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Rhodes v. Bell. 2 H.

The act of 1812 was designed to enable the owner of slaves in either of the two counties, within the District, to hire or employ them in the other. And this is the full purport of its provision on this subject. It clearly does not authorize a citizen of Washington to go to the county of Alexandria, purchase a slave, and bring him to Washington county for any purpose, much less for the purpose of sale, as found by the jury in this case. If this could be done, it would subvert the whole policy of the Maryland law, which was to prevent, except in specified cases, the importation of slaves into the State. And congress, by adopting the Maryland law, sanctioned its policy.

It is true that the two counties of this District are under the same political organization, and, in a certain sense, constitute one sovereignty. But this can have no effect upon the question under consideration. It depends exclusively upon the laws referred to. No views of policy or of supposed convenience can enter into the decis

ion. [ * 405 ] The case of The Bank of Alexandria v. Dyer, 14 Pet.

141, has been relied on by the plaintiff in error, as showing that the counties of Washington and Alexandria, being united under the same government, cannot be considered as foreign to each other.

That was a case where the statute of limitation was pleaded to a suit in Washington county. The plaintiffs replied that they were citizens of Alexandria, &c., to which the defendant demurred. And on this state of the pleading the question was, whether the plaintiffs were beyond seas, within the meaning of the Maryland statute. The court held that they were not; "that the counties of Washington and Alexandria resemble different counties in the same State ; and do not stand towards one another in the relations of distinct and separate governments."

The words “beyond seas,” in the Maryland statute, were borrowed from the statute of James I. c. 21, and have generally been construed in this country not literally, but as meaning, "without the jurisdiction of the State.” Now, in reference to this construction, the decision of the court was correct, but it can have no direct bearing upon the question under consideration. That the District of Columbia must be considered as exercising the same general jurisdiction in both counties, is undoubted; but the rights of its citizens are not governed by the same laws. The counties of Washington and Alexandria, excepting the modification made by the act of 1812, are as foreign to each other as regards the importation of slaves, as are the States of Virginia and Maryland. Such we understand to

Randel v. Brown. 2 H.

be the settled doctrine of the circuit court of this District. And this is no unsatisfactory evidence of what the law is. An acquiescence of many years in a course of decision involving private rights, should not be changed except upon the clearest ground of error.

There is a provision in the Maryland law prohibiting the owner of a slave from manumitting him, if he be over forty-five years of age; and this is urged by counsel as a reason why the petitioner in this case should not receive his liberty. He is now near sixty years of age; but how his rights are to be affected by a law which restrains the master, is not perceived. He claims to be wrongfully held in servitude, and the court think his claim is founded in law. Now, shall he be kept in servitude because his master, if he were disposed, could not manumit him? The law makes him free without the concurrence of his master. Slaves brought into the State of Maryland, in violation of the law, are declared to be free without reference to * their age. And the court cannot affix a con- [ * 406 ] dition to this right of freedom, which the law does not authorize. Upon the whole, we are unanimously of opinion that the judgment of the circuit court should be affirmed, with costs.

John RANDEL, JUN., Appellant, v. William LINN BROWN; WILLIAM

LINN Brown, Appellant, v. John RANDEL, JUN.

2 H. 406.

A lien upon certificates of stock cannot arise from a breach of trust.

These cases turned mainly on questions of fact; and the evidence upon which the court passed, and the relations of the parties upon which the question of lien depended, are detailed in the opinion of the court.

J. R. Ingersoll and C. Ingersoll, Jr., for Randel.

J. R. Tryon and Cadwallader, contrà.

* McKINLEY, J., delivered the opinion of the court. [ * 416 ]

Randel filed his bill against Brown, on the chancery side of the circuit court of the United States for the eastern district of Pennsylvania. In which he states that, wishing to negotiate a loan of $10,000, to be secured on certificates of the funded debt of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal Company, he applied to Brown to aid him in the negotiation, with one of the banks of Philadelphia. And that it was agreed between them, that Randel should deliver to Brown

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VOL. XV.

Randel v. Brown. 2 H.

two certificates of the funded debt of the canal company, for $5,000 each, and execute to him a power of attorney, authorizing him to transfer the certificates to himself, or to any other person; and that Brown should, upon his own note, and the pledge of the certificates, if practicable, obtain a loan for Randel.

And in pursuance of this agreement, he executed the power, and delivered it and the certificates to Brown. That instead of obtaining a loan of money, as he had promised, Brown transferred the certificates to himself, and delivered them up to the canal company, and . obtained new ones in his own name. That when Randel applied to Brown to know whether he had obtained the loan of $10,000 for him, Brown replied that he had bad news for him: “I have not succeeded at the bank;” that the bank had a disposition to lend, but had not the means. That Randel then requested him to return the certificates of debt, which Brown refused to do; saying, he intended “ to hold on to them” till Randel settled with him, or made him the present he had promised him.

Randel then put the following interrogatories to Brown: “ Whether he did not receive the certificates and power of attorney in trust and confidence, in the manner and under the circumstances aforesaid; and whether he had any interest in the same, and was not, in holding the same, a mere trustee for the complainant, and did not refuse to deliver them to him; and whether he did not transfer said certifi. cates to himself, on Monday, the 24th of October; and what circumstances occurred before the board of directors, or were communicated to him; and whether he did not inform the complainant that he had not succeeded at the bank, and give the complainant to believe that he had made application on that or the preceding day; and whether

the certificates were not transferred, by said Brown, to his [ *417 ] own use * and not for the use of the complainant; and

what use or disposition, if any, he had made thereof, and to whom, and for what consideration."

