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Hon was illegal, and appellant is chargeable with knowledge of the fact. It was, in effect, a private sale of the property of the United States, without survey, inspection, or appraisement, at a grossly inadequate price. The fact that the account had been settled by the officers of the navy department did not cure the unauthorized acts. Both the disposition of the property and the settlement of the account were without authority of law, and not binding or the government. Nor can laches, in not objecting to the settlement of the appellant's account at an earlier time, be imputed to the United States, and set up as a bar to the recovery of the value of the property unlawfully appropriated. This is a case for the application of the rule, nullum tempus occurrit regi. Lindsey V. Miller, 6 Pet. 669; Gibson v. Chouteau, 13 Wall. 92.

Judgment affirmed.

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(113 U. S. 149)

BICKNELL 0. COMSTOOK.

(January 19, 1885.) 1. PUBLIC LANDI—ISSUE OF PATENT— POWER OF GOVERNMENT THEREAFTER.

When a patent for land has been executed by the president, and recorded in the

general land-office, all power of the executive department over it bas ceased. 2. SAME-RETURN OF PATENT—MUTILATION OF IT AND THE RECORD.

The return of a patent to the land-office by order of the commissioner of that office, the tearing from it of the seals by him, his erasing the president's name from

it, and mutilating the record of it, are all nugatory acts. 8. SAME-POSSESSION-COLOR OF TITLE-STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS.

The title of the United States to land being divested, the statute of limitations

begins to run in favor of him who is in possession and under color of title. 4. SAME-POSSESSION-LAPSE OF TIME.

The lapse of time provided by the statutes makes a perfect title. In Error to the Circuit Court of the United States for the Eastern District of New York.

"E. F. Bullard, for plaintiff in error. A. B. Olmstead, for defendant in error.

MILLER, J. This is a writ of error to the circuit court for the Eastern district of New York. The action is for a breach of covenants of warranty in a conveyance of land located in Iowa. It is a manifest attempt to obtain the judgment of this court on one of the complicated phases of the disputed titles growing out of the grants of lands on the Des Moines river to aid in improving the navigation of that river, and in constructing railroads through these lands, with a strong probability of the absence and ignorance of this suit on the part of all the persons really interested in the questions here raised. The plaintiff below (Comstock) is not the original grantee in the deed on whose covenants he sues. He does not allege that he has been evicted under any judicial proceedings from possession of the land, but, on the contrary, it is one of the agreed facts on which the case was heard by the court without a jury, that defendant, Bicknell, and those claiming under his deed, including, of course, the plaintiff, have been in actual possession of the land in question ever since May 23, 1862, a period of more than 22 years. We shall be able, however, to decide this case without answering the 24 errors assigned, by considering the thirteenth assignment alone, namely, that, under the facts in this case, the court should have found a perfect title was vested in Bicknell to the lot in question.

One of the facts admitted in the case stated is this: “It is admitted that on the first day of May, 1869, a patent in due form was executed by the president of the United States, conveying to said Bicknell said lots 3 and 4, which patent was duly recorded in the general land-office on the same day at Washington, D. C., and thereupon the original was transmitted to the United States land-office at Fort Dodge, Iowa, for said Bicknell." In June, 1878, the com

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missioner of the general land-office ordered a return of this patent to his of fice, and thereupon “tore off the seals and erased the president's name froni said patent, and mutilated the record thereof in the general land-office, all without the consent, and against the protest, of the grantees of said Bicknell." That this action was utterly nugatory, and left the patent of 1869 to Bicknell in as full force as if no such attempt to destroy or nullify it had been made, is a necessary inference from the principles established by the court in the case of McBride v. Schurz, 102 U. S. 378. That principle is that when the patent has been executed by the president, and recorded in the general land-office, all power of the executive department over it has ceased. Iừ is not necessary to decide whether this patent conveyed a valid title or not. It divested the title of the United States, if it had not been divested before, so that Bicknell or his grantees being in possession under claim and color of title, the statute of limitation began to run in their favor.

The agreed case further finds that “it is also admitted that the defendant, Bicknell, and his grantees, have been in actual possession of the premises in question ever since May 23, 1862, and during that period made permanent improvements upon said lot 3 of the value of more than $6,000." As all title was out of the United States prior to this deed, in which this suit is brought, and vested in some one else capable of suing under the various acts cited to defeat Bicknell's title, or passed out of the United States by the patent to Bicknell in 1869, at the latest, the case makes a continued uninterrupted possession under Bicknell's title adverse to all the world of 15 years. Under the statute of Iowa 10 years of such possession is a perfect bar to any action to recover the land; and this applies to suits in chancery as well as actions at law. See Code Iowa, § 2529, subd. 5. The defense, therefore, of the plaintiff in this action to any suit brought against him for the land covered by Bicknell's deed is perfect, and he is in the undisturbed possession of the land held under Bicknell's claim for over 22 years. This court has more than once held that the lapse of time provided by the statutes makes a perfect title. In Leffingwell v. Warren, 2 Black, 599, it is said that “the lapse of time limited by such statutes not only bars the remnedy, but it extinguishes the right, and vests a perfect title in the adverse holder.” And this doctrine is repeated in Crocall v. Shererd, 5 Wall. 289, and in Dickerson v. Colgrove, 100 Ú. S. 583. The court was asked on the trial to rule that under the facts found in this case a perfect title was vested in Bicknell to the lot in question. And though this may not be literally true in regard to Bicknell, we think it is true in regard to the title of Bicknell under which the property is now held by plaintiff. For this reason the judgment of the circuit court is reversed, with directions to enter a judgment for defendant, Bicknell, on the agreed facts.

