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rendered involving similar questions but this was the leading case and established the legal principles involved.?
vain to convince the Court that tions as to those decided in Ware Congress had no power to make a vs. Hylton and was decided in the treaty that could operate to annula same manner and without opinion. legislative act of any of the States, Society for the Propagation of the and thus destroy rights acquired Gospel vs. Hartland, U. S. Cir. Ct. under such an act. Chase, Patter- Vermont, 1814, 2 Paine, 536; Fedson, Wilson and Cushing, impressed eral Cases 13, 155; Thompson, J. by the uncommon magnitude of the Same vs. Wheeler, U. S. Cir. Ct. subject, the bitter and exciting con- New Hampshire, 1814, 2 Mattroversies it had provoked, and the thews, 105; Federal Cases 13, 156; far-reaching consequences by which STORY, J. their decision would be attended, State of Vermont vs. Society for although differing upon some mat- the Propagation of the Gospel, U. S. ters of detail and in the mode of Cir. Ct. Vermont, 1826, Federal their reasoning, reached the con- Cases 16, 919–20; THOMPSON, J. clusion that the Treaty of 1783 was Society &c. vs. Town of New the supreme law, equal in its effect Haven, United States Sup. Ct. 1823; to the Constitution itself, in over- | 8 Wheat. 464; WASHINGTON, J. ruling all State laws upon the sub These cases were all the result of ject, and the words that British State confiscation acts of property creditors should meet with no law- owned by the British Society; the ful inpediment, were as strong as Supreme Court held that the sothe wit of man could devise to ciety had a right to hold the propavoid all effects of sequestration, erty, and that its rights became confiscation, or any other obstacle vested under the treaty of 1783, the thrown in the way by any law, provisions of which were superior particularly pointed against the to State laws; also that although recovery of such debts. The deci- these suits were not brought until sion expanded from a statement of after the War of 1812, the rights the contractual liability of an indi- had become so vested under prior vidual to an assertion that the treaties that the Society had a right treaty obligations of the nation to recover and hold its property. were paramount to the laws of the It was also held that a State cannot individual States.] Happy conclu- pass laws confiscating franchises. sion! A contrary result would have There is quite a lengthy discussion blackened our character, at the in the opinion as to the effect of very outset of our career as a nation, war upon treaties. In Society for with the guilt of treachery to the the Propagation &c. vs. Pawlett, terms of the treaty by which our U. S. Sup. Ct. 1830, 4 Peters, 480, Independence had been recognized, STORY, J., it was held, however, and would have prostrated the that the Society could not recover national sovereignty at the feet of mesne profits during the period of Virginia."
confiscation. 2 Clarke vs. Harwood, U. S. Sup. Higginson vs. Mein, U. S. Sup. Ct. Ct. 1797, 3 Dallas, 342, PER CURIAM. 1808, 4 Cranch, 415, MARSHALL, J. This case involved similar ques. In a foreclosure case held that the
331. Fairfax vs. Hunter; Justice Story's opinion; State law and treaties, 1812.—The case of Fairfax's Devisee vs. Hunter's Lessee, an action in ejectment involving the construction of the treaties of 1783 and 1794 between Great Britain and the United States, was decided by the Supreme Court in 1812. In this case Justice Story, who delivered the opinion, declared that, as the possession and seizin of the property had continued up to and after 1794, the treaty of that year being the supreme law of the land, confirmed the title to him, his heirs and assigns, and protected them from forfeiture; he concludes that portion of his opinion which deals with this aspect of the case by saying:
“It was once in the power of the commonwealth of Virginia, by an inquest of office, or its equivalent, to have vested the estate completely in itself or its grantees. But it has not so done, and its own inchoate title (and of course the derivative title, if any, of its grantee) has by the operation of the treaty become ineffectual and void. It becomes unnecessary to consider the argument as to the effect of the death of one of the parties during the suit; because admitting it to be correctly applied in general, the treaty of 1794 completely avoids it.” 1
confiscation and sale of the prop $ 331.
