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if he allows his wife to assume an appearance above that which he is in a condition to support, he will be answerable for the consequences (t).
As long as the husband and wife live together, the husband will be liable, however immoral and improper the conduct of the wife may be (u); so, if after she has committed adultery, and eloped, the husband receives her again (.r); so, if she has committed adultery, and the husband leaves her, but allows her to remain in the house, and gives no notice to tradesmen of her situation (y). The same rule holds, where a man and woman cohabit without being really married (z); or where a marriage has taken place de facto, but is void on account of a prior marriage subsisting (a); for if he holds her out to the world as his wife, it is but reasonable that he should be liable for debts contracted by her in that character. But if the marriage can be disproved, the husband will not
(f) Waithman v. Wakefield, 1 Campb. 120, per Lord Ellenborough, C. J. [But the tradesman must exercise a reasonable degree of caution. lb.j
(m) Bac. Abr. Baron and Feme, H. Robinson v. Greinold, 1 Salk. 119.
(x) Harris v. Morris, 4 Esp. 41; Robinson v. Gosnold, 6 Mod. 171.
(y) Norton v. Fazan, 1 B. & P. 226.
(z) Watson v. Threkeld, 2 Esp. 637 ; Hudson v. Brent, Esp. Dig. 124; Carr v. King, 12 Mod. 372; Norwood v. Stevenson, Andr. 227,
(a) Robinson v. Nahon, 1 Campb. 245.
be liable after cohabitation has ceased (b); nor will his executor be liable for debts which she has contracted since his death, whether information of his death had or had not been received at the time of the contract (c).
As the implied authority given by the husband The implied rests only on prima facie evidence, it is liable to ma'/be rebe rebutted by express proof that the husband prohibited the vendor (or his agent), from giving credit to the wife (d); and in such case he will not be liable even for necessaries. Or the presumption of authority may be rebutted even by implication; as, where, during temporary absence, the husband made an allowance to his wife, for supplying herself and her family, and a tradesman, with notice of this circumstance, furnished butcher's meat on credit (e). So, the husband is not liable where he supplies her with every necessary suitable to her rank and station, and a tradesman allows her to incur an extravagant debt without the husband's knowledge (f).
(6) Munro v. De Chemant, 4 Campb. 215, cor. Lord Ellenborough, C. J.
(c) Blades v. Free, 9 B. & C. 167; S. C. 4 Man. & Ry. 282.
(d) Etherington v. Parrott, 1 Salk. 118; Longworth v. Hackmore, Bull. N. P. 135; Rawlins v. Vandyke, 3 Esp. 250, per Lord Ellenborough, C. J.
(e) Holt v. Brien, 4 B. & A. 252.
(f) Seaton v. Benedict, 5 Bingh. 28; Baker v. Baber, Selw. N. P. 284; Keniston v. Goodall, ibid.
No pre- In general, where the goods furnished are not
sumption of ...
authority necessaries, the presumption is against the assent goods are of the husband having been given, and the onus rie». of proof lies on the plaintiff; therefore, where
the vendor brought an action for expensive jewellery furnished to the wife, but could prove neither assent nor knowledge on the part of the husband, he was nonsuited (g). So, where the vendor supplied costly dresses to the wife, without authority, and took her note in payment, it was held that he could not recover (A). The husband will not be liable for money lent to his wife, without his authority (i); even, as it seems, if the money was applied to the purchase of necessaries (k). Otherwise, if the money was lent at his special instance and request (/). But express If the husband gives express authority to his
maj be wife to act as his agent, or what amounts to the same, allows her to contract with his knowledge, he will be liable whether the contract be for necessaries or not. This was held even where the parties had been separated for some time, the
(g) Montague v. Benedict, 3 B. & C. 631 ; Montague v. Espinasse, 1 C. & P. 356, 502; Montague v. Baron, 5 D. & R. 532.
(K) Metcalfe v. Shaw, 3 Campb. 22.
(i) Stone v. M'Nair (in error), 7 Taunt. 432; S. C. 4 Price 48 ; 1 B. Moore 126.
(*) Ibid.; 1 Salk. 387. [But the husband would be liable in equity; Harris v. Lee, 1 P. Wras. 482.]
(/) Stephenson v. Hardy, 3 Wils. 388 ; S. C. 2 Bl. Rep. 872.
husband having been imprisoned, and the wife in the meantime having conducted the business, and after his return having continued the management (m). The assent of the husband may be implied to contracts of the wife, where he has ratified previous contracts of the same nature and in the same business (n). A feme covert may, with her husband's assent, indorse a promissory note (o), or bill of exchange (p), or borrow money (q). But if the vendor has given credit to the wife alone, as by debiting her in his books, or drawing bills for her acceptance, the husband will not be liable for the goods,-although proof can be given that he has seen them in her possession (r).
If after the husband's death the wife promises Subsequent to pay a debt which she has previously contracted, pay i5 bindthe moral obligation will be a sufficient con- 'ng' sideration to support the promise (s); but all the circumstances, which show that the money was
due in conscience/ ought to be correctly set forth in the declaration (t).
where hn«- 2. Where husband and wife do not cohabit, and the raL from act of separation is on the part of the husband. iiequau* * ^n general, where the separation has been caused by the husband, he will be equally liable for the debts of his wife, as if cohabitation continued; or, rather perhaps in a still greater degree, if he does not contribute to her proper maintenance (a). Therefore, where he deserts his wife or turns her out of doors causelessly, he is liable (b), and in such case if he does not properly provide for her, he cannot make a particular prohibition against any individual tradesman (c).
It lias been frequently held at nisiprius, that the law is the same when the husband constructively turns his wife out of doors, as by cruelty and ill—
(0 Littlefield v. Shee, 2 B, & Adol. 811. [Lord Tenterden, C. J. said that the doctrine, that a moral obligation is a sufficient consideration for a subsequent promise, must be received with some limitation, ib. 813 ; and see 2 Wms. Saund. 137 d. noteb.]
(a) Thompson v. Hereey, 4 Burr. 2177. [Where the parties are living separate, and an action is brought for necessaries supplied to the wife, they ought to be specially stated to have been provided for her; Ramsden v. Ambrose, 1 Str. 127.]
(6) Bac. Abr. Baron and Feme, H.; Bull. N. P. 135 ; Shepherd v. Mackoul, 3 Campb. 326; Warr v. Huntly, 1 Salk. 118; S. C. Holt, 102; Ewers v. Hutton, 3 Esp. 255. See Jenkins v. Tucker, 1 H. Bl. 90.
(c) Bolton v. Prentice, 2 Str. 1214, reported more fully Selw. N. P. 281 ; Harris v. Morris, 4 Esp. 41.