Sons v. Early

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtPOPE
Citation46 S.C. 220,24 S.E. 305
Decision Date17 March 1896
PartiesJ. A. COATES & SONS, Limited. v. EARLY.

24 S.E. 305
46 S.C. 220

J. A. COATES & SONS, Limited.
v.
EARLY.

Supreme Court of South Carolina.

March 17, 1896.


Sale—Order—Sufficiency—Evidence to Vary.

1. Plaintiff sent defendant a sample card containing 7 large and 25 small needles, accompanied by a circular with full explanations, and an order blank for "needle cards, with a blank space for the number wanted before it, and for each size of needle following it. Defendant placed "5 M." in the space before it and "1 M." in the blank space for each of three different sizes, and "2 M." in that for another size. No fraud on the part of plaintiff was shown. Held an order free from ambiguity for 5, 000 needle cards and not 5, 000 needles.

2. Where a vendor sent an unambiguous older blank for "needle cards, " with a space left blank for the number wanted, and the vendee filled in the space with "5 M. and the vendor delivered 5.000 cards, it was proper, in an action for their price, to exclude evidence that the vendee intended to order 5, 000 needles, instead of cards.

3. Where an order for 5, 000 cards of needles was unambiguous, evidence that it was customary to order by the thousand, and not by the card, in the absence of fraud, is inadmissible.

4. Where goods are delivered according to an order for their purchase, an offer by the buyer to return does not constitute a rescission.

Appeal from common pleas circuit court of Darlington county; Norton, Judge.

Action by J. A. Coates & Sons, Limited, against B. A. Early for the price of goods sold and delivered. From a judgment for plaintiff, defendant appeals. Affirmed.

Woods & Spain, for appellant.

Boyd & Brown, for respondent.

POPE, J. This cause came on to be heard before Judge Norton and a jury at the October, 1894, term of the court of common pleas for Darlington county, in this state. The verdict of the jury was for the plaintiff and, after entry thereon of the judgment, the defendant appealed to this court on numerous grounds. Preparatory to their consideration by us, a statement of the facts underlying the controversy is deemed proper. The plaintiff is a corporation under the laws of the state of New York, and, as such, is engaged in the manufacture for sale of needles, pins, etc., and has been so engaged about 5 years. The defendant is a merchant of 25 years' experience, located about six miles out from the town of Darlington, in the state of South Carolina. Some time in the early part of the year 1893, the plaintiff sent, by mail, to the defendant, a sample copy of needle cards, together with a circular letter which fully described the goods, and stated the price, —three cents per card, and also, at the same time, inclosed a blank order blank for the defendant to fill in, sign, and return to the plaintiff if he desired to order the goods. The following is a copy of the sample copy of needle cards, with blanks filled by defendant:

"J. A. Coates & Sons, Limited (Department A), Needle Manufacturers, New York City. "Please put up for us and ship by the cheapest way 5 M. Owl Brand needle cards, with our advertisement printed in space below the goods, for that purpose, on each card, in the following sizes:

"Sharps, /5. /6. /7. 1 M./1/6. 1 M./3/9. 1 M/5/10. Betweens, 2M/3/9.

"Please write your advertisement in this space.

B. A. Early.

Genl. Merchant,

Guano & Lumber,

Early's Cross Roads.

From 30 days from date of bill: 1%. Ten days, ——

B. A. Early,

(Signature of Firm.) To Darlington, C.H., So. Ca."

This card was sent by the defendant to the plaintiff on the 29th of April, 1893. The defendant retained the sample card and circular letter which plaintiff had sent to him in the first instance. On the 17th day of July, 1893, the plaintiff, having manufactured the goods, and had printed the 5, 000 Owl Brand needle cards, to each of which cards were attached 7 large needles for darning, wool work, etc., and also a paper of needles containing 25 hand-sewing needles, and on each card was printed the advertisement of the defendant, as designated in his order, forwarded the same by steamship to the defendant, and by the same mail sent forward an account therefor, amounting to $150. When the defendant received the goods at his place of business, he would not open the two boxes in which they were shipped, but stowed them away in his warehouse, refusing to pay for the same, alleging that he had only intended to order 5, 000 needles, whereas the plaintiff had sent him 25 times that quantity. Hence the suit. The plaintiff, at the trial, offered testimony to the effect that the defendant and its officers had never seen each other, but that all their arrangements were made by correspondence; that this Owl Brand needle card, with needles and advertisement of the business of the purchaser, was one of their special features; that the circular letter fully explained everything connected with each card, showing that 7 large needles and 25 small needles were sold with each card, as attached thereto, which was fully explained in the circular letter; and the plaintiff produced a copy of such circular letter before the court, which, it is admitted in the case for appeal, fully answered all these allegations. The defendant admitted the receipt of the goods, and his signature to the order, and that he him-

