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based on the allegation that the judgment had been paid. Thus, as many different actions as the city might allege grounds for claiming the sale would be illegal could be maintained seriatim, and no one judgment would conclude the city except as to the particular ground upon wbich the city proceeded in each particular case. And yet all these different grounds would simply form evidence upon which the original cause of action was based, namely, the alleged illegality of the apprehended sale. They would form simply separate facts upon which the cause of action might rest. There is no difference in the nature of the ground now urged in this case from the other grounds actually set up in the chancery suit.

It is true that in the chancery suit the thing demanded was an injunction restraining Klein from selling the property, while in this suit it is a decree declaring the sale effected by Klein absolutely null and void. But the two demands, though different in terms, are in substance the same, and are founded upon the same cause of action, viz., the total illegality of the sale, whether threatened or accomplished. The demand in the later action is simply altered to conform to the fact that there had been a sale of the property, while the demand in the former suit was based upon the fact that there had not been a sale, and the relief demanded was an injunction to prevent such sale. In substance and effect the thing demanded is the same in both cases.

It is contended, however, that the ground now urged for the illegality of the sale, namely, a long prior dedication of the property to public use, is of a totally different nature from the grounds which were set up in the chancery suit; that the city there appeared in a different capacity from that in which it now appears, and that it was, therefore, unnecessary to allege or prove this ground in that suit, and that a judgment in the former suit in favor of the right of Klein to sell this property does not conclude the city from proving that he had no such right by reason of the character of the property sold. Although the city has been more than fifteen years in discovering this defence, yet, nevertheless, it is now argued that a judgment against the city in the chancery suit being a judgment against

Opinion of the Court.

it in a different capacity from that in which it appears in this action as a trustee for the public, the rule applies in such a case as it sometimes does in the case of a judgment against A B, in relation to property held by him as executor or as trustee, which would be no evidence for or against A B in his individual and personal capacity. Collins v. Hydorn, 135 N. Y. 320. Although there are exceptions even to that rule. Morton v. Packwood, 3 La. Ann. 167; Fouché v. Harrison, 78 Georgia, 359.

We think there is no double capacity in this case, and that the city appears in the same character and capacity in both these suits, and that in this suit it is bound by the judgment in the chancery suit.

The title to land which has been dedicated to public use, as for a highway or public square in a city, is in the city as trustee for the public, and it has been held, in the case of such a dedication of land in a proposed city, to be thereafter built, that the fee will remain in abeyance until the proper grantee or city comes in esse, when it will vest in such city. A dedication to the public may exist where there is no city or town or corporate entity to take as grantee, and in such case, while the fee may remain in the individual who dedicates the land, he will be estopped from setting it up as against the public who may be interested in the use of the land according to its dedication. Nevertheless, when a dedication is made in an existing city, the city takes title as trustee. These statements are borne out by the following cases: Pawlet v. Clark, 9 Cranch, 292; Beatty v. Kurtz, 2 Pet. 566; Cincinnati v. White's Lessee, 6 Pet. 431, 435, 436; Barclay v. Howell's Lessee, 6 Pet. 498; New Orleans v. United States, 10 Pet. 662; Police Jury v. Foulhouze, 30 La. Ann. 64.

Although the city holds property of such nature in trust for the public, that fact does not distinguish it from the character or capacity in which the city holds its other property, so as to bring the case within the meaning of the rule that a judgment against a man as an administrator does not bind him as an individual. The city holds all property which it owns, as trustee for the public, although certain classes or kinds of property, such as the public streets, the public squares, the court VOL. CLXXVII-26

Opinion of the Court.

