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The Defective Classes. The Insane. –The total number of insane in the United States on June 1, 1890 (Census of the United States), was 106,485, of whom 74,028 were in hospitals. In the collection of s.atistics of the insane in 1903 (Census Special Report issued August, 1906), only the insane in hospitals

were considered. These had increased to 150, 151 on December 31, 1906. The number of hospitals for the insane had increased in thirteen years from 1/2 in 1890 to 328 in 1903.

In 1903 the number of insane males in hospitals was 78,523, and insane females 71.628. In proportion to population there were more white ihan negro insane. None of the insane in hospitals were under twelve years of age. The maximum concentration occurred between ages twenty-five and thirty-five years. Female insane live longer than male insane, and white insane thap negro insane.

More than one-fourth, 27.8 percent. of the hospital insane had been inmates less than one year, less than one-sixteenth per cent. had been in hospitals at least twenty years, 41. 6 per cent. had been employed as laborers and servants before becoming inmates, 22.5 per cent. had been occupied in agriculture, transportation and other outdoor pursuits, and 16 per cent. in manufacturing and mechanical industries. Of the 328 hospitals for the insane, 226 were public and 102 private in character. The annual cost of maintenance of insane in public hospitals approximated $21,000,000.

The Feeble-Minded. - The number of feeble-minded in institutions on December 31, 1903, was 14,347. The Census estimate of the number of feeble-minded in the general population is not less than 150,000. Of the feeble-minded in institutions 58 per cent. were under twenty years of age, and 85 per cent were under thirty years of age. Three-fifths of the inmates were epileptics.

The Deaf and Dumb.-The total number of deaf mutes in the United States on June 1, 1890 (the latest Census returns on the subject), was 40,592-whites, 37,447; negroes, 3,115; others, 30; males, 22,429; females, 18,163; native-born whites, 33,278; foreign-born whites, 4,169.

The number of persons so deaf as to be unable to hear loud conversation on Jme 1, 1890, 79 121,178, of whom 80,611 were able to speak. The latter were 49,278 males, 31,338 females, 77,303 whites, 3,308 negroes.

The Blind.-The total number of blind in the United States on June 1, 1890, was 50,568-whites, 43,351; negroes, 7,060; others, 157; males, 28,080; females, 22,488: native-born whites, 34,205; foreign-born whites, 9,146. The number of blind in one eye only was 93,988.

The number of insane persons in Great Britain and Ireland in 1896, according to Mulhall, was 128,896,or 328 per 100,000 population; Austria (1890),51.880; Hungary (1890), 28,158. The numberof insane in Germany in 1884 was 108, 100; France, 93,900; Russia, 80, 000.

Suicides. In European cities the number of suicides per 100,000 inhabitants is as follows: Paris, 42; Lyons, 29; St. Petersburg, 7; Moscow, 11; Berlin, 36, Vienna, 28; London, 23; Rome, 8; Milan, 6; Madrid, 3; Genoa, 31; Brussels, 15; Amsterdam, 14; Lisbon,2; Christiania, 25; Stockholm, 27; Constantinople, 12; Geneva, 11; Dresden, 51. Madrid and Lisbon show the lowest, Dresden the highest figure.

The average annual suicide rate in countries of the world per 100,000 persons living is given hy Barker as follows: Saxony, 31.1; Denmark, 25.8; Schleswig-Holstein, 24.0; Austria, 21.2; Switzerland, 20.2; France, 15.7; German Empire, 14.3; Hanover, 14.0; Queensland, 13.5; Prussia, 13.3; Victoria, 11.5; New South Wales, 9.3; Bavaria, 9.1; New Zealand,

9.0; South Australia,8.9; Sweden, 8.1; Norway,

7.5; Belgium, 6.9, England and Wales, 6.9; Tasmania, 5.3; Hungary, 5.2: Scotland, 4.0; Italy, 3. 7, Netherlands, 3.6; United States, 3.5; Russia, 2.9: Ireland, 1.7; Spain, 1.4. A later enumeration of suicides in France gives 8,926 as the number in 1900, or 23.6 per cent.

The causes of suicide in European countries are reported as follows: Of 100 suicides: Madness, delirium, 18 per cent.; alcoholism, 11; vice, crime, 19; different diseases, 2; moral sufferings, 6; family matters, 4; poverty, want, 4; loss of intellect, 14; consequence of crimes, 3; unknown reasons, 19.

