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the public records, extending over a number of years and showing the source and character of the title of the grantor or mortgagor to the property. For further protection deeds and mortgages are usually recorded, that is, copied in full in the office of the County Clerk or Registrar of Deeds of the county where the property is situated. If not so recorded, the grantee or mortgagee is liable to lose the interest granted to him, for it is a rule of law that if there be two or more deeds or mortgages upon the same property, the one first recorded takes preference over all the others without regard to its date.
Chattel Mortgages.-A chattel mortgage is a mortgage upon personal property, given as security for the payment of an indebtedness. This does not have to bo recorded, but for protection it is usual to file, that is, deposit a copy in the office of the Clerk of the Town where the property is.
Other Written Contracts.-Contracts in writing, not required to be under seal, are: (a) Contracts to sell any interest in lands; (b) contracts for services that cannot be performed within a year; (c) contracts for the purchase and sale of personal property exceeding in value a certain amount, usually fifty dollars; (d) contracts to be responsible for the debt of another. The last is known as guaranty, and the person making such guaranty is called a guarantor.
Sale.-A contract of sale is one by which tho ownership of personal property is transferred to another for a money consideration. The person making the sale is called the vendor; the purchaser, the vendee. Among the rules governing sales are the following: (a) If the goods are
sold by sample, they must be as good as the sample; (b) if the goods are ordered for a particular purpose, known to the vendor, they must be suited to the pur pose; and (c) in the sale of foods they must be whole
Bailment.-A contract of bailment is one by which the possession of personal property is transferred from one person, called the bailor, to another, called the bailee, for some purpose, to be returned when the purpose is accomplished. The most important bailment is called locatio, and is the delivery of an article to the bailee for his use upon compensation to the bailor; or for the performance of labor upon an article by the bailee upon compensation from the bailor. The hiring of horses, the repairing of a watch by a watchmaker, the transportation of goods by railroad companies and the care of property by innkeepers are instances of locatio.
Agency. A contract of agency is one by which a person appoints another to act for him in some business transaction. The person making the appointment is called the principal; the person appointed, the agent. Agents are of two kinds-general, who perform all the business of the principal at a particular place; and special, who are employed for some particular purpose. Among the rules governing agency, the most important one is that any contract or act of the agent within the line of his employment is binding upon the principal.
Partnership. A contract of partnership is one by which two or more persons unite their labor or property or both in some business in which they agree to share the losses and divide the profits. In this relation the partners own
in common all the property, and each partner is the agent of the partnership. For the debts of the partnership, not only the common property, but the individual property of the partners is liable after the partnership property is exhausted.
Corporations.-A corporation is a body of individuals created by law under a special name, with the power of acting as a single individual. Corporations are either public, as a city or county, or private, as those organized for religious, charitable, social, manufacturing and business purposes. Their usual powers, derived from general laws or a special act, called a charter, are to sue and be sued; to purchase and own lands and chattels; to make by-laws for their government; to remove members and elect others in their place or in place of those who may die. Besides these, exceptional privileges, such as to erect telephone poles or lay pipes, are sometimes given to a corporation. This is called a franchise. The capital of a manufacturing or business corporation is divided into shares of stock, and those who own the shares are called members or stockholders. The stockholders elect some of their number directors or trustees, to carry on the affairs of the corporation, and these, as a board, choose its officers. The liability of stockholders, directors and officers for the debts of a corporation are fixed by statute.
Insurance. A contract of insurance is one by which a person or corporation, in return for certain compensation, known as premium, undertakes to indemnify another against loss or injury. Fire and marine insurance cover losses sustained by fire or the mishaps of shipping. Life insurance is a contract by which the insurer agrees to
pay a certain sum to the insured after the expiration of a fixed time, or to his representatives at his death. The contract of insurance is contained in an instrument called a policy, which also contains a description and facts relative to the insured person or property, known as the risk, and any misrepresentations on the part of the insured at the time of making the contract will release the insurer from liability.
Indorsement.-A contract of indorsement is one by which a person agrees that he will pay the amount of a negotiable paper to its holder when due, if the maker does not. Indorsement consists in the writing by a person of his name across the back of the instrument. Negotiable paper consists of promissory notes, bills of exchange, checks, etc., when they are payable to some person or "bearer" or "order." A promissory note is a promise in writing to pay a certain sum of money at a certain time. The party signing the note is the maker; the person to whom it is payable, the payee. A bill of exchange, also called a draft, is an order in writing by one person upon another to pay a certain sum of money to a third person either upon presentation or at some time after date of presentation. The person upon whom such order is made is not liable therefor until he accepts it-that is, promises in writing upon its face to pay it. He is then called an acceptor, and becomes the principal debtor. A check is a written order upon a bank to pay to a person named a sum of money and charge the same to the account of the person making the check. To fix an indorser's liability the negotiable paper must be presented for payment, at the time it becomes due, at the
place where it is payable. If payment is refused, the instrument is protested—that is, non-payment is certified— usually by a notary public, and notice of this fact must be given at once to the indorser.
Liens.-A lien is the right of a person to retain possession of the property of another until certain demands are satisfied. Among those entitled to this right are innkeepers and railroad companies for their services upon the property which they have cared for or carried. They may sell the property and apply the proceeds to the payment of the claims. Mechanic's liens are those held by contractors, mechanics and others who furnish labor and materials for buildings. They are governed by statute, and can only be enforced by legal proceedings similar to the foreclosure of a mortgage.
Remedies for Violation of Contracts.-If there is a violation of a contract, the injured party has a remedy by legal action by which he can compel the performance of the contract or can recover money damages for the injury he has sustained.
Wills and Testaments.-A last will and testament is an instrument, usually required to be in writing, by which a person disposes of his property, to take effect after his death. Only persons of full age and mental capacity can make wills of real property, but in some States certain minors can so dispose of their personal property. (A person dying without a last will and testament is said to die intestate.) It is necessary that the instrument be signed by the maker, called the testator, who in most States must acknowledge such act, with the statement that it is his last will and testament, in the presence of two or