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alteration in a material part of any instrument or agreement, avoids it because it thereby ceases to be the same instrument." Of course, it is not every small alteration in an instrument which will prevent it being the same. It must be a material alteration, so that the party defending himself may be able to say that it is not the same instrument as that which he executed or to which he put his hand. Then what was said by Dallas, L.C,J., in Sanderson v. Symonds (1), was this : “The original rule was not intended so much to guard against fraud as to insure the identity of the instrument and prevent the substitution of another without the privity of the party concerned.” Not to prevent an alteration which would make a different contract, but to insure the instru« ment being in substance the same, and to prevent the parties substituting that which was not the same but a different instrument. The judgment of Richardson J. (2), is somewhat more ambiguous, because he says “the ground on which the cases have turned is that the alteration has varied the identity of the contract,” using that ambiguous word “contract,” which may either mean the instrument containing the contract or the contract contained in the instrument. Then there is the case of Knill v. Williams (3), where the only alteration in the promissory note was the addition to “ value received ” of the words “ for the goodwill of the lease and trade of Mr. F. Knill." It was argued by Mr. Harrison, when I called his attention to that case, that the alteration there was an alteration of the contract, and therefore came within the principle for which he was contending. But when one looks at the judgments of Lord Ellenborough and Grose and Bayley, JJ., that is not the ground of their decision. Lord Ellenborough says, by way of illustration, “If a bond, for example, were conditioned for the payment of money generally, could it afterwards be introduced by way of recital that the money had been advanced out of a particular fund which might afterwards be made use of for other purposes ?” Clearly shewing, that the principle of his decision was that the alteration must be such an alteration of the instrument as would make it substantially different, and which although it would not affect the contract, would affect the rights of the parties in other matters. Then he says, “ The effect of the altertion is to narrow the value from value received in general to the value expressed ; which I cannot say is not a material alteration; Then what Grose, J., says, is this : “ The question is, whether the alteration introduced made it a different note. If it be material, it is a different note ; and it certainly is material, for it points out the goodwill and trade of F. Knill as the particular consideration
(1) 1 B. & B. 426, at p. 430.
(2) 1 B. & B. at p. 432. (3) 10 East, 431.
for the note, and puts the holder upon inquiring whether that consideration had passed.” Bayley, J., says: “The case of Master V. Miller (1) decided that an alteration in a material part of a bill after it has issued makes a new stamp necessary, and this was a material alteration, for it was evidence of a fact which, if necessary to be inquired into, must otherwise have been proved by different evidence." So that even if it could be said that that was an alteration in a particular contract in that case, that is not the ground on which the judges put their decision.
Then there is the case of Simmonds v. Taylor (2) as to a crossed cheque. There the Exchequer Chamber decided that the erasing of the crossing did not vitiate the cheque. That decision was on the ground that the erasing was not a material alteration even if the crossing was part of the cheque, but that it was not part of the cheque but a mere superadded direction to the banker, and did not come within the statute of 19 & 20 Vict. c. 25. The erasing the crossing did not avoid the instrument as it was no alteration of the instrument but only a removal of a superadded direction; that decision, therefore, cannot in my opinion assist the plaintiff. No doubt there is a long string of cases which do as a rule deal with the question whether the contract contained in the instrument has been altered or not, as the test by which to decide whether the alteration be a material one within the rule in Pigot's Case (3), and the plaintiff did, as he was entitled to do, rely on that most strongly; but the question whether an alteration of an instrument is a material one must, in my opinion, depend upon the nature of the instrument and the uses to which it is to be put, and, although in these cases, the proper test may have been whether the contract contained was altered or not, it by no means follows, unless it has been so laid down, that the rule is that the alteration in the contract is essential and that no other alteration will do. In my opinion that conclusion would be incorrect. The question here is whether the alteration, although not an alteration of the contract, is nevertheless an alteration of the instrument in a material way. Having regard to the nature of the instrument and the purpose for which it is used, one cannot see why one is to confine the alteration which has been laid down in general terms as a material alteration in the two cases to which I have referred, Pigot's Case (3) and Master v. Miller (1), to an alteration of the contract. In my opinion it is not a question of the alteration of the contract, but a question of the alteration of the instrument in a material way. Now, in this case we have a well
(1.) 4 T. R. 320; 1 Sm. L. C. 8th ed. p. 857.
