« AnteriorContinuar »
upon a transfer to a third person, the acceptance becomes operative.
The N. I. L. (53) provides that a negotiable instrument "may be drawn payable to the order of: (1) A payee who is not maker, drawer or drawee; or (2) the drawer or maker; or (3) the drawee."
$ 28. Same (continued). Upon the same principle, an instrument in which the same person is named as drawer, payee, and drawee, is sufficient in point of form, but is of course inoperative until transferred. Thus an indictment for forging the name of J. M. Stevenson to the following instrument, describing it as a bill of exchange, was held sufficient to sustain a conviction (54):
"Three months after date pay to the order of myself eight hundred and fifty dollars, value received, and charge the same to the account of your obedient servant, J. S. Butterick. To J. S. Butterick, Sterling, Mass.” (On the face): “Payable at the Lancaster N. Bank, J. S. Butterick.” (Indorsed):“J. S. Butterick.” “J. M. Stevenson.”
Whether such an instrument is a bill of exchange or a promissory note is a different question. Although in form a bill, it seems that, since the only obligation arising upon it is from Butterick to the holder, it is in substance a promissory note. In the case before us the court said that the paper might have been described as a promissory note. The view of the court is adopted by the N. I. L. (55):
(53) Sec. 8.
“Where the instrument is so ambiguous that there is a doubt whether it is a bill or note, the holder may treat it as either at his election.” Again, the Law says (56): “When, in a bill, drawer and drawee are the same per
the holder may treat the instrument at his option either as a bill of exchange or a promissory note.”
$ 29. Certainty of parties: Maker or drawer. The person who is the maker of a note or drawer of a bill is indicated by his signature thereto. The instrument“must be signed by the maker or drawer” (57). If there is no signature by the maker or drawer, the instrument is not a bill or note (58). Subscription, i. e., signing at the end is not required. Thus “I, John Smith, promise to pay A or order, $100 on demand," is John Smith's note, if the name “John Smith” in the body of the instrument is intended by him as his signature (59).
Any written symbol or mark is a sufficient signature, for example “1, 2, 8,” provided the maker intended to bind himself by the figures as his signature (60). It follows that “one who signs in a trade or assumed name will be liable to the same extent as if he had signed in his own name" (61).
But,“no person is liable on the instrument whose signature does not appear thereon” (62). Thus Rowlestone, al
(56) Neg. Inst. Law, sec. 130.
though Walker was admittedly acting as agent for him to the knowledge of Siffkin, was not liable on the following note (63):
“Two months after date, I promise to pay J. Siffkin or order 300 pounds for value received. (Sgd) Thos. Walker."
And conversely, if Walker were sued on the instrument, his agency would be no defence because he has made it his note by signing it as maker (64).
§ 30. Same: Signatures of agents. Let us suppose, however, that Walker had added the word "agent” after his signature, would this discharge Walker from liability on the note? Would it make his principal, Rowlestone, liable thereon? The second question we may dismiss at once with a negative. Under no circumstances could Rowlestone be held on a note which had not been signed in his name, either by him in person or by his authorized agent (65). The first question depends for its answer upon whether or not the holder of the instrument knew that Walker was acting as agent and did not intend to bind himself. If the holder did know this, then, according to the later authorities, the signature “Walker, agent, would not bind Walker. But if the holder did not know of these circumstances, Walker would be bound. The mere addition of the word "agent” after Walker's signature, however, would not by itself notify the holder of Walker's intention not to be bound. The word is treated by the
(63) Siffkin v. Walker, 2 Campbell, 308.
courts as of no more effect than a word or phrase added by way of more complete description of the signer, as for example, "of Madison, Wis.,'' “Instructor in X College." “Conductor on X Railroad,” etc. In Keidan v. Winegar (66) the plaintiff took a note from the defendant for a debt due to plaintiff from defendant's principal, both parties treating the obligation as that of the principal. The note was in this form:
“Dec. 22, 1887. 90 days after date, I promise to pay to the order of Geo. Keidan $336.96 at the Old Nat. Bank of Grand Rapids, Mich., value received, with interest at the rate of 6% per annum until paid. (Sgd) W. G. Wine
It was held that Winegar was not liable.
In First National Bank v. Wallis (67), however, a note in the form below was held to be the note of Wallis and Smith, notwithstanding the form of the signature and the marginal writing, it not appearing that the plaintiff took the instrument knowing that Wallis and Smith intended to bind the corporation and not themselves.
"Wallis Iron Works
“Jan. 20, 1893. “Three months after date, we promise to pay to the order of H. Stentzer & Co. $100 at the 1st National Bank of Jersey City, value received.
“Wm. T. Wallis, President,
(66) 95 Mich. 431.
The words “President” and “Treasurer'' were considered as mere words of description or identification. The “Wallis Iron Works” in the margin was not considered significant, because any one might use one of the Iron Company's blank forms.
$ 31. Same (continued). The questions arising upon irregular forms of signatures by agents are difficult, the decisions are conflicting, and the only safe course is to use an unquestioned mode of signature. Examples of signatures which undoubtedly bind the principal X, whether individual or corporation, and not the agent, A, are: “X by A;" “A for X;" “by authority of X, A;' “X, by A, agent;" “X, by A, president;" etc. Of course the agent may sign his principal's name without adding his
If the agent signs in his own name simply, we have seen that he, and he only, is bound. But if the agent signs for his principal in proper form, the principal is the only person who can be held on the instrument. If the agent signs for his principal in proper form to bind him, but is not authorized to sign, the principal is not bound. Is the agent liable? Obviously he can not be held on the bill or note because it does not bear his signature as maker. He is, however, liable to the person he has misled for the resulting damage, if any, in an action upon his warranty of authority (68). The provisions of the N. I. L. are as follows:
Sec. 19. The signature of any party may be made by a
(68) White v. Madison, 26 N. Y. 117.