Ames v. Quimby (96 U.S. 324)

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Court Documents

United States Supreme Court

96 U.S. 324

Ames  v.  Quimby

ERROR to the Circuit Court of the United States for the Western District of Michigan.

Quimby brought an action against Ames & Sons, upon the following contract, viz.:--

'N. EASTON, Jan. 2, 1865.

'Mr. Ichabod L. Quimby agrees to furnish us, and we to take from him, fifteen thousand dozen long shovel-handles, to be of the best quality of timber and workmanship, for the present year, the price to be ($1.25) one dollar and twenty-five cents per dozen, basing the price on the present price of gold, $2.25.

'If the price of gold goes up or down, then the price of handles shall be advanced or reduced accordingly. But it is understood that no advance or reduction of the price of gold of twenty-five per cent shall change the price of handles, unless it shall remain at the advanced or reduced rate sufficiently long to affect the general price of merchandise.


'OLIVER AMES & SONS.'Quimby, in the months of May and July, 1865, furnished the full complement of shovel-handles, and four hundred and forty-eight dozen in excess of the requirements of the contract. There were delivered nine thousand eight hundred and twelve dozen, May 20, 22, and 23, when gold was worth $1.31; one thousand one hundred and eighty-eight dozen, May 25, when gold was worth $1.36; and four thousand four hundred and forty-eight dozen, July 29, when gold was worth $1.45.

The price of gold having been reduced more than twenty-five per cent below $2.25, Ames & Sons claimed a corresponding reduction in their price of the handles; which would bring those delivered from May 20 to 23, inclusive, down to seventy-two and a half cents; those delivered May 25, down to seventy-five and a half cents; and those delivered July 29, down to eighty and a half cents, per dozen: but the court held that, to entitle them to any reduction, there must be proof that the decline in gold had at those dates affected the general price of merchandise; and, there being no such proof, judgment was given accordingly. Ames & Sons thereupon sued out this writ of error.

Mr. J. Smiley for the plaintiffs in error.

Mr. L. D. Norris, 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).