Dewhurst v. Coulthard
3 U.S. 409 (1799)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Dewhurst v. Coulthard, 3 U.S. 3 Dall. 409 409 (1799)

Dewhurst v. Coulthard

3 U.S. (3 Dall.) 409

Syllabus

The Court will not take cognizance of any suit or controversy, which is not brought before it by regular process of law.

The following statement of a case was presented by E. Tilghman to the Court at the instance of the attorneys for both the parties in the suit in the Circuit Court of the New York District with a request that it might be considered and decided.

"This was an action commenced by Isaac Coulthard against John Dewhurst in the supreme court of the State of New York, and was removed by petition to the Circuit Court of the United States for the New York District, agreeably to the act of Congress in such case made and provided, by the defendant, he being a citizen of the State of Pennsylvania."

"The plaintiff's action is prosecuted against the above defendant, as the endorser of a foreign bill of exchange drawn by G. B. Ewart of the City and State of New York, on Thomas Barnes of Baldork, near London, dated 10 January, 1792."

"On the part of the defendant it is admitted that at the time of the making and endorsing said bill, the said John Dewhurst was a citizen of, and resident in the City and State of New York,

Page 3 U. S. 410

and that he duly received notice of the protest of the said bill, for nonacceptance and nonpayment."

"That on or about 25 May, 1792, the defendant removed to the City of Philadelphia in the State of Pennsylvania, where he has resided since that period. That shortly after his removal to Philadelphia, viz., on or about the 7 June, 1792, a commission of bankruptcy was awarded and issued forth against him in pursuance of two certain acts or statutes of the said State of Pennsylvania, the one entitled 'An act for the regulation of bankruptcy,' the other entitled, 'An act to amend an act entitled, an act for the regulation of bankruptcy.' And in pursuance of which said statutes the defendant did actually deliver, assign, and transfer to the commissioners appointed under the said commission the whole of his effects, as well in the State of Pennsylvania as elsewhere, which consisted principally of credits due to the said defendant in the State of New York. It is further admitted that the said John Dewhurst in all things complied with the said statutes of bankruptcy before referred to, and that on 11 August, 1792, he obtained a certificate of bankruptcy duly executed."

"Upon the above state of the case, it is submitted to the Supreme Court of the United States to determine whether the certificate issued under the laws of Pennsylvania operates as a discharge of the said debt notwithstanding its being contracted in another state, where there was no bankrupt laws and while the defendant was resident in the said State of New York. If the court should be of opinion that it does, it is agreed that judgment be entered for the defendant; otherwise for the plaintiff, for $1,120 damages and six cents costs."

The Court, on the ensuing morning, returned the state of the case, declaring that it could not take cognizance of any suit or controversy which was not brought before them by the regular process of the law.

Motion refused.

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