COM. OF PENNSYLVANIA v. FRANKLIN
4 U.S. 255 (1802)

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U.S. Supreme Court

COM. OF PENNSYLVANIA v. FRANKLIN, 4 U.S. 255 (1802)

4 U.S. 255 (Dall.)

The Commonwealth
v.
Franklin et al.

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

December Term, 1802

IN August Session 1801, of the Court of Quarter Sessions, the grand jury of Luzerne county presented the following indictment:

    'Luzerne county ss.
    'The Grand Inquest for the body of the county of Luzerne, upon their oaths respectively do present, that John Franklin, Elisha Satterlee, and John Jenkins, all late of the said county, yeomen, on the first day of August, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and one, at the county aforesaid, and within the jurisdiction of this Court, unlawfully did combine and conspire, for the purpose of conveying, possessing, and settling, on certain lands within the limits of the county aforesaid, under a certain pretended title not derived from the authority of this commonwealth, or of the late proprietaries of Pennsylvania before the revolution, to the evil example of all others in like manner offending, contrary to the form of the act of general assembly of this state in such case made and provided, and against the peace and dignity of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, &c.
    'And the Jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, do further respectively present, that the said John Franklin, Elisha Satterlee, John Jenkins, and Joseph Biles, all late of the county aforesaid, yeomen, on the first day of August, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and one, at the county aforesaid, did combine and conspire for the purpose of laying out townships, by persons not appointed or acknowledged by the laws of this commonwealth, to the evil example of all others in like manner offending, contrary to the form of the act of assembly of this state in such case made and provided,

    Page 4 U.S. 255, 256

    and against the peace and dignity of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

    'JOSEPH B. M'KEAN,
    'Attorney-General.'

A certiorari issued at the instance of the defendants, to remove the indictment from the Quarter Sessions into the Circuit Court; directed, however, to the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas of the county; requiring the return of an indictment against the four persons named in the second count, for both offences; and actually returned by the associate Judges of the Common Pleas.

On the trial of the indictment, in the Circuit Court, as a session held at Wilkesbarre, Luzerne county, in Mau 1802, the Jury found a special verdict, in these terms:

    'And now a Jury of the county being called, came, to wit, Thomas Duane, Lazarus Denison, Peter Grubb, John Cary, Nathan Beach, Thomas Wright, Ebenezer Slocum, Nathan Waller, Abel Pierce, Jacob Bedford, Timothy Beebe, and Abiel Fellows, who being duly impanelled, elected, sworn, and affirmed, to try these issues, on their oaths and affirmations, do find that the defendants, John Franklin and John Jenkins, did, after the 11th of April 1795, at the county of Luzerne, conspire and combine for the purpose of conveying, possessing, and settling, on lands within the said county, under a pretended title not derived from the authority of this commonwealth, or of the late proprietaries of Pennsylvania before the revolution, contrary to the form of an act of general assembly of this commonwealth, passed the 11th of April 1795, entitled an act to prevent intrustions on lands within the counties of Northampton, Northumberland, and Luzerne. And the Jorors aforesaid, on their oaths and affirmations aforesaid, do further find that the said John Franklin and John Jenkins, after the 11th of April 1795, at the county aforesaid, did conspire and combine for the purpose of laying out townships in the said county of Luzerne, by persons not appointed or acknowledged by the laws of this commonwealth, contrary to the form of the act of the general assembly aforesaid; but whether the said defendants are guilty in manner and form as they stand indicted, they know not, and pray, therefore, the opinion of the Court. And if the Court here should be of opinion that the said act of general assembly is not contrary to the constitution of the United States, or of the state of Pennsylvania, then they find the said defendants guilty in manner and form as they stand indicted, but if the Court should be of opinion that the said act of geneneral assembly is contrary to to the constitution of the United States, or of the state of Pennsylvania, then they find the said [4 U.S. 255, 257]


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