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Opinion of the Court.

circumstances and conditions have so changed that it is impossible to restore the status quo."

It is manifest that the Supreme Court rested its decision on the grounds (1) that the pumping contract was a settlement of boundaries between the contestants; (2) that what was done and expended under it worked an estoppel against the plaintiff; (3) laches of the plaintiff, in asserting its claim whereby the status quo could not be restored.

It requires no argument to demonstrate that neither of these grounds involves a Federal question. But plaintiff in error contends that they were all made to depend upon a Federal question, which the court erroneously decided, and therefore that they necessarily involve such question.

It is claimed to arise under conflicting claims under United States patents. “This,” counsel for plaintiffs say, “presents the fundamental Federal questions [the italics are counsel's] involved in this case, viz:: Did the complainant acquire title to the centre of the lake by virtue of its ownership of said government lots 2, 3, 4 and 5; or did defendants obtain title by virtue of their several patents, to a point where the south line of section 10, if projected east and west through the water of the lake, would run?” And this asserted Federal question is said to have been decided by the Supreme Court of Michigan in the following language of its opinion: “The Cleveland Iron Mining Co. claimed title by virtue of the original patent. Complainant owned no specific piece of land north of the section line, even under its own theory, which could be measured by metes and bounds. How much, if any, it owned could only be determined by agreement or the decree of a court of equity.”

What this language means we do not think the opinion of the court leaves in doubt. But whether plaintiff did or did not own land of section 10 which could be or could not be measured by metes and bounds; whatever its rights and the rights of the other parties were, they could be settled by agreement, and could be made the foundation of business transactions and enterprises. The Supreme Court determined they were so made and could be so made under the laws of Michigan.

But again, and whatever the error in that conclusion, (we do Statement of the Case.

not assert there was any,) the court decided, as an independent ground of estoppel, that plaintiffwas guilty of laches, and that was sufficient to sustain its judgment.

The case must, therefore, be dismissed for want of jurisdiction, and it is so ordered.

CORRALITOS COMPANY v. UNITED STATES.

APPEAL FROM THE COURT OF CLAIMS.

No. 267. Submitted April 24, 1900.- Decided May 28, 1900.

The appellant herein filed its original petition in the Court of Claims against

the United States and the Apache Indians on September 6, 1892. Subsequently and by leave of court an amended petition was filed March 2, 1894, from which it appears that the petitioner is a corporation chartered under the laws of the State of New York and doing business in the state of Chihuahua, county of Guleana, Republic of Mexico, and that property to the value of nearly seventy-five thousand dollars, belonging to the petitioner, and situated at the time in the Republic of Mexico, was taken therefrom in 1881 and 1882, and stolen and carried off by the Apache Indians, then in amity with the United States, and brought from the Republic of Mexico into the United States. By virtue of the act of Congress entitled "An act to provide for the adjudication and payment of claims arising from Indian depredations," approved March 3, 1891, judgment for the value of the property thus taken by the Indians was demanded. The United States filed a plea in bar, alleging that the claimant ought not to have and maintain its suit, “because the depredation complained of is alleged to have occurred in the Republic of Mexico, beyond the jurisdiction of the United States and the courts thereof, and that the court, therefore, had no jurisdiction to entertain this suit." The plaintiff demurred to the plea in bar as bad in substance. The Court of Claims overruled the demurrer, sustained the plea in bar, and dismissed the petition. Held that the judgment of the Court of Claims was right, and it must be affirmed.

The appellant herein filed its original petition in the Court of Claims against the United States and the Apache Indians on September 6, 1892. Subsequently and by leave of court an amended petition was filed March 2, 1894, from which it ap

Opinion of the Court.

pears that the petitioner is a corporation chartered under the laws of the State of New York and doing business in the state of Chihuahua, county of Guleana, Republic of Mexico, and that property to the value of nearly seventy-five thousand dollars, belonging to the petitioner, and situated at the time in the Republic of Mexico, was taken therefrom in 1881 and 1882, and stolen and carried off by the Apache Indians, then in amity with the United States, and brought from the Republic of Mexico into the United States. By virtue of the act of Congress entitled "An act to provide for the adjudication and payment of claims arising from Indian depredations," approved March 3, 1891, c. 538, 26 Stat. 851, judgment for the value of the property thus taken by the Indians was demanded.

