Georgia v. Brailsford, Powell & Hopton - 3 U.S. 1 (1794)
U.S. Supreme Court
Georgia v. Brailsford, Powell & Hopton, 3 U.S. 3 Dall. 1 1 (1794)
Georgia v. Brailsford, Powell & Hopton
3 U.S. (3 Dall.) 1
The act of the Legislature of Georgia of 4 May, 1784, did not vest in the state debts due by a citizen of Georgia to a partnership, some of the members of which were citizens of South Carolina and one of whom was a subject of Great Britain.
No sequestration divests the property in the thing sequestered.
The act of the Legislature of Georgia sequestering debts due to British subjects prevented the recovery of the debt by suit during the continuance of the war, but the mere restoration of peace, as well as the terms of the treaty, revived the right of action.
This was a trial at the bar of the Court by a jury to determine the right of the State of Georgia, under the Confiscation Act of 4 May, 1782, to a debt due by a citizen of Georgia to a partnership composed of certain persons, some of whom were citizens of South Carolina and one of whom was a British subject and had been in England during the whole of the war of the Revolution.
The plaintiffs alleged that James Spalding, a citizen of Georgia and surviving co-partner of Kelsall & Spalding, was indebted to the defendants in the penal sum of £7,058 9s. 5d. upon a bond, dated in 1774, which debt, by virtue of the said recited law, was transferred from the obligees and vested in the state -- Brailsford being a native subject of Great Britain, constantly residing there from the year 1767 'till after the passing of the law; Hopton's estate, real and personal (debts excepted), having been expressly confiscated by an act of the Legislature of South Carolina, and Powell coming within the description of persons whose estates, real and personal (debts excepted), were also confiscated by acts of the Legislature of South Carolina if after refusing to take the oath of allegiance, they returned to the state.
It was denied by the defendants that by a fair construction of the law of South Carolina and of the confiscation act of Georgia, the debt due by Kelsall & Spalding had become the property of the plaintiffs. For the plaintiffs, it was contended:
1. That Georgia, as a sovereign state, had power to transfer the debt from the original creditor, an alien enemy, to herself notwithstanding some of the debtors were citizens of another state, and that, by her law, she had declared her intention to make the transfer, and that without an inquest of office, the transfer had been carried into effect in due form, as well in relation to her own citizens as to the parties who were citizens of South Carolina.