The number of suicides in the United States in the Census year 1900 was 5,498. The number of suicides in States and cities of the United States which have laws reguiring the registration of deaths in the five years 1900 to 1904. inclusive, as reported in the Special Mortality Report of the Census Office, published in 1906, was 20,834. The methods of death by suicide in numbers, were: By poison, 6,946, firearms, 4,938; hanging, 3, 232; asphyxia, 1.4877 cutting, 1,171; drowning, 1.059; jumping from high places, 252; crushing, 87; other methods, 1,662. Insanity is the principal cause of suicide. The largest proportion of deaths by suicide, according to age, is from forty to forty-nine years. Summer appears to be the favorite season.

The number of suicides in fifty American cities in ten years 1895 to 1904, inclusive, according to the Special Mortality Report of the Census Office in 1906 was 24, 362. The ten cities having the highest rate per 100,000 of population, were: San Francisco, 49. 6; Hoboken, 29. 2; St. Lonis, 27.2; Oakland, Cal., 23.6; New York (Manhattan and Bronx) 22.7; Chicago, 21.9; 'Milwaukee, 21.5; Cincinnati, 20.1; Newark, 19.8; Haverhill, Mass., 18.3. The average of fifty cities was 17.9.

Statistics of Births.
THE Statesman's Year Book gives the following returns of births in 1900, in principal European
countries. The birth registration, except in Germany, is not full. The Census returns of the United
States for 1900 have not yet been published.

Total Number
Number of

Total Number

Number of
COUNTRIES.

of Births.
Illegitimate
COUNTRIES.

Illegitimate
Births.

of Births.

Births. Austria

995,537
135,933 Germany

2,045,286 183,504 Hungary.

768,673
70,921 Italy

1,003,970 63,406 England and Wales..

926,304

36,814
Norway.

67,013

4,949 Scotland. ....

131,355
Sweden

136,523 15,641 Ireland

101,459
2,702 Russia (1898).

5,769,218 France.....

827,297
73,121 Spain.

627,848 In "Statisque Humaine de la France,'' M. J. Bertillon presents the following table, showing that the French are the least prolific and the Germans the most prolific people of Europe: Number of children born alive annually per 1,000 women of 15 to 50 years: France, 102; Ireland, 114; Belgium, 127; England, 136; Netherlands, 137; Spain, 141; Prussia, 150; Bavaria, 156. The number of children born in France in 1904 was 818,229, the smallest number registered in late years. In August, 1906, Hanaw Kailua, in Hilo, Hawali, gave birth to seven children; Mrs. Snell, of Malad,

Idaho, on September, 19, 1889, gave birth to six children.

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Maarriage and Divorce Laws.

(Revised to December 1, 1906.) Marriage Licenses.-Required in all the States and Territories except Alaska, New Jersey (if residents, otherwise required), New Mexico, New York, and South Carolina. California requires man and woman to appear and be examined under oath,

Marriage, Prohibition of.-Marriages between whites and persons of negro descent are prohibited and punishable in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Indian Territory, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, . and West Virginia.

Marriages between whites and Indians are void in Arizona, North Carolina, Oregon, and South Carolina; and between whites and Chinese in Arizona, California, Mississippi, Oregon, and Utah.

Marriage between first cousius is forbidden in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Ilinois, Indiana, Indian Territory, Kausas, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming, and in some of them is declared incestuous and void, and marriage with step-relatives is forbidden in all the States except Florida, Hawaiian Islands, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, New York, Tennessee, Wisconsin.

Connecticut and Minnesota prohibit the marriage of an epileptic, imbecile, or feeble-minded woman under 45 years of age, or cohabitation by any male of this description with a woman under 45 years of age, and marriage of lunatics is void in the District of Columbia, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Nebraska; persons having sexual diseases in Michigan.

Marriage, Age to Contract, Without Consent of Parents.-In most of the States which have laws on this subject 21 years is the age for males; in California, Delaware, Idaho, and North Dakota, 18; in Tennessee, 16; and for females 21 years in Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Kansas, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, and 18 in all the other States having laws, except Delaware, District of Columbia, Idaho, Maryland, New York, and Tennessee, in which it is 16 years, and California and North Dakota, 15.

Illinois and Kansas, common law marriages null and void. Connecticut, neglect to support wife is felony. Residence

Causes for Absolute Divorce. STATES,

Required. In addition to adultery, which is cause for divorce in all the States.

