Martin v. Cole

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtMATTHEWS
PartiesMARTIN v. COLE
Decision Date01 October 1881

104 U.S. 30
104 U.S. 30
26 L.Ed. 647
MARTIN
v.
COLE.
October Term, 1881

ERROR to the Supreme Court of the Territory of Colorado.

The facts are stated in the opinion of the court.

Mr. Henry M. Teller for the plaintiff in error.

No counsel appeared for the defendant in error.

MR. JUSTICE MATTHEWS delivered the opinion of the court.

The defendant in error was plaintiff below, and brought his action of assumpsit against the plaintiff in error, as indorser of a promissory note, in the District Court of the First Judicial District of Colorado Territory, for the county of Arapahoe, the plaintiff below being the immediate indorsee.

A copy of the note sued on, with the indorsements, filed with the declaration, is as follows:——

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'$1,414.15. GEORGETOWN, C. T., July 17, 1868.

'On or before eighteen months after date, I promise to pay to John H. Martin, or order, the sum of fourteen hundred and fourteen 15/100 dollars, for value received, at George I. Clark & Co.'s bank at Georgetown, with interest at the rate of three per cent per month from date until paid.

(Signed) 'JOHN WEBB.'

[Indorsed on back.]

'Pay to the order of Luther A. Cole. Value received.

(Signed) 'JOHN H. MARTIN.'

The declaration, besides the common money counts, contained five special counts.

In the first of them it is averred that the note sued on being unpaid, on Feb. 5, 1870, the plaintiff instituted suit thereon against the maker, at the first term of the court in the county of his residence after the maturity thereof, and at the same term, on April 7, 1870, recovered judgment thereon against him for $2,284, together with costs; that upon said judgment he afterwards, on May 9, 1870, caused to be issued, and placed in the hands of the sheriff, an execution, which, on June 6, 1870, he made return of, showing that on May 9, 1870, he had levied the same on certain mining claims of the defendant, which, on June 1, 1870, he had sold according to law for the sum of $5, besides the costs of the suit, amounting to $45.75; and it is also in the same count further averred that, from the time of the rendition of the judgment against Webb, the maker of the note, he had no other property, either real or personal, subject to execution, out of which the balance of the judgment or any part of it could have been made, and that the keeping of the execution in the hands of the sheriff for the period of ninety days from its date, or the issuing of a pluries or other execution to collect the balance of said judgment, would have been wholly unavailing. There is also the further averment in the same count that the plaintiff used all due diligence to collect said note from the maker.

The second count of the declaration contains the averment that 'at the time the said note became due and payable, and from that time up to the time of the commencement of this suit, and up to the present time, the said John Webb ever has

Page 32

been, and still is, insolvent and unable to pay said note, and that the institution of a suit against the said John Webb at the time the said note became due, or at any time from the maturity of the said note until the present time, would have been, and was, and would be, entirely unavailing,' &c.

These averments appear to have been made with a view to meet the requirements of sect. 7 of an act, then in force, of the Territory of Colorado, relating to bonds, bills, and promissory notes, which is referred to in the brief of one of the counsel as found on page 85 of the Revised Statutes of Colorado of 1868, but which, in disregard of the rules of this court, is not set out either in the record of the case or in the brief of counsel. The volume referred to not being accessible, we find what we assume to be republication of the same provision in the General Laws of the State of Colorado, published by authority in the year 1877. It is as follows:——

'SECT. 7. Every assignor, or his heirs, executors, or administrators, of every such note, bond, bill, or other instrument in writing, shall be liable to the action of the assignee thereof, or his executors or administrators, if such assignee shall have acted with diligence, by the institution and prosecution of a suit against the maker of such assigned note, bond, bill, or other instrument of writing, or against his heirs, executors, or administrators, for the recovery of the money or property due thereon, or damages in lieu thereof: Provided, that if the institution of such suit would have been unavailing, or if the maker had absconded or left the State, when such assigned note, bond, bill, or other instrument in writing became due, such assignee, or his executors or administrators, may recover against the assignor, or against his executors or administrators, as if due diligence by suit had been used.'

The plaintiff in error, in addition to the general issue, filed a special plea to the first and second counts of the declaration, the substance of which is as follows:——

'And the said defendant avers that he made the said indorsement when it was so made, in blank, that is to say, by writing his name across the back of said promissory note, and that he made said indorsement with the express agreement by and between him and the said plaintiff, the said Luther A. Cole, that the said indorsement should never be filled up so

Page 33

as to make this defendant liable in any manner upon the said indorsement, but only to enable the said plaintiff to sue the said note in his own name, if suit thereon should become necessary. And this defendant avers that, relying upon the assurance of the said plaintiff that his indorsement should not be filled up so as to render him liable as indorsee thereon, he signed his name upon the back of said note, which without said assurance he would not have done.'

To this plea there was filed a general demurrer, which was sustained.

Afterwards, on June 6, 1874, the cause was submitted, by counsent of parties, without the intervention of a jury, when the court found the issues in favor of the plaintiff, and rendered judgment against the defendant for $2,478.17 damages and costs.

A bill of exceptions was taken, which sets out all the evidence given and offered in the trial of the case. From that it appears that the defendant below, Martin, being on the stand as a witness in his own behalf, was asked to state under what circumstances the note in suit was transferred by him to the plaintiff, Cole. Objection being interposed, the defendant then stated to the court that he offered to prove in defence a parol promise contemporaneous with the indorsement of the note; that he proposed to prove by the witness that the parol agreement set forth and stated in the defendant's second plea was made by the parties. The court sustained the objection, and the defendant excepted.

