Cassell v. Carroll - 24 U.S. 134 (1826)
U.S. Supreme Court
Cassell v. Carroll, 24 U.S. 11 Wheat. 134 134 (1826)
Cassell v. Carroll
24 U.S. (11 Wheat.) 134
The title and claim of Charles Lord Baltimore, his heirs and representatives, to the quit rents reserved by the proprietary of the late Province (now State) of Maryland was extinguished by the agreement between the heirs, devisees, and personal representatives of the said Lord Baltimore and of his son and heir, Frederick Lord Baltimore, made in 1780, and confirmed by an act of the British Parliament in 1781.
It seems that a bona fide assignment for a valuable consideration made by a husband of a debt actually and presently due to his wife devests, in equity, the title of the wife.
But however this may be in general, the agreement made in 1780, including the quit rents then actually due (if at all) to Louisa Browning, the daughter of Charles Lord Baltimore, and assigning them to Henry Harford, the devisee of Frederick Lord Baltimore, having been entered into in England by the husband of Louisa Browning and her committee (she being a lunatic), and the consideration having actually gone beneficially for her use, and the whole transaction having been between British subjects under the direction of the High Court of Chancery and confirmed by an act of Parliament, transferred a complete legal and equitable title to the assignee.
This was an action of debt brought by the plaintiff in error in the court below for the recovery of certain quit rents alleged to be due from the defendant to the plaintiff's intestate. The special verdict found by the jury stated the following facts.
The jury finds by its verdict that Charles the First, in the eighth year of his reign, granted to Caecelius Calvert, Baron of Baltimore, his heirs and assigns, forever, in fee simple, the Province (now State) of Maryland by a charter dated 8 June, 1633. Caecelius Calvert died in 1675, and left Charles, afterwards Baron of Baltimore, his son and heir, who entered into the said province and was seized thereof. The said Charles, in 1711, granted, according to the laws of the province, to Charles Carroll, Esq., father of the defendant, a patent for a tract of land containing ten thousand acres,
"to have and to hold the same unto him, the said Charles Carroll, his heirs and assigns, forever, to be holden of us and our heirs, as of our manor of Baltimore, in free and common soccage by fealty only for all manner of services, yielding and paying therefor yearly unto us and our heirs, at our receipt at the City of St. Mary's, at the two most usual feasts in the year, viz., at the feast of the annunciation of the blessed Virgin
Mary, and St. Michael the Archangel, from and after the second day of April, which shall be in the year of our Lord 1723, the rent of one hundred pounds sterling in silver and gold."
The defendant inherited the said tract of land from his father and is now seized and possessed of the same. On 31 December, 1698, the said Charles Lord Baltimore executed a deed by which he settled the Province of Maryland on himself, remainder on his son Benedict for life, remainder on the heirs male of the body of the said Benedict, remainder to the said Charles in fee. There were trusts created in the said deed, all of which are determined. The said Benedict died in 1714, and Charles, his father, in 1715. The said Benedict left issue male Charles his heir, afterwards Lord Baltimore, and Proprietor of Maryland. Benedict left other sons, all of whom died without issue.
The last mentioned Charles entered into the Province of Maryland and was seized thereof, as the law requires, and on 11 July, 1730, executed a deed to trustees to the use of the said Charles and his assigns for life, remainder to the use of the first and other sons of the said Charles in tail male successively, remainder to the use of the said Charles in fee. There were other trusts created in the deed, but they were all determined at the death of Mary, the wife of the said Charles, which took place in 1769.
In 1692, an act was passed by the Legislature of Maryland which declares that no manor, land,
tenements, or hereditaments whatsoever within the province shall pass from one to another except the deed or conveyance be acknowledged before certain magistrates and enrolled or recorded. This act was in force when the indenture of 31 December, 1698, was executed, but the said indenture was not acknowledged or recorded. The Legislature of Maryland, in 1715, ch. 47, passed an act which requires deeds and leases for more than seven years to be acknowledged and recorded within six months from their date. It also declares all deeds not acknowledged and recorded according to the provisions of the act of 1692 to be void. The deed of 11 July, 1730, was neither acknowledged nor recorded.
The last mentioned Charles Lord Baltimore had issue only one son named Frederick, and two daughters, one named Louisa (who is the plaintiff's intestate) and the other named Caroline. The said Charles Lord Baltimore, being seized of the Province of Maryland as aforesaid, made his will in 1750, and devised the Province of Maryland to trustees for the use of his son Frederick and his assigns for life, remainder to the use of the sons lawfully begotten of the body of the said Frederick successively, in tail male, remainder to the daughters of the said Frederick, "and in default of such issue, then to the use and behoof of Louisa, my eldest daughter, her heirs and assigns, forever." Charles Lord Baltimore died seized 23 April, 1751. The
said Frederick Lord Baltimore died without lawful issue on 4 September, 1771.
