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General effect of bankruptcy on the property of bank-
BILLS OF EXCHANGE, &c.
THE RIGHT ACQUIRED BY BILLS, &c.
THE GENERAL NATURE, UTILITY, AND HISTORY OF
A BILL of EXCHANGE is defined by Mr. Justice Blackstone to Definition : be an open letter of request, or an order from one person to another, General nadesiring him to pay, on his account, a sum of money therein mentioned, Utility. to a third person. It is consequently an assignment to a third person of a debt due to the person drawing the bill, from the person upon whom it is drawn. In other contracts and securities there are generally only two parties, or at most a third as a guarantee; whereas, on account of the assignable quality of a bill of exchange, there may be, and usually are, many more parties, severally liable for the performance of the contract. The person who makes or draws the bill is termed the drawer; he to whom it is addressed is, before acceptance, called the drawee, and afterwards, the acceptor, the person in whose favour it is drawn is termed the payee, and when he indorses the bill, the indorser; and the person to whom he transfers it is called the indorsee, or holder. Though this security is entitled to peculiar privileges, yet it is to be considered as a simple contract debt in the course of administration, which an excutor or administrator cannot discharge until after satisfying debts by bond, without being guilty of a devastavit. And for the same reason a bill of exchange is considered as following the person of the debtor, and as bona notabilia where he resides at the time of the creditor's death, whereas a bond, or other specialty, is bona notabilia, wherever it may X be at the time of such death. And though a bond or bank note may
2 Bla, Com. 466. Gibson v. Minet, 1 Hen. Bla. 586. Stock v. Mawson, 1 Bos. & Pul. 291. Walwyn v. St. Quintin, 1 Bos. & Pul. 654. Selw. Ni. Pri. 4th ed. 285. Bayl. on Bills, 3d ed. 1. Rex v. Box, 6 Taunt. 324.
3 Salk 70 and 164. Comb. 392. S. C Bac. Abr. tit. Executors, E. 2. Com. Dig Administrator, B. 4. The case of Yeomans v. Bradshaw, as reported in Carth. 373, was an action on a bill of ex change, brought by the plaintiff, as administratrix of her late husband, against Yeomans v. Bradshaw, Carth. 273. the drawer; the bill was drawn in London,
b Bayl. 2.
General be delivered in prospect of death, and be a good donation mortis causâ, nature and bills of exchange, promissory notes, and checks on bankers, seem inUtility capable of being the objects of such donation. A bill of exchange also being merely a simple contract, it is affected by the statute of limitations, and must be sued for within six years after it is payable. And being a chose in action, and a mere security for a debt, it is not to be considered as goods and chattels, and it therefore does not pass by a bequest of all the testator's "property" in a particular house, though bank notes would have passed, they being quasi cash ; and upon the same principle, a bank note or bill cannot be taken in execution, or as a distress for rent. And the accepting of a bill or note, in satisfaction of a specialty debt or demand for rent, at most only suspends the remedy on the former security, and does not entirely defeat it."
A bill of exchange is a security originally invented amongst merchants in different countries for the more easy and safe remittance of money from the one to the other, and has since been extended to commercial transactions in this kingdom. The instance put by Mr. Justice Blackstone of the utility of the instrument, is this, "If A. live in Jamaica, and owe B. who lives in England, £1000. now if C. be going from England to Jamaica, he may advance B. this £1000. and take a bill of exchange, drawn by B. in England upon A. in Jamacia, and receive it when he comes thither: thus, B. receives his debt at any distance of place by transferring it to C., who carries over his money in paper credit, without the risk of robbery or loss." In the origin of bills of exchange, it is probable that their principal utility was the safe transfer of property from one place to another, but since the great increase of commerce, they have become the signs of valuable property, and equi- ·
The defendant craved oyer of the letters
d Miller v. Miller, 3 P. W. 356. Ward
his will, and that, with regard to the other note for 1007., which was not payable to bearer, that was merely a chose in action, and consequently could not pass by a delivery thereof. Per Master of the Rolls, the gift of the 6007., contained in the bank notes, was a donatio causâ mortis, which operates as such, though made to a wife, for it is in nature of a legacy, though it need not be proved in the spiritual court as part of the testator's will. But as to the note for 1007., which was merely a chose in action, and must still be sued in the name of the executors, that cannot take effect as a donatio causâ mortis, inasmuch as no property could pass therein by the delivery. See also Ward v. Turner, 2 Ves. sen. 442. and Tate v. Hilbert, 2 Ves. jun. 120, in which it was held, that a check on a banker, delivered by J. S. on his death-bed, did not take effect as a donatio causá mortis. But see 1 P. W. 441, and Toller's Law of Executors, 3d ed. 234, 5.
Renew v. Axton, Carth. 3.
Flemming v. Brook, 1 Sch. & Lef. 318. Stewart v. Marquis of Bute, 11 Ves. 662.
& Francis v. Nash, Cas. Temp. Hardw. 53. Knight v. Criddle, 9 East, 48.
h Curtis v. Rush, 2 Ves. & Bea. 446. Drake v. Mitchell, 3 East, 251. Harris v. Shipway, Bul. N. P. 182.
$2 Bla Com. 466, 7.