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Opinion of the Court.
dated November 19, 1849, that if accounting officers err, de signedly or by mistake, the loss must fall on the United States. 5 Opinions of Attorneys General, 183. The opinion of Attorney General Pierrepont, dated December 10, 1875, that this launch was " a single ship,” within the meaning of the prize act; that her commander was entitled to his fractional part, and could not share according to his pay, in the prize money of the Albemarle; and that the rates of pay, according to which others on board the launch were entitled to share in the prize money, were the rates of pay at the time of the capture. 15 Opinions of Attorneys General, 63. A letter of the Secretary of the Navy to the counsel of the captors, dated April 24, 1877, stating that, as the prize money of the Albemarle had been fully distributed, and as there was no other fund which he could lawfully order to be paid to her captors, they must look to Congress for the relief to which they seemed to be entitled. Report No. 90, H. R. 1st Sess. 47th Congress.
It is evident, therefore, that the act of 1882 was passed with a knowledge of the manner in which the prize money for the capture of the Albemarle has been distributed by the Secretary of the Navy under the decrees of the prize court; and the reasonable inference is that Congress intended, without impeaching the validity of the distribution so made, or affecting the right of any captor to hold the money already paid him, but treating each as having received no more than a suitable reward for his gallantry, to allow out of the Treasury, to those of the captors who had received less than their lawful share according to the rules of the prize act, enough to make up the deficiency. The joint effect of the act of 1882 and the previous distribution is the same as if the prize money had been distributed in conformity with those rules, and Congress had afterwards granted to Cushing, Howarth and Gay, out of money in the Treasury, sums in addition to their lawful shares of prize money, as was done in the case of Captain Perry for captures on Lake Erie in the War of 1812. Act of April 18, 1814, ch. 70; 3 Stat. 130.
It is therefore unnecessary to express an opinion upon the question argued by counsel, whether, under the act of 1864,
the jurisdiction of the prize court, upon the condemnation of a prize taken by an armed vessel of the Navy, extended to determining the separate shares of the officers and crew; or was limited to adjudging what vessels were entitled to share, and whether, by reason of their force as compared with that of their prize, the whole or the half of the proceeds should go to them leaving the distribution among the officers and men to be made by the Secretary of the Navy, according to the records of the department.*
HARDIN, Administratrix, & Others v. BOYD, Administra
tor, & Others.
APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR
THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS.
Submitted December 22, 1884.-Decided March 15, 1885.
No rule can be laid down in reference to amendments of equity pleadings that
will govern all cases. They must depend upon the special circumstances of each case, and in passing upon applications to amend, the ends of justice must not be sacrificed to mere form or by too rigid an adherence to techni
cal rules of practice. In a suit brought by the heirs and administrator of a vendor of land by title
bond, the bill alleged that the bond had been obtained by fraud, and, also, that the land had not been fully paid for according to the contract of sale. Its prayer was, among other things, that the bond be cancelled ; that an account be taken of the rents and profits which the purchaser had enjcyed, and of the amount paid on his purchase ; that the title of the complainants be quieted ; and that they have such other relief as equity might require. At the final hearing the complainants were permitted to amend the prayer of the bill so as to ask, in the alternative, for a decree for the balance of the purchase money and a lien on the land to secure the payment thereof : Held, That no error was committed in allowing the amendment. It did not make a new case, but only enabled the court to adapt its relief to that
* See act of July 17, 1862, ch. 204, $ 5; 12 Stat. 607; act of June 30, 1864, ch. 174, SS 1, 7, 9, 10, 16, 27, 28; 13 Stat. 307-314; The St. Lawrence, 2 Gal. lison, 19; Proceeds of Prize, Abbott Adm. 495; The Glamorgan, 1 Sprague, 273; The Cherokee, 2 Sprague, 235; 5 Opinions of Attorneys General, 142.
Statement of Facts.
made by the bill and sustained by the proof. The bill, with the prayer thus amended, was in the form in which it might have been originally pre
pared consistently with the rules of equity practice. The case distinguished from Shields v. Barrow, 17 How., 180. Although the debt for unpaid purchase money was barred by limitation under
the local law, the lien therefor on the land was not barred ; for there was no such open adverse possession, 'for the period within which actions for the recovery of real estate must be brought, as would cut off the right to enforce the equitable lien for the purchase money.
This was a bill in equity to set aside a conveyance of lands, or (as amended below) in the alternative for payment of the purchase money and to make it a lien on the lands.
The main question on this appeal relates to the alleged error of the Circuit Court in permitting the complainants, at the hearing, to amend the prayer of their bill, so as to obtain relief not before specifically asked, and, which appellants contend, is inconsistent with the case made by the bill. To make intelligible this and other questions in the cause, it is necessary to state the issues and the general effect of the evidence.
