97 U.S. 646 (1878), Robertson v. Cease

Citation:97 U.S. 646, 24 L.Ed. 1057
Case Date:November 18, 1878
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 646

97 U.S. 646 (1878)

24 L.Ed. 1057




United States Supreme Court.

November 18, 1878


ERROR to the Circuit Court of the United States for the Western District of Texas.

The facts are stated in the opinion of the court.


Page 647

Mr. Halbert E. Paine for the plaintiff in error.

Mr. Philip Phillips, contra.

MR. JUSTICE HARLAN delivered the opinion of the court.

This action was instituted on the 25th of September, 1873, by Cease, as the assignee of a note for $4,190, executed in Texas by Robertson, plaintiff in error, on the 2d of October, 1860, and made payable July 1, 1861, to the order of W. J. Chamblin, with interest at the rate of ten per cent per annum from date.

Does it sufficiently appear from the record that the case is within the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court? That is the first question to be considered upon this writ of error.

The payee, Chamblin, a citizen of Illinois, died in that State on the 29th of April, 1871. In September, 1873, the note sued on was assigned by his administrators to Cease. It appears from the pleadings that the heirs and administrators of Chamblin were also citizens of Illinois, both when the note was assigned to Cease and at the commencement of this action. It is also averred that Robertson, when sued, was a citizen of Texas, but there is no allegation as to the citizenship of Cease. The averment as to him is, that he 'resides in the county of Mason and State of Illinois.' It is, however, claimed by counsel to be apparent, or to be fairly inferred from certain documents or papers copied into the transcript, that Cease was, at the commencement of the action, a citizen of Illinois. One of those documents is a written notice, served by Robertson upon Cease's attorneys, that he would apply for a commission to examine as witnesses, in support of the plea in abatement, 'Chamblin, Winn, and Henry Cease, citizens of the county of Mason, State of Illinois.' The commission which issued, under the notice, from the clerk's office directed the examination of these witnesses, who are, in that document also, described as citizens of Illinois. The other document referred to is the deposition of Cease, which opens thus: 'My name is Henry Cease; residence, Mason County, Illinois; age, 52 years; occupation, grain dealer and farmer.'

Page 648

It is the settled doctrine of this court that, in cases where the jurisdiction of the Federal courts depends upon the citizen ship of the parties, the facts, essential to support that jurisdiction, must appear somewhere in the record. Said the Chief Justice, in Railway Company v.Ramsey, 22 Wall. 322: 'They need not necessarily, however, be averred in the pleadings. It is sufficient if they are, in some form, affirmatively shown by the record.' That view was approved in the subsequent case of Briges v.Sperry, 95 U.S. 401. Under the doctrine of these cases, it is contended that the citizenship of Cease in Illinois is satisfactorily shown by the foregoing documents, which, it is insisted, are a part of the record upon this writ of error. But this position cannot be maintained. It involves a misapprehension of our former decisions. When we declared that the record, other than the pleadings, may be referred to in this court, to ascertain the citizenship of parties, we alluded only to such portions of the transcript as properly constituted the record upon which we must base our final judgment, and not to papers which had been improperly inserted in the transcript. Those relied upon here to supply the absence of distinct averments in the pleadings as to the citizenship of Cease, clearly do not constitute any legitimate part of the record. They are not so made either by a bill of exceptions, or by any order of the court referring to them, or in any other mode recognized by the law. As there is nothing to show that the deposition of Cease, or the commission or notice under which it was taken, was before the jury or the court for any purpose, during the trial, no fact stated in them can be made the foundation of any decision we might render, either upon the merits or the question of...

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