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Opinion of the Court.

the times when the bonds so taken up became subject to call or payment, and the remainder of the fund had been applied to taking up other bonds of the state as they became due and payable, after making due allowance for the proper use of the $250,000 constitutional sinking fund each year, including the year 1881, it would require a further payment by the company, on the third day of October, 1882, of $153,646.46, to entitle the company to a discharge of its liability to the state on account of the bonds, and the trustees to an assignment of the liens of the state. It is conceded that the calculation of the master is right. The only question is as to the correctness of the principles on which it rests, and of this we are satisfied. In passing the act of March 26, 1881, the state substantially said to this company that any money it paid into the treasury under the act of 1865 should be put into the sinking fund and used as soon as it was needed to meet the maturing debt of the state, and that in order to use it at the earliest possible moment all option bonds should be called in and paid as soon as it could be done according to law. Inasmuch as, before the act of 1881 was passed, the state had by its constitution made it imperative that a certain amount should be raised each year by taxation and paid into the sinking fund to be applied to the liquidation of the state debt, it is but right that this should be exhausted as far as available before the money of the company is used, but after that is exhausted the statute made it the duty of the commissioners to use any other money there might be in the fund to pay its bonds, whenever the right to make such payment should be complete. The state was not required to do this, but it did it, and the executive officers must govern themselves accordingly. It may be true, that if no such provision had been made, money might have been got by the state to take up such of its maturing bonds as could not be met by the accumulations of the annual contributions to the sinking fund out of the tax which the constitution had provided for that purpose, at a less rate of interest than six per cent., and thus a saving made, but this was for the consideration of the legislature when it passed the statute, not for the state officers afterwards. The state had the right

Opinion of the Court.

to pass the law, and when passed it was binding on those whose duty it was to obey.

It was said, however, in argument, that if the acts of 1865 and 1881 are construed in this way they are invalid, because in conflict with the following provisions of the Missouri constitution, which went into effect November 30, 1875:

Article IV., Sec. 50. "The General Assembly shall have no power to release or alienate the lien held by the state upon any railroad, or in any wise change the tenor or meaning, or pass any act explanatory thereof; but the same shall be enforced in accordance with the original terms upon which it was acquired."

Sec. 51. "The General Assembly shall have no power to release or extinguish, or authorize the releasing or extinguishing, in whole or in part, the indebtedness, liability, or obligation of any corporation or individual, to this state, or to any county or other municipal corporation therein."

The Supreme Court of Missouri did say in State v. Chappell, 74 Mo. 335, a suit brought by these trustees to compel the state treasurer to give them a certificate of payment in the form required by the act of 1865 to enable them to get from the Governor an assignment of the state's liens, that if the statutes required the acceptance of the $3,090,000 at the time it was paid in full satisfaction of the liability of the company to the state they were unconstitutional and void. But here the question is whether the same result must follow when the statutes are construed so as to require the payment of a sum of money which will enable the state to take up an equal amount of its other indebtedness bearing an equal rate of interest, and we have no hesitation in saying it does not. Section 50 deals with the lien, and section 51 with the "indebted ness, liability, or obligation." The lien cannot be released or alienated until the debt is extinguished, and the debt cannot be released or extinguished except in the manner contemplated by the law under which it was created, or by something legally equivalent. Here there is a payment of the obligation in advance of its maturity, with a view to the use of the money so paid by the state in taking up other debts at

Opinion of the Court.

their maturity for which no other provision has been made. This is, in our opinion, the legal equivalent of a payment of the liability of the company in accordance with the original terms on which it was created. By the acts under which the payment was made the money was appropriated for use in this particular way. In the meantime it was to be kept invested until that use could be made, the company indemnifying the state against its liability for interest in the meantime. A statute having such an effect violates neither the letter nor the spirit of the constitution, which was no doubt intended, as was said by the Supreme Court of Missouri in the case just cited, to prevent the " frittering away" and "extinguishment" of "the liens held by the state on railroads" without payment in full. The payment in this case in the way which the statutes contemplate will be the complete legal equivalent of such a "payment in full."

