MR. JUSTICE GRAY, after stating the case as above, delivered the opinion of the court.
The single question in this case is whether under the act of March 3, 1887, c. 373, § 1, as corrected by the act of August 13, 1888, c. 866, (the material parts of which are copied in the margin,*fn1) a corporation incorporated in one State of the Union, and having a usual place of business in another State in which it has not been incorporated, may be sued, in a Circuit Court of the United States held in the latter State, by a citizen of a different State.
This question, upon which there has been a diversity of opinion in the Circuit Courts, can be best determined by a review of the acts of Congress, and of the decisions of this court, regarding the original jurisdiction of the Circuit Courts of the United States over suits between citizens of different States.
In carrying out the provision of the Constitution which declares that the judicial power of the United States shall extend to controversies "between citizens of different States,"
Congress, by the Judiciary Act of September 24, 1789, c. 20, § 11, conferred jurisdiction on the Circuit Court of suits of a civil nature, at common law or in equity, "between a citizen of the State where the suit is brought and a citizen of another State," and provided that "no civil suit shall be brought" "against an inhabitant of the United States," "in any other district than that whereof he is an inhabitant, or in which he shall be found at the time of serving the writ." 1 Stat. 78, 79.
The word "inhabitant," in that act, was apparently used, not in any larger meaning than "citizen," but to avoid the incongruity of speaking of a citizen of anything less than a State, when the intention was to cover not only a district which included a whole State, but also two districts in one State, like the districts of Maine and Massachusetts in the State of Massachusetts, and the districts of Virginia and Kentucky in the State of Virginia, established by § 2 of the same act. 1 Stat. 73. It was held by this court from the beginning that an averment that a party resided within the State or the district in which the suit was brought was not sufficient to support the jurisdiction, because in the common use of words a resident might not be a citizen, and therefore it was not stated expressly and beyond ambiguity that he was a citizen of the State, which was the fact on which the jurisdiction depended under the provisions of the Constitution and of the Judiciary Act. Bingham v. Cabot, 3 Dall. 382; Turner v. Bank of North America, 4 Dall. 8; Abercrombie v. Dupuis, 1 Cranch, 343; Hodgson v. Bowerbank, 5 Cranch, 303; Brown v. Keene, 8 Pet. 112, 115. The same rule has been maintained to the present day, and has been held to be unaffected by the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, declaring that "all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside." Robertson v. Cease, 97 U.S. 646; Grace v. American Ins. Co., 109 U.S. 278; Timmons v. Elyton Land Co., 139 U.S. 378; Denny v. Pironi, 141 U.S. 121.
By the act of May 4, 1858, c. 27, § 1, it was enacted that, in a State containing more than one district, actions not local
should "be brought in the district in which the defendant resides," or "if there be two or more defendants residing in different districts in the same State," then in either district 11 Stat. 272. The whole purport and effect of that act was not to enlarge, but to restrict and distribute jurisdiction. It applied only to a State containing two or more districts; and directed suits against citizens of such a State to be brought in that district thereof in which they or either of them resided. It did not subject defendants to any new liability to be sued out of the State of which they were citizens, but simply prescribed in which district of that State they might be sued.
These provisions of the acts of 1789 and 1858 were substantially reenacted in sections 739 and 740 of the Revised Statutes.
The act of March 3, 1875, c. 137, § 1, after giving the Circuit Courts jurisdiction of suits "in which there shall be a controversy between citizens of different States," and enlarging their jurisdiction in other respects, substantially reenacted the corresponding provision of the act of 1789, by providing that no civil suit should be brought "against any person" "in any other district than that whereof he is an inhabitant or in which he shall be ...