The United States filed a plea in bar, alleging that the claimant ought not to have and maintain its suit, “because the depredation complained of is alleged to have occurred in the Republic of Mexico, beyond the jurisdiction of the United States and the courts thereof, and that the court, therefore, had no jurisdiction to entertain this suit.”

The plaintiff demurred to the plea in bar as bad in substance.

The Court of Claims overruled the demurrer, sustained the plea in bar, and dismissed the petition. 33 C. Cl. 342. The petitioner appealed from that judgment to this court.

Mr. John Critcher for appellant.

Mr. Assistant Attorney General Thompson and Mr. Lincoln B. Smith for appellees.

MR. JUSTICE PECKHAM, after stating the foregoing facts, delivered the opinion of the court.

The very satisfactory opinion of the Court of Claims in this case leaves little to be said by us in affirming the judgment of that court.

It would require very plain language from Congress by which to impose a liability on the part of the United States for the seizure or stealing by Indians of property belonging to a citizen

Opinion of the Court.

of the United States, but situated at the time of such seizure or stealing within the confines and jurisdiction of a foreign sovereignty. Generally the government admits no liability for the destruction of the property of its citizens by third parties, even when it occurs within the limits of the United States. Still less reason would exist for the acknowledgment of any such liability for property of its citizens destroyed or stolen within the limits and under the jurisdiction of a foreign nation.

Upon proof of the existence of certain facts the United States, however, at an early day admitted an exceptional liability in favor of its citizens whose property within the United States had been destroyed by friendly Indians. By chapter 30 of the act of May 19, 1796, 1 Stat. 469, provision was made for a boundary line to be established between the United States and various Indian tribes, which was to be clearly ascertained and distinctly marked; and by section 14 of that act it was provided : “That if any Indian or Indians belonging to any tribe in amity with the United States shall come over or across the said boundary line, into any State or Territory inhabited by citizens of the United States, and there take, steal or destroy any horse, horses or other property, belonging to any citizen or inhabitant of the United States, or of either of the territorial districts of the United States,” then, in such case, it was made the duty of such citizen to make application to the superintendent, or such other person as the President of the United States should authorize for that purpose, who, being furnished with the necessary documents and proofs, and under the direction of the President, was to make application to the nation or tribe to which the Indian or Indians belonged for satisfaction, and provision was made for obtaining the same, if possible.

The section contained a provision that “In the meantime, in respect to the property so taken, stolen or destroyed, the United States guarantee to the party injured an eventual indemnification."

No particular method was provided for obtaining such indemnification, and it rested with Congress when and how to make it.

The property mentioned in this section, it will be seen, is

Opinion of the Court.

property in any State or Territory of the United States, and it must have been stolen or destroyed by Indians belonging to a tribe in amity with the United States, who had come over, or across, the boundary line mentioned in the first section of the statute. The language of the statute is plainly confined to the destruction or stealing of property situated at the time within a State or Territory of the United States. The statute acknowledges and provides for no responsibility or liability for property of citizens of the United States situated within the domain of a foreign State at the time of its seizure or destruction.

By the act approved March 30, 1802, c. 13, 2 Stat. 139, a boundary line was again established between the United States and various Indian tribes, and the fourteenth section of, that act again provided for an eventual indemnification by the United States for property lost under the same conditions as were stated in the act of 1796, and no liability was acknowledged, or provided, for any loss or destruction of property outside and beyond the jurisdiction of the United States.

Although there was, subsequent to the act of 1802, frequent legislation by Congress upon the subject of trading with the Indians, yet the liability of the government for property stolen or destroyed remained the same.

No change in regard to such liability was made by the act approved June 30, 1834, c. 161, 4 Stat. 729. Section 17 of that statute provided that: “If any Indian or Indians, belonging to any tribe in amity with the United States, shall, within the Indian country, take or destroy the property of any person lawfully within such country, or shall pass from the Indian country into any State or Territory inhabited by citizens of the United States, and there take, steal or destroy” certain property, substantially the same proceedings as in the former stat. utes should be taken against the tribe to which the Indians belonged, for recovering the value of the property so taken, and the United States guaranteed eventual indemnification to the citizen whose property was taken, the same as in the former statutes. The“Indian country” mentioned in the act included the country contained within the boundary lines mentioned in

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