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United States Supreme Court


No. 736

Argued: Decided: January 27, 1896

[160 U.S. 646, 652]   Hiram T. Gilbert, for plaintiff in error. S.P. McConnell and D.K. Tenney, for defendant in error.

Mr. Chief Justice FULLER, after stating the facts in the foregoing language, delivered the opinion of the court.

We are of opinion that the supreme court of Illinois, in rendering judgment, denied no title, right, privilege, or immunity specially set up or claimed by defendant under the laws of the United States, and that this writ of error cannot be maintained.

The contention of plaintiff in error is that the state court decided 'either-First, that the cashier, Braden, by virtue of his office, had, under the laws of the United States regulating national banks, implied authority to borrow money in the name of the defendant, and bind it to repayment thereof; or, second, that the transaction out of which the discounting of the Braden note arose, which transaction consisted of the original purchase of the fifty shares of the bank's stock, the giving of the Hopkins note, and the payment thereof out of the moneys of the bank, was one which, in law, could be regarded as a transaction of the bank,'- and that, therefore, the state court decided against an immunity from liability expressly set up or claimed by the Chemical National Bank under the laws of the United States.

The appellate court reviewed the judgment of the superior court for errors committed on the trial, and, finding none, affirmed it, and the supreme court affirmed the judgment of the appellate court; and, if no such claims were set up in the trial court, the supreme court, in approving the affirmance of its judgment by the appellate court, could not be held to have decided against a claim with which the trial court had not been called upon to deal. It does not appear that the immunity from liability was expressly claimed by plaintiff in error in the trial court on the ground that the bank could retain the money because it was obtained by means in excess of the powers of its cashier or other officers. [160 U.S. 646, 653]   The propositions on which the trial court was asked to rule were manifestly directed to the right of recovery on the note as such, under the special count, and certainly fell far short of a claim of the character suggested as a defense to a recovery under the common counts. Moreover, the question of liability, whatever the authority of these bank officers to borrow this money for the bank, depended upon general principles of law applicable under the particular facts. Bank v. Armstrong, 152 U.S. 346, 352 , 353 S., 14 Sup. Ct. 572.

Nor can we perceive that the supreme court denied any immunity from liability claimed as arising out of the purchase by the bank of its own stock, other than to prevent loss on previous indebtedness. The decision of the supreme court rested on the fact that that purchase of stock and the loaning of the money from the City Bank of Portage were two distinct transactions, and this was a ground broad enough to sustain the judgment, without deciding any federal question at all.

It is said that the supreme court had no power to decide any controverted question of fact, but we cannot review the decision of that court in that respect, even if the position were well taken; but we do not understand that the supreme court did so decide. It is true that, under sections 87 and 89 of the practice act, the supreme court of Illinois does not re-examine controverted questions of fact; but it nevertheless examines the evidence bearing upon the issues of fact determined, to see what principles of law are involved in a controversy, and whether they are properly applied by the trial court. Sexton v. City of Chicago, 107 Ill. 323, 326; Cable Co. v. Lathrop, 131 Ill. 575, 580, 23 N. E. 583. In this case the supreme court recapitulated the evidence as being that on which the trial court rendered judgment, in order to disclose the basis of the ruling that plaintiff was entitled to recover.

The affirmance by the appellate court of the judgment of the trial court, without any recital of the facts found, conclusively settles all controverted questions of fact necessary to support the judgment. Wrought- Iron Bridge Co. v. Commissioners of Highways, 101 Ill. 518; Bernstein v. Roth, 145 Ill. 189. If the appellate court disposes of a cause on [160 U.S. 646, 654]   a finding of facts different from the finding of the trial court, it is its duty to recite in its final judgment the facts so found (Rev. St. Ill. c. 110, 87; 2 Starr & C. Ann. St. p. 1842); but there was no such finding of facts by the appellate court here, and it is to be presumed that that court found the facts in the same way as did the trial court. As the supreme court proceeded to judgment upon the facts as thus determined, we must accept its view as controlling.

Writ of error dismissed.

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