THIS was an appeal from a decree in equity, of the Circuit Court for the county of Washington, against Robert Barry the appellant, upon a bill filed by Griffith Coombe, for the specific execution of a contract for the sale of real estate in the city of Washington, and for the payment of the balance of an account, which it was alleged had been settled and agreed upon by the parties.
The material charges in the bill, and which were brought into the consideration of the Court, by the counsel in argument, were; that various transactions, commencing in 1815, had taken place between the complainant and the defendant, who then resided in Baltimore, together with a certain James D. Barry of the city of Washington, as joint proprietors of a tanyard, in which the business of tanning and selling leather was carried on; in the course of which, the concern became largely indebted to the complainant, and to other persons; for the payment of which securities had been given. Afterwards, in 1821, the partnership between the defendant and James D. Barry, was dissolved, and the whole of the stock in trade became the property of the defendant; who afterwards continued the business on his own account.
That about the 18th of May 1818, the complainant and the defendant purchased an estate on the Eastern Branch of the Potomac in the city of Washington, upon which were erected a dwelling house, warehouse, and wharf, and which was held by the complainant and the defendant as tenants in common. Large expenditures were made by the complainant for the repairs of the property, and the defendant was considerably indebted to the complainant for his proportion and share of the same.
The bill further charged, that, about September 1820, a settlement of all accounts took place between the parties, upon which the defendant was found in arrears, and admitted himself to be indebted to the complainant, a stated balance of 9,078 dollars 33 cents; and for the purpose of liquidating and discharging the balance, so due by the defendant, a bargain was then concluded for the sale of the defendant's moiety of the said premises, on the Eastern Branch, so held by them in common; for which the complainant agreed to allow him the price of 7,578 dollars 63 cents, to be passed to his credit, in account against the stated balance; the balance of 1,500 dollars still remaining due, the defendant agreed to pay with interest in instalments, in one, two, and three years, and to give his promissory notes for the same; in consideration of which agreement, on the part of the defendant, the complainant agreed to discharge the parties who had been concerned in the tanyard, from the debt due to him, on account of certain endorsements; and to reliquish to the defendant his interest in, and lien upon, leather which he held. Whereupon the defendant immediately drew up, in his own handwriting, a statement of the said settlement, bargain, and agreement, in the form of an account between himself as debtor, and the complainant as creditor, signed at the beginning with the defendant's name in his own handwriting, and at the foot with the complainant's name in his handwriting: in which written statement, are set down the heads of the several accounts upon which the said balance of 9,078 dollars 63 cents, was ascertained against the defendant as aforesaid; the credit and deduction of the purchase money, agreed to be allowed the complainant for the defendant's moiety of the said estate and premises on the Eastern Branch, as aforesaid, described in said statement as 'your [meaning the defendant's] 1/2 E. B. [meaning Eastern Branch] wharf and premises;' and expressly stated as purchased by the complainant on the day of the date of said paper, with an express reference to the said agreement between the complainant and the defendant; and lastly, the said balance of 1,500 dollars, remaining due after deducting the credit for the said purchase money as aforesaid, payable by instalments as aforesaid.
The statement of the account, alleged to have been so drawn up, was as follows:––
"Washington, 27th Sept. 1820.
Robert Barry, To G. Coombe, Dr.
To amount of J.D. Barry's notes taken up by me, and secured
by him in tanyard-stock, and leather, per bill
dated 27th Dec. 1819, $4,209 00
Interest on do. to this day–9 Mos. 184 40
To bill of leather sent you in June, 1819, $2,846 50
Interest to this date–15 Mos. 216 65
To balance due on tanyard bvooks, (E.E.) 284 25
To cart of hay for tan-yard 37 37
To balance due for supplies to tan-yard, per
account furnished by you 152 64 474 26
To 1/2 expenses of repairs on house and wharf, 1145 49
E. branch Interest, 9 mos. 51 52 1197 01
By 1/2 rent and wharfage, &c., of sundries, to
this day on E.B. wharf 49 19
By my purchase of your 1/2 E.B. wharf and premises,
this day agreed on between ...