a written contract, it was not only evidence, but the best evidence of what the contract was. It was exhibited to Pratt before the cars were started, as a part of the transaction.
If not a contract, it was an act done and a declaration made by the agent in the very act of transacting the business, and as a part of it, which brought it within the principle of the res gesta.
This evidence shows that the oral engagement was "to carry his horses to Boston," not to carry to Rouse's Point and thence to forward to Boston, but "to carry" as well and as fully over the Vermont and Massachusetts roads as over the Ogdensburg road.
Again, a specific price was agreed upon for transportation over the whole route. This was in accordance with the practice, and whether paid at Potsdam or at Boston was unimportant. This practice had been continued for years, The weight, the force or the degree of the and the jury had the right to hold the contract evidence is not before us, if there was com- to be the same, without reference to prepaypetent evidence, on which the jury might law-ment or postpayment. The jury were justified fully find the existence of the contract alleged. in inferring that where a carrier fixes a price Dirst v. Morris, 14 Wall., 484, 20 L. ed. 722; Mills v. Smith, 8 Wall., 27, 19 L. ed. 346.
for transportation over the whole route, that he makes the entire contract his own. One who Both the authority of Graves, the station carries simply over his own line, and thence agent, to make the contract, and the evidence forwards by other lines, would ordinarily, of Pratt and others of the making of the con- the jury may say, make or collect his [*133 tract, were questions of fact for the considera-lown charges and leave the remaining charges tion of the jury. If the jury have found in to be collected by those performing the remain
2. That it is not just and reasonable in the eye of the law for a common carrier to stipulate for exemption from responsibility for the negligence of himself or his servants.
ing service. Receipt of the entire pay affords when such exemption is not just and reasona fair presumption of an entire contract. able in the eye of the law. The language of the way-bill is quite expressive. It describes "merchandise transported from Potsdam to Boston." Transported or carried are equivalent terms, and quite distinct from the idea of forwarding. Whether looked upon as a contract, or as a declaration, or an admission simply, the way-bill furnishes evidence that the Ogdensburg Company undertook to carry the horses to Boston.
In Root v. R. Co., supra, in speaking of the contract to transport as a common carrier over other lines, the court say: "Such an undertaking may be established by express contract, or by showing that the company held itself out as a carrier for the entire distance, or received freight for the entire distance, or other circumstances indicating an understanding that it was to carry through."
We think there was competent evidence before the jury that the Company undertook to carry this property to Boston, and the jury having found such to be the fact, the other companies are to be deemed the agents of the defendants, for whose faults they are responsible.
Third. The loss, it is contended, arose from the defective condition of the car in which the horses were placed, whereby it was exposed to danger from fire. It is said that Pratt was aware of the defective condition of the car; that he voluntarily made use of it, and that the risk of loss by its use thus became his and ceased to be that of the Company. The judge charged the jury that it was the duty of the carrier to furnish suitable vehicles for transportation; that if he furnished unfit or unsafe vehicles he is not exempt from responsibility by the fact that the shipper knew them to be defective and used them; that nothing less than a direct agreement by the shipper to assume the risk would have that effect. 134*] *There was a conflict in the testimony upon the point whether other cars were to be had. Pratt testified that he was compelled to take these cars or wait with his horses for a week. The station agent testified that there were other cars which Pratt might have had if he preferred them.
The authorities sustain the position taken by the judge at the trial.
In Steam Nav. Co. v. Bk., 6 How., 344, 383, Mr. Justice Nelson says: "If it is competent at all for the carrier to stipulate for the gross negligence of himself and servants or agents in the transportation of goods, it should be required to be done at least in terms that would leave no doubt as to the meaning of the parties."
To this effect are the New York and Massachusetts cases before cited.
In R. Co. v. Mfg. Co., 16 Wall., 318, 21 L. ed. 297, it was declared that the court did not intend to relax the rule by which the liability of carriers was established. In R. Co. v. Lockwood, 17 Wall., 357, 21 L. ed. 627, the following, among other propositions, were reiterated and established by the unanimous judgment of the court:
The judge at the trial in this case might have gone much further than he did, and have charged that if the jury found the Company to have been negligent and careless in furnishing cars, they would not be relieved from responsibility, although there had been an agreement that they should not be liable therefor.
Fourth. It is contended that there was error in the admission of evidence on the trial. The admission of the way-bill we have con- [*135 sidered, and we think it was properly admitted. When the plaintiff, Pratt, was on the stand as a witness the following question was put to him: "In these acts of Graves in furnishing cars and making agreements for transportation through to Boston, as testified by you, for whom did he assume to act?" This question was objected to by the defendants, and the objection was overruled. We think this question was erroneous in its form, and that, as insisted by the defendants, he should have been asked to state only what was said and done. The error was, however, harmless. That Graves was acting for the Ogdensburg Company was disputed by no one. All that had been testified to, showed it. Graves, himself, testified that he was so acting, and there was no evidence or pretense to the contrary, either on the trial or the argument. The question is, as to the effect of his acts and not as to whether he acted for the Company. His authority has not been repudiated by the Company at any time or in any form. We have often held that we will not reverse a judgment on account of an error which clearly appears to have produced no injury.
Two suggestions are made by the counsel for the plaintiffs in error which require consideration.