*

Alabama. 1 year. Abandonment two years,-felony, crime against nature, habitual drunken

ness, violence, pregnancy of wife by other than husband at marriage,

physical incapacity, imprisonment for two years. Arizona. ...... 1 year. Felony, physical incapacity, desertion one year, excess, cruelty, neglect to

provide one year, pregnancy of wife by other than husband at marriage,

conviction of felony prior to marriage unknown to other party. Arkansas.... 1 year: Desertion one year, felony, habitual drunkenness one yea”, cruelty, per

manent insanity, former marriage existing. California .... 1 year. Cruelty, desertion one year, neglect one year, habitual drunkenness one

year, felony. Colorado... 1 year. Desertion one year, physical incapacity, cruelty, failure to provide one

year, habitual drunkenness one year, felony, former marriage existing. Connecticut.. + Fraudulent cor act, wilful desertion three years with total neglect duty,

habitual drunkenness, cruelty, imprisonment for life, infamous crime involving violation of conjugal duty and punishable by imprisonment in State

prison, seven years' absence without being heard from. Delaware.....

Desertion three years, habitual drunkenness, physical incapacity, cruelty,

felony-and at the discretion of the Court, fraid, want of age, neglect to

provide three years. D.of Columbia 2 years. Marriages may be annulled for former existing marriage, lunacy, fraud,

coercion, physical incapacity, and want of age at time of marriage. Florida ......, 2 years. Cruelty, violent temper,habitual drunkenness, physical incapacity, continued

desertion, former marriage existing, relationship within prohibited degrees. Georgia 1 year. Mental and physical incapacity, desertion three years, felony, cruelty,

habitual drunkenness, force, duress, or fraud in obtaining marriage, pregnancy of wife by other than husband at marriage, relationship within

prohibited degrees. Idaho

6 mos. Cruelty, desertion one year, neglect one year, habitual drunkenness one

year, felony, insanity. Illinois......... 1 year. Desertion two years, habitual drunkenness two years, former existing mar

riage, cruelty, felony, physical incapacity, attempt on life of other party,

divorced party cannot marry for two years. Indiana.... 2 years. Abandonment two years, cruelty, habitual drunkenness, failure to provide

two years, felony, physical incapacity. Jowa...... 1 year. Desertion two years, felony, habitual drunkenness, cruelty, pregnance of

wife by other than husband at marriage. Kansas.... 1 year. Abandonment

year, cruelty, fraud, habitual drunkenness, gross neglect of duty, felony, physical incapacity, pregnance of wife by other

than husband at marriage. ·Kentucky.... 1 year. Separation five years, desertion one year, felony, physical incapacity,

loathsome disease,, habitual drunkenness one year, cruelty, force, fraud, or duress in obtaining marriage, joining religious sect believing marriage unlawful, pregnancy of wife by other than husband at marriage or sub

sequent unchaste behavior, ungovernable temper. Louisiana.....

Felony, habitual drunkeness, excesses, cruelty, public defamation of

other party, abandonment five years, attempt on life of other party,

fugitive from justice. Maine..... 1 year. Cruelty, desertion three years, physical incapacity, habits of intoxication

by liquors, opium, or other drugs, neglect to provide. * Exclusive of South Carolina, which has no divorce law. † Varies with cause.

one

MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE LAWS-Continued.

STATES.

Residence
Required.

Causes for Absolute Divorce.
In addition to adultery, which is cause for divorce in all the States. *

Maryland .. 2 years. Abandonment three years,

unchastity of wife before marriage, physical inca

pacity, any cause which renders the marriage null and void abinitio. Mass'chusetts 3-5 yrs. Cruelty, desertion three years, habits of intoxication by liquors,opium or other

drugs, neglect to provide, physical incapacity,' sentence to imprisonment. Vichigan.. .... 2 years. Felony, desertion two years, habitual drunkenness, physical incapacity,

and in the discretion of the Court for cruelty or neglect to provide. Minnesota)... 1 year. Desertion one year, habitual drunkenness by liquors or opium, cruelty,

physical incapacity, sentence to imprisonment. Missouri...... 1 year. Felony, absence one year, habitual drunkenness one year, cruelty, indig

nities, vagrancy, former existing marriage, physical incapacity, conviction of felony prior to marriage unknown to other party, wife pregnant by other

than husband at marriage. Montana...... 1 year. Cruelty, desertion, neglect one year, habitual drunkenness one year, felony. Nebraska..... 6 mos. Abandonment two years, habitual drunkenness, physical incapacity, felony,

failure to support two years, cruelty. Nevada..... 6 mos,

Desertion one year, felony, habitual drunkenness, physical incapacity,

cruelty, neglect to provide one year. V.Hampshire 1 year. Cruelty, felony, physical incapacity, absence three years, habitual drunken

ness three years, failure to provide three years, treatment endangering health or reason, union with sect regarding marriage unlawful, wife separate without the State ten years, not claiming marital rights, husband absent from United States three years intending to become citizen of auother

country. New Jersey..

