Williams v. Gibbes (58 U.S. 239)/Dissent Taney

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Opinion of the Court
Dissenting Opinions

United States Supreme Court

58 U.S. 239

Williams  v.  Gibbes

Mr. Chief Justice TANEY dissenting.

I dissent from the opinion in these two cases; but they are so intimately connected with the case against Lyde Goodwin's administrator, just decided, that I shall be better understood by considering the three together.

When the case of Gill (who was trustee of Goodwin under the insolvent laws of Maryland) against Oliver's executors was before the court, I did not concur in the judgment then given, as will be seen by the report of the case in 11 Howard's Reports, 529. It appeared to me unnecessary at that time to do more than simply express my dissent; but the course which these cases have since taken, and the decisions now given, make it may duty to state more fully my own opinion, and the grounds upon which I passed the decrees that are now before the court.

The history of the controversy is this: Goodwin, Gooding, and Williams, were members of the Baltimore Mexican Company, which made the contract with Mina, in 1816. The character of that contract is fully stated in the eleventh and twelfth volumes of Howard's Reports, and also the manner in which it came before the commissioners under the treaty with Mexico, and their award upon it.

The commissioners awarded the sum mentioned in their award to the Mexican Company of Baltimore, as due 'for arms, vessels, munitious of war, goods, and money furnished by the company to General Mina for the service of Mexico in the years 1816 and 1817,' and gave interest to the company according to the stipulation in the contract with Mina. I have given the words of the award, because they show that the commissioners affirmed the validity of this contract, and directed the amount due by its terms, to be paid to the trustees therein named, for the benefit of the parties interested in it.

Proceedings were soon after instituted in a Maryland court of equity, against the trustees by persons claiming an interest in the fund; and the money by order of the court was brought into court to be distributed among the parties entitled. Many claimants appeared, presenting conflicting claims for shares in the company.

Goodwin, Gooding, and Williams, all became insolvent. Goodwin in 1817, Gooding and Williams in 1819; and their respective trustees appeared in the Maryland court, and claimed the amount due to the insolvent.

On the other hand, the executors of Oliver claimed these three shares. Goodwin's under an assignment made to Oliver by Goodwin in 1829, and the other two under assignments made to him in 1825, by George Winchester, who was the trustee of each of them.

The controversies which arose upon the distribution of this fund were removed to the Maryland court of appeals, which is the highest court of the State. And in the trial there, it was objected that the contract with Mina was in violation of law, and therefore fraudulent and void, and vested no rights in the members of the company which the law would recognize, and consequently that no right of property in it could vest in the trustee when the party became insolvent.

It may be proper to remark, that under the Maryland insolvent law, all the property, rights, and credits belonging to the insolvent at the time of his petition, become vested in his trustee: and he at the same time executes a deed to the trustee, conveying and assigning to him all his property, rights, and credits of every description for the benefit of his creditors. And if the persons above named, at the times of their petitions in 1817 and 1819, had any interest whatever, either legal or equitable, vested or contingent, under this Mexican contract, it passed to their trustees.

The court of appeals decided that the contract with Mina was fraudulent and void under our neutrality laws, and therefore vested no right in the parties which a court of justice in this country could recognize, and, consequently, that they had no interest or property under it which could be transferred to or vest in their trustees at the time of their insolvency. And upon this ground they decided against the claim of the trustees, and directed the whole amount of the three shares to be paid to Oliver's executors.

The ground upon which they supported the claim of Oliver's executors to these shares is not stated fully in the opinion. It was, I presume, upon the ground that, by the terms of the award, the shares of these three persons were received by the trustees named in the award, in trust for these executors; and that the trustees, therefore, had no right to withhold it from them; as neither they nor their testator had any participation in the fraudulent contract out of which it had arisen. And if the court was right in deciding, that neither the trustee of the insolvent nor any one else could derive a title to this money under the contract with Mina, perhaps the language of the award, together with the documents referred to in it, might justify this decision. But I express no opinion on this point, and merely suggest it in justice to the court of appeals, in order to show that their opinions in these cases are not necessarily inconsistent with each other, although the court may have reasoned erroneously, and decided incorrectly.

These decisions were brought to this court by the trustees of the insolvents, by writs of error under the 25th section of the act of 1789. Motions were made in each of them to dismiss for want of jurisdiction; and the motions were sustained by the majority of the court, and the cases dismissed, as will appear in the reports referred to.

