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THE LAW OF
BILLS OF EXCHANGE,
PROMISSORY-NOTES, BANK NOTES,
BANKERS NOTES, AND CHECKS ON BANKERS,
A SUMMARY OF ENGLISH DECISIONS APPLICABLE TO
THE LAW OF SCOTLAND.
By ROBERT THOMSON, Esq.
PRINTED FOR BELL & BRADFUTE, EDINBURGH;
AND BUTTERWORTH & SON, LONDON.
GEORGE CRANSTOUN, Esq.
DEAN OF THE FACULTY OF ADVOCATES.
It would not be agreeable to you were I fully to express those feelings of high respect which prompted me to request, that I might be permitted to dedicate the following Treatise to you. But the unanimous suffrage of your brethren, in raising you to the office which you now hold, confirmed by the opinion of the public, emboldens me to say, that no name can be more appropriate to a work which professes to discuss an important branch of commercial law, than that of one, who, to his other distinguished endowments as a lawyer, has always united a rare felicity in tracing the development of those great principles of justice, on which commer·cial law peculiarly depends.
In a Practical Treatise on Bills of Exchange and Promissory-notes, it is unnecessary to enter minutely into their history, more especially as this matter is involved in great obscurity. The leading principle of bills appears to have been in some instances faintly perceived by the ancients; but the discovery of those uses which alone raised them to the rank of an invention was reserved for modern times. At what precise period these documents, in their modern acceptation, were first introduced, is altogether uncertain. But, in all those nations among whom bills, whether foreign or inland, and promissory-notes, have come into complete effect, their progress has followed, with wonderful exactness, the course of commerce. In most countries, foreign commerce has taken the lead, probably from one cause among many others, that a nation, before its capital has accumulated, finds it more advantageous to purchase comforts and luxuries from nations farther advanced, in exchange for its own rude produce, than to engage prematurely in manufactures. But those who, from the course of their dealings, owed money in a foreign country, would naturally wish to save the risk and expense of transmitting it in specie, by paying its amount to any person in their own place of residence