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Opinion of the Court.

234 U.S.

question because it embraced territory greatly in excess of what the situation required, and because its operation was not confined to a designated period reasonable in duration, but apparently was intended to be perpetual. As to this the court said (p. 486):

"As the power is incident only to the presence of the Indians and their status as wards of the Government, it must be conceded that it does not go beyond what is reasonably essential to their protection, and that, to be effective, its exercise must not be purely arbitrary, but founded upon some reasonable basis. Thus, a prohibition like that now before us, if covering an entire State when there were only a few Indian wards in a single county, undoubtedly would be condemned as arbitrary. And a prohibition valid in the beginning doubtless would become inoperative when in regular course the Indians affected were completely emancipated from Federal guardianship and control. A different view in either case would involve an unjustifiable encroachment upon a power obviously residing in the State. On the other hand, it must also be conceded that, in determining what is reasonably essential to the protection of the Indians, Congress is invested with a wide discretion, and its action, unless purely arbitrary, must be accepted and given full effect by the courts."

Although the circumstances of the present case are different, and we are here dealing with a question of obsolescence rather than of original invalidity, the language just quoted indicates the point of view from which the question should be approached. But we must not forget that the question is one, primarily, for the consideration of the law-making body; nor are we in danger of doing so, since by the very terms of the stipulation now under consideration the prohibition of the liquor traffic was to continue "until otherwise provided by Congress." We do not mean to say that if it appeared that no considerable

Opinion of the Court.

number of Indians remained wards of the Government within the territory in question, the courts would not be justified in declaring that since the constitutional warrant for the restriction no longer existed the restriction must expire with it. But where the question confessedly turns not upon a total, nor even upon an approximately complete, emancipation of the Indians from the Federal guardianship, but upon their unimportance as compared with the interests of the population at large, we think the question is legislative rather than judicial.

234 U.S.

Indeed, it has only recently been under consideration by Congress. On February 17, 1911 (Senate Doc. No. 824, 61st Cong., 3d Sess., Vol. 85), the President, in a special message, called attention to the situation in Minnesota, resulting from the operation of the old Indian treaties under present conditions; and with respect to the area ceded by the Chippewas in 1855, he stated: "The records of the Indian Bureau show that there are within said area, under the jurisdiction of the superintendents of the White Earth and Leech Lake Reservations, 7,196 Indians who can be amply protected by limiting the territory as to which said treaty provisions shall remain in force and effect to the area within and contiguous to said reservations, particularly described as follows: . I therefore recommend that Congress modify the article of said treaty quoted above so as to exclude from the operations of its provisions all of the territory ceded by said treaty to the United States, except that immediately above described."

That Congress has not yet acted upon this recommendation is evidence that the problem is not so entirely obvious of solution that it can be judicially declared to be beyond the range of legislative discretion.

Since it must be admitted that complainants have no ground of relief against defendants if the restriction remains in force at Bemidji, as we hold that it does, it follows


that the decree of the District Court should be reversed, and the cause remanded with directions to dismiss the bill.

234 U.S.

Decree reversed.

MR. JUSTICE MCKENNA and MR. JUSTICE LURTON dissent upon grounds expressed in the opinion of the District Court, reported in 183 Fed. Rep. 611.



No. 861. Argued April 15, 1914.-Decided June 8, 1914.

The obligation given by the surety under the District of Columbia Materialmen's Act of 1899 which is modeled after the General Materialmen's Act of 1894, has a dual aspect, being given not only to secure the Government the faithful performance of all the obligations assumed towards it by the contractor, but also to protect third persons from whom the contractor may obtain materials and labor; these two agreements being as distinct as though contained in separate instruments, the surety cannot claim exemption from liability to persons supplying materials merely on account of changes made by the Government and the contractor without its knowledge and which do not alter the general character of the work. United States v. National Surety Co., 92 Fed. Rep. 549, approved.

Under the rule of strictissimi juris, the agreement altering the contract must be participated in by the obligee or creditor as well as the principal in order to discharge the surety; in the case of a bond under the Materialmen's Acts of 1894 or 1899, there is no single obligee or creditor to consent thereto and the rule of strictissimi juris does not

Statement of the Case.

apply where the alterations agreed upon do not change the general nature of the work.

In this case the alterations of the terms of a contract for building a school house in the District of Columbia altering its location but without affecting its general character, without the knowledge or consent of the surety, did not have the effect of releasing the surety from the obligation of the bond given under the District of Columbia Materialmen's Act of February 28, 1899.

234 U.S.

Quare, and not involved in this case, what would be the result of a change not contemplated in the original contract as between the District of Columbia and so great as to amount to abandonment of the contract?

THE Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia certifies that the record in the above entitled cause, now pending in said court upon appeal from the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia, discloses the following:

The declaration of the United States to the use of W. McMillan and Son, filed February 11, 1913, against the Equitable Surety Co. alleges:

That Allen T. Howison, as principal, and the Equitable Surety Co., as surety, on July 24, 1911, executed a bond to the United States in the penal sum of $110,350.00, conditioned for the faithful performance by Howison of a certain contract made by him with the Commissioners of the District of Columbia on that date. A copy of the bond, made an exhibit, shows that the contract was for the erection of a school building fronting on Eleventh Street, N. W., between Harvard and Girard Streets, in the City of Washington. The conditions of the bond are that if Howison shall perform to the satisfaction of the Commissioners the work to be done by him in accordance with the stipulations of the contract, and shall save harmless and indemnify the District of Columbia from any and all claims, delays, suits, charges, damages, judgments, etc., on account of any accidents to persons or property after the commencement of the work and prior to completion and acceptance, and pay the same; and "will promptly make payments to all persons supplying him VOL. CCXXXIV-29

Statement of the Case.

with labor and material in the prosecution of the work provided for in said contract," etc., the obligation shall be void; otherwise to remain in force.

That thereafter W. McMillan & Son, at the request of the Butt-Chapple Stone Co., agreed to furnish to said contractor certain stone materials to be used in the prosecution of the work provided for in the contract by the contractor, and did furnish to said contractor materials of the kind and quality specified in his contract to the value of $4,452.84, of which material the contractor used in the building a quantity of the value of $3,952.84 for which he has failed to make payment. And that defendant, though requested so to do, has refused to pay the same. The affidavit of the plaintiff in support of the declaration follows the requirements of Rule 73.

234 U.S.

After the general issue, defendant filed a special plea denying liability on said bond because after the execution and delivery of the same, and without the knowledge or consent of defendant, the Commissioners of the District of Columbia and the said Howison, its principal, altered the contract the performance of which was guaranteed by said bond. That said alteration consisted in the entire changing of the building from one fronting on Eleventh Street to one fronting on Harvard Street, which alteration involved the contractor in considerable expense not contemplated in the original contract, and prejudicial to defendant. That said relocation of the building necessitated a material change in grading the ground. That prior to the change of location the contractor had graded the ground as required in the contract and expended therein the sum of $2,393.90. And that by reason of the change said sum was a total loss to the contractor, and the further excavation made necessary by the change of location was done at a cost of $1,300.90.

The affidavit of defense alleged the said change in the contract without its knowledge or consent; and that the

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