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THOMPSON In the record of that case in Fairfax county court, it is
stated, “ that at a court continued and held for the faid JAMESON.
“ county, on the 18th day of June, in the year last men“ tioned, came the complainants aforesaid, by their attor“ ney, and thereupon Jonah Thompson, in open court, “ became security that the said Joseph Hadfield sball perform “ the decree of this court, if againff him; and on motion of “ the faid defendant, Joseph Hadfield, by his attorney, "" the attachment is discharged as to the effects in the hands 6 of the other defendants. The court, at a subsequent term, on the 19th of November, 1999, decreed, that it “ having appeared to the satisfaction of the court, that “ the complainants bill hath been duly taken for confel« fed, after his appearance by attorney, and giving fecu“rity for performing the decree against him, the court “ doth adjudge, order, and decree, that the complainants “ do recover against the said Joseph Hadfield, the fum “ of eight hundred and fixty pounds, twelve thillings “ and one penny, sterling, (to be settled in Virginia cur" rency, at the rate of twenty per cent. exchange,) t“ gether with interest on the fame, at the rate of five “per cent. per annum, from the 8th day of March, 1795, “ until the day of pronouncing this decree, and also bis cofts “ by him expended in the prosecution of his bill here."
Hadfield having failed to perform this decree, and Brown, the partner of Jameson, being dead, Jameson brought the present action of debt in the circuit court of the district of Columbia, against Thompson, founded upon his responsibility as security for Hadfield's performing the decree. The declaration was of a plea that he ren“ der unto him the sum of eight hundred and fixty pounds, “ twelve shillings and one penny, sterling, of the value “ of one thousand and thirty-two pounds, fourteen fil“ lings and fix pence, Virginia currency, equal to three “ thousand, four hundred and forty-two dollars, and for“ty-one cents, United States currency, which to him he sowes, and from him unjustly detains; for this, that “ whereas," &c setting forth the substance of the proceedings on the attachment in Fairfax county court, and “ whereas afterwards, that is to say, at a court- held for “ the said county of Fairfax, on the 18th day of June,
1795, at the county aforesaid, the faid Jonah, in open s court, verame security that the said Joseph would perform
the decree of tíse faid court in the said suit, if against him.
“ In which said suit such proceedings were had, that the THOMPSON “ said court of the county of Fairfax, on the 19th day
JAMESUN. “ of November, that is to say, at the county of Alexan“ dria aforesaid, did adjudge, order and decree, that the « faid Robert B. Jameson and co. should recover from « the said Jofeph, the said sum of 6. 860 12 1, fterling, “ (to be fettled in Virginia currency, at the rate of twen“ ty per cent. exchange,) together with intereft on the same, “ at the rate of 5 per centum per annum, from the 8th “ day of March, 1795, until the day of pronouncing the “ faid decree, and also their costs by them expended in “ the prosecution of the said bill. All which by the re« cord thereof, now remaining in the office of the coun“ty court of Fairfax, will more fully and at large appear. “ And the said Robert B. Jamefon, in fact avers, that “ the said Joseph has not in any manner performed the “ decree of the said court of Fairfax county, in the cause “ aforesaid made, in this, that he has not paid to the faid “ Jameson and co. in the life time of the said Brown, “ nor to the said Jameson, who has survived the said “ Brown, the said sum of £.860 12 1 sterling, or the “ value thereof in Virginia currency, at the rate of ex“ change in the faid decree mentioned, with interest there“ on as awarded by the faid decree ; which faid decree, in “ form aforesaid, yet remains in full force and effect, not “ reversed or satisfied; by reason whereof, action accrued « to the said Jameson and co. to demand and have from “ the said Jonah, the fait sum f £• 860 12 !, sterling, of « the value aforesaid. And the said Jameson further avers, " that the said Brown, on the « the year
departed this life, to wit: at the county “ of Alexandria aforesaid, whereby the faid cause of ac« tion survived to the said Jameson. Nevertheless, the « said Jonah the said sum of £. 860 12 1, sterling, of the « value aforesaid, or any part thereof, to the said Jameson « and co. in the life time of the said Brown, or to the « faid Jamefon, since his death, has not paid, &c. to the “ damage of the said Jameson five hundred dollars, and “ therefore he brings suit,” &c.
