Yeaton v. Bank of Alexandria - 9 U.S. 49 (1809)


U.S. Supreme Court

Yeaton v. Bank of Alexandria, 9 U.S. 5 Cranch 49 49 (1809)

Yeaton v. Bank of Alexandria

9 U.S. (5 Cranch) 49

Syllabus

In Virginia, the endorser of a promissory note was not, when the Town of Alexandria was separated from that state, liable to the holder by any express statute. He was only liable under the implied contract created by his endorsement. This implied contract, by the general understanding of the country, was that he would pay the debt if, by due diligence, it could not be obtained from the maker. This condition, however, was not expressed; yet it was just, because it was consistent with general usage, and therefore was the real understanding with which an endorsement was made and received.

If the case shows that the bank received this note under an understanding that it was subject to the rules which govern inland bills of exchange, then it would seem reasonable, in the case of notes actually negotiated with them, to imply from the act of endorsement an undertaking conformable to that usage.

The Bank of Alexandria may, under the charter of the bank, maintain an action against the endorser of a promissory note made negotiable in that bank without first suing the maker or proving him insolvent, although the endorsement was for the accommodation of the maker and notwithstanding that in Virginia, the implied contract of the endorser of a promissory note, by the general understanding of the country, is that he will pay the debt if by due diligence it cannot be obtained from the maker.

Perhaps the undertaking of the endorser of a note to the bank may be different.

It is no objection that the endorsement was for the accommodation of the maker. The consideration moving from the bank to the maker of the note on the credit of the endorser charges both the maker and the endorser.

Error to the Circuit Court of the District of Columbia in an action of assumpsit brought by the defendants in error against the plaintiff in error as endorser of a promissory note for the accommodation of R. Young, the maker.

The declaration contained two counts. One upon the endorsement of the note in the usual form and without any averment of the insolvency of the maker or of any steps taken to enforce payment from him. The other was for money had and received.

The same questions arose in this case as in the preceding case of Young v. Bank of Alexandria, but the only question argued in this cause was whether an endorser of a promissory note to the Bank

Page 9 U. S. 50

of Alexandria, for the accommodation of the maker, was liable in an action by the bank until after a suit, judgment and execution against the maker had proved fruitless or the maker was otherwise proved to be insolvent.

Page 9 U. S. 51



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