Orr vs. Hodgson, U. S. Sup. Ct.
The effect of the treaty of peace
Jones vs. Walker, U. S. Cir. Ct. 1806–7, 3 Cranch, 453, 4 Cranch,
These are but a few of the early | Virginia State statute of limitadecisions on this subject; all the tions as a bar to recovery of debts cases cited under the subsequent of British creditors. sections of this chapter should be Held, that under the provisions carefully examined.
of the treaties of 1783, 1794 and
$ 332. Chirac vs. Chirac; Chief Justice Marshall's opinion, 1817.-During the existence of the French treaty of
1802, a State statute of limitations tected and confirmed by the ninth
article of the treaty of 1794.
tion. In that case, as in this, the
“ The last objection made to this Ct. 1824, 9 Wheaton, 489, WASHdecree is, that as a British subject, INGTON, J. A decree of foreclosure Wm. Sutherland could not take a and sale affirmed by the Supreme legal title to this land under the Court notwithstanding the obState of Virginia, and, conse- jection that the holder of the quently, that the grant to him in mortgage was an alien, the court 1788 was void, and was not pro- holding that the mortgagee was tected by the treaty of 1794 be- protected in his rights by the protween the United States and Great visions of the treaty of 1794. The Britain.
opinion says, at p. 496: “ The decision of this court in “2. The next objection relied the case of Fairfax's Devisee vs. upon is the alienage of the
respondHunter's Lessee, 17 Cranch, 603), ents. This objection would not, affords a full answer to this objec- we think, avail the appellants, even tion. In that case the will of Lord if the object of this suit was the Fairfax took effect in the year 1781, recovery of the land itself, since during the war, and Denny Martin, the remedies as well as the rights the devisee under that will, was of these aliens, are completely profound to be a native born British tected by the treaty of 1794, which subject who had never become a declares that British subjects, citizen of any of the United States, who now hold lands in the terri. but had always resided in England. tories of the United States, etc.,
“It was ruled in that case, shall continue to hold them, ac1st. That although the devisee was cording to the nature and tenure of an alien enemy at the time of the their respective estates and titles testator's death, yet he took an therein; and may grant, sell, or deestate in fee under the will, which vise the same to whom they please, could not, on the ground of alien- in like manner as if they were naage, be devested but by inquest of tives; and that neither they, nor office, or by some legislative act their heirs or assigns, shall, so far equivalent thereto. 2d. That the as respect the said lands, and the defeasible title thus vested in the legal remedies incident thereto, be alien devisee was completely pro- regarded as aliens.' In the cases
17781 a Frenchman died intestate, seized of certain real estate in Maryland, which he had acquired after naturalization; as his only heirs were French citizens the State of Maryland claimed that the lands were escheatable, and pursuant to some arrangement conveyed them to a natural son of the deceased who resided in this country. The legitimate heirs brought suit against the grantee of the State, who answered that they could not claim the property in view of the anti-alien laws, then existing in the State of Maryland. The State of Maryland had passed an act permitting the lands of a French subject to descend to his next of kin, provided they should be conveyed to a citizen of Maryland within ten years. The heirs of Chirac pleaded the treaty, claiming that they could inherit regardless of State laws and that notwithstanding the subsequent abrogation of the treaty they were not compelled to convey the property to a citizen within ten years. The Supreme Court sustained their contention; in affirming the judgment of the lower court below Chief Justice Marshall, referring to the effects of the treaty, said as follows:
of Harden Vs. Fisher, (1 Wlueat. Ct. 1848, 5 Denio, 545, BEARDSRep. 300,) and Orr vs. Hodgson, (4 LEY, Ch. J. Wheat. Rep. 453,) it was decided Fox vs. Southark, Sup. Ct. Mass. that, under this treaty, it was not 1815, 12 Mass. 143, JACKSON, J. necessary for the alien to show that
$ 332. he was in the actual possession or 1 Treaty of Amity and Commerce, seisen of the land, at the time of between the Most Christian King the treaty; because the treaty ap- and the thirteen United States of plies to the title, whatever that North America, concluded Februmay be, and gives it the same legal ary 6, 1778, Ratified by the Contivalidity as if the parties were citi- nental Congress, May 4, 1778, U. S.
