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Argument for the government.

Against this last claim (which was not denied) the United States set up a counter-claim of $9000 for rent alleged to be due by Hickey, from May, 1856, to November, 1857 (when Hickey was evicted), on the lease made by them to him. No evidence was given of the monthly value of the premises.

The Court of Claims rejected lickey's first and second claims; that is to say, his claims of bonus, and for damages, but allowed his claim for storage; disallowing the counterclaim or set-off presented by the United States.

The United States alone appealed.

Mr. S. F. Phillips, Solicitor-General, for the appellants ; Mr. J. W. Moore, contra.

Much of the argument was directed to the matter of the two items which were rejected by the Court of Claims; items not passed on by this court. On the remaining point, the refusal of the court below to allow the counterclaim of the United States, the Solicitor-General argued that the lease to Hickey was not a sub-lease, but a lease of the term (i. e., of the entire term), from February 1st, 1856, to the end of the lease. This was a transfer of the whole interest of the United States in the lease, and of necessity therefore an assignment of the lease.

As a consequence of this, Hickey became bound to Eldredge for all rent that the United States, the lessee and assignor, had agreed to pay. Now the United States bad agreed to pay $6000 a month, unless arbitrators appointed from time to time should say otherwise. And upon a consideration of the whole transaction, including the relations of Ilickey as assignee to Eldredge, and thereupon indirectly to the United States, it seemed clear that Hickey's obligation by his contract with the United States was, that if there was no assessment upon the 1st of May, 1856, he would in effect take the place of the United States in their contract with Eldredge as regards the payment of the rent, receiving the bonus of $250 a month by way of diminution of his rent. But Hickey paid rent to no one after the 1st of May, 1856.

Upon the whole, the case was one in which the assignee of

Opinion of the court.

a lessee, who is indebted to the original lessor for a large amount which the lessee has in fact paid, demanded that the lessee should pay him a debt much less than that already paid for him to the original lessor, and one, at that, growing out of the same transaction. The assignee of a lease in possession is to be regarded as the principal debtor for rent to the lessor, and the lessee as only secondary.


Mr. Justice HUNT delivered the opinion of the court.

By not appealing, the claimant has declared himself to be content with the disposition of the case by the Court of Claims. The appeal brings up only the claim allowed. The rejected items, therefore, will receive no consideration, except so far as may be necessary for a proper understanding of the item allowed.

It is said that the transaction with Hickey was an signment to him by the United States, and not an underletting. It was not an assignment, as the terms between the United States and Hickey were different from those between Eldredge and the United States. The United States agreed to pay $6000 per month, and had a privilege of an appraisement at their option. Hickey agreed to pay $500 per month only for the first two months, was to have in substance a deduction of $250 for every month thereafter by the United States, and no rent after May 1st was fixed unless an appraisal should be made.* It is difficult, however, to see the importance of the difference in this proceeding, whether it was an assignment or subletting. The short answer to the counter-claim is that the United States had assigned to Eldredge all their claim and demand for the rent upon this lease, and therefore could have no claim against Hickey by virtue of it. The rent was paid by Hickey to May 1st, 1856. After that time he refused to pay rent, on the ground that there was no appraisal fixing the amount. No appraisal has ever been made. No evidence was given before the Court of Claims of the rental value of the premises, and I see not

* 2 Blackstone's Commentaries, 327, n.

Statement of the case.

how more than nominal value could'in any event be claimed. But beyond this, the United States, on the 13th of April, 1857, transferred and assigned to Eldredge all their right, title, and interest in and to the lease, and authorized him to sue for and recover the rents reserved to the United States as fully as they could do. It was added, “it being distinctly understood that it is the object and purpose of this agreement to put the said Eldredge in the place and stead of the United States, so far as concerns the rights of the United States under the lease aforesaid.” It was by virtue of the ownership of the lease acquired under this assignment that Eldredge took proceedings in the California courts, which resulted in the eviction and dispossession of Hickey from the premises described in the lease. This assignment, in the terms stated, carried all the interest in the rents already accrued as well as rents thereafter to accrue. It was broad and comprehensive, carrying every interest in or connected with or arising out of the lease. There was no claim or demand against Hickey existing in the United States under this lease, and consequently there was no counter-claim to be interposed against his demand for storage allowed by the judgment appealed from. The decision of the Court of Claims was right and must be



