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Williams V. Bayley Notes

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WILLIAMS V. BAYLEY FACTS On Friday the 17th of April, 1863, the father being at a railway station, and circumstances having arisen which caused these bankers to have doubts about the signatures to certain bills or promissory notes, and the bankers wishing to satisfy themselves whether a signature was, as it purported to be, that of the father, James Bayley, they presented to him a note for PS500 made by the son, and purporting to contain the father's signature, and asked him whether that was his signature. The father denied it. The bank manager, who was present, was much surprised to find that the signature was not correct, and it was arranged that the matter should be looked into, that it should stand over then, and that there should be another meeting with the parties on the following day. It appears that, in the course of the evening of that day, the son, William Bayley, was communicated with. He was informed of what had taken place; and, I suppose, the conclusion was come to in the family that the son had been in the habit of using his father's name without his sanction. I say "using his father's name without his sanction," for I have no doubt at all in coming to the conclusion (there is not a tittle of evidence to the contrary) that all these signatures were forgeries. That they were not the signatures of the father is clear, and I do not think there is the smallest reason to suppose that he ever gave his son any express or implied authority to sign the bills in his name. One member of the family, Thomas Abishai Bayley (another son of the Respondent and brother of William), who is not at all involved in these transactions, went with his father to the bank, and then considerable negotiation took place. It is obvious that at that time the bankers must have seen that they were in great jeopardy as to the notes, and that they would probably lose their money unless the father came in and assisted the son. I cannot, however, but come to the conclusion, from the evidence, that they strongly suspected, indeed they must be said to have known, that these signatures were forgeries. If the signatures were forgeries, then the bankers were in this position, that they had the means of prosecuting the son. When the parties met on Saturday, there was a very significant expression made use of by Mr. Deakin, the manager, in the presence of one of the bankers, Henry Williams, "We do not wish to exercise pressure on you if it can be satisfactorily arranged."...
The "pressure" there referred to must be something different from merely obtaining the security of the father. It amounts to this: "Take your choice - give us security for your son's debt. If you take that on yourself, then it will all go smoothly; if you do not, we shall be bound to exercise pressure;" which could only mean, to exercise

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