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Schimmelpennich v. Bayard. 1P.. in connection with the additional one that Delprat was concerned, generally, with Krafft, in the shipments made to the plaintiffs, the court is of opinion that there is no material difference between this bill and those drawn on account of shipments made by and in the name of Delprat, which are now to be considered.
It has already been stated that Mr. Delprat was a merchant, trad. ing on his own account, at the same time that he was the agent of N. and J. and R. Van Staphorst. His transactions, in his two characters, were as distinct from each other as if they had been the transactions of distinct persons. As an agent, he was bound to act “in conformity to the authority and instructions” of his principals. As a merchant, he was himself the principal, and acted in conformity
with his own judgment. It would seem, then, that the 1 * 287 | contract must contain some very peculiar * and unusual
provisions, to place Mr. Delprat under the authority of the house in Amsterdam, whilst carrying on trade in the United States on his own account. Upon reference to the contract, we find a stipulation between the parties in the following words: “ The second undersigned (Delprat) binds himself to procure to no person or persons in this kingdom any consignments or commissions, from himself or any other, except to the first undersigned; but, on the contrary, to use his utmost exertions toward the benefit of the mercantile house of the first undersigned; they being willing, on their side, to facilitate all such commercial operations as might benefit the second undersigned, without their prejudice.”
This article contains the only limitation on the entire independence of Mr. Delprat as a merchant. It is, perhaps, a necessary limitation, which was, in part, the price of his agency, and for which he finds a compensation in the profits of the business confided to him. This restriction does not change the character of his transactions as a inerchant. His waiving the right to consign to any other house, does not impress on his consignments to the Van Staphorsts, or on his bills drawn on those consignments, a character different from that which would have belonged to them had his shipments been made from choice. He does not bind himself to make consignments to them; but not to make consignments to any other house in the Netherlands.
If any doubt could arise from this article, it would be produced by the peculiar manner in which it is expressed. Mr. Delprat binds himself to procure to no person in the kingdom of the Netherlands any consignments or commissions, from himself or any other, except to the Van Staphorsts. The singular application of the word “ procure,” to consignments made by Mr. Delprat himself, may be
. Schimmelpennich v. Bayard. IP. connected with the succeeding article, which authorizes him to draw bills, and may have some influence on its construction. In that article, the Van Staphorsts allow Mr. Delprat “ the faculty to value on them direct, or payable in London,” for such moneys as he shall employ to make advances on the whole or part of cargoes of current articles consigned to them, to the amount of two thirds of the invoice price.
It may be said that, as in the preceding article, consignments made by Delprat on his own account were considered as procured by him, and were placed on the same footing with consignments made by others; so in this the express authority to draw bills might embrace transactions of both descriptions. But we do not think that the inaccurate use of words in one article will justify a departure from the correct construction of a succeeding article ; unless the same words are used, or the * bearing of the one [ * 288 ] on the other is such as to require that departure.
The same motives existed for restraining the agent from making as from procuring consignments to any other house in the Netherlands. His utmost exertions were required for the benefit of his principals. The restriction, therefore, might be expressed in the same sentence; and a slight inaccuracy of language was the less to be regarded, because it could produce no possible misunderstanding with respect to the extent of the prohibition.
The third article might not be intended to prescribe the same rules for the conduct of Mr. Delprat, as a merchant and as the agent of the Van Staphorsts. As a merchant, he had a right to draw on effects placed in their hands, independent of contract. The usage of trade allows such drafts to be made on a shipment; and the consignee must pay the bills, if the shipment places funds in his hands to pay them. But, as agent, his line of conduct was to be prescribed by contract. We must, therefore, consult the language of the agreement, in order to determine whether it provides for the future connection between the parties, further than as regards their characters as principal and agent.
The faculty given to Mr. Delprat by the third article, to value on the Van Staphorsts, is 6 for such moneys as he should employ to make advances” on articles consigned to them. Money laid out in the purchase of articles on his own account cannot, with any propriety of language, be denominated money employed in making advances on articles consigned to him. The distinction between money advanced on articles consigned and money employed in purchases, although the articles may be purchased for the purpose of being consigned, is obvious. Money advanced is always to another. Schimmelpennich v. Bayard. 1P. never to the individual making the advance. This language shows, we think, incontestably, that the article was drawn with a sole view to bills drawn by Mr. Delprat as agent, not on his own account as a merchant.
A subsequent part of the article gives additional support to this construction. Mr. Delprat is to draw for two thirds of the invoice price of the article, and is himself the judge of the price which may be inserted in the invoice. This power might be safely confided to him in making advances to others, but might not be trusted to him in his own case. The case shows the Van Staphorsts to have been men of extreme caution. Their letter to Le Roy, Bayard, and Co., inclosing their contract with Delprat, shows an unwillingness to
commit themselves to him further than was necessary. It | * 289 ] is not probable that they * would have given him an express
authority to draw on his own account on invoices to be priced by himself.
But the language of the article applies, we think, entirely to his bills drawn as agent, not to those drawn as a merchant transacting business for himself.
When examined as a witness, Mr. Delprat says that, during the whole period of his agency, he was in the habit of making shipments on his own account, to the said house in Amsterdam, and of drawing for advances on account of the said shipments so made, precisely in the same manner as when the shipments were made by others; and this was done with the full knowledge of N. and J. and R. Van Staphorst, who never found fault with him for doing so; but, in order to encourage him to make such shipments, gave him credit for one half the commission upon the sales of the shipments, so made on his own account.
