« ForrigeFortsett »
the title to the land remains in the lessor duro certain mill inachinery, together with the
mill, had been demised for a term to a ten-
. , 
In Wilson v. Hoffman, 93 Mich. 72, the self, that the freehold has continued in the in ejectment, who was held entitled to maindisseisee, which rule and reason doth extend tain an action for trover for logs cut by the as well to corn as to trees or grass, etc. The defendant during the pendency of the suit, same law, if the feoffee, or lessee, or the sec- which had been determined in the plaintiff's ond disseisor, sows the land, or cuts down trees or grass, and severs, and carries away, session of the land under a bona fide claim
favor, although the defendant was in posor sells them to another, yet after the regress of title adverse to the plaintiff. This is but of the disseisee he may take as well the corn another application of the doctrine which al
as the trees and grass to what place soever lows the plaintiff in ejectment to recover they are carried; for the regress *of the disseisee has relation as to the property, to con: has always been his, and that the defendant
mesne profits upon the theory that the land tinue the freehold against them all in the disseisee ab initio, and the carrying them out illegally obtained possession of it. See also of the land cannot alter the property."
Morgan v. Varick, 8 Wend. 587; Busch v. In Gordon v. Harper, 7 T. R. 9, it was held Nester, 62 Mich. 381, 70 Mich. 525. that wbere goods had been leased as furni
In Moorcs v. Wait, 3 Wend. 104, a person ture with a house, and had been wrongfully entered into possession of wild lands under a taken in execution by the sheriff, the landlord contract of sale giving him the right of entry could not maintain trover against the sher- and occupancy, reserving to the landlord the iff, pending the lease, because he did not land as security until the payment of the have the right of possession as well as the consideration by withholding the deed. It right of property at the time. The case was
was held that he had a right to enter and endistinguished from one where the thing was joy the land for agricultural purposes, but attached to the freehold, and the doctrine of that he had no right to cut timber for any liford's Case was reiterated, that where other purpose than for the cultivation, imtimber is cut down by a tenant for years the provement and enjoyment of the land as a owner of the inheritance may maintain farm; and that the owner of the inheritance, trover for the timber notwithstanding the who had never parted with his title, might lease because the interest of the lessee in it maintain an action of trover for it against remained no longer than while it was grow. anyone in possession, although a bona fide ing on the premises, and determined instant- purchaser under the occupant. This was ally when it was cut down. See also Mears v.
so upon the principle that the vendor had London & S. W. Rwy. Co. 11 C. B. N. S. 850; never parted with title to his land. But see Randall v. Cleaveland, 6 Conn, 328; Elliot v.
Scott v. Wharton, 2 Hen. & M. 25; Moses
In Burnett v. Thompson, 51 N. C. (6 Jones,
off. The plaintiff was permitted to recover. It The same distinction was taken in Farrant was held that "if there be a tenant for years v. T'hompson, 5 Barn. & Ald. 826, in which or for life, and a stranger cuts down a tree,
the particular tenant may bring trespass, with the property in the timber which had and recover dajuages for breaking his close, been cut while the lands belonged to the treading down his grass, and the like. But state of Michigan. Had this act of forfeitthe remainderman, or reversioner in fee, is ure not been passed, there could be no ques. entitled to the tree, and, if it be converted, tion that, under the case of Schulenberg v. may bring trover and recover its value. The Harriman, 21 Wall. 44 [22:551], this timber reason is, the tree constituted a part of the would have belonged to the state of Michland, its severance was waste, which is an in- igan, and no other action therefor could have jury to the inheritance, consequently the been brought by the United States. party in whom is vested the first estate of But conceding all that is contended for by inheritance, whether in fee simple or fee tail the plaintiffs with respect to the revestiture (for it may last always), is entitled to the of the title' to the lands by this act, it does tree, as well after it is severed, as before; not follow that the title to the timber which his right of property not being lost by the had been cut in the meantime was also rewrongful acts of severance by which it is vested in the United States. As was said in converted into a personal chattel.” See also Schulenberg v. Harriman, the title to the Halleck v. Mixer, 16 Cal. 574.
