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SS. 17, 18.
Definition and requisites of acceptance.
state of the law by 41 & 42 Vict. c. 13, sect. 1 of which, like the latter part of this sub-section, provided that an acceptance was not insufficient by reason of such acceptance consisting merely of the signature of the drawee written on such bill. Under the last-named statute it was held that the signature of a person across the back of a bill is not an acceptance but an indorsement, Steele v. McKinlay, 5 Ap. Cas. 754; 43 L. T. N. S. 358; 29 W. R. 17. As to proof of an acceptance, see Scard v. Jackson, 24 W. R. 159.
(w) This is the same as section 1 of 41 Vict. c. 13, which see.
(v) Thus it has been held that the acceptance of a bill must be to pay in money, and that an acceptance to pay by another bill is no acceptance. Russell v. Phillips, 14 Q. B. 891 ; 19 L. J. Q. B. 297.
Time for acceptance.
18.-A bill may be accepted
(1.) Before it has been signed by the drawer (a), or while otherwise incomplete (1).
(2.) When it is overdue (c), or after it has been dishonoured by a previous refusal to accept (d), or by nonpayment (e).
(3.) When a bill payable after sight is dishonoured by non-acceptance, and the drawee subsequently accepts it, the holder, in the absence of any different agreement, is entitled to have the bill accepted as of the date of first presentment to the drawee for acceptance (f).
(a) In Schultz v. Astley, 2 Bing. N. C. 544; 2 Scott, 815 ; 7 C. & P. 99, it was decided that it is no objection to the validity of a bill of exchange that the acceptance and indorsement are written before the bill is drawn, notwithstanding the indorsement is made by a stranger to the acceptor; and this even though the bill be antedated, Armfield v. Allport, 27 L. J. Ex. 42.
(6) But as we have already seen, no liability exists before the delivery or issue of the bill, In re Hayward, L. R. 6 Ch. Ap. 546 ; 40 L. J. Bankr. 49; sect. 21, sub-sect. 1.
(c) Thus it has been held that an acceptance of a bill after the time appointed for its payment is a general acceptance to pay it on demand, Jackson v. Pigott, 1 Ld. Raym. 364; Mutford v. Walcot, 1 Ld. Raym. 574; 1 Salk. 129. See also sub-sect. (2) of sect. 10 of this Act, and the notes thereto.
(d) So held before this Act, Wynne v. Raikes, 5 East, 514; see further as to acceptance and payment for honour, sects. 65, 66, 67, and 68 of this Act.
(e) See note (c) to this section.
SS. 18, 19, (f) As to what the practice on this point was before the Act, see
Time for Chalmers' Digest of the Law of Bills of Exchange (2nd edition), p. 34.
acceptance, Where a bill of exchange, payable after sight, having been presented for acceptance and refused, and duly protested, was eight days afterwards accepted by a third person for the honour of the drawer, and when at maturity, according to that acceptance, was presented for payment both to the drawee and the acceptor for honour, it was held that these presentments for payment were made at a proper time, and that a protest for non-payment by the drawee was unnecessary, Williams v. Germaine, 7 B. & C. 468.
19.—(1.) An acceptance is either (a) general or (b) General and qualified.
acceptance. (2.) A general acceptance assents without qualification to the order of the drawer. A qualified acceptance in express terms varies the effect of the bill as drawn (x). In particular an acceptance is qualified which is— Ind. Act, s. 86. (a) conditional (y), that is to say, which makes pay
of a condition therein stated.
part only of the amount for which the bill is Explanation (1)
drawn. (c) local (w), that is to say, an acceptance to pay Ind. Act, s. 86. only at a particular specified place.
Explanation ) An acceptance to pay at a particular place is a general acceptance, unless it expressly states that the bill is to be paid there only and not elsewhere (v). (d) qualified as to time (t).
Ind. Act, s. 86. (e) the acceptance of some one or more of the
Explanation(d) drawees but not of all.
