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Where a judgment was obtained in the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Mississippi in 1839, and in 1841, the State of Mississippi passed a law, requiring judgments to be recorded in a particular way, in order to make them a lien upon property, this statute did not abrogate the lien which had been acquired under the judgment of 1839, although the latter had not been recorded in the manner required by the statute. Massingill v. Downs, (760) 903


1. There is a defense peculiar to courts of equity founded on lapse of time and the staleness of the claim, where no statute of limitations governs the case. In such cases, the court often act upon their own inherent doctrine of discouraging, for the peace of society, antiquated demands, by refusing to interfere where there has been gross laches in prosecuting rights, or long acquiescence in the assertion of adverse rights.

Wagner v. Baird,

(234) 681 2. The rule upon this subject, originally laid down by Lord Camden in Smith v. Clay, 3 Bro. Ch. Rep. 640, note, and adopted by this court in 1 Howard, 189, again asserted. (İb.) Id.

681 3. Long acquiescence and laches by parties out of possession are productive of much hardship and injustice to others, and cannot be excused but by showing some actual hindrance or impediment caused by the fraud or concealment of the party in possession, which will appeal to the conscience of the Chancellor. Id.

(Ib.) 681 4. The party guilty of such laches cannot screen his title from the just imputation of staleness, merely by the allegation of an imaginary impediment or technical disability.


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(Ib.) 681 5. By a law of the State of Illinois, passed in 1827, "every action of covenant shall be menced within sixteen years after the cause of such But by action shall have accrued, and not after." a proviso, persons beyond the limits of the State were exempted from the operation of the law, and might bring the action at any time within sixteen years after coming within the State. Afterwards, in 1837, this proviso was repealed. (776)

Lewis v. Lewis,

909 6. The statute of 1827 begins to run, as to nonresidents, from the time of the repeal of the saving clause, in 1837, and not before.

Stearns v. Page,

Id. (Ib.) 909 7. The general rules stated which govern a court of equity in opening accounts and sustaining claims which are barred by the statute of limitations. (819) 928 8. Great caution is exercised, and the complainant is holden to stringent rules of pleading and evidence. Id. (Ib.) 928 9. He must state in his bill, distinctly, the particular act of fraud, misrepresentation, or concealment; must specify how, when, and in what manner it was perpetrated.


(Ib.) 928 10. The charges must be definite and reasonably certain; capable of proof and clearly proved. Id. (Ib.) 928 11. If a mistake is alleged, it must be stated with precision and made apparent, so that the court may rectify it, with a feeling of certainty that they are not committing another and perhaps greater mistake. Id.


928 12. And especially must there be distinct averments as to the time when the fraud, mistake, concealment, or misrepresentation was discovered, and what the discovery is, so that the court may clearly see whether, by the exercise of ordinary diligence, the discovery might not have been before made. Id. (Ib.) 928


1. A lapse of forty-six years is a bar to relief in equity, although the creditor, during all that time, supposed the debtor to be insolvent, and not worth

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1. The courts of Rhode Island have decided in favor of the validity of the charter government, and the courts of the United States adopt and follow the decisions of the State courts in questions which concern merely the constitution and laws of the State.

Luther v. Borden,

(1) 581 2. The highest court of the State of Alabama having decided that an original mortgagee (an incorporated company) violated its charter in the transaction which led to the mortgage, this court adopts its construction of a statute of that State. Smith v. Kernochen, (198) 666

3. The Legislature of Michigan passed an act on the 15th March, 1837, entitled "An Act to organize and regulate banking associations," and on the 30th of December, 1837, an act to amend the former act. By the first, any persons were allowed to form associations for the purposes of banking upon the terms specified in the law; and by the second, the stockholders were made liable, in their individual character, under certain circumstances, for the debts of the association.