tinber remained in the state after it had been While these cases run counter to some of severed. But it remained in the state as a those previously cited, they are all distin. separate and independent piece of property, guishable from the one under consideration and if the state had elected to sell it a good in the fact that the plaintiff was the owner title would have thereby passed to the purof the inheritance, and had the legal title to chaser, notwithstanding the subsequent act the land at the time the trespass was com- of forfeiture. It did not remain the proper. mitted. We see nothing in them to disturb ty of the state as a part of the lands, but as the doctrine announced by this court in a distinct piece of property, although the Schulenberg v. Harriman, 21 Wall. 44 (22: state took its title thereto through and in 551], that tiniber cut upon the lands prior consequence of its title to the lands. From to the forfeiture belongs to the state. The the moment it was cut the state was at liberfact is that nothing remained of the original ty to deal with it as with any other piece of title of the United States but the possibil personal property. Brothers v. Hurdle, 32 ity of a reversion, a contingent remainder, N. C. (10 Ired. L.) 490 (51 Am. Dec. 400). which would be an insufficient basis for an
We know of no principle of law under action of trover. Gordon v. Lowther, 75 N. which it can be said that timber which was C. 193; Matthews v. Hudson, 81. Ga. 120; the property of the United States by an act
the property of the state when cut becomes Farabow v. Green, 108 N. C. 339; Sager v. of Congress resuming title to the land from Galloway, 113 Pa. 500. To sustain this action there must be an immediate right of in the meantime have been removed hundreds
which it was cut, although the timber may possession when the timber is cut. This of miles from the lands, and passed into the might arise if the severance of the timber in hands of one who knew nothing of the source volved a breach of obligation on the part of from which it was derived. It may be, in the tenant, hut if the timber were cut by a such a case, that if the state sues for and rethird person, the question would be as to the right to the timber so cut as against the accountable to the United States for the pro
covers the value of such timber, it might be trespasser, and unless the case of Schulen. ceeds in case the government resumed title to berg v. Harriman is to be overruled, it must the lands. be held to be that of the state.
Two cases cited by the Solicitor General 2. As the United States can take title to lend support to the doctrine that the resumpthe timber involved in this case only through tion of title by the United States operates
its ownership of the lands, it remains to con: upon the timber already cut, as well as upon sider whether the act of March 2, 1889, (25 the lands. In the first of these, Heath v. Stat. at L. 1008, chap. 414), forfeiting the Ross, 12 Johns. 140, the action was in trover lands granted loy this act to aid in the con for a quantity of timber cut upon lands for struction of a railroad from Marquette to which the plaintiff had applied for a patent Ontonagon, operated by relation to revest in before the timber was cut. The patent was the United States title to the timber which not granted until after the timber was cut. had been cut during the winter of 1887 and The patent was held, upon well-settled prin1888 and prior to the act of forfeiture. This ciples, to relate back to the date of applicaact provided that “there is hereby forfeited tion. The defendant knew he had no title to the United States, and the United States to the lot or right to cut the timber. The hereby resumes title thereto, all lands here plaintiffs were held entitled to recover. tofore granted to the state of Michigan The other case is that of Musser v. McRae,
which are opposite to and cotermin. | 44 Minn. 343. In that case an act of Conous with the uncompleted portion of any gress granting lands to the state of Wisconrailroad, to aid in the construction of which sin in aid of the construction of railroads, said lands were granted or applied, and all provided that it should be lawful for the such lands are hereby declared to be a part agents appointed by the railway company, of the public domain."
entitled to the grant, to select, subject to the The position of the plaintiffs must neces. approval of the Secretary of the Interior, Barily be that this act of forfeiture not only from the public lands of the United States, revested in the United States the title to the deficiency” lands within certain indemnity lands as of a date prior to the cutting of the limits. It was held that the issuance of a timber in question, but also revested them patent to the railway company for the lands
so selected was evidence that the company States. The road was never built, and the
lands had been so selected, but prior to the action of trover the proceeds of timber cut (219)issue of the patent, *timber had been wrong. from the land by a trespasser while the legal
fully cut and removed by trespassers, the title was in the state, but after the period title acquired by the patents must be held to had elapsed when the right in the United relate back to the selection of the lands, so States to assert a forieiture had arisen. The as to save the purchasers to whom the lands decision of the court is that a recovery can. had been granted, a right of action for the not be had, because at the time of the severtimber wrongfully removed from the land, or ance of the timber by the trespasser the leits value.
gal title was in the state. It is thus in effect These cases are distinguishable from the decided that it was in the power of a tresone under consideration in the fact that the passer, while the legal title to the land and plaintiffs had an inchoate title to the lands, its incidents was in the state, to destroy the La title which no one could disturb, and value of the land by severing and appropriatwhich the state was bound to perfect by the ing the timber, and that there exists no remissue of a patent, provided the plaintiffs edy by which the right of property of the followed up their application. We do not United States can be protected. Such a conthink the doctrine of these cases ought to sequence strikes me as so abnormal that I be extended.