I differed in opinion from the court; but undoubtedly, when the cases came before me at circuit, upon bills filed by the administrators, it was may duty to conform in the inferior court to the decision of the superior, as far as that decision applied to the case presented by these complainants. It is true, that in my own opinion, and according to the views of the subject I had always entertalned, these bills, by the administrators of the insolvents, could not be maintained. But I dismissed them, not only upon that ground, but also under the impression that I was bound to do so upon the principles upon which this court had decided them in the suits by the trustees. It appears, however, by the opinion just delivered, that I was mistaken, and placed an erroneous construction on the opinions formerly delivered. It seems, therefore, to be due to myself to state not only my opinion in the former cases, but also the interpretation I placed upon the language of this court in deciding them. And I think it will be found that the language of the former decisions was fairly susceptible of the construction I put upon it, although that construction has turned out to be erroneous. I do not mean to say that the construction which the majority of the court puts upon its former decisions now, is not the true one; but that the language used in it might lead even a careful inquirer to a contrary conclusion.

I proceed, in the first place, to speak of the case of Gill, trustee of Lyde Goodwin. As I have already said, when that case was before this court, I thought, and still think, we had jurisdiction; and proceed now to state the grounds of that opinion, and how it bore on the decision of the suit by his administrator, which is now before us.

The money in dispute was claimed under the contract with Mina. And the amount claimed was awarded to the Mexican Company, or their legal representatives or assigns, by the commissioners appointed under the Mexican treaty, and the act of congress passed to carry it into execution. The commissioners were authorized to ascertain and determine upon the validity of the claims of American citizens upon the Mexican government, and for which this government had demanded reparation. Of course, it was their duty not to allow any claim for services rendered to Mexico, or money advanced for its use, by American citizens in violation of their duty to their own country, or in disobedience to its laws. For the government would have been unmindful of its own duty to the United States, if it had used its power and influence to enforce a claim of that description, or had sanctioned it by treaty. But the board of commissioners were necessarily the judges of the lawfulness of the contracts, and the validity of the claims presented. They were necessarily to determine whether they were of the description provided for in the treaty or not. They may have committed errors of judgment in this respect, and may have committed an error of judgment in sanctioning the contract with Mina. But the law under which they acted made them the exclusive judges on the subject. There was no appeal from their decision. And if there was no mal-practice on the part of the commissioners, and the award was not obtained by fraud and misrepresentation, it was final and conclusive. It was like the judgment of any other tribunal having jurisdiction of the subject-matter, and could not be reexamined and impeached for error of judgment in any other court which had no appellate power over it. And they decided that the contract of Mina was valid, and consequently it vested from its date a lawful right to the money in the member of the Mexican Company.

The objection, therefore, in the Maryland court, brought into question the validity of an authority exercised under the United States; and as the decision of the state court was against its validity, it was my opinion that a writ of error did lie under the 25th section of the act of 1789. And regarding the award as final and conclusive upon other tribunals, there was error in the judgment of the state court which pronounced it invalid and fraudulent. It will be observed that this error was the foundation of the judgment of the state court. For if the court did not look behind the award, and had regarded the contract as valid, the right to Goodwin's interest undoubtedly passed to his trustee in 1817, long before his assignment to Oliver. I therefore thought this court had jurisdiction, and that the judgment of the court of appeals ought to be reversed, and this money paid to the trustee, and not to Oliver's executors.

The majority of the court, however, entertained a different opinion, and dismissed the cases, upon the ground, as I understand the opinion, that the construction of the treaty, or of the act of congress, or the validity of the authority exercised under them, did not appear to have been drawn into question in the court of appeals; and that the case appeared to have been decided upon the effect and operation of their own insolvent law, and upon their own laws regulating contracts and transfers of property and credits within the State, over which we had no jurisdiction upon the writ of error; that these matters were exclusively for the decision of the state tribunals, and their decision final upon the subject.

Some remarks are made in the opinion in relation to grounds upon which the state court might have decided without impeaching the award of the commissioners; and among others, the fact that Goodwin had assigned his right to Oliver in 1829, and that the Mexican congress had previously, in 1825, acknowledged its validity. There is an error in the date, but it is immaterial. The acts of the Mexican congress were in 1823 and 1824.