Nesmith v. Sheldon,

(812) 925

4. The associations formed under these acts are corporations within the meaning of the constitution of Michigan, and the acts are unconstitutional and void. (Ib.) 925

Id. 5. The second section of the twelfth article of the Constitution forbidding the Legislature from "passing any act of incorporation unless with the assent of at least two thirds of each house," the judgment of the Legislature is required to be exercised upon the propriety of creating each particular corporation, and two thirds of each house must sanction and approve each individual charter. Id. (Ib.) 925

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Ford v. Douglas,

(143) 89

2. The purchaser under the judicial sale having filed a bill and obtained an injunction upon the creditor to stay the execution, it was an irregular mode of raising the question of fraud for the creditor to file an answer setting it forth, and alleging the sale to be void upon that ground. He should have filed a cross bill. Exceptions to the answer upon this account were properly sustained by the court below. Id. (Ib.) 89

3. But if the court below should perpetuate the injunction, upon the defendant's refusal to answer further, the injunction should be free from doubt, in leaving the creditor to pursue other property under his judgment, and also at liberty to file a If the injunction does not clearly recross bill. serve these rights to the creditor, it goes too far, and the judgment of the court below must be re versed. Id. (Ib.) 89 4. Under the practice of Louisiana, peremptory exceptions must be considered as specially pleaded when they are set forth in writing, in a specific or detailed form, and judgment prayed on them. (278)

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5. Although the court should refuse to receive exceptions thus tendered, yet if the party has the benefit of them on a motion in arrest of judgment, and in a bill of exceptions, the refusal of the court is not a sufficient cause for reversal. Id.

(Ib.) 152 6. The statute of Louisiana, of Louisiana, requiring their courts to have the testimony taken down in all cases where an appeal lies to the Supreme Court, and the adoption of this rule by the court of the United States, includes only cases where an appeal (technically speaking) lies, and not cases which are carried to an appellate court by writ of error. Phillips v. Preston, (278) 152 7. Where the laws permit a waiver of a trial by jury, it is too late to raise an objection that the waiver was not made a matter of record, after the case.has_proceeded to a hearing. Id.


See Marshals, Chancery, Marriage.

(Ib.) 152

1. Although by the Code of Louisiana, a person holding property by sale from a donee of an excessive donation is liable to the forced heir only after an execution first had against the property of the donee, yet this rule does not apply to cases where the sale was made without any authority,

judicial or otherwise.

Patterson v. Gaines,

(550) 553 2. Where sales are made without this authority, the purchaser is presumed to have notice of it. It is his duty to inquire whether or not the requisitions of law were complied with.


(Ib.) 553 3. The statute of limitations which was in force when the suit was brought is that which determines the right of a party to sue. Id.



(Ib.) 553 4. By the Louisiana Code of 1808, à déceased person could not, in 1811, dispose of more than one fifth of his property, when he had a child. child is the forced heir for the remaining four (Ib.)





1. The jurisdiction of courts of probate in Louisiana is confined to cases which seek an account and settlement of effects presumed to be held by the representative of a succession. It has not jurisdiction over cases of alleged fraud or waste, or embezzlement of the estate. Fourniquet v. Perkins, (160) 650 2. The district courts are courts of general civil jurisdiction.


(Ib.) 650 3. Hence, where a petition was filed in the Court of Probate, against an administrator, praying that he might account and also be held liable for maladministration and spoliation, it was proper to transfer the case for trial to the District Court. Id.

(Ib.) 650 4. The judgment in the District Court, being generally for the defendant, must be supposed to cover the whole case, and not to have rested upon only a branch of it, viz., a release which was pleaded by the defendant.

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(Ib.) 934 9. Where the court below decides both law and fact, no bill of exceptions need be taken. The case then becomes like one at common law, where a special verdict was found, or a case is stated, in neither of which is there any necessity for a bill of exceptions. Id. (Ib.) 934

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it must be proved by the laws of Pennsylvania. 1. Where a marriage took place in Pennsylvania, In that State it is a civil contract, to be completed by any words in the present tense, without regard to form, and every intendment is made in favor of legitimacy. 553 2. A marriage may be proved by anyone who was present and can identify the parties. If the ceremony be performed by a person habited as a priest, and per verba de presenti, the person performing the ceremony must be presumed to have been a clergyman.

