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Opinion of the Court.

THE case is stated in the opinion.

Mr. C. L. Addington, plaintiff in error, in person.

Mr. Solicitor General for defendants in error.

MR. JUSTICE HARLAN delivered the opinion of the court.

The plaintiff in error, C. L. Addington, and one T. D. Buchannon, "late of the Choctaw Nation, Red River County, Indian Territory," were charged by indictment in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Texas with the crime of having, on the 28th day of June, 1895, in said county, killed and murdered one Oscar Hodges, "a white person, and not an Indian, nor a citizen of the Indian Territory, nor a citizen of any Indian nation or tribe."

The defendants pleaded separately not guilty. Buchannon was found not guilty, and Addington was found guilty of murder as charged in the indictment. A motion by Addington for a new trial having been made and overruled, the accused was sentenced to suffer death by hanging.

Addington subsequently moved in arrest of judgment upon various grounds, and that motion was overruled.

1. The first ten assignments of error are based upon a bill of exceptions setting out simply the grounds upon which the accused asked that a new trial be granted to him. It is only necessary to say that the refusal of the court to grant a new trial cannot be assigned for error in this court. Blitz v. United States, 153 U. S. 308, 312.

2. The eleventh assignment of error relates to the instruction given upon the subject of manslaughter. That instruction was in these words: "Manslaughter, as applied to a case of this character, is the intentional taking of human life, but the distinguishing trait between manslaughter and murder is the absence of malice; it must spring from a gross provocation, and of such character as to temporarily render the party incapable of that cool reflection that otherwise makes it murder. Of course, the defendant intends to do what he does, but he

Opinion of the Court.

must be laboring at the time he performs the act under intense mental excitement such as would render any ordinarily prudent person for the time being incapable of that cool reflection that otherwise makes it murder. In that state of case the law does not wholly excuse the offence; but the law, in its charity for the imperfections and weakness of human nature, reduces it from murder to manslaughter."

The statutes of the United States provide that any person who, within any of the places or upon any of the waters described in section fifty-three hundred and thirty-nine, “unlawfully and wilfully, but without malice, strikes, stabs, wounds or shoots at, or otherwise injures another, of which striking, stabbing, wounding, shooting or other injury such other person dies, either on land or sea, within or without the United States, is guilty of the crime of manslaughter." Rev. Stat. § 5341.

The accused contends that, under this statute, the taking of human life without malice, even though it be intentional, is not manslaughter unless the act be done "unlawfully and wilfully"; and that the instruction given was erroneous in that it did not instruct the jury that before they could convict of manslaughter it must appear from the evidence that the killing was not only intentional, but was unlawful and wilful.

The only purpose of the court in this part of its charge was to bring out the distinction between murder and manslaughter, and to inform the jury that they could not find the accused guilty of murder if the killing, although intentional, was without malice. This was for the benefit and not to the prejudice of the accused.

But it is said that the accused may have killed his adversary in self-defence. The court did not overlook this part of the case. It further instructed the jury: "The homicide becomes justifiable when the party that is charged with taking human life has been unlawfully assaulted himself by his adversary, and is placed in a position of peril where his life is about to be taken, or serious bodily harm is about to be done him, or, from the acts of his adversary, it reasonably indicates to the defendant, or would reasonably indicate to

Opinion of the Court.

the mind of any other person situated as the defendant was, an intention, coupled with the ability, upon the part of his adversary, to take his life or do him serious bodily harm; in that state of the case it is his duty to avoid the threatened danger if he can, but he is authorized to use all reasonable means at his command to avert the threatened danger, and, if necessary, he is authorized to go to the extent of taking human life in his own proper self-defence."