(z) Such have hitherto been the definitions of general and qualified, see Byles on Bills (13th edition), 195 and 196; Chalmers' Digest of the Law of Bills of Exchange (2nd edition), p. 37. Parol evidence cannot be admitted to vary the legal effect of a bill or note, Woodbridge v. Spooner, 3 B. & Ald. 233; Abrey v. Crux, L. R. 5 C. P. 37; Stott v. Fairlamb, 52 L. J. Q. B. 420; 48 L. J. N. S. 584; on app. 49 L. T. N. S. at p. 526; Martin v. Cole, 14 Otto Sup. Ct. M. S. 30. But as between immediate parties, a written agreement may vary or control its legal effect, Bowerbank v. Monteiro, 4 Taunt. 844. But a
SS. 19, 20. subsequent written agreement must have a consideration to support it;
McManus v. Bark, L. R. 5 Ex. 65; 39 L. J. Ex. 65. General and qualified
(y) Sproat v. Matthews, 1 T. R. 182. For instances of conditional acceptance, acceptances, see Smith v. Abbott, 2 Stra. 1152; Banbury v. Lissett, 2
and other cases collected in Story on Bills, sect. 239. “An acceptance is general when it imports an absolute acceptance precisely in conformity to the tenour of the bill itself. It is conditional or qualified when it contains any qualification, limitation, or condition different from what is expressed on the face of the bill, or from what the law implies upon a general acceptance.” Story on Bills, sect. 239, where the cases are collected. A conditional acceptance becomes absolute when the condition has been performed, per Gibbs, C. J., in Miln v. Prest, 4 Camp. 393; per Park, J., in Mendizabal v. Machado, 6 C. & P. 218; Smith v. Vertue, 9 C. B. N. S. at pp. 225, 227; 30 L. J. C. P. 56.
(2) The same as hitherto, see Wegersloffe v. Keene, 1 Stra. 214.
(w) See Rowe v. Young, 2 Bligh. H. L. 391 and the following note (v).
(v) This is the same as the provisions of sect. 1 of the 1 & 2 Geo. 4, c. 78, which is, however, repealed by this Act.
(t) An acceptance to pay at a time subsequent to that appointed by the drawer was held to be a partial or varying acceptance, Walker v.
Atwood, 11 Mod. 190. Inchoate 20.-(1.) Where a simple signature on a blank stamped instruments.
paper is delivered by the signer in order that it may be Ind. Act. s. 20. converted into a bill, it operates as a primâ facie authority
to fill it up as a complete bill for any amount the stamp will cover, using the signature for that of the drawer (a), or the acceptor (), or an indorser (c); and, in like manner, when a bill is wanting in any material particular, the person in possession of it has a primâ facie authority to fill up the omission in any way he thinks
(2) In order that any such instrument when completed may be enforceable against any person who became a party thereto prior to its completion, it must be filled up within a reasonable time (e) and strictly in accordance with the authority (f) given. Reasonable time for this purpose is a question of fact (9).
g Provided that if any such instrument after completion is negotiated to a holder in due course it shall be valid and effectual for all purposes in his hands, and he may
enforce it as if it had been filled up within a reasonable time and strictly in accordance with the authority given (h).
(12) Where a person sent a bill to the defendant with a blank space for the drawer's name, and the defendant after accepting it returned the bill to the sender, who, before the bill became due, transferred it for value to the plaintiff, who inserted his own name as drawer, and sued the defendant, it was held that the plaintiff had authority to insert his own name as drawer and could recover, Harvey v. Cane, 34 L. T. N. S. 64. See also Scard v. Jackson, 34 L. T. N. S. 65. Again, where A., being member of a partnership consisting of several individuals, drew a bill in the partnership firm, and also indorsed it in the partnership firm, and gave it to a clerk to be filled up for the use of the partnership as the exigencies of business might require; after A.'s death and after the surviving partners had assumed a new firm, the clerk filled up the bill, inserting a date prior to A.'s death, and put it in circulation. It was held that the surviving partners were liable, Usher v. Dauncey, 4 Camp. 97. See also Carter v. White, 51 L. J. Ch. D. 465.
(6) An acceptance in blank was considered sufficient to charge the acceptor where the bill was afterwards drawn in pursuance of his authority, Leslie v. Hastings, 1 Moo. & Rob. 119. See also Molloy v. Delves, 4 C. & P.492; Schultz v. Astley, 2 Bing. N. C. 544; Ingham v. Primrose, 7 C. B. N. S. 82.
