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I shall suffer death.
UNITED STATES CIRCUIT COURT, FOR THE DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS. The Grace Lothrop. — LOWELL, J. The Shipping Act of 1872, 17 stats. 262, $S 13 and 14, do not require contracts of seamen in the coasting trade to be signed in the presence of an official shipping commissioner. Section 8 of the statute expressly declares that in the coasting trade the master may be his own shipping commissioner.
NEW HAMPSHIRE. Hon. IRA PERLEY, lately Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court, died suddenly on the 26th day of February. He was born in Boxford, Mass., in 1799, and was in his seventy-fifth year. He graduated at Dartmouth College in 1822, was a tutor there from 1823 to 1825, studied law with Daniel McChristie at Dover, was admitted to the bar in 1827, and opened an office in Ilanover, where he was treasurer of the college from 1830 to 1835. He received there the degrees of A.M. and LL.D. He went to Concord in 1834; and, although a whig in politics, the democratic governor, Samuel Dinsmore the younger, appointed him Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Judicature, October 1, 1852, following the example of his father, the elder Dinsmore, in appointing ex-Chief Justice Parker in 1833, they being opposed politicians. July 20, 1855, Governor Ralph Metcalf appointed Judge Perley Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court. August 1, 1855, Governor Joseph A. Gilmore reappointed him, and he held that office until September, 1869, resigning a few days before he arrived at the age of seventy, the constitutional limit. Judge Perley has held but few political offices, representing Hanover and Concord only a few years in the state legislature. December 22, 1852, he delivered an able eulogy on Daniel Webster in Concord. Again, at the Dartmouth College centennial, in 1869, he spoke eloquently of Webster, Choate, and Chase, and other illustrious graduates, in treating of the relations of the college to the law. As a lawyer and jurist, Judge Perley was hardly surpassed in the New Hampshire courts.
NEW YORK. THE STOKES CASE. — Although more has been said and heard about this case than its importance deserves, it is yet curious to see how accurately it was comprehended abroad. A correspondent of the Boston Daily Advertiser sends from Italy the following translation:
By way of illustrating how American contemporary history is served up, I give the following from the Fanfulla of Rome, a journal better informed than most, prefacing my translation of its article with the remark that the common misuse in Italy of h for k (which latter letter is not in the Italian alphabet) had many times caused a confusion in the public mind between James Fisk, Jr., and Secretary Fish. During the trials of Stokes many were the questions as to the identity of his victini, and upon
1 A noted dealer in real estate in Boston.
his conviction somebody, athirst for accurate information, wrote to the Funfulla asking for it. Here is the editorial response :
“Fish was a fine fellow in his day : chief of the Tammany ring and of the Erie ring, - two clubs of speculators at the bourse, about which Fanfulla spoke a month ago.
"Fish plundered by handfuls from the public treasury on the one side, and from the treasury of the railway from New York to Erie, and made the millions dance as if they had been of India-rubber.
“In chronological order he was the last of the nabobs ; in order of riches the first.
“Now it happened that in the course of his adventurous life he stumbled on a sister of Stokes. To see her and — well, all the rest was the affair of a few days. The fair Stokes, laden with gifts and gold, might soon have given points to Cleopatra, to the Queen of Golconda, and all their pearls.
“But love soon passed away ; for some natures love is like money, and circulates, circulates, circulates endlessly. And one fine day the fair Stokes found herself in the condition of the Olympia above mentioned, abandoned high and dry on the rocks.
“At this juncture steps out the brother.
“While there was any thing to nibble at, the fine fellow nibbled away behind the scenes and held his peace. But when the bone was gnawed, all the rage of injured honor took the field within his generous soul, and he put himself upon the tracks of his pseudo brother-in-law, claiming satisfaction for his sister's honor , and a fitting compensation. What blessed fellows are these positive men !
“But his anxiety was vain. Fish stood firm, and Stokes, one fine day, ambushed upon a hotel staircase, showered pistol-shots upon him.
“The revenge was consummated ; and the family honor, in default of a bath of gold, was washed in blood.
“Since that day two years have rolled by; and having been brought to trial, the murderer, by dint of remands from one court to another, was nearly going unpunisbed.
“English and American laws require unanimity for a verdict of condemnation, one dissenting voice carrying the remand of the case.
“ The unlucky Stokes fell at last upon a jury less American than the others, and was, as the telegraph reports, condemned to four years of imprisonment.