(113 U. S. 104)

FINDLAY ". MCALLISTER and others.

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ITOR.

(January 12, 1885.) 1. JUDGMENT CREDITOR-COUNTY AS DEBTOR-MANDAMUS TO COmpel Tax LEVY-ANAL

OGY TO FIERI Facias.

A writ of mandamus, issued by a circuit court to compel a county court to levy a special tax for the purpose of satisfying a judgment for interest due a holder of

county bonds, is a substitute for a writ of fieri facias. 2. SAME-LEVY-EXECUTION-PARTIES RESISTING EITHER-EFFECT AS TO JUDGMENT CRED

Mundamus in favor of a judgment creditor of a county, to enforce the levying of a special tax to satisfy the judgment, carries the same rights against parties resisting the levy as any judgment creditor would have against parties resisting the ex

ecution of a writ of fieri facius against an individual. 3. SamE-RIGHT OF ACTION AGAINST RESCUERS.

A judgment creditor has a right of action against the rescuers of the person or goods of the debtor seized by the sheriff to satisfy the judgment, or against one who prevents the seizure of the debtor's goods on execution.

MILLER and FIELD, JJ., dissented.

In Error to the Circuit Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Missouri.

The plaintiff in error was the plaintiff in the circuit court. IIe brought his suit against Thomas McAllister and 14 other defendants, to recover damages upon a cause of action, which was stated in his petition substantially as follows: The plaintiff, being the holder and owner of certain bonds issued by the county of Scotland, in the state of Missouri, and of certain interest coupons detached therefrom, recovered on September 25, 1877, in the same circuit court in which the present action was brought, a judgment on his coupons against the county for the sum of $4,008.86. The courity failing to pay the judgment, the circuit court issued a peremptory writ of mandamus, commanding the county court of Scotland county to levy and cause to be collected a special tax upon all the taxable property within the county, sufficient to pay the judgment, with the interest thereon, and costs. At the same time writs of mandamus were issued by the same circuit court, directing the same * county court to levy similar special taxes to pay various other judgments rendered against the county, upon like demands, in favor of several other plaintiffs. In obedience to these writs the county court levied a special tax, denominated “judgment tax," sufficient to pay off all the judgments, and caused the same to be placed on the tax-books of the county, and the tax-books to be delivered to the collector of the county for the collection of the tax. A part of this tax, so levied, was levied in obedience to the writ of mandamus in the case of this plaintiff against the county, and for the purpose of raising money to pay off his judgment. “Wherefore the plaintiff," the petition averred, “had a vested right and interest in said special tax to the amount of his judgment, interest, and costs."

After the special tax had been levied, and the tax-book placed in the hands of the collector for collection, the defendants, with about 2,000 other evil. disposed persons, residents of Scotland county, for the purpose of depreciating the value of the bonds held by the plaintiff, and thereby inducing and compelling him to compromise his judgment and bonds at much less than their value, did, unlawfully and maliciously, and in contempt of the orders and mandates of the circuit court, combine and conspire to hinder and prevent the county court and the collector from performing the things required by the mandate of the circuit court, to-wit, the collection and payment of the special tax. To this end, the defendants and their confederates organized themselves into an association called “The Tax-payers' Association of Scotland County,” with branch organizations in various school-districts of the

v.58-26

county, for the purpose, among other things, of resisting the collection of the special tax, and the defendants and their confederates did pledge themselves to contribute of their means and influence, and to protect each other in all efforts made, to resist the payment thereof. In furtherance of their design, the defendants and their confederates, members of said association, made and published threats of violence against the attorneys of the plaintiff, who were employed to represent him in the collection of his judgment, and gave out and circulated the threat that no person would be allowed to bid upon or pur chase any property that might be offered for sale by the collector to enforce the payment of the special tax, intending thereby to intimidate any person from bidding upon or purchasing any property offered for sale by the col. lector for the payment thereof. To induce the tax-payers of the county to join the association and aid in carrying out their unlawful conspiracy, the defendants and their confederates falsely and fraudulently gave out and published that such bonds and special tax were illegal, null, and void, and that they were under no obligation, legal or moral, to pay the same, well knowing that such declarations were false.

