Taylor Brown, Plaintiff In Error v. Leroy Wiley, Hugh Banks, William Lane, Henry Van Derzee, and Edward Lane, Merchants Trading Under the Name and Style of Wiley Co

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtGRIER
Citation20 How. 442,61 U.S. 442,15 L.Ed. 965
PartiesTAYLOR BROWN, PLAINTIFF IN ERROR, v. LEROY M. WILEY, HUGH R. BANKS, WILLIAM G. LANE, HENRY VAN DERZEE, AND EDWARD H. LANE, MERCHANTS, TRADING UNDER THE NAME AND STYLE OF L. M. WILEY & CO
Decision Date01 December 1857

61 U.S. 442
20 How. 442
15 L.Ed. 965
TAYLOR BROWN, PLAINTIFF IN ERROR,
v.
LEROY M. WILEY, HUGH R. BANKS, WILLIAM G. LANE, HENRY
VAN DERZEE, AND EDWARD H. LANE, MERCHANTS, TRADING UNDER
THE NAME AND STYLE OF L. M. WILEY & CO.
December Term, 1857

THIS case was brought up, by writ of error, from the District Court of the United States for the district of Texas.

Wiley & Co. were citizens of New York, and Brown a citizen of Texas.

The cause of action was the following bill of exchange:

$2,359.26.

SHREVEPORT, March 23, 1854.

On or before the 1st of May next, 1855, please pay to order L. M. Wiley & Co. twenty-three hundred and fifty-nine and twenty-six one hundredths dollars, for value received, and charge same to my account, without further advice.

TAYLOR BROWN.

Messrs. Campbell & Strong, merchants, New Orleans.

By W. L. McMURRAY.

This draft was presented and protested for non-acceptance on the 10th of June, 1854, more than ten months before the time when it was payable; and it appeared from the record that the suit was instituted against the drawer in February, 1855, nearly three months before the maturity of the bill.

The petition, as amended, contained the usual averments of the drawing of the draft, its presentation for acceptance, protest, and notice of dishonor.

The defence was, that there were two bills of similar character, except that one was payable in May, 1854, and the other in May, 1855; and that it was agreed by the parties that the second should not be presented for acceptance until the first was taken up. These pleas were, on motion of the plaintiffs' counsel, stricken out.

The cause then came on for trial, and the defendant offered evidence to prove these facts the result of which is stated in the following extract from the bill of exceptions:-

Page 443

'The defendant's counsel then offered to prove, that at the time the draft was delivered, it was expressly stipulated and agreed, by and between W. L. McMurray, the agent of the defendant, and Charles Keith, the agent of the plaintiffs, that the said draft should not be presented for acceptance until the defendant should provide for the payment of a previous draft, drawn by the same party, in favor of the same parties, upon the same drawees, falling due in April, 1854, according to an understanding had with the drawees; and that said draft would not have been delivered to plaintiffs' agent, if he had not have agreed to hold it up. This was objected to by plaintiffs' counsel, and the objection sustained; to which ruling and decision of the court the defendant excepts.'

The jury found a verdict for the plaintiffs, and the defendant brought the case up to this court.

It was argued by Mr. Reverdy Johnson (upon which side there was also a brief by Mr. Hughes) for the plaintiff in error, and by Mr. Larocque for the defendants.

The following notice of the points made by the counsel for the plaintiff in error is taken from the brief of Mr. Hughes:

Is the defence set forth, if true, a good bar of the cause of action of the plaintiffs below?

In regard to this, we think there can be no difficulty. The draft is dated at Shreveport, and the plaintiffs below in their petition state that the draft was drawn 'at Shreveport, in the State of Louisiana,' upon 'Messrs. Campbell & Strong, at the city of New Orleans, in the State of Louisiana.' The draft then was a Louisiana contract, and subject to the law of that State in regard to its validity, force, and effect. (Lynch v. Postlethwaite, 7 Martin R., 213.)

It is admitted that the general rule of the common law is, that it is not competent by parol evidence to alter, vary, or change a written instrument in its essential terms; and this is believed also to be the rule of the Louisiana law. But this general rule has no application to the agreement set forth in the answer of the defendant in the court below. That agreement did not in any sense propose to alter, vary, or change the written agreement between the parties. As already intimated, though the money mentioned in the draft was not due for a year after date, without some limitation of or restriction upon the rule of the law merchant, if presented for acceptance, and acceptance refused, payment might be enforced by suit, on the cause of action furnished by the refusal to accept, without regard to the time of payment stipulated in the draft. To

Page 444

prevent this was the object of the agreement attempted to be set up by the amended answer. That agreement contains nothing which is in conflict with the terms of the draft sued on, or, in any sense, attempts to alter, vary, or change the same in an essential part. It does, however, restrain the holder in raising a cause of action by an act to be done by him; which was an act that he might or might not, at his election, perform, and which, of course, it was competent for him, upon sufficient consideration, to agree not to do, and such agreement would be collateral only to the draft.