cannot bring my mind to assent to its cor3. Nor are the plaintiffs entitled to avail rectness; and, thinking as I do that it in. themselves of the rule that in an action of volves a grave denial of a right of property, trover a mere trespasser cannot defeat the not only harmful in the case decided, but plaintiff's right to possession by showing a harmful as a precedent for cases which may superior title in a third person without show: arise in the future, I state the reasons for ing himself in privity or connecting himself my dissent. with such third person. The cases in which At the outset it becomes necessary to dethis principle is applied are confined to those termine the nature of the rights of the state where the plaintiffs were either in possession and those of the United States created by of the property or entitled to its immediate and flowing from the act of donation. That possession, and thus showed a prima facie the land from which the timber was cut beright thereto. It has no application to cases longed to the United States at the time of wherein the plaintiff has shown no such right the grant goes without saying. It was conto bring the action. Jeffries v. Great West. veyed by the act of Congress to the state, ern Railway Co. 5 El. &"Bl. 802; Weymouth not for the use and benefit of the state, but[221) v. Chicago & N. W. Railway Co. 17 Wis. 550 for the sole purpose of aiding in the con. [84 Am. Dec. 763];Wheeler v. Larson, 103 struction of a railroad. The state had no Ñ. Y, 40; Halleck v. Mixer, 16 Cal. 574; right to dispose of the land except for the Terry v. Metevier, 104 Mich. 50; Stevens v. declared object; and while it is trike that a Gordon, 87 Me. 564; Fiske v. Small, 25 Me. power to sell the land was vested by the 453. Counsel are mistaken in supposing act in the state, it was a power which the that the plaintiffs had an immediate right to state could only call into being as the work the possession of this timber. They had no progressed, and, to quote from the act, "for right to the possession of the land until Con. the purposes aforesaid and no other,"gress passed the act of March 2, 1889, forfeit. that is, the specific object stated, namely, the ing the grant. Up to that time the title was construction of the railroad referred to. in the state, and until then the United States The granting act clearly imported that in had no more right to enter and take posses- the event of a forfeiture before the land had sion than they would have had to take pos- been earned and conveyed by the state, the session of the property of a private individu- land should be restored to the United States al.
in its integrity. As the plaintiffs failed to show title to or I submit that the effect of the act of Conright of possession to the timber in question, gress was to create a trust in the land and there was no error in the action of the court to vest the legal title thereto, with incidents of appeals, and its judgment is therefore such as timber, in the state of Michigan for affirmed.
the purposes of the trust, to hold, primarily,
for the benefit of the owners of a line of *120) *Mr. Justice White, with whom concur railroad if constructed, and, secondarily, for
Mr. Chief Justice Fuller and Mr. Justice the benefit of the United States, in the con-
tingency that a forfeiture was declared for The United States donated the land from a breach of the condition subsequent as to which the timber was cut to the state of the time of completion of the road. The Michigan in aid of a contemplated railroad. state, in all reason, was bound to restore the The donating act dedicated the property thus land and timber which passed to its possesconveyed to the state, for the sole purpose of -ion to the United States, upon the declara. aiding in the construction of the railroad, tion of the forfeiture, retaining no benelit and it contained a provision that if the road whatever from the land for itself by reason was not built within a designated period the of such custody and control. Being clothed land conveyed was to revert to the United with the legal estate in the land, the state,
while it so held the land, “possessed all the gendered an express trust, is wholly unner power and dominion over it that belonged essary, since it is admitted that had the to an owner." Stanley v. Colt, 5 Wall. 167 the state through its agents cut timber upon [18: 510]. As the timber when severed be the land before the passage of the forfeiture longed to the true owner of the land, the act, a right of action would have arisen on state, as the trustee of an express trust and behalf of the United States against the representing such owner, was the proper state as upon a covenant by the state that party, during tne continuance of the trust, it would keep the land and its incidents for to recover any portion of the inheritance railway purposes only. This conclusion necwrongfully converted by a trespasser, and essarily carries with it as a legal resultant this would have been the case even if the the proposition that the granting act contained United States had stipulated to retain pos- an express trust. How, then, I submit, can session until a conveyance of the land by it in reason be held that there was a right the state. Wooderman v. Baldock, 8 Taunt. which could only exist upon the hypothesis 676; White v. Morris, 11 C. B. 1015; Barker of an express trust arising from the grantv. Furlong  2 Ch. 172; Myers v. Hale, ing act, and yet it at the same time be de17 Mo. App. 204. Clearly this was so, be cided that there was no trust whatever im.
