1 U.S. 311 (1788)

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U.S. Supreme Court

APPEAL OF BROWN, 1 U.S. 311 (1788)

1 U.S. 311 (Dall.)

The Appeal of Brown Exor. of Edgar
Circuit Court, Pennsylvania District

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

July Term, 1788

This was an appeal from the Orphan's Court of Philadelphia county on the following case. Brown, having received L 400. on account of the estate of his Testator Edgar, paid it over (according to his uniform practice upon such occasions) to his Co-executor Dogherty. In Brown's books this money was charged, generally, as so much cash paid to Dogherty; but, in Dogherty's books, credit was given for it on account of the estate of Edgar. Dogherty became insolvent; and upon a settlement of Brown's administration, the Orphan's Court refused to allow him the L400. thus paid over to his Co-executor; but charged him with the principal sum, and interest from the time he received it, 'till the year 1776, (nine years) dropping the interest from that time 'till 1781, and afterwards reviving it.

It was argued in January Term by Wilcocks in support of the appeal, and Lewis against it; when three points were made; 1st, Whether, the money was a loan to Dogherty, or a payment to the estate of Edgar; 2nd, Whether, if it was a payment to the estate of Edgar, Brown was thereby discharged; and 3rd, Whether interest was payable to the residuary Legatees, who were the Appellees upon this occasion.

The CHIEF JUSTICE, having stated the points that were made in the cause, now delivered the opinion of the Court.

M'Kean, Chief Justice.

From the evidence we must determine, on the first point, that the money was a payment to the estate of Edgar. It was Brown's constant practice to transfer all his receipts

Page 1 U.S. 311, 312

to Dogherty; and this sum of L400. is credited to him in the accounts of the estate kept by the latter.

With respect to the second and third points, it must be observed, that the Courts of Chancery make it a general rule, that he who receives money should be answerable for it; and, therefore, if one Executor becomes insolvent, or bankrupt, the other shall not be charged. There is a difference, however, between Legatees and Creditors; the former being appointed, as well as the Executor, by virtue of the Testator's will; and consequently cannot impose the same responsibility as the latter. The case in 1 P. Wms. 244. is the only one in point; but on that authority, and the justice of the matter itself, under all its circumstances, we are of opinion that, although Brown would be chargeable if there were creditors, and a deficiency of assets to satisfy them; yet, that he is not answerable to the Legatees.

The L400. must therefore be deducted from the account, with the nine years interest which is charged upon it. As to the rest, we think Brown ought to be well satisfied to pay the interest; particularly as it is not charged from the year 1776 to the year 1781.

The decision of the Orphan's Court was accordingly affirmed; deducting L400, and nine years interest, from the account.

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