Hobson v. McArthur,
41 U.S. 182 (1842)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Hobson v. McArthur, 41 U.S. 16 Pet. 182 182 (1842)

Hobson v. McArthur

41 U.S. (16 Pet.) 182


It was agreed between McA. & H. that McA. should withdraw the entries of ten thousand acres, part of eleven thousand six hundred and sixty-six acres, which had been located for the use of H., and should relocate the same elsewhere, and that the ten thousand acres, the entries of which had been withdrawn, and the ten thousand acres relocated elsewhere by McA., should be valued by two disinterested persons, and to be chosen by each party, and if the two could not agree on the value of the land or any part thereof, they should choose a third person, who should agree on the value of the land, and that H. should have so much of the land relocated as should amount to the value of the land for which the locations had been renewed, and also to the value of two thousand dollars in addition to the value of the ten thousand acres. The two persons appointed could not agree as to the value of part of the land, and they nominated a third person. Of the three persons thus appointed, two only agreed as to the value of part of the land. By the Court: it is an unreasonable construction of this agreement that it was so framed as that it not only might fail to accomplish the very object intended, but that in all probability it must fail and become entirely negatory, as the third man was not to be called in until the two had disagreed. It is a more reasonable construction to consider the third man as an umpire to decide between the two that should disagree. This would ensure the accomplishment of the object the parties had in view. The valuation by the two appraisers was within the submission.

Where there is an original delegation of power to three persons, for a mere private purpose, all must agree, or the authority has not been pursued.

The court, under the prayer in a bill in chancery for general relief, will grant such relief only as the case stated in the bill and sustained by the proof will justify.

In the Circuit Court of Ohio, a bill was filed by Duncan McArthur, asking for a specific performance of a contract, dated 10 November 1810. The complainant and the defendant, with John Hobson, entered into certain articles of agreement, relative to the withdrawal of the entries of land, in the State of Ohio, and the reentry thereof on other lands, out of which, by the contract between the parties, compensation was to be made in the lands included in the relocation of the lands, of which the entries had been withdrawn. The value of the lands, the entries of which were, by the agreement, to be withdrawn, and of the

Page 41 U. S. 183

land on which the entries were to be relocated, were to be determined by persons mutually chosen and agreed upon, who, if they could not agree, were to nominate a third person.

Out of this agreement and proceedings under it, the questions in this case arose and were argued by Stanbery for the appellant, and by Mason for the appellees, the heirs of Duncan McArthur, who became parties to the proceedings on the decease of Duncan McArthur. In the circuit court, a decree was given in favor of the complainant, Duncan McArthur, and the defendant, Matthew Hobson, prosecuted this appeal. The case is fully stated in the opinion of the Court.

The question decided by the Court was as to the construction of the agreement of the parties to submit the value of the land to the determination of persons mutually chosen and agreed upon, and if they could not agree, that they should appoint a third person.

Page 41 U. S. 188

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