But I did not understand these remarks as intended to affirm that the share of Goodwin passed to Oliver by this assignment, but as suggesting grounds upon which the state court might, whether erroneously or not, have decided in favor of the executors. Because, as the court held that it had no jurisdiction in the case, I supposed that it intended to give no opinion upon the merits. And I presumed that it did not intend to decide that the acknowledgment of Mexico, that Mina's contract was binding upon the republic, could give any validity to it in the courts of the United States. For the contract of the Baltimore Company would have been liable to the same objections if it had been made originally, in 1816, with the Mexican government instead of General Mina. And if it was void in 1817, and Goodwin then had no interest under in it was equally void in 1829, when the assignment to Oliver was made; and it is due to the court of appeals to say, that they have not indicated, in any of their opinions, that the acts of the Mexican congress had any influence on their judgments.

Upon these considerations I dismissed the bill at circuit, upon two grounds: 1. My own opinion is, that the interest of Goodwin passed to his trustee, and consequently that the present complainant (his administrator) can have no title. 2. This court decided, upon a view of the whole case, that it had no appellate power over this judgment, and that it had been decided by the Maryland court upon its own construction of its own law. And that point being adjudged by this court, I did not see upon what ground I could, in conformity to this opinion, revise the judgment of the state court and reverse its decision. It would, in substance, have been the exercise of an appellate power at circuit over the decisions of the state courts, upon their own laws, which this court had refused to exercise on writ of error; and, for the reason first above stated, I now concur in affirming the judgment here in the case of Goodwin's administrator.

I come now to the cases of the administrators of Gooding and Williams, which are, in many respects, alike. These writs were also dismissed for want of jurisdiction, when formerly before the court; and in dismissing them, the court said that the title of the trustees to the shares of Gooding and Williams, 'involved only a question of state law, and therefore wasas not the subject o revision here, and was conclusive of his rights, and decisive of the case.' I quote the language of the court. The want of jurisdiction was, therefore, the only point decided in these cases, and they were dismissed on that ground.

It is true that in these cases, as well as in that of Goodwin's trustee, language is used, in the opinion of the court, which would seem to imply that the court was of opinion that the contract was void originally, but had afterwards become valid by the events referred to in the opinion. But I understood these observations, as I did those made in Goodwin's case, merely as suggesting considerations which might have led to the decision of the state court, without impeaching the award of the commissioners, but not as approving or sanctioning them as sufficient grounds for their decree. For the court determined that it had no jurisdiction, and consequently the merits of the case were not before it, and I presumed it did not mean to express any opinion concerning the correctness or incorrectness of the judgment of the state court. Such I have understood to be the established practice of this court, and I was not aware that this case was intended to be an exception. The only point decided was the conclusiveness of the judgment of the state court upon the rights of the trustees.

The court of appeals assigned two reasons for their decision, and taking them literally, as they stand, they are inconsistent with each other. But the opinion appears to have been hastily written, and not sufficiently guarded in its words; and it is evident they meant to say, that, in the opinion of the court, no interest vested in the trustee, because there was no legal or equitable interest acquired by the contract that could vest anywhere, or in any person. But, if there was a legal interest, it passed to his trustee, and by his assignment vested in Oliver. This mode of decision upon alternative grounds, is an ordinary and familiar one in courts of justice, and will often be found in the decisions of this court.

And however the reasoning of the state court may be regarded, it is clear that, with the interest of the intestate before them and under consideration, they decreed that the shares belonged to Oliver's executors. Now it it is perfectly immaterial whether the reasons assigned by the court were right or wrong. Here is their judgment, their decree-a decree founded altogether on state laws, as this court have said in their former decisions, and made by a court of competent jurisdiction. Upon what principle, then, can a court of the United States, either at circuit or here, undertake to revise it or reverse it for error? If we had no appellate power upon the writ of error, and no right to reverse the judgment for errors supposed to be committed by the state court in interpreting and administering its own laws, how can this court or the circuit court exercise this revising power over the judgment in the form it now comes before us. It is doing in another way what it is admitted cannot be done in the prescribed mode of proceeding by writ of error. And I am not aware of any precedent for this exercise of powerer in a court of the United State administering state laws, when the judgment of the highest court of the State is before them upon the same case upon which the United States court is called on to decide.

It will be remembered that the appellate and revising power of the courts of the United States over the judgments of state courts stands upon very different principles from those which, in England, govern the relation of superior and inferior tribunals, and they are not, therefore, always safe guides upon the revising and reversing power which the courts of the United States may constitutionally exercise over the judgments of state courts.

