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cient intensity to cause death, and the application of such current
must be continued until such convict is dead,” is not repugnant to the
Constitution of the United States, when applied to a convict who
committed the crime for which he was convicted after the act took
effect. In re Kemmler, 436.
11. The dominion and jurisdiction of a State, bounded by a river, con-
tinue as they existed at the time when it was admitted into the Union,
unaffected by the action of the forces of nature upon the course of the
river. Indiana v. Kentucky, 479.
12. Long acquiescence by one State in the possession of territory by
another State, and in the exercise of sovereignty and dominion over it,
is conclusive of the title and rightful authority of the latter State. Ib.
See Mormon Church;
B. OF THE STATES.
1. When a state constitution provides that “private property shall not
be taken, appropriated or damaged for public use without just com-
pensation" a railroad company constructing its road in a public street,
under a sufficient grant from the legislature or municipality, is never-
theless liable to abutting owners of land for consequential injuries
to their property resulting from such construction. Hot Springs Rail-
road Co. v. Williamson, 121.
See LOCAL LAW, 9.
1. The facts stated by the court constituted a valid contract, mutually
binding on the parties, for the sale to the United States of a tract
of land in Michigan for purposes of fortification and garrison, as spec-
ified in the act of July 8, 1886, 24 Stat. 128, c. 747. Ryan v. United
2. If an offer is made by an owner of real estate in writing to sell it on
specified terms, and the offer is accepted as made, without conditions,
without varying its terms, and in a reasonable time, and the accept-
ance is communicated to the other party in writing within such time,
and before the withdrawal of the offer, a contract arises from which
neither party can withdraw at pleasure. 1b.
3. The city of Marshall agreed to give to the Texas and Pacific Railway
$300,000 in county bonds, and 66 acres of land within the city limits
for shops and depots; and the company, “in consideration of the do-
nation” agreed “to permanently establish its eastern terminus and
Texas offices at the city of Marshall,” and “ to establish and construct
at said city the main machine shops and car works of said railway
company.” The city performed its agreements, and the company, on
its part, made Marshall its eastern terminus, and built depots and
shops, and established its principal offices there. After the expiration
of a few years Marshall ceased to be the eastern terminus of the
road, and some of the shops were removed. The city filed this bill in
equity to enforce the agreement, both as to the terminus and as to the
shops; Held, (1) That the contract on the part of the railway com-
pany was satisfied and performed when the company had established
and kept a depot and offices at Marshall, and had set in operation car
works and machine shops there, and had kept them going for eight
years and until the interests of the railway company and of the
public demanded the removal of some or all of these subjects of the
contract to some other place; (2) That the word “permanent” in the
contract was to be construed with reference to the subject matter of
the contract, and that, under the circumstances of this case it was
complied with by the establishment of the terminus and the offices
and shops contracted for, with no intention at the time of removing
or abandoning them; (3) That if the contract were to be interpreted
as one to forever maintain the eastern terminus, and the shops and
Texas offices at Marshall, without regard to the convenience of the
public, it would become a contract that could not be enforced in
equity; (4) That the remedy of the city for the breach,
a breach, was at law. Texas and Pacific Railway Co. v. Marshall, 393.
See COURT AND JURY;
FRAUDS, STATUTE OF.
CONTRACTS WITH THE UNITED STATES.
See SECRETARY OF WAR.
1. This court concurred with the Court of Appeals, 111 N. Y. 66, in hold-
ing that, at the time of the death of the testatrix, the property held
by Cornell University exceeded $3,000,000, and, therefore, it could not
take her legacy. Cornell University v. Fiske, 152.
2. The legislation of New York on the subject, in its acts of May 5, 1863,
May 14, 1863, April 27, 1865, April 10, 1866, May 4, 1868, and May
18, 1880, and the contract of the State with Ezra Cornell, of August
4, 1866, selling to him the land scrip received by the State from the
United States under the act of Congress, did not violate the act of
Congress of July 2, 1862, 12 Stat. 503, c. 130. Ib.
1. Railroad corporations created by two or more States, though joined in
their interests, in the operation of their roads, in the issue of their
stock, and in the division of their profits, so as practically to be a sin-
gle corporation, do not lose their identity; but each one has its exist-
ence and its standing in the courts of the country, only by virtue of
the legislation of the State by which it is created; and union of name,
of officers, of business and of property does not change their distinc-
tive character as separate corporations. Nashua and Lowell Railroad v.
Boston and Lowell Railroad, 356.
2. Under a will bequeathing stock in a corporation and government bonds,
in trust to pay “the dividends of said stock and the interest of said
bonds as they accrue” to a daughter of the testator “during her lifetime,
without percentage of commission or diminution of principal,” and
directing that upon her death “the said stocks, bonds and income shall
revert to the estate" of the trustee, “without incumbrance or impeach-
ment of waste," a stock dividend declared by a corporation which from
time to time, before and after the death of the testator, has invested
accumulated earnings in its permanent works and plant, and which,
since his death, has been authorized by statute to increase its capital
stock, is an accretion to capital, and the income thereof only is paya-
ble to the tenant for life. Gibbons v. Mahon, 549.
See JURISDICTION, B, 1;
RAILROAD, 1, 2.
COURT AND JURY.
