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the event of the perding suit respecting it; we 1824. may lay it down as a proposition, safely to be af- om firmed, that all the defendants in the cause were 1. liable in an action at law for the amount of this decree. If the original injunction was properly awarded, for the reasons stated in the preceding part of this opinion, the money, having reached the hands of all those to whom it afterwards came with notice of that injunction, might be pursued. so long as it remained a distinct deposit, neither mixed with the money of the treasury, nor put into circulation. Were it to be admitted, that the orrginal injunction was not properly awarded, still the amended and supplemeðtal bill, which bringe before the Court all the parties who had been con cerned in the transaction, was filed after the cause of action bad completely accrued. The money of the Bank had been taken, without authority, by some of the defendants, and was detained by the only person who was not an original wrong door, in a specific form; so that detinue migbt have been maintained for it, bad it been in the power of the Bank to prove the facts which are necessary to establish the identity of the property suod for. Under such circumstances, we think, a Conrt of equity may afford its aid, on the ground that a digcovery is necessary, and also on the same principle that an injunction issues to restrain a person who ban fraudulently obtained possession of negotiable Dates, from putting them into circulation; or a person baving the apparent ownership of stock really belonging to another, from transferring it. The suit, then, might be as wel} sustained in a

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1824. Court of equity as in a Court of law, and the ob

j ection that the interests of the State are commit

ted to subordinate agents, if true, is the unavoidaU.S. Bank

ble consequence of exemption from being sued
of sovereignty. The interests of the United States
are sometimes committed to subordinate agents.
It was the case in Hoyt v. Gelston, in the case
of The Apollon, and in the case of Doddridge's
Lessee v. Thompson and Wright, and in many
others. An independent foreign sovereign cannot
be sued, and does not appear in Court. But a
friend of the Court comes in, and, by suggestion,
gives it to understand, that his interests are in-
volved in the controversy. The interests of the
sovereign, in such a case, and in every other where
he chooses to assert tham ,under the name of the
rea' party to the cause are as well defended as if
he were a party to the record. But his preten-
sions, where they are not well founded, cannot
arrest the right of a party having a right to the
thing for which he sues. Where the right is in
the plaintiff, and the possession in the defendant,
the inquiry cannot be stopped by the mere asser-
tion of title in a sovereign. The Court must pro-
ceed to investigate the assertion, and examine the
title. In the case at bar, the tribunal established
by the constitution, for the purpose of deciding,
ultimately, in all cases of this description, had so-
lemnly determined, that a State law imposing a
tax on the Bank of the United States, was uncon-
stitutional and void, before the wrong was commit-
ted for which this suit was brought.

We think, then, that there is no error in the de

1824. n Osborn

cree of the Circuit Court for the district of Ohio,
so far as it directs restitution of the specific sum
of 98,000 dollars, which was taken out of the
Bank unlawfully, and was in the possession of the
defendant, Samuel Sullivan, when the injunction
was awarded, in September, 1820, to restrain him
from paying it away, or in any manner using it;
and so far as it directs the payment of the remain-
ing sum of 2000 dollars, by the defendants, Ralph
Osborne and John L. Harper; but that the same
is erroneous, so far as respects the interest on the
coin, part of the said 98,000 dollars, it being the
opinion of this Court, that, while the parties were
restrained by the authority of the Circuit Court
from using it, they ought not to be charged with
interest. The decree of the Circuit Court for the
district of Ohio is affirmed, as to the said sums of
98,000 dollars, and 2000 dollars; and reversed, as
to the residue.

Mr. Justice JOHNSON. The argument in this cause presents three questions: 1. Has Congress granted to the Bank of the United States, an unlimited right of suing in the Courts of the United States? 2. Could Congress constitutionally grant such a right? . and 3. Has the power of the Court been legally and constitutionally exercised in this guit ?

I have very little doubt that the public mind will be easily reconciled to the decision of the Court here rendered ; for, whether necessary or unnecessary originally, a state of things has now grown up, in some of the States, which renders all

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1824. the protection necessary, that the general gover

W ment can give to this Bank. The policy of the Osborn

decision is obvious, that is, if the Bank is to be sugu U.S. Bank.

tained; and few will bestow upon its legal correctness, the reflection, that it is necessary to test it by the constitution and laws, under which it is rendered.

The Bank of the United States, is now identified with the administration of the national government. It is an immense machine, economically and beneficially applied to the fiscali transactions of the nation. Attempts have been made to dispense with it, and they have failed; serious and very weighty doubts have been entertained of its constitutionality, but they have been abandoned ; and it is now become the functionary that collects, the depository that holds, the vehicle that transports, the guard that protects, and the agent that distributes and pays away, the millions that pass annually through the national treasury; and all this, not only without expense to the government, but after paying a large bonus, and sustaining actual annual losses to a large amount ; furnishing the only possible means of embodying the most ample security for so immense a charge.

Had its effects, however, and the views of its framers, been confined exclusively to its fiscal uses, it is more than probable that this suit, and the laws in which it originated, would never have had existence. But it is well known, that with that object was combined another, of a very general, and not less important character.

The expiration of the charter of the former Bank, led to State creations of Banks ; each new Bank in

creased the facilities of creating others; and the 1824. necessities of the general government, both to Choo make use of the State Banks for their deposits, v. and to borrow largely of all who would lend to

U.S. Bank. them, produced that rage for multiplying Banks, which, aided by the emoluments, derived to the States in their creation, and the many individual incentives which they developed, soon inundated the country with a new description of bills of credit, against which it was obvious that the provisions of the constitution opposed no adequate inhibition. · A specie-paying Bank, with an overwhelming capital, and the whole aid of the government deposits, presented the only resource to which the government could resort, to restore that power over the currency of the country, which the framers of the constitution evidently intended to give to . Congress alone. But this necessarily involved a restraint upon individual cupidity, and the exercise of State power; and, in the nature of things, it was hardly possible for the mighty effort necessary to put down an evil spread so wide, and arrived to such maturity, to be made without embodying against it an immense moneyed combination, which could not fail of making its influence to be felt, wherever its claimances could reach, or its industry and wealth be brought to operate.

I believe, that the good sense of a people, who know that they govern themselves, and feel that they have no interests distinct from those of their government, would readily concede to the Bank, thus circumstanced, some, if not all the rights here

Vol. IX.

110

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