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United States Supreme Court

61 U.S. 511

Ahl  v.  Johnson

THIS was an appeal from the Supreme Court of the Territory of Minnesota.

It was a bill filed by Ahl, under the circumstances stated in the opinion of the court.

It was argued by Mr. Cooper for the appellant, and Mr. Bradley for the appellee.

The principal point in the case was, whether time was of the essence of the contract. Mr. Cooper contended that it was not:III. Because time in this case was not of the essence of the contract, as is manifest from the contract itself, as well as from the conduct of the defendant, in demanding the residue of the money since the exhibition of his bill by the said complainant, without ever pretending that he had a right to rescind the contract, or re-enter into possession of the said premises. (See pages 13, 16, and 17. Taylor v. Longwood, 14 Pet. R., 174, 175; 3 Hor. Pa. R., 429, 438; 6 Wheat., 528; Wyson v. Morgan, 7 Ves., 202; Radcliffe v. Warrington, 12 Ves., 326; Irvine v. Reminton, 2 Harris, 145; Decomp v. Feay, 5 S. and R., 323, 326; 4 Adol. and Ellis, 599; 3 McLean, 148.)

Mr. Bradley contended that the parties meant to make time of the essence of the contract: 1st. Because of the stipulations in respect to the payment of the purchase-money. 2d. Because of the purposes contemplated in the sale, &c.

IV. It was competent for the parties to make time of the essence of the contract; and if that intention clearly appears, a court of equity will not assist him who is in default. (Sugden on Vendors, ch. 8, sec. 3, pl. 32 to 36 inclusive; see Note 2 to Harrington v. Wheeler, 4 Ves., 689; see cases collected in note (a) same case, p. 686, American notes; Lloyd v. Collett, 4 Bro. Ch., 469, and American notes.)

V. The facts that he went into possession and improved the property, and paid part of the purchase-money, do not relieve him from his default, if time was of the essence of the contract. Nor do they aid in arriving at the intent of the parties.

Mr. Justice CLIFFORD delivered the opinion of the court.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).