This discharge must be declared at a meeting called for the * purpose, (mm) There, any creditor who has proved his claims(mn) may object to it; and may prove any facts or urge any objections which would prevent it These resolve themselves into the misconduct of the insolvent; and are mainly his generally fraudulent acts, or specifically his concealment of effects, or preference in contemplation of insolvency, (n)1 to go into the citation or discrimination of authorities It becomes necessary, in all matters of form and order of this character, to consult strictly the directions of the bankrupt law. The sections of the law which relate to this subject are 27 and 28.
(l) Minot v. Thayer, 7 Met. 348; Fletcher v. Davis, id. 142.
(ll) Section 23.
(mm) The sections from 29 to 34, inclusive, relate to the discharge; and contain many minute provisions to protect the honest debtor, and to prevent the dishonest debtor from obtaining his discharge. When granted, it is in the following terms, and has the following effect: "District Court of the United States:
District of -. Whereas - has been duly adjudged a bankrupt under the act of Congress establishing a uniform system of bankruptcy throughout the United States, and appears to have conformed to all the requirements of law in that behalf, it is therefore ordered by the court, that said - be forever discharged from all debts and claims which by said act are made provable against his estate, and which existed on the - day of - , on which day the petition for adjudication was filed by (or against) him; excepting such debts, if any, as are by said act excepted from the operation of a discharge in bank-ruptcy. Given under my hand and the seal of the court at -, in the said district, this - day of - , A. D. "(Seal.) Judge"
(mn) Matter of Levy, 2 Ben. 169.
(n) The grounds on which the bankrupt's certificate and discharge have been
1 But a discharge in bankruptcy, when granted, cannot be collaterally impeached on the ground of fraud. Way v. Howe, 108 Mass. 502; Black v. Blazo, 117 Mass. 17; Smith v. Ramsay, 27 Ohio St. 339. See Corey v. Ripley, 57 Me 69; Linn v. Hamilton, 5 Vroom, 305; Ocean Bank v. Olcott, 46 In. Y. 12; Parker v. Atwood, 52 N. H. 181. - K.
In former parts of this book we have stated, as a general rule, that no creditor is permitted to obtain an undue advantage over another. If one is promised any advantage if he will sign, in order that his signature may bring in others, this promise is illegal and void. And, in general, any act of the insolvent or the assignee which secures to any one or more creditors advantages over the rest, would not only be ineffectual at law, but would, if the insolvent were in fault, prevent him having a discharge, (o)
* The 34th section is express as to debts which might have been proved, but were not so in fact, (p)l They are undoubtdisallowed, in England and under the in-solvent laws of our States, are various. The discharge has been disallowed: 1. When a majority of creditors, in num-ber and value, who proved their debts, file their written dissent to the granting the certificate. 2. When the bankrupt has been guilty of any fraud, or wilful concealment of his property or rights of property. 3. Or shall have preferred any of his creditors, contrary to the provisions of the statute. 4. Or shall have wilfully omitted or refused to comply with any orders or direction of the court, or conform with any other requisition of the act. 5. Or shall, in the proceedings under the act, have admitted a false or fictitious debt against his estate. 6. Or (being a merchant, banker, factor, broker, underwriter, or marine insurer) shall not have kept proper books of accounts after the passing of the act. 7 Or shall have applied trust funds to his own use since the passing of the act. 8. Or (the application being voluntary) shall, after the first of January, 1841, or at any other time, in contemplation of the passage of a bankrupt law, by assignment or otherwise, have given or secured any preference to one creditor over another. In the matter of Alonzo Pearce 6 Law Rep. 261, was a case in which Judge Prentiss learnedly discussed the objections to a discharge. See also the cases cited on the subjects of conveyances in contemplation of bankruptcy, and fraudulent preferences, ante. In the matter of Wilson, 6 Law Rep. 272. If the debtor give a creditor a note, to induce him to withdraw opposition to his discharge, the discharge will be avoided. Bell v. Leggett, 3 Seld. 176; Ruckman v. Cowell, 1 Comst. 505. But it will not be avoided because the debtor paid money to counsel for advice, though the debtor neglected to publish the fact. Lyon v. Marshall,
11 Barb. 241. Nor, it has been held in New York, by payments in contemplation of bankruptcy, in fraud of the bankrupt law, after certificate granted Caryl v. Russell, 18 Barb. 429; N. A. Fire Ins. Co. v. Graham, 5 Sandf. 197; but see Breton v. Hull, 1 Denio, 75; Chamberlin v. Griggs, 3 Denio, 9. As to how the validity of such discharges may be contested in chancery, see Penriiman v. Norton, 1 Barb Ch 246, Alcott v. Avery, id. 347.
(o) In addition to the cases cited supra, see also Rice v Maxwell, 13 Smedes & M. 289 , Wells v. Girling, 1 Brod & B. 447; Stock v. Mawson, 1 B. & P. 286; Thomas v. Courtnay, 1 B. & Ald. 1; Cecil v. Plaistow, 1 Anst. 202; Howden v. Haigh, 11 A. & E. 1033; Wilson v Ray, 10 id. 82, Took v Tuck, 4 Bing 224; Knight v Hunt, 5 Bing 432; Britten v. Hughes, id 460; Leicester v. Rose, 4 East, 372; Cockshott v. Bennett, 2 T. R. 763, Jackson v. Duchaire, 3 id 551; Jackson v. Lomas, 4 id. 166; Holmer v. Viner, 1 Esp. 131; Butler v. Rhodes, id. 236; Steinman v. Magnus, 11 East, 390; Feise v Randall, 6 T. R 146; Hawley v. Beverley, 6 Man. & G. 221; Gibson v. Bruce, 5 id. 399, Winn v. Thomas, 55 N. H. 294. And in an action against a defendant, to recover moneys alleged to have been paid him by the bankrupt, in fraud of the bankrupt laws, etc., the judge, assuming that there was importunity and pressure on the part of the defendant, left it to the jury to say whether the bankrupt had made these payments in consequence of such importunity and pressure, or with a view of giving defendant a fraudulent preference in contemplation of bankruptcy; it was held, that the defendant had no right to complain of this direction. Cook v. Pritchard, 5 Man & G. 329, Bryant v. Christie, I Stark. 329.