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

R v McQuade and others (1831) NSW Sel Cas (Dowling) 876; [1831] NSWSupC 46

civil procedure - contract, breach of - toll bridges and roads - fee system of administration - contract, void for uncertainty - contract, consideration - Crown debts

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Dowling J., 6 July 1831

Source: Sydney Gazette, 9 July 1831[1 ]

This was an action of trespass on promises, brought by His Majestys against the defendants, Michael McQuade, Richard Charles Pritchett, and Jacob Josephson.[2 ]  The damages were laid at £100.  Plea; the general issue.

Mr. Therry, stated that, in this case, he was Counsel for the Crown, and ready to proceed to trial the defendants' attorney, however, had intimated that he did not intend to defend the cause, conceiving he was not bound to appear out of term.

Mr. Justice Dowling - Are you ready with your case, Mr. Therry.

Mr. Therry - Quite ready, your Honor.

Mr. Justice Dowling. - Then let the cause proceed.  The defendants' Counsel may raise his objection thereafter, if he thinks it can avail him.  I will try the case now.

The following gentlemen were sworn on the jury: - Thomas Forster (Foreman), Robert Johnstone, Archibald Mossman, George Campbell Curlewas, James Chisholm, David Ramsay, George Bunn, George Acres, Isaac Shepherd, Thomas Brown, Thomas Walker, and George Thomas Palmer, Esqrs.

Mr. Keith, of counsel for the defendants, here came into Court, and submitted that he was not bound to appear on the present occasion, there being no Rule of Court by which he could be compelled to do so, at least without fresh notice, after the cause had been set down for trial on a particular day in the term.  The defendant for whom he appeared, had been in attendance, with his witnesses, on the day appointed for trial; and, when the Court broke up, had gone back to Windsor.

Mr. Justice Dowling - I am of opinion that there is nothing in these objections.  Although, as far as possible, we endeavour to get through the business in term, it is still part of the power and province of the Court to alter its sittings from time to time; and if an order to that effect be made in the hearing of its officers, they must take cognizance of it.  With respect to the second objection, I apprehend that no fresh notice is necessary.  The plaintiff is here ready to try his cause; it is not his fault that it was not tried before; and it would be contrary to the principles which regulate the administration of justice, if the Court was not enabled, from time to time, to take order for the despatch of business before it.  In point of practice, at home, it is impossible for the Judges to get through their business in what are called the terms; and, in such cases, no fresh notice has ever been required.  The parties are bound to know that their cause is in the paper, and liable to be called on for trial.  I am of opinion, therefore, that I have power to try this case, and direct it to proceed accordingly.

Mr. Therry - Half the cases tried at the sittings in Guildhall might be upset on the same grounds.

Mr. Nicol Allan opened the pleadings.

