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Act had followed the form of the Continental Codes, especially the French Commercial Code and the German Bills of Exchange Act; that is to say, they dealt primarily with bills of exchange, and then applied those provisions, so far as they were applicable, to promissory notes, adding provisions which were peculiar to the latter class of instruments. The draftsman of the American Act deemed this form unsuitable to American conditions, where the use of bills of exchange is not so extensive as it is in Europe, and where most of the cases relate to other kinds of negotiable instruments; and he adopted a form of his own, which grouped together the provisions applicable to all kinds of negotiable instruments, and then collected, under separate articles, the provisions specially affecting the different classes. * * * This departure from the Continental form, together with the introduction of many statements of the law based entirely upon the American cases, required a considerable divergence from the English Act, and perhaps the resemblance between the English and American statutes is not so great as between the English statute and the German Bills of Exchange Act." From this it will be obvious that uniformity can be secured only by a close attention to the language of the Act, and to the decisions thereunder; and that a resort to cases in which another statute was construed would be very much like adopting the practice which formerly obtained in will cases, when the courts were too much disposed to determine the meaning of one will by what had been decided with respect to another will. But it is equally obvious that if uniformity is to be had, the courts of each State must notice the decisions made in other States; and as will be seen by a reference to the cases cited on pages 3, 4
be had 3,18 equalle accided wit
and 5, the necessity for this has been generally recognized.
In the draft as originally prepared, and as submitted by the commissioners to the legislatures of the States, the act was divided into four titles as follows: 1. Negotiable Instruments in General; 2. Bills of Exchange; 3. Promissory Notes and Checks, and 4. General Provisions; and this arrangement has been preserved in many of the States. But in other States, as for example in New York, the titles were omitted, and this, of course, necessitated a renumbering of the articles. In some States, where the act has been carried into a revision of the statutes, the articles have been dispensed with. The sequence of the sections is the same in all of the States, except that in some States, as in New York, the general provisions have been placed at the beginning, while in most of the States these sections are put at the end. The section numbers vary greatly, but the number of any section as it is in any State, can be readily found by referring to the table of corresponding sections on page xiii. Under the heading “ variant readings " the changes made in the statute in the different States are indicated. These, it will be observed, are not important, except in the States of Illinois and Wisconsin.
JOHN J. CRAWFORD. 30 Broad Street, New York, December 1st, 1915.
PREFACE TO THIRD EDITION.
Since the second edition of this book was published in 1902, the Negotiable Instruments Law has been enacted in the following States, viz.: Alabama, Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, West Virginia and Wyoming. In all but one of these, the language of the Act is the same as that in the New York statute, except in a few minor and unimportant particulars. The Illinois statute, however, contains some provisions materially different. These consist mainly of proposed amendments submitted to the Commissioners on Uniformity of Laws at their annual meeting in 1900, but which the Commissioners, by a unanimous vote, after a full report from a committee appointed to consider the subject, rejected as undesirable. In the six years that have elapsed since the publication of the second edition, the statute has been applied or construed in more than two hundred cases. All of these are cited in the present edition. The number of the sections vary in the different States, and for convenience of reference a table of corresponding sections has been added.
JOHN J. CRAWFORD. 30 Broad Street, New York, June 10, 1908.