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

Troughtan v. Moffatt [1842] NSWSupC 59

school fees, recovery of

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Burton J and Assessors., 9 May 1842

Source: Australian, 10 May 1842 [1]

            This was an action brought by the plaintiff for the recovering a sum of £15 for the instruction of his son, at the King's School, Parramatta . The defendant pleaded that the amount was not owing, and also that a tender of £10 12s. 6d. had been made to the plaintiff.     

            The Solicitor-General and Mr. Broadhurst appeared for the plaintiff; Mr. Windeyer and Mr. Purefoy for the defendant.

            The Solicitor-General opened the case, by remarking on the nature of the account being such as rendered it imperative on every respectable man to discharge at once, it being for the education of his child. He should prove that the regular charge of £5 per quarter had been allowed to run on for three quarters, and that during that time, the boy was at the school, with the exception of a part of the last quarter.

            Mr. W.B. Clarke, was third master of the King's School, Parramatta ; knew the plaintiff in this action; he was the second master of the School; Captain Moffatt's son was a day boarder under Mr. Troughton; the boy had been at the School for two quarters and a few days of the third quarter, but no notice had been given of his removal; knew that he was there one day, but could not say he dined there, or that he was there more than one day. Mr. Lyons was the attorney for the plaintiff, and resided at Parramatta . Saw Captain Moffatt respecting the action, who said, that he had tendered to Mr. Troughton all that he owed him. He objected to pay for the third quarter because his son had been there only three days, and the food was bad; that bad bread or no bread was given to the boys; Captain Moffatt did not tell him that the terms of the School had been raised from £10 to £20 per anum; he did say that he had tendered the amount he owed Mr. Troughton to Mr. Armistead, his attorney. It was refused, because it was insufficient payment, being a cheque for £10 only.

            Mr. Purefoy contended, that an arrangement had been made between Mr. Troughton and Capt. Moffatt, according to which the boy was to have bread to his dinner, which it appeared he had not had. There had, therefore, been a failure in the consideration agreed for, which was sufficient cause for the removal of the boy.

             James Samuel Watson examined, stated, that he was present at a conversation between Captain Moffatt and Mr. Troughton, in June or July, 1839, when the terms of the School were raised. Mr Troughton said, that the high price of provisions was the cause of the advance in the terms. He said that Master Moffatt was to have bread to his dinner every day.

            James Moffatt, was son of Captain Moffatt, remembered going to School and dining at Mr. Troughton's, and also at Mr. Forest's, before Mr. Troughton went there; he had meat for dinner, but no bread; I told my father of this three days before I left School; I took a cheque to Mr. Troughton the same day I left School; there was an usher under Mr. Troughton named Bird; he beat me with a cane; we had bad bread nearly all the time while Mr. Forest was at the school, never while Mr. Troughton; we had cabbage and potatoes sometimes , and pudding three times a week; none of the boys had bread ; we only dined at the School; I don't know what day it was when I took the cheque ; I think it was early in August; I went to School two or three days, not more; Mr. Troughton did not see me caned; I never told him.

            The Solicitor-General replied.

            After which, his Honor summed at some length, stating the law of the case.       

            A verdict was returned for the plaintiff, £13 3s. 5d.


[1] See also Sydney Herald, 10 May 1842.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University