39 U.S. 19 (1840), Bank Of Metropolis v. Guttschlick

Citation:39 U.S. 19, 10 L.Ed. 335
Party Name:THE PRESIDENT AND DIRECTORS OF THE BANK OF THE METROPOLIS, PLAINTIFF IN ERROR, v. ERASTUS GUTTSCHLICK, DEFENDANT IN ERROR.
Case Date:January 21, 1840
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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39 U.S. 19 (1840)

10 L.Ed. 335

THE PRESIDENT AND DIRECTORS OF THE BANK OF THE METROPOLIS, PLAINTIFF IN ERROR,

v.

ERASTUS GUTTSCHLICK, DEFENDANT IN ERROR.

United States Supreme Court.

January 21, 1840

ERROR to the Circuit Court of the United States for the county of Washington, in the District of Columbia.

This action was instituted by the defendant in error, against the plaintiff in error, on the 31st day of March, 1836. The declaration contained four counts.

1. That on the 9th of November, 1827, the plaintiff bought of defendant a certain lot of ground in the city of Washington, being lot 5, square 489, for the sum of eleven hundred and ninety-one dollars and twenty-five cents, and paid the sum of five hundred and ninety-one dollars and twenty-five cents, and gave his promissory note for the balance of the purchase money; that the defendant, in consideration thereof, agreed through the president and cashier, that it was pledged, when the note should be paid, to convey said lot to plaintiff, his heirs and assigns; that said note was paid at maturity, with the interest: yet the defendant has not conveyed said lot, but to do so has hitherto wholly refused, &c.

2. That whereas, the defendant, by John P. Van Ness, the president of said bank, and Alexander Kerr, the cashier, agents for that purpose, duly authorized by and acting for defendant, did, on the 9th November, 1827, bargain and sell to the plaintiff the said lot of ground, on the terms mentioned in the first count, and did thereupon put plaintiff in possession of said lot; and the plaintiff avers the authority of Van Ness and Kerr to make said agreement; that plaintiff paid the note, and received and continued in possession of the lot, and was obliged to pay, and did pay taxes thereon, from the 9th November, 1827, to 30th December, 1835, when he was turned out of possession by the Patriotic Bank: yet defendant, although often requested, has not conveyed the said lot in fee simple to the plaintiff, but hath hitherto wholly neglected and refused.

3. That whereas defendant, on the 9th November, 1827, by an agreement of that date, acknowledged to have received from the plaintiff the sum of five hundred and ninety-one dollars and twenty-five cents, and the promissory note of the plaintiff, payable six months after date, with interest, and in consideration thereof put the plaintiff in possession of said lot, and undertook and faithfully

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promised the plaintiff, upon the payment of said note, with interest, to convey to plaintiff said lot in fee simple; that the plaintiff did pay said note, with interest, whereby defendant became liable and bound to convey said lot in fee simple, by a good and indefeisible title, free from encumbrances; and being so liable, undertook and promised, &c.: yet plaintiff says that the defendant was not at the time when, &c., or at any other time after seized or possessed of said lot in fee simple, nor did then or at any other time, although often requested to convey, &c. And the plaintiff further avers, that being in possession of said lot, as aforesaid, he was compelled to pay and did pay the taxes and public dues, amounting to three hundred dollars, whereby, &c.

4. The fourth count was for money had and received, and concluded as follows, 'Yet the said defendants, the said sums of money have not paid to the said plaintiff, nor have they paid any part thereof, but the same or any part thereof to pay to the said plaintiff, have hitherto wholly neglected and refused, to the damage of the said plaintiff three thousand dollars, and thereof,' &c.

There was no conclusion to the three preceding counts in the declaration.

The jury, under the charge of the Court, found a general verdict for the plaintiff for eleven hundred and ninety-one dollars and twenty-five cents, with interest from November 9, 1827.

The counsel for the defendant took four exceptions to the charge of the Court.