The answer denies all the material allegations of the bill, except it admits the receipt of the power of attorney and the certificates of debt. Brown then sets up, in his answer, a claim for services rendered to Randel, from the early part of the year 1831, till the 24th day of October, 1836, of various kinds, but particularly in attending to, and preparing for trial, a suit brought by Randel against the said canal company. And he alleges that Randel agreed to give him a reasonable compensation, for time to be expended in his service, in any event, and to pay his travelling and other expenses; and in the event of success in the suit, the additional compensation of two and a half per cent. on the amount that might be received thereon; and

Randel v. Brown. 2 H.

that Randel finally recovered judgment, and received from the company the sum of $230,000, in payment thereof.

But before the payment, and while it was uncertain whether any thing would be realized from the judgment, Brown states that, from exposure, in the service of Randel, he was taken sick, and it being uncertain whether he would recover or not, he applied to Randel for payment for the time then expended in his service, whereupon Randel caused to be transferred to the use of Brown $2,000, part of said judgment. And a short time thereafter, about the month of September, 1834, Randel requested him to accept an order, drawn on him by Randel, in favor of a certain William H. Camac, for $2,000, promising, at the same time, to place funds in his hands to meet its payment; which induced him to accept it. Brown refers to the order, in his answer, and which is as follows:

“ Sir : Out of the sum of $2,000 with interest due, and to become due thereon, which was assigned, at my request, by Samuel H. Hodson, to you, being one fifth part of the sum assigned by me to him, on trust, the 27th of January last, out of the judgment obtained by me against the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal Company, please to pay to William H. Camac, or order, the sum of $2,000, out of the first moneys you obtain from said company on said account, or on account of tolls attached. If more than one year elapse before you obtain the whole of said sum of $2,000, then pay to said Camac an interest of six per cent. on whatever balance may remain unpaid, after the expiration of said term of one year.” Brown accepted this order on the 26th of September, 1834.

* It is further charged in the answer, that on the 18th day [ * 418 ] of April, 1836, for time expended in his service, from the date of the assignment of the said sum of $2,000, down to that time, Randel gave to Brown a promissory note for $300, payable ninety days after date. He then charges, that the two certificates of debt were delivered to him by Randel, on the 20th of October, 1836, for the purpose of paying himself, and the debt of $2,000 to Camac. And at the same time Randel requested him to go to New Castle and reassign the part of said judgment which had been assigned to him as aforesaid; and that he, Randel, would then execute the power to Brown to enable him to transfer said two certificates of debt to himself. And accordingly, on the 22d of the same month, he at New Castle reassigned to Randel said sum of $2,000, part of said judg. ment, and received from him the power of attorney, authorizing him to transfer said two certificates of debt, numbered 34 and 35, to himself, or any other person.

And in answer to the interrogatories in the bill, Brown says: “ That

Randel v. Brown. 2 H.

he did not receive said certificates and power of attorney, in trust and confidence, in the manner and under the circumstances therein set forth, but absolutely, as an unqualified transfer, in payment of a debt due to him, by the complainant, and distinctly admitted by him, and to enable him, the respondent, to pay William H. Camac the amount of his, the respondent's acceptance, as before stated ; and that said respondent has an absolute and unqualified interest in the certificates, to the whole amount of their principal and interest, and that he does not hold them as trustee for the complainant, nor any other person, but in his own right, and for his own use.

“ And that he did refuse to deliver said certificates to the complainant, and did actually transfer said certificates to himself, on Monday, the 24th day of October last; and that he did not place said certificates before the directors of the Schuylkill Bank, on Monday, the 24th, or Tuesday, the 25th of October last. That touching the disposition your respondent has made of the said certificates, he says that they still stand in the name of your respondent, and were surrendered to this honorable court on the presentation of the complainant's bill of complaint.” To the answer, the complainant filed a general replication. And, after time had been allowed the parties to take depositions, the court referred the case to three masters, with special instructions.

The masters, after a very thorough examination of the [ * 419 ] evidence in * the cause, reported against the claim of Brown

for separate compensation for time; but allowed him the two and a half per cent. commissions, claimed in his answer, amounting to $5,659.64, as compensation for all services rendered. Both parties excepted to the report. Brown, to that part of it which disallowed his claim for separate compensation for time; and Randel excepted to that part which allowed to Brown two and a half per cent. on the amount of the judgment against the canal company.

The court overruled these and all other exceptions, confirmed the report of the masters, and rendered a decree in favor of Brown for the amount allowed by the masters, with interest from the 5th day of May, 1840, amounting together to the sum of $6,136, to be paid out of these two certificates. From this decree both parties have appealed to this court.

The right of Brown to compensation for time, and his right to commissions on the amount of the judgment, are both involved in his assertion of the more general right, to be compensated, for all his services, out of these certificates. The principal questions, therefore, which we deem it necessary to examine, are, 1. Were the certificates delivered to Brown in payment of a debt to himself, and to

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