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time and under circumstances when the person, Stein, and that in 1835 they had instituted making them could have no motive to misrepre- a suit against William Bowman, which suit is sent the facts.
It is a general rule that Delther husband nor wife still pending. They aver that the claim of can be a witness for or against each other. rule is subject to some exceptions, as when the he is not the heir of Nicholas Stein, as he
This Johann Frederick Stein is fraudulent, and that husband commits an offense against the person of bis wife.
alleges. They pray leave to introduce in the The husband and wife may be called as witnesses suit, and state that William Bowman is a mere In the same case, and it in their statement of facts stakeholder. William Bowman afterwards filed they should contradict each other, that would not destroy the competency of either. It would not a petition in the District Court, setting forth follow from such contradiction that elther was that individuals belonging to three different guilty of perjury. And in some cases the wife may families, the petitioners, pretend to be the be a witness under peculiar circumstances, where the husband may be interested in the question, and, nearest relations of the late Nicholas Stein, to some extent, in the event of the cause.
*and to be entitled to his estate; and he [*211 210")
to her husband, or to state that which she has learned asks, as he is only a stakeholder, that the parfrom him in their confidential intercourse. The ties contesting the claims of each other may be rule which protects the domestic relations from ex: called in to take cognizance of this suit and the peace of families and it is considered that this defend him against it. principal does not afford protection to the husband The petitioner, Johann Frederick Stein, put and wife, while they are at liberty to invoke it or in a general replication to each of the petitions not, at their discretion, when the question is pro of intervention. pounded; but it renders them incompetent to disclose facts in evidence in violation of the rule. The case was, on the application of William The husband being dead, does not weaken the Bowman, referred to a jury, and on the 3d of principle. It would seem rather to increase than March, 1837, it came on for trial; and the jury lessen the force of the rule.
To sustain a claim to the admission of the dep- found a verdict for the defendant. osition of a witness in evidence, the affidavit of a On the trial of the cause, bills of exceptions person who represented himself to be the agent of the plaintiff, stated that the witness had left Loui. were signed by the court to the decisions of the slana before the commencement of the suit, and court, on points arising during the trial of the ascended the Mississippi, with the intention of going to Oblo ; and that since then, the person who made the affidavit had not heard from him, al
The affidavit of John Rist was laid before the though he had made inquiries.
court, stating that he had made diligent inquiry BY THE COURT : This does not amount to that for Francis Stuffle, whose deposition was taken degree of diligence which the law requires to introduce secondary evidence.
in the cause in the Parish Court, between the
plaintiff and Bowman; "that he was unable to N error to the District Court of the United find him, and had been informed, and truly
States for the Eastern District of Louisiana. | believed he was dead; this information had In the District Court of the Eastern District been derived from those who knew him." of Louisiana, on the eighth day of April, The deposition also stated that Nicholas 1836, Johann Frederick Stein, an alien and a Mouzat, whose testimony was taken in the subject of the King of Hanover, presented a same cause, left Louisiana before the competition, stating that he was the sole and law. mencement of this suit, and ascended the Misful heir of Nicholas Stein, or sometimes called sissippi with the intention of going to the Nicholas Stone, who had died some time before State of Ohio; that he had not since heard from in the Parish of St. Tammany, in the State of him, although he had made inquiries for him. Louisiana. The petition prayed that William The deposition of Francis Stuffle was then Bowman, who had been appointed curator of offered in evidence by the plaintiff, and was the estate of the deceased Stein by the proper admitted by the court; to which the defendant tribunal, should be decreed to account for the excepted. estate and effects received by him, and to de. The defendant called the wife of Francis liver to the petitioner the property of the suc- Stuffle, he being dead, to prove that her huscession which had not been sold, and to pay to band had been bribed by John Rist to give evihim the amount in his hands.
dence in the case, and also to prove he had The
of William Bowman, the frequently told her he knew nothing of the curator, denied that the petitioner, Johann plaintiff, or of Nicholas Stein. The plaintiff Frederick Stein, was the heir or related to the objected to the admission of the witness; but deceased Nicholas Stein, or Stone; and averred the court allowed her to be sworn, and she gave that the claim was interposed to vex and harass her testimony. The plaintiff excepted. the respondent, and the true heirs of Nicholas The plaintiff then offered in evidence certain Stein.
