Lapas attēli

perform single or occasional acts does not make the disability partial.


FIDELITY INSURANCE. Of late years insurance of the fidelity and honesty of employees of large corporations and others has become an almost universal practice. The policy usually takes the form of a surety bond, but many of the general principles of insurance are applicable to it.

If any statements material to the risk, either in the original application or any renewal, are untrue the surety will be discharged. It has been held, however, that an official certificate made by a bank in view of the renewal of a cashier's bond, that his books and accounts had been examined and found correct was not a warranty of their correctness, and that if the statements were made in good faith and based on a careful examination of the books and accounts, the bank could recover although the cashier was in fact then a defaulter. But if it appears that the examination was conducted carelessly, and that if properly made it would have shown the true state of affairs the surety will be discharged.

As to precautions to be taken to prevent or detect future frauds, if the bond prescribes any specific measures they must be strictly complied with, but generally any statements on the subject in the application are considered only as representations of intention, and it is enough if they are followed substantially and in good faith.

In one case where the bond required that the surety should be notified if the employee was found to be speculating or gambling, failure to notify was held to avoid the bond, although the employee had promised not to speculate again; but in such cases the insured is only bound to report facts, and not mere suspicions. It is a common provision that the surety shall not be responsible for acts committed during the term of the bond but not discovered within six months after its expiration,

The surety is entitled to information of any important change in the duties of the employee increasing his responsibilty, as when a mere clerk is appointed cashier. In case of defalcation notice must be given to the insurer as soon as practicable, otherwise he will be discharged.





By the old law, no instrument was considered made until it was sealed; then it was thought to be done, and the word deed, which literally means only something done, was given to every written instrument to which a seal was affixed; and that is the legal meaning now. But the common meaning of the word is un instrument for the sale of lands; and it is of this that we would now treat.

By the statutes and usage of this country generally, no kinds can be transferred excepting by a deed, which is signed, sealed, acknowledged, delivered, and recorded. In some States seals are abolished.

We give annexed to this chapter an Abstract of the Laws of all the States relating to deeds and their requirements

What the deed should be, that is, in what words it should be expressed, we can best show by the forms appended to this chapter, and do not propose to say more about it than this. It is not safe to depart from forms, and established phrases, which have passed before the courts so often that their exact meaning is certainly known. There are things which seem to be and perhaps are vain repetitions; and for the usual words it may be thought that others of the same or better meaning may be sub. stituted. Such changes may be made perhaps, without detriment; but perhaps, also, with ruinous results; and it is not wise to run the risk.

It should be signed ; and this means, properly, that the seller or grantor should write his name in the usual way, in the proper place, and with ink. If the grantor cannot write his name, he may merely make his mark. It has been said that writing with a lead pencil is enough, but it would not be safe to trust to it. The name of the grantee should be distinctly

written in the proper place, in ink. Sometimes, in our large cities, an agent buys land for a principal who does not wish to be known, and the agent's name is inserted as grantee, in pencil, and the deed is so executed and acknowledged and delivered; and some time afterwards the agent rubs his name out, and writes the name of his principal, the actual buyer, instead. But this is a very unsafe and reprehensible practice, and the deed cannot be considered satisfactory.

The deed of a corporation must be signed by an agent or attorney, who should be careful to execute it in the manner indicated in some of the forms appended. In one case, in Massachusetts, where a deed was written throughout as the deed of a corporation, and their treasurer signed it thus: “In witness whereof, I, the said C C, in behalf of the said company, and as their treasurer, have hereunto set my hand and seal,it was held that this was the deed of the treasurer, and not the deed of the corporation, and did not transfer the lands. This is an extreme case, and the law might not always be applied with so much severity; but it is best not to incur any such risk. So, too, the rule that a person who is to be authorized to affix the seal of another should be authorized under the seal of the principal, is so general, that, although it has important excep tions, it should always be observed.

The seal is properly a piece of paper wafered on, or sealing wax pressed on. In the New England States generally, and in New York, nothing else satisfies the legal requirement of a seal. In the Southern and Western States generally, a scrawl, intended for a seal, usually made by writing the word "seal" within a square or diamond, is regarded in law as a seal. It there be but