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Brent v. The Bank of the Metropolis

Court Documents

United States Supreme Court

26 U.S. 89

Brent  v.  The Bank of the Metropolis

THIS action was instituted in the Circuit Court, for the county of Washington, by the Bank of the Metropolis, on a promissory note, dated May 26th 1819, drawn by George A. Carroll, and endorsed by W. Carroll and Robert Brent, for 1100 dollars, payable at sixty days, and negotiable at the Bank of the Metropolis. The declaration set out the note, and averred a demand of payment, at the Bank of the Metropolis. In support of the issue, on the part of the plaintiffs in error, evidence was offered, that the accommodation given by the said bank, to George A. Carroll, on a note similarly drawn and endorsed with the present, was given by the bank, about three years before the date of the note, on which the suit was brought, and was given with the knowledge of the endorsers thereon, and in consequence of their solicitation: and for the purpose of proving, that it was the agreement and understanding of the bank, and W. Carroll, at the time of agreeing to give him this accommodation, that the note to be discounted should be payable at the Bank of the Metropolis, and the notes severally taken, for the renewal of such notes, and for the continuance of the said accommodation, should be in like manner payable, and demanded, at the bank; they offered to prove, by parol evidence, that the said Carroll did not reside in the district, after the winter in which W. Carroll lived in the city of Washington-and that that winter, was the winter of 1817; and that after such time, said George A. Carroll occasionally visited the city, and resided at Washington, in Maryland, about twenty miles from the city, and at Port Tobacco; and that many of the notes, taken for the continuance of the said accommodation, were expressed to be payable at the bank; and that all notes, previous to the one now sued on, were there demanded, and such demand acquiesced in, as sufficient, and subsequent notes given in renewal of the notes so demanded; that it was the custom of the said bank to require, in all cases where the drawer was a non-resident, that there should be such an agreement to pay such notes at the bank; that the bank never would have agreed to discount the notes, except upon such a condition, and this was the understanding of the bank, and necessarily presumed to be known to W. Carroll, and the endorsers, at the time of making such accommodation, or at the time of his removal from the city of Washington.

The counsel for the defendants objected to the evidence; but the Court overruled the objection, and admitted the evidence to be given. And the counsel for the defendants, payed the Court to instruct the jury, that, to enable the plaintiffs to sustain their action aforesaid, against the defendants, it was necessary that a personal demand should have been made upon the maker of the note, for the money in the said note mentioned; but the Court refused to give the instruction; but instructed the jury, that, if from the evidence given as aforesaid, the jury should be satisfied, that it was agreed by all parties, whose names appear on the notes, and the plaintiffs, that the payment should be demanded at the Bank of the Metropolis; and that it was so demanded, at the bank, then a personal demand of the maker, was not necessary. To which several refusals and opinions of the Court, the defendants, by their counsel, excepted, and sued out this writ of error.

Mr. Swann, District Attorney, and Mr. Worthington, for the plaintiffs in error.

1st. Parol evidence cannot be admitted, to show the agreement alleged to have been made: cited, 3 Stark. Evid. 4. p. 995. 999. 1002. 3 B. & A. 233. 8 Taunt. 92. 4 Mass. Rep. 414. 8 Johns. Rep. 187. 2 Black. Rep. 1249. 7 Taunt. 278. 1 Cowen. 249. 14 Mass. Rep. 155. 1 Gow. 74. 3 Camp. Rep. 57. 1 Taunt. 347.

2d. As to the custom claimed by the bank. 2 Stark. Evid. 455. 1 Phil. Evid. 429. 3 Stark. 1038-9-40. 9 Wheat. Rep. Renner vs. Bank of Columbia.

Mr. Key, for the defendants in error, cited the following cases. Chitty on Bills, 237. 12 Mass. Rep. 172. Union Bank vs. Hyde. 10 Wheat. 27-also 7 Johns. Rep. 99. 1 New. Rep. 172. 1 Call. Rep. 250.

Mr. Chief Justice MARSHALL 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).