German documents to prove the pedigree of the Afterwards, Andreas Stein, residing in the petitioner, which were rejected by the court, as kingdom of Hanover, presented a petition to not being sufficiently authenticated; and to the District Court, stating that in April, 1834, this rejection the plaintiff excepted. he had applied to the Court of Probate, of New The depositions which were taken, and which Orleans, claiming the succession to Nicholas were in the German language, were not signed Stein, as the heir of the deceased, and that by by the deponents; and at the end of each depthe unjust interference of Johann Frederick osition, it is stated that each of the witnesses Stein, he had been prevented recovering the assented to the same. A magistrate of the
place certifies to this fact, and this is attested Subsequently, Johann Stein, Anna Sophia under his seal by the “Royal British Hanoverian Stein, wife of Mathias Ahreus, and Luer Stein, Landrostey;” and his signature is attested un. a minor, assisted by his curator, or trustee, and der his seal, by the "Royal British Hanorerian by his guardian, all of the kingdom of Han. Minister Residentis." over, filed their petition in the Circuit Court, The defendant, William Bowman, was, durstating that they are the only heirs of Nicholas ing the trial, admitted as a witness by the
court, to testify as to the merits of the contro- Court of the Parish of St. Tammany, to reversy. The plaintiff excepted to his admission. cover it; which suit was then, and is now
The court refused to admit Stultz as a wit-pending. 212*] ness for the plaintiff, *to prove that he Johann Stein, Anna Sophia Stein, wife of had been in Hanover the preceding summer, Mathias Ahreus, and Luer Stein, a minor, also and there heard from many old persons of intervene in the suit, and say they are the only whom he inquired, that the plaintiff was the heirs of Nicholas Stein, and claim the estate. brother of Nicholas Stein. The witness stated In answer to all these petitions, Bowman, that he had gone to Germany for the purpose the defendant, answers, that he is merely a of taking a deposition; the court were of opin. stakeholder; that he has three suits pending ion that the depositions of those persons should against him to recover the same property, to have been taken.
wit, the case now on trial, and two suits in St. The plaintiff prosecuted this writ of error. Tammany.
The case was submitted to the court in print- The plaintiff and appellant answers the two ed arguments by Mr. Crittenden for the plain- petitions of intervention, and take issue with tiff in error, and by Mr. Garland for the de. the parties named in them, as to their claims fendant.
to be recognized as heirs. Mr. Crittenden, for the plaintiff in error, Nicholas Stein, it appears from the testimony, stated that
came to the United States about thirty years The plaintiff, J. F. Stein, insists that the previous to his death, from the kingdom of court erred in all the opinions and decisions Hanover. After his arrival, he never heard excepted on his part, and has prosecuted a writ from any of his relations, or did he ever have of error to reverse the judgment rendered any intercourse with them, except writing one against him.
letter, which is in the possession of one of the A decision by this court, on all the questions interpleaders, addressed to him as a brother. presented by these bills of exceptions, will The record shows that a man named Rist probably be necessary to the proper final dis. (who is a gambler in Louisiana) is the person position of the case in the court below, and, who is prosecuting the claim in the name of therefore, they are all insisted upon and sub- the plaintiff and appellant. We allege it is mitted to this court. If the single object was fraudulent, and is attempted to be sustained by merely a reversal of the judgment, it is sup- perjury, and that Rist is the party really in. posed that errors obvious and sufficient for the terested. purpose are made manifest by the bills of ex- It also very satisfactorily appears that a suit ceptions.
was instituted in 1834 by the appellant, or From the first exception it appears that the rather by Rist, in his name, in the Probate court permitted Bowman, the defendant, to Court of the Parish of St. Tammany, against become a witness in his own case; and, in the the appellees, to recover this same property. second, that a woman was permitted to violate This was in the parish where Nicholas Stein the sacred confidence and intimacy of married had resided many years previous to his death, life, by giving testimony to betray and crim. and where all the circumstances relating to his inate her deceased husband. The law condemns affairs were known. That suit was decided it. Starkie on Evidence, Vol. II., part 4, page against the plaintiff on the merits. He took 705, etc., and 709, etc.
an appeal to the Supreme Court of the State, Mr. Garland, for the defendant in error: where every point taken in the inferior court
Nicholas Stein, generally called and known and decided upon in the course on the trial, as Nicholas Stone, died in the Parish of St. was affirmed; but that tribunal set aside the Tammany, Louisiana, in the year 1833, leaving final judgment on the merits, without giving an estate estimated to be worth about twenty- any reason for so doing, and entered up a five thousand dollars. In October, 1833, Bow judgment of nonsuit. The cause was tried by man, one of the present defendants, was ap- a jury, and after an investigation of three days pointed by the proper tribunal, curator of the a general verdict was rendered in favor of the estate, and took upon himself the administra defendant, on the 4th of March, 1837. tion.
