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To the Editor.

Sir, —As defendenta in the above action just heard in the Resident Magistrate’s Court —we should like to bring under your notice the decision of the Resident Magistrate, it being, as we think, of some importance to mercantile men. The facta of the case, as shown in evidence, are briefly these. In October, 1881, a man named Dunbar, took a plough to plaintiff, a blacksmith at Methven, and instructed him to make extensive repairs to it. Johnston admitted that he had but the slightest possible knowledge of the man—in fact was not quite sure of his name, but assumed that he was qur servant. Johnston made the repairs and then handed over the plough to some person sent for it by Mr R. Patton, of Methven. Several months afterwards, Johnston, very much to our surprise, made a

laim upon us for the value of those remits (L 6 6s), and finally sued us for the unount. Now it was distinctly shown in widence that Dunbar at the time he took ;he plough to Johnston’s, was not in our smploy, but in the employ of Mr Angus Murray, nor had he ever, so far as we are vware been our servant, and further, that neither he nor any other person had ever been authorised by us to get the plough repaired by Johnston ; in point of fact we were perfectly ignorant of the transaction until the claim for payment was made upon us. It was shown that sometime previously we had expressely told Johnston that he should not do any more work for us, and that he had applied for payment of his account to both Murray and Patton, proving that he felt uncertain as to whom he should look to for the money. Some person on our behalf had, it seems, actually borrowed a plough from Mr Patton, and this plough was then in the possession of Mr Angus Murray, who handed it to Dunbar, on the latter stating that he wanted it for Mr Patton. Dunbar then appears to have taken it to Johnston. The repairs effected, we may observe, were of the most extravagant nature, considering the value of the plough. Dunbar was not called for the plaintiff, and fiy-ther it was clearly shewn, as already pointed out. that we had never authorised him or anybody else to nledge our credit. Mr Beswick, R.M., nevertheless gave judgment for the plaintiff for the amount claimed with costs, and moreover refused us leave to appeal from his decision, which we wished to do on account of the importance of the principle involved. We are advised that in order to support his claim the plaintiff was bound to prove that Dunbar was our agent, either express or implied, and it certainly seems consistent with neither common sense nor justice that a man whom we had never heard of should be allowed to take a plough which we had never seen to a blacksmith whom we had expressly told should never do any more work for us, and that that blacksmith should then make extravagant repairs to the implement without in any way consulting us, and charge us with the cost.—We are, etc., R. M'Keekow & Co. [lt certainly seems a most extraordinary decision for any Magistrate to make in the face of such evidence.— Ed. (?.]

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Bibliographic details

JOHNSTON Y. McKERROW & CO., Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 518, 26 December 1881

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JOHNSTON Y. McKERROW & CO. Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 518, 26 December 1881