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Opinion of the Court.
believe. Since Sept. 23 I have paid $260,000 for him. From a sick bed he came to see me in New York Sunday when my worst fears were realized, and he owned that he had lost $120,000 in stocks. After talking with him six hours I left, feeling disgusted and tired. I only fear now that I do not know the worst, he owes me $700,000 and I fear he has misapplied or used some $150,000 of acceptances, he said he had them on hand unused, but I have reason to think otherwise, when he told me that there were no more drafts on us, and that as it stood Friday, so it was and no more. I came home to find his drafts for $350,000 drawn on Saturday, these of mine have gone back. The sufferings of hell cannot compare but unfavorably with mine, but I won't write more.
"Don't say a word about this to any one."
With knowledge of Bardwell's condition, as shown by this letter, as well as otherwise, McComb gave this declaration of trust. Can it be believed that it would have been issued in that form, and sent in a letter accompanied with an implied promise to put it in any other form that might be desired, if at the time the stock was held by McComb as security for advances made, and to be made, to a man so financially embarrassed?
Further, so far as appears from the testimony, McComb never suggested to Snyder, or, for that matter, to any one else, that this was other than an absolute and unqualified declaration of trust, until July 21, 1874, and then in this way. On June 3, 1874, Snyder wrote to McComb :
"I have unexpectedly been called on to pay $40,000, a debt of F. Skinner & Co. and myself, which I supposed was paid long since. Not owing anything, my means are all invested in way that I cannot reach them at present. I can get along with $30,000. What I want is for you to let me have in some way the above amount, ($30,000,) so that I can use it at once, and then you can reimburse yourself from the sale of consolidated bonds when they are issued."
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To which, on June 15, McComb replied as follows:
"I do not know how I can help you. I will do anything I can consistently with the obligations that are already on me, and hope to be able, at the meeting on Monday next, at New York, to suggest something that will relieve you, and not hurt me. You can depend upon my doing everything I can reasonably be expected to do in the matter."
On July 16, Snyder wrote again, and urgently, saying:
"I trust you will do me this favor, because I am really in a tight place and am borrowing the money from day to day, from my friends. I would not ask you for the favor if I could possibly get along without it. Will you help me? Please let me know when you will be in N. Y. or where I can see you next week."
In replying to this, on July 21, McComb said:
"I can send you the $30,000 Southern R. R. Ass'n paper, and will do it if you will return me the paper I signed, giving you so much of the benefits of the stock which was in my name as trustee for Mr. Bardwell, and which I held, by agreement from him, as collateral for advances made to him and F. Skinner & Co., which advances more than cover all this stock."
And this is the first intimation that the trust was not wholly for the benefit of Snyder. In addition, there is the testimony of Charles Marsh, that in the year 1873 he was in the office of the Southern Railroad Association, in the city of New York, at a day on which there was to be a meeting of the directors, and that while there McComb came in, and after saying good morning and passing the time of day, said: "Now, gentlemen, to-day I am prepared to offer you cost and interest of your stock. I had to guarantee Mr. Snyder that before he would take his at all; but this isn't anything you want to sell, this stock." And again, the testimony of Francis C. Cross that in June, 1874, he was present at a conversation between Snyder and McComb, which was substantially as follows:
"Mr. Snyder asked Mr. McComb to perform his agreement. in regard to the Southern Railroad Association stock. Mr.
Opinion of the Court.
McComb replied to Mr. Snyder that he had better keep it and do as the other gentlemen were about to do, put in some more money; that it was a good thing and was worth two for one. Mr. Snyder told him that he wished the money, as he desired to foster other interests that were pressing him. Mr. McComb said that he had no money, but he would let him have some notes to the extent of $30,000, and Mr. Snyder replied that he would. If the notes were good he would use them and would carry the balance for a time. No time was stated, however. Mr. McComb told Mr. Snyder to come down to a meeting that was to be held as to the time of the meeting I have no recollection-if he would come there he would fix it up with
Further than that, on October 25, 1873, Edmund F. Cutter wrote to McComb :
"Are the interests of F. S. & C. in the Southern R. R'd Association, on which you advanced 60 M dollars, still intact, and are they worth the loan and principal? How does the 60 M of Mr. Snyder's stand affected?"