On the 11th of March, 1837, the plaintiff, in The plaintiff alleges that Nicholas Stein died an informal manner, moved the court for a new without leaving either legal ascendants, de trial, on various grounds; which motion was scendants, or collaterals, except himself; and rejected, because not asked for within the de. that he is the only brother and sole heir. That lay prescribed by law and the rules of the the term allowed by law to Bowman to admin. court. It will not be denied that, so far as all ister the estate has expired, and he is entitled questions of practice are involved, that the to the whole of it. He therefore asks for an laws of the State of Louisiana, and the deciaccount and payment of the amount that has sions of its courts, are to govern in the courts been received.
of the United States. 7 Laws United States, Bowman denies positively that the plaintiff p. 315. is the brother or any relation of Nicholas Stein, In this case a new trial cannot be awarded, deceased; and says that his claim to the estate and the cause remanded, even if the court is unfounded and fraudulent, and intended should be of opinion there was error in the de. to defraud, vex, and harass him and the real cision of any of the points made in the District heirs.
Court because *the appellant has aban. (*214 Andrew Stein intervenes in the suit, and doned or lost the right he may have had to have alleges he is the nearest of kin, and sole heir his case revised or examined in that way. A of Nicholas Stein, and claims the estate; new trial being one of the modes prescribed by 213*] *and that he has instituted a suit in one law of having a judgment revised or re-examof the State tribunals, to wit, the Probate lined, if the party does not avail himself of it in the manner and within the time directed, he and then Bowman refused to pay over, the case can no more have that benefit than he could would be different. that of an appeal, if he had not taken it with- As to the recognition of heirs and their in the time and in the manner directed by law. rights, before and after, the court is respect. Louisiana Code of Practice, articles 556, 557; 4 fully referred to Louisiana Code, articles—; Martin's Reports, N. S. 532.
Louisiana Code of Practice, articles Nos. 1000The manner of applying for a new trial, and 1004, and the amendment at page 348. the time within which the application must be Bowman is not individually liable for costs made, is specially and particularly described, until the plaintiff shall be recognized as heir, and the appellant has not complied with the and he has put him in delay; until then he is law in a single particular. Louisiana Code of the representative of all persons interested, and Practice, articles 558, 559, 560, 561.
the costs are paid out of the estate. As a Taking it for granted that the court will not stakeholder, Bowman is a competent witness remand the cause, it must be examined on its The plaintiff's fourth bill is to the rejection merits; and it is submitted whether there are of Stultz as a witness. The court was certain. sufficient grounds to set aside the verdict of the ly correct in rejecting his testimony. The jury and reverse the judgment. The law of cases in which hearsay testimony is admitted the case is very plain, if the plaintiff has sus- are all specified. They are exceptions to a gen. tained his allegations by proof. Is he the sole eral rule, and the counsel for the appellant relative in the ascending, descending or collat- must show that this is one of the exceptions. eral line to Nicholas Stein, deceased? If he is, It will be difficult, it is believed, to convince there is an end of the question. Is there enough the court that the authority referred to will on the record to satisfy the court that he is, authorize the reception of the evidence of this even admitting all the evidence rejected in the witness. The persons whose declarations are court below! It is not sufficient the plaintiff to be stated are alive. It is, besides, shown to should show he is a brother; but before he can the court that the plaintiff or appellant has al. claim the whole estate he must show the father leged that he had documentary evidence of his and mother of Nicholas Stein are dead. If being the heir, and that he offered it in evi. both or either of them are alive, the brother dence, but it was rejected, because not pre cannot inherit the whole estate; because in sented in a legal shape. Ancient boundaries Louisiana ascendants inherit as well as broth- and pedigree may sometimes be proved by traers and sisters. Ascendants are what are called dition, and the common understanding of old forced heirs, and like descendants, cannot be persons; but affinity and the relationship of disinherited, even by testament, but for cause. collateral heirs do not come within the rule. Fathers or mothers do not entirely exclude The plaintiff's fifth bill is to the admission of brothers or sisters, or their descendants; but, Mrs. Stupfel, or Stuffle, to testify as a witness. before these last can inherit solely, they must There is no known law that prohibits man and show no forced heirs are living. Louisiana wife from giving testimony in a cause between Code, articles 883, 899, 907, 908, 1481, 1482; third persons, or prohibits the wife from con12 Martin's Reports, 390.
