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HOLMES V. SEVIER, 154 U. S. 582 (1872)

U.S. Supreme Court

Holmes v. Sevier, 154 U.S. 582 (1872)

Holmes v. Sevier

No. 31

Argued and submitted November 8, 1871

Decided May 6, 1872

154 U.S. 582




The liability of the maker of a note given for the purchase of slaves before the civil war was not affected by their emancipation.

The case is stated in the opinion.

MR. JUSTICE SWAYNE delivered the opinion of the Court.

This is an appeal in equity from the decree of the Circuit Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

The bill was filed by the appellants to enforce the payment of the balance due upon a promissory note, bearing date on the 25th of December, 1856, made by John A. Jordan, since deceased, to Robert Ryan, also since deceased, for ten thousand dollars, payable on the first of January, A.D. 1860, with interest at the rate of ten percent per annum from date until paid. The note

Page 154 U. S. 583

was secured by a mortgage, and is averred to have been given for the purchase money of slaves subsequently emancipated by the government of the United States. The defendants demurred to the bill. The demurrer was sustained and the bill dismissed. The opinion of the court was confined to the effect of the emancipation of the slaves upon the validity of the note. The judgment proceeded upon that ground. The views of this Court upon that subject were fully expressed in Osborn v. Nicholson, 13 Wall. 654, recently decided at this term, and they are decisive of this case.

In accordance with those views, the decree of the court below is reversed and the case will be remanded to the Circuit Court with directions to proceed in conformity to the opinion of this Court.


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