The plaintiff sold a quantity of oil to the defendants, subject to the condition that if more oil arrived between April 1 and October 1, 1819, inclusive, than arrived during that time frame in 1818, the contract would be voided and the defendants would not have to pay. On October 1, 1819, the amount of oil that had arrived in the prescribed time period was just below the amount that had arrived the previous year. The validity of the contract depended on the arrival of a single vessel on that night. The vessel could be seen coming toward the port on the night of October 1, but did not anchor until after midnight. The evidence was in dispute over whether the oil from the vessel would be counted toward the contract’s condition or not. The plaintiff brought suit seeking payment on the contract. The trial court found in favor of the plaintiff, and the defendants appealed.