Mr. Therry stated the case to the Jury: - In this case, as you have heard from the learned gentleman who preceded me, the King seeks to recover damages for the breach of an agreement entered into by the defendants.  The facts of the case are these:-  On the 23d of December last, the public tolls of the colony were put up to auction by the Collector of Internal Revenue, and, among others, the toll gate at Howe's bridge near Windsor.  A bidding took place, and the defendant, McQuade, was declared the purchaser.  There were, however, certain articles of agreement into which the purchasers were obliged to enter, and among them one, for a breach of which the present action is brought.  The article to which I allude is the second of a series, and provides that the purchaser of each lot, with two approved sureties, shall enter into a bond and warrant of attorney, in double the amount of the rent, as a collateral security for the regular payment of the monthly rent, and the fulfilment of certain other conditions imposed upon the lessee.  This measure it was thought necessary to adopt, in consequence of the very great inconvenience which had frequently arisen from parties becoming purchasers, and upon subsequent enquiry into the receipts of the tolls, departing from their contract, and obliging the government to have recourse to a new sale.  The defendant, McQuade, as I have already stated, attended the auction, and was declared the purchaser of the tolls in question, for the term of six months, for the sum of £85; he, and his sureties, the other defendants - one, of whom (Mr Pritchett) was the auctioneer on the occasion - signing the conditions of sale, and thereby pledging themselves to enter into the required sureties.  After having subscribed this document it was, of course, expected that they would comply with the terms of the agreement; and accordingly, Mr. Macpherson, the Collector of Internal Revenue, prepared the necessary bond and warrant of attorney.  The defendant, Mr. McQuade, however, although he signed the conditions of sale, thought proper, subsequently, to change his mind, unless Mr. Macpherson would comply with a most unreasonable request, - namely, to lower the amount of rent, and permit time to raise the rate of tolls; thus very modestly wishing to gain in two ways by his bargain.  Mr. Macpherson at once refused to allow either the public to be imposed on, or the revenue to be defrauded, and there the matter rested.  However, the defendant took good care of himself, at all events; for, on the first of January, he entered on the possession of the toll-house, remaining there six months, and never paid a farthing.  I will, notwithstanding, do him the justice to say, that he did tender a sort of payment.  After this action had been commenced, he waited on Mr. Allen, the attorney in the cause, and offered to pay the £85, provided he was allowed bank interest; thinking, I suppose, now that the Whigs have got in, and retrenchment is the order of the day, that his Majesty would be glad of an advance of £85, at ten per cent.  Mr. Allan refused to comply, and from that day to this neither tender nor payment of any sort has been made.  These are the facts which I shall be able to establish in evidence, and I am at a loss to conceive what defence can be set up; still it is but fair towards the defendants, Pritchett and Josephson, to state, although they have necessarily been joined own business there and attend to the tolls also; I showed the letter to several persons at the sale; I did not show it to McQuade then, because he had seen it before; he became the purchaser, and took possession of the toll-house, at the expiration of my term; I delivered it up to him on the 31st of December last, and he remained in possession for the last six months; McQuade charged the toll at the rates set forth in the letter, namely, three pence for a horse and cart, four pence for two, and six pence for three; I used to charge four pence, six pence, and nine pence; it was for charging more than was set down in the letter that I was fined by the Magistrates.

Mr. Therry now proposed that the letter referred to by the witness be read.

Mr. Keith submitted that it had nothing whatever to do with the present case.  Mr. Macpherson had no authority to write such a letter.

Mr. Justice Dowling - It certainly forms part of this issue, but it may be introduced collaterally; to show that the defendant, McQuade had a knowledge of the rate of toll which he was entitled to receive; and if, with his eyes open, he thought proper to bid, that he must abide by the consequences.

Mr. Therry - I shall not press the reading of the letter, under the circumstances.

Witness cross-examined by Mr. Keith - The first year I bought the tolls of Mr. Street, and I considered it my duty to charge according to previous usage; the second year the tolls were not sold, and government put persons in possession to receive the money and pay it into the police office at Windsor; at that time the same rates were exacted which I had charged, namely, four-pence, six-pence, and nine-pence; I made that return to the police office, where I was ordered to pay over the money; they received it at the office, and did not inform me that I exacted too much; I have charged McQuade himself four-pence for a horse and cart; I showed him Mr. Macpherson's letter seven or eight days before the sale, and told him I was liable to be fined for exacting too much; he advised me to try it at the Quarter Sessions, but I told him the first loss was best, and paid the fine.

By the Jury - When I received four-pence, six-pence, and nine-pence, I took the dollar at a sterling rate; I paid the rent in sterling, and I charged sterling; I have lived many years at Windsor, but I do not remember the magistrates having made any regulations with regard to the tolls; I continued to exact the old rates after I received Mr. Macphersons' letter; I used to charge eighteen-pence for a carriage and pair; Mr. Cox, the magistrate, used to pay me eighteen-pence, and never grumbled; if I had purchased the tolls for the first half year of 1831, I should not have considered that I had any right to charge more than the rates specified in Mr. Macpherson's letter; I think McQuade must have lost by the gate; he told me that he gained, but he did not make me believe it.

John Williams examined - I am clerk to Mr. Allan the attorney in this cause; I remember writing a letter to each of the defendants, by direction of Mr. Allan, which he signed; I put the letter to McQuade into the post office, and delivered the others, personally, at the houses of Pritchett and Josephson; the purport of the letters was calling upon the defendants to execute a bond and warrant of attorney, in accordance with the conditions of the sale of the public tolls; I served a notice on the defendants' attorney to produce all letters and papers written by Mr. Allan or Mr. Macpherson, relating to this cause; I served it on the 15th day of March last, by delivering it at the office of Mr. Keith, to a person acting as clerk; this is a copy of the notice; [Mr. Keith admitted the letters to the defendants]; I remember the defendant, McQuade, calling at the office of Mr. Allan, on the 16th of February last, after action brought; he called to make a payment of the rent of the tolls at Howe's Bridge; he counted out £85, which I agreed to accept, and wrote a receipt for the amount, but, as I was about tendering it, he said, ``O, stop! I must have Bank interest for that money;" I told him I had not been instructed to allow interest, but, if he made a tender, I would accept it as such; he immediately gathered up the money and went away; the defendant, Josephson and another person were with him; Josephson strongly advised him to pay the amount.