1. The order of seizure and sale called "execntory process," made in Louis

iana when the mortgage “imports a confession of judgment,"' is in substance a decree of foreclosure and sale, and therefore a "final decree;'!

especially when made after objections have been made and heard. 2. When a proceeding below is in its essential nature a foreclosure of a

mortgage in chancery, an appeal is the only proper mode of bringing it here.

On motion to dismiss an appeal from the Circuit Court for the District of Louisiana; the case being thus:

In Louisiana a mortgage creditor may apply to a judge at

Statement of the case.

chambers, or in court, upon non-payment of the mortgage debt, and obtain from him an order of seizure and sale, when the mortgage imports a confession of judgment. It is said to import such confession when the mortgage has been “passed before a notary public in the presence of two witnesses and the debtor has declared or acknowledged the debt for which the mortgage is given.”* The order of seizure and sale, called executory process, is said to be issued as upon a judgment by confession,

The Code of Practice requires that three days' notice be given to the debtor;t and the judge is required to examine and “decide whether the instrument unites all the requisites of the law necessary to authorize this summary proceeding.”!

In this state of law Marin and others having passed to Lalley their mortgage, executed in the manner mentioned, Lalley, on the 28th of March, 1872, filed his petition in the Circuit Court of the United States, praying for executory process on it. Upon this petition an order was made thus :

" ORDER. “Let executory process issue as prayed for, and according to law.


“ Judge. " March 28th, 1872."

On the 4th of April, 1872, a petition for writ of error was granted to operate as a supersedeas, and a writ of error, bond and citation, were issued and served accordingly.

On the 11th of April the defendants filed their objection to the order for executory process aud prayed that the same be quashed.

On the 16th of April, “ the cause coming on for hearing on the opposition and answer of the defendants to the order for

* Code of Practice, art. 733, p. 304; Harrod v. Voorhies’s Administratrix, 16 Louisiana, 256.

† Code of Practice, art. 735, p. 304.
| Harrod v. Voorbies's Administratrix, 16 Louisiana, 256.

Statement of the case.

executory process, herein granted on the 28th day of March, 1872, and on the application therein to quash the writ of seizure and sale”-it was ordered “ that the writ of seizure and sale be quashed as prematurely issued, that opposition be dismissed, and that the order of 28th of March, 1872, be now made final.” Au order was then entered, that the writ of error originally filed, and .vhich was set aside on the 16th day of April, be now reinstated to operate as a supersedeas, and that the said order setting "aside the said writ be cancelled and anvulled.”

A rule was then taken by the petitioner, for reasons stated, to set aside and annul the reinstatement of this writ of error and the supersedeas.

On the 8th of May it was ordered “that all decrees herein made, subsequent to the last order granted by the presiding judge be vacated and rescinded, leaving to the parties their remedy, if they see fit to do so, to file a' bill on the equity side of the court and apply for an injunction upon good cause shown."

Another opposition to the seizure and sale was filed on the 9th of May, and in this involved condition of the case it was ordered, on the 10th of May, by the district judge, “ that the matter be submitted to his honor, the circuit judge.

On the 25th of May the circuit judge ordered “ that the said opposition be dropped from the docket,” and on the 3d of June he ordered “that the objections and answers of the defendants to the order and seizure of sale be overruled."

On the 13th of June the defendants prayed for an appeal: “ from the order for executory process, 28th of March, 1872, and made final on the 3d of June, to operate as a supersedeas upon giving bond for costs and all just damages for delay only."

Whereupon it was ordered by the district judge that an appeal be granted to operate as a supersedeas, and that said appeal be made returnable to the Supreme Court on the first Monday of December, 1872.

A bond was approved and filed in the penalty of $1000, conditioned to pay such damages and costs as may accrue

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