First. That the rules of the Vermont Central road forbade the use of combustible material in the cars on their road, and that if known to the plaintiffs, and the contract were made in reference to them, the presence of this material in the car while on their road was a bar to the action. The answer to this suggestion is: first that there is no competent evidence of such contract and agreement; and second, that the contract was made with the Ogdensburg road alone. The shippers were strangers to the rules as well as to the owners of the Vermont road. Their dealings were with the Ogdensburg road only, one of whose agents aided in putting the litter into the car, and the rules of which Company were not violated by that
The second suggestion is, that some of the horses injured were not placed in the cars till they were at Rouse's Point, *beyond the [*136 terminus of the defendant's road. The contract was in substance for transportation over the Ogdensburg road of all the horses. For the convenience of the shipper he was allowed to put them on board at different points. This was an incidental circumstance merely, and does not affect the contract. If it receives the 1. That a common carrier cannot lawfully full price for the transportation of all the propstipulate for exemption from responsibility erty from Potsdam to Boston, it is evidently
to the advantage of the Company if it escapes | tion, as gold coin then commanded a premium the danger incident thereto for a portion of the of forty per cent. above legal tenders. But the distance. The power to contract for the whole court refused to compute this incident as a distance of all the horses, and the making of part of the petitioning creditor's debt. Some such contract, and the receipt of the compen debts carry compound interest. In some States sation specified, fix the rights of the parties. compound interest is not allowed, but simple The precise details of its performance are not interest on accrued interest only is allowed. essential. Some notes and bills are payable in foreign currency, and might demand that the par of exchange be added. Some bills payable at different places may be protested and the holder become entitled to damages by reason of the non payment. These damages vary from three
WILLIAM SLOAN, Plff. in Err.,
JOHN G. LEWIS, Assignee in Bankruptcy of to twenty per cent. in North Carolina on the
(See S. C., 22 Wall., 150-157.)
Accrued interest, part of debt-bankruptcy.
1. Accrued interest constitutes part of a debt provable against the estate of a bankrupt, and is, therefore, a part of a debt which may be used to uphold involuntary proceedings in bankruptcy.
2. Where the record shows jurisdiction, an adjudication of bankruptcy can only be assailed by a direct proceeding in a competent court. [No. 212.]
Argued Feb. 25, 1875. Decided Mar. 29, 1875.
N ERROR to the Supreme Court of the State of North Carolina.
Suit was brought in the Superior Court of Lincoln County, North Carolina, by the defendant in error as assignee in bankruptcy, to recover certain lands. Judgment having been given for the plaintiff and affirmed upon appeal by the Supreme Court of the State, the defendant sued out this writ of error.
The case sufficiently appears in the opinion of the court.
Mr. A. W. Guion, for plaintiff in error: "Debt" and "interest" are both technical terms in the common law that have never been confounded, each having a specific sense of its own. In every department of law, the distinction is recognized. Even in the process of the court, mesne or final, the distinction between debt and interest is persistently preserved. In the fi. fa., the sheriff is commanded to make a certain debt, and also a certain other sum, as damages for the detention of said debt, and also for the costs.
principal sum, dependent on the places where such bills are made payable; and in other States the rates differ.
They fail to claim interest as any part of their debt, and do not pretend or aver that their proceedings are founded on such interest.
In Udall v. The Ohio, 17 How., 17, 15 L. ed. 42, this court held: "That no computation of interest will be made to give jurisdiction, unless it specially be claimed in the libel. This would certainly be the case at law,, and no reason is perceived why the rule should be relaxed in a case of libel."
Olney v. The Falcon, 17 How., 19, 15 L. ed. 43; Ex parte Marlar, 1 Atk., 151; In re Burgess, 8 Taunt., 660 (4 E. C. L., 241); 2 J. B. Moore, 745; Cameron v. Smith, 2 B. & Ald., 305, to the same effect; Ex parte Greenaway, Buck, 412; Du Belloix v. Ld. Waterpark, 1 Dow. & Ry., 16, 16 E. C. L., 12, and the cases cited in the notes.
Mr. S. F. Phillips, for defendant in error: The record substantially shows no federal question whatever, inasmuch as the North Carolina Statute (Revised Code, 1855, sec. 4, p. 111) provides that "All bonds, bills, notes, bills of exchange, liquidated and settled accounts, shall bear interest from the time they become due," thereby making interest a part of the contract, and not a matter to be allowed or refused, under the head of damages by a jury, as heretofore has been the case in England, which is the foundation of the decision cited by the defendant, viz.; Eden, Bankr., 42, and cases cited.
Mr. Chief Justice Waite delivered the opin
The violation of any contract subjects the party to damages, which are to be assessed by a jury, and it would be so, too, in a case of fail-ion of the court: ure to pay a sum of money by or before a given time. But for social and commercial convenience, an arbitrary rule has been fixed by government, whereby such damages are easily and readily ascertained without awaiting the verdict of a jury or even the speedier reference to a clerk as upon a writ of inquiry. 2 Tidd, Pr., 315.
Interest is but an incident to the debt, and not a part of the debt itself. But it is not the only incident, and if it is to be considered, why not the others also, that at different times and varied forms present themselves?
This action was commenced by an assignee in bankruptcy in the state court, to set aside certain conveyances made by the bankrupt in fraud of the Bankrupt Law, as is alleged. The proceedings in bankruptcy, under which the assignee was appointed, were involuntary, and one of the defenses in the action is that the adjudication of bankruptcy was void because the record shows that the debt owing to the petitioning creditor was less than $250, and consequently the court had no jurisdiction in the premises.
This defense presents the only federal quesIf this is decided tion there is in the case. against the plaintiff in error, our jurisdiction is at an end and we need not look further into the record.
A case presented itself in the District of Columbia, exhibiting one of the endless forms in which questions can and will occur, when a simple rule is departed from and a door opened for their consideration. A petitioning creditor The principal of the debt owing to the peti in bankruptcy set forth as his debt a note for tioner, as described in the petition, is a few $200, payable in gold coin, and claimed that cents less than $250; but by adding the interthe amount was sufficient to confer jurisdic-est to the time of filing the petition, the indebt
89 U. S.