Mr. Macpherson, recalled - The letter now produced is addressed to me by the Colonial Secretary, and contains of schedule of tolls; I delivered a copy of that part which relates to the tolls at Howe's bridge to the defendant, McQuade; it was sent by post, enclosed in a letter from me.

[A letter, dated January 10, 1831, signed ``James Macpherson," and addressed to ``Mr. Michael McQuade," was here put in and read.  It purported to enclose a schedule of the rate of tolls which the defendant was entitled to receive, and which only his predecessor was authorised to collect.  It further went on to state, that if the person who previously rented the toll-gate at Howe's-bridge had exacted more than the rates specified in the schedule, he had done so at his own risk; and that if he (McQuade) had called at the Internal Revenue Office, previous to the sale, he could have obtained every information he might have required on the subject.  The letter concluded by a request that the defendant would forthwith execute the bond and warrant of attorney, in conformity with the conditions of sale, or, in default thereof, legal proceedings would be instituted.]

Examination continued - I have never received rent from any of the defendants for these tolls.

Cross-examined - These are the bond and warrant of attorney, which were prepared in my office, for the signatures of the defendants; they are not entirely fitted up; some blanks were left, to be supplied, for fear of any mistake, in the presence of the defendants.

John Booth, recalled, and examined by the Jury - The defendant, McQuade, charged no more than the rates specified in the schedule.

This was the plaintiff's case.

Mr. Keith addressed the jury on behalf of the defendants.  The obligations he said, which appear to have been signed by the defendants, are to this effect; namely, to enter into a bond, in double the amount, for the payment of the rent and the performance of the conditions imposed on the lessee, and to give a warrant of attorney as a collateral security.  This action is not brought to recover the rent of the toll, but to enforce the defendants to enter into these securities, according to the conditions which have been laid in evidence.  Now, it appears to me, that there is a very great uncertainty in those conditions, inasmuch as no time is specified within which these parties are bound to execute this bond and warrant of attorney.  The conditions are not only drawn up very loosely, but altogether in favour of the King, without any regard whatsoever to the interests of the lessee.  There is not a single condition which shows that the government had the power to sell these tolls, which binds the King to put the purchaser in possession, or undertakes to provide that he shall be properly authorized to receive the tolls.  There is no rate of toll inserted in the conditions of sale, which, I contend, ought to appear on the face of them to make the contract legal.  The first condition is most singular; it is that the ``highest bidder shall be declared the purchaser, provided he and his sureties are approved of."  Approved of by whom?  The condition does not state; it does not appear from it by whom the highest bidder is to be approved or disapproved of.  The second condition is, that ``the lessee of each lot, and his approved sureties, shall enter into a bond, &c."  Now, it certainly does not occur to me, that there has been any evidence before the Jury, to satisfy them that the sureties in this case were approved of by any legal authority.  There is no evidence of McQuade having been informed that his sureties were approved of by any competent authority.  Then, to whom is the bond and warrant of attorney to be given?  It does not appear by the conditions.  Is it to the King?  It does not appear so by the conditions; and yet the half-blank instruments which have been laid in evidence are made payable to the King.  How does it appear by the conditions that the defendants undertook to give a bond and warrant of attorney to His Majesty?  Then, the declaration states that the defendant, McQuade, being the highest bidder &c., ``undertook, promised, and agreed with the said plaintiff, to enter into a bond altogether at variance with the conditions before the Court, from which it no where appears, or from any evidence, that the tolls in question belonged either to the King or to the government of this country.  There is no Act of Council legalising these in the action, that they have always been ready to comply with the conditions, and repeatedly urged upon the other defendant the propriety of fulfilling his part of the contract.

The following witnesses were then called on the part of the plaintiff:-

James Macpherson, Esq., being sworn,

Mr. Keith interposed, and asked the witness, - Are you answerable to the government, personally, if these rents are not paid?