I know it is said that the administrators of these insolvents who have filed these bills were not parties to the former proceedings, and are not therefore estopped by the decree of the court of appeals. And a good deal of argument has been offered to maintain that proposition; but that question cannot arise until other questions which stand before it and control it are first disposed of. For this court held, upon the former writs of error, that these cases were decided by the court of appeals exclusively upon Maryland law; and, if that be the case, before we come to the question of parties, other questions must be decided: 1. Whether in this form of proceeding you can examine into the validity of the grounds upon which the state court decided them, and reverse its judgment is you suppose it committed an error in interpreting and administering its own laws; and, if you are authorized to do this, them, 2. Did it commit an error in deciding that those shares belonged to Oliver's executors? The reasons they may have given for this opinion are altogether immaterial; and if these two questions are decided in the affirmative, and this court reverses the judgment, upon the ground that the shares belonged to the insolvents at the times of their death, and not to Oliver's executors, then the administrators would undoubtedly have an interest, and are not estopped by the former decree from claiming their rights. Nobody, I presume, disputes this. But, before you come to this part of the case, you must take jurisdiction over the judgment of the state court, and reverse it for error. Because, if that judgment stands, then the intestates had nothing at the times of their death that could pass to the administrators; and there would have been no more propriety in making them parties, than any other stranger who had no interest in the fund. The administrator of a vendor who has in his lifetime divested himself of all right to property, can hardly be supposed to be a necessary party in a controversy between purchasers under him when neither of the claimants has a right to fall back for indemnity on his estate. The administrators offer no new evidence of interest in them or their intestates, but present here the identical case, in all its parts, that was before the court of appeals when it passed its decree.

Indeed, I cannot comprehend how the state court, or this court, can award the fund to the administrators, if the contract was fraudulent and void when the parties became insolvent. They both died before the award was made; but if, up to that time, the contract continued open to examination in a court of justice, and was decided to have been fraudulent and a nullity when made, nothing afterwards could have given it legal existence. Nihilum ex nihilo oriatur is as true in law as in philosophy. If void at first, it continued to be void and a nullity to the time of the deaths of the parties, and their administrators could derive no lawful title from them. To say that a legal or equitable interest in a fraudulent contract can exist in a party and be transmitted to his administrator, when used as legal language, is a solecism. And if from necessity, upon any principle of law or equity, the award related back, it would seem that those who purchased the interest in these shares, at their full market value at the time; and paid for it, should have the benefit of the relations.

It may be said, perhaps, that although the acts of congress of Mexico, in 1823 and 1824, could not make valid a contract originally void and a nullity by our laws, yet these acts of the Mexican legislature constituted a new and original contract which at that time might lawfully be made by our citizens, and that the rights of the parties take date from that contract. But this view of the case would not obviate the legal objections, but on the contrary it would add to them. For it still assumes the principle that the state court had a right to examine into the testimony, not only to determine the rights of the parties under the award, but to impeach the award itself. And upon this theory, if they had not found these acts of the Mexican congress in the proceedings of the commissioners, the state court might have held the whole award erroneous and a nullity, vesting no rights in any one, because it sanctioned an illegal contract. As I have already said, a state court, in my judgment, has no such power.

The commissioners do not refer to the Mexican acts of congress, nor allow the claims of the company upon a contract made by these laws. They award expressly upon the contract with Mina, and give interest according to that contract. And unless their award may be impeached for error, and their decision upon the claim re examined and reversed in the state court, the rights of all the claimants depend upon this contract, and take date from it. According to the award of the commissioners, it is this contract that gave the claimants rights, and which must consequently govern the court in distributing the fund.

It seems to be supposed that the decision of the court of appeals declaring this contract to be fraudulent and void was founded upon some local law of the State. But that is evidently a mistake. It was founded on the breach of the neutrality laws of the United States. They looked behind the award of the commissioners, behind an authority exercised under the United States, and impeached its validity.

