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Title IV defines a number of words used in the Law and makes also a few general provisions.
It will thus be seen that many of the provisions which are common to both statutes are enacted in the Negotiable Instruments Law as to both bills and notes, under the general description of instruments, while, in the Bills of Exchange Act, they are specially enacted as of bills of exchange and made applicable to promissory notes only by the general provision of Part IV of that Act. But while it has not seemed feasible to illustrate the differences between the two statutes by the parallel column method, the plan has been adopted of giving in the notes to the Negotiable Instruments Law those sections of the Bills of Exchange Act which differ more or less from the corresponding provisions of the Negotiable Instruments Law, and of noting the fact wherever any particular provision of the Negotiable Instruments Law is not found in the Bills of Exchange Act. The absence of a note to any provision of the Negotiable Instruments Law indicates that the Bills of Exchange Act contains substantially the same provision, although the language may sometimes differ.
An Appendix sets forth such provisions of the Bills of Exchange Act as have not been adopted by the Negotiable Instruments Law and have not already been mentioned or quoted in the notes to the Negotiable Instruments Law. Tables of the corresponding sections of the two statutes are also given in an Appendix. The fact that a provision is to be found in the one statute, but not in the other, does not necessarily mean that the principle set forth in such provision is not the law in the other country, for both statutes contain provisions to cover such omissions, the Bills of Exchange Act providing in section 97 (2) that “The rules of common law, including the law merchant, save so far as they are inconsistent with the express provisions of this Act, shall continue to apply to bills of exchange, promissory notes, and cheques,” and the Negotiable Instruments Law providing in section 196 that “In any cases not provided for in this act the rules of the law merchant shall govern.”
It is not within the scope of this work to annotate those sections of the Law under which no cases have been decided. This has been done in other books. But all the cases decided under the Bills of Exchange Act and under the Negotiable Instruments Law and reported to April 1, 1908, have been examined and with a few exceptions, deemed unimportant, have been given in Appendices with cross-references and comments.
In addition to the articles in this compilation the student will find the Negotiable Instruments Law discussed in articles by Hon. Amasa M. Eaton, now President of the National Conference of State Boards of Commissioners, 2 Michigan Law Rev. 260; by John Lawrence Farrell, Esq., 3 Brief of Phi Delta Phi 131, 5 Ib. 1; by Judge Julian W. Mack, i Illinois Law Rev. 592; by Professor Louis M. Greely, 2 Illinois Law Rev. 145. See also a series of articles in 16 Banking Law Journal, beginning at page 315.
On behalf of The Harvard Law Review and of himself the Editor gratefully acknowledges the courtesy of the Yale Law Journal, the American Law Register, and of Judge Brewster and Mr. McKeehan in granting permission for the republication of their articles. And the Editor also acknowledges his indebtedness to the Hon. Amasa M. Eaton for copies of his lists of cases decided under the Negotiable Instruments Law and for other valuable information. Although great care has been taken in the comparison of the English and American statutes and in other respects, it is too much to hope that the result is without fault. The Editor will, therefore, consider it a favor to have his attention called to any errors which may be discovered in any part of this work.
J. D. BRANNAN. CAMBRIDGE, Mass., July, 1908.
TABLE OF CASES
TEXT OF THE NEGOTIABLE INSTRUMENTS LAW AN-
NÇTATED WITH REFERENCES TO THE ENGLISH BILLS