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Colonial Cases

Papps v. Dallas, 1894


Papps v. Dallas

Supreme Court for China and Japan
Jamieson AJ, 12 March 1894
Source: North China Herald, 16 March, 1894

Shanghai, 12th March.
Before George Jamieson, Esq., Assistant Judge.
  In this case William Papps sued Barnes Dallas for balance of money due, and also for a statement of accounts.
  According to the plaintiff's petition, in the spring of 1881 the defendant sold a mob of ponies on his behalf, but has never rendered an account of the same.   About the same time he also lent to the plaintiff Tls. 500, upon which interest and a certain part of the principal was still due, equal to Tls. 689, whilst upon another account Tls. 109 was due.
  The defendant in his petition denied that Tls. 689 was owing. The loan of Tls. 500 was made free of interest. Tls. 440.51 had been repaid, leaving Tls. 59.49 due. As to account "B," the defendant had repeatedly expressed his readiness to re-open the account, and pay what might be found due. On that account the defendant paid into Court Tls. 47.90. The defendant denied having received any shipment of ponies on account of the plaintiff and had no account to render. All shipments of ponies received by him in 1881 were promptly acknowledged for to the proper parties. Within the last few months the plaintiff had made no application, and as to a claim arising in 1881 it was barred by the Statute of Limitations.
  In the course of conversation between the parties, the plaintiff accepted the figure of account "B" as made up by the defendant. He contended, however, that Tls. 500 was lent on interest - one per cent per month.
  Mr. W. Papps, the plaintiff, was then sworn. He said in January, 1881, he lent the defendant Tls. 500 on the understanding that it was to be paid back in twenty months' time. The rate of interest was to be one per cent per month. He did not get any receipt or acknowledgement from Mr. Dallas.  He did not apply for payment until 1883. He had let it run believing he would get his money. Mr. Dallas had asked him not to trouble him for money, and he had not done so.
  With regard to the ponies, about the same time the defendant said he was afraid he should not get any ponies down that year, and suggested it would be a good thing to send up for a mob of griffins. Accordingly plaintiff gave T. Tls. 750 (S. Taels792) to the defendant, who went up to Tientsin for a mob of ponies on his (plaintiff's) account. The ponies were sent down and sold at auction, but he (the plaintiff) had never received any account from the defendant.  Plaintiff after handing the money to defendant received from him later the first and second on Tientsin. He gave the first of exchange to defendant and asked him to get the ponies down from Tientsin. At the same time he (the plaintiff) wrote to Mr. Moore at Tientsin about the ponies. He had not kept press copies of the letters to Mr. Moore, and unfortunately, only three weeks ago, the letters he had received from Mr. Moore were accidentally burned.
  His Lordship said that to be able to maintain the suit the plaintiff must show that Mr. Dallas had acknowledged the debt in writing and promised to pay some time within six years from the present time. He had no such writing?
  Plaintiff said he had not.
  His Lordship - Then I think we cannot go any further into that.
  Plaintiff - The ponies did not realise the money paid for them, I know. They came down to a bad market.
  Defendant - I was only going to add I could give an explanation, but I do not think it necessary to do so.
  His Lordship - The presumption is the thing was settled up somehow; but it is much too old. The only question is the matter of interest.
  Defendant - I do not think Mr. Papps has got any statement whatever that I agreed to pay interest.  He offered me the loan knowing at the time that I wanted some money, and he had got out some funds, and it was understood I should pay back the Tls. 500 if he specially wanted it.
  His Lordship said he thought the presumption was that the loan carried interest.
  The defendant pointed out that it was not until the plaintiff rendered an account in October, 1883, that interest was spoken of, and then the interest was calculated at 8 per cent, and not at one per cent per month as the plaintiff had now stated as agreed.
  His Lordship suggested that the parties should agree to interest at the rate of 2 ½ per cent per annum.
  Defendant said it was a friendly loan and he did several things of a friendly nature which should be equivalent to interest. He was quite willing to do what was right, but having been brought into Court he claimed the benefit of the Statute of Limitations  with regard to interest.
  Mr. C. H. Dallas informed his Lordship that he called upon the plaintiff's lawyer, in October last, and the latter informed him that he could not see how his client could claim the interest, which would be abandoned.
  After some further conversation, and the inspection of several letters, accounts, etc.,
  His Lordship said - Very well, I will let it pass.  (To plaintiff) - Then you will get the sum paid into Court. You do not appear to have had any fixed understanding whether the loan should bear interest or not, and altogether you are very much to blame for allowing things to go on. If you mean business you should mean business. If you mean friendship, then leave it alone.  You cannot run the two together as you have been doing. There will be no costs.

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