Besides, no other contract but this was under examination in the state court. The court speak of no other in their opinion. The parties, as appear by the proceedings, all claimed under it, and the decisions of the court and the distribution of the fund were founded upon it. Can another and a subsequent contract be set up here, upon which the state court has passed no judgment, and has not acted, and under which none of the parties before it claimed? I think not. And if their decision is to be set aside for error, it must, I presume, be for error in deciding upon the contract brought before them by the parties. And if this court now reverse these decrees upon the ground that the original contract with Mina was void, but became valid by subsequent, events, it reverses upon a new case, upon which the state court has never decided. Moreover, it unsettles the whole proceedings in the state court, for the interest of the claimants, in almost every instance, depended upon the time that a lawful right to this claim vested in the company.

And if, notwithstanding these objections, this court may look into the judgment and reverse it for error, and they find it to have been decided upon two principles of law, consistent or inconsistent with each other, one of which is erroneous and the other sound, ought not the judgment to be affirmed?

Now, as I have already said, the state court committed an error, in my opinion, in going behind the award, and receiving testimony to show that a contract was fraudulent and void which a tribunal of the United States having exclusive jurisdiction over the subject had decided to be lawful and valid. And if this court have the power to revise that judgment, I think it could not be supported on that ground.

But they put it upon another, and say, that if the original contract is regarded as valid, then the interest of the insolvents passed to their trustee, and, by virtue of his assignment, vested in Robert Oliver.

Now, in examining the judgment of an inferior tribunal in a case of this description, would the appellate court lay hold of the erroneous principle to reverse the judgment? Would they not affirm it upon the other alternative, which placed it upon lawful and tenable grounds? I think nobody would doubt that the judgment would be affirmed. Ought not the same rule to be applied to the Maryland judgment which this court is now revising? And is not this court bound, under the award of the commissioners, to regard the original contract as valid, when it has been so decided by a lawful tribunal of the United States, having exclusive jurisdiction over the subject? If we are so bound, and not authorized to impeach the judgment of the commissioners, then the judgment of the Maryland court, in the cases of Gooding and Williams, is right, and ought to be affirmed upon the second ground stated in the opinion, even if we were sitting here as an appellate tribunal.

It is true that the bill in the case of Williams's trustee was filed in the state chancery court, which, by a change of the law, represents the court where the fund was originally paid in and distributed among the claimants; and was removed to the circuit court of the United States by the appellees, who reside out of the State. And undoubtedly, the circuit court, in that state of the case, possessed the same power over it, and were bound to decide it upon the same principles that ought to have governed the state court in which the bill was filed. But there was no new evidence, no new fact, no new interest or equity porsented. There is a new name, indeed, but no new interest or equity disclosed in the bill. And upon that case the court of appeals had passed its decree. That decree was the law of the case, in the inferior court, where this bill was filed. And the court of appeals itself could not reverse its decree, signed and enrolled at a former term, nor open it merely because a new name was before them, which, according to its former decree, had no interest in the fund, and consequently ought not to have been made a party in the former proceedings. And if we now reverse this judgment, we go further than the Maryland court of appeals could have gone, and exercise what is essentially an appellate power over it, correcting the errors of an inferior court.

But in Gooding's case this court go still further. The bill in this case was filed originally in the circuit court of the United States. Yet the fund was never in that court, nor the money paid to the appellees by its order. If the decree is to be opened for error, after the fund is distributed by order of a court of competent jurisdiction, ought it not to be done in the court that passed the decree? And can a circuit court of the United States compel the appellees to repay money which they hold under the decree of a court of co ordinate jurisdiction, made upon the same case, with the same evidence before them? I think not.

Besides, Gooding became insolvent again in 1829. All the property, rights, and credits which he had at that time, vested in his trustees, who are still living. If Goodwin's interest in 1829 had become so far valid that it could pass by his assignment to Oliver, why is not Gooding's also lawful and vested in his trustees? Upon what principle can Goodwin's interest be capable of assignment in 1829, and Gooding's remain fraudulent until his death? Yet if it was capable of assignment in 1829, the complainant is not entitled. It passed to his trustees.

