Declaration of Hanbury’s Executor against Wayles’s Executors
|District of Virginia|
John Lloyd a subject of the King of Great Britain exor of Osgood Hanbury who was surviving partner of John Hanbury & Compy complains of Thomas Jefferson Francis Eppes & Henry Skip-with executors of John Wayles deceased in custody &c. for that whereas the said John Wayles deceased on the 31st. day of October 1770 at Richmond in the county of Henrico and district aforesaid was indebted to the said Capel and Osgood Hanbury in the sum of £226.14.3. sterling of the value of $1007. for the like sum of money by the said Capel and Osgood Hanbury before that time at the special instance and request of the said John Wayles deceased and to the use of the said John Wayles deceased paid laid out and expended and being so indebted he the said John Wayles deced. in consideration of the same afterwards that is to say the same day and year aforesaid at Richmond aforesaid undertook and faithfully promised the said Capel and Osgood Hanbury that he the said John Wayles deceased would well and truly content and pay them the said Capel and John Hanbury & Co the said sum of £226.14.3 stg whenever after he should be thereto required. And whereas the said John Wayles deceased afterwards that is to say the same day and year aforesaid at Richmond aforesaid was indebted to the said John Hanbury & Co in the further sum of £226.14.3 stg. of the value aforesaid for divers goods wares and merchandizes of them the said John Hanbury & Co before that time sold and delivered to the said John Wayles deceased at his special instance and request and being so indebted he the said John Wayles deceased in consideration of the same afterwards that is to say the same day and year aforesaid at Richmond aforesaid undertook and faithfully promised to the said John Hanbury & Co that he the said John Wayles deceased would well and truly content and pay them the said Capel and Osgood Hanbury the said last mentioned sum of money whenever after he should be thereto required. And whereas the said John Hanbury afterwards that is to say the same day and year aforesaid at the special instance and request of the said John Wayles deceased sold and delivered to him divers other goods wares and merchandizes of them the said John Hanbury & Co he the said John Wayles deceased in consideration of the same afterwards that is to say the same day and year aforesaid at Richmond aforesaid undertook and faithfully promised the said John Hanbury & Co that he the said John Wayles deceased would well and truly content and pay them the said John Hanbury & Co so much money as such goods wares and merchandizes so sold to the sd. John Wayles deceased by them the said John Hanbury & Co as above last mentioned would be reasonably worth at the time of the sale and delivery of the same whenever after he the said John Wayles deceased should be thereto required. And the said Plfs avers in fact that the said goods wares and merchandizes sold to the sd. John Wayles deceased as last above mentioned were at the time of the sale and delivery of the same reasonably worth the further sum of £226.14.3 stg. of the value aforesaid of which the said John Wayles deceased the same day and year aforesaid at Richmond aforesaid had notice. Nevertheless the said John Wayles deceased not regarding his several promises and undertakings aforesaid made in form aforesaid but contriving and fraudulently intending craftily and subtilly to deceive and defraud the said John Hanbury & Co in this particular did not in his life time pay or have the said defendants or has either of them since his death paid the said several sums of money or either of them or any part of either of them to the said John Hanbury & Co or to either of them or to the plaintiff but the said John Wayles during his life and after his death the said defendants altogether refused to pay the same to the said John Hanbury & Co during the respective lives of the said John Hanbury & Co and after their death to the plaintiff and still do the said defendants refuse to pay the same to the plfs. to the damage of the plfs $ and therefore he brings suit &c.
Wickham p q
|John Doe||pledges of prosecution|
MS (Vi: USCC); date assigned on basis of endorsement and Rule Book No. 1, p. 328–9, in same; in an unknown hand, signed by John Wickham; monetary figures inserted in blanks by Wickham, who also changed multiple references from “Capel and Osgood Hanbury” to “John Hanbury & Co.”; endorsed by Wickham as a declaration in Hanbury’s executor v. Wayles’s executors; also endorsed by a clerk:
|June.||Contd. for decln.|
|July.||Decln: & Com: Ord:|
|August.||Com: Ord: Confd. & W. Inqy.|
an additional endorsement, in a clerk’s hand and signed by Reuben George, states the jury’s finding of damages.
