THIS case was brought up, by writ of error, from the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Columbia, in and for the county of Washington. It originated in the county of Alexandria, and was removed to the county of Washington under an act of Congress providing for such removals. The circumstances of the case are so fully set forth in the opinion of the court, that it is unnecessary to do more than refer to it for a statement of the facts. The cause was argued at December term, 1845, by Mr. Bledsoe and Mr. Coxe, for the plaintiff in error, and by Mr. William T. Swann and Mr. Jones, for the defendant in error. At the present term the court gave its opinion.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mr. Chief Justice Taney delivered the opinion of the court.
Mr. Bledsoe, for the plaintiff in error, contended,––
1. That there was no legal or valid reference.
2. That there was no legal or valid award.
3. That there was no legal or valid judgment.
1. The president and directors had no power under their charter to submit a case to arbitration. The rule is well settled that they have no power except under the charter. 5 Conn., 568; 2 Cranch, 158; Angell & A. Corp., 200, 201, 229, 242; 7 Cranch, 299; 14 Johns. (N. Y.), 118; 12 Id., 241; 15 Wend. (N. Y.), 256; 7 Cow. (N. Y.), 462; 1 Id., 513; 12 Wheat., 58.
The charter (Davis's Laws, 558) says, that where land is to be taken, the company may agree as to the price. But if no agreement can be made, they are to apply to justices of the peace, who are to call a jury. But in that case the whole twelve must agree.
The thirteenth section of the act thus pointing out the mode of condemning land, none other was justifiable. The seventeenth section gives the company the right to enter upon land, and therefore they cannot be guilty of a trespass.
One party cannot bind another by agreeing to arbitrate. Wat., Part., 445; 3 Bing., 101; 11 Eng. Com. L., 52; Story, Part., 169; 1 Pet., 222, 228.
The attorney here has undertaken to make the president and directors do things which are not justified by law.
In England, where property is taken for public use, the party has no remedy; and in this case the remedy given by the charter is exclusive. 11 Mass., 364, 365, 368; 20 Johns. (N. Y.), 735; 4 Wend. (N. Y.), 347, 367, 370; 4 N. H., 547; 2 Johns. (N. Y.), 283; 7 Johns. (N. Y.) Ch., 315; 1 N. H., 339.
Mr. Bledsoe then examined the terms and mode of arbitration.
Mr. William T. Swann, for the defendant in error, made the following points:––
1. It will be necessary to consider any part of the record prior to the submission of the case to arbitration; as the submission in such a case, under a rule of the court, operates as a waiver of all exceptions (if any could be ...