Patterson v. Gaines,

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1. The decision of this court in the case of Gwin v. Breedlove, 2 How. 29, reviewed and confirmed, viz. :

That under a statute of Mississippi, relating to sheriffs, a sheriffs, a summary summary process against a marshal might be resorted to, in order to enforce the payment of a debt, interest, and costs, for which he was liable by reason of his default; that the courts of the United States could not enforce the payment of a penalty imposed by the State laws in addition to the money due on the execution; that a marshal and his sureties could not be proceeded against, jointly, in this summary way, but they must be sued as directed by the act of Congress. Gwin v. Barton, (7) 321

2. Any excess of interest awarded over and above the legal rate is a penalty, and comes within the above rule. (Ib.) 321


3. An action on the case will not lie against the executors of a deceased marshal, where executions had been placed in the hands of the marshal, and false returns made on some of them, and imperfect and insufficient entries on others. (11) 323

United States v. Daniel,

4. By the laws of Louisiana, debts which are due to a defendant, against whom an execution has issued, may be seized and sold. But they must first be appraised at their cash value, and if two thirds

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(Ib.) 88 3. This court adheres to the construction of the constitution which was given in the case of Groves v. Slaughter, and enforces contracts made between the two days above mentioned, although the courts of the State of Mississippi have, since the decision In the case of Groves v. Slaughter, declared such contracts to be void. Id. (Ib.) 88

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See Chancery.

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8. The commander was acting as a public officer, invested with certain discretionary powers, and cannot be made answerable for any injury, when acting within the scope of his authority, and not influenced by malice, corruption, or cruelty. His position is quasi judicial.


(Ib.) 618

9. Hence, the burden of proof that the officer exceeded his powers is upon the party complaining; the rule of law being, that the acts of a public officer, on public matters, within his jurisdiction and where he has a discretion, are to be presumed legal till shown by others to be unjustifiable. Id.

(Ib.) 618 10. It is not enough to show that he committed an error in judgment, but it must have been a malicious and wilful error. Id.

(Ib.) 618

NAVY OF THE UNITED STATES- -8. 1. Commissions for drawing bills of exchange were not usually allowed to permanent pursers in the navy; and on the 10th of November, 1826, commissions for such services to commanders of squadrons and officers of any grade were expressly abolished. United States v. Buchanan,

(83) 997 2. A custom cannot be set up against a settled rule; nor can it ever be binding unless it be ancient, reasonable, generally known, and certain. Id. (Ib.) 997

3. There are two books for the government of the officers of the navy, usually known as the "Blue Book" and the "Red Book." The "Red Book," although later in date, did not repeal the "Blue Book" except in some few specified particulars. Id. (Ib.) 997

Where a lien existed on property by a special mortgage before the debtor's death, and the property passed, with the lien attached, into the hands of an executor, and was in the course of administration in the Probate Court, the Circuit Court of 4. The duty of paying mechanics and laborers at the United States had jurisdiction, notwithstanding, the navy yards was imposed, by the Blue Book, to proceed against the property, enforce the cred-upon pursers who were stationed there. It was itor's lien, and decree a sale of the property. And such sale was valid.

Erwin v. Lowry,

made a part of their official duty. As this was not repealed by the Red Book, no commission can be (172) 655 allowed to a purser for performing his service. Id. (Ib.) 997

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3. The act of Congress passed on the 2d of March, 1837 (5 Stat. at Large, 153), authorized a re-enlistment of marines to serve during the cruise then about to take place, they being included in the denomination of "persons enlisted for the navy."' Prior laws recognize marines as a part of the navy. Id. (Ib.) 618

4. Under the same act, the commander of the squadron had power to detain a marine after the term of his enlistment expired, if, in the opinion of the commander, public interest required it. Id. (Ib.) 618 5. At the time of enlistment, the marine corps being subject to such laws and regulations às might, at any time, be established for the better government of the navy, it was a part of the contract of enlistment that the party should obey them, whenever passed. It was therefore no objection to such laws that they were passed after his entering the service. (Ib.) 618


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(Ib.) 997

8. It appears, also, that the government is not responsible for a wrong committed by one officer upon another. The party injured has other modes of redress than setting off the damages as a defense when sued upon his bond by the United States. Id. (Ib.) 997


1. Under a statute of Maryland, passed in 1796, a deed of manumission is not good unless recorded within six months after its date; and this law is in force in Washington County, District of Columbia. Miller v. Herbert, (72) 55

