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United States Supreme Court

79 U.S. 342

Hanauer  v.  Doane

ERROR to the Circuit Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

This was an action by Doane against L. & J. Hanauer, to recover the amount of two promissory notes, dated in February, 1867. These notes were originally given by the said L. & J. Hanauer, under the firm of L. Hanauer & Co., to one Hunter, in settlement of an account between them and the firm of Hunter & Oakes, which had mostly accrued in the years 1860, 1861, and 1862. A portion of this account was for items of private and family use; the residue was partly for supplies and commissary stores for the Confederate army sold by Hunter & Oakes to L. Hanauer, a recognized supply contractor of the Confederate government; and partly for due-bills issued by Hanauer, as such contractor, to other persons in payment of army stores and supplies, and taken up by Hunter & Oakes at Hanauer's request, under a promise to redeem the same.

The question in the case was whether the notes sued on, having been given for the consideration mentioned, were valid.

The defendants asked the court to charge thus:

'1. If the jury find that Hunter & Oakes sold to L. Hanauer a quantity of goods and chattels knowing that the said Hanauer was purchasing them as supplies for the rebel army to carry on the war against the United States, and that the price of the same form a part of the consideration of the notes sued on, them they will find for the defendants.

'2. If they find that L. Hanauer, acting as a purchasing agent for the Confederate States, in rebellion, gave out notes or due-bills for supplies furnished the rebel army with the knowledge of the persons from whom such purchases were made, of the use to which the said supplies were to be put, and that, during the time when the said due-bills were in the course of being issued, the said Hanauer made an agreement with said Hunter & Oakes that the latter should take up said due-bills and charge them to said Hanauer, the said Hunter & Oakes knowing the purpose for which the same were issued, and that the price of said due-bills so taken up forms any part of the consideration of the notes sued on, then they will find for the defendants.'

The court refused so to charge, and charged as follows:

'If these due-bills were taken up by Hunter & Oakes, after they were issued to the parties to whom they were payable, and upon the promise of Hanauer that he would redeem them, then, as between Hanauer and Hunter & Oakes, the surrender by Hunter & Oakes to Hanauer of such due-bills so taken up by them, would constitute a good and sufficient consideration for the amount thereof. And this is the law, although you may find that the parties to whom the due-bills were payable knew at the time of making the sale of supplies or property to L. Hanauer that he intended to turn the same over to the rebel army, and that Hunter & Oakes had notice of these facts. To affect the validity of the notes sued on, as to that part of the consideration made up of these due-bills, you must be satisfied that Hunter & Oakes were interested in furnishing the supplies to the rebel army for which the due-bills were given, or that what they did in the premises was done for the purpose or with the view of aiding in furnishing supplies to the rebel army, otherwise giving aid and comfort to the rebellion.

'Then, as to the other item, comprising a part of the consideration of the notes sued, the account of Hunter & Oakes against Hanauer as supply contractor for supplies sold to Hanauer. It is asserted that Hunter & Oakes knew that the articles mentioned in this account were purchased by Hanauer to be turned over as supplies to the rebel army, and the defendant maintains that this knowledge of the use intended to be made by Hanauer of these goods made the sale illegal, and that the amount of these sales having been included in the notes sued on, they are illegal and void. This is not the law. Bare knowledge, on the part of Hunter & Oakes, that Hanauer intended or expected to turn the goods and property purchased from them over to the rebel army as supplies for said army would not make such sale of goods and property illegal and void. To make the sale of goods from Hunter & Oakes to Hanauer illegal and void, it must appear that Hunter & Oakes had some concern in furnishing the supplies to the rebel army, or that it was part of the contract between Hunter & Oakes and Hanauer that such goods should go to the support of the rebel army, or that the design of Hunter & Oakes, in making such sale, was to aid in furnishing supplies to the rebel army, or otherwise give aid and comfort to the rebellion. But if the goods were sold by Hunter & Oakes in the common and ordinary course of trade, and the only inducement to the sale of the goods on the part of Hunter & Oakes was the price agreed to be paid by Hanauer for the same, then the sale was a legal and valid sale, although Hunter & Oakes knew that Hanauer intended or expected to turn such goods over to the rebel army.'

Judgment having gone for the plaintiff, the defendant, Hanauer, brought the case here on exceptions to the charge; the question in this court being, of course, the same one as in the court below, to wit, whether the notes sued on, having been given for the consideration mentioned, were valid.

Messrs. Watkins and Rose, for the plaintiffs in error; Mr. A. H. Garland, contra.

Mr. Justice BRADLEY delivered the opinion of the court.

NotesEdit

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).