10 D.C. 597 (D.C.D.C. 1879), 358, Vinson v. Beveridge

Docket NºAT LAW.— 358.
Citation10 D.C. 597
Opinion JudgeMr. Justice HAGNER
Party NameJOHN T. VINSON, ADMINISTRATOR OF RACHEL PROUT, v. MICHAEL W. BEVERIDGE.
AttorneyA. G. Riddle and Francis Miller , for plaintiff, W. S. Cox and W. B. Webb , for defendant,
CourtSupreme Court of District of Columbia

Page 597

10 D.C. 597 (D.C.D.C. 1879)

JOHN T. VINSON, ADMINISTRATOR OF RACHEL PROUT,

v.

MICHAEL W. BEVERIDGE.

AT LAW.— No. 358.

Supreme Court, District of Columbia.

September Term, 1879

I. A and B were partners. They agreed with C, who was their salesman, to associate his name with the firm. C was to receive for his services at the rate of four per cent. on the amount of cash and credit sales, but was not to be bound for the debts of the firm. A notice was published in a newspaper of large circulation that C was to have an interest in the establishment. It was held that this was not a declaration of copartnership, and did not make C responsible for the debts of the firm.

II. Such publication will not entitle a creditor of the firm to recover against C, unless he knew of it previously to giving credit; and the mere proof of publication in a newspaper is not sufficient to show that the creditor had such knowledge at the time of the transaction.

STATEMENT OF THE CASE.

This is an action to recover the amount of a promissory note made by C. S. Fowler & Co., in favor of Rachel Prout, for the sum of $1,600, with interest from date, dated August 1, 1860, and payable on demand. It was admitted at the trial that the note was the note of the firm of Charles S. Fowler & Co., and was wholly in the handwriting of Charles S. Fowler himself. For the purpose of showing that the defendant was a member of the firm of C. S. Fowler & Co., the plaintiff gave in evidence an advertisement or public notice, published in " The National Intelligencer" about the 1st of April, 1858, in these words: " Notice!— M. Wm. Beveridge has interest in our establishment from the 1st instant. We trust, with his additional aid, & c., we shall be able to offer further inducements in our business. C. S. Fowler & Co." He also called the defendant as his witness to prove that at the time when said notice was published the defendant was in the store of C. S. Fowler & Co., and knew of its publication. On cross-examination defendant testified that before the publication referred to he was employed by the firm, then consisting of Charles S. Fowler and John F. Webb, as a salesman, at a fixed salary; and about that time entered into the following agreement:

" We, the undersigned, do hereby agree to associate with us the name of M. Wm. Beveridge, for the space of one year, for the purpose of conducting the crockery business in its various branches, under the name and style of C. S. Fowler & Co.; the said M. Wm. Beveridge to receive for his services the rate of four per cent. on the gross amount of cash and credit sales; but in no case shall the said M. Wm. Beveridge be considered bound for any debt or debts of the above-named firm."

And, further, that he had no more control in the business of said firm after than before said agreement; that he never signed the firm-name, purchased goods, nor contracted debts in its name; and was not acquainted, in any way, with its business or books except so far as was necessary in the discharge of his duty as salesman.

At the conclusion of the testimony the defendant asked the court to instruct the jury as follows:

First. That the publication offered in evidence was not a declaration of partnership, and had not the effect to make defendant responsible, as a partner, for the debts of the firm of C. S. Fowler & Co., notwithstanding that it was authorized by him.

Second. That in the absence of actual proof of partnership, the plaintiff cannot recover from defendant in this action without proving that he, the defendant, held himself out to plaintiff's intestate as such partner, and that she gave the credit to said firm, out of which the note in suit grew, believing defendant to be a member thereof; that it is not sufficient to show that defendant held himself out to the world generally as a partner; but it must be proved that he so held himself out to the plaintiff's intestate, and that the...

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