Wetzell v. Bussard - 24 U.S. 309 (1826)
U.S. Supreme Court
Wetzell v. Bussard, 24 U.S. 11 Wheat. 309 309 (1826)
Wetzell v. Bussard
24 U.S. (11 Wheat.) 309
An acknowledgement of a debt which will take a case out of the statute of limitations must be unqualified and unconditional.
If it be connected with circumstances which in any manner affect the claim, or if it be conditional, it may amount to a new assumpsit for which the old debt is a sufficient consideration, or if it be construed to revive the original debt, that revival is conditional, and the performance of the condition or a readiness to perform it must be shown.
Thus, where an action was brought on a promise in writing to deliver a quantity of powder, and the original assumpsit being satisfactorily proved, the defendant relied upon the statute of limitations, and one witness deposed that the defendant told him that the plaintiff need not have sued him, for if he had come forward and settled certain claims which defendant had against him, the defendant would have given him his powder; to another witness defendant said, that he should be ready to deliver the powder whenever the plaintiff settled the suit which Dr. E. had brought against him &c. Held that those declarations did not amount to an unqualified and unconditional acknowledgement of the debt, but that the plaintiff ought to have proved a performance or a readiness to perform the condition on which the new promise was made.