Allen v. Ferguson

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Court Documents

United States Supreme Court

85 U.S. 1

Allen  v.  Ferguson

ERROR to the Circuit Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

P. H. Allen & Co. sued A. H. Ferguson upon a promissory note, dated March 20th, 1867, payable one day after date, with interest.

Ferguson appeared and pleaded his discharge in bankruptcy in bar to the action.

The plaintiffs replied a new promise in writing made while the proceedings in bankruptcy were pending. This promise the plaintiffs averred that they relied upon, and in consequence of it made no efforts to collect their debt. The alleged promise was contained in the following letter, which the plaintiffs made part of their replication, viz.:

'CROCKETT'S BLUFF, ARKANSAS, January 7th, 1868.


'DEAR SIR: I avail myself of this opportunity to give you a fare statement of my pecuniary affa'res. First, I failed to make a crop; secondly, find myself involved as security to the amount of five or eight thousand dollars; was sued, and judgments was render'd against me at the last turm of our co'rt for about $4000, a sum suf'ic'ent to sell all the avai'ble property that I am in possession of. I lost about $3000 by persons taking the bankrupt law. This is my situation. I was, as you can re'dily conclude, in a bad fix. To remain as I was, at that time, my property would be sold to pay security debts, and my just creditors would not get any part of it, and that I would be redused to insolvency and still ju'gments against me. As a last resort concluded to render a skedule myself in order to forse a prorater division of my affects. The five bales cotton I shipt you was all my crop, to pay you for the meat that you had sent me, to enable me to make the little crop that I did make. The cash that I requested you to send me was, for myself and William Ferguson, to pay his hands for labor; and one hundred and fifty yards of the bag'ing was for W. Ferguson, and one barel of the salt. I have been absent from home for the last two weeks; got home last night, and has not sean him yet, but suppose he has shipt you some cotton. If he has not done so, I will see that he sends you cotton at once. Be satisf'ed; all will be right I intend to pay all my just debts, if money can be made out of hired labor. Security debt I cannot pay. I shall have a hard time, I suppose, this se'son, but will do the best I can.

'JAN. 8.-Since the above was writ'en I have seen William Ferguson. He says he ship'ed you two bales cotton, ten or twelve days ago, and ship'ed in my name, as the baggin' was order'd by me for him. William Ferguson will be in Memphis betwixt this and the first of March, and will call and see you on bisness matters betwixt me and you'self. All will be right betwixt me and my just creditors. Don't think hard of me. Attibet my poverty to the unprincipel'd Yankey. Let me heare from you as usel.

'Yours, very respectfully,


To this replication the defendant demurred. The demurrer was sustained by the Circuit Court, and this appeal was taken by the plaintiffs.

Mr. A. H. Garland, for the plaintiff in error; Messrs. Clark and Williams, contra.

Mr. Justice HUNT delivered the opinion of the court.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).