Page images
[blocks in formation]

see authorities cited and S. C., 73 App. Div. N. Y. 357; The Alene, 116 Fed. Rep. 57.

The rights of the United States at Sandy Hook extend only to low water mark. Middleton v. La Compagnie &c., 100 Fed. Rep. 866; Fort Leavenworth R. R. v. Lowe, 114 U. S. 525.

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE FULLER, after making the foregoing statement, delivered the opinion of the court.

The assertion by plaintiff in error that Federal questions were decided by the action of the courts below turns on the denial of the motion to direct a verdict on the two grounds above set forth.

As to the first ground, the contention is that the act of Congress of June 28, 1834, 4 Stat. 708, c. 126, giving consent to the agreement or compact between the States of New Jersey and New York in respect of their territorial limits and jurisdiction, dated September 16, 1833, vested exclusive jurisdiction in the Federal Government over the sea adjoining the two States. But there is absolutely nothing in the agreement and confirmatory statutes abdicating rights in favor of the United States, and the transaction simply amounted to fixing the boundaries betw in the two States. Laws New York, 1834, p. 8, c. 8; Laws New Jersey, 1834, p. 118. The first proposition raised no Federal question.

As to the second ground, the contention is that the cession by New Jersey to the United States of jurisdiction over a certain strip of land at Sandy Hook vested in the United States exclusive legislative jurisdiction over the littoral waters extending three miles to the eastward of the coast line thereof.

Yet there was evidence introduced on behalf of defendant that the collision took place outside of that limit. And the trial court was not requested to instruct the jury that if they found the collision to have occurred within that limit the verdict should be for the defendant.

The charge of the court is not before us, nor was any excep

[blocks in formation]

tion taken to any part of it, and the verdict and judgment must be held to have been rendered on the facts according to law. Hamburg-Am. S. S. Co. v. Lennan, 194 U. S. 629.

This being the situation we hesitate to retain jurisdiction. Nevertheless, as clause 17 of section 8 of Article I of the Constitution may be regarded as having been properly invoked by the second proposition, we feel justified in declining to sustain the motion to dismiss. And retaining jurisdiction, we think the judgment must be affirmed.

The jurisdiction of the United States over Sandy Hook is derived from the act of the legislature of New Jersey of March 12, 1846, set forth below. Laws N. J. 1846, p. 124. In 1806 and 1817 deeds of the land included in Sandy Hook were given the United States, being simple conveyances of real estate for named money consideration.

The New Jersey act of 1846 was merely one of cession,

· The Congress shall have power

to exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such district (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of Government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the State in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, and other needful buildings.

? 1. That the jurisdiction in and over all that portion of Sandy Hook, in the county of Monmouth, owned by the United States, lying north of an east and west line through the mouth of Youngs Creek at low .water, and · extending across the island or cape of Sandy Hook from shore to shore, and bounded on all other sides by the sea and Sandy Hook Bay, be, and the same is hereby, ceded to the said United States, for military purposes; and the said United States shall retain such jurisdiction so long as the said tract shall be applied to the military or public purposes of said United States, and no longer.

2. That the jurisdiction ceded in the first section of this act shall not prevent the execution on the said tract of land of any process, civil or criminal, under the authority of this State, except so far forth as such process may affect any of the real or personal property of the United States of America within the said tract; nor shall it prevent the operation of the public laws of this State within the bounds of the said tract, so far as the same may not be incompatible with the free use and enjoyment of the said premises by the United States for the purposes above specified.

[blocks in formation]

.and the operation of the general laws of New Jersey was reserved as therein provided. Fort Leavenworth R. R. Company v. Lowe, 114 U. S. 525; Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railway Company v. McGlinn, 114 U. S. 542.

Moreover, as was held by the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in Middleton v. La Compagnie Générale Transatlantique, 100 Fed. Rep. 866, the act did not purport to transfer jurisdiction over the littoral waters beyond low water mark, and for the purposes of this case the public laws of New Jersey must be regarded as obtaining there, whether enacted prior or subsequent to the cession.

Judgment affirmed.




No. 129. Submitted January 16, 1900,-Decidul February 20, 1905.