The construction and effect of a correspondence in writing, depending in
no degree upon oral testimony or extrinsic facts, is a matter of law, to
be decided by the court. Hamilton v. Liverpool, London and Globe Ins.
1. A sale by a postmaster of postage stamps on credit is a violation of the
act of June 17, 1878, c. 259, § 1, forbidding him to “ sell or dispose of
them except for cash.” In re Palliser, 257.
2. Sending a letter to a postmaster, aking him whether, if the writer of the
letter will send him five thousand circulars in addressed envelopes, he
will put postage stamps on them and send them out at the rate of one
hundred daily, and promising him, if he will do so, to pay to him the
price of the stamps, is a tender of a contract for the payment of
money to the postmaster, with intent to induce him to sell postage
stamps on credit and in violation of his duty, and is punishable under
$ 5451 of the Revised Statutes. 1b.
3. The offence of tendering a contract for the payment of money in a letter
mailed in one district and addressed to a public officer in another, to
induce him to violate his official duty, may be tried in the district in
which the letter is received by the officer. 1b.
A testator devised all his real and personal estate to his widow for life, in
trust for the equal benefit of herself and two children or the survivors
of them; and devised all the property, remaining at the death of the
widow, to the children or the survivor of them in fee; and if both
children should die before the widow, devised all the property to her
in fee; Held, that the widow took the legal estate in the real property
for her life; that she and the children took the equitable estate therein
for her life in equal shares; and that the children took vested re-
mainders in fee, subject to be divested by their dying before the widow.
Thaw v. Ritchie, 519.
See DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, 5.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
1. The municipal corporation called the District of Columbia, created by
the act of June 11, 1878, 18 Stat. 116, c. 337, is subject to the same
liability for injuries to individuals, arising from the negligence of its
officers in maintaining in safe condition, for the use of the public, the
streets, avenues, alleys and sidewalks of the city of Washington, as
was the District under the laws in force when the cause of action in
Barnes v. District of Columbia, 91 U. S. 540, arose. District of Co-
lumbia v. Woodbury, 450.
2. The charge of the court below correctly stated the rules of law, both
general and local to the District, which are applicable to this case;
and they are reduced to seven propositions by this court in its opinion
in this case, and are approved. Ib.
3. Under the statute of Maryland of 1798, c. 101, sub-ch. 12, § 10, the
orphans' court of the District of Columbia had authority to order a
sale by a guardian of real estate of his infant wards for their main-
tenance and education, provided that before the sale its order was
approved by the Circuit Court of the United States sitting in chan-
cery. Thaw v. Ritchie, 519.
4. The authority of the orphans' court of the District of Columbia under
the statute of Maryland of 1789, c. 101, sub-ch. 12, § 10, to order a
sale of an infants' real estate for his maintenance and education is not
restricted to legal estates in possession. 1b.
5. Real estate devised to the testator's widow for the equal benefit of
herself and their two infant children, and devised over in fee to the
children after the death of the widow, and to her if she survived
them, was ordered by the orphans' court of the District of Columbia,
with the approval of the Circuit Court of the United States sitting in
chancery, to be sold, upon the petition of the widow and guardian,
alleging that the testator's property was insufficient to support her
and the children, and praying for a sale of the real estate for the pur-
pose of relieving her immediate wants and for the support and educa-
tion of the children ; Held, that the order of sale, so far as it concerned
the infants' interests in the real estate, was valid under the statute of
Maryland of 1798, c. 101, sub-ch. 12, § 10. 16.
6. An order of the orphans' court of the District of Columbia, approved
by the Circuit Court of the United States sitting in chancery, under
the statute of Maryland of 1798, c. 101, sub-ch. 12, § 10, for the sale
by a guardian of real estate of his infant wards for their maintenance
and education, cannot be collaterally impeached for want of notice
to the infants, or of a record of the evidence on which either court
proceeded, or of an accounting by the guardian for the proceeds of
the sale. Ib.
See STATUTE, A.
See CORPORATION, 2.
In an action of ejectment, involving merely the legal title, the plaintiff
is entitled to recover upon showing a good title as between him and
the defendant. Ryan v. United States, 68.
See Contract, 3 ;
The refusal of the court below to grant the defendant's request to charge
upon a question in relation to which the plaintiff had introduced
no evidence, and which was, therefore, an abstract question, not
before the court, was not error. Hot Springs Railroad Co. v. Wil-
1. When one assumes by his deed to convey a title to real estate and by
any form of assurance obligates himself to protect the grantee in the
enjoyment of that which the deed purports to give him, he will not be
suffered afterwards to acquire and assert an adverse title, and turn his
grantee over to a suit upon the covenant for redress. Ryan v. United
2. J. H. A. resided in Reading in Massachusetts. J. A., his father, who
had formerly resided there, removed to Lancaster in New Hampshire,
of which he has since been a resident. The son becoming insolvent,
the father became surety for one of his assignees, and for that purpose
signed a bond in which he was described as of Reading; Held, that
no one being prejudiced thereby, this did not estop the father in a suit
in Louisiana between him and the assignee, involving a claim to prop-
erty of the insolvent there, from showing that he was not a citizen of
Massachusetts, but a citizen of New Hampshire. Reynolds v. Adden,