Buckner v. Finley & Van Lear
27 U.S. 586 (1829)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Buckner v. Finley & Van Lear, 27 U.S. 2 Pet. 586 586 (1829)

Buckner v. Finley & Van Lear

27 U.S. (2 Pet.) 586

Syllabus

Bills of exchange drawn in one state of the Union, on persons living in another state partake of the character of foreign bill, and ought to be so treated in the courts of the United States.

For all national purposes embraced by the federal Constitution, the states and the citizens thereof are one, united under the same sovereign authority and governed by the same laws. In all other respects, the states, are necessarily foreign and independent of each other.

The action was instituted in the circuit court on a bill of exchange drawn on 16 March, 1819, by the defendants at Baltimore on Stephen Dever at New Orleans in favor of Rosewell L. Colt or order, of Baltimore, and by him endorsed for value received to the plaintiff, a citizen of New York.

A judgment was confessed by the defendants for $2,100, subject to the opinion of the court, upon a case stated, and which presented the question whether the circuit court had jurisdiction in the case.

The defendants objected to the jurisdiction on the ground that the bill was an inland, and not a foreign, bill of exchange, and therefore the defendants and the drawee Rosewell L. Colt, being citizens of Maryland, although the bill was regularly in the hands of the plaintiff as endorsee, who is a citizen of a different state, the circuit court had no cognizance of the claim.

The provision of the act of Congress upon which the question arises is in the 11th section of the "Act to establish the judicial powers of the courts of the United States," passed September 24, 1789. The words of the act are

"Nor shall any district or circuit court have cognizance of any suit to recover the contents of any promissory note or other chose in action in favor of an assignee unless a suit might have been prosecuted in such court to recover the said contents if no assignment had been made, except in cases of foreign bills of exchange. "

Page 27 U. S. 587

The judges of the circuit court divided in opinion on the question of jurisdiction, and ordered the record to be certified to this Court.

Page 27 U. S. 589

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