U.S. Supreme Court Young v. Bank of Alexandria, 9 U.S. 5 Cranch 45 45 (1809)
Young v. Bank of Alexandria
9 U.S. (5 Cranch) 45
ERROR TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AT ALEXANDRIA
Suits brought by the bank of Alexandria upon promissory notes, made negotiable in that bank, are entitled to trial at the return term of the writ.
Error to the Circuit Court of the district of Columbia, sitting in Alexandria, in an action of debt upon a promissory note, negotiable in the Bank of Alexandria, made by Young to Yeaton, and by him endorsed to the bank.
The only question now argued was whether the court below erred in ruling the plaintiff in error into a trial at the return term of the writ.
The bill of exceptions set forth the capias ad respondendum issued by the Circuit Court of the District of Columbia on 10 November, 1807, returnable "at the next court." The defendant below was taken on 12 November. The next court was holden by law on 4 November, 1807.
It further stated that the counsel for the plaintiffs below, having filed his declaration at the return term, prayed the court to fix a day for the trial of the cause during the present term and also to rule the defendant to plead at a short day during the term, and offered to consent that the defendant should plead the general issue, and under that plea give in evidence any special matter which he could plead either in bar or abatement, to which the defendant objected, but the court ruled him to plead the next day, and upon the general issue being joined, ruled him to trial immediately.
By the general rules of practice established by the circuit court, it is ordered that all process issuing from that court, except executions, be made returnable before the court in term time, and that rules be held in the clerk's office on the day after the rising of the court in each term, and on the same day in each month thereafter during the vacation, and that all proceedings and orders taken at the rules shall conform as near as may be to the rules of proceeding directed by an act of the Assembly of Virginia entitled "An act reducing into one the several acts concerning the establishment, jurisdiction and powers of district courts" and the several acts amending the same. By that act, which was passed December 12, 1792, it is ordered that
"one month after he plaintiff hath filed his declaration, he may give a rule to plead with the clerk, and if the defendant shall not plead accordingly at the expiration of such rule, the plaintiff may enter judgment for his debt or damages and costs. . . . All rules to declare, plead, reply, rejoin, or for other proceedings shall be given regularly from month to month, shall be entered in a book to be kept for that purpose, and shall expire on the succeeding rule day."
By the 25th section of that act it is provided that in certain cases, the sheriff may take the engagement of an attorney of the court, endorsed on the writ, that he will appear for the defendant,
"and such appearance shall be entered with the clerk in the office on the first day after the end of the court to which such process is returnable, which
is hereby declared to be the appearance day in all process returnable to any day of the court next preceding."
By the Act of Congress of 27 February, 1801, it is declared that the laws of Virginia as they then existed should be and remain in force in that part of the District of Columbia which was ceded by Virginia to the United States.
By the Act of Congress of 3 March, 1801, § 3, it is enacted that the Circuit Court for the County of Alexandria shall possess and exercise the same powers and jurisdiction civil and criminal as was then possessed and exercised by the district courts of Virginia.
By the Act of Assembly of Virginia passed on 23 November, 1792, and which incorporated the bank, it is ordered that in suits brought by the bank upon notes made negotiable therein, an issue shall be made up and trial had at the return term of the writ.
MR. CHIEF JUSTICE MARSHALL delivered the opinion of the Court to the following effect:
The writ being returnable to the court, is returnable the first day of the court. It was known to the Legislature of Virginia that the appearance day for all process was the day after the term. When, therefore, it directed that a trial should be had at the return term, it must have intended that this case should be an exception to the general rule.