Witness - I consider, if I neglect to take proper steps to recover them, that government would make me answerable for neglect of duty, but in no other way.

Mr. Justice Dowling - And very properly suspend you from your office, Sir.

The examination of the witness was then proceeded with by Mr. Allen - I am Collector of Internal Revenue; the sale of the tolls, ferries, and market dues, belonging to government, and forming part of the public revenue of the colony, is under my charge; on the 23d of December last, there was a sale of the ferries, highway tolls, and market dues of the colony, and, among others, of the tolls collected at Howe's bridge, Windsor; the paper exhibited contains the conditions under which the tolls at Howe's bridge were sold; the sale took place in the market-place at Sydney; I was present at the sale; the defendant, Mr. Richard Charles Pritchett was the auctioneer; all the purchasers of the several tolls, and their sureties, signed the conditions of sale; the defendant, McQuade, became the lessee of the tolls at Howe's bridge; his sureties were the defendants, Pritchett and Josephson; they all signed the conditions of sale in my presence; the conditions were publicly read; after they had been read twice over, I asked the persons present if they wished to have them read again, or if they were sufficiently informed, and no answer was returned; I saw the defendants sign the conditions, McQuade as lessee of the tolls at Howe's bridge, and Pritchett and Josephson as his sureties; a bond and warrant of attorney were prepared at my office, pursuant to the conditions, for executions by the defendant; I applied to McQuade, by letter, on one of the latter days of December, and subsequently to his sureties, to execute these instruments; they did not execute them; McQuade replied, by letter, as I understood, to the Colonial Secretary; the letter exhibited is signed in the proper handwriting of McQuade.

[A letter, dated 28th December, 1830, and addressed to the Honourable Alexander McLeay, was here handed in, and read by the Clerk of the Court.  The letter stated, in substance, that the defendant, McQuade, had been induced to purchase the tolls in question, having been informed that the rates were the same as those formerly received; that, since his purchase, he understood that the charges made by his predecessor were illegal, and had been reduced one-fourth of his anticipated profits; that; at all other places in the Colony, where tolls are demandable, a board is exhibited containing the rates of toll; but that no such board having been ever hung up at Howe's bridge, he (the defendant) was quite at a loss to know what rate of dues he was entitled to demand, and expressed a hope that such a schedule would be furnished as might enable him to perform his contract, without rendering him liable to be called on for a breach of regulations.]

Examination continued - The letter now exhibited to me is written and signed by me; it is dated the 25th of June, 1830, and addressed to John Booth, the lessee of the tolls at Howe's Bridge, for the half year preceding that for which they were rented by the defendant.

[The plaintiff's Counsel offered to read this letter, but was stopped by the Court, on the ground that no proof had yet been offered to shew that it had ever come into the possession of the person to whom it was addressed.]

Cross-examined by Mr. Keith - There is no rate of tolls set forth in any of the conditions of sale?

No, it would have taken up too much time to read over all the rates.

O that's not my reason for asking.  There are, in fact, no rates set forth there.

No, there are not.

There are no conditions in this document, at all in favour of McQuade? no undertaking on the part of the government, to take care that he should receive the tolls?

No, certainly not; it was his business to see to that.

We'll see that just now.  What was the reason McQuade refused to execute the bond?

I know of no other reason than that stated in the letter to the Colonial Secretary.

Did he not inform you that he had purchased the tolls under a supposition that he was to receive the same rates as had been before collected?

Yes, he informed me so; and the rates are the same, as far as I am aware.

He was referred to you, by the Colonial Secretary, in answer to the letter which has been read?

Yes.

To whom did you refer him, when he called upon you in consequence of Mr. McLeay's letter?

I forwarded him a copy of the rates of toll, by post.

How do you know he received it? did you put it in the post office yourself?

Certainly not; it was put in by my messenger who can be called to prove the fact, if necessary.

The bond and warrant of attorney were in writing?

Yes.

Did you request McQuade to sign them?

I did, but he would not even hear them read.

Are they in existence now?

They are in my office.

Mr. Keith submitted to the Court, that they ought to be produced, or no evidence could be received respecting them.

Re-examined by Mr. Therry - You have been asked whether all the conditions were not in favor of government.  Was not the six months possession in favour of McQuade?

Yes.

And he took possession?

He did.