house and the jail, cannot be taken on execution against it, for reasons which are plain to be seen. Such property is so necessary for the present and daily use of the city as the representative of the public, as well as for the use of the public itself, that to allow it to be taken on execution against the city would interfere so substantially with the immediate wants and rights of the public whose trustee the city is, and also with the due performance of the duties which are imposed upon the city by virtue of its incorporation, that it ought not to be tolerated. Other property which the city might hold, not being so situated, might be taken on execution against it, but it nevertheless holds that very property, as trustee. It holds it for the purpose of discharging in a general way the duties which it owes to the public, that is, to the inhabitants of the city. The citizens or inhabitants of a city, not the common council or local legislature, constitute the “corporation” of the city. 1 Dillon on Municipal Corporations, 3d ed. sec. 40. The corporation as sych has no human wants to be supplied. It cannot eat or drink or wear clothing or live in houses. It must as to all its property be the representative or trustee of somebody or of some aggregation of persons, and it must, therefore, hold its property for the same use, call that use either public or private. It is a use for the benefit of individuals. A municipal corpo ration is the trustee of the inhabitants of that corporation, and it holds all its property in a general and substantial, although not in a strictly technical, sense in trust for them. They are the people of the State inbabiting that particular subdivision of its territory, a fluctuating class constantly passing out of the scope of the trust by removal and death and as constantly renewed by fresh accretions of population. The property which a municipal corporation holds is for their use and is held for their benefit. Any of the property held by a city does not belong to the mayor, or to any or all of the members of the common council, nor to the common people as individual property. If any of those functionaries should appropriate the property or its avails to his own use, he would be guilty of embezzlement, and if one of the people not clothed with official station should do the like, he would be guilty of larceny. So we see

Opinion of the Court.

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that whatever property a municipal corporation holds, it holds it in trust for its inhabitants, in other words, for the public, and the only difference in the trust existing in the case of a public highway or a public square, and other cases, is that in the one case the property cannot be taken in execution against the city, while in other cases it may be. The right of the city is less absolute in the one case than in the other, but it owns all the property in the same capacity and character as a corpo ration, and in trust for the inhabitants thereof. Views similar to these have been heretofore substantially expressed by the late Judge Denio, in speaking for the Court of Appeals of New York in Darlington v. Mayor, 31 N. Y. 164.

From these considerations we are of opinion that there is no difference in the character of the title by which a municipal corporation holds these two classes of property, but there is simply a difference in the power which such corporation can exercise over its property in the two cases. That difference arises from the peculiar nature of the use of the property, which in the one case requires it to be inalienable and not liable for the debts of the city, while in the other case it is open both to alienation and to sale under execution. In each case the character.or capacity in which the city in fact holds the title is the same.

We, therefore, think the former judgment should have been admitted in evidence upon the trial of this action. By that judgment it conclusively appears that this property was legally

the execution on Klein's judgment, and that the purchaser at the sale obtained a title which was good. This title the plaintiff in error now owns, and it must prevail against the claim of the city. The judgment of the Supreme Court of Louisiana must be

reversed, and the cause remanded to that court for further proceedings not inconsistent with the opinion of this court, and it is so ordered.

sold upon

MR. JUSTICE McKenna did not hear the argument, and took no part in the decision of this case.

Statement of the Case.



No. 220. Argued November 9, 1899. - Decided April 16, 1900.

A proceeding for a mandamus is " a suit" within the meaning of that term

as employed in Rev. Stat. & 709. A Federal question, which was decided in the court below, is involved in

this suit. The statute of June 13, 1848, c. 448, “ to meet war expenditures, and for

other purposes," does not forbid an express company, upon which is imposed the duty of paying a tax upon express matter, from requiring the shipper to furnish the stamp, or the means of paying for it.

The Attorney General of the State of Michigan on the relation of George F. Moore and others commenced proceedings in the Circuit Court of Wayne County, Michigan, against the American Express Company. The company was described as “a joint stock association organized and existing under the laws of the State of New York and having its principal business office located in the city of New York, in said State.” It was averred that the company complied with the requirements of certain statutes of the State of Michigan and bad obtained the necessary certificate authorizing it to carry on an express business in that State, and in order to conduct such business had a large number of agents and offices in the State. The petition then alleged that on June 13, 1898, the Congress of the United States passed an act commonly designated as the War Revenue Act, by which it was made the duty of express companies on receiving a package for carriage to issue a receipt for such package, and providing that the receipt thus issued should bear a one cent stamp. After referring to the text of the act of Congress on the above subject, it was alleged that by the provisions of the law in question the primary and absolute duty was imposed upon express companies to provide the receipt and to affix and cancel the one cent stamp as required by law. The following averments were then made:

“That by reason of a desire of the respondent (the express company) to avoid the payment of the stamp tax, so called, and to impose such obligation on the shipper, the respondent

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