tradicting the husband, or proving any other As to the plaintiff's first bill of exception, it facts she may know. She cannot testify for or is not necessary to say anything. It is taken against him in a suit in which he is a party, or to the admission of Bowman's affidavit, of interested. fered for the purpose of affecting the jurisdic- The plaintiff's sixth bill of exception is to the tion of the court; and as the court afterwards rejection of a deposition of a witness named decide that the exception to the jurisdiction Mouzat, which had been taken under a comwas made too late, there is no pecessity for it, mission issued in the suit in the Probate Court, unless the court shall consider it in connection and which the plaintiff wished to read as evi. with the defendant's third bill of exception. dence in this suit, on the pretext that Mouzat
The second bill of the plaintiff is taken to was absent and could not be found. The judge the rejection of certain documents in the Ger. I was not *satisfied of his absence; it was 1*216 man language. These are the same papers that not pretended he was dead. It does not apwere offered in evidence in the first suit of the pear any effort was made to procure his attend. Probate Court, rejected by it, and that decision ance, or have his deposition taken. affirmed by the Supreme Court of the State of The plaintiff's seventh bill of exception is to Louisiana. It is sufficient to refer to that de- the refusal of the court to award a new trial, cision. Louisiana Reports, vol. —, page, or to permit a motion for it, and the grounds and the decisions therein referred to.
to be filed. The district judge was certainly 215*). *The plaintiff's third bill is to the correct in his opinion. By the rules of the admission of Bowman as a witness. The bill court, the time had expired and the motion does not specify any particular objection, which was not made in the manner or the time preit certainly ought to do, and the court is left to scribed by law. Louisiana Code of Practice, conjecture the ground of exception. No ob- articles Nos. 557-561. jection to the defects in the bill are intended to If in conformity with this opinion that the be waived; on the contrary, we insist on all the court cannot send the cause back for a new legal exceptions to it. It is supposed the ob- trial, and it shall proceed to investigate the jection to Bowman is that he is a party on the merits, it will not perhaps be necessary to derecord. But the court will recollect he has no cide on any of the defendants' bills of exceppersonal interest in the case. He is a mere tions. But if the court should determine to stakeholder, ready to deliver any property or send the cause back, contrary to expectation, money he has in possession to whoever is legal. or should it be considered necessary in the in. ly entitled to receive it. The plaintiff has nev. vestigation, it is not intended to waive any ar been recognized as an hair. If he had been legal ground taken in them.
The first exception of the defendants is to the questions as are propounded ought not to be reception by the district judge of a document answered. Has he done so? By answering called a deposition de bene esse, of a person the question, would she criminate her husband, called Henry Munget. It is not taken by the subject him to any penalty or action of any authority of any court, nor is any notice given kind? Clearly not, for he is beyond the reach to the defendants of its being taken. As to of any legal proceedings. No breach of confithe first ground taken in the bill, see Louisiana dence is involved, nor do the relations exist; in Code of Practice, articles 424-431, etc.; also, which it is the object of the law to preserve Amendment, page 156. As to the second and harmony, by preventing the husband or wife third grounds, it is not necessary to produce from testifying as to what one tells the other. authorities. The fourth is settled by the de- The authority cited by the counsel does not go cision given in the Supreme Court of Louisiana, the length that is contended. It is hoped tħe in this case, already referred to.