2. The statutes and decisions of Maryland examined. Id. (Ib.) 55

3. Under the fourth section of the Act of 12th February, 1793, respecting fugitives from justice, and persons escaping from the service of their master, on a charge for harboring and concealing fugi

tives from labor, the notice need not be in writing | by the claimant or his agent, stating that such person is a fugitive from labor under the third section of the above act, and served on the person harboring or concealing such fugitive, to make him liable to the penalty of five hundred dollars under the act. Jones v. Van Zandt, (215) 122

Jones v. Van Zandt,

4. Such notice, if not in writing and served as aforesaid, may be given verbally by the claimant or his agent to the person who harbors or conceals the fugitive; and to charge him under the statute a general notice to the public in a newspaper is not necessary. (215) 122 5. Clear proof of the knowledge of the defendant, by his own confession or otherwise, that he knew the colored person was a slave and fugitive from labor, though he may have acquired such knowledge from the slave himself, or otherwise, is sufficient to charge him with notice. Id.

(Ib.) 122 6. Receiving the fugitive from labor at three o'clock in the morning, at a place in the State of Ohio about twelve miles distant from the place in Kentucky where the fugitive was held to labor, from a certain individual, and transporting him in a closely covered wagon twelve or fourteen miles, so that the boy thereby escaped pursuit, and his services were thereby lost to his master, is a harboring or concealing of the fugitive within the statute. Id. (Ib.) 122 7. A transportation under the above circumstances. though the boy should be recaptured by his master, is a harboring or concealing of him within the statute.



(Ib.) 122

8. Such a transportation, in such a wagon, whereby the services of the boy were entirely lost to his master, is a harboring of him within the Id. (Ib.) 122 9. A claim of the fugitive from the person harboring or concealing him need not precede or accompany the notice. Id.

(Ib.) 122 10. Any overt act so marked in its character as to show an intention to elude the vigilance of the master or his agent, and which is calculated to attain such an object, is a harboring of the fugitive within the statute.


(Ib.) 122 11. In this particular case, the first and second counts contain the necessary averments, that Andrew, the colored man, escaped from the State of Kentucky into the State of Ohio. Id.

(Ib.) 122 12. They also contain the necessary averments of notice that said Andrew was a fugitive from labor, within the description of the act of Congress. Id. (Ib.) 122 13. The averments in the said counts, that the defendant harbored said Andrew, are sufficient. Id. (Ib.) 122 14. Said counts are otherwise sufficient. Id. (Ib.) 122 15. The Act of Congress, approved February 12, 1793, is not repugnant to the Constitution of the United States. Id. (Ib.) 122

16. The said act is not repugnant to the ordinance of Congress, adopted July, 1787. entitled, "An Ordinance for the governemnt of the territory

of the United States northwest of the River Ohio." Id. (Ib.) 122


Although the marshal did not give the notice required by law to the executor against whom the petition was filed, yet, if the executor was served with process on the spot where the property was situated and where the advertisements were posted up, was present at the sale and named one of the appraisers, and requested that the land and negroes should be sold together, he cannot afterwards impeach the sale because formal steps were not strictly complied with. Nor can the curator who subsequently represented the same estate. Erwin v. Lowry,


(172) 655

1. The burden of proof, that the officer exceeded his powers, is upon the party complaining; the

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(Ib.) 23

4. Where a patent was obtained for a new improvement in the mode of making brick, tile, and other clay ware, and the process described in the specification was, to mix pulverized anthracite coal with the clay before moulding it, in the proportion of three fourths of a bushel of coal dust to one thousand brick, some clay requiring one eighth more, and some not exceeding half a bushel, this degree of vagueness and uncertainty was not sufficient to justify the court below in declaring the patent void. Id.

(Ib.) 23

5. The court should have left it to the jury to say, from the evidence of persons skilled in the art, whether the description was clear and exact enough to enable such persons to compound and use the invention. Id. (Ib.) 23


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1. The following question, sent up to this court upon a certificate of division in opinion between the judges of the Circuit Court, viz.: "Whether, according to the true construction of the Woodworth patent as amended, the machines made or used by the defendant at the time of filing the bill, or either of them simply, do or do not infringe the said amended letters patent," is a question of fact, over which this court has no jurisdiction. Wilson v. Barnum,

(258) 1070

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Sims v. Hundley,

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(29) 36

1. Under a plea of non assumpsit, testimony cannot be received relating to the residence of a party and bearing upon the jurisdiction of the court. (1) 319 2. No action will lie, at common law, against an executor, where the general issue of the plea is "not guilty.' (11) 323 3. If a plea to the jurisdiction and a plea of non assumpsit be put in, and the issue be made up on the latter plea only, no notice being taken of the former, and upon this state of the pleadings the cause goes on to trial, the plea to the jurisdiction is considered as waived.

