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Decisions of the Superior Courts of New South Wales, 1788-1899

Underwood v. Ford [1812] NSWKR 5; [1812] NSWSupC 5

promissory note - married women, legal rights - felony attaint, effect on marriage

Court of Civil Jurisdiction
Bent J.A., 13 July 1812
Source: Court of Civil Jurisdiction Proceedings, 1788-1814, State Records N.S.W, 5/1108-82

Joseph Underwood Merchant Plaintiff
Thomas Ford and Mary Ford his
Wife, of Sydney Defendants
Writ for Seventy Two Pounds Sterling for principal and interest due on a promissory note dated 29th April 1812, drawn by the said Mary Ford, wife &c payable to Plaintiff and still due and unpaid.
The said Defendants appear by Patrick McMahon their agent duly authorised and deny the Cause of Action.
James Frost,
Sworn says}I am Clerk to the Plaintiff and am subscribing witness to the promissory note in question now exhibited. It was signed by Thomas Ford for Mary Ford his wife. The signature in the hand writing of Thomas Ford. They are married and live together and were married at this time. He is a prisoner and she is a free woman. He is not in Government employ, Mary Ford his wife had sugar, tea &c to the amount of the note at the usual trade prices. She trades as a single woman and issues notes as a single woman. Full value has been given for the note. I have presented the note to Mary Ford for Payment.
The note is read as follows:
£67.1.0 Sterling Sydney March 9th, 1812
Three months after date I promise to pay Mr Joseph Underwood on [?] the sum of Sixty Seven Pounds One Shilling Sterling for balance recd
For Mary Ford
( signed) By Thomas Ford
J Frost
The witness further says, He believes the defendant Mary Ford could not write herself and that the note was signed as above on account of the husbands of being a Prisoner.
The defendant in reply to this case states that they did not issue or draw any such note as mentioned in the writ; the note produced bearing date 9th March 1812, whereas the note in the writ is stated to have been drawn on the 29th April 1812, so that there is a natural variance between the writ and the evidence.
The defendants further say that the goods bought from Plaintiff were bought on the 28th March 1812, and a note for the payment was given on the same day payable there months after the date; and not drawn on the 9th March 1812.
But it appeared from the evidence of the witnessed Frost that the note was dated on the 9th March 1812 before it was signed, with the approbation of the defendants and that if not paid an action might be brought upon it on the present sittings.
The Court, having maturely considered these objections, overstate the same, and looking only to the substantial justice of the case, give
Judgement for the Plaintiff
Damages £67.1.0 Costs £2.16.4

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University