(+)

Desertion two years, physical incapacity. New Mexico. 1 year. Abandonment, cruelty, neglect to provide, habitual drunkenness, felony,

physical incapacity, pregnancy of wife by other than husband at marriage. New York.... (1) Adultery only. N. Carolina...

Husband fugitive from justice one year, refusal of wise to cohabit one year,

pregnancy of wife by other than husband at marriage, physical incapacity. North Dakota 1 year. Cruelty, desertion one year, neglect one year, habitual drunkenness oue

year, felony. Ohio..... 1 year. Absence three years, cruelty, fraud, gross neglect of duty, habitual drunken

ness three years, felony, former existing marriage; procurement of divorce without the State by one party, which continues marriage binding upon

other party, physical incapacity. Oklahoma.... 1 year. A bandonment one year, cruelty, fraud, habitual drunkenness, selony, gross

neglect of duty, physical incapacity, former existing marriage, pregnancy

of wife by other than husband at marriage. Oregon, 1 year. Felony, habitual drunkenness one year, physical incapacity,desertion one

year, cruelty or personal indignities rendering life burdensome. Pennsylvania 1 year. Former existing marriage. desertion two years, personal abuse or conduct

rendering life rdensome, elony, fraud, relationship within prohibited

degrees, physical incapacity and lunacy. Rhode Island. 2 years. Cruelty, desertion tive years, habitual drunkenness, excessive use of mor

phine, opium, or chloral. neglect to provide one year, gross misbehavior, living separate ten years, physical incapacity. Either party civilly dead

for crime. S. Carolina...

No divorce law. South Dakota 6 mos. Cruelty, desertion one year, physical incapacity, neglect one year, habitual

drunkenness one year, felony. Tennessee .... 2 years. Former existing marriage, desertion two years, felony, physical incapacity,

attempt on life of other party, refusal of wife to live with husband in the State and absenting herself two years, pregnancy of wife by other than husband at marriage; at the discretion of the Court for cruelty, indignities,

abandonment, or neglect to provide. Texas

6 mos. Abandonment three years, physical incapacity, cruelty, excess, or outrages

rendering life together insupportable, felony. Utah

1 year. Desertion one year, neglect to provide, physical incapacity, habitual

drunkenness, felony, cruelty. Vermont.. 1 year. Imprisonment three years, intolerabte severity, absence seven years without

being heard from, desertion three years, neglect to provide. Virginia ... 1 year. Insanity at marriage, felony, desertion three years, fugitive from justice

two years, preguancy of wife by other than husband at marriage, wife a prostitute, or either party, convicted of felony before marriage unkuowa

to other, physical incapacity. Washington.. 1 year. A bandonment one year, fraud, habitual drunkenness, refusal to provide,

felony, physical incapacity, incurable insanity, other cause deemed suf

ficient by the Court. West Virginia 1 year. Desertion three years, felony, physical incapacity, pregnancy of wife by

other than husband at marriage, husband a licentious character or wife a prostitute unknown to other party, either party convicted of felony before

marriage unknown to other. Wisconsin .... 1 year. Felony, desertion one year, cruelty, physical incapacity, babitual drunken

ness one year, separation five years. Divorcee cannot marry for one year, Wyoming..... 1 year. Felony, desertion one year, habitual drunkenness, cruelty, neglect to

provide one year, husband'a vagrant, physical incapacity, indignities ren-
dering condition intolerable, pregnancy of wife by other than husband at
marriage, either party convicted of felony before marriage unknown to

other.
* Exclasive of South Carolina, which has no divorce law. + Varies with cause, I Actual resideuce.

Divorce Statistics of Seven Cities.

NUMBER OF ABSOLUTE DIVORCES GRANTED.

YEARS.
New York.* Chicago Philadelphia.

Boston. Detroit. Indianapolis. Omaha. 1895

202 1,145

364
269
253
427

217 1896.

250 1,140

352
357
262
418

284 1897.

393 1,150

370
334
212
626

263 1898.

499 1,214

374
336
296
575

297 1899.

453 1,507

437
319
347
507

282 1900.

522 1,690

484
245
394
314

241 1901.