(c) Thus in Russel v. Langstaffe, 2 Doug. 514, it was held that an indorsement on a blank note or cheque will afterwards bind the indorser for any sum and time of payment which the person to whom he entrusts the note chooses to insert in it. See also Snaith v. Mingay, 1 M. & S. 87.
(d) Thus a bill made payable to the order of up by any bearer who can show that he came regularly to the possession of it, with his own name; Crutchley v. Mann, 5 Taunt. 529.
(e) So laid down in Montague v. Perkins, 22 L. J. U. P. 187, following Mulhall v. Neville, 8 Ex. 391; Temple v. Pullen, 22 L. J. Ex. 151; 8 Ex. 389, But the fact that the bill was not filled up within a reasonable time will not affect the rights of a bonâ fide holder, per Jervis, C.J., in Montague v. Perkins, supra.
In a recent case it was held that the drawer's name might be filled in in the blank space left for that purpose even after the acceptor's death; Curter v. White, 20 Ch. D. 225; 51 L. J. Ch. D. 465; 46 L. T. N. S. 236; 30 W. R. 466, following In re Duffy, 5 L. R. Ir. 92.
(f) In Armfield v. Armport, 27 L. J. Ex. 42, it was held that the authority given by a blank acceptance to fill it up for the amount which the stamp will cover, is not lost merely because the drawer by mistake antedates the instrument a whole year, even although it is
may be filled
S.S. 20, 21.
made payable some time after date, and if the period has in fact elapsed from the time of the completion of the instrument, an action may be maintained on it. And in a recent case it was held that a person to whom an acceptance, blank as to drawer's name, is delivered for value, can complete the bill by filling in his own name as drawer even after the acceptor's death; Carter v. White, supra. See also note (e) hereto. But where a partner fraudulently accepts in his firm's name a bill with the drawer's name blank and a holder for value, but not a bonâ fide holder for value, fills in his name as drawer, he cannot recover against the firm ; Hogarth v. Latham, 3 Q. B. D. 643; 39 L. T. N. 8. 75; 47 L. J. Q. B. D. 339; see also Awde v. Dixon, 6 Ex. 869. But see, Chemung Canal Bank v. Bradner, 44 New York Rep. 680, where, however, the holder was a bonâ fide holder, and was held entitled to recover. In a recent case it was held that a person who accepts a bill which has figures for the amount in the margin, but a blank in the body of it for such amount, holds out the person to whom it is entrusted as having authority to fill in the bill as he pleases within the limits of the stamp, and that no alteration of such marginal figures however fraudulent vitiates the bill as a bill for the full amount inserted in the body when in the hands of a bonâ fide holder for value without notice; Garrard v. Lewis, 10 Q. B. D. 30; 47 L. T. N. S. 408; 31 W. R. 475. The holder of a bill may convert a blank into a special indorsement, Clark v. Piggott, 1 Salk. 126; Hirschfield v. Smith, L. R. 1 C. P. at p. 853.
(9) So laid down in Temple v. Pullen, 8 Ex. 389; 22 L. J. Ex. 151 (per Pollock L. C. B.)
(h) So laid down by Stuart V.-C. in Halch v. Searles, 2 Sm. & G. 152. It has been held that when a bill is accepted in blank for the purpose of being negotiated, and is afterwards filled in with the name and signature of a person as drawer and indorser, the acceptor cannot as against a bonâ fide indorsee for value adduce evidence to show that either the drawing or indorsement is a forgery, London and South Western Bank v. Wentworth, 5 Ex. D. 96; 49 L. J. Q. B. D. 657. See also Putnam y. Sullivan. 4 Mass. 45; Nance v. Lary, 5 Alabama, 370.
21.-(1.) Every contract on a bill, whether it be the drawer's, the acceptor's (x), or an indorser's (y), is incom
plete and revocable, until delivery (ac) of the instrument Ini. Act, s. 46. in order to give effect thereto (w).
Provided that where an acceptance is written on a bill and the drawee gives notice to or according to the directions of the person entitled to the bill that he has accepted it, the acceptance then becomes complete and irrevocable (v).