cause, to maintain replevin or trover, it is plied in the act, or that the rights which (222]essential that the plaintiff *have at the time would obtain if there were a trust have no
of suit brought the legal title to the prop being? It cannot be doubted that the act erty, and, until the enactment of the forfeit- restricted the use to a particular purpose, ing act, the legal title to this timber was in nor can it be gainsaid that the right of rethe state of Michigan.
entry was stipulated only as respects the It was manifestly because the legal title non-completion of the railroad. "But the was in the state that this court in Schulen- failure to preserve a right of re-entry in berg v. Harriman, 21 Wall. 44 [22: 551), case of the misuse of the property did not declared that a state was the owner oi tim. destroy the terms of the act restricting the ber which had been wrongfully cut by tres- use, and as, therefore, the restriction as to passers from land granted in aid of a rail- use was unaccompanied with a clause of reroad by a statute similar to the one above entry, the effect was to give rise to a trust referred to. The Schulenberg action was in upon the grantee with reference to such use. stituted, however, at a time when no for. This last principle, I submit, is sustained feiture had been declared, and the contro by authority. Stanley v. Colt, 5 Wall. 119, versy was simply between a trespasser and 165 (18: 502, 509); Packard v. Ames, 10 the state as to their respective rights in tim-Gray, 329, and cases cited; Sohier v. Trinity ber which had been unlawfully severed from Church, 109 Mass. 1, 19. the granted land. That land so conveyed, As the state held the land with power simwith all that formed part thereof, was ply to sell on the happening of a particular deemed to be held upon trust is manifest event, until the occurrence of that event the from the opinion, for, speaking through Mr. state had no greater rights in the land than Justice Field, the court said, p. 59 [22: 554): would have existed in favor of one who was
"The acts of Congress made it a condition entitled to the mere use and occupancy of precedent to the conveyance by the state of the land. It could not therefore sell the timany other lands that the road should be con- ber for purposes of mere profit, for, as said structed in sections of not less than twenty in United States v. Cook, 19 Wall. 591 [22: consecutive miles each. No conveyance in 210]: violation of the terms of those acts, the road "The timber while standing is a part of not having been constructed, could pass any the realty, and can only be sold as the land title to the company."
could be. The land cannot be sold, And this view was reiterated by this court, consequently the timber, until rightfully sev. speaking through Mr. Justice Brewer, in ered, cannot be.” Lake Superior Ship Canal R. & I. Co. v. If, therefore, the state could not rightfully Cunningham, 155 U. S. 354 (39: 183], when, acquire the *absolute ownership, in its own in interpreting the very statute now under right, of timber, the cutting of which it had consideration, it was said, p. 373 [39: 190]: authorized, it is clear that it would not be
"Further, the grant to the state of Mich- come such owner by reason of the unlawful igan was to aid in the construction of a rail- act of an unauthorized person. As the state road. Affirmatively, it was declared in the of Michigan was without power to have auacts of Congress that the lands should be thorized a sale of the timber contrary to the applied by the state to no other purpose. purpose of the trust, it is obvious that the Even if there had been no such declaration act of a mere trespasser, without authority such a limitation would be implied from the from the state, in denuding the land of its declaration of Congress that it was granted timber, could not operate to vest the state or for the given purpose. As the state of Mich- the trespasser with the absolute ownership, igan had no power to appropriate these lands in its or his own right, of said timber; and to any other purpose, certainly no act of it is the settled doctrine of this court that any executive officer of the state could ac. the sale of timber by a trespasser does not complish that which the state itself had no devest the title of the real owner, and that
a purchaser, even though acting in good To reason, however, to establish that, in so faith, is liable to respond to the true owner
far as the granting act restricted the state for the timber or its value. United States (223)to the use of the land and that *which ad. v. Cook, 19 Wall. 591 [22: 210); E. E. Bolles
hered in it for a particular purpose, it en- Wooden-ware Co. v. United States. 106 U.S.
power to do."
432 (27 : 230); Stone v. United States, 167 | magis valeat quam pereat." And in Lord U. 8. 192, 195 (42: 133, 134).
Coke's comments on the case he observes (p. The simple question presented, then, is 30a): "The law will never make any ficthis, and this alone: Where the legal title tion, but for necessity and in avoidance of a to land, with its incidents, is in one person mischief." burdened with an express trust in favor of Early in England the doctrine of relation another, can the cestui que trust, upon the was applied in favor of the King in cases cessation of the trust, when the title to the where, until office found, the title or right of land and its incidents has revested in him, possession to property, real or personal, was recover from a wrongdoer the value of timber not in the Crown. Thus, Viner in the eightcut, without color of right and unlawfully eenth volume of his Abridgment, at page removed from the land while the legal title 292, title Relations, states the following and possession thereto was in the trustee ?