court will examine it particularly, and refer. The defendant's second exception is to the ence is made to the second English edition of admission of the deposition of Francis Stupfel, Starkie on Evidence, Vol. II. 401, 402, and the or Stufile. As to first and third grounds, it is authorities there cited. sufficient to refer again to the case between In the case of The King v. The Inhabitants these parties in the Supreme Court of Loui- of All Saints, Worcester, the court evidently in. siana. As to the second, a reference is made to tended to narrow very much, if not entirely Code of Practice, articles 430-435, etc. contradict the positions previously taken, which
The verdict of the jury has negatived every Starkie says were certainly too extensive and allegation of the plaintiff that he is a brother indefinite. The only effect of the evidence of or heir of Nicholas Stein, deceased, and it is Mrs. Stuffile would be to cast a reflection upon presumed the court will not disturb it. the memory of her deceased husband. During
Mr. Garland also submitted an additional his lifetime she might have been called to prove printed argument.
what might have disgraced him, and he might He stated that as to the plaintiff's third bill have been compelled to answer himself a ques. of exception, he would refer the court to Mar- tion that would have had the same effect. 1 tin's Rep. N. 8. Vol. IV. p. 21; and also to Starkie, second English edition, pages 167 to page 72 of the same volume, and 10 Martin, 172, inclusive. 637, as applicable to the point under considera- The court were also referred to the opinion tion, and to several others in the case. The of the Supreme Court of Louisiana, in a suit court are asked to attend particularly to what between the same parties, decided on the 21st Bowman states in his affidavit, it is that Rist is of March, 1836. the real party, having purchased all the rights of Stein, the plaintiff, and he could
prove it by Mr. Justice M'Lean delivered the opinion of witnesses who are named in the affidavit, who of the court: were afterwards introduced, and actually did This case was brought originally in the prove it. The facts stated by Bowman having District Court of the United States for the been proved by other legal testimony, the bill | Eastern District of Louisiana; and on the trial ought not to be noticed. 5 Martin's Rep. certain exceptions were taken to the ruling of 213.
the court by the plaintiff, and which (*218 Bowman is competent to testify as to the he now brings before this court on a writ of identity or relationship of Stein, the plaintiff, error. in a case where several are claiming the prop- The action was brought by petition, in the 917) erty *in his possession. It is a matter form peculiar to the courts of Louisiana, to of no concern to him who is recognized as the compel the defendant to render an account as heir. He has to pay to whoever shall recover. curator of the estate of Nicholas Stone, or The costs are paid out of the estate. His com Stein, deceased. missions, as curator, are neither increased nor The plaintiff represents himself as an alien, diminished, nor has he any interest in the and as the only heir-at-law of the deceased. event of the suit which will disqualify him. Some time after the defendant had answered The case would be different were a stranger the petition, Johann Stein and others filed their claiming something of the curator as a debt, or petition of intervention, denying the stateif he were claiming a debt, or the benefit of a ments in the plaintiff's petition, and representcontract The effect of his evidence, then, ing themselves to be the true heirs of the dewould be to increase or diminish the amount of ceased. the succession, and, consequently, the com- The cause was submitted to a jury; and on pensation of the curator. Bowman is the legal the trial, to sustain his case, the plaintiff ofagent of all the heirs, or those claiming as such, fered in evidence certain German documents, for until some one is recognized as heir according the purpose of using such parts of them as conto law. To test the competency of Bowman, tained the depositions which related to the the court have only to examine whether he pedigree of the plaintiff; which were overruled will directly gain or lose anything by the event by the court, on the ground that they were not of this suit. 2 Martin's Rep. N. 8. 333; 4 duly authenticated. And this constitutes the N. S. 539; 3 N. S. 11; also, 166.
first exception. The question raised by the plaintiff's fifth Several depositions appear to have been bill of exception is whether the widow of taken, but none of them were signed by the Francis Stuffle can testify to what her deceased deponents. At the close of them it is stated : husband told her previous to his death; which “After the preceding depositions were read to statement would go to discredit his evidence. the deponents, they gave their assent to them She is certainly a competent witness to testify and approbation. in the case, and the plaintiff must show such (Seal.) (Signed) R. V. D. Busseke.
"Seen, for attestation of the preceding sig. we think it is not sustained either by principle nature, of the Royal Amtsvagtey Burgwedel. or authority.” "Luneburg
Bowman was a party on the record, was Royal British Hanoverian Landdrostey. curator, as represented, and was prima facie (Seal.]
Ruemern." liable for the cost of suit. To which is added :
But if there could have been a release for the "The subjoined signature of the Royal costs executed, or the money to cover the costs Britannic Land Bailiwick at Luneburg is here had been paid into court, his competency would by attested.
not have been restored. "Hamburg, Sept. 19th, 1834.
