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United States Supreme Court

27 U.S. 482

MRndeville  v.  Riggs

THIS was an appeal from the decree of the circuit court of the United States for the county of Alexandria, in the district of Columbia.

In that court in July 1818, a bill was filed by the appellee against certain individuals named in the subpoena, charging them with having entered into a certain association or copartnership, called 'the Merchants' Bank of Alexandria.' That the partnership, for a considerable time, issued notes and bills, and in other respects prosecuted their trading or business as a bank, until about the month of May 1816, at which time they became so embarrassed as entirely to put a stop to their proceedings. The bill then alleges, that sundry notes or bills of various denominations and amounts, issued and sent into circulation by the bank during its operations, amounting in the whole to $20.000, regularly came into the possession of the complainant, and that no part of them has been paid. The bill proceeds to present other faets and proceedings upon which the complainant claimed relief, and concludes with a demand for general relief.

The process was served on twenty-two of the stockholders and defendants. the whole number being sixty-one. An alias subpoena having issued, the marshal returned, as to the others, 'not found; non-residents in the county of Alexandria.' On the 13th of August 1818, a pluries subpoena was issued, on which the marshal returned, 'executed on John M'Pherson; the other defendants not found.'

In November 1818, the bill was taken for confessed, as to those defendants on whom process had been served, and who had not answered; and continued as to the others.

At May rules, 1820, and at November term, 1820, the suit was abated as to such of the deceased defendants upon whom the process was executed; and no proceedings were instituted to bring in their legal representatives. The answers of some of the defendants who were served with process having been filed, depositions taken, reports of the auditor made, and the arguments of counsel heard, the court went on to decree the payment of certain sums to the complainant by the parties thus before the court; apportioning the same according to the time they became stockholders in the bank, and the periods of issuing the notes held by the complainant. The bill was dismissed as to the other defendants who did not answer; and also as to all those who were either not served with process to appear in the cause, or who were served with process, and not charged by any evidence on the part of the complainant.

The defendants against whom the decree was rendered, prayed an appeal to this Court, which was allowed on their giving bond and security, &c. Joseph Mandeville alone, of all the defendants, gave bond to prosecute the appeal.

It is not considered necessary to state in this report any of the points presented by counsel, upon which no opinion was expressed by the Court; and therefore those proceedings in the case, and matters set forth in the bill, answers, and evidence, which are not connected with, or required to exhibit the only question decided by the Court, and the arguments of the counsel upon them, are omitted.

The case was argued upon all the questions presented by the record, by Mr Jones and Mr E. J. Lee for the appellant; and by Mr Wirt and Mr Coxe for the appellee. The only points upon which the Court gave an opinion were, 1. The dismission of the bill as to the absent defendants who were not served with process. 2. The omission to make the legal representatives of those defendants who had died after they were served with process, parties to the proceedings. And 3. The regularity of the appeal to this Court, Mandeville only having given bond.

Mr Justice STORY 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).