Hodge v. Combs

Court Documents

United States Supreme Court

66 U.S. 192

Hodge  v.  Combs

Appeal from the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Columbia.

Leslie Combs brought his bill in the Circuit Court against John L. Hodge, administrator of Andrew Hodge, deceased, William L. Hodge, and James Love, complaining that Love, having in his hands certain bonds of the Republic of Texas which belonged to the plaintiff, sold and transferred them for his own benefit, and without authority or consent of the plaintiff, and that he, the plaintiff, had since learned that they were in possession of and claimed by the other defendants. The bill prays that the defendants be restrained from receiving any money on the bonds, and that the bonds be surrendered to the plaintiff as the true owner, and for further relief.

The answer denies all the main facts set forth in the bill, asserts that Love had authority to make the transfer, and that the plaintiff has no title or just claim to the bonds.

When the cause was first heard the Circuit Court dismissed the bill, but that decree was reversed by the Supreme Court on appeal, and the record remanded for a further hearing. 21 How., 397. Afterwards a decree was made below that the bonds be surrendered to the plaintiff. From this decree the present appeal was taken by the defendants. At the last hearing the evidence was the same as on the first, except the paper embodied in the opinion of Mr. Justice Grier, which was not produced until after the cause had been remanded.

Mr. Reverdy Johnson, of Maryland, for the appellants. The power of attorney, dated the 13th February, 1840, takes the case out of the principle decided on the former appeal. It is a general power, and gave the attorney all the control over the bonds which the principal himself could have exercised.

Mr. Bradley, of Washington city, for the appellees. The instrument relied on is wholly insufficient to justify the tranfer of the plaintiff's stock. By the law of Texas it could be transferred only on the books of the stock commissioner. 1 Tenn. R., 334. A general authority like this is not sufficient for any special purpose. Paley on Agency, 2; 15 East., 408. If it were, it would authorize the attorney to sell all the property of his principal, or to apply for a divorce in the name of his principal if he had a wife living in Texas.

But even if the paper were sufficient, the defendants have failed to come within the requirements of the law in other respects. This court has decided that they must show the consideration paid to the attorney for the bonds; and they have not done so.

Mr. Justice GRIER.


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).