If this instruction stood alone, there might be some ground to contend that it was inconsistent with the right of selfdefence, as defined in Beard's case, 158 U. S. 550. But the court further said: "If you believe from the testimony that the said Addington was attacked by said Hodges without having produced the occasion for the assault, and that the acts of Hodges then showed to the mind of Mr. Addington, situated as he was, a present intention upon the part of Hodges either to take his life or do him serious bodily harm, or that it would have produced that impression upon the mind of any reasonably prudent person situated as Addington was that Hodges was then about to kill him or do him serious bodily harm, and you further believe that the means. he used were the only reasonable means at his command to avert the threatened danger, and that he only fired in his own actual self-defence, not actuated by malice, and did not go there for the purpose of provoking this difficulty for the purpose of killing Hodges, you will find the defendant not guilty as charged in this indictment." This instruction is not liable to the objection that it recognized Addington's right to take the life of his adversary only upon its appearing that he was in fact in actual danger of losing his own life or of receiving serious bodily harm. On the contrary, the court said, in substance, that if the circumstances were such as to produce upon the mind of Addington, as a reasonably prudent man, the impression that he could save his own life, or protect himself from serious bodily harm, only by taking the life of his assailant, he was justified by the law in resorting to such means, unless he went to where the deceased was for the purpose of provoking a difficulty in

Opinion of the Court.

order that he might slay his adversary. In so instructing the jury no error was committed.

We find no error of law in the record to the prejudice of the accused, and the judgment must, therefore, be




No. 63. Submitted October 27, 1896. - Decided February 1, 1897.

On error to a state court in a chancery case (as also in a case at law), when the facts are found by the court below this court is concluded by such findings.

On error to a state court the opinion of that court is to be treated as part of the record, and it may be examined in order to ascertain the questions presented, as may also be the entire record, if necessary to throw light on the findings.

The finding by the trial court, sustained by the Supreme Court of the State that the stream across which the dam complained of was erected, was a non-navigable stream, was a finding of fact which is conclusive here, and affords ground broad enough on which to maintain the judgment below, independent of any Federal question; and this court is consequently without jurisdiction.

THE case is stated in the opinion.

Mr. J. C. Egan, Mr. Fred Thatcher and Mr. C. J. Boatner for plaintiffs in error.

Mr. A. H. Leonard for defendants in error.

MR. JUSTICE WHITE delivered the opinion of the court.

The plaintiffs in error, by original and supplemental petitions, sued in order to perpetually enjoin the building, by the board of state engineers of the State of Louisiana, of a dam across an alleged stream, designated as Bayou Pierre. It was averred that the construction would permanently impair the

Opinion of the Court.

value of certain real property to the plaintiff belonging, situated in the vicinage of the proposed work; that it was a purely private undertaking which the board of state engineers was not authorized to do at public expense, and that the dike, if carried out, would obstruct the navigation of Bayou Pierre, and would therefore violate the laws of the United States. The State of Louisiana, by intervention, and the defendants, by answers, traversed the averments of the petitions. There was judgment in the trial court rejecting the plaintiffs' demand, which was, on appeal, affirmed by the Supreme Court of the State of Louisiana. 45 La. Ann. 1358. To the decree of affirmance this writ of error is prosecuted.

The record before us contains all the testimony introduced and evidence offered in the trial court, all of which was open for consideration and passed upon by the Supreme Court of the State of Louisiana. On error, however, to a state court, this court cannot reëxamine the evidence, and when the facts are found below is concluded by such finding. Dower v. Richards, 151 U. S. 658; Bartlett v. Lockwood, 160 U. S. 357; Stanley v. Schwalby, 162 U. S. 255, 278. True it is that in Dower v. Richards the court (referring to the dictum in Republican River Bridge Co. v. Kansas Pacific Railway, 92 U. S. 315, 317) treated as open for further consideration the question whether in chancery cases the power existed in this court to review the decision of state courts on both the law and the fact. We, however, conclude that not only the very nature of a writ of error, but also the rulings of this court from the beginning, make it clear that on error to a state court in a chancery case, as in a case at law, when the facts are found by the court below, this court is concluded by such findings. The adjudications are collected very fully in Dower v. Richards, and in the subsequent cases above referred to.

It is likewise settled that on error to the Supreme Court of Louisiana the opinion of that court is to be treated as part of the record, and that it may be examined in order to ascertain the questions presented, and this court may for the purpose, not of deciding the facts, but by way of throwing light on the findings, look into the entire record. Crossley v. New Orleans,

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