“There's the whole story for you!”
ACTS OF CONGRESS; WHEN THEY TAKE EFFECT. SIGNATURE OF THE PRESIDENT. — On the 3d of February, the case of N. D. Carlisle & Son v. Collector Arthur, which had been instituted in the United States Circuit Court, before Judge Nathaniel Shipman and a jury, came up for trial. The plaintiffs, as previously reported, are importers in New York city, and in that capacity imported a quantity of wool upon which the collector levied a tax of ten cents per pound, and an ad valorem duty of eleven cents, the collector alleging that he was authorized to take this course under the act of Congress of March 2, 1867. The duty thus imposed amounted to $20,000, and was paid under protest by Carlisle & Son, who brought this action against the government to recover back the amount exacted, and claimed that the act of Congress under which they were assessed was inapplicable, on the ground that it was not signed by the President until the 4th of March, 1867. The importation was made on the day before the act received the signature of President Johnson. The deposition of ex-President Johnson showed that, though the act
appeared to have been signed by him on the 2d of March, 1867, the day of its passage, he did not actually sign it until early in the morning of the 4th of March, 1867, and that he acted thus in pursuance of a custom then prevailing with regard to the signing of bills passed by Congress. This deposition was admitted in evidence by the court. Mr. J. H. Choate, when the case came up, urged on the part of the plaintiffs that by admitting evidence which showed that President Johnson had not signed the act referred to until the 4th of March, 1867, the court would, in effect, decide that although presidents were in the habit, when they approved of acts of Congress, to date them back to the time when they were passed, the acts did not, according to the constitution, become law until the very day when the President really signed them. Judge Shipman briefly charged the jury, and directed them to find a verdict for the plaintiffs. This they accordingly did. The amount of the verdict is $20,000 in gold. – New York Herald.
SERVICE OF CiviL PROCESS IN THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. — SUPERior Court, Cincinnati. In re Covington & al. — In this case the court decide that the Chamber of Commerce has no right to close its doors on the sheriff to prevent him from serving civil process therein.
A writ was delivered to the sheriff, who, learning that one of the defendants was on the floor of the Chamber of Commerce, proceeded there to execute it, but was refused admission by the door-keeper, although making known his official character and the nature of his business. The president and secretary, who had ordered the door-keeper to refuse admittance to officers of the law, were summoned for contempt, and, although disclaiming any intentional disrespect to the court or purpose to resist its officers, maintained that an officer holding civil process to serve on A. cannot enter the premises of B., though other than B.'s dwelling, to make the service, and that if he does he is a trespasser. This, however, the court denied, and fined the defendant one dollar and costs.
SERVICE ON FOREIGN CORPORATION.-SUPERIOR COURT, CINCINNATI. Heart v. The Lycoming Fire Insurance Co. – Two of the three judges of this court decide that “ so much of the Acts of 1869 and 1873 (Vol. 66, 0. L., pp. 326–327, and 70 0. L., pp. 151–152) as attempts to empower courts to acquire personal jurisdiction in suits brought therein, of foreign fire insurance companies, who have, as a condition of being permitted to do business in this state, complied with the terms of said act requiring them to consent thereto, by the issuing of a summons and mailing the same by the sheriff in the county where suit is brought, postage prepaid, directed to the foreign insurance company at its principal office in another state or government, such company having removed from this state, leaving no agent therein to represent it, is unconstitutional and void. Such obligation of such companies to the state is merely executory, or promissory; and, being violated by such companies, the state itself cannot enforce the obligation within its own limits, but must seek the residence of such company to do so; it cannot, therefore, confer such right to acquire jurisdiction upon any of its courts in order to redress the grievances of its citizens, where no property or property rights within the state are sought to be subjected.”
PENNSYLVANIA. CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION. — SUPREME Court. Wells v. Bain. — The important and interesting question raised in this state by the action of the constitutional convention, in attempting to set aside the law regulating elections in Philadelphia, and substituting therefor one of its own devising, by which the adoption of the new constitution - its handiwork —should be submitted to the people, although it created some excitement and brought out opposing opinions and strong expressions, as any question striking at the roots of government necessarily will, was happily laid to rest by the result. The Supreme Court declared the action of the convention illegal, and enjoined the new commission of election from further action ; but nevertheless the constitution was adopted, and the “ ring" in Philadelphia received a direct blow.
