Wilson v. Keeling

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First page of the opinion Wilson v. Keeling, in Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Court of Appeals of Virginia, by Bushrod Washington. Richmond: T. Nicolson, 1798.

In Wilson v. Keeling, 1 Va. (1 Wash.) 194 (1793),[1] the Court resolved a dispute between a debtor and creditor.


In April 1778, Keeling borrowed about £422 from M’Rae. As security for his loan, Keeling gave Wilson, M’Rae’s trustee, property as a mortgage. After the debt became due, Keeling attempted to pay Wilson in cash for the debt. However, Wilson refused it. Wilson then obtained a judgment to recover the mortgaged property and evict Keeling from the land. Keeling sued in the High Court of Chancery requesting the Court to allow him to pay the debt in cash based on depreciation value at the time the money was lent.

The Court's Decision

Chancellor Wythe was of the opinion that borrowing money and securing the loan by mortgage were similar to any other security transaction. However, he reasoned that Wilson’s refusal to accept the money was based on Wilson’s right to interest between the time the loan was granted and the time the debt was paid. Wythe decreed that Wilson reconvey the property to Keeling on the condition that Keeling pay Wilson the depreciated value of £84 plus interest from the time he borrowed the funds. Keeling failed to meet this condition and Wythe declared his property be foreclosed and sold. The Court of Appeals affirmed the decree.

See also


  1. Bushrod Washington, Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Court of Appeals of Virginia,(Richmond: T. Nicolson, 1798), 3:88.