U.S. Supreme Court
HARDEN v. FISHER, 14 U.S. 300 (1816)
14 U.S. 300 (Wheat.)
FISHER ET AL.
March 18, 1816
ERROR to the circuit court for the district of New-York. This case was argued, with great learning and ability, by Hoffman, for the plaintiff in error, and defendant in ejectment, and by Stockton, for the
defendants in error, and plaintiffs in ejectment. But, as the court gave no judgment upon the points discussed, the argument has been omitted.
MARSHALL, Ch. J., delivered the opinion of the court.
This is an action of ejectment, brought by the defendants in error, in the circuit court for the district of New-York, to recover certain lands, which they claim as the heirs of Donald Fisher, deceased. A special verdict was found in the case, which shows that Donald Fisher was a British subject, residing in the city of New-York, and departed this life in the year 1798, leaving the lessors of the plaintiffs in ejectment his heirs at law, who are, also, British subjects. The plaintiffs, being thus found to be British subjects, are incapable of maintaining an action for real estate in the state of New-York, unless they are enabled to do so by the 9th article of the treaty between the United States and Great Britain, made in the year 1794, which provides that British subjects, holding lands in the United States, and their heirs, so far as respects those lands, and the legal remedies incident thereto, should not be considered as aliens. To avail themselves of this treaty, the lessors of the plaintiff below must show that their ancestors held the lands for which this suit was instituted, at the time when it was made. The court does not mean to say that they must show a seisin in fact, or an actual possession of the land, but that the title was in him at the time. This must be [14 U.S. 300, 302]
Full Text of Opinion