596 1,740

494
445
354
470

368 1902.

670 1,998

577
421
462
387

358 1903.

803 2,454

640
508
488
314

314 1904.

843 2,350

614
512
449
260

372 Total 10 years....

5,231 16,388 4,706 3,7746 3,518 4,298 3,151 * Manbattan and Bronx, These statistics were collected by THE WORLD, in February, 1905.

Law of Contracts. A contract is an agreement of iwo or more parties, by which reciprocal rights and obligations are created. One party acquires a right, enforceable at law, to some act or forbearance from the other, who is under a corresponding obligation to thus act or forbear.

Generally speaking, all contracts which are made between two competent parties, for a proper consideration, without fraud and for a lawful purpose, are enforceable at law.

To the creation of a valid contract there must be:

1. Precise agreement. The offer of one party must be met by an acceptance by the other, according to the terms offered.

2. There must be a consideration. Something of value must either be received by one party or given up by the other.

3. The parties must have capacity to contract. The contracts of insane persons are not binding upon them.' Married women are now generally permitted to contract as though single, and bind their separate property. The contracts of an infant are generally not binding upon him, unless ratified arter attaining his majority. The contracts of an infant for necessaries' may be enforced against him to the extent of the reasonable value of the goods furnished. It is incumbent upon one seeking thus to hold an infant to show that the goods furnished were in fact necessary to the infant, and that he was not already supplied by his parents or guardians.

4. The party's consent must not be the result of fraud or imposition, or it may be avoided by the party imposed upon.

5. The purpose of the parties must be lawful. Agreements to defraud others, to violate statutes, or whose aim is against public policy, such as to create monopolies, or for the corrupt procurement of legislative or official action, are void, and cannot be enforced by any party thereto.

Contracts in general are equally valid, whether made orally or in writing, with the exception of certain classes of contracts, which in most of the States are required to be attested by a note or memorandum in writing, signed by the party or his agent sought to be held liable. Some of the provisions, which are adopted from the old English Statute of Frauds, vary in some of the States, but the following contracts very generally are required to be thus attested by some writing:

Contracts by their terms not to be performed within a year from the making thereof.
A promise to auswer for the debt, default, or miscarriage of another person.
Contracts made in consideration of marriage, except mutual promises to marry.
Promise of an executor, or administrator, to pay debts of deceased out of his own property.

Contracts for the creation of any interest or estate in land, with the exception of leases for a short term, generally one year.

('ontracts for the sale of goods above a certain value, unless a portion of the price is paid or part of the goods delivered. The required value of the goods sold varies in different States from $30 to $200. In a number of the States no such provision exists.

In many of the States declarations or conveyances of trust estates.
In many States representations as to the character, credit, or responsibility of another person.

Partiai performance of the contract is generally held to dispense with the necessity for a writing.

If tbe damages liable to result from the breaking of a contract are uncertain, the parties may agree upon a sum to which either may be entitled as compensation for a breach, which will be upheld by the courts, but if the sum so fixed is not designed as a fair compensation to the party injured, but as a penalty to be inflicted, it will be disregarded.

À party is generally excused for the failure to perform what he has agreed only by the act of God or the public

enemy. Except in cases involving a personal element in the work to be performed, such as the rendition of services, when the death or sickness of the party contracting to perform them is a valid excuse, or contracts for the performance of work upon a specified object, when its destruction without the fault of the party sought to be held liable is a sufficient excuse.

UUills. A WILL OR TESTAMENT is a final disposition of a person's property to take effect after his death. A codicil is an addition or alteration in such disposition. All persons are competent to make a will except idiots, persons of unsound mind, and infants. In many States a will of an unmarried woman is deemed revoked by her subsequent marriage, A nuncupative or unwritten will is one made orally bya soldier in active service, or by a mariner while at sea.

In most of the states a will must be in writing, signed by the testator, or by some person in his presence, and by his direction, and attested by witnesses, who must subscribe their names thereto in the presence of the testator. The form of wording a will is immaterial as long as its intent is clear.

AGE at which persons may make wills is in most of the States 21 years. Males and females are competent to make wills at 18 years in the following States: California, ('

onecticut, Hawaiian Islands, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utab; and in

WILLS-Continued.

the following States only females at 18 years: Colorado, District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, Washington, Wisconsin.

