Campbell v. Wilcox
77 U.S. 421 (1869)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Campbell v. Wilcox, 77 U.S. 10 Wall. 421 421 (1869)

Campbell v. Wilcox

77 U.S. (10 Wall.) 421

Syllabus

1. Under the Act of July 13, 1866, 14 Stat. at Large 142, which requires promissory notes to be stamped, making them void only when the stamp is omitted with intent to defraud the government of the stamp duty, a fraudulent omission cannot be taken advantage of on demurrer.

2. An averment in a declaration that the defendants had made and delivered to the plaintiffs their promissory notes implies that the instruments were at the time in the form and condition required by law.

3. The filing of a plea to the merits after a demurrer is overruled operates as a waiver of the demurrer.

4. Judgment affirmed with 10 percent damages where a party brought a writ of error here denying such points as those above stated.

A statute of July 13, 1866, [Footnote 1] enacts that any person who shall accept, negotiate, or pay, or cause to be accepted, negotiated, or paid any promissory note without the same's being duly stamped or having an adhesive stamp for denoting the tax chargeable thereon and cancelled &c., "with intent to evade the provisions of the act" shall forfeit $50, and that such instrument or note "not being stamped according to law shall be deemed invalid and of no effect." A mode is provided in the act by which instruments may be stamped after being issued.

These provisions being in force, Wilcox sued A. &. L. Campbell in the court below, declaring upon four promissory notes of theirs, dated 4 August, 1866. The declaration contained the usual averments according to the established precedents in such cases, but did not aver that the notes were stamped as required by the act of Congress, either at their date or at any subsequent time. The defendants demurred generally. The demurrer was overruled, and they pleaded to the merits. The case being submitted by consent to the court without the intervention of a jury,

Page 77 U. S. 422

judgment was given in favor of the plaintiffs for $10,805. On error, the only question was on the demurrer.

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