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[ENTERED AT STATIONERS' HALL.]
THE LAW OF
BILLS, CHEQUES, NOTES,
JAMES WALTER SMITH, ESQ., LL.D.,
AUTHOR OF HANDY BOOKS ON "JOINT-STOCK COMPANIES," "PARTNERSHIP,"
HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY DEPOSITED BY THE LIBRARY OF THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
JUN 21 1940
PREFACE TO ENTIRELY RE-WRITTEN
THE object of the following treatise is to supply to the commercial world, and to the general public, what has hitherto been wanting a cheap and compendious explanation of the law of inland negotiable instruments. This work, being chiefly meant for the guidance of men in business, does not, by its title, pretend to supply the place of the full and elaborate treatises, which are necessary to the practitioner; to whom, however, as well as to the student, this volume, from its brevity, may, perhaps, be useful.
The law of negotiable instruments, both inland and foreign, has recently received a masterly exposition at the hands of the legislature. But, though the Bills of Exchange Act, 1882, is a model of codification, it does not answer the purpose of an expla natory treatise.
In this little book the law has been succinctly stated in accordance with the statutory law-now nearly confined to the Act above mentioned-with the decisions of the Courts and the principles which guide them; but it has not been thought necessary to encumber the pages with many references.
The division of every chapter into numbered sections, (each of which is frequently subdivided into several paragraphs,) and the reference at the head of the chapters to the subjects treated of in each section, will probably help to save reference to an Index. Nevertheless an Index has been added.
It is believed that the APPENDIX on Forms and Stamp Duties will be of considerable service.
For those who are entirely unacquainted with negotiable instruments, an explanation of many of the technical terms used with reference to them is given in chap. i, sec. 1.
J. W. S.
To facilitate reference, each chapter has a table of its contents
XXI.-Of Actions on Bills and Notes
OF BILLS AND NOTES, AND THE PARTIES TO THEM.
1. Of a Bill of Exchange, and the names and relations of the parties thereto.
2. Of a Promissory Note, and the names and relations of the parties thereto.
3. How Bills and Notes are made payable, and therein of indorsement.
4. The Acceptor primarily, and other parties secondarily, liable.
5. The same of the maker of a Note.
1. A bill of exchange is an unconditional written order addressed by A to B, directing him to pay on demand or at a fixed or determinable future time, a sum of money, named therein, to C, or to C's order, or to C or his order, or to bearer. (See chap. xx.)
A (who is called the drawer of the bill) is said to draw upon B, who is, therefore, called the drawee ; and C, the person to whom the money is to be paid, is on that account called the payee.
The drawer may be himself the payee, and he may direct B to pay him simply, (as by the words "pay to me,") or to pay to him or his order, (as by the words "pay to me or my order.") [See chap. xx, and Appendix -Forms.]
The drawer having written this order, it should be presented to the drawee to receive his assent. If the drawee assents to it, he (in this country) testifies such assent by writing his name across it (see the forms above referred to), which is called accepting the bill or draft, after which the drawee is called the acceptor. If he refuses to accept, he is said to dishonor the draft or bill by non-acceptance.
When a person, in order to transfer his interest in a bill, writes his name on the back, he is called an indorser,