(2) 4 0. B. (N.S.) 463; 27 L. J. (C. P.) 248.
(3) 11 Rep. 26.
known thing, viz., a Bank of England note, which is under an Act of Parliament part of the circulating medium of the country, and as regards the issue of which the Bank of England is subject to restrictions in its operation. What has been done is this, certain numbers which are always stamped on the notes of the Bank of England before they are issued have been altered by a holder; undoubtedly intentionally and for a particular purpose. Now can it be said that such numbers are not an essential part of the note ? They have been recognised as essential for years, so that no one would take a Bank of England noto if such numbers were not upon it. The numbers, with the date, enable the Bank of England and the public to identify the notes. Persons wishing to protect themselves as far as they can against the loss of Bank of England notes make a memorandum of the date and numbers, and in case of loss they give notice to the bank of the numbers of the notes which have been lost, and the bank then stops them and endeavours to prevent their circulation by sending round notice of the numbers of the notes stopped to persons likely to take them, The numbers are therefore essential for this purpose and also for the protection of the bank against forgery, because it enables it to see whether it has issued a note of that date and number which is presented to it for payment. By these numbers the bank can know what notes are still in circulation, because when they come in they are not issued again. Therefore, the existence of the numbers on the uotes affords both to the bank and the public a most material protection. Having regard, then, to the nature of the instrument and to the purpose for which these numbers are used and are put on the note, I am of opinion that they must be considered as an essential part of the note, and that by altering them the person who did it has made a material alteration of the instrument within the rule laid down by the cases to which I have referred, and therefore that the defence of the Bank of England in this case must prevail.
Judgment reversed. Solicitor for plaintiff : H. J. Comyns, agent for J. Rand Bailey. Solicitors for defendants : Freshfields & Williams.
35,078 35,203 35,176 35,344
BANK OF ENGLAND.
BANKING DEPARTMENT :
Gold and silver coin
44,736 43,701 43,012 43,540
Notes in the hands of the public
Nov. 3. Nov. 16. Nov. 23.
25-23 | 25.223
RATES OF EXCHANGE ON
(par 25f. 224c.)..
(par 20 m. 43 pf.).
18.73 d. 13. 74d. 13.75d. 1s. 711d.
1882. Nov. 2.
1882. Nov. 9.
1892. 1882, Nov. 16. Nov. 23.
1881. Nov. 24.
£ 15,700 15,129 14,964 13,805 19,287 14,591 16,150 14,562 15,137 18,116 112,021 | 110,110 111,173 110,737 109,923 12,780 12,733 12,806 12,939 12,497
155,092 | 154,152 153,505 | 152,618 159,823
38,866 44,627 42,612 16,833 12,124
38,987 41,523 41,858 16,955 11,829
38,948 38,743 44,354 43,971 41,614 41,577 16,927 16,786 11,662 11,541
25,369 47,019 56,432 18,674 12,329
155,092 154,152 153,505 152,618 159,823
In £'s sterling. 000 omitted thus :£1,000 = £1,000,000,
For the weeks
BANK OF FRANCE.
Public deposits .
Rate of discount
Nov. 7. Nov. 15. Nov. 23.
IMPERIAL BANK OF
GERMANY (Converting the reich-mark at 20 to
the £.) LIABILITIES.
Notes in circulation.....
Coin and bullion
£ 40,724 7,257 6,903
£ 39,570 7,137 6,909
+ 36,844 7,755 6,838
26,451 20,900 4,685 51%
Nov. 15. Nov. 22.
£ 144,971 | 102,380 138,159 111,530 104,540 40s. 3d. 408. 11d. 408. 11d. 40s. 8d. 458. 4d.
102 1021 102 102 1001 51gd. 511d. 514d. 513d. 511d. 80.15 80.65 79.85 80-15