[24 S.E. 306]

self filled out all the blanks in the order, and prepared the advertisement printed on the cards; but, when he wished to prove, by the defendant himself, that the reason he did not open the boxes containing the goods was because they represented about 25 times the amount of goods he had ordered, on objection, the judge presiding ruled:

"The circular letter offering to sell needle cards was addressed to this defendant, and also was sent a circular letter illustrating what was meant by needle cards. The defendant then wrote to the plaintiff, saying that he would accept the terms offered in the circular, and that he would take so many of the goods that were offered to him in the circular. That, as I understand it, was revocable, so long as the order had not been filled, and as the goods had not been shipped; but, when the goods were shipped, completing the contract between the defendant and the plaintiff, then the contract became irrevocable. Now, the...

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20 practice notes
  • Cato v. Atlanta & C. A. L. Ry. Co, No. 13240.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • September 10, 1931
    ...not permissible to explain or vary the terms of an express contract, whether written or verbal, unambiguous in its terms. Coates v. Early, 46 S. C. 220, 24 S. E. 305; Fairly v. Wappoo Mills, 44 S. C. 227, 22 S. E. 108. 29 L. R. A. 215; Alexas v. Post & Flagg, 129 S. C. 53, 123 S. E. 769......
  • May Department Stores Co. v. Union E.L. & P. Co., No. 34288.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • June 30, 1937
    ...by publication in the schedules and for which no charge is published. Chesapeake & O. Railroad Co. v. Westinghouse, 270 U.S. 260, 46 S.C. 220; Chicago & Alton Railroad Co. v. Kirby, 225 U.S. 155; Clegg v. Railroad Co., 203 Fed. 971; St. L.I.M. & S. Ry. Co. v. West, 159 S.W. 142;......
  • Kaiser v. Carolina Life Ins. Co., No. 16517
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • June 26, 1951
    ...53 Am.Rep. 669; Forrester v. Moon, 100 S.C. 157, 84 S.E. 532; Montgomery v. Scott, 9 S.C. 20, 30 Am.Rep. 1; Coates & Sons v. Early, 46 S.C. 220, 24 S.E. 305; Murrel v. Murrel, 2 Strob. Eq. 148, 49 Am.Dec. 664; Gilchrist v. Martin, Bailey, Eq. 494; Cape Fear Lumber Co. v. Matheson, 69 S.......
  • Etiwan Fertilizer Co v. Johns, No. 15490.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • January 18, 1943
    ...of an express contract, unambiguous in its terms. Another case cited in support of the order below is that of Coates & Sons v. Early, 46 S.C. 220, 24 S.E. 305, which holds that it is not competent to explain by parol the terms of a plain written order for goods, by showing the custom of......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
20 cases
  • Cato v. Atlanta & C. A. L. Ry. Co, No. 13240.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • September 10, 1931
    ...not permissible to explain or vary the terms of an express contract, whether written or verbal, unambiguous in its terms. Coates v. Early, 46 S. C. 220, 24 S. E. 305; Fairly v. Wappoo Mills, 44 S. C. 227, 22 S. E. 108. 29 L. R. A. 215; Alexas v. Post & Flagg, 129 S. C. 53, 123 S. E. 769......
  • May Department Stores Co. v. Union E.L. & P. Co., No. 34288.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • June 30, 1937
    ...by publication in the schedules and for which no charge is published. Chesapeake & O. Railroad Co. v. Westinghouse, 270 U.S. 260, 46 S.C. 220; Chicago & Alton Railroad Co. v. Kirby, 225 U.S. 155; Clegg v. Railroad Co., 203 Fed. 971; St. L.I.M. & S. Ry. Co. v. West, 159 S.W. 142;......
  • Kaiser v. Carolina Life Ins. Co., No. 16517
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • June 26, 1951
    ...53 Am.Rep. 669; Forrester v. Moon, 100 S.C. 157, 84 S.E. 532; Montgomery v. Scott, 9 S.C. 20, 30 Am.Rep. 1; Coates & Sons v. Early, 46 S.C. 220, 24 S.E. 305; Murrel v. Murrel, 2 Strob. Eq. 148, 49 Am.Dec. 664; Gilchrist v. Martin, Bailey, Eq. 494; Cape Fear Lumber Co. v. Matheson, 69 S.......
  • Etiwan Fertilizer Co v. Johns, No. 15490.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • January 18, 1943
    ...of an express contract, unambiguous in its terms. Another case cited in support of the order below is that of Coates & Sons v. Early, 46 S.C. 220, 24 S.E. 305, which holds that it is not competent to explain by parol the terms of a plain written order for goods, by showing the custom of......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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