On the 28th day of March, 1871, John D. Ware executed his title bond to William D. Hardin, reciting the sale to the latter of cert in lands in Crittenden County, Arkansas, for the sum of $20.000, one-half of which was to be paid at the delivery of the bond, and the remainder, on the 1st day of January thereafter, in county scrip or warrants; and providing for a conveyance to the purchaser, when the purchase money should be fully paid. Ware died, at his home in Tennessee, on the 6th day of December, 1871. In the same month, the Probate Court of Crittenden County appointed L. B. Hardin (a brother of the purchaser) to be administrator of Ware; and, on the 15th of January, 1872, his bond having been on that day filed and approved, letters of administration were directed to be issued. Under date of the 23d day of January of the same year, L. B. Hardin, in his capacity as administrator, executed to the purchaser an absolute conveyance of all the right, title and interest of Ware in the lands. The deed recited the payment by the grantee to the said administrator of $10,000 in Crittenden County scrip and warrants, and that the deed was made in conformity with an order of the Probate Court.
Statement of Facts.
The general statutes of Arkansas declare that “when any testator or intestate shall have entered into any contract for the conveyance of lands and tenements in his lifetime, which was not executed and performed during his life, and shall not have given power by will to carry the same into execution, it shall be lawful for the executor or administrator of such testator or intestate, with the approval of the court in term time, to execute a deed of conveyance of and for such lands, pursuant to the terms of the original contract; such executor or administrator being satisfied that payment has been made therefor, according to the contract, and reciting the fact of such payment to the testator or intestate, or to such executor or administrator, as the case may be, which deed may be acknowledged as other deeds, and shall have the same force and effect to pass the title of such testator or intestate to any such lands as if made pursuant to a decree of court." Act Feb. 21, 1859; Gantt's Dig. 180.
By deed of July 10, 1877, W. D. Hardin conveyed these lands to his wife, and they were in possession, by tenants, when the present suit was instituted on the 28th of October, 1881. The complainants are the heirs at law of the vendor and one Boyd, his administrator, the latter having been appointed at the last domicil of the decedent in Tennessee. The defendants were W. D. Hardin and his wife and their tenants. The bill proceeds upon these grounds : That Ware’s obligation of March 28, 1871, was obtained through fraud and imposition practised by the purchaser ; that the latter was at liberty, according to the real agreement between him and Ware, to pay the entire purchase money in county scrip or warrants ; that, he and his wife were in possession, claiming the lands to be the absolute property of the latter, although no part of the purchase money had been paid, except $5,400 paid to the intestate in county scrip or warrants at their face value ; that no such pro ceedings as are recited in the deed to W. D. Hardin, were ever had in the Probate Court of Crittenden County; that the $10,000 in scrip or warrants, which the deed states was paid by W.D. Hardin, were disposed of at private sale for fifteen cents on the dollar of their face value, and the proceeds applied, by
Str ement of Facts.
collusion between the purchaser and his brother, to a claim which they, acting together, fraudulently procured to be allowed in favor of W. D. Hardin against Ware's estate, when, in fact no such indebtedness existed ; that all the
relating to the estate of Ware were destroyed by Hardin, while in his custody as clerk of the Probate Court, for the purpose of concealing his fraudulent scheme to obtain the lands without paying for them; that the deed from Hardin to his wife was without consideration; and that Hardin, after he took posses sion of the lands, appropriated to his own use all the rents annually accruing therefrom.
The prayer of the bill was that “the said bond for title, and the said deeds made by Lucian B. Hardin to said Wm. D. Hardin, and by the latter to said Lida Hardin, his wife, may be set aside for fraud ; that an account may be taken of the said rents and profits, and of the value of the county warrants delivered by said William D. Hardin, and that your orators may. have a personal decree against said defendants for any balance that may be found to be justly due to them; that a decree may be rendered quieting the title of the plaintiff herein to said lands against said claims of the said defendants, and for such other relief as equity may require.”
Hardin and wife filed separate answers, and also pleas relying upon the statute of limitation in bar of the syit. They also demurred to the bill upon numerous grounds.
A good deal of evidence was taken touching the physical and mental condition of Ware at and before the execution of his title bond, as well as upon the issue, as to whether Hardin had paid for the lands according to contract. Without detailing all the facts, it is sufficient to say that, according to the weight of the evidence, the payment to Ware of $5,400 in county scrip or warrants was the only one ever really made on Hardin's purchase of these lands, and that the alleged payment subsequently of $10,000 in like scrip or warrants to L. B. Hardin, administrator, was not intended to be a payment on the land, because the proceeds of their sale were, by collusion between him and W. D. Hardin, appropriated by the latter on a fictitious claim asserted by him against Ware's estate.