The Van Staphorsts were commission merchants, desirous of extending their business. No doubt can be entertained of their willing. ness to receive consignments from Mr. Delprat, as well as from others. But this does not prove that the power given him as their agent, to make advances to others, was intended to regulate the intercourse between them as merchants. That intercourse was regulated by the general principles of mercantile law; and the contract between the parties does not show that either was dissatisfied with those principles, or wished to vary them.
This question refers, we presume, to the authority given by the contract of the 11th of January, 1818. The first article describes the objects which were committed to Mr. Delprat, by the Van Staphorsts. These were: the management of their mercantile interest in the United States, consisting chiefly in the forming new solid connections, and procuring of consigments.”
na the whole ma preceding, 290]
Schimmelpennich v. Bayard. 1 P. The second article restrains the right Mr. Delprat might otherwise. have exercised, of consigning to other houses in the Netherlands.
The third authorizes him to draw bills on his principals, for the purposes of his agency, under such limitations as they deemed it prudent to prescribe.
This contract, we think, does not contemplate bills drawn by Mr. Delprat on his own account, as a merchant. The bills mentioned in the declaration, which were drawn in favor of the defendants, and indorsed by them, do not come within the authority given by the contract. No instructions from the plaintiffs, extending this authority, appear in the record.
The third question comprehends the whole matter in controversy, and has been partly answered in answering the preceding questions. It asks whether the plaintiffs were bound * to [ * 290 ) accept and pay the bills in question; and whether the same having been paid by the plaintiffs, supra protest, for the honor of the defendants, the plaintiffs are entitled to recover the amount of the defendants?
The opinion has been already expressed that the bill, drawn on the 23d of May, 1822, for £500 sterling, in favor of J. P. Krafft, is not distinguishable from those which were drawn by Mr. Delprat, to enable him to purchase articles on his own account, which were shipped to the plaintiffs. In making these shipments, and in drawing these bills, Mr. Delprat acted for himself, as an independent merchant. The relation between him and the plaintiffs was that of consignor and consignee. The obligation of the plaintiffs to accept and pay his bills, depended essentially on the state of their accounts. So far as the information furnished by the case goes, Delprat appears to have been indebted to the plaintiffs. In their letters of 19th July and 10th September, 1822, which were given in evidence by the defendants, they state him to be then their debtor; and it is not shown that this debt has been discharged. The plaintiffs, therefore, were not bound to accept and pay these drafts, unless they have acted in such a manner as to give the holders of the bills a right to count on their being paid.
It is believed, to be a general rule, that an agent with limited powers cannot bind his principal when he transcends his power. It would seem to follow that a person transacting business with him on the credit of his principal, is bound to know the extent of his authority. Yet, if the principal has, by his declaration or conduct, authorized the opinion that he had given more extensive powers to his agent than were in fact given, he could not be permitted to avail himself of the imposition, and to protest bills, the drawing of which VOL. VII.
Schimmelpennich v. Bayard. IP. . his conduct had sanctioned. But the defendants, in this cause, can. not allege that they have been deceived. They were the intimate correspondents of the plaintiffs, from whom they received a copy of the contract. The letter which transmitted it, requests their friendly supervision of the conduct of Mr. Delprat, and desires them not to pay the money for which the plaintiffs had given him a credit with them, in case of “a moral certainty” that it would not be employed for the purposes of his agency. In the course of the correspondence between the plaintiffs and defendants, we find several letters, written during the continuance of Mr. Delprat's credit with the latter, which shows the determination of the former not to approve of advances beyond that credit. In their letter of the 24th of June, 1819, the plaintiffs expressly caution the defendants, should they think proper
to remit in Mr. Delprat's bills, the nature of which they are 1 * 291 ] well acquainted with, that they (the * defendants) allow him
the same credit that they do other persons, from whom they take bills, in the persuasion of their solidity, and of the reality of the transaction on which the bills are issued. They add: “ This is not the effect of any want of confidence in our agent, but merely profluing from our invariable rule to limit and circumscribe the credits we allow.” The letters from the defendants show a perfect understanding, on their part, of the terms on which Mr. Delprat's bills were to be taken. On the 11th May, 1819, announcing that he had filled his credit, they say: “ In addition to it, he has expressed an anxiety that we should negotiate his drafts on you, payable in London, for about £3,000 sterling, or that we should take his drafts on Amsterdam, for a similar value. The personal regard which we bear for Mr. Delprat, would have induced us promptly to accede to his request, had not the restriction laid upon us, of not permitting him to exceed, but for a few hundred dollars, the credit you give him, and the total absence of any indication from you of a wish for us to interfere in his pecuniary arrangements, in any other than the mode marked by the credit, led us to believe that our negotiations or purchase of his drafts, was neither wished nor contemplated by you.” And, in their letter of the 7th of September, 1822, inclosing the order of Mr. Delprat on the plaintiffs, for any balances belonging to him in their hands, so far from complaining of the protest of the bills, they say: “We can, of course, only consider this order as applying to the balance that may possibly accrue to him, upon the settlement of your account."
Messrs. Le Roy, Bayard, and Co., then, were not deceived by the plaintiffs. Unfortunately for themselves, they placed too much confidence in Mr. Delprat. They took his bills, as they were cautioned