VICE-CHANCELLORS’ COURTS, July 14.
(Before the Vice-Chancellor of England.)
CATON V. RIDEOUT.
This was a feigned issue from the Court of Chancery to ascertain
by trial by jury on which side the
truth of certain statements respecting the terms of marriage contract lay.
Sir F. Thesiger, Mr. Ogle, and Mr. Green gentleman of the Chancery Bar),
appeared counsel for the plaintiff; Mr. Montagu Chambers, Q.C.,
and Mr. Lush, were for the defendant.
Sir F. Thesinger stated the case. This as his Learned
friend Mr. Ogle had told them, was an issue from the Lord Chancellor, to ascertain
on which side the truth lay in certain statments which appeared to be contradictary
and about which he was in doubt.
There were certain circumstances connected with the case which were of a painfull
nature, and to which it gave him much pain to allude.
The parties were most respectable. The question in dispute arose out of the
contruction of a bond, entered into in connection with the marriage of the plaintiff
with the defendant's daughter. The jury were, perhaps aware that if a party entered
into a deed or bond, and that bond was different in its terms from the intention
of the contracting and objecting party, yet if it be executed, the part is bound
by it in law.
It was not so in equity, the Judge in which, if not satified, had the power to
set it aside, and it was to ascertain how the matter stood that the issue
was directed to the court.
The plaintive Mr. Caton, was the son of the Rev. Mr. Caton, a rector in the
Established Church. He was a surgeon in the Grenadier Guards, and was quartered,
in 1831, with his regiment at Brighton. The Defendant was the Widow of the late Rev.
Mr. Rideout of Woodmancote, who had an estate in Lincolnshire, and who was her
Plaintive and his brother officers visited at, and recieved the hospitalities
of Woodmancote, and an attachment sprang up between the plaintive and
Miss Ann Maria Rideout, which ripened and ended in marriage, contracted on
the 23rd of June 1831. the plaintiff was then 27 years of age, and the
bride was only 18. Before the union took place an agreement was entered into
by which the plaintiff's father was to settle £150 a year upon him, which,
with his pay of £150 as an officer of the Guards, would make his income
on his side £300; and to make their income an independance, a settlement was made
on the bride by her parents, being on thier side part of the marriage settlement.
The learned Gentleman here went into details of the terms of the settlement
of £50 a year to the plaintiff . The bond was a joint one, in which the late
Reverand Mr. Rideout father of the plaintiff, Mrs Rideout, the present defendant
and Miss Rideout, the bride ( who was entitled to a revertionary interest in the
fund from which the settlerment was delivered), were the parties, and according to to
the plaintiff's contruction of it, it was to be discharged to him during the life-time
of the contracting party on the bride's side; but that the defendant, Mrs Rideout now
resisted, stating that the agreement ceased to be binding from the death of any
of the parties.
The £50 were paid for some time after the execution of the bond. The Plaintiff's wife
was an only child, and the plaintiff was induced by her parents to leave the army
and settle with them at Woodmancote, a step which they were induced to press from
the circumstance of her being an only child. They lived for some time happily together,
and in course of time their family increased to three to four children, and
as their expenses increased it was stipulated that the plaintiff should pay
£200 a year towards the general expences of the house.
The Rev. Mr. Rideout, father of the bride, died 1838, and the defendant, his widow,
left the rectory in consequence, and went to reside in Brighton.
A Circumstance occured there to which he could not refer without the greatest pain
and the plaintiff's wife went subsequently to Paris, where certain occurances took place
that rendered it, he was sorry to think, impossible that the plaintiff and his wife
could ever live together again.
The defendant (Mrs Rideout) gave intructions to her bankers, Messrs Child, not to pay any
more dividends to the plaintiff, alleging that although the bond was a joint one, including
herself, her husband, and the plaintiff's wife, yet that it ceased to be binding on the
death of any one of the parties.
Mr. Waugh, solicitor for the plaintiff, and Mr. Groom solictor for the defendant, were
respectively examined as to their views on the intention of the Bond.
Lord Denman was about to sum up, but was interupted by the Jury, who informed
his Lordship that they would not truoble him, their minds being made up.
The Learned Judge wished to procedd, deeming it best course to recapitulate the
evidence, but thet repeated that they were quite satified,
and returned a verdict for the plaintiff.