54 Ala. 150 (Ala. 1875), Woods & Co. v. Armstrong

Citation:54 Ala. 150
Opinion Judge:STONE, J.
Party Name:Woods & Co. v. Armstrong.
Attorney:F. M. WOOD, for appellee
Court:Supreme Court of Alabama

Page 150

54 Ala. 150 (Ala. 1875)

Woods & Co.



Supreme Court of Alabama

December Term, 1875

Action on Promissory Note.

APPEAL from Circuit Court of Henry.

Tried before Hon. J. MCCALEB WILEY.

F. M. WOOD, for appellee.--The contract was clearly illegal and void. Until actual inspection of the guano, it was a violation of law to sell it. The plaintiff could have compelled an inspection. The State, in general, is not liable for the misfeasance of its officers, or an insurer against loss by them. The sale being void, the repeal of the statute then in force will not give it life.--See, as to illegality of sale, 2 Benj. on Sales, 430-3; 1 Brick. Dig. 377.


In Shippey v. Eastwood, 9 Ala. 200, this court said: "It has been repeatedly determined that a penalty inflicted by statute upon an offense, implies a prohibition, and a contract relating to it is void, even where it is not expressly declared by the statute that the contract shall be void." Many authorities are cited in support of this proposition.

In Saltmarsh v. Tuthill, 13 Ala. 406, this language is quoted with approbation.

In O'Donnell v. Sweeney, 5 Ala. 468, this court, after stating the principle as above, added: "It would indeed be a strange anomaly if a contract, made in violation of a statute, and prohibited by a penalty, could be enforced in the courts of the same country whose laws are thus trampled on and set at defiance."

In Milton v. Haden, 32 Ala. 36, this court said "that a contract founded on an act which the law prohibits under a penalty, is void." To the same effect is Dodson v. Harris, 10 Ala. 566; Gunter v. Lecky, 30 Ala. 591. In the case last cited, and in McGehee v. Lindsay, 6 Ala. 16, this court went farther and said: "It is not necessary that a statute should impose a penalty for doing or omitting to do something, in order to make a contract void which is opposed to its operation." See, also, Black & Manning v. Oliver, 1 Ala. 449; Walker v. Gregory, 36 Ala. 180.

The rule above declared is not only founded in the soundest principles of morality and public policy, but its enforcement is necessary to maintain the supremacy of the laws and the dignity of the State.

Each of the suits in the present record is founded on a note, which expresses as its consideration "Soluble Pacific Guano," sold to the defendant. Soluble...

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