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fined to such statements, as are made by him, either at the time of his -making an agreement about which he is eniploj-ed, or in acting within the scope of his authority. "Except in one or other of these ways, (said the Master of the Rolls in Fairlie v. Hastings (i),) I do not see how they can be evidence against the principal:" and therefore in that case, (where the fact, sought to be established, was, that a bond had been executed by the defendant to the plaintiff, which the defendant had got possession of,) he refused to admit, as evidence of this fact, the declarations of the defendant's agent, who had been employed to keep the bond for the plaintiff's benefit, and who, on it's being demanded by the plaintiff, informed him that it had been delivered to the defendant(2). "The admission of an agent, (continued the Master of the Rolls,) canuot be assimilated to the admission of the principal. A party is bound by his own admission, and is not permitted to contradict it. But it is impossible to say, a man is precluded from questioning or contradicting any thing, that any person may have asserted, as to his conduct or agreement, merely because that person has been an agent. If any fact, material to the interest of either party, rests in the knowledge of an agent, the general rule is, that it ought to be proved by his testimony, not by his mere assertion."

The force and effect of an admission must of course depend upon the circumstances, under which it has been made. In many cases, it will be evidence of the strongest kind, if clearly proved: in some, it amounts to little. A full and free admission of a debt is, unless satisfactorily explained, conclusive against the party who makes it. On the other hand, an offer to pay money by wav of compromise, and to get rid of an action, is not evidence of a debt (3): in such cases, the point to be considered is, what the view and intention of the party was in making the offer, whether to buy peace, or from a conviction of the justice of

(1) toVes.118. Young v. Wright, I Campb. 139 ; WiU

(a) Fairlie v. Hastings, 10 Vcs. 1x8; son v. Turner, 1 Taunt. 39S.

(3) Bull . N. P. [236.]


the demand against him. "Thus if A sue B for iobl., and B offer to pay him 20L, it shall not be received in evidence, for this neither admits nor ascertains any debt, and is no more than saying he would give 20I. to get rid of the action. But if an account consists of ten articles, and B admits that a particular one is dec, it is good evidence for so much (i)." Admissions of particular articles before an arbitrator are also evidence under the same limitation, that is, when they are made, not with a view to a compromise, but while the parties are contesting their rights. (2)

Admissions by a party to the suit are evidence,Whether made before or after the commencement of the action, whether before arrest or after, whether in writing or by parol. The recital of a fact in the counterpart of an indenture is evidence against the party by whom the deed is executed (3). So, answers in chancery are evidence in trials at law against the party that made them (4), and very strong evidence, as they are delivered in upon oath.

It it scarcely necessary to observe, that the whole of the answer or admission must be taken together, in order to shew distinctly the full meaning and sense of the party. Thus, if a person, in making an admission against his own interest, refers to a written paper, without which the admission is not complete, the contents of the paper ought to be shewn, before the statement can be used as evidence against the party (5). Or, if a person says, " that he did owe a debt, but that he had paid it," such an admission will not be received as evidence to prove the debt, without being also evidence of the payment (6). What he has said in his own favour may perhaps weigh very little with

(i) Bull. N. P. [236.] (5) See Jacob v. Lirdsay, I East,

(2) Bull. N. P. Ib. 1 P. With. 497. 462. Smith v Youn;, i Campb. N.

Slack v Buchanan, Peakc N. P. C. 5. P. C. 439. I d. Barrymore v. Taylor,

Waldiidge v. Kennison, I Esp. N. P. C. 1 Esp. N. P. C. 325. Randliv. BUck.

143. turn, 5 Taunt. 245.

(3) Burleigh v. Stihbs, 5 T.K. 465. (6) Anonym, case, cited 12 Vin.

See infra, at to recitals. Abr, (A. b. 23.)

(4.) Bull. N. P. 237.

the the jury, while his admission against himself may be conclusive; however it is reasonable, that if any part of his statement is admitted in evidenee, the whole should be admitted. (i)

An admission by the defendant, that .he owes a certain sum of money to the plaintiff is strong evidence against him in an action to recover the debt, but it will not be conclusive; the defendant, if he can, may prove the fact of payment, or shew a receipt, or give.other evidence to repel the presumption arising from his acknowledgment. A bill delivered by an attorney to his client, for business done during a certain' period, is strong presumptive evidence against any additional item within the same period; but the bill is not like a deed to operate as an estoppel, and the party will be at liberty to prove the fact of his having transacted other business for the defendant (2). A notice to quit at a certain time is prima facie evidence, that the tenancy commenced at that period, if the notice was served personally on the tenant, and if he made no objection to the time of quitting mentioned in the notice (3). The circumstanceof hisnotmaking such an objection has been considered as prima facie evidence of an admission and acquiescence. If, on the other hand, it should be made to appear, that at the time of the service the tenant did not look at the notice so as to know its contents, such evidence would completely repel the supposition of any acquiescence on the part of the tenant; for he cannot be supposed to admit a fact, of which he does not appear to have been informed.

(1) See also Green v.Dunn, 3Camp. fzl Loveridge v. Botham, 1 Bor. N. P. C. 115. Smiih v. Young, 1 & Pul. 49.

Campb.N. P. 0,439. " (3) Doe d. CUrgei <r. Forster, 13

Ea.«t, 4^5.

Sect. V. yC >^£—- A*

Of the Admissibility of the Confession of a Prisoner against , . {^ft>.

himself. t£?'*~~

Since an admission is evidence against a party in civil >i-*^-^'^t suits, with much stronger reason is the voluntary con- Cif *-f* fession of a prisoner evidence against him on a criminal 1+ prosecution; for it is not to be conceived, that a man Lj ^r*^»^yuwould be induced to make a free confession of guilt, so contrary to the feelings and principles of human nature, -//*-^'' if the facts confessed were not true. The general rule on *J * V^/l this subject was very fully considered in a judgment deli-4- ^^ff^jhvered by Mr. Justice Grose, on a case reserved for the opi- ^ nion of the twelve judges (1); and it seems to be now clearly" ^j^" jr j established, that a free and voluntary confession by a person (nJ^ L accused of an offence, whether made before his apprehension A^Cj or after, whether on a judicial examination or alter commit- j" jrf^^^jk, ment, whether reduced into writing or not, in short, that /f fa^fsT*^*^ any voluntary confession, made by a prisoner to any person . at any time or place, is strong evidence against him; and, (y^^^A if satis&ctorily proved, sufficient to convict without any corroborating circumstance (2). But the confession must 1^ *'"*""*4^a be voluntary, not obtained by improper influence, nor drawn 'y's from the prisoner by means of a threat or promise: for, ffy^^ however slight the promise or threat may have been, a con- T" fession so obtained cannot be received in evidence (3), onJ{ ^"*~72. account of the uncertainty and doubt, whether it was not ^^--W- ^ made rather from a motive of fear or of interest than from a sense of guilt.

In Lambe's case (4), before mentioned, the question for the opinion of the judges was, whether a written examina

(1) Lamhe's case, a Leach Cr. C. C. ,ii7. Cass's case, n. (j), ib. 318.

615. Hawk. P. C. b. a. c. 46. s. 31. Warwickshall's case, I l.cai li, Cr. C.

Thomu's case, a Leach, ;18. 299.

(a) Wheeling's case, cor. Ld Ken- (4) 1 Leach, Cr. C. 165. Thomas's

yon C. J. 1 Leach, Cr. C 349. n. (a), case, tb 71;, a. P.

(3) Thompson's case, 1 Leach. Cr.

G tion,


tion, taken by a committing magistrate and containing a confession, w hich the prisoner on hearing it read over to him admitted to be true but refused to sign, ought to have been received in evidence, as it was not signed either by the magistrate or by the prisoner; and a majority of the judges held, that such a confession would have been evidence at common law, and that it is not rendered inadmissible by any provision, in the statutes of Philip and Mary respecting examinations and informations before justices of the peace. If a prisoner's confession, even when not reduced into writing, be evidence against him, a fortiori it must be admissible, when taken down in writing; for, the fact confessed, being thus rendered less doubtful, is of course entitled to greater credit; and it would be absurd to say, that nn instrument is invalidated by a circumstance, which gives it additional strength and authenticity. (i)

The informations against the prisoner are to be taken on oath; the examination of the prisoner ought to be without oath (i). And whenever a confession is given in evidence, the whole of what has been confessed must be taken together (3): but if only the material parts of the confession are taken down in writing, and they are afterwards read over in the presence of the prisoner, and admitted by him to be true, that admission will make them evidence (4). The statute of Philip & Mary requires the Justice to take the examination, or so much thereof as is material, &c. The confession His evidence only against the person confessing, not against others, although they arc proved to be his accomplices. It was resolved by all the judges in the case of Tong and others (5), on an indictment for high treason, that a confession by one of the prisoners was evidence only against the party himself who made the confession, and could not

(i) See Mr. Justice Grose's judg- (4)'s cue, 2 Leach, Cr. C.

ment in Lambe's case, 2 Leach, Cr. C. 265. Milward v. Forbes, 4 Esp. N.

629. V. C. 171.

(i) Bull. N. V. 242. Hawk-P. C. (5) Kelyng,i8., res.5. Gilb. Ev.

b. 2. c . 46. s. 37. Kelyng, 2. 124.

(3) Hawk. ib. s.42. R. v. Paine, 5 Mod. 165.


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