« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
house, after which there was a state of disorganization; there was no court and there were no officers in the parish until after July 9, 1865; that Mrs. Winn, the executrix, had gone as a refugee to Texas, and no service could have been made on her from the time the court-house was burned until she returned to Rapides parish, in December, 1865. This testimony was uncontradicted.
Upon this evidence the district court decided that, conceding that the acknowledgment of Mrs. Winn as executrix was not indorsed on the nine notes until some day between the first and tenth of January, 1866, yet the prescription of the notes was suspended by the act of congress above recited for a period sufficient to save them from the bar of article 3540 of the Code of Louisiana, and thereupon rendered judgment that the claim of Mayfield was a valid and legal debt due from the succession of Winn and was properly placed in the provisional account as an ordinary claim. Mrs. Winn and Du Bose carried this judgment to the supreme court of Louisiana for review. That court, assuming that the facts which the evidence introduced in the district court tended to prove were established, reversed the judgment of the district court on the ground that the act of congress on which Mayfield relied to suspend prescription applied only to causes and proceedings in the courts of the United States, and not to causes and proceedings in the courts of the states, and that the claim of Mayfield was therefore prescribed when Mrs. Winn, the executrix, undertook to acknowledge it in January, 1866. The present writ of error, sued out by Mayfield, brings the judgment of the supreme court of Louisiana under review.
E. T. Merrick, for plaintiff in error. Gus. A. Breaux, for defendants in
*WOODS, J. It is well settled in Louisiana that when a claim against a succession has been formally acknowledged by the executor or administrator, no suit should be brought upon it, and no suit or other proceeding is necessary to prevent prescription as long as the property of the succession remains in the hands of the executor or administrator under administration. Renshaw v. Stafford, 30 La. Ann. 853; Maraist v. Guilbeau, 31 La. Ann. 713; Heirs of Porter v. Hornsby, 32 La. Ann. 337; Cloutier v. Lemee, 33 La. Ann. 305; Johnson v. Waters, 111 U. S. 640; S. C. 4 SUP. CT. REP. 619. If, therefore, the acknowledgment of Mrs. Winn, executrix, made in January, 1866, was made before the notes were prescribed, prescription has been suspended ever since, for the succession of Winn is still under administration. The notes were all barred in November and December, 1865, by the prescription of five years established by article 3540 of the Civil Code of Louisiana, unless prescription was suspended by the act of congress above recited. The case, therefore, turned in the supreme court of Louisiana upon the question whether the act of congress was applicable. That court decided that it was not, and denied to the appellant the right set up and claimed by him under that statute. If the decision of the supreme court of Louisiana was wrong upon this point, this court has jurisdiction to review and reverse its judgment. Rev. St. § 709.
The facts of the case, as shown by the record, bring it within the terms of the act of congress. The parish of Rapides was within the confederate lines during the entire period of the civil war, except for a few weeks, when it was occupied by the federal troops. The authority of the United States was reestablished over the city of New Orleans on May 1, 1862. The payees of the notes were shown to have been domiciled in the city at that time, and as there is no evidence that they afterwards changed their domicile, the presumption is that it continued unchanged. Desmare v. U. S. 93 U. S. 605. Mayfield is shown to have been a resident in New Orleans. It appears, therefore, that, the executrix of the succession of Winn was within the confederate lines, and the payees and the indorsee of the notes within the federal lines. Under
these circumstances they could not lawfully institute proceedings against the succession of Winn, in the parish of Rapides, to enforce the payment of the notes, for intercourse across the military lines was forbidden by law. Moreover, while the prescription of five years was running, the courts of the parish, which alone had jurisdiction of the succession of Winn, were closed for more than a year, a period well described by Lord COKE: "So, when by invasion, insurrection, rebellion, or such like, the peaceable course of justice is disturbed and stopped, so as the courts of justice be, as it were, shut up et silent leges inter arma, then it is said to be time of war." Co. Lit. 2496.
The case, therefore, falls within the letter of the act of congress; and if that act applies to and governs cases in the courts of the states, the judgment of the supreme court of Louisiana was erroneous. The question thus raised was expressly decided by this court in the case of Stewart v. Kahn, 11 Wall. 493, where it was held that the act applied to cases in the courts of the states as well as of the United States, and that thus construed the act was constitutional. We are satisfied with the judgment of the court in that case, and are unwilling to question or re-examine it. The decision in Stewart v. Kahn was followed by the supreme court of Louisiana in Aby v. Brigham, 28 La. Ann. 840. These cases are conclusive of the present controversy, and, adhering to the ruling made in them, we are of opinion that the notes held by Mayfield were not prescribed, and that the judgment of the supreme court of Louisiana should therefore be reversed, and the cause remanded to that court, with directions to enter judgment that the claim of Mayfield, based on the nine notes of Walter O. Winn, is a legal and valid debt due from his succession, and that it was properly placed in the provisional account of the dative testamentary executor as an ordinary claim; and it is so ordered.
(114 U. S. 429)
UNITED STATES 0. PETIT.
(April 7, 1885.)
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW-INFAMOUS CRIME-PROSECUTION BY INFORMATION-PASSING COUNTERFEIT MONEY-REV. ST. ? 5457.
Passing counterfeit money in violation of Rev. St. ? 5457, is an infamous crime to be prosecuted solely through indictment pursuant to article 5 of the amendments to the constitution of the United States.
On Certificate of Division of Opinion from Circuit Court of the Eastern District of Missouri. See U. 8. v. Petit, 11 Fed. Rep. 58.
*WAITE, C. J. The first question certified in this case is answered in the negative, and the second in the affirmative, on the authority of Ex parte Wilson, ante, 935, decided at the present term.
