PRICE v. RALSTON
2 U.S. 60 (1790)

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U.S. Supreme Court

PRICE v. RALSTON, 2 U.S. 60 (1790)

2 U.S. 60 (Dall.)

Price
v.
Ralston, assignee of Pollard, a Bankrupt

Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas

August Sittings, 1790

This cause came before the Court, on a case stated for their opinion, in the following words: 'On the 23rd day of March, 1784, William Price, the plaintiff, shipped and consigned goods, by the Christian, to William Pollard, the bankrupt, one half for the account of the said William Pollard; and, at the same time, shipped and consigned other goods, by the Prince of Liege, to the said William Pollard, for the same account. And on the 18th day of May, following, the said William Price, shipped and consigned other goods, by the John, to the said William Pollard, for the same account; and on the 2nd day of September, in the same year, shipped and consigned, by the George, to the said William Pollard, other goods, for the same account; and the said William Price, on the 2nd day of December, 1785, shipped and consigned other goods, to Messrs. Robert Duncan, jun. & Co. of Philadelphia, being for and on account of the said William Price. The said Robert Duncan & Company, on receipt of them, deposited the said goods in the hands of the said William Pollard, for account of the said William Price. Considerable sales of the above mentioned goods, were made from time to time, by the said William Pollard, and monies received, for the debts outstanding on account of the said sales; the said Pollard, at different times previous to his becoming a bankrupt, as hereafter mentioned, took from some of the debtors bonds, payable to him, the said William Pollard, and not expressing his capacity of agent for the said Price. A commission of bankruptcy issued, the 28th day of June, 1787, against the said William Pollard, and on the 29th day of June, 1787, he was declared a bankrupt. At the time he was so declared a bankrupt, he had no specie proceeding from the said sales in his possession, separated and distinguished from specie belonging to

Page 2 U.S. 60, 61

himself. The commissioners of bankruptcy appointed the said Robert Ralston, assignee. Part of the above several parcels of goods, were sold by the said William Pollard, previous to his bankruptcy; who, also previous to his said bankruptcy, received part of the money for which they were sold; the debts due for others of them were outstanding at said time, and part of each of the said several parcels, at the time of the said bankruptcy, were in the hands of said bankrupt, and were taken possession of by the said Robert Ralston, as assignee, and by him sold. Query 1st. Is not William Price entitled to a moiety of the outstanding debts, not reduced to bond, or note, due from the goods shipped as aforesaid, on his, and said William Pollard's account, each one half? 2nd. Is he not entitled to a moiety of the sales, made by said Robert Ralston, of the said goods, shipped as aforesaid, on said William Price's and William Pollard's account, each one half; which came to the said Robert Ralston's hands, as assignee, and which he has sold since? 3rd. Is not the said William Price entitled to the whole of the outstanding debts, not reduced to bond or note, due for the goods, shipped to Messrs. Robert Duncan, jun. & Company, and which were deposited with the same William Pollard, and sold by him previous to his bankruptcy? 4th. Is not the said William Price, entitled to the whole of the monies, proceeding from the sales of said last mentioned goods, which were in William Pollard's hands at the bankruptcy, and which the said Robert Ralston took as assignee and sold? 5th. Is William Price, or is the assignee of William Pollard, entitled to recover and receive the monies aforesaid, due upon bond payable to William Pollard, without describing him as agent, or attorney, for William Price?' Four of the questions being voluntarily yielded to Price's claim, the fifth was argued in favour of the plaintiff, by Rawle, and Todd; and, in favour of the defendant, by Ingersoll, and Coxe. It turned principally on the comparative meaning and construction of the following sections, in the statutes of 21. Fac. 1. 19. and in the act of Pennsylvania, for regulating bankruptcy. 'And for that, it often falls out, that many persons, before they become bankrupts, do convey their goods to other men, upon good consideration, yet still do keep the same, and are reputed the owners thereof, and dispose of the same, as their own: Sect. XI. Be it enacted, That, if at any time hereafter, any person, or persons, shall become bankrupt, and at such time as they shall so become bankrupt, shall, by the consent and permission of the true owner and proprietary, have in their possession, order and disposition, any goods or chattels, whereof they shall be reputed owners, and take upon them the sale, alienation, or disposition, [2 U.S. 60, 62]


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