In the following States persons of 18 years may dispose of personal property only: Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, West Virginia; in Georgia any one over 14 years and in Louisiana any one over 16 years is competent to make a will.. In Colorado persons of 17 years, and in New York males of 18 and females of 16 years may dispose of personalty. WITNESSSESMost of the States require two witnesses, except in Connecticut (3), District of Columbia (3), Maine (3), Massachusetts (3), New Hampshire (3), South Carolina (3), Vermont (3).

Acknowledgment of Deeds.

AN ACKNOWLEDGMENT is the act of decla the execution of an instrument before an officer authorized to certify to such declaration. The officer certifies to the fact of such declaration, and to his knowledge of the person so declaring. Conveyances or deeds of land to be entitled to be recorded must first be acknowledged before a proper officer. Most of the States have forms of acknowledgments, which should be followed.

Acknowledgments may be taken in general by Notaries Public, Justices of the Peace, Judges or Clerks of Courts of the higher grades, Registers, Masters in Chancery, Court Commissioners, Town Clerks, Mayor and Clerks of incorporated cities, within their respective jurisdictions.

The requisites to a valid deed are the same in general as other contracts, but the appointment of an attorney to execute a deed for another person must in general be executed with the same formalities requisite to the deed itself.

SEALS or their equivalent (or whatever is intended as such) are necessary in Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming. In almost all the States deeds by corporations must be under seal. FORMs are prescribed or indicated by the statutes of most of the States except Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana. SEPARATE ACKNOWLEDGMENT by wife is required in Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas. ONE WITNESS to the execution of deeds is required in District of Columbia, Maine (customary), Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey (usual), Oklahoma, Utah, Wyoming. Two WITNESS ES to the execution of deeds are required in Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Wisconsin.

Promissory Notes and Checks. Negotiable instruments, the common forms of which are promissory notes, checks, or other bills of exchange, while having the same general requisites as other contracts, have certain distinct features. The purpose of the law is to facilitate as much as possible their free passing from hand to hand like currency. The assignment of an ordinary contract leaves the assignee in no different position for enforcing his rights than that of his assignor, but one who takes a negotiable instrument from a prior holder, without knowledge of any defences to it, before its maturity, and gives value for it, holds it free of any defences which might have been set up against his predecessors, except those defects that were inherent in the instrument itself,

To be negotiable an instrument must be in writing and signed by the maker (of a note) or drawer (of a bill or check).

It must contain an unconditional promise or order to pay a sum certain in money.
Must be payable on demand, or at a fixed future time.
Must be payable to order or to bearer.
In a bill of exchange (check) the party directed to pay must be reasonably certain.

Every negotiable instrument is presumed to have been issued for a valuable consideration, and want of consideration in the creation of the instrument is not a defence against a bona-fide holder.

An instrument is negotiated, that is completely transferred, so as to vest title in the purchaser, if payable to bearer, or indorsed simply with the name of the last holder, by mere delivery, if payable to order by the indorsement of the party to whom it is payable and delivery.

One who transfers an instrument by indorsement warrants to every subsequent holder that the instrument is genuine, that he has title to it, and that if not paid by the party primarily liable at maturity, he will pay it upon receiving due notice of non-payment.

To hold an indorser liable the holder upon its non-payment at maturity must give prompt notice of such non-payment to the indorser and that the holder looks to the indorser for payment. Such notice should be sent within twenty-four hours.

When an indorser is this compelled to pay he may hold prior parties through whom he received the instrument liable to him by sending them prompt notice of non-payment upon receiving such notice from the holder.

One who transfers a negotiable instrument by delivery, without indorsing it, simply warrants that the instrument is genuine, that he has title to it, and knows of no defence to it, but does not agree to pay it if unpaid at maturity.

The maker of a note is liable to pay it if unpaid at maturity without any notice from the holder or indorser.

Notice to one of several partners is sufficient notice to all.

When a check is certified by a bank the bank becomes primarily liable to pay it without notice of its non-payment, and when the holder of a check thus obtains its certification by the bank, the drawer of the check and previous indorsers are released from liability, and the holder looks to the bank for payment.

A bona-fide holder of a negotiable instrument, that is, a party who takes an instrument regular on its face, before its maturity, pays value for it and has no knowledge of any defences to it, is entitled to hold the party primarily liable responsible for its payment, despite any defences he may have against the party to whom he gave it, except such as rendered the instrument void in its inception. Thus, if the maker of a note received no value for it, or was induced to issue it through fraud or imposition, they do not defeat the right of a bona-fide holder to compel its payment from him.

The following States have enacted a similar Negotiable Instrument Law: Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, New York, and TenDondeo-and the same general rules apply in all the States,

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