There was an office judgment at the rules in November, 1801, which was not set aside at the next succeeding court in January, 1802. At April term, 1802, the defendants counsel moved to set aside the office judgment on
THOMPSON pleading nil debet. The court being divided on the pro
priety of that plea to an action founded on the record of Jameson. a court of one of the states, the plea was not received, and
a bill of exceptions was taken by the counsel for the de-
And the defendant moved in arrest of judgment for the following reasons,
ift. Because the action is brought for sterling money, when it appears by the plaintiff's own shewing in the declaration, that the original sterling debt has been changed by the decree of the county court of Fairfax, into the current money of Virginia.
2d. Because the plaintiff, in his declaration, declares for a sterling debt, and lays his damages in current money.
3d. Because the jury have found their damages in current money, and have fixed the sum in current money, at which the said sterling debt might be discharged.
4th. Because it doth not appear by the plaintiff's declaration what was the nature of the defendant's undertaking as security, whether it was by record, by bond, or by parols.
5th. Because the whole proceedings are irregular informal and erroneous.
These reasons not being deemed fufficient by the court below, judgment was rendered for the plaintiff for “[.861. “ 12. i sterling, of the value of f.1032. 14. 6. Virginia
currency, equal to three thousand, four hundred, forty « two dollars and forty one cents, United States currency,
“ the debt in the declaration mentioned, and one cent dama- THOMPSON “ges, by the jurors aforesaid, in form aforesaid afleffed, “ and also his costs by him about his fuit in this behalf Jameson. « expended, and the said defendant in mercy, &c. But “ this judgment (damages and costs excepted,) is to be “ discharged by the payment of 2544 dollars and 49 « cents.”
To reverse this judgment, the defendant below sued out the present writ of error.
Swann, for plaintiff in error.
E. J. Lee, and Key for defendant.
ift. The declaration does not shew any obligation on Thompson, upon which this or any other action will lay.
2d. If it does, it is not such an one as will support an action of debt.
3d. If an action of debt will lay, still this action will not, because it is brought for part of the debt only.
4th. The action is brought for sterling money, whereas it ought to have been brought for Virginia currency.
sth. If properly brought for sterling money, the court below ought to have rated the exchange.
ist. The record simply states, that “ the said Jonah “ (Thompson) in open court became security;" but does not ftate how ; whether by bond, by parol, or by matter of record. It is only a record declaration that he became security.
2d. The record states, that he became security that Hadfield would perform the decree of the court, if against him; and not that Thompson would pay the debt, or that he undertook to pay any sum of money whatever. Nor does it state that he became bound in any particular sum. It does not state that he undertook to pay the debt
THOMPson if Hadfield did not. There is nothing.to support an action
of debt. It is, if any thing, a collateral undertaking; and JAMESON. if if any action will lay, it must be covenant.
To support an action of debt, there must be a direct obligation on the part of the defendant, moving to the plaintiff, to pay a sertain sum, or a fum which may be rendered certain.
3d. The declaration is for £.860. 12. 1. sterling of the value of £. 1032. 14. 6. Virginia currency, equal to 3442 dollars and 41 cents, United States currency. This is not the whole debt due by the decree. You must fue for the whole debt, or if you sue for a part, you must ftate the residue to be satisfied.
The decree of the court of Fairfax was rendered on the 19th of November, 1799, and was, that the complainants recover against Hadfield the sum of £.860. 12. 1. fterling, (to be settled in Virginia currency at the rate of 20 per cent. exchange) together with interest on the fame at the rate of 5 per cent. per annum from the 8th of March, 1795, until the day of pronouncing that decree, f 19th November, ) 1799, and also his coffs by him expended in the prosecution of his bill. The debt was composed of the principal fum reduced to Virginia currency at 20 per cent. exchange, and interest thereon at 5 per cent. per annum, calculated from 8th of March, 1795, to the 19th of November 1799, and costs. But the declaration is only for the principal. It is therefore only for a part of the debt, and does not ftate the residue to be satisfied. A debt cannot be divided, and the reason of the law is, that a multiplicity of actions may be prevented. 3 Modern 41. Mars v. Cutler. Cro. Iac. 498, 499, Pemberton v. Shetton.
4th. The debt was originally due from Hadfield in fterling money, but the debt due by the decree is a current money debt. The decree has changed it from sterling to currency
It is an express command that it fhall be settled in current money, at a certain rate. It is no longer a sterling debt. If an action of debt will lay for it, it must be laid as a debt due in Virginia currency.
5th. But if it is a sterling debt, then the court below, ought, under the act of the Virginia assembly (revised code,