The opinion of the Supreme Court we have read with great interest, and we think it places the decision squarely on the only tenable grounds, viz., that the act of the legislature by which the convention was called alone furnished it with its authority, and that it possessed no power to alter or amend existing laws, except so far as expressly contained in the creating act: it was to propose amendments, not to make them.
CHIEF JUSTICE THOMPSON.—Hon. James Thompson, lately Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, died very suddenly, on the 28th day of January, when in the heat of an argument before the Supreme Court. He was one of the noted men of Pennsylvania; had been speaker of the House of Representatives, a member of Congress, and on the bench of her Supreme Court for fifteen years.
SALARIES OF THE JUDGES. — We are glad to see the bar active and earpest on the subject of judicial salaries. The new constitution of this state provides that the judges shall have “ an adequate compensation," and prohibits their holding any other office of profit under the United States or any State. The Philadelphia bar have held a meeting and chosen a committee to urge on the legislature an increase of the old salaries. We fear, however, that they will meet with the fate of similar embassies in other states. The average legislator has little knowledge of the value of brains.
HENRY B. SwOOPE. – Mr. Swoope was appointed United States District Attorney for the western district of Pennsylvania in January, 1870, and he had lately been recommissioned for four years. He died February 16th, at the age of forty-two years. Before his appointment as district attorney he had attained a high position at the bar, and was a lawyer of great energy and
This case attracted our attention, and seems to have proved equally attractive to our contemporary, The Law Times, from which we take the following statement of it:
A very singular case was heard at Nisi Prius recently in Philadelphia. The head-note of the report appearing in the Legal Intelligencer is this : (1)“ A civil action for damages can be maintained against an infant himself for injuries done by him while under the age of seven years. (2) Whether a woman undertaking to perform the duties of a nurse assumes the risk of being injured by the follies of a child, not decided." The defendant, it seems, at the dangerous age of six, assaulted his nurse and knocked an eye out, and she sought to recover from him damages for the injury. So very soberly and very elaborately did “ Sharswood, J.,” charge the jury, telling them that, although a child of such tender years could not have the malus animus to render him liable to criminal proceedings, he was not on that ground exempt from liability in a civil action, “though," said the learned judge, “of course it enters very materially into the question of the amount of damages to be recovered in the case." An important point raised was whether it must not be an unavoidable conclusion that damage inflicted by a child of six is an inevitable accident. The court thought that it was a question for the jury. “Where,” said Sharewood, J., "infants are the actors, that may probably be considered, however, an unavoidable accident, which would not be so considered where the actors are adults; but such a distinction, if it exists at all, does not apply to this case ; for if the evidence of the plaintiff be believed, here was a blow voluntary inflicted by the defendant, and not an accident resulting from mere negligence, which might not be imputable to so young an infant. If this had been an injury arising from negligence, I suppose the law to be very clear that no negligence could be imputed to so young an infant; but this blow, if the testimony of the plaintiff is to be believed, was voluntarily given, and was not the result of neg. ligence, although it may have been and was the thoughtless act of a foolish child, ignorant of the consequences.” The main question for the jury was, therefore, whether this pugnacious infant struck the blow. A second legal question was, as we have stated, whether the employment was not undertaken with all its risks. Upon this the learned judge said that there were some analogies in the law which would bear ont such a contention, but being unable to find that the question had ever been expressly decided, he expressed his intention to reserve it. We are not furnished with the finding of the jury, and without expressing any opinion upon the merits, we quite agree with the learned judge that the case is novel and interesting.
Right OF District ATTORNEY TO APPEAR BEFORE GRAND JURY. UNITED States Circuit Court, Eastern District. — Judge Emmons being informed that a difference had arisen between the United States Attorney and the foreman of the grand jury in reference to the right of the government's advisers to appear before that body and conduct the examination of witnesses, advised the grand jury that he could not at this late day overturn a practice that had been for so long uniform in both federal and state courts in every state in the Union ; that it would be impolitic, as well as novel, to exclude that officer from the jury-room. His duty, when with the grand jury, was to explain the law to them, and to elicit truth from the witnesses by conducting their examination ; and it would be decorous in him, and his evident duty, if requested by the jury, to retire whenever they voted on a case.
We have no doubt that this practice is founded on sound considerations of convenience; but we had imagined that nothing was better settled than that