The plaintiff in the Circuit Court having given in evidence an account made out by the Bank of the Metropolis, against him, stating that he had bought a certain lot of ground described in the same, from the bank, for the sum of eleven hundred and ninety-one dollars and twenty-five cents, gives a credit for the sum of five hundred and ninety-one dollars and twenty-five cents as 'cash received;' and the balance, six hundred dollars, to be due on the bond of the plaintiff, in the following terms, 'Be it known, that on this 9th day of November, 1827, Ernest Guttschlick, has purchased of the Bank of the Metropolis, lot No. 5, in squeare No. 489, as above described, and as laid down on the plat of the city of Washington, for the sum of eleven hundred and ninety-one dollars and twenty-five cents, and that he hath paid on account of the same, the sum of five hundred and ninety-one dollars and twenty-five cents, leaving due the sum of six hundred dollars, for which he hath given his note to the said bank, payable in six months after date with interest from date, which sum of six hundred dollars, when paid, will be in full for the purchase money of said lot.

'The Bank of the Metropolis, through the president and cashier, is hereby pledged, when the above sum shall be paid, to convey the said lot, viz. lot 5, in square 489, in fee simple, to the said Ernest Guttschlick, his heirs or assigns, forever.

'In testimony whereof, the said president and cashier, by order of

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the board of directors, have hereto set their hands and seals this ninth day of November, eighteen hundred and twenty-seven.

'JOHN P. VAN NESS, [SEAL.]

'President of the Bank of Metropolis.

'ALEXANDER KERR, Cashier. [SEAL.]

'In presence of GEO. THOMAS.'

With evidence that he, the plaintiff, had paid the sum of six hundred dollars to the bank: the defendants excepted to the admissibility and competency of the same, until some evidence should be given, showing the authority of the parties who executed the same to sign said paper.

The Court overruled the objection.

The defendant's second bill of exceptions stated, that the plaintiff proved that in December, 1835, witness, at the instance of the plaintiff, examined the records of deeds in Washington county, for the purpose of tracing the plaintiff's title to the lot in question, and, after such examination, wrote for the plaintiff his letter to the bank, dated 17th December, 1835; that when he wrote that letter, a deed, purporting to be executed by John P. Van Ness, president, &c., to the plaintiff, was before him, and is the deed referred to in said letter, having been handed to him by plaintiff. The said deed was duly recorded on the 13th of May, 1828, and appears to have been delivered in August, 1828. Statements were made by counsel, and the plaintiff offered to read in evidence said deed; which being objected to, the Court overruled the objection, and defendant excepted.

The third bill of exceptions stated, that the plaintiff, in order to maintain the issue on his part, offered in evidence the proceedings of the Circuit Court of the District of Columbia, for the county of Washington, in a certain suit brought by the Patriotic Bank against Samuel Lane, for the purpose of showing that Samuel Lane had been in fact sued upon the note for three thousand dollars, one of the notes mentioned in the deed from B. G. Orr, to Joseph Elgar, dated 21st of August, 1818; to the competency and admissibility of the same to prove the said fact, the defendant objected; but the Court overruled the objection, and permitted the same to go to the jury. To the admission of which testimony the defendant, by his counsel excepted. The deed from B. G. Orr, referred to in the exception, was a deed of trust, executed on the 21st day of August, 1818, and duly recorded, to Joseph Elgar, by which Orr conveyed to Elgar certain lots of ground in the city of Washington, in trust, that if Samuel Lane should be sued, or put to any cost, trouble, damage, or expense, by reason of his having endorsed certain notes drawn by B. G. Orr, negotiable at the Patriotic Bank, the trustee should sell and dispose of the property conveyed by the same, and out of the proceeds discharge the notes, or such as may have been substituted for them, and to indemnify the said Samuel Lane, &c.

The fourth bill of exceptions stated, that the plaintiff, to sustain the issue on his...

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