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29. The plea of the State of Massachusetts, after setting forth various proceedings which preceded and followed the execution of certain agreements with Rhode Island, conducing to show the obligatory and conclusive effect of those agreements upon both states, as an accord and compromise of a disputed right, proceeded to aver that Massachusetts had occupied and exercised jurisdiction and sovereignty, according to the agreement, to this present time; and then sets up as a defence, that the State of Massachusetts had occupied and exercised jurisdiction over the territory from that time up to the present. The defendants then pleaded the agreements of 1710 and 1718, and unmolested possession from that time, in bar to the whole bill of the complaint. The court held that this plea is twofold: 1. An accord and compromise of a disputed right; 2. Prescription, or an unmolested possession from the time of the agreement. These two defences are entirely distinct and separate, and depend upon different principles. Here are two defences in the same plea, contrary to the established rules of pleading. The accord and compromise, and the title by prescription, united in this plea, render it multifarious, and it ought to be overruled on this account. 16.

30. It is a general rule that a plea ought not to contain more defences than one. Various facts can never be pleaded in one plea, unless they are all conducive to the single point on which the defendant means to rest his defence. Ib.

31. (Jan., 1841.) The State of Rhode Island filed a bill against the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, claiming that the boundary between the two states should be settled by the Supreme Court, according to the provisions of the original charters of the states, respectively; stating that the line which had been agreed upon by the commissioners, acting for the states while colonies, had been agreed to by the commissioners of Rhode Island, under a mistake, and setting forth the charters of both the states, the proceedings of the com

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missioners, the acts of the legislatures respectively, and many other matters connected with the subject in controversy. To this the State of Massachusetts entered a general demurrer. The demurrer was overruled. Rhode Island v. Massachusetts, 15 Pet. 233.


32. (Aug., 1791.) The Attorney-General (Randolph) moved, on behalf of the plaintiffs, that a commission should issue to examine witnesses in Holland, to which the opposite counsel assented, although the commissioners were not named.

But, BY THE COURT: We will not award the commission till commissioners are named. This being done, the motion was granted. Vanstophorst v. Maryland, 2 Dall. 401.

33. (Jan., 1850.) In a cause depending in this court, in the exercise of original jurisdiction, wherein the State of Pennsylvania complained of the erection of a bridge across the Ohio River at Wheeling, the cause was referred to a commissioner, for the purpose of taking further proof, with instructions to report to the court by the first day of the next stated term. Pennsylvania v. Wheeling, fc. Bridge Co., 9 How. 617.

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Hereafter the judges of the Circuit and District Courts shall not allow any bill of exceptions which shall contain the charge of the court at large to the jury in trials at common law, upon any general exception to the whole of such charge. But the party excepting shall be required to state distinctly the several matters of law in such charge to which he excepts; and such matters of law, and those only, shall be inserted in the bill of exceptions, and allowed by the court.




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1. (Feb., 1795.) The bill of exceptions is conclusive upon this court. We cannot presume or suspect that any material part of the evidence is omitted. Bingham v. Cabbot, 3 Dall. 19, 38.

2. (Feb., 1799.) The bill of exceptions is part of the record, and comes up with it. For that reason the acknowledgment of the judge's seal is unnecessary. But if the bill of exceptions had not been tacked to the record, such an acknowledgment might have been proper. Clarke v. Russel, 3 Dall. 419, note.

3. (Feb., 1799.) We ought not to travel out of the bill of exceptions to find matter to support it. Clarke v. Russel, 3 Dall. 423, note.

4. (Feb., 1803.) The court are not bound to give an opinion on an abstract point of law, unless it be so stated as to show its connection with the cause. Hamilton v. Russel, 1 Cranch, 309.

