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BANK BRITISH NORTH AMERICA v. COOPER.

decided: December 22, 1890.

BANK OF BRITISH NORTH AMERICA
v.
COOPER.



ERROR TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK.

Author: Brewer

[ 137 U.S. Page 474]

 MR. JUSTICE BREWER delivered the opinion of the court.

This was an action at law, brought by the defendant in error in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York. The trial resulted in a judgment in his favor, and the defendant there has brought such judgment here on error. As the case was tried before a jury, contested facts must be accepted to be as alleged by the plaintiff, because resolved in his favor by the verdict. Lancaster v. Collins, 115 U.S. 222.

The facts thus established are these: For some years prior to the transaction in controversy, the plaintiff Cooper had had business relations with the firm of Martin, Turner & Co., of Glasgow, Scotland. In consequence of these relations, he had had frequent occasions to remit money to that firm, and many of such transactions had been carried on through the agency of the defendant. He had, on December 14, 1883, drawn a

[ 137 U.S. Page 475]

     draft on the firm of Martin, Turner & Co. for five thousand pounds sterling, which became due on the 29th of February, 1884. It was his duty to provide funds for the payment of that draft, and the defendant knew that such was his duty. The duty was his; the moneys therefor were his. The defendant had an office in London, as well as in New York. On the 26th of February Cooper called at the office of defendant in New York, and purchased and paid for a cable transfer of five thousand pounds to Martin, Turner & Co. The bill which he received was in these words:

"NEW YORK, 26th Feb., 1884.

"W. B. Cooper, Jr., Dr., to the agents Bank of British North America, 52 Wall street, for cable transfer on the Bank of British North America, London, in favor of Martin, Turner & Co., Glasgow, 5000 pounds, at

4.90 1/2 $24,525

Cost of cable 2

$24,527"

The cable message was in cypher, and the cyphers theretofore arranged with Cooper represented the following phrases: "Martin, Turner & Co., Glasgow, ac. W. B. Cooper, Jr.," and "Martin, Turner & Co., 3 Market Buildings, 29 Mincing Lane, ac. W. B. Cooper, Jr." Beyond this was an arrangement for transmission by telegraph from London to Glasgow, which involved an additional expense. When Cooper called to purchase this cable transfer, he was asked whether he wished transmission by telegraph or mail, and answered that he wanted a check mailed to Glasgow. So the contract established by the verdict of the jury, in accordance with his testimony, was one for the transmission by mail of a check from London to Glasgow for the five thousand pounds. The cable directing such transfer was sent as ordered; but the London office, instead of forwarding a check to Glasgow, on the 27th of February ...


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