Louisa, the plaintiff's intestate, was married to John Browning on 15 May, 1762, and remained covert baron of the said John until 1792, when he died. The said Louisa was a lunatic from the year 1780 till the day of her death, which took place in November, 1821. She has never been in the State of Maryland since the death of her father. Letters of administration were regularly granted to the plaintiff on 17 April, 1823.
Frederick, the son of Charles Lord Baltimore, entered into the Province of Maryland and was seized thereof as the law requires. On 1 July, 1761, the said Frederick and Caecelius Calvert, his uncle, executed a deed of bargain and sale, to Thomas Bennet and William Sharp, of the Province of Maryland and its appurtenances for the purpose of docking the entail of the province. On 8 April, 1767, the said Frederick executed a deed of lease and release of Ann Arundel Manor and all other manors held by the lord proprietary in the province to Bennet Allen, and recoveries were afterwards suffered of the said manors in pursuance of the said deed of lease and release. On 4 March, 1771, Frederick Lord Baltimore made his will, and devised the Province of Maryland, and all its appurtenances, to Henry Harford.
That upon the death of the said last mentioned Frederick, Baron of Baltimore, Henry Harford,
the devisee named in his will, was a minor, and a ward under the guardianship of the Court of Chancery in England, and so continued until 1779. That the said Henry Harford, as devisee as aforesaid, was recognized and acknowledged by the provincial government of Maryland as the lawful proprietor under the charter, and by his guardians, with the knowledge and consent of the British government, entered into the possession of the government of the Province of Maryland and received the rents and revenues thereof as proprietor until the beginning of the disturbances which separated the United States of America from the British government. That those disturbances began in 1774, at which time the people of the Province of Maryland took the government of the said province into their own hands and ousted the officers of the proprietor, and the government of the said province so continued in the hands of the people until the Declaration of Independence, 4 July, 1776. That no quit rents nor any revenues which fell due in the said province after the year 1773, were paid to the proprietor or his officers; that after the Revolutionary War, the British government paid to the said Henry Harford £60,000, as a compensation for his losses in Maryland by the Revolution, and paid to the above-mentioned John Browning and to Robert Eden, who married the above-mentioned Caroline, £10,000 each as a compensation for their losses in the said province by the said Revolution. That suits in the Chancery Court of
England were instituted in 1772 by the said Browning and wife and the said Eden and wife against the said Harford to recover the province and revenues of the said Province of Maryland, which suits continued until 1782, when the said bills were dismissed by the complainants.
In 1780, the Legislature of Maryland passed an act which declares that
"The citizens of Maryland, from the declaration of independence, and forever, be and they are hereby declared to be exonerated and discharged from the payment of the aforesaid quit rents, and that the same shall be forever abolished and discontinued."
In 1780, an agreement was entered into in England by deed between Henry Harford of the first part, John Browning, the husband of Louisa Browning, and Sir Robert Eden and Caroline his wife (the said Louisa and Caroline being the heirs at law of Frederick Lord Baltimore). of the second part, Sir Cecil Wray, the committee of the real and personal estate of the said Louisa (she being a lunatic), of the third part, and Hugh Hammersley and Peter Prevost, two of the executors named in the will of Frederick Lord Baltimore, of the fourth part, all the said parties being British subjects. The agreement makes an absolute cession of the province, and revenues, &c., from the time of the decease of Lord Frederick, to Henry Harford and his heirs, upon the payment (among other things) of £10,000 to John Browning and Louisa his wife, and £10,000 to Sir Robert Eden and Caroline his wife, in the manner stipulated in the
agreement. It also provided in the event of the restoration of Henry Harford to the possession of the province and its revenues, growing, or in arrear, for an additional sum of £10,000, for the benefit of each of said ladies, payable out of the same. The agreement further stipulated for an application to the British Parliament for an act to confirm the same, and to vest in Henry Harford and his heirs, the title to the province, and its revenues, with a provision that the agreement should be void unless the royal assent should be given to the act within three years. The act, accordingly, passed, and was assented to by the King within the period prescribed. It vests the title to the province, and its revenues, and quit rents, &c., absolutely in Henry Harford and his heirs, subject only to the payment of the sums before mentioned, and some others not material to be stated.
Upon this special verdict, a judgment was entered in the court below pro forma, by consent, for the defendant, and the cause was brought by writ of error to this Court.