5. (Jan., 1830.) On the trial of a cause in the District Court of the United States for the Northern District of New York, exceptions were taken to opinions of the court delivered in the course of the trial; and some time after the trial was over a bill of exceptions was tendered to the district judge, which he refused to sign, objecting to some of the matters stated in the same, and at the same time altering the bill then tendered, so as to conform to his recollection of the facts of the case, and inserting in the bill all that he deemed proper to be contained in the same ; which bill of exceptions, thus altered, was signed by the judge. On the motion of the party who had tendered the bill of exceptions, a rule was granted on the district judge to show cause why he did not sign the bill of exceptions as first tendered to him. To this rule the judge returned his reasons for refusing to sign the bill so tendered, and stating that he had signed such a bill of exceptions as he considered correct.

BY THE COURT: This is not a case in which the judge has refused to sign a bill of exceptions. The judge has signed such a bill as he thinks correct. The object of the rule is to oblige the judge to sign a particular bill of exceptions which has been offered to him. The court granted the rule to show cause; and the judge has shown cause by saying he has done all that can be required from him, and that the bill offered is not such a bill as he can sign. The court cannot order him to sign such a bill. Ex parte Martha Bradstreet, 4 Pet. 102.

6. (Jan., 18:31.) It is to be understood, as a general rule, that, where there are various bills of exceptions filed according to the local practice, if, in the progress of the cause, the matters of any of these exceptions become wholly immaterial to the merits, as they are finally made out on the trial, they are no longer assignable as error, however they have been ruled in the court below. Greenleaf v. Birth, 5 Pet. 132.

7. (Jan., 1832.) The declaration was for a balance of accounts of $988.91, and the ad damnum was laid at $2,000. The bill of exceptions showed that the United States claimed interest on the balances due them. Under those circumstances it is no objection to the jurisdiction that the bill of exceptions was taken by the counsel for the United States, to a refusal of the court to grant an instruction asked by the United States, which was applicable to certain items of credit only, claimed by the defendants, which would reduce the debt below the sum of $1,000. The court cannot judicially know what influence that refusal had upon the verdict. United States v. M’Daniel, 6 Pet. 631.

8. (Jan., 1835.) As the cause was not tried by a jury, the exception to the admission of evidence was not properly the subject of a bill of exceptions. Field v. United States, 9 Pet. 182.

9. (Jan., 1845.) The thirty-eighth rule of court forbids the insertion of the whole of the charge of the court to the jury in a general bill of exceptions, but requires that the part

excepted to shall be specifically set out. Stimpson v. West Chester Railroad Co., 3 How. 553.

10. This court has not the power to correct any errors or omissions which may have been made, in the Circuit Court, in framing the exception; nor can it regard any part of the charge as the subject-matter of revision, unless the judges, or one of them, certify under his seal that it was excepted to at the trial. 16.

11. (Jan., 1816.) The mode in which bills of exceptions ought to be taken, as explained in Walton v. The United States (9 Wheat. 651), and in 4 Pet. 102, will be strictly adhered to by this court. Brown v. Clarke, 4 How. 4.

12. (Jan., 1816.) No exception having been taken to the opinion of the court overruling the motion for a nonsuit, the question whether, as matter of law, there was any evidence to be submitted to the jury going to establish the intermarriage, at or before the time of the demise laid in the declaration, was not before this court. Garrard v. Reynolds, 4 How. 123.

13. (Jan., 1846.) So far as error is founded upon the bill of exceptions incorporated into the record, it lies only to exceptions taken at the trial, and to the ruling of the law by the judge, and to the admission or rejection of evidence. And only so much of the evidence as may be necessary to present the legal questions thus raised and noted should be carried into the bill of exceptions. All beyond serves to encumber and confuse the record, and to perplex and embarrass both court and counsel. Zeller v. Eckert, + How. 289.

14. The earlier forms under the statute, giving the bill of exceptions, are models which it would be wise to consult and adhere to. 11.

15. (Jan., 1816.) The practice of excepting, generally, to a charge of the court to the jury, without setting out specifically the points excepted to, censured. The writ of error not dismissed, only on account of the peculiar circumstances

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