Thereupon the defendant offered to prove that at the time the note was transferred by Martin to Cole it was expressly agreed between them that Martin should indorse his name on the note in blank to enable Cole to collect it in his own name, and that Cole agreed then, in consideration of what he had given for the note, that he (Martin) was never to be called upon as indorser or guarantor of its payment in the event he failed to collect it from the maker of the note; to which offer an objection, interposed by the plaintiff, was sustained, and the defendant excepted.

The defendant had previously testified that his name on the back of the note was written by him, but that the words 'Pay

Page 34

to the order of Luther A. Cole,...

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70 practice notes
  • Greenwich Insurance Company v. State
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arkansas
    • January 28, 1905
    ...leading up to a written contract are merged into the written contract. 16 Wall. 564; 91 U.S. 291; 95 U.S. 474; 96 U.S. 544; 101 U.S. 93; 104 U.S. 30, 252; 106 U.S. 252; 1 S.Ct. 313; 127 U.S. 607; 134 U.S. 306; 141 U.S. 518; 6 Allen, 552; 131 Mass. 384; 1 Rice, Ev., 304; 61 F. 280. Appellant......
  • New Amsterdam Casualty Co. v. US SHIPPING BOARD, ETC., No. 2519.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit
    • January 11, 1927
    ...Plow Co., 119 U. S. 491, 7 S. Ct. 305, 30 L. Ed. 476; Richardson v. Hardwick, 106 U. S. 252, 1 S. Ct. 213, 27 L. Ed. 145; Martin v. Cole, 104 U. S. 30. 26 L. Ed. 647; Brown v. Spofford, 95 U. S. 474, 24 L. Ed. 508; Forsythe v. Kimball, 91 U. S. 291, 23 L. Ed. 352; Parish v. U. S., 75 U. S. ......
  • Andrus v. Blazzard
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Utah
    • February 4, 1901
    ...v. Rowe, 70 Cal. 296, 316; Ruiz v. Norton, 4 Cal. 355; Gowell v. Ins. Co., 63 F. 371-377; Romer v. Bank, 9 Wheat 581-587; Martin v. Cole, 104 U.S. 30, 38; Brown v. Worley, 20 How. (U.S.) 442, 447, 448; Preston v. Hixon, 53 N.E. 391; Lansford v. Malsby, 28 S.E. 496; Bank v. Stone, 59 Cal. 18......
  • Fowle v. Lane *
    • United States
    • Virginia Supreme Court of Virginia
    • September 16, 1920
    ...96 Va. 435, 31 S. E. 890; Rector v. Hancock, 127 Va. ——, 102 S. E. 663; Brown v. Spofford, 95 U. S. 474, 24 L. Ed. 508; Martin v. Cole, 104 U. S. 30, 26 L. Ed. 647. But the rule does not forbid the use of parol evidence to show the circumstances of delivery of unsealed Instruments, as that ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
70 cases
  • Greenwich Insurance Company v. State
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arkansas
    • January 28, 1905
    ...leading up to a written contract are merged into the written contract. 16 Wall. 564; 91 U.S. 291; 95 U.S. 474; 96 U.S. 544; 101 U.S. 93; 104 U.S. 30, 252; 106 U.S. 252; 1 S.Ct. 313; 127 U.S. 607; 134 U.S. 306; 141 U.S. 518; 6 Allen, 552; 131 Mass. 384; 1 Rice, Ev., 304; 61 F. 280. Appellant......
  • New Amsterdam Casualty Co. v. US SHIPPING BOARD, ETC., No. 2519.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit
    • January 11, 1927
    ...Plow Co., 119 U. S. 491, 7 S. Ct. 305, 30 L. Ed. 476; Richardson v. Hardwick, 106 U. S. 252, 1 S. Ct. 213, 27 L. Ed. 145; Martin v. Cole, 104 U. S. 30. 26 L. Ed. 647; Brown v. Spofford, 95 U. S. 474, 24 L. Ed. 508; Forsythe v. Kimball, 91 U. S. 291, 23 L. Ed. 352; Parish v. U. S., 75 U. S. ......
  • Andrus v. Blazzard
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Utah
    • February 4, 1901
    ...v. Rowe, 70 Cal. 296, 316; Ruiz v. Norton, 4 Cal. 355; Gowell v. Ins. Co., 63 F. 371-377; Romer v. Bank, 9 Wheat 581-587; Martin v. Cole, 104 U.S. 30, 38; Brown v. Worley, 20 How. (U.S.) 442, 447, 448; Preston v. Hixon, 53 N.E. 391; Lansford v. Malsby, 28 S.E. 496; Bank v. Stone, 59 Cal. 18......
  • Fowle v. Lane *
    • United States
    • Virginia Supreme Court of Virginia
    • September 16, 1920
    ...96 Va. 435, 31 S. E. 890; Rector v. Hancock, 127 Va. ——, 102 S. E. 663; Brown v. Spofford, 95 U. S. 474, 24 L. Ed. 508; Martin v. Cole, 104 U. S. 30, 26 L. Ed. 647. But the rule does not forbid the use of parol evidence to show the circumstances of delivery of unsealed Instruments, as that ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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