The mercantile firm begun by John Hanbury of London in the 1720s became one of the most successful companies to deal in the exchange of British goods for American tobacco. Beginning in 1747 Hanbury was also involved in the Ohio Company as a shareholder, lobbyist, and supplier of ships and goods. His cousin, Capel Hanbury, became his partner, and John’s son Osgood continued the firm with Capel after John’s death in 1758. Following Capel’s death in 1769, Osgood Hanbury ended the family’s direct involvement in the Chesapeake trade and joined members of the Lloyd family, to which he was linked by marriage, in banking. He died in 1784, and John Lloyd was an executor of his estate (Jacob M. Price, Capital and Credit in British Overseas Trade: The View from the Chesapeake, 1700–1776 [Cambridge, Mass., 1980], 21, 73–4; A. Audrey Locke, The Hanbury Family, 2 vols. [London, 1916], 249–54, 289; Kenneth P. Bailey, The Ohio Company of Virginia and the Westward Movement, 1748–1792: A Chapter in the History of the Colonial Frontier [Glendale, Calif., 1939], 25–7, 35, 69–70, 157, 298–303, 304–9).
By 1759 John Wayles traded with the Hanburys, who furnished him with goods, made payments in his behalf, and received shipments of his tobacco between 1762 and 1767. As early as 1763 the firm began to charge him interest on sums advanced, and by the time of his death in 1773 there was a balance in the company’s favor of approximately £260 sterling (account with Capel & Osgood Hanbury, 1759–85, in Vi: USCC). In the November 1792 term of the U.S. Circuit Court in Richmond, Lloyd acted through Virginia attorney Burwell Starke to bring suit against Wayles’s estate. Starke filed a declaration similar in form to the one above, asking £600 in damages from Eppes, TJ, and Skipwith as Wayles’s executors, who were represented by John Marshall (MS in same, undated, endorsement indicating a filing date of 1792, in Starke’s hand leaving blanks for dates and other facts, signed and endorsed by Starke, endorsed by clerks noting actions in the suit, 1792–95; Rule Book No. 1, p. 80–1, 92–3, in same). Notice of the suit was officially served on Eppes and Skipwith, but evidently not on TJ. In 1793, after Starke gave Eppes notice of depositions to be taken in Britain, Eppes “replied that the commissioners might meet when & where they pleased, that he had neither agent nor correspondent in London, & that he should give himself no trouble about the business, as he conceived it unnecessary.” A former clerk of the Hanbury firm was deposed in England to assert the authenticity of the firm’s account with John Wayles (Starke statement, 25 Oct. 1793, on a commission of 8 July 1793; deposition of Thomas Ceal, 22 May 1794; and capias writs of 7 Apr. 1792 and 12 Jan. 1793, all in same). However, when a jury was impaneled in November 1795 Lloyd’s attorney did not appear to present the plaintiff’s case and the action was nonsuited (Order Book No. 1, p. 131, 226–7; Order Book No. 2, p. 21, in same).
The declaration printed above pertains to a rekindling of the suit in the Circuit Court. Officially Lloyd’s renewed case, in which Bushrod Washington represented Wayles’s executors, first appeared in the May 1796 term of the court (Rule Book No. 1, p. 248–9, in same). Earlier in the year notice had been served on Eppes and Skipwith, but not TJ. Two other writs were issued later in the year in an effort to notify TJ, but both failed of their mark: the deputy marshal who was to serve the notice recorded “Not time” on a writ issued in July and, on one of December, that TJ was “Not found” (capias writs, 22 Mch., 7 July, and 30 Dec. 1796, in same).
According to the clerk’s endorsements on it, the declaration printed above was probably entered in court during July 1798. John Wickham was a newcomer to the case, at least in a leading role. After a series of continuations the case was finally heard in court and went against TJ, Eppes, and Skipwith. A jury decided on 28 May 1800 that Wayles’s estate owed the plaintiff $1,812 plus costs. The judgment was to be administered against any of Wayles’s property still held by his executors, or if his assets were unavailable the executors would themselves have to pay the costs of the suit. Apparently the defendants almost immediately filed a motion for a new trial, in light of which Lloyd’s counsel on 12 June 1800 agreed to release $400 of the verdict (Order Book No. 3, p. 379, 409, in same). Although the surviving records do not elaborate further upon the motion or its outcome, in other instances Eppes, TJ, and Skipwith resisted the payment of interest accrued during the Revolutionary War on debts to British creditors, which was perhaps a factor in this case (Order Book No. 3, p. 409, in same; Vol. 15:674–6; MB description begins James A. Bear, Jr., and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, Princeton, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 1:616n; Wickham to TJ, 8 Dec. 1796).