Treaties and Conventions, edition Gordon vs. Kerr, U. S. Cir. Ct. 1889, p. 296. Penna. 1806, 1 Washington, C. C. The full text of Article XI 322, Fed. Cas. 5611, WASHINGTON, (p. 297) is as follows: “The subJ., and see extract under $ 354 of jects, people and inhabitants of the this chapter, p.47, post.
said United States, or any one of As to when stipulations in the them, shall not be reputed aubains British treaty did not affect State in France, and consequently shall titles, see Blight vs. Rochester, U.S. be exempted from the droit d'auSup. Ct. 7 Wheaton, 535, MAR-baine, or other similar duty, under SHALL, Ch. J., 1822.
what name soever. They may by Carver vs. Jackson, U. S. Sup. testament, donation or otherwise, Ct. 1830, 4 Peters, 1, STORY, J. dispose of their goods, movable and Brown vs. Sprague, N. Y. Sup. I immovable, in favor of such per
"It is unnecessary to inquire into the consequences of this state of things, because we are all of opinion that the treaty between the United States and France, ratified in 1778, enabled the subjects of France to hold lands in the United States. That treaty declares that “The subjects and inhabitants of the United States, or any one of them, shall not be reputed aubains (that is aliens) in France. They may, by testament, donation, or otherwise, dispose of their goods, movable and immovable, in favor of such persons as to them shall seem good ; and their heirs, subjects of the said United States, whether residing in France or elsewhere, may succeed them ab intestat, without being obliged to obtain letters of naturalization. The subjects of the most christian king shall enjoy, on their part, in all the dominions of the said states, an entire and perfect reciprocity relative to the stipulations contained in the present article.'? sons as to them shall seem good, France against emigrations which and their heirs, subjects of the said shall remain in all their force and United States, residing whether in vigor, and the United States on France or elsewhere, may succeed their part, or any of them, shall be them ab intestat, without being at liberty to enact such laws relaobliged to obtain letters of naturali- tive to that matter as to them zation, and without having the ef- shall seem proper." fect of this concession contested or 2 Chirac vs. Chirac, U. S. Sup. Ct. impeded under pretexts of any 1817, 2 Wheaton, 259, MARSHALL, rights or prerogative of provinces, Ch. J. The extracts quoted from cities or private persons; and the the opinion will be found at p. 270 said heirs, whether such by partic- and p. 277. See also ular title, or ab intestat, shall be Dawsons' Lessee vs. Godfrey, U.S. exempt from all duty called droit Sup. Ct. 1808, 4 Cranch, 321, JOHNdetraction, or other duty of the Son, J. same kind, saving nevertheless the In this case it was held, as stated local rights or duties as much and in the syllabus, that a person born as long as similar ones are not in England before the year 1777 and established by the United States, who always resided there, and was or any of them. The subjects of never in the United States, was an the most Christian King shall alien, and could not in the year 1793 enjoy on their part, in all the do- take lands in Maryland by descent minions of the said States, an entire from a citizen of the United States. and perfect reciprocity relative to Owings vs. Norwood's Lessee, U. the stipulations contained in the s. Sup. Ct. 1809, 5 Cranch, 344, present article, but it is at the MARSHALL, Ch. J. same time agreed that its contents Smith vs. State of Maryland, U.S. shall not affect the laws made, or Sup. Ct. 1810, 6 Cranch, 286, WASHthat may be made hereafter in INGTON, J.