To which McComb replied as follows:
"WILMINGTON, DEL., October 27, 1873.
"E. F. Cutter, Esq., Boston, Mass.
"DEAR SIR: The South'n R. R. Association stands all right, and everybody's interest stands upright and square.
H. S. McCOMB, Pres."
In June, 1875, Snyder began an action against McComb, in the city of New York. It was an action at law to recover $75,000 on account of the alleged conversion by McComb of this trust property to his own use. Mr. McComb's testimony was taken as follows:
"Q. What has become of the original subscription mentioned in this letter? A. It is still in my possession or under my control.
"Q. In what shape is it now? A. Stock of the company, as it was then.
Opinion of the Court.
"Q. In what name does it stand? A. H. S. McComb, trustee.
"Q. Has it stood so ever since this paper was written? Q. Continuously? A. Yes, sir.
"Q. I ask you how that subscription was paid? A. I presume it was paid by Mr. Bardwell to the company."
Subsequently the action was voluntarily dismissed by plain
Putting all these things together, there can be no reasonable doubt as to the nature of the transaction. There was an absolute and unqualified declaration of trust given by McComb to Snyder for the amount of this subscription so far as it had been paid, and the Circuit Court did not err in so finding.
Again, it is insisted that the matters in dispute between the parties have been once determined by a court of competent jurisdiction, and the principle of res judicata is invoked as a defence to this action. It appears that, after the voluntary dismissal of the action in the New York court, Snyder, in October, 1875, commenced a like action at law in the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, which was tried without a jury, and resulted in a judgment in favor of the defendant, on December 23, 1878. The original declaration was in five counts. To this the defendant filed an answer denying "each and every allegation in each and every count of the plaintiff's declaration,” and specifically denying any indebtedness; and, for a further defence, he demurred to the first four counts. Thereafter, by leave of the court, these first four counts were stricken out, and two substituted in their place. To this amended declaration the defendant filed an answer denying the allegations in the first two counts-the new portions of the declaration; and also, as a further defence, a demurrer to the third count — that being the fifth count in the original declaration. This amended declaration, in substance, alleged that the defendant, on July 16, 1869, had in his possession $45,000 belonging to the plaintiff; that in consideration of plaintiff permitting such sum to remain in his (defendant's) hand, he would purchase for plaintiff stock in the Southern Railroad Association; and, further, that he would, if re
Opinion of the Court.
quested, take the said shares of stock from plaintiff and pay him $45,000, with interest; that, relying upon such promise and agreement, the plaintiff left the sum of $45,000 with defendant, but that he failed to purchase stock in the associa tion; and that he, plaintiff, thereupon demanded payment of the sum of $45,000 and interest, which was refused. The second count was "for money had and received," the bill of particulars attached being as follows:
"Bill of Particulars.
(1) To cash retained by you to be applied to purchase of stock in the Southern Railroad
(2) To interest on same, July 15, 1869, to October
The third count, being the fifth in the original declaration, was an allegation of the conversion of six hundred shares of stock, and in these words:
"And the plaintiff further says that the defendant has converted to his own use six hundred shares of the capital stock of the Southern Railroad Association, a corporation duly established by the laws of the States of Mississippi and Tennessee, the property of the plaintiff."
The record of the proceedings in the Supreme Court of Massachusetts fails to show any ruling of the court on the demurrer to this third count, and one of the counsel for the plaintiff in that action testified that by mutual consent this third count was abandoned, testimony which seems to be supported by an extract from the brief of the defendant's counsel, in which it is stated "the count in tort has been abandoned." On the trial of that case the plaintiff made application to amend his declaration into a bill in equity, a bill founded upon this trust, but such application was denied by the court, such denial being, within the statutes of Massachusetts as well as the general practice, a matter of discretion.