In a case in Louisiana, it was offered to prove that the defendant's endorsement on the note sued on was merely as security, and that the same was to be paid out of collections to be made of claims due to the drawers. The court said: 'We have repeatedly held that the article of our code which provides that parol evidence shall not be received beyond or against the contents of a written act, is inapplicable to a case of this kind. The evidence offered was neither to contradict nor explain a written instrument, but to prove a collateral fact in relation to it.' (Dwight v. Linton, 3 Rob. La. R., 57.)

And here, the fact was clearly collateral, for the effect of the agreement was a waiver of the...

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19 practice notes
  • Andrus v. Blazzard
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Utah
    • February 4, 1901
    ...law, and is not [63 P. 893] ground for a reformation of the contract in a court of equity, and can not be shown by parol. Brown v. Wiley, 61 U.S. 442, 20 How. 442, 15 L.Ed. 965; Martin v. Cole, 104 U.S. 30, 38, 26 L.Ed. 647; Fawkner v. Smith Wall Paper Co., 88 Iowa 169, 55 N.W. 200; Bryan v......
  • H. Scherer & Co. v. Everest, 2,802.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • March 20, 1909
    ...95 U.S. 474, 478, 24 L.Ed. 508; Daniel on Negotiable Instruments, Sec. 812; Code Supp. Iowa 1907, Secs. 3060a24, 3060a25; Brown v. Wiley, 20 How. 442, 15 L.Ed. 965. What defenses has the trustee established? There is a statement in the brief of its counsel that W. A. Southard, the president......
  • Hawkins v. Johnson, (No. 5498.)<SMALL><SUP>*</SUP></SMALL>
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • November 3, 1915
    ...the terms of such instruments. Renner v. Bank of Columbia, 22 U. S. (9 Wheat.) 587 [6 L. Ed. 166]; Brown v. Wiley, 61 U. S. (20 How.) 442 [15 L. Ed. 965]; Specht v. Howard, 83 U. S. (16 Wall.) 564 [21 L. Ed. 348]; Forsythe v. Kimball, 91 U. S. 291 [23 L. Ed. 352]; Brown v. Spofford, 95 U. S......
  • Union Selling Co. v. Jones, 1,840.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • February 25, 1904
    ...779; Renner v. Bank of Columbia, 9 Wheat. 581, 587, 6 L.Ed. 166; Bank of United States v. Dunn, 6 Pet. 51, 8 L.Ed. 316; Brown v. Wiley, 20 How. 442, 447, 15 L.Ed. 965; Martin v. Cole, 104 U.S. 30, 26 L.Ed. 647; Meehan v. Valentine, 145 U.S. 611, 625, 12 Sup.Ct. 972, 36 L.Ed. 835; Godkin v. ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
19 cases
  • Andrus v. Blazzard
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Utah
    • February 4, 1901
    ...law, and is not [63 P. 893] ground for a reformation of the contract in a court of equity, and can not be shown by parol. Brown v. Wiley, 61 U.S. 442, 20 How. 442, 15 L.Ed. 965; Martin v. Cole, 104 U.S. 30, 38, 26 L.Ed. 647; Fawkner v. Smith Wall Paper Co., 88 Iowa 169, 55 N.W. 200; Bryan v......
  • H. Scherer & Co. v. Everest, 2,802.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • March 20, 1909
    ...95 U.S. 474, 478, 24 L.Ed. 508; Daniel on Negotiable Instruments, Sec. 812; Code Supp. Iowa 1907, Secs. 3060a24, 3060a25; Brown v. Wiley, 20 How. 442, 15 L.Ed. 965. What defenses has the trustee established? There is a statement in the brief of its counsel that W. A. Southard, the president......
  • Hawkins v. Johnson, (No. 5498.)<SMALL><SUP>*</SUP></SMALL>
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • November 3, 1915
    ...the terms of such instruments. Renner v. Bank of Columbia, 22 U. S. (9 Wheat.) 587 [6 L. Ed. 166]; Brown v. Wiley, 61 U. S. (20 How.) 442 [15 L. Ed. 965]; Specht v. Howard, 83 U. S. (16 Wall.) 564 [21 L. Ed. 348]; Forsythe v. Kimball, 91 U. S. 291 [23 L. Ed. 352]; Brown v. Spofford, 95 U. S......
  • Union Selling Co. v. Jones, 1,840.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • February 25, 1904
    ...779; Renner v. Bank of Columbia, 9 Wheat. 581, 587, 6 L.Ed. 166; Bank of United States v. Dunn, 6 Pet. 51, 8 L.Ed. 316; Brown v. Wiley, 20 How. 442, 447, 15 L.Ed. 965; Martin v. Cole, 104 U.S. 30, 26 L.Ed. 647; Meehan v. Valentine, 145 U.S. 611, 625, 12 Sup.Ct. 972, 36 L.Ed. 835; Godkin v. ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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