BROWN V. WILEY, 61 U. S. 442 (1857)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Brown v. Wiley, 61 U.S. 20 How. 442 442 (1857)

Brown v. Wiley

61 U.S. (20 How.) 442


Where a bill of exchange was drawn in proper form and protested for nonacceptance, parol evidence of an understanding between the drawer and the party in whose favor the bill was drawn, calculated to vary the terms of the instrument, was not admissible.

Wiley & Co. were citizens of New York, and Brown a citizen of Texas.

The cause of action was the following bill of exchange:

"$2,359.26 SHREVEPORT, March 23, 1854"

"On or before the 1st of May next, 1855, please pay to order L. M. Wiley & Co. twenty-three hundred and fifty-nine and twenty-six one hundredths dollars, for value received, and charge same to my account, without further advice."


"Messrs. Campbell & Strong, merchants, New Orleans"


This draft was presented and protested for nonacceptance on the 10th of June, 1854, more than ten months before the time when it was payable, and it appeared from the record that the suit was instituted against the drawer in February, 1855, nearly three months before the maturity of the bill.

The petition, as amended, contained the usual averments of the drawing of the draft, its presentation for acceptance, protest, and notice of dishonor.

The defense was that there were two bills of similar character, except that one was payable in May, 1854, and the other in May, 1855, and that it was agreed by the parties that the second should not be presented for acceptance until the first was taken up. These pleas were, on motion of the plaintiffs' counsel, stricken out.

The cause then came on for trial, and the defendant offered evidence to prove these facts the result of which is stated in the following extract from the bill of exceptions:

Page 61 U. S. 443

"The defendant's counsel then offered to prove, that at the time the draft was delivered, it was expressly stipulated and agreed by and between W. L. McMurray, the agent of the defendant, and Charles Keith, the agent of the plaintiffs that the said draft should not be presented for acceptance until the defendant should provide for the payment of a previous draft, drawn by the same party in favor of the same parties upon the same drawees, falling due in April, 1854, according to an understanding had with the drawees, and that said draft would not have been delivered to plaintiffs' agent, if he had not have agreed to hold it up. This was objected to by plaintiffs' counsel, and the objection sustained, to which ruling and decision of the court the defendant excepts.'"

The jury found a verdict for the plaintiffs, and the defendant brought the case up to this Court.

Page 61 U. S. 447

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