Hinde v. Lessee of Vattier
THIS was a writ of error to the circuit court of the district of Ohio.
The case was submitted to the court by Mr Doddridge on the following case.
'This is an ejectment originally brought in the common pleas of Hamilton county, in the state of Ohio, and afterwards removed to the circuit court of the United States for the district of Ohio, for a part of lot No. 86, in the city of Cincinnati, in the county of Hamilton in said state, by the defendant against the plaintiffs in error. At the trial, a verdict and judgment were rendered for the plaintiffs below, to reverse which the present writ of error is prosecuted.
'During the progress of the trial, the counsel for the defendants in error tendered a bill of exceptions, which was signed and made part of the record; which states, in substance, that on the trial of this cause, the counsel for the plaintiff, to maintain the issue and prove title in his lessor, offered in evidence an official copy of a deed of conveyance from John Cleves Symmes and wife, duly recorded, dated the-of July 1795, for the said lot 86, to Abraham Garrison. A copy of a conveyance from the said Garrison to James Finly, for the said lot, duly executed and recorded, and dated the 9th of August 1815; and also a copy of a deed from the said Finly, for the same lot, duly executed and recorded to the lessor of the plaintiff, dated the 20th April 1818.
'The bill of exceptions then states, that the foregoing deeds were offered as evidence of title in the plaintiff's lessor, without offering therewith or before, any grant to Symmes, or to any person under whom he claims, or any copy thereof; to which evidence, unaccompanied by the further evidence before mentioned, the counsel for the defendant objected. But the court permitted the counsel of the plaintiff, instead of such further evidence, to offer in evidence and read from a certain book called 'Swan's Land Laws of Ohio,' published by authority of a law of that state, all that is contained in that book between page 25 and page 34, the latter included; and the court thereupon declared their opinion to be, that the production of any other evidence of title in John C. Symmes was unnecessary-the court being satisfied, that the supreme court of Ohio have solemnly settled it as a rule of property, in cases arising within the Miami purchase, where the lot aforesaid is situated, to produce any further evidence than before mentioned.'
For the plaintiff in error, it was contended:
1. That by the settled rules of evidence, the plaintiff in the court below was bound to derive to John C. Symmes, a title from the United States, either by a grant to him directly, or to some person under whom he claims.
2. That this title, as a general rule, could only be proved by the production of the grant, or an official or sworn copy.
3. That a solemn decision of the supreme court of Ohio, in a mere matter of evidence at common law, is not obligatory on the United States courts.
4. That the assertion of the doctrine of the supreme court of Ohio, stated in the bill of exceptions, is no evidence of the establishment of a rule of property in Ohio.
Doddridge for the plaintiffs, Caswell for the defendant.
Mr Justice BALDWIN delivered the opinion of the Court.