Campbell v. Boyreau
THIS case was brought up by writ of error from the Circuit Court of the United States for the northern district of California.
The case having been decided by this court upon a point of practice, it is necessary to state only so much of its as to show how the point of practice arose.
It was a suit in the nature of an ejectment, brought by Boyreau to recover all the undivided half of an undivided eighteenth part of that certain tract of land, rancho, or farm, known as the 'Rancho San Leandro,' situate in the county of Alameda, State aforesaid, bounded as follows: on the north by the San Leandro creek; on the west by the bay of San Francisco; on the south by the San Lorenzo creek; and on the east by a line commencing on the southern bank of the San Leandro creek, at a point on said bank, from whence a line bearing south, 29 degrees east, will strike the eastern bank of a lagoon, situated about six or seven chains south of said creek, thence running on said line about two hundred and sixty-two (262) chains, parallel with a ridge of hills running from the San Leandro creek to the San Lorenzo creek, at a point at the base of the foot hills on the said creek.
Upon the trial, the whole case was submitted to the court, a jury being expressly waived by agreement of parties; and the evidence and arguments of counsel being heard, the court proceeded to find a long history of facts, which is set forth in the record. The copy of the grant offered in evidence excluded land on the east occupied by the Indians, and the court, in its finding, ran the east line in such a way as to exclude two of the defendants, who were pronounced not guilty. All the evidence necessary for the court to make up its opinion upon this point, and also upon other facts in the case, would seem to belong more appropriately to a jury. The second bill of exceptions contained the elaborate opinion of the court, in which questions of fact and questions of law were all decided.
The case was argued for the defendant in error in this court by Mr. Brent and Mr. Crittenden, who, upon the point in question, contended that the finding by the court of the facts was as binding on the plaintiffs in error as if the facts were stated in a special verdict.
Mr. Chief Justice TANEY delivered the opinion of the court.