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United States Supreme Court

49 U.S. 566

Williamson  v.  Ball

THIS case was similar to the two preceding ones in all the leading facts. It will be perceived, however, that all the children of Thomas B. Clarke now united as plaintiffs.

Upon the trial in the court below, the will of Mary Clarke, the acts of the legislature of the state of New York, the orders of the Chancellor of that state, and other facts, were shown, as in the case of Charles A. Williamson and Wife v. Joseph Berry.

It further appeared in evidence, that on the 8th of December, 1818, Mr. Clarke conveyed the lot in question, with other lots, to Albert Chrystie, reciting that 'the said Thomas B. Clarke is justly indebted to the said Albert Chrystie in the sum of $525, and is willing to convey in satisfaction of such debt the premises hereinafter mentioned and described;' and declaring, 'that the said Thomas B. Clarke, in consideration of the premises, and of $525 to him in hand paid,' conveys, &c.

This deed was approved by James A. Hamilton, master in Chancery. There was also a quitclaim executed by him, he having acquired a title to Mr. Clarke's life estate, under a sale upon execution.

A conveyance from Mr. Chrystie to James Covell, from Covell to John R. Driver, and the will of Driver, were also shown.

A verdict was taken for the plaintiffs, subject to the opinion of the court, upon a case. On the argument, the judges ruled as stated in Williamson v. Berry, and were divided in opinion upon the following points:--

1. Whether the authority given by the said acts of the legislature to the trustee, to sell the estate, was a special power, to be strictly pursued, or whether he acquired the absolute power of alienation, subject only to review and account in equity.

2. Whether the orders set forth in the case, made by the Chancellor in this behalf, were authorized by, and in conformity to, the said several acts of the legislature, and are to be regarded as the acts of the Court of Chancery, empowered to proceed as such, or the doings of an officer, acting under a special authority.

3. Whether the Chancellor had competent authority, under the said acts, to order or allow a conveyance of the premises by the trustee, in payment or satisfaction of a precedent debt owing by the trustee to the grantee.

4. Whether the deed executed by Thomas B. Clarke to Albert Chrystie, stated in the case, was in due execution of the power and authority of said trustee.

5. Whether the defendant, deriving title by purchase bon a fide, and for a valuable consideration, from such grantee, has a valid title against the plaintiffs.

It was argued in conjunction with the case of Williamson and Wife v. Berry, as was stated in the report of that case.

Mr. Justice WAYNE 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).