Complainants, who were heirs at law of an intestate leaving real estate the

undivided interest of each being valued at over $2,000, and situated within the jurisdiction of the court, filed their bill in the proper Circuit Court of the United States against proper parties, citizens of other States, alleging that defeirdants had combined to procure and had fraudulently procured orders of the probate court allowing their claims against one of the heirs at law as claims against the intestate whereby such claims became liens upon the intestate's real estate; the claim of each defendant was less than $2,000 but the aggregate amount exceeded $2,000. “So far as the allegations of the bill were concerned if any one of the claims was good all were good and the prosecution of one could not be enjoined unless all were enjoined. The bill prayed that the cloud on title of the intestate's real estate be removed by declaring the claims invalid and enjoining proceedings under the judgments of the probate court. The defendants were proceeded against under the act of March 3, 1875, 18 Stat. 470. The Circuit Court dismissed the bill for want of jurisdiction. Held error and that

[blocks in formation]

It was competent for the Circuit Court upon the case made by the bill to

deprive defendants acting in combination of the benefit of the orders

made in the probate court allowing their respective claims. In this case the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court does not depend, within

the judiciary act of 1887, 1888, on the value of complainants' interest in the real estate from which the cloud is sought to be removed but on the aggregate amount of the liens of all of the defendants' claims which had been allowed by the probate court against the intestate's estate pursuant to the alleged combination.

This was a suit in equity instituted in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Arkansas by the appellants, citizens of Arkansas, against the appellees,' more than thirty in number and respectively citizens, corporate and individual, of Tennessee, New York, Missouri, Illinois, New Jersey, Connecticut, Ohio and Georgia.

There was a demurrer to the bill by some of the defendants upon the ground, among others, that the Circuit Court had no jurisdiction of the parties and subject matter. The demurrer was sustained, and the bill dismissed for want of jurisdiction.

The question of jurisdiction depends, of course, upon the allegations of the bill. The case made by the bill is this:

On the thirteenth day of April, 1891, Hiram Evans, a resident of St. Francis County, Arkansas, died intestate and possessed of personal property exceeding $12,000 in value.

He was also seized in fee of 760 acres of land of the value of about $16,000, and left surviving him as his only heirs at law the three appellants, and three sons, James Evans, William E. Evans and John Evans.

By an order made April 21, 1891, in the Probate Court of the county, James Evans was appointed administrator of the estate of the intestate. Having duly qualified as such, he took possession of all the assets of the estate and acted as such administrator until his death.

Among the assets that came to his hands as administrator was a drug store which with its stock of goods, fixtures, book accounts and other things therein contained was sold and delivered by him to John Evans on the first day of May, 1891.

[blocks in formation]

The latter conducted the business in his own name, and while doing so incurred debts and obligations to the defendants in this suit, aggregating $3,000, as well as debts and obligations to other persons, but no. single one of his debts exceeded $2,000.

John Evans became insolvent and on May 27, 1892, transferred and delivered to James Evans, administrator of Hiram Evans, the drug store and all that remained of the stock of goods, fixtures and book accounts.

Thereupon, the bill alleged, the defendants herein “conspired, colluded and confederated” together and with John Evans and with James Evans, administrator, to secure the payment of their claims and demands against John Evans out of the assets of the estate of Hiram Evans, deceased, and, “so conspiring and confederating,” they presented to the Probate Court their several claims and demands and James Evans, administrator, fraudulently and illegally approved them-for allowance against the estate of Hiram Evans.

The bill also alleged that the defendants and the administrator of Hiram Evans, still conspiring and confederating together, procured the judgment of the Probate Court establishing their claims against the estate of Hiram Evans by concealing from the court the fact that they were debts and obligations of John Evans and cloaking them under the name of expenses of administration of the said estate, "all of which transactions were part of the same scheme, and were participated in by each and all of the said defendants and by said John Evans and said James Evans, administrator.''

It was further alleged: “That the said judgments of said court establishing and allowing the respective claims and demands of the defendants herein against the said estate were wholly the result of the conspiracy and confederation hereinbefore mentioned, and the fraud practiced in pursuance thereof as aforesaid, and are, therefore, in equity and good conscience, void and ineffectual for any purpose whatsoever and ought not to be enforced; but that nevertheless the same are at law liens


« PreviousContinue »