This question is, I think, fully answered “2. In quare impedit, where the King is en. by the rulings of this court in Schulenberg titled to the *advowson by office by death of v. Harriman and Lake Superior Ship Canal his tenant, the heir being within age and in R. & I. 00. v. Cunningham, supra, because, as ward of the King by tenure in capite, this of. already stated, in the first case it was said fice shall have relation to the death of the that "no conveyance in violation of the terms tenant of the King; so that if there be a of these acts, the road not having been con. mesne presentment the ng shall avoid it by structed, could pass any title to a grantee relation. (Br. Relations, pl. II. cites 14 H. of the state;" and in the second, that, "as the VII. 22.)” state of Michigan had no power to appropri. Several instances of the application of the ate these lands to any other purpose, certain doctrine in favor of the King are referred to ly no act of any executive officer of the state ut length in the report of the case of Nichols could accomplish that which the state itself v. Nichols, 2 Plowd. 488 et seq., one of which, had no power to do.". Now, no one will gain. I submit, is precisely parallel to the case at say that this court in those cases declared bar, and is thus stated in the report: that if the land was conveyed in violation of "In an action of trespass brought in 19 the terms of the act of Congress, an occupant Edw. IV. for entering into a close and taking under such an unlawful grant might be the grass, the defendant pleaded that it was
ousted by the United States, either forcibly found by office that the tenement escheated (225)*or by suit in ejectment. With this doctrine to the King before the day of the trespass,
thus settled by this court in opinions which and there it seems that, as to such things as are now approvingly cited, is it yet to be held arise from the land, as the grass, and the that if the occupant under a void grant from like, the action which was well given to the the state before forfeiture denuded the land plaintiff was taken away by the office found of all its timber,—that is, of one of its mate afterwards, which by its relation entitled the rial incidents,—the land might be recovered King thereto; but, as to the entry into the by the United States from the trespasser, but land, or breaking of fences, which don't arise not the timber or its value? I submit that, from the land, nor are any part of the annual upon general considerations, as between the encrease of it, the action was not taken away wrongdoer and the cestui que trust, the bet by the office." ter right is in the latter, that such right can This last case is reviewed, approvingly, in be enforced, and that though ordinarily in the opinion of Bayley, J., in Harper v. an action of trover it is essential that the Charlesworth, 4 Barn. & C. 587, where, in an plaintiff should have had at the time of the action of trespass brought by one in the posunlawful conversion the legal title and right session of lands under a parol license from of possession to the property claimed by him, agents of the Crown, which possession was yet, under such circumstances as I have in not good as against the Crown because not dicated, a title by relation is a sufficient basis granted in conformity to statute, it was ad. for the action.
judged that, as the King had not proceeded Relation is a fiction of law, adopted solely against the occupant, the action might be for the purposes of justice (Gibson v. Chou- maintained, though the right of such occuteau, 13 Wall. 100 [20: 537]), and by it one pant to recover for the trees was denied in who equitably should be so entitled is enabled the opinion of Holroyd, J., presumably beto assert a remedy for an injury suffered, cause they form part of the inheritance. which otherwise would go unredressed. The The doctrine was early enforced in Eng. doctrine is considered at much length in land to vest a right of action in trover in an Butler v. Baker, 3 Coke, 25, in resolutions of administrator. In 18 Viner's Abr., title Rethe Justices of England and the Barons of lation, p. 285, it is said: the Exchequer, and "many notable rules and "(1. If a man dies possessed of certain cases of relations” (p. 356) are there stated. goods, and after a stranger takes them and The action was trespass, and the refusal of a converts them to his own use, and then adwife, after the death of the husband, to ac- ministration is granted to J. S., this admincept a jointure by which an estate tail had istration shall relate back to the death of the vested in her prior to the death of the hus- testator, so that J. S. *may maintain an ac-[2271 band, was held to relate back as to certain tion of trover and conversion for this conlands, and not as to others. It was laid version before the administration granted to down (p. 286) "that relation is a fiction of him. Trin. 10 Car. B. R. between Locksmith law to make a nullity of a thing ab initio (to and Creswell adjudged, this being moved in & certain intent) which in rei veritate had arrest of judginent, after verdict for the essence, and the rather for necessity, ut res' plaintiff. Intratur. Hill, 9 Car. Rot. 729.)”