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Opinion of the Court.
still the prohibitory part of the statute remains, making it unlawful for any person or corporation to directly or indirectly accept or receive for the loan or forbearance of money any greater rate than six per cent by oral agreement or greater than eight per cent where the contract is in writing.
“In the present case six per cent interest was reserved in the note. Eight per cent might have been lawfully reserved in such written contract, but it was not. After the reserva tion, however, of six per cent by the writing the additional two per cent or any other rate could not be lawfully reserved or agreed to be taken or paid by parol. The written agree
. ment having provided for the reservation of all that could be lawfully reserved or agreed to be taken by parol, an oral agreement for any further interest was manifestly in violation of the statute.
“The loan was only for six months, and tivo and one half per cent upon the amount loaned was equivalent to interest at the rate of five per cent for six months; that added to the interest reserved in the noto made eleven per cent, a rate forbidden by the statute of this State and by the act of Congress as well. We are of the opinion that the legal conclusion from the admitted facts is that the agreement to pay the money now sought to be recovered is usurious and void.”
To reverse the judgment thus affirmed by the Supreme Court of the State plaintiff sued out a rit of error from this court.
Mr. Henry S. Robbins for plaintiff in error.
Mr. G. W. Kretzinger for defendant in error.
MR. JUSTICE BREWER, after stating the case, delivered the opinion of the court.
At the outset we are met with the question whether this court has jurisdiction. In Eustis v. Bolles, 150 U. S. 361, 366, it was held:
Opinion of the Court.
“ It is likewise settled law that, where the record discloses that if a question has been raised and decided adversely to a party claiming the benefit of a provision of the Constitution or laws of the United States, another question, not Federal, has been also raised and decided against such party, and the decision of the latter question is sufficient, notwithstanding the Federal question, to sustain the judgment, this court will not review the judgment."
Plaintiff in error does not challenge the rule as thus laid down, but insists that the single question decided by the Supreme Court of the State was that of usury under the Federal statute; that such decision was that a national bank could not recover from a corporation interest in excess of the statutory rate, although an individual could; or, in other words, that the decision was one making a discrimination against national banks in Illinois.
With this construction of that decision we are unable to concur. If language has any force the opinion of the Supreme Court is a clear declaration that the statutes of Illinois contain both a probibition and a penalty ; that the prohibition makes void pro tanto every contract in violation thereof, and that while section 11, probibiting corporations from pleading the defence of usury, may prevent any claim to the bene fits of the penalty, it does not give to the other party a right to enforce a contract made in violation of the probibition. Counsel for plaintiff insists that prior decisions of that court in the case of individual creditors are inconsistent with this, and that the language of the court in this opinion is not clear. Even if it be true that a different opinion has been expressed heretofore by that court in reference to individual creditors, (and in respect to that matter we have no comments to make, it is obvious that the present decision is that under and by virtue of the statutes of that State the plaintiff, whoever be or it may be, cannot enforce a contract forbidden by the terms of those statutes, and this irrespective of any rights that the defendant may have in respect thereto. Such a decision is one depending solely upon the statutes of the State.
It may be said that the rights of a national bank as to interest are given by the Federal statute ; that the reference to the state law is only for a measure of those rights; that a misconstruction of the state law really works a denial of the rights given by the Federal statute, and thus creates a Federal question. Miller's Excecutors v. Swan, 150 U.S. 132. A sufficient answer is that the true construction of state legislation is a matter of state jurisprudence, and while the right of the national bank springs from the act of Congress, yet it is only a right to have an equal administration of the rule established by the state law. It does not involve a reservation to the national courts of the authority to determine adversely to the state courts what is the rule as to interest prescribed by the state law, but only to see that such rule is equally onforced in favor of national banks. The decision here was not against any equality of right, but only a determination of the meaning of the state law as applied to all creditors. It therefore denied no rights given by the Federal statute and involved no judgment adverse to plaintiff as to its meaning and effect. It assumed that the plaintiff's interpretation of that statute was correct, and ruled nothing against it. It presents no Federal question. It is broad enough to cover this case. It was relied upon by the Supreme Court, and, therefore, the case is, by the settled law as heretofore announced, one which does not come within the jurisdiction of this court. The writ of error is
WEBSTER v. LUTHER.
ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA.
No. 161. Submitted March 19, 1896. – Decided May 18, 1896. Persons entitled under Rev. Stat. $ 2804 to enter a homestead, in case an
entry is made for less than 160 acres, may, under $ 2306, make an addi.
tional entry for the deficiency, which right is transferable. The instrument executed by Mrs. Robertson through which the defendants
in error claim was not forbidden by any act of Congress, and was valid.
Opinion of the Court.
The case is stated in the opinion.
Mr. J. L. Tashburn and Mr. Daniel H. Toomey for plain. tiff in error.
Mr. Cushman H. Davis, Mr. Frank B. Kellogg, Alr. Cor. denio A. Severance, Mr. George P. Wilson and Mr. John R. Vanderlip for defendants in error. Mr. A. Jaques, and Mr. J. J. Hudson for Roucbleau, and Mr. D. G. Cash and D[I. J. G. Williams for Luther.
MR. JUSTICE HARLAN delivered the opinion of the court.
This action involves the title to lots one and two, section eighteen, in township sixty-two, of range fourteen west, situated in St. Louis County, Minnesota.
At the trial below, the plaintiff Webster read in evidence, without objection
1. The application of Mary Robertson, widow of James A. Robertson, deceased, of Benton County, dated April 7, 1887, (together with the receipt of the register of the local land office showing the payment of the fee and commissions prescribed by law,) to enter the lands here in dispute, under section 2306 of the Revised Statutes, granting additional lands to soldiers and sailors who served in the war of the rebellion. 2. The receipt of the proper land office, dated April 7, 1887, showing the payment in full of the balance required by law for the entry of the above lots, under section 2291 of the Revised Statutes of the United States. 3. A patent from the United States to Mary A. Robertson for these lands, issued September 21, 1888, recorded February 11, 1889, in the office of the register of deeds in St. Louis County, Minnesota, and purporting to have been issued pursuant to the act of Congress, approved May 20, 1862," to secure homesteads to actual settlers on the public domain," 12 Stat. 392, c. 75, and the acts supplemental thereto. This patent recited that the claim of the patentee to the lots in controversy had been established and duly consummated in conformity to law. 4. A quitclaim deed of bargain and sale of these premises
Opinion of the Court.
from Mary A. Robertson, widow, to the plaintiff Webster, dated October 7, 1890, acknowledged October 17, 1890, and recorded October 22, 1890.
The defendants read in evidence a power of attorney, dated April 28, 1880, and duly recorded April 8, 1887, from Mary A. Robertson to James A. Boggs. This instrument authorized and empowered Boggs, as attorney for his principal," to sell, upon such terms as to him shall seem meet," any lands which the principal then owned, either in law or equity, and obtained by her as “an additional homestead ” under the provisions of section 2306 of the Revised Statutes; to sell any such lands as she might thereafter acquire under said acts; to receive the purchase money or other consideration therefor, and to deliver in the name of the principal such deeds or other assurance in the law therefor as to the agent seemed meet and necessary. It contained these additional clauses: “And my said attorney is hereby authorized to sell said lands, or my interest therein, and to make any contract in relation thereto which I might make if present, and to receive for his own use and benefit any moneys or other property the proceeds of the sale of said lands, or any interest therein, or arising from any contract in relation thereto, or received or recovered for any injury thereto, and I hereby release to my said attorney all claim to any of the proceeds of any such sale, lease, contract or damages. And I further authorize my said attorney to appoint a substitute or substitutes to perform any of the foregoing powers, hereby ratifying and confirming all that my said attorney or his substitute may lawfully do or cause to be done by virtue of these presents.”
The admission of this power of attorney in evidence was objected to by the plaintiff upon the ground, among others, that it tended to prove a transaction in fraud of and in contravention of the laws of the United States, and that upon its face it was contrary to law, against publio polioy, fraudulent and void. This objection was overruled and the plaintiff excepted.
The defendants next read in evidence: 1. Two warranty deeds, each for an undivided one half of these lands, from Mary A. Robertson, by James A. Boggs, her attorney in