THIS cause was this day argued by BURGESS and STOCKTON, for
the Appellants, and HARPER, for the Appellee, in the absence of
February 28th. Absent. TODD, J.
djQ MARSHALL, Ch. J. delivered the opinion of the Court as
This is an appeal from a decree made in the Circuit Court of the United States for the district of Rhode Island.
The Appellee filed his bill in that Court, praying that the Appellants and James Munro, Samuel Snow, and Benjamin Munro, late merchants trading under the firm of Munro, Snow and Munro, might be decreed to pay him the amount of a bill of exchange drawn in his favor at Batavia, by Benjamin Munro, at nine months sight, on Messrs. Daniel Crommelin and sons, merchants, Amsterdam, for the sum of 21,488 guilders on account of advances made by the said Riemsdyk for the use of the Defendants in the Circuit Court.
In the year 1805, John Innes Clark and Munro, Snow and Munro, being joint owners of the ship Patterson in equal moieties, projected a voyage to Batavia, and appointed Benjamin Munro, one of the house of Munro, Snow and Munro, supercargo. The ship carried out some goods on account of the owners, and other goods on account of different persons, the whole to be invested in a return cargo, on the profits of which the ship owners were to receive 45 per cent. instead of freight.
The bill charges that the supercargo was empowered verbally, in case of a deficiency of funds at Batavia, to load the ship with a return cargo, to take up money on the joint account of the owners, and, if necessary, to draw bills of exchange therefor on Messrs. Daniel Crommelin and sons, of Amsterdam, or on the owners.
The Patterson returned in the spring of 1806, with a cargo derived from the funds taken out in the outward voyage.
In March, 1806, the Patterson again sailed to Batavia on a voyage in all respects similar to the first. That part of the cargo which was furnished by the owners Consisted of wines and some other inconsiderable articles. Being unable to sell the wine in Batavia, the supercarge placed it for sale in the hands of Mr. Van Riemsdyk, the Defendant in error. Rather than return without filling the vessel for the owners, he drew bills on them to the amount of $2,389 89; and also drew on Messrs. Crommelin and sons, merchants of Amsterdam, the bill for which this suit was brought. The bill is drawn by Benjamin Munro in his own name, but it contains a direction to charge the same to John Innes Clark and Munro, Snow and Munro, merchants of Providence, Rhode Island, North America. Of all these proceedings the owners were regularly informed by letter from Benjamin Munro, their supercargo.
The ship returned safe in March, 1807, and the proceeds of the cargo purchased by these bills were received by the owners. The bills drawn on the owners were duly paid; but no provision was made for that drawn on Daniel Crommelin and sons.
In May, 1807, the ship proceeded on a third voyage to Batavia with Benjamin Munro again supercargo. The owners appear to have relied on the wine placed in the hands of Van Riemsdyk on the second voyage, for producing the funds with which to procure their part of the return cargo. In June, 1807, Munro, Snow and Munro became insolvent; and, according to the laws of Rhode Island, obtained a certificate discharging them from the claims of their creditors, so far as such discharge could be affected by a law of the state. They had previously transferred, for a valuable consideration, to John Innes Clark, all their interest in the ship, the return cargo and the accruing freight, the whole of which came into his possession on the return of the vessel. In December, 1807, the bill was presented to Messrs. Daniel ...