It is next contended that this suit cannot be maintained because it is in its effect a suit against the state, which is prohibited by the Eleventh Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, and Louisiana v. Jumel, 107 U. S. 711, is cited in support of this position. But this case is entirely different from that. There the effort was to compel a state officer to do what a statute prohibited him from doing. Here the suit is to get a state officer to do what a statute requires of him. The litigation is with the officer, not the state. The law makes it his duty to assign the liens in question to the trustees when. they make a certain payment. The trustees claim they have made this payment. The officer says they have not, and there is no controversy about his duty if they have. The only inquiry is, therefore, as to the fact of a payment according to the requirements of the law. If it has been made, the trustees are entitled to their decree. If it has not, a decree in their favor, as the case now stands, must be denied; but as the parties are all before the court, and the suit is in equity, it may be retained so as to determine what the trustecs must do in order to fulfil the law, and under what circumstances the Governor can be compelled to execute the assignment which has been provided for.

Statement of Facts.

The decree of the Circuit Court is reversed, so far as it fixed the amount to be paid to get an assignment of the lien, and the cause remanded with instructions to strike out the sum of $476,049.47, with interest from May 11, 1883, as the amount found due, and insert in lieu thereof $153,646.46, and interest at the rate of three per cent. per annum from October 3, 1882. In all other respects the decree is affirmed, each party to pay its own costs in this court, the expenses of printing the record and the fees of the clerk for supervision to be taxed one half to each.

MR. JUSTICE BLATCHFORD took no part in the decision of this case.



Submitted January 24, 1886. - Decided March 7, 1887.

In view of the state of the art, claim 4 of letters-patent No. 190,368, granted to Asa Quincy Reynolds, May 1, 1877, for an "improvement in automatic fruit-driers," namely, "4. In combination with a fruit-drier, the outer wall of which is made up of the frames of the several trays, as explained, a suspending device, operating substantially as described, and supporting said drier from a point in or on the lowermost tray thereof, for the objects named," is not infringed by an apparatus constructed in accordance with the description in letters-patent No. 221,056, granted to George S. Grier, October 28, 1879, for au improvement in fruit-driers." In a suit in equity for the infringement of letters-patent, prior letters-patent, though not set up in the answer, are receivable in evidence to show the state of the art, and to aid in the construction of the claim of the patent sued on, though not to invalidate that claim on the ground of want of novelty, when properly construed.


THIS was a bill in equity to prevent the infringement of letters-patent. Decree for a perpetual injunction, from which the defendants appealed. The case is stated in the opinion of the court.

Opinion of the Court.

Mr. F. O. McCleary for appellant.

Mr. Samuel A. Duncan and Mr. Leonard E. Curtis for appellee.

MR. JUSTICE BLATCHFORD delivered the opinion of the court.

This is a suit in equity brought in the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Delaware, by John F. Wilt against George S. Grier, for the infringement of letters-patent No. 190,368, granted to Asa Quincy Reynolds, May 1, 1877, for an "improvement in automatic fruit-driers." The specification, drawings, and claims of the patent are as follows:

"Figure 1 [p. 414] is a partial section and elevation of my improved fruit-drier, showing the same as being located over an ordinary stove, and illustrating a simple means of elevating the machine. Fig. 2 [p. 415] is a similar view, showing the drier as located over a large furnace, as in the most extensive dryhouses. Fig. 3 [p. 416] is a perspective view, illustrating the improved drier in a position removed from over an ordinary cooking-stove. Fig. 4 [p. 417] is a perspective view of a fragment of a square tray or section, showing more plainly the metallic lining and the sockets and pins, which may be conveniently used in this form of tray. Fig. 5 [p. 418] is a similar view of a fragment of a round tray or section, showing also the tin or metallic lining. Like letters of reference in all the figures indicate corresponding parts.

"The object of my invention is to simplify the construction of the fruit-driers in common use, both for domestic and factory purposes, reducing the cost, increasing the efficiency, and rendering them easier to be manipulated, and at the same time fire-proof, and capable of being enlarged or contracted at the pleasure of the operator; to accomplish all of which it (the invention) consists in certain details of construction and combination of parts, as will be hereinafter fully described, and then pointed out in the claims.

"In Fig. 1, N is an ordinary stove or heating-drum, over which is located the drier, consisting of a number of trays so constructed as that any one will receive a similar one above

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