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Opinion of the Court.

and the east half to Betsey Jones, and found nothing as to when the patent issued; and the Supreme Court made no reference to the matter.

If resort be had to the evidence, it appears therefrom that the patent issued September 6, 1871, and that the right to the patent matured prior to 1862 when Mrs. Jones left the Territory. The execution and delivery of the patent after the right to it had become complete were the mere ministerial acts of the officers charged with that duty. Barney v. Dolph, 97 U. S. 652; Simmons v. Wagner, 101 U. S. 260. The state courts could properly hold under the circumstances of this case that the statute of limitations was set in motion when that right accrued, and was not postponed to the issue of the patent.

Eldridge did not occupy the position of a stranger to the title, not connected therewith by transfer from the original holder. If the Jones deed was sufficient to sustain claim or color of title if the patent had issued March 28, 1862, its sufficiency for that purpose could not be rendered any the less by the issue of the patent at a subsequent time, and, in any view of the alleged infirmities of the deed, the patent would take effect by relation rather than operate extrinsically to the destruction of the claim under the original owners.

The judgment of the Supreme Court was based on twenty years' adverse possession. We presume as $ 760 of the Code of 1881 provided that no right accrued before the code took effect should be affected by its provisions, the court was of opinion that the act of December 1, 1881, could not be availed of to lengthen the time originally prescribed. At all events it was for the state court to determine the applicable bar, Murray v. Gibson, 15 How. 421, and we cannot take jurisdiction to review its judgment.

Writ of error dismissed.


Statement of the Case.




No. 160. Argued March 18, 19, 1896.- Decided May 18, 1896.

In order to give this court appellate jurisdiction under the act of March 8,

1891, c. 617, § 6, upon the ground that the case “ involves the construction or application of the Constitution of the United States," a construction or application of the Constitution must have been expressed or .requested in the Circuit Court. A decree of the Circuit Court, dismissing on general demurrer, for want

of equity, a bill fled by a grantee of land, praying that proceedings for foreclosure, to which his grantor was made a party as executor and as guardian, but not individually, be set aside for the alleged reason that the grantor was not a party to or bound by those proceedings, does not “involve the construction or application of the Constitution of the United States,” within the meaning of the act of March 3, 1891, C. 517, $6.

This was a bill in equity, filed by John E. Cornell in the circuit court of Cook county in the State of Illinois, against Hetty H. R. Green, Julius White, trustee, and Benjamin E. Gallup, trustee, to redeem land in Chicago from two mortgages, and to set aside a decree of foreclosure thereof, and a sale and conveyance under that decree. The case was in substance as follows:

George W. Gage, being the owner in fee simple of the land, mortgaged part of it on July 22, 1871, to White as trustee, and the rest on May 7, 1873, to Gallup as trustee; and on December 18, 1874, conveyed the whole in fee to William F. Tucker, by deed duly recorded.

On September 24, 1875, Gage died, leaving a widow, Sarah H. Gage, and six children, two of them minors, and a will by which he appointed William F. Tucker, Lewis L. Coburn and the widow his executors, and devised to them all his real estate.

On November 27, 1875, Mrs. Green, having become the

Statement of the Case.

owner of the debts secured by both inortgages, filed a bill in equity to foreclose them, against Sarah H. Gage, described as widow of George W. Gage, and executrix of his will; his six children, including the two minors; “William F. Tucker, Joseph K. Barry and John W. Olapp, all of whom are residents of the county of Cook, State of Illinois, and citizens of said last named State, and guardians of said minor children, the said William F. Tucker being also one of the executors of the last will and testament of the said George W. Gage, deceased;" Coburn, described as an executor of Gage's will; White, Gallup and other persons. That bill set forth the mortgages, and breaches of the conditions thereof, and Gage's death, family and will; and alleged that Gage, on December 18, 1874, conveyed to said Tucker all the land in question, subject to said incombrances; and “that said above named parties against whom this bill of complaint is brought have, or claim to have, some interest in said premises described in said trust deed, by mortgage, judgment, conveyance or otherwise; but your oratrix states those interests, whatever they are, are subject to the rights of your oratrix under her securities before mentioned, and cannot be set up against the same, nor in any way interfere therewith ;” and prayed for process “directed to the said Sarah H. Gage and the other defendants hereinbefore named.” In the subpoena issaed upon that bill, and in the officer's return thereon, Tucker was described as guardian and as executor, and not otherwise.