By the Court - Have you any means of ascertaining the nett proceeds of the tolls at Howe's bridge, for six months? according to your own judgment?

No; they were let for £20 the preceding half year, on account of the rainy weather; this half year they let for £65.

By Mr. Keith - Previous to Booth's renting the tolls himself, was he not receiving them on the part of the government?

Booth was lessee for 18 months previous to McQuade.

Was he not one of those persons - constables and others - placed by government to receive the various tolls, and account for the proceeds?

I think not, but I can't say positively.

John Booth, examined by Mr. Therry - I am a tradesman, and live at Windsor; I rented the tolls at Howe's bridge for four years; the first year I purchased them at auction from Mr. street, for £150; latterly I rented them half yearly; I rented them for the last half year of 1830: the rents used at rise and fall; I lost money by them, except in the last half year, and then I gained; in general the last six months of the year are the most profitable, on account of the harvest and the greater number of persons travelling; when I purchased the tolls of Mr,. Street, he charged four pence for a horse and cart, six pence for two, nine pence for three, and so on that was for the first year, and I continued to charge the same; when I purchased them of Mr. Macpherson, he furnished me with a schedule of rates; I received a letter from him on the subject; this is it; about the 15th of December last, I was brought before the Magistrates on a charge of an extortion of toll; I showed the magistrates this letter, telling them that I had never received such a letter till last year, and that I only charged according to long usage; the letter I received from Mr. Macpherson, got advertised, and then the people began to think that I had extorted; the Magistrates were about to fine, but, as the year was just up, they consented to let it stand over till after the sale; after that, I understood that McQuade was about to become a purchaser; he called upon me, and stated that he was going to be a bidder; and would oppose me; I showed him the letter I received from Mr. Macpherson, which was read to him by his clerk; he seemed as if he thought I was deceiving him, and did not want to give up the gate; he became the purchaser; I was at the sales, and had the letter there to prevent persons from bidding against me; I had been summoned before the Majistrates about the tolls, and I was anxious to keep the gate, as I could carry on my tolls, nor any evidence to show that the undertaking alleged to have been entered into with the King, was so entered into; and yet, upon this declaration the plaintiff claims what he has not proved, even if these objections could be got over.  From the conditions it would appear that, if to any one, the tolls in question belonged to a person named Howe, and not to the King.  Again, there is no proof that the defendants, Pritchett and Josephson, were ever called upon to sign these documents in the unfinished state in which they are presented to the Court, exeept [sic] the mere fact of the witness, Williams, having left a letter at each of their houses.  Then, I contend that there is no proof of any damage having been sustained by the King from the failure of these parties to enter into the bond and warrant; and upon these several objections, I submit to the Court, although the King cannot be non-suited, still if they be valid, that the defendants are entitled to a verdict.  But gentlemen of the jury, this action has been brought with no other view than that of harrassing [sic] my client as much as possible.  When called upon to sign, he merely required that there should be some undertaking on the part of the person in whose favour he was giving the bond, to secure the payment of the tolls according to the rates at which he supposed them to be when he purchased them.  Then, instead of bringing an action for the amount of rent falling due monthly, the defendant is harrassed [sic] with this proceeding, the other side well knowing that let the case terminate as it may, my client will be put to the expense of employing a professional man; and that, too, at the very time when there is another action pending to recover the £85.  However, gentlemen, I put it to you, whether you can come to the conclusion, upon the evidence in this case, that the tolls at Howe's-bridge were the property of the King?  Is there any evidence before you, that the defendants undertook to give a bond and warrant of attorney to His Majesty?  The only evidence you can look at is the conditions of sale, in which no mention whatsoever is made of the King.  You are bound to look at this case as it is brought before you - to discard all impressions, however conceived, except what may fairly arise from the evidence laid before you; and I ask whether, upon that evidence, you can say that the defendants contracted with any body to give a bond to the King, or that any loss has been sustained by His Majesty from the failure on their parts?  If you should arrive at the conclusion that no such undertaking was entered into, and no such loss sustained, then the case falls to the ground, and your verdict must be for my client.