And if, as the court now say, Goodwin would be estopped from impeaching his assignment to Oliver on the ground that the original contract was illegal and fraudulent, why are not Gooding and Williams, and their administrators, equally estopped from impeaching their assignments to their respective trustee? The assignment to the trustee for the benefit of their creditors was equally meritorious with Goodwin's assignment to Oliver. And if they had appeared as parties in the Maryland court, would they have been permitted to impeach the title of the trustee, who was then claiming it, and set up a right to the money in themselves, upon the ground that the contract of their respective intestates was fraudulent? Certainly, the principle is well established in chancery that a party cannot set aside a contract upon the ground that he himself was guilty of a fraud in making it. I do not cite cases to prove familiar doctrines. His administrator is in no better condition. And yet he is allowed, in this case, to defeat the operation of the intestate's deed to the trustee, upon the ground that the contract, of which the trustee claims the benefit, was a fraudulent one on the part of his intestate. And here, in a court of equity, these administrators support their title and recover this money against their trustees, as well as Oliver's executors, solely upon the ground that their intestate was guilty of a fraud in making the contract with Mina, and incapable, therefore, of assigning it. The party defeats the operation of his own deed, upon the ground that he himself committed a fraud. This doctrine cannot, I think, be maintained, upon principle or authority, in a court of chancery.

We are not dealing with Mexican laws, or inquiring what a Mexican tribunal or the Mexican government would decide in relation to this contract, but we are inquiring how it stands in a Maryland court, and what are the legal rights under it by the laws of Maryland. And I understand this court to place its opinion solely upon the ground that this contract was fraudulent and void by the laws of Maryland, and that the parties acquired no rights under it.

It may have been good in Mexico; a valid, binding obligation. They may have been willing to reward our citizens for a breach of duty to their own country; but that could not cleanse it from the offence against our own law, nor give legal rights to the administrator, when there was no right in the intestate. The courts of the United States can hardly be authorized to sanction and enforce what are called honorary obligations of a foreign nation, when those obligations have arisen from temptations offered to our own citizens to violate the laws of their own country. Nor can I perceive how the opinion of the Maryland court, declaring this contract to be fraudulent and void, can be binding and conclusive upon this court, and yet every other decision of the same court, in the same case, explaining or qualifying this opinion, still be open to examination and reversed for error. I cannot, for myself, draw any line of distinction between the relative conclusiveness of the opinions the state court expressed, when all of them were equally within its jurisdiction and depended altogether upon the laws of the State; and all upon points necessarily arising in the case they are then deciding.

When these two cases were before the court, upon writs of error brought by the trustees, I entertained the opinions I now express. I then thought that the court had jurisdiction, upon the ground that the validity of the act of the Maryland legislature of 1841, confirming a certain description of conveyances made before that time by the trustees of insolvent debtors, was drawn into question, as contrary to the constitution of the United States, and their decision had been in favor of the validity of the state law. And I still think so. But at the same time I was of opinion that the law in question was valid, and that although we had jurisdiction, the judgment of the state court in these two cases ought to be affirmed, and the writs of error not dismissed. For the trustee in whom the shares vested, according to the opinion I have expressed as to Goodwin's case, had transferred them to Oliver, and the state court was therefore right in decreeding them to Oliver's executors. The majority of this court thought otherwise, and dismissed them for want of jurisdiction. And I did not state my dissent, because, as I then understood the opinion, the dismissal finally disposed of them.

It was upon the grounds above stated that I decided these cases at the circuit, and supposed, at the time I was deciding them, in conformity to the opinion of this court upon the conclusiveness of the judgment of the state court. The judgment just pronounced, however, shows that so far as the shares of Gooding and Williams are concerned, I misunderstood the opinion of the majority of this court. But with all the habitual respect which I feel for the judgment of my brethren, the opinion I held at the circuit remains unchanged. And I have the more confidence in it, because this court, now, as heretofore, have said that the questions in dispute depend altogether on Maryland law; and every judge in Maryland who has been called upon to hear and decide the cases of Gooding and Williams, of which I am now speaking; the judge of the court of original chancery jurisdiction, the judges of the court of appeals, all men of high legal attainments and eminence; have clearly and unanimously held, upon the same proofs now before us, that the executors of Oliver were entitled to these two shares in the Mexican Company, and decreed that the money should be paid to them. And no one of these judges deemed it necessary that the administrators should be parties, or called before the court; acting no doubt upon the established rules of chancery, that a person who has no interest in the fund need not and ought not to be made a party; and that the administrators could have no interest, as the intestates themselves had none at the times of their respective deaths. And that if they were before the court, they could not be allowed to impeach the deed to the trustees by alleging that their intestate had committed a fraud in making it.

I must, therefore, adhere to the opinions I enterfained when the cases were before me at circuit, and dissent from the opinion just pronounced, in the cases of Gooding's and Williams's administrators, and concurring in that of Goodwin's administrator, for the reasons hereinbefore stated.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).