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CONSIDERING the great circulation of bills of exchange and promissory notes in this kingdom, and the loss to which the parties are subject, if they neglect to observe the rules affecting these securities, together with the frequency of litigation respecting them, there is no branch of the Law so important to the merchant, as well as to the lawyer, as that relating to these instruments. An intimate acquaintance with the commercial law in this respect, is particularly essential to the trader, who, too, frequently, for want of being sufficiently apprised of the rules affecting bills, &c. loses the benefit of the security in his hands. It is also of the greatest importance to every professional man, because more ready and immediate advice is required from him in regard to bills and notes, than on almost any other point; and the pleader in particular is called upon, for the utmost expedition in advising and framing the legal proceedings. These considerations have induced the author to offer the following work to the public.
In order to facilitate reference to the particular parts of the treatise, it has been considered expedient, in addition to the General Index at the end of the work, here to give an Analytical Statement of the Contents.
The general division of the Work is into two Parts. In the first, is considered the Right, which may be acquired by a bill of exchange, check, or promissory note; and in the second, the Remedies to enforce payment of them.
The FIRST PART is divided into eight chapters. In the first chapter, the author has considered it useful, as tending to elucidate the peculiar properties of bills of exchange, (viz. their assignable quality, and that of their being primâ facie valid, without proof of their being founded on any consideration,) concisely to state the doctrine relating to the assignment of choses in action, and the necessity in general, for a contract, not under seal, being founded on a sufficient consideration; and he has then proceeded shortly to state the history, general nature, and use of foreign and inland bills, and of checks or drafts on bankers; the resemblance between bills, checks, and promissory notes, and how far the law, relating to each, is applicable to the other; postponing the consideration of promissory notes to the seventh chapter,
In the second chapter, the parties to a bill, &c. are stated; and first, is considered the capacity of the parties, or who may be concerned in making, or negociating a bill of exchange; and in particular, how far a corporation, an infant, or a married woman, may be party thereto, and the effect of their incompetency, as to the liability of other parties to the bill. And secondly, the number and description of the parties, as
drawer, drawee, acceptor, payee, indorser, indorsee, holder, and acceptor, or party paying, supra protest; and the mode of becoming a party, as by agent, and who may be such, and how far he may bind his principal, or by the act of a partner, and how far partners may bind each other.
In the third chapter, the form in general, and the most essential requisites of bills, &c. are first stated; as that they be payable at all events, not dependent on any contingency, nor payable out of a particular fund; and that they be for the payment of money only, and not for the payment of money and the performance of some other act, nor in the alternative. These important points are fully considered, and the authorities are stated in the notes. The rules relating to the formation of bills of exchange, &c. and their more particular requisites, are next considered in their natural order, with reference to the parts of a foreign and inland bill, and check; the forms of which are for that purpose introduced. And 1st, The proper stamp, and the consequences of a mistake are considered. 2dly, The superscription of the place where the bill is made. 3dly, The date. 4thly, The superscription of the sum to be paid. 5thly, The insertion of the time of payment. 6thly, The request to pay. 7thly, and Sthly, The clauses to be inserted in foreign bills, drawn in several parts, 9thly, The person to whom payable, and of fictitious payees. 10thly, The insertion of the words, " or order, or bearer." 11thly, The sum to be paid. 12thly, Of the words, "value received.”
Under the last head, it has been considered expe dient fully to consider the points, first, as to the want
or insufficiency of a consideration, and when it may constitute a defence to an action on a bill, &c. and secondly, are stated the leading decisions, as to the different descriptions of illegality of the consideration, or of the contract, and how far they may invalidate a bill, &c.; and thirdly, is shewn what interest, &c, may be taken on discounting a bill.
Then are considered, 13thly, The insertion of the di
rection to place it to account. 14thly, Of the words,
per advice, &c." 15thly, The subscription of the drawer's name. 16thly, The address to the drawee. And 17thly and 18thly, The place where payment is to be made.
The rules, which govern in the construing, and giv, ing effect to bills, &c.; the delivery of the bill to the payee, and effect thereof, and in general of the receipt of a bill, &c. on account of a pre-existing debt, and the consequences of the alteration of a bill, &c., and the liability of the drawer, are considered in the latter part of this chapter.
In the fourth chapter, the indorsement, transfer, and loss of bills, &c. are considered. And 1st, What bills are transferrable. 2dly, Who may transfer a bill, and to whom it may be transferred. 3dly, The time when the transfer may be made, whether before the bill is complete, or after it is due, or after payment. 4thly, The manner in which a transfer may be made, either by an indorsement in blank, in full, or restrictive, or by delivery. 5thly, The nature of the transfer, the right which it vests in the indorsee, &c. and the liability of the party assigning, whether by indorse