The learned Judge then proceeded to charge the Jury.  His Honor having briefly stated the nature of the action, and read over the whole of the evidence, continued: - Several objections have been raised by the learned Counsel for the defendants, among which, it is generally relied upon that the conditions of sale are so uncertain that they can have no effect in a Court of law.  The first objection under this head is, that there is no specified time within which the defendants were to enter into the bond &c.  To that the obvious answer is, that whatever took place after was to be a matter of arrangement and convenience between the parties.  The defendants heard the conditions read at the sale, and that was the time for them to make objections.  It is then alleged that the conditions are all in favour of the Crown, without any stipulation for the benefit of the defendant.  That also was a matter of consideration for the party at the time of sale; but, with a full knowledge of the conditions he bids, like other bidders, and ultimately become the buyer.  This objection, therefore, does not lie in the mouth of the defendant.  Another objection is, that no rate of toll is specified in the conditions.  Nor need there be.  The defendant should have ascertained that before he became a bidder.  Another objection is, that the conditions do not state by whom the sureties are to be approved of.  That is a matter wholly irrelevant to the question under consideration.  We have the fact that they were approved of by somebody, and the necessary intendment is that the public officer who puts up for sale approves.  Then it is contended that there is no stipulation as to when the bond and warrant of attorney are to be given; but that is a matter of detail and arrangement.  The question is, ``Are the conditions sufficiently clear and obligatory, that the party may know what he is bound by?"  It is also contended, that the declaration avers the agreement to have been entered into with the King, whereas there is no proof whatever of the King having been a party to the contract.  But what can I say acting on the part of the Crown - making sale of the public tolls, but that it is, in every intendment of law, an agreement on the part of his Majesty?  In no other manner could an action be brought for the recovery of Crown property.  Such an objection does not lie in the mouth of the defendants.  They deal openly with a party representing the Crown, act upon the faith of his being duly authorized, and must abide by the obligations into which they have entered.  We must hold that the defendants, in dealing with a public officer in that character, knew that he acted on the part of the Crown.  Then, it is alleged that there is no proof of these being the King's tolls.  I am not aware that, in this country, there is any law which authorizes private individuals to collect tolls; though, in the mother country, acts have been occasionally passed for such purposes.  Here, however, I am bound to hold that these, if legal tolls, are the King's tolls.  But it is said that they are not legal tolls, inasmuch as no Act of Council has been passed to authorise their being levied.  As at present advised, I still hold them to be legal tolls, acquiring a validity from long usage, though, perhaps, not by express declaration of law.  Another objection is, that no proof has been offered that the sureties were called upon to execute the bond and warrant of attorney.  But it is evidence that those instruments were tendered to the defendant, McQuade, for his signature, and that he refused to sign them.  It was the duty of the other defendants to see that their principal executed his part of the contract; and failing to do so, they became so instante liable to the forfeiture.  The question here is, ``Did the defendant, McQuade, and his sureties, refused to execute these instruments?"  According to the evidence he did refuse: he made no objection to their validity, and refusing to execute them is clearly a breach of the conditions.  There is also another objection; namely, that there is no proof of any damage having accrued on account of the failure by the defendants.  But as this is an action brought on an agreement, we must look to the agreement itself as the measure of the damage.  Here, according to the evidence, the defendant, McQuade, did become the purchaser of the tolls in question; agreeing to pay a certain rent, and enter into certain securities.  The government, as far as they are concerned in the contract, acted in good faith with the defendant.  They put him in possession of the toll-house, - he occupied it during the term of his lease; and though he may have been a sufferer by an imprudent bargain, that is his fault, and not the fault of the government.  It appears to me, therefore, that, in this case, there has been a breach of the agreement, and that we must look at the agreement itself as the measure of the damage.

The Jury found a verdict for the plaintiff, damages £85.

Counsel for the Crown, Mr. Therry, and Mr. N. Allan; for the defendants, Mr. Keith.

The King v. McQuade and others.

This was an action of assumpsit, brought to recover the sum of £85.

Mr. Therry stated that, in this case, he withdrew the record, on the part of the Crown.

Notes

[1 ] See also Australian, 15 July 1831; Sydney Herald, 18 July 1831; Dowling, Select Cases, Archives Office of N.S.W., 2/3466, p. 71.

[2 ] On 10 November 1830, the Secretary of State for the Colonies sent a despatch complaining about the amount of civil litigation being brought by the Crown in New South Wales.  This led to the appointment of a commission of inquiry into the best methods of collecting Crown debts.  See Chief Justice's Letter Book, 1824 - 1835, Archives Office of New South Wales, 4/6651, pp 287-289.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University