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Griswold v. Hill.
relevant for him to set it forth, unless such matter may be considered exceptionable as being scandalous. But the present case cannot be so viewed. It seemed to be considered on the argument, that the answer represented the complainant as a person of such character, that it was unsafe and inexpedient to have any intercourse whatever with him. But such is not the import of the answer; but only that he considered it unsafe and inexpedient to have any connexion with him in business-that is, to continue and carry into operation the partnership which had been entered into. It would be too rigid and illiberal a construction of this answer to charge the defendant with intending to avail himself of it as a vehicle of scandal, and thereby to excite prejudice against the cause of the complainant. There is nothing in this part of the answer to warrant an inference that the defendant 'was governed by any desire wantonly to injure the character or hurt the feelings of the complainant.
The second exception allowed by the master cannot be sustained, for the reasons which have been offered in relation to the first.
The bill alleges that the articles of partnership were cancelled upon the express conditions stated in the bill, and not otherwise. The answer denies this allegation, and goes on to set out other conditions required, and upon which the articles were cancelled. This would seem to follow very naturally, if not necessarily, from the allegation in the bill, where the complainant alleges that the partnership was dissolved solely because the Chilian government would not grant the contemplated privilege. It was not irrelevant for the defendant to deny that this was the only reason, and to state what other inducements entered into the transaction; and he accordingly states, “that the complainant required as a condition precedent to cancelling the articles of partnership, that the defendant should give him a certificate in favour of his character,
Griswold v. Hill.
which forms the exceptionable matter. This was certainly not entirely foreign to the subject matter of the bill. He was called upon to confess or deny, whether the articles were cancelled upon the terms and conditions alleged in the bill, and not otherwise; and if other conditions than those stated in the bill were made and required, the defendant could not simply confess or deny the allegation, or give a full answer, without stating what other condition, if any, entered into the consideration for cancelling these articles; and if such answer implies any thing unfavourable to the character of the complainant, it has been called for by the allegation in the bill, and cannot now be made matter of objection on his part.
The next exception allowed by the master, is too unimportant to require much consideration; but the part of the answer embraced in this exception cannot be considered as entirely foreign to the case made by the bill. One object of the bill was to obtain an injunction to stay the proceedings at law upon a bill of exchange drawn by the complainant, upon D. S. Dunham in favour of the defendant, at the time the articles of partnership were cancelled ; and the bill alleges, that in case the partnership was revived, the complainant considered he was only to be charged with one half the amount of the bill. There having been some delay in commencing a suit upon this bill of exchange, might afford an inference that it was connected with the partnership business, which the defendant had fully and explicitly denied; and to account for the delay, the answer, after stating the time when the bill of exchange was protested for non-acceptance and non-payment, and notice thereof given to the complainant, alleges, “that the defendant thereupon apprehended, that the recovery thereof was hopeless, but the sudden death of D. Dunham, (who was the father-in-law of the complainant,) who died intestate, having, as the defendant supposed, caused a favourable change in the pecuniary circumstances of the complainant,"
Griswold v. Hill.
a suit was commenced about a year after the prospect, and this is the part of the answer embraced by the exception. But the answer cannot in this respect be rejected as altogether impertinent; it serves to rebut an inference in support of a direct allegation in the bill, that the bill of exchange was connected with the partnership concern, and it certainly is not scandalous to any very aggravated extent when taken all together, for although it insinuates that the pecuniary situation of the complainant had been questionable, yet that it had been restored by the expectation or receipt of property from the estate of his father-in-law.
The last exception allowed has less plausibility to sustain it than either of the former. The bill, as has been already noticed, alleges, that it was at the election of the complainant to revive the partnership, if he should think proper, in the event of his obtaining from the Chilian government the exclusive privilege contemplated, and as the evidence of his having made such election. The complainant alleges, that he had written a letter to the defendant to that effect. The answer to this allegation, so far as it is excepted to, states, “that the defendant does not believe that the letter was written or transmitted with any intent or view to the formation or renewal of a connexion in business between the complainant and defendant. The complainant having, as the defendant believes, neither funds nor credit to enable him to take part in such a concern.” If this offer to revive the partnership was merely colourable, and not made with any real intention of carrying it into effect, it was competent for the defendant to allege and prove it. Such an offer could impose on the defendant no legal or equitable obligation to renew the partnership. The complainant had alleged his right to revive the partnership, and that in such event, only one half the amount of the bill of exchange was to be charged to him, and if the defendant refused to renew the partnership on being duly required se
Griswold v. Hill.
to do, it might afford some equitable grounds for exonerating the complainant from the payment of any more than one-half the bill of exchange then in suit. The defendant had therefore a right to set up, that this letter was not written in good faith, and with a real intention of renewing the partnership, but to evade payment in part of his bill of exchange.
The report of the master, therefore, so far as the same allows any exceptions taken to the answer, must be set aside, and all the exceptions disallowed.
H. D. SEDGWICK for the defendant.
H. W. WARNER for the complainant.
Lucas v. Morris.
John R. LUCAS ET AL v. ROBERT MORRIS ET AL.
The Circuit Courts have jurisdiction of matters arising under the bankrapt law, as they have of any other subject, where the constitution and laws of the
United States give them jurisdiction. The District Courts have not, like the Chancellor in England, exclusive juris
diction over the entire execution of the bankrupt law. They cannot remove the assignees, nor compel them to account. Plea to the jurisdiction by a bankrupt on a bill filed by his creditors to compel
the assignees to account, overruled.
THOMPSON, J. COMFORT SANDS, a bankrupt, and one of the defendants in this cause, has interposed a plea in abatement to the jurisdiction of this Court, alleging, that all the matters and causes of complaint in the plaintiff's bill of complaint contained, belong exclusively to the Judge of the District Court of the Southern District of the state of New-York.
It is not necessary, for the purpose of disposing of the present question, that I should go into an examination of all the matters contained in the complainant's bill filed in this case, nor determine whether relief is to be given by this Court to the extent asked for. If the bill embraces any matter of which this Court has cognizance, the plea in abatement must be overruled, for it claims for the District Judge the sole and exclusive jurisdiction of all matters comprised in the bill. Nor is it necessary for me to go into a particular examination of the extent of the authority of the District Judge, under the act in relation to bankruptcies. I cannot, however, discover from any part of this act exclusive jurisdiction given to the District Judges over the entire execution of this law. It is not claimed for them that these powers grow out of and belong to their judicial functions. But that by the act they are constituted the organs for its administration, as a system per se, and entirely independent of the ordinary powers of Courts of Justice. This authority is claimed to be derived principally by