(u) See per Lush, J., in Tomlinson v. Bullock, 4 Q. B. D. 230, 232; 48 L. J. (M. C.) 95, 96. See also Wilberforce on Statutes, Ch. IV., "The Operation of Statutes," p. 154.
1 But this decision of Lord Ellenborough has been overruled, and it is now settled that a promissory note is, in the ordinary course of things, a chose in action, and there is nothing to take it out of the common rule that choses in action survive to the wife after the death of her husband, unless he has"reduced them into possession; and it is believed to be a rule without exception that a husband can not sue alone to recover any chose in action belonging to the wife before marriage: Fenner v. Plaskett, Moore, 422; Richards v. Richards, 2 B. & Ad. (22 E. C. L. R.) 447; Gaters v. Madeley, 6 M. & W. 427; Sherrington v. Yates, 12 lb. 855; Hart v. Stephens, 6 Q. B. (51 E. C. L R.) 937; Morse v. Earl, 13 Wend. 271; Clapp v. Stoughton, 10 Pick. 470; Johnston v. Pasteur, C. & N. 464.-r.
(x) Williams v. Mercier, 9 Q. B. D. (C. A.) 337; 51 L. J. (Q. B.) 594.
(y) The husband can only be sued jointly with his wife, and is not liable in a separate action after her death. Bell v. Stocker, 10 Q. B. D. 129, 52 L. J. (Q. B.) 49.
(z) Where, after the passing of the Amendment Act of 1874, an Englishwhen the husband after marriage pays any debt of his wife, or has a judgment bond fide recovered against him in any such action as is in that Act mentioned, then to the extent of such payment or judgment the husband shall not in any subsequent action (a) be liable. In the case, therefore, of marriages which have taken place on or after (b) the 30th of July, 1874, up to the time when the Married Women's Property Act, 1882, came into force, the husband is liable for the wife's ante-nuptial contracts to the extent of the property that he has got through her.
*We now come to the last and most important of all the Acts upon this subject. I mean the Married Women's Property Act, 1882 (45 & 46 Vict., c. 75), sect. 25 of which fixes the date of the commencement of the statute on (c) the 1st day of January, 1883. This Act, by its 22nd section, repeals the Married Women's Property Act, 1870, and the Amendment Act of 1874, "provided that such repeal shall not affect any act done or right acquired while either of such Acts was in force, or any right or liability of any husband or wife married before the commencement of this Act, to sue or be sued under the provisions of the said repealed Acts or either of them for or in respect of any debt, contract, wrong, or other man married in England a woman who had contracted debts while a feme sole in Jersey, it was held that, although by the law of Jersey a husband is liable for the ante-nuptial debts of his wife and that Act did not apply to Jersey, yet that in an action brought in England against the husband and wife for those debts, the husband was liable to the extent only of the assets derived from his wife and specified in sect. 5 of the Act. De Greuchy v. Wills, 4 C. P. D. 362; 48 L. J. (Q. B., etc.,) 726.
(a) The words "any subsequent action" mean any action commenced subsequently to the time of bringing the action in which judgment has been recovered, and not merely any action commenced subsequently to the recovery of the judgment: Fear v. Castle, 8 Q. B. D. 380, 51 I,. J. (Q. B.) 279.
(b) See ante, p. *331.
(c) See ante, p. *331.
By sect. 14, "a husband shall be liable for the debts of his wife contracted, and for all contracts entered into and wrongs committed by her, before marriage, including any liabilities to which she may be so subject under the Acts relating to joint-stock companies as aforesaid, to the extent of all property whatsoever belonging to his wife which *he shall have acquired or become entitled to from or through his wife, after deducting therefrom any payments made by him, and any sums for which judgment may have been bond fide recovered against him in any proceeding at law, in respect of any such debts, contracts, or wrongs, for or in respect of which his wife was liable before her marriage as aforesaid; but he shall not be liable for the same any further or otherwise; and any Court in which a husband shall be sued for any such debt shall have power to direct any inquiry or proceedings which it may think proper for the purpose of ascertaining the nature, amount, or value of such property: Provided always, that nothing in this Act contained shall operate to increase or diminish the liability of any husband married before the commencement of this Act for or in respect of any such debt or other liability of his wife as aforesaid."
Sect. 15, regulating the cases where both husband and wife may be sued for such causes of action, enacts that "a husband and wife may be jointly sued in respect of any such debt or other liability (whether by contract or for any wrong) contracted or incurred by the wife before marriage as aforesaid, if the Plaintiff in the action shall seek to establish his claim, either wholly or in part, against both of them; and if in any such action, or in any action brought in respect of any such debt or liability against the husband alone, it is *not found that the husband is liable in respect of any property of the wife so acquired by him or to which he shall have become so entitled as aforesaid, he shall have judgment for his costs of defence, whatever maybe the result of the action against the wife if jointly-sued with him; and in any such action against husband and wife jointly, if it appears that the husband is liable for the debt or damages recovered, or any part thereof, the judgment to the extent of the amount for which the husband is liable shall be a joint judgment against the husband personally and against the wife as to her separate property; and as to the residue, if any, of such debt and damages, the judgment shall be a separate judgment against the wife as to her separate property only."
The general result, therefore, of the Act is to limit the husband's liability on the wife's contracts made before the marriage to the property which he has acquired through his wife. And unless he has so acquired property she is made solely responsible, but her liability is limited to the amount of her separate estate. But the Act seems to diminish considerably the probability of the husband acquiring any property through his wife; for sect. 2 is as follows :"Every woman who marries after the commencement of this Act shall be entitled to have and to hold as her separate property and to dispose of in *manner aforesaid (d) all real and personal property (e) which shall belong to her at the time of marriage, or shall be required by or devolve upon her after marriage, including any wages, earnings (f), money, and property gained or acquired by her in any employment, trade, or occupation, in which she is engaged, or which she carries on separately from her husband (g), or by the exercise of any literary, artistic, or scientific skill."