On April 5, 1876, none of the defendants above mentioned having appeared or answered to that bill, (except Gage's two minor children, who appeared by a guardian ad litem, and submitted their rights to the court,) an order was entered that the bill be taken for confessed against them, and the case referred to a master to ascertain the amounts due upon the mortgages. On July 31, 1876, a decree was entered, confirming the report of the master, and ordering a sale of the land by him to satisfy the amounts found due. On December 7, 1876, the land was accordingly sold by auction to Mrs. Green. On February 2, 1877, a final decree was entered, confirming the sale, and foreclosing the mortgages; and on February 3, 1877,

Statement of the Case.

pursuant to that deoree, a deed of the land was made by the master to Mrs. Green.

On September 13, 1887, Tucker died, intestato, leaving a widow, and three children, all of age. His widow died before the end of the year; and in January and February, 1890, his three children conveyed to Cornell, by deeds duly recorded, all the land described in the two mortgages.

On April 4, 1890, Cornell filed the present bill against Mrs. Green, and the trustees named in the two mortgages, setting forth his own title, and the mortgages, and a copy of the record of the proceedings upon the bill of foreclosure; alleging "that the said William F. Tucker was the owner, in his own right, of all said property, and so appeared of record at the time said bill for foreclosure was filed as aforesaid, and during the pendenoy thereof, and at the time of said sale, and still continued to be the owner thereof up to the time of his death; that the said William F. Tucker was not made a party defendant to said foreclosure proceedings, nor was the said William F. Tucker ever in court or subject to the orders, decrees and judgments of said court; that said decree of foreclosure, so entered as aforesaid, was of no binding force or effect upon said Tucker, nor upon his heirs, nor upon your orator, the grantee of said property as aforesaid ;” and praying tbat, upon payment by the plaintiff of the sums due upon the mortgages, the mortgages might be released, and the decree of foreclosure and the deed to Mrs. Green be set aside and apnulled.

On April 21, 1890, this suit was removed into the Circuit Court of the United States for the Northern District of Illinois, upon the petition of Mrs. Green, duly alleging that the plaintiff was a citizen of Ilinois, and that she was a citizen of Vermont, and that there was in the suit a controversy which could be fully determined as between them, being citizens of different States.

On May 26, 1890, Mrs. Green demurred generally to this bill, for want of equity. On July 14, 1890, the court sustained the demurrer, and dismissed the bill, upon the ground, as stated in its opinion, that Tucker in his individual capacity

Opinion of the Court.

was sufficiently made a party to the bill of foreclosure, and was bound by the decree thereon. 43 Fed. Rep. 105.

On July 7, 1892, Cornell appealed to this court; and assigned, as errors, the dismissal of his bill for want of equity; the refusal to grant the prayer of his bill; and the decision that his grantor, Tucker, was barred of his equity of redemption by reason of the foreclosure proceedings, “in a case in which Sarah H. Gage, William F. Tucker, executor and guardian, and others, were defendants, the said Tucker never having been personally sued or served with process, or in any way submitted himself to the jurisdiction of said court, and that said finding deprived said complainant of his property without due process of law.

Mr. Lyman Trumbull, Mr. F. B. Dyche and Mr. Robert Ras for appellant. Mr. Richard S. Thompson was on their brief.

Mr. Charles W. Ogden for appellee.

MR. JUSTICE GRAY, after stating the case, delivered the opinion of the court.

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No question of the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court has been certified to this court; and the appellate jurisdiction of this court is sought to be maintained upon the single ground that the case “involves the construction or application of the Constitution of the United States,” within the meaning of the Judiciary Act of March 3, 1891, c. 517, $ 5. 26 Stat. 828.

But, in order to bring a case within this clause of the act, the Circuit Court must have construed the Constitution, or applied it to the case, or must, at least, have been requested and have declined or omitted to construe or apply it. No construction or application of the Constitution can be said to bave been involved in the judgment below, when no construction or application thereof was either expressed or asked for.

The case at bar, as shown by the record, was simply this: Gage made two mortgages of land, conveyed the equity of

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