Sheldon v. Sill
49 U.S. 441

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U.S. Supreme Court

Sheldon v. Sill, 49 U.S. 8 How. 441 441 (1850)

Sheldon v. Sill

49 U.S. (8 How.) 441

Syllabus

Courts created by statute can have no jurisdiction but such as the statute confers.

Therefore, where the Third Article of the Constitution of the United States says that the judicial power shall have cognizance over controversies between citizens of different states, but the act of Congress restrains the circuit courts from taking cognizance of any suit to recover the contents of a chose in action brought by an assignee when the original holder could not have maintained the suit, this act of Congress is not inconsistent with the Constitution.

A debt secured by bond and mortgage is a chose in action.

Therefore, where the mortgagor and mortgagee resided in the same state, and the mortgagee assigned the mortgage to the citizen of another state, this assignee could not file his bill for foreclosure in the circuit court of the United States.

The appellee was the complainant in the court below. The bill was filed to procure satisfaction of a bond, executed by the appellant, Thomas C. Sheldon, and secured by a mortgage on lands in Michigan executed by him and Eleanor his wife, the other appellant. The bond and mortgage were dated on 1 November, 1838, and were given by the appellants, then and ever since citizens of the State of Michigan, to Eurotas P. Hastings, President of the Bank of Michigan, in trust for the President, Directors, and Company of the Bank of Michigan.

The said Hastings was then and ever since has been a citizen of the State of Michigan, and the Bank of Michigan was a body corporate in the same state.

On 3 January, A.D. 1839, Hastings, President of said bank, under the authority and direction of the Board of Directors,

"sold, assigned, and transferred, by deed duly executed under the seal of the bank, and under his own seal, the said bond and mortgage, and the moneys secured thereby, and the estate thereby created"

to said Sill, the complainant below, who was then and still is a citizen of New York.

These are all the facts which it is necessary to state, for the purpose of raising the question of jurisdiction.

The circuit court decided in favor of the complainant below, and decreed a sale of the mortgaged premises &c.

From this decree the defendants appealed to this Court.

Page 49 U. S. 448

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