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Time Within Which Suit May Be Brought on a Bill


TIME WITHIN WHICH SUIT MAY BE BROUGHT ON A BILL. At the common law the limitation within which an action may be brought on a bill or note is six years, and after the expiration of this time the holder who has had a right of action for this period against any party cannot sue such party. (Woodruff v. Moore, 8 Barb., 171.) The period or limitation varies in the different States, and in some the common law term has been lengthened, in Ohio it is fifteen years. (Rev. Stat. Ohio, Sec. 4980.) The time begins to run as regards the acceptor from the maturity of the bill, except where present ment for payment is necessary, in which case time runs from the date of such presentment, and where the acceptance is made after maturity the time probably runs from date of acceptance. (Benj.'s Chalmers, B. N. & C., Art. 252.) Notice of dis honor fixes the date when the time begins to run as regards the drawer and indorsers. (Wood v. Mc Means, 23 Tex , 481.) Any circumstance which delays or defeats the operation of the statute of limitations in the case of an ordinary contract will delay or defeat it in the case of a bill. Thus if the holder is a minor, mar ried woman, a lunatic, or otherwise protected from the running of time, the statute will not begin to operate until the disability is removed. So the bill when barred from the operation of the statute of limitation may be subsequently rendered valid by an acknowledgment in writing by the party sought to be charged.

F 0 R M AND INTERPRETATION OF A PROMISSORY NOTE. In a previous sec tion (Ante, Sec. 752) a promissory note has been defined and somewhat explained, and we only need to state here some special provision applicable to promissory notes. The person making the promise is called the maker of the note, and the person in whose favor it is made is called the payee. These two parties are essential to every note, and a note payable to maker's order would not be a note until a payee had been designated by indorsement. (Miller v. Weeks, 22 Pa. St., 89.) The note is_ incomplete until delivery has been made to the payee.

As regards the form of a promissory note, any writing which has all the essentials laid down for a promissory note will be a valid note if the intention of the maker, as gleaned from the writing, was to make a note. (Sibree v. Trip, 15 M. & W., 29.) The following have been held not to be notes but mere evidences of indebtedness: "Due C $100, value received;" "I. 0. U. $too;" "I acknowledge the within note to be just and due," written on the back of a note. (Daggett v. Daggett, 124 Mass., 149; Currier v. Lockwood, 40 Conn., 349) While the following are held to be notes since importing a promise to pay: "I owe you $10o, to be paid May sth;" "Due C or order $loo on demand." (Waith man v. Elsee, i C. & K., 35; Carver v. Hayes. 47 Me., 257.) There may be two or more makers to a promis sory note, and in case it is written "I promise," it will be considered joint and several if they are not partners. (Maiden v. Webster, 30 Ind., 317.) If written "We promise," and signed by several it is considered a joint note only. (Barnett v. Juday, 38 Ind., 86.) But these holdings are subject to statu tory modifications.

The note may contain a pledge of collateral security, and give the payee the right to dispose of such security, and the right to the security passes with a transfer of the note, and free from equities if the note was free. (Knipper v. Chase, 7 Ia., 145; Duncan v. Louisville, 13 Bush, 378; Kelley v. Whitney, 45 Wis., no.) So an instrument is still a note which gives the holder an option of taking a cash sum, or the per formance of another act from the maker. Thus where the note promised to pay a sum certain in money or in goods on demand, it was held a valid note in the hands of the payee, as he could demand money, and the promise to pay money was absolute notwithstanding the option. (Hosstatter v. Wilson, 36 Barb., 307.) But as to the maker, it is held not to be a note. (Dinsmore v. Duncan, 57 N. Y., 573.)

note, promissory, payee, promise and held