The objection to his competency does not "Royal Britannic Hanoverian Minister Resi- arise so much from the small pecuniary liabili. dentis.
ty to the payment of costs, as from that strong "Im Ausftrage by authority. G. W. Kern.” bias which every party to a suit must naturally [Seal.]
feel. And this influence is not the less danger. In the case of Church v. Hubbart, 2 Cranch, ous, if the party be unconscious of its existence. 187, this court held that a certificate of a Every individual who prosecutes or defends consul under his consular seal is not a suffi- a suit is, in the nature of things, disposed cient authentication of a foreign law to go in to view most favorably his own side of the evidence, it not being one of his consular controversy, and, with no small degree of functions to grant such certificates. And also prejudice, the side of his adversary. We that the proceedings of a foreign court, under think, therefore, to admit a party on the record, the seal of a person who styles himself the under any circumstances, to be sworn as a wit"Secretary of Foreign Affairs in Portugal,” is ness in chief, would be attended with great not evidence.
danger. It would lead to perjuries, and the On the principle of this case, it would seem most injurious consequences, in the administrathat the court very properly rejected the depo- tion of justice. We think, therefore, the court sitions offered.
erred in admitting Bowman as a witness. The certificate and seal of the minister resi *The next exception of the plaintiff (*220 dent from Great Britain in Hanover is not a s arises from the rejection of Stultz as a witness, proper authentication for the proceedings of a who was introduced to prove that he had been foreign court, or of the proceedings of an officer in Hanover, in Germany, “last summer;" and 219*] authorized to take *depositions. It is there heard, from many old persons of whom not connected in any way with the functions he inquired, that the plaintiff was the brother of the minister. His certificate and seal could of Nicholas Stone, deceased. only authenticate those acts which are appro And this court have no doubt that this evi. priate to his office.
dence was properly overruled by the District The authority to take the depositions by the Court. person before whom they were taken nowhere From necessity, in cases of pedigree, hearsay appears; and it is not shown that the Royal evidence is admissible. But this rule is limited Britannic Hanoverian Land Bailiwick, Ruemern, to the members of the family, who may be was authorized to attest, as he has done, the supposed to have known the relationships which signature of R. V. D. Busseke.
existed in its different branches. The declara. If the attestation of the signature, and right tions of these individuals, they being dead, of the person who administered the oaths, were may be given in evidence to prove pedigree; duly certified under the seal of a responsible and so is reputation, which is the hearsay of officer, whose appropriate duty it was to give those who may be supposed to have known the such certificate, it might be received, so far as fact, handed down from one to another, evithe authentication goes, as prima facie evidence, dence. As evidence of this description must though not under the great seal of the State. vary by the circumstances of each case, it is It may be proper, however, to remark (though difficult, if not impracticable, to deduce from the point was not raised in the court below) the books any precise and definite rule on the that if the authentication had been sufficient, subject. the depositions would have been inadmissible, "It is not every statement or tradition in the they not having been taken under a commis family that can be admitted in evidence.” The sion, which is the only mode by which deposi- tradition must be from persons having such a tions in a foreign country can be taken. connection with the party to whom it relates,
In the course of the trial, Bowman, the de- that it is natural and likely, from their fendant, was admitted as a witness by the domestic habits and connections, that they are court; and, being sworn, gave evidence to the speaking the truth, and that they could not be jury respecting the merits of the case. And to mistaken. 1 Philips, 174; 2 Dallas, 116. this decision of the court, overruling the ob The declarations proposed to be proved by jection made, the plaintiff also excepted. the witness, do not appear to have been made
No rule is better established than that a by members of the family, or by persons who party, in an action at law, cannot be a witness had such connections with the deceased as to in his own case.
have a personal knowledge of the facts stated. In the case of Scott v. Lloyd, 12 Peters, 149, And these persons, for aught that appears, are this court said: “The decision in 1 Peters, C. still living, and their depositions might be C. R. 301, where the court held a party named taken. on the record might be released, so as to con On both these grounds, the evidence was institute him a competent witness, has been admissible. But there is another ground on cited and relied on in the argument.” “Such which the opinion of the District Court can be a rule,” the court remarked, “would hold out sustained, and it is proper to state it. to parties a strong temptation to perjury; and The declarations offered as evidence wers