United States v. Daniel,

Bailey v. Dozier,

(23) 328 4. Although the declaration began with an averwith an averment that the drawer and indorser were citizens of the same State (which, of course, would oust the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court), yet, as it afterwards averred that the indorser, who was also the payee, was an alien and citizen of Texas, this was sufficient to maintain the jurisdiction. Id.

(Ib.) 328 5. Where a declaration contained special counts special counts upon promissory notes, and also the common money counts, although the jurisdiction of the court was not apparent upon the special counts, yet the money counts, sustained by evidence, might have been sufficient to sustain it; and this court will presume such evidence to have been given if the record is silent upon the subject, and if no objection was made to the jurisdiction in the progress of the trial.

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2. Relief will not be given on the ground of fraud, unless it be made a distinct allegation in the bill, so that it may be put in issue in the pleadings. Id. (Ib.) 937 3. The question of jurisdiction arising in a case where a mortgagor and mortgagee were citizens of the same State, and the mortgagee had assigned the mortgage to a citizen of another State, should have been raised by a plea in abatement. Upon the trial of the merits, it was too late.

Smith v. Kernochen,

(198) 666

4. In a bill against a fraudulent grantee of a deceased person, it is not necessary to aver a deficiency of the personal estate of the deceased; it is sufficient to aver the fraud and waste of the personal assets by such grantee, who was also the personal representative.

Tyler v. Hand,

McLaughlin v. Bank of Potomac, (220) 675 5. A general demurrer by the defendant, assigning reasons why the plaintiff should not recover, must be considered and treated as a special demurrer, which is an objection for defects in form. (573) 824 6. In this case, none of the reasons are valid as Bank of United States v. Moss, (31) 331 objections to a matter of form, but the court, nev6. Where a wife sought relief by a bill in chan-ertheless, will examine them as if brought forward cery from a mortgage of her separate property, it to sustain a general demurrer. was no objection to the bill, as a rule of pleading, Id. that the husband was made a party to it with the wife. He acts only as her porchein ami.

Bein v. Heath,

Sheppard v. Wilson,

(228) 416 7. The statutes of Iowa provide a mode for taking bills of exceptions, by directing that they shall be tendered to the judge for his signature during the progress of the trial, although judges may, and often do, sign bills of exception, nunc pro tunc, after the trial. (260) 430 8. Such is also the English practice under the Statute of Westminster 2, and such is the practice recognized by this court. Id. (Ib.) 430 9. Therefore, where a bill of exceptions was signed two years after the trial, the Supreme Court | of Iowa were right in striking it out of the record. Id. (Ib.) 430

10. Where, after verdict, a motion was made for a new trial, which was held under a continuance, and an entry was afterwards made that the motion was overruled, and judgment entered on the verdict, but, at the time of such entry and judgment, the court was not legally in session, it was no error in the court, at a subsequent and regular term. to treat the entry thus irregularly made as a nullity, to decide the motion, and enter up judgment according to the verdict,



(Ib.) 430 11. The difference between this case and that of The Bank of the United States v. Moss, 6 Howard, 31, pointed out. (Ib.) 430 12. A continuance, relating back, may be entered at any time, to effect the purposes of justice. Id. (Ib.) 430 13. Where the bill of exceptions appears upon its face to have been regularly taken, the court cannot presume against the record.

United States v. Hodge,

(279) 437

(Ib.) 824

7. Where bonds were given to the President of the United States, and his successors in office, for the use of the orphan children of certain Indians, and the declaration so averred, it was not a good cause of demurrer to allege that they were taken without authority of law. They were valid instruments, though voluntarily given and not prescribed by law; and as the demurrer admitted the facts stated in the declaration, the defendant was estopped from contesting the right of the obligee to sue. (Ib.) 824

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12. A rejoinder, setting forth that the District Court of the United States had decided that the at14. A motion for a new trial waives the right to tachment was not a valid lien upon the property,

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