(115 U. S. 79)
CLARK v. BEECHER MANUF'G Co. and another.1
(May 4, 1885.)
1. PATENTS FOR INVENTIONS-BLANKS FOR CARRIAGE THILL SHACKLES-INFRINGEMENT. Letters patent No. 66,130, granted to James B. Clark, June 25, 1867, for an "improvement in the manufacture of blanks for carriage thill shackles," are not infringed by the manufacture of blanks for shackles in accordance with letters patent No. 106, 225, granted to Willis B. Smith, August 9, 1870.
2 SAME-CLARK PATENT.
The features of the Clark patent are that by dies the arms of the blank are bent into an oblique direction, and the body into a curved form, so that the parts where the arms join the body are rounded on the outside as well as the inside; and that when, subsequently, the curved body is straightened, there will be in it sufficient metal to form sharp outside corners, by being pushed out into them.
8. SAME-SMITH PATENT.
The arms of the Smith blank are not bent in an oblique direction, its body is not
1 S. C. 7 Fed. Rep. 816.
curved, the parts where the arms join the body are not rounded either on the inside or on the outside, and, in afterwards straightening the back, surplus metal is not pushed towards or into the corners to form them, but the existing corners already formed, are forced further apart by driving surplus metal into the back, between the corners.
4. SAME-CONSTRUCTION OF CLARK'S PATENT.
In view of the state of the art, and the terms of the Clark's patent, it must be confined, at least, to a shape which, for practical use, in subsequent manipulation, has a disposition of metal which causes a sharp corner to be formed in substantially the same way as by the use of his blank.
Appeal from the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Connecticut.
W. E. Simonds, for appellant. O. H. Platt, for appellee.
BLATCHFORD, J. This is a suit in equity, brought in the circuit court of the United States for the district of Connecticut by James B. Clark against The Beecher Manufacturing Company, a Connecticut corporation, and D. F. Southwick, for the infringement of letters patent No. 66,130, granted to the plaintiff, June 25, 1867, for an "improvement in the manufacture of blanks for carriage thill shackles." The main defense to the suit is non-infringement. The circuit court, after a hearing and two rehearings, dismissed the bill, holding that infringement had not been proved. 7 Fed. Rep. 816. The plaintiff has appealed.
A history of the state of the art, and of the progress of invention in making shackle blanks, will conduce to a determination of the questions involved. A carriage thill shackle is a device by which the thills of a carriage are hinged to the axle. The finished shackle is a horizontal plate, with a pair of vertical ears rising therefrom, one at each end of the back. The cockeye on the end of the thill is received between the ears, and a bolt passing through the ears and the cockeye secures the parts. The flat back or body part of the article is forged with a projection at each side, forming what is commonly called the "clip," by which the article is secured to the axle. In forming the shackle, it is necessary that the outside corners, where the ears join the back, should be sharp, full, and square, to obtain a good bearing on the axle, or the article will not be salable. The old style of shackle was of this shape:
It was formed by bending up the two ears from a piece or metal of equal thickness, and the outer corners became round, and the bearing on the axle was not firm and true. It was desirable to obtain in some way a reservoir or surplus of metal, which could be utilized, in the bending, by being thrown out into or remaining in the corners, to make them full and square on the outside. To attain this result, one James P. Thorp made an invention for which he obtained letters patent No. 28,114, granted May 1, 1860, which were reissued to his assignees, H. D. Smith and others, as No. 2,362, September 18, 1866. Thorp's blank was of the following shape:
The two projections on the bottom of the blank were intended to furnish sufficient metal to make the outer corners of the shackle square and sharp, when the ears were bent in the direction indicated by the arrows. The projections were at the places where the arms joined the body. Thorp's patent showed a die for making the blank, constructed with recesses or cavities to form the projections, and stated that, after the arms were bent up, the blank, instead of being the old form, Fig. 6, with rounded corners, a, a, thus:
-would be the form of Fig. 7, with square or right-angled corners, a, a, thus:
-the blank being stronger at the junction of the arms and body, and the expansion of the metal, in bending the arm, being compensated for by a diag onal contraction of the metal, which operated to prevent the destruction of the cohesion of the particles of the metal, and the consequent weakening of the blank at the parts where it was bent.
The next step is shown in letters patent No. 65,641, granted June 11, 1867,
to Leander Burns and Josiah Wilcox, on the invention of Burns. That patent shows, in Fig. 7, an upper die, M, and a lower die, N, and the blank made between them, with square corners, L, L, thus:
Fig. 7 is a transverse vertical section taken in the plane of the line, y, y, in Fig. 6. Fig. 6 is a face view of the lower die, N, and shows also the blank after it is acted on by the dies. The specification states that if the arms of
the blank are bent up at right angles, in a direction towards each other, perfect square corners will be left at L, L, with the metal through those corners and the other parts of a uniform thickness.
Then followed the patent to the plaintiff, the specification and drawings of which are as follows: "This invention relates to the construction of carriage shaft shackles from solid blanks, and to the shape of the dies for forming the same, so that, with the least amount of labor and power, the said shackle may be gradually formed into the required shape. In the annexed drawings this invention is illustrated. Fig. 1 is a vertical sectional view of a shackle blank, showing it between the dies. Fig. 2 is a top or plan view of a shackle blank, as the same is formed by the dies. Similar letters of reference indicate like parts. The blank, which is made in the shape of a cross, in the usual manner, is placed upon the lower die, A, and the upper die, B, is then forced down upon it, whereby the arms, a, a, of the blank are bent into an oblique direction, and the body, b, is curved, as shown in the figure. The portion of the blank where the arms join the body is rounded, as shown, on both the inside as well as on the outside, the straightening of the body of the shackle pushing out sufficient material for forming the sharp corners, without having