Magruder v. Union Bank of Georgetown - 28 U.S. 87 (1830)
U.S. Supreme Court
Magruder v. Union Bank of Georgetown, 28 U.S. 3 Pet. 87 87 (1830)
Magruder v. Union Bank of Georgetown
28 U.S. (3 Pet.) 87
An action was brought by the Union Bank of Georgetown against George B. Magruder, as endorser of a promissory note drawn by George Magruder. The maker of the note died before it became payable, and letters of administration to his estate were taken out by the endorser. No notice of the nonpayment of the note was given to the endorser or any demand of payment made until the institution of this suit. Held that the endorser was discharged, and his having become the administrator of the drawer does not relieve the holder from the obligation to demand payment of the note, and to give notice thereof to the endorser.
The general rule that payment must be demanded from the maker of a note and notice of nonpayment forwarded to the endorser within due time in order to render him liable is so firmly settled that no authority need be cited to support it. Due diligence to obtain payment from the maker is a condition precedent on which the liability of the endorser depends.
In the Circuit Court of the District of Columbia for the County of Washington, the defendants in error instituted a suit against George B. Magruder, the plaintiff in error, upon a promissory note drawn by George Magruder in favor of and endorsed by the plaintiff in error, dated Washington, November 8, 1817, for $643.21, payable seven years after date. After the making of the note, the drawer, George Magruder, died, and on 18 November, 1822, administration of his effects was granted to George B. Magruder, the plaintiff in error. The note having been due on 11 November, 1824, was not paid.
Upon the trial of the cause, the plaintiff, in support of the issue joined, offered in evidence to the jury the promissory note, issued 18 November, 1823, the handwriting of the maker, and the endorsement by the defendant having been admitted, and further proved that the defendant had, previous to the note's falling due, taken out letters of administration in the County of Montgomery in the State of Maryland upon the personal estate of George Magruder, the maker of the said note, on 18 November, 1823, the
said George Magruder having previously departed this life. It was admitted that the note in question had never been protested, nor had any notice been given to this defendant that the note was not paid. Upon these circumstances the counsel for the defendant moved the court to instruct the jury that before the plaintiff can recover in this action, it is essential for him to prove demand and notice to the endorser, of the nonpayment, which not being done, the verdict should be for the defendant. But the court refused to give the instruction prayed for as aforesaid and charged the jury that no demand of notice of nonpayment was necessary. To this refusal and instruction the counsel for the defendant excepted, and the court sealed a bill of exceptions, and this writ of error was prosecuted.