During the month of February, 1878, the collector of the county, for the purpose of collecting the special tax, levied upon a large number of horses and mules, and advertised them to be sold on February 28, 1878, at Memphis, in said county of Scotland; whereupon the defendants and their confederates, in order to prevent the sale of the property so levied on, and prevent the payment of the plaintiff's judgment, and so to harass and wrong him as to induce him to compromise his judgment and bonds at much less than their value, assembled in vast numbers at the time and place advertised for the sale, and, by their combined influence, threats, and hostile demonstrations, did so overawe and intimidate the persons who had gone to the place of sale, for the purpose of and with intent to bid on the property, as to prevent them from bidding when the same was offered for sale; and, by reason of such combined influence, threats, and menaces, the defendants and their confederates, members of said association, acting under its orders, did prevent any person from bidding on the property when so offered for sale, and

did prevent it from being sold.

The unlawful combination and conspiracy of the defendants, to injure and defraud the plaintiff, and prevent the collection of his judgment, still exists; and, by reason of the combined influence, threats, menaces, and hostile dem. onstrations of the defendants, the tax-payers of Scotland county are overawed and intimidated, and so influenced that they do not pay the special tax, nor has the collector, by reason of said combination and association, been able to collect the same. The plaintiff, by reason of the premises, has been damaged to the amount of his judgment, to-wit, $4,008.86, with interest thereon from September 25, 1877, and costs; for which, with $3,000 exemplary damages, he demands judgment against the defendants.

The defendants demurred to the petition. In support of their demurrer they assigned and argued, both in the circuit court and this court, the following grounds: (1) That the plaintiff had no such legal property interest in the taxes in question as to entitle him to maintain actions for conspiracy; (2) that he had sustained no legal damages by the alleged acts of the defendants. The court sustained the demurrer, and rendered a judgment for the defendants, to reverse which the plaintiff brings this writ of error.

A. J. Baker and F. T. Hughes, for plaintiff in error. No appearance for defendants in error.

*Woods, J. The facts stated in the petition are admitted by the demurrer, and, for the present consideration of the case, must be taken as true. The statutes of Missouri, which were in force when the bonds mentioned in the petition were issued, and which still remain in force, provide as follows: There shall be a collector of revenue for every county, who shall give bond

* 108 •109

conditioned that he will faithfully and punctually collect and pay over all state, county, and other revenue, for the two years next ensuing the first day of March thereafter. After the tax-book for the year has been corrected, and the amount of the county tax stated therein, the county court shall cause the same to be delivered to the collector, and he shall be charged with the whole amount of the tax-book so delivered to him. The collector shall diligently endeavor, and use all lawful means, to collect the taxes which he is required to collect in his county. After the first day of October he shall have power to seize and sell the goods and chattels of any person liable for taxes in the same manner as goods and chattels are or may be required to be seized and sold under executions issued in judgments at law; and no property shall be exempt from seizure and sale for taxes due on lands and personal property. The collector, having made settlement according to law, of the revenue collected by him, shall pay the amount found due into the county treasury. When a demand against a county is presented to the county court, the court shall ascertain the

amount due, and order it to be paid out of the particular fund (designating it) applicable to the payment of such demand, and order their clerk to issue a warrant therefor on the treasurer of the county, which shall designate the particular fund out of which the same is to be paid. The treasurer of the county is required to make an entry in a book, to be kept by him, of all warrants for money lawfully drawn by the county court presented to him for payment; and all warrants so presented shall be paid out of the funds mentioned in such warrants, and in the order in which they shall be presented for payment. See sections 5370, 5394, 6733, 6754, 6774, 6821, 6822, Rev. St. Mo. 1879.

The question presented by the demurrer to the petition is not one of the measure of damages. If the plaintiff has sustained any substantial injury by reason of the wrongful acts of the defendants set out in the petition, for which he is entitled to his action against them, the demurrer to the petition should have been overruled. It is evident from the provisions of the statutes of Missouri, whose substance has been given, that the money received by the collector of Scotland county in payment of the special tax ordered by the county court to be collected for the paynient of the judgment of the plaintiff and other judgment creditors, would, when collected, constitute a separate fund in the county treasury applicable to this purpose. If the special tax had been collected, the plaintiff would have had such an interest therein that a court of equity would, at his instance, enjoin its diversion to any purpose save that for which it had been levied and collected, and compel its payment to the satisfaction of the judgment of the plaintiff. Meriwether v. Garrett, 102 U. S. 472, 514, 515; Attorney General v. Dublin, 1 Bligh, (N. S.) 312. And see Davies v. Corbin, 112 U.S. 36; S. C. ante, 4. The use of the money by the county, except for the payment of the judgments, which the writ of mandamus had been issued to enforce, would have been a clear contempt of the orders and process of the circuit court, as well as a violation of the law of the state.

The writ of mandamus under which the collector, according to the averments of the petition, was proceeding to collect the money to pay the judgment of the plaintiff, was a substitute for the writ of fieri facias, and was the only remedy by which the plaintiff could enforce satisfaction. He had, therefore, as clear an interest in the money to be raised by the special tax for the payment of his judgment as he would have had in the money to be collected by the sheriff on execution if his judgment had been against an individual. It would seem fairly to follow that he had the same rights in the one case as in the other, against those who, to prevent the satisfaction of his judgment, unlawfully interfered with the officer in the discharge of his duties.

It is plain that the injury of which the plaintiff complains is not one com. mon to himself and the public at large, as it would have been had the defende

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