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Colonial Cases

Schmidt v. Johnston, 1875

[promissory note]

Schmidt v. Johnston

Civil Summary Court, Shanghai
Mowat, 5 November 1875
Source: The North China Herald, 11 November 1875


Shanghai, Nov. 5th.
Before R. A. MOWAT, Esq.
  Plaintiff claimed $96.56, money alleged to have been lent on a promissory note.
  Defendant said he did not acknowledge Schmidt as plaintiff.  He did not owe him any money, and he (Schmidt) knew nothing of the circumstances of the case.  He had documents to prove that the sum named was not owing.  The proper plaintiff was Mr. Hewitt, and he (defendant) would like to have him in Court, to ask him a few questions.  He, therefore, asked his Honour to adjourn the case for Mr. Hewitt's attendance.
  Mr. SCHMIDT called his Honour's attention to the fact that the action was upon a promissory mote, properly endorsed, but he admitted he was merely collecting the amount for Mr. Hewitt.  He was a bill-collector.
  Defendant, in reply to questions, said he thought there were about $80 due, but against that sum he had a contra account with Mr. Hewitt for board and lodging for another person, and the remainder was not altogether for money lent.
  His HONOUR - You wish to have Mr. Hewitt's evidence.
  Defendant - Yes, Mr. Schmidt knows nothing about the matter.
  His HONOUR adjourned the hearing until eleven o'clock this morning.
Nov. 9th.
  This was an adjourned action on a promissory note, to recover $96.56, which had been endorsed to the present plaintiff.  The latter now produced a letter from Mr. Hewitt, the original holder of the note, (and for whose attendance the case had been adjourned on the application of the defendant), to the effect that he could not appear in consequence of the pressure of business, and empowering Mr. Schmidt to consent to a judgment for $80, which defendant had admitted to be due.
  Defendant said he was not satisfied with that proposed arrangement, and asked that Mr. Hewitt might be summoned to appear.  It was putting him (defendant) to a great deal of inconvenience in leaving his business to come to Court, and His Honour did not yet know all the circumstances of the case.
  His HONOUR - Do you owe this money?
  Defendant replied that he thought there were $80 or $85 due on the note.
  His HONOUR - If you admit that, what is the use summoning Mr. Hewitt?  I must give judgment for him.
  Defendant - I think he ought to be summoned, because there are several circumstances that would explain how this arose.  It was through Mr. Hewitt himself that I got into debt to him; the money was lent and spent for his convenience, and I was to pay it back by deducting $45 per month for board and lodging for another person in whom he was interested; but before it was settled, the person left, and he is now suing me for the balance.
  His HONOUR - But nothing of the kind is expressed here.
  Defendant - No; there was originally another promissory note, which Mr. Hewitt tore up, and wrote this one.
  His HON OUR - which you have signed.
  Defendant - Yes, because he promised not to press me, and said it was a mere trifle - $100 or so - between us; and now he has added 12 per cent to the balance.
  His HONOUR - He says he is willing to accept $80, and as you admit that amount to be due, I must give him judgment.
  Mr. SCHMIDT - I am willing to accept it by instalment.
  Defendant - I cannot pay by large instalments.  My salary is now mortgaged to pay instalments of debts, some of which were contracted for Mr. Hewitt's convenience.  If I am made to pay a large instalment on this account, I shall have to squeeze some of the other creditors, and then they will be summoning me.
  Mr. SCHMIDT ultimately expressed his willingness to accept $10 per month, with costs of Court.
  His HONOUR gave judgment for plaintiff for $10, to be paid by instalments of $10 per month; with cost of summons, $3.

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