8 US 46 Montalet v. Murray

8 U.S. 46

4 Cranch 46

2 L.Ed. 545


February Term, 1807

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ERROR to the circuit court for the district of Georgia.


The action was brought in the court below by Murray, a citizen of the state of New-York, against Montalet, an alien, and citizen of the French republic, upon sundry promissory notes, made by the defendant at St. Domingo, payable to the order of Monsieur Caradeaux de la Caye, whose residence, or citizenship, or national character, does not appear in the declaration.


It was suggested that it did not appear by the record that a suit could have been prosecuted in that court to recover the contents of those notes if no assignment had been made, and therefore the court could not take cognizance of the present case, being prohibited by the act of congress, vol. 1. p. 55. s. 11.


P. B. Key, for defendant in error, stated that it appeared in the plea that the payee of the note was also an alien, and subject of France. 4 Dall. 8.Turner v. The Bank of North America.


The Court was unanimously of opinion that the courts of the United States have no jurisdiction of cases between aliens.


Key then suggested that perhaps it did not sufficiently appear upon the record that the original parties to the notes were aliens;


But MARSHALL, Ch. J. said, that if it did not appear upon the record that the character of the original parties would support the jurisdiction, that objection was equally fatal, under the uniform decisions of this court.

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Judgment reversed for want of jurisdiction, and with costs, under the authority of Winchester v. Jackson, at last term. Ante, vol. 3. p. 514.


But on the last day of the term, The Court gave the following general directions to the clerk:


That in cases of reversal, costs do not go of course, but in all cases of affirmance they do. And that when a judgment is reversed for want of jurisdiction, it must be without costs.


Present, Marshall, Chief Justice; Washington, Johnson and Livingston, Justices.