Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

Opinion of the Court.

a

§ 11, by which, after defining the jurisdiction of the Circuit Courts in “suits of a civil nature at common law or in equity,” in which the United States were plaintiffs, or an alien was a party, or the suit was between a citizen of the State where it was brought and a citizen of another State; and also defining the criminal jurisdiction of the Circuit and District Courts; it was provided as follows:

“But no person shall be arrested in one district for trial in another in any civil action before a Circuit or District Court; and no civil suit shall be brought before either of said courts against an inhabitant of the United States by any original process in any other district than that whereof he is an inhabitant, or in which he sħall be found at the time of serving the writ." 1 Stat. 79.

Upon a consideration of the acts of Congress upon the subject, and especially of other sections of the Judiciary Act of 1789, of which section 9 conferred upon the District Courts “exclusive original cognizance of all civil causes of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction," and jurisdiction concurrent with the Circuit Courts of certain “suits at common law” by the United States; 1 Stat. 77; section 21 authorized “ final decrees in a District Court in causes of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction ” to be reviewed in the Circuit Court on appeal, and section 22 authorized “final decrees and judgments in civil actions in a District Court" to be reviewed in the Circuit Court by writ of error; 1 Stat. 83, 84; it was demonstrated that the provision of section 11, above quoted, restricting “ civil suits” to the district of which the defendant was an inhabitant or in which he might be found, did not include causes of admiralty jurisdiction; and it was therefore adjudged that a libel in admiralty in personam might be maintained against a corporation by attachment of its goods in a district not within the State in which it was incorporated.

The provisions of sections 9, 11, 21 and 22 of the Judiciary Act of 1789, above quoted, were reënacted in substantially the same words in the Revised Statutes. Rev. Stat. SS 563, cls. 4, 8; 629, cls. 1-3; 631, 633, 739.

The provision of section 11 of the act of 1789, embodied in

Opinion of the Court.

S § 739 of the Revised Statutes, was reenacted with no material alteration in the act of March 3, 1875, c. 137, § 1, as follows:

"But no person shall be arrested in one district for trial in another in any civil action before a Circuit or District Court; and no civil suit shall be brought before either of said courts against any person by any original process or proceeding in any other district than that whereof he is an inhabitant, or in which he shall be found at the time of serving such process or commencing such proceeding." 18 Stat. 470.

The only changes (beyond the substitution of “person” for "inhabitant of the United States ") consisted in inserting, in the middle of the sentence, after the words "any original process," the words "or proceeding;" and in substituting, at the end of the sentence, for the words "serving the writ," the words "serving such process or commencing such proceeding." These changes in no way extended the meaning of the leading words. "civil action" and "civil suit;" but merely affected the mode of commencing such action or suit, and were probably intended to cover actions at law commenced otherwise than by process, according to the practice, pleadings and forms of proceeding in the courts of the States, which had been made applicable to the Circuit and District Courts of the United States by the act of 1872, reenacted in the Revised Statutes. Act of June 1, 1872, c. 255, § 5, 17 Stat. 197; Rev. Stat. § 914.

The provision of the act of 1887 on which the petitioner relies differs from the corresponding provision of the act of 1875 in two particulars only:

1st. In the clerical mistake, "process of proceeding" for "process or proceeding," which has been set right by the act of 1888 correcting the enrolment of the act of 1887. Act of August 13, 1888, c. 866, § 1, 25 Stat. 433.

2d. In striking out the last clause, permitting civil suits to be brought in the district in which the defendant is found at the time of service, and thus confining them to the district of which he is an inhabitant. This change, far from weakening the reason of the decision in Atkins v. Disintegrating Co., above cited, greatly strengthens it.

Opinion of the Court.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Courts of admiralty are established for the settlement of disputes between persons engaged in commerce and navigation, who, on the one hand, may be absent from their homes for long periods of time, and, on the other hand, often have property or credits in other places. In all nations, as observed by an early writer, such courts “ have been directed to proceed at such times, and in such manner, as might best consist with the opportunities of trade, and least hinder or detain men from their employments.” Zouch. Adm. Jur. 141. In the same spirit this court has more than once said: “ Courts of admiralty have been found necessary in all commercial countries, for the safety and convenience of commerce and the speedy decision of controversies, where delay would often be ruin.” The Genesee Chief, 12 How. 443, 454; Insurance Co. v. Dunham, 11 Wall. 1, 24.' To compel suitors in admiralty (when the ship is abroad and cannot be reached by a libel in rem) to resort to the home of the defendant, and to prevent them from suing him in any district in which he might be served with a summons or his goods or credits attached, would not only often put them to great delay, inconvenience and expense, but would in many cases amount to a denial of justice.

In the present case, the libellee had, in compliance with the law of Louisiana, appointed an agent at New Orleans, on whom legal process might be served, and the monition was there served upon him. This would have been a good service in an action at law in any court of the State or of the United States in Louisiana. Lafayette Ins. Co. y. French, 18 How. 404; Ex parte Schollenberger, 96 U. S. 369; New England Ins. Co. v. Woodworth, 111 U. S. 138, 146. And no reason has been or can be suggested why it should not be held equally good in admiralty. • The District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana having jurisdiction both of the cause and of the parties, the

Writ of prohibition is denied.

[ocr errors]

A similar decision was made in the case, argued and decided at the same time, No. 9, Original, Ex parte The St. Paul FIRE AND

Opinion of the Court.

MARINE INSURANCE COMPANY OF ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA, which differed only in the petitioner and libellee being a corporation of Minnesota.

HATHAWAY v. FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF CAMBRIDGE.

ERROR TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS.

No. 223. Argued March 20, 21, 1890.- Decided March 31, 1890.

Where a case is tried by the Circuit Court without a jury, and it makes a special finding of facts, with conclusions of law, alleged errors of fact are not, on a writ of error, subject to revision by this court, if there was any evidence on which such findings could be made.

Where the Circuit Court finds ultimate facts, which justify the judgment rendered, its refusal to find certain, specified facts, and certain propositions of law based on those facts, will not be reviewed by this court, on a writ of error, if they were either immaterial facts or incidental facts, amounting only to evidence bearing on the ultimate facts found.

THE case is stated in the opinion.

Mr. Duane E. Fox for plaintiff in error. Mr. L. D. Norris filed a brief for plaintiff in error.

Mr. George F. Hoar (with whom was Mr. William Gaston on the brief) for defendant in error.

MR. JUSTICE BLATCHFORD delivered the opinion of the court.

THIS is an action at law, brought in the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Massachusetts, by a writ, dated September 22, 1881, by James S. P. Hathaway against The First National Bank of Cambridge, a national banking corporation.

The declaration contains three counts in tort, the substance of which is that the defendant had converted to its own use certain bonds of the United States, with the interest coupons thereon. the property of the plaintiff; and that it had con

Opinion of the Court.

own use.

[ocr errors]

verted to its own use the proceeds of the unlawful and unauthorized sale by it of such bonds, with the coupons thereon, the property of the plaintiff, and that it had unlawfully sold such bonds, with the interest coupons thereon, the property of the plaintiff, and converted the proceeds to its

The bonds were seven bonds of $1000 each, commonly called 5-20 bonds, with interest coupons attached ; five of the same bonds, of $500 each, with coupons; and five of the same bonds, of $100 each, with coupons.

The declaration also contains two counts in contract, one for money received by the defendant for the sale of the bonds, ard for interest on the money so received, from the time.of the sale. The second count in contract alleges that Gilbert Hathaway, the father of the plaintiff, in 1865, placed with the defendant and in the hands of its cashier certain bonds, his property, which were to stand as collateral security for the payment of certain notes which might become due to the defendant from one Appleton Hubbard ; that those bonds were afterwards converted by the defendant into such 5-20 bonds, and thenceforth, by agreement of the parties, the 5-20 bonds were to be held by the defendant as collateral security for the payment of any notes which might thereafter become due to the defendant from Hubbard; that certain notes were afterwards made by Hubbard to the defendant, for which the bonds were to stand as collateral security, but only on the express agreement by the defendant that it had no right to sell or dispose of any of the bonds, except upon and after the maturity and non-payment by Hubbard of such notes, and then only to such an amount as would be sufficient to pay any overdue and unpaid note; that the defendant knew that the bonds were the property of Gilbert Hathaway, and not the property of Hubbard ; that Hathaway died in 1871, and the plaintiff, as residuary legatee under his will, which had been duly proved, became the owner of the bonds and coupons; that the defendant agreed with Gilbert Hathaway, and after his death agreed with the plaintiff, to keep the bonds safely and return them to the plaintiff on his demand therefor, subject only to the right to sell sufficient of them to

« ПредишнаНапред »