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Colonial Cases

Wetmore, Williams v. Shore, Bland, 1860

[bills of exchange]

Wetmore, Williams and Co. v. Shore, Bland and Co.

Consular Court, Shanghai
Source: The North-China Herald, 31 March 1860



27th March, 1860.


Before T. T. MEADOWS, Esq., H.M. Consul,

WM. HARGEAVES, Esq., W. LAMOND, Esq., Assessors.

PLAINTIFF. - The Defendants are indebted to us in Tls. 9.919.67 on account of certain dishonoured Bills guaranteed by them.

H. G.  HOLLINGWORTH, representing Shaw, Bland & Co., being duly sworn states: - I deny any liability to pay the claim to the Plaintiff.  I admit having guaranteed the orders.  We refuse to pay the amount because the Bills were improperly in the hands of the Plaintiff.  The orders passed from the Plaintiff into the hands of the Ya-foong Bank, and were there when the Bank failed.

TA-YANG-FUNG. - A Shan-tung man being duly warned to speak the truth states: - I am an assistant in the Le-ho Bank.  I have not been in the Ya-foong bank.  I recognize this book, I saw it in the Guild-hall of the bankers near the bowling-alley.  I never saw the book in the Ya-foong bank, I saw it after the failure of the bank at the Guild-hall.  This book purports to be a register of the notes put out and received by the Ya-foong bank.  On the failure of the Ya-foong bank all the books were taken to the Guild-hall, I was present t when they were taken away.  I saw this book at the same time at the Ya-foong bank.  I never saw it at the Ya-foong bank, I saw it the first time at the Guild-hall.

FONG-SING-TSA, being duly warned to speak the truth states: - I am engaged in the Tea and Silk trade and in the banking business.  I have seen this book before in the Lee-ho bank, it is the Ya-foong register of orders received by the Ya-foong bank.  I know is is the Ya-foong bank because Ya-foong is written on it.  The Ya-foong bank owned money to the Lee-ho bank and the Lee-ho bank took it in consequence, the man who took it was the last witness, it was brought to the Lee-ho bank a day or two after the failure of the Ya-foong bank.  It remained there 2 or 3 days, the man named Ta came and told me that he had this book.  I saw it for the first time in the Lee-ho bank after Ta had placed it there, I do not live there, (The Plaintiff here hands in the two orders in question which were handed to the witness for inspection.)  I find these two orders entered in the book before me, the 2 entries pointed out signify that the two orders in question were paid into the Ya-foong bank.  When notes are received if they are again issued that fact is entered in the book; those which have arrived at maturity are marked with a curve, if they are sent out before maturity, the fact is also noted in the bank.  I did not see these two orders in the Ya-foong bank, but they might to have been there.  I did not go to the Ya-foong bank on its failure, I only went to the Lee-ho bank; these was besides the produced book a slip of paper brought from the Ya-foong bank, it was brought by the same man Ta; this paper was a declaration that all the notes left in the Ya-foong bank were taken away by the bankers, it is now pasted in the front of this book, there is no sum mentioned in the memorandum.  I have no doubt that this is the book of the Ya-foong bank; as to the memorandum the man Ta said it was stuck non the lid of a box, I cannot say whether it is a true document or not; the Woo-kang bank which gave the two orders in question is mine, I am the only partner in it, I am also a partner in the Lee-ho bank.

Cross-examined by Plaintiff. - I did not pay the orders because Messrs. Shaw, Bland & Co. and some Chinamen went to the Woo-kang bank and requested me to pay them.  I did not know to whom the orders were given, they were got from me by Shaw, Bland & Co., neither gave goods or moiety for the orders; I have a general account for business transactions with them.  Tung-Yu is the firm name under which I do Tea and Silk business.  The book after remaining in the Lee-ho bank some days was taken to Kin-Tai, a Silk and Tea hong, after that I do not know what became of it.  These 2 orders being payable on demand, I must and will pay them, I only delay doing so in accordance with Chinese custom.  In accordance with Chinese custom the money should be paid to the general creditors of the Ya-foong bank, appearing in the Ya-foong bank book as part of their assets.  I do not know anything else about the matter, but I am willing to pay the money to any one who is judged to receive it.

PAE YU, compradore in Wetmore, Williams & Cop., being duly warned to speak the truth states: - I recognise the two orders produced, I received them on Saturday the 10th March.  Mr. Williams gave them to me.  On Monday I sent them to Ya-foong bank.  Shaw, Bland & Co.'s compradore gave them again to me on Monday the 14th March, his name is Ta-ling; he gave them to me at Shaw, Bland & Co.'s house.  I went to the hong to get the value of the orders, he said he would go to the Ya-foong bank, and afterwards he gave me the two orders about 7 in the evening; he brought them himself to Wetmore, Williams & Co.  The Ya-foong bank does not know me, and Shaw, Bland & Co.'s compradore secured me in case I overdrew the account.  Shaw, Bland & Co.'s compradore was indebted to me, I went and told him my master wanted money, he then gave me these 2 orders, I first paid them into the Ya-foong bank to the account of Wetmore, Williams & Co., but they stand in my name not in the name of Wetmore, Williams & Co.  I have since kept the notes for my master, I handed them over to him.  When these two orders were paid originally in the Ya-foong bank they owed me some money, before then I was in their debt. I have now no witnesses to Shaw, Bland & Co.'s compradore paying in the 2 orders, I think the shroff was there.  I noted the fact of having received the orders from Shaw, Bland & Co.'s compradore in my book.  I then at once gave them to Mr. Williams, (both facts were here shown marked in witness'' book.)  I know Shaw, Bland & Co.'s compradore as partner in the Ya-foong bank, and as the man who secured me; he is an old friend of mine; I placed the money in the Ya-foong bank and Shaw, Bland & Co.'s compradore secured it.  I occasionally went there, I had been there on the morning of the 14th, but was told I could not receive Sycee.  I then went to Shaw, Bland & Co.'s compradore.  I know he was the owner of the Ya-foong bank and therefore I went to him, he also owed me money.  The balance was somewhat in my favor after paying the two notes originally; my master then wanting money, I went and asked to be accommodated with 5,000 or 6,000 Taels.  After I have paid Ya-foong bank orders that I have guaranteed there will be about Tls. 1,000 in my favor.  The two orders in question I entered in account with Shaw, Bland & Co's compradore, not in account with Ya-foong bank.  Kin[???] came to my house and told me that I owed Ya-foong Tls. 8,000 it was not true.  I do not owe that money.

F. D. WILLIAMS, being duly sworn, states: - The last witness is my compradore, if the orders had been paid in Sycee there would have been a balance of about Tls. 1,000 in favour of the compradore; we keep a Cash book with the compradore, the money is kept locked up on the premises, the compradore has a key.  I think on the 16th or 15th, I first heard of the failure of the Ya-foong bank.  I received the orders on the morning of the 15th.  I did not ask the compradore for Sycee on the 14th.  I sent him to see if the bank was in a condition to pay Sycee, not that I wanted any.  I did not ask him to bring notes.  I think it was on the 14th I sent him in to the bank, a few days before I had received about 15,000 Tls. Sycee, part of which he had placed in the Ya-foong bank.  When he handed me these orders he did not say whom he got them, I think I have heard of the Woo-kang bank.  I was careful to ascertain from the compradore whether the two orders were the two guaranteed by Shaw, Bland & Co.  I received I think the orders on the 15th and gave a consideration for them, nearly for the whole amount.  I received them in what I consider to be the regular course of business.  I know that the orders were in my house the evening before I received them; there was no entry made in my account book with the compradore as to the second time they came into my hands.

The consideration was a running account.  We do not make entries every time that our compradore changes orders, all these orders are entered as cash.  I was not aware that the orders had passed out of his hands, I asked him, then told him to get them back.  I knew that the bank was not in very good odour, and that he kept his accounts there.  I told him to get back the notes again or some security; I have a strong impression that I told the compradore to get these identical notes, these two notes in dispute.

PAE YU, re-examined, the bank failed on the morning of the 16th March.  I first heard it at 8.30 of that day.  I should be indebted to Mr. Williams even after paying the orders in question.  Mr. Williams told me to get Sycee, he did not mention orders.  Mr. Williams did not state that he was afraid the Ya-foong bank would fail, all the banks are rather unsafe, that is what Mr. Williams observed, he did not tell me to get these two notes, he never told me so.

F. D. WILLIAMS, re-examined by Defendant. - I cannot state that it was not on the morning of the 16th I received the orders in question, I have already stated that my confidence was shaken in all banks.  I did not know that the bank had broken when I received the notes.


That the Defendants fulfill their guarantee by paying the amount, mentioned in the plaint, of the orders, on the presentation of bathe same by the Plaintiffs; and that the Defendant pay the costs of the suit.


We assent to the above.  WM. LAMOND, WILLIAM HARGREAVES.

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