Bronson's Executor v. Chappell - 79 U.S. 681 (1870)
U.S. Supreme Court
Bronson's Executor v. Chappell, 79 U.S. 12 Wall. 681 681 (1870)
Bronson's Executor v. Chappell
79 U.S. (12 Wall.) 681
Where one, without objection, suffers another to do acts which proceed upon the ground of authority from him, or, by his conduct, adopts and sanctions such acts after they are done, he will be bound, though no previous authority exist, in all respects as though the requisite power had been given in the most formal way. This doctrine applied to a case depending on special facts.
APPEAL from the circuit court for the District of Wisconsin.
Bronson, of New York, being owner as executor of lands in Wisconsin, sold a tract to E. and J. Chappell, residing near Galena, in that state, the sale being negotiated by one W. C. Bostwick, of the last-named place. A portion of the purchase money was secured by mortgage, and as it became due it was paid by the Chappells to Bostwick under the assumption by them that Bostwick, who had advertised himself during a term of twelve or fourteen years as the agent of Bronson, was the duly constituted agent of Bronson to receive it. Bostwick having failed and appropriated the money to his own use, Bronson now filed a bill against the Chappells in the court below to foreclose the mortgage. The defendants set up the payments to Bostwick, and the question involved was thus a pure question of agency. The defendants relied upon a correspondence between Bronson and Bostwick, and particularly, as sufficient of itself, on a letter from the latter to the former, dated 9 February, 1860, and a reply to it of the 15th. These two letters are quoted and the general character of the others, with the leading facts of the case, stated in different parts of the opinion. The court below dismissed the bill, and Bronson took the appeal.