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Colonial Cases

Ord v. Drinkall [1872]

breach of promise of marriage

Supreme Court (at Richfield)

Begbie C.J., 1872

Source: The Victoria Daily Standard, 22 June 1872

The Breach of Promise Case.

Cariboo Correspondence of the "Guardian"

Ord vs. Drinkall, - This case in which plaintiff sought to recover from defendant $15,000 damages for breach of promise of marriage, from its remarkable character in being the first of its kind in this province, created a great deal of interest not only in Cariboo, but throughout British Columbia, was tried on the 7th inst, at Richfield before Chief Justice Begbie, Messrs J. Park and R. Bishop for the plaintiff, Messrs Barnston and Davie for the defendant. It appeared from the statement of the counsel for the plaintiff, that the acquaintance of plaintiff and defendant had existed for a number of years, and on the most intimate terms; the defendant residing at the house of the plaintiff, and indeed, making it his home. He had ordered and superintended alteration on the house, and bought furniture, during the period of their fond attachment; had given money to the plaintiff and in every way had acted the part of an accepted wooer. A written promise of marriage executed by defendant in favor of the plaintiff in November 1870, was put in evidence; the document was regularly drawn and witnessed and clearly proved, as also, the refusal of defendant to marry plaintiff when urged by the latter to do so. Witnesses were called who proved the kind attentions of defendant to plaintiff. For the defence it was urged that the plaintiff's character was not without reproach and that the action was immaturely brought; the breach relied on by plaintiff having only been made the day before the action was commenced. The Judge in summing up told the Jury that it was clear a promise of marriage had been made by defendant to plaintiff, and that there was some evidence of the breach of such promise. He, however, reminded them that it might only have been a lover's quarrel, and, but for the sudden rush to law, might have been made up and the contract carried out. The Jury were locked-up for four hour's, at the expiration of which time they returned a verdict for defendant. The plaintiff in the above case, Eliza Ord, is better known as Mrs. Brooks who, previous to the great fire at Barkerville in 1868, kept a large hotel at that place. The defendant is one of the fortunate shareholders in the celebrated Forest Rose claim, and consequently very wealthy.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School