The Federal Reporter with Key-Number Annotations, Volume 250: Cases Argued and Determined in the Circuit Courts of Appeals and District Courts of the United States, August-October, 1918. Page: 57
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GEORGE V. OSCAR SMITH & SONS CO.
which inheres in that branch of the law, which is ordinarily spoken of
as "conflict of laws," it is certainly the case that every contract with
reference to land within any certain jurisdiction must have its validity,
in so far as the land is concerned, tested by the laws of that jurisdiction.
The only elements that could possibly enter into the question as to
the law with reference to which the contract was made that are not
definitely fixed in Mississippi are the place of negotiations, which were
conducted principally in Mississippi and through the mails and by wire;
the consideration, the situs of which is indefinite; and the place of the
making of the contract every part of which had been in Mississippi,
except the formal receipt of the evidences of debt by the promisees
The element which has not been specifically considered is the inten-
tion of the parties. The same circumstances which indicate the law
with reference to which the contract should be determined carry with
them the conclusion that it was the intention of the parties that the
contract should be subject to the laws of Mississippi; and therefore
little is to be added to the argument by a statement to the effect that
the parties intended that it should be measured by the laws of that
The maker of the notes in the present case was, at the time of their
execution, a citizen of the state of Mississippi. The debt was secured
by property which could be held nowhere other than in the state of
Mississippi; no relief, either by a proceeding in rem or in personam,
could be had in any other state. The contract suggesting nothing to
the contrary, it would appear to be reasonable to assume that the par-
ties intended their rights to be determined by the laws of the only
state which could be appealed to for a remedy. No reference was
made in any of the correspondence, or in any verbal negotiations with
reference to which there is testimony, to any fact indicating a pur-
pose on the part of the negotiators to fix upon a place whose laws
should measure their contract. In the absence of anything more defi-
nite, it would seem that there are three factors in the present case
which might be taken into consideration in an effort to determine the
law in contemplation by the parties: (1) The notes were made pay-
able in Mississippi; (2) the money was to be used in Mississippi; (3)
the debt was secured by property in Mississippi. It was known by
all of the parties to the transaction that the collection of the money,
whether in the course of business or through the trustee, or through
the courts, would have to be made in the state of Mississippi. It is
not assumed that with a knowledge of this fact, and in the complete
absence of anything so indicating, that the parties intended to make
their Mississippi transaction dependent upon, or in any sense governed
by, the laws of the state of Pennsylvania. A much more ordinary
course of business is for bonds or bills and notes or other negotiable
instruments to be made payable at the place of business of the parties
lending the money or purchasing the negotiable instruments. When
this ordinary course of business is departed from, that circumstance
alone is not without weight in suggesting that the parties purposed to
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The Federal Reporter with Key-Number Annotations, Volume 250: Cases Argued and Determined in the Circuit Courts of Appeals and District Courts of the United States, August-October, 1918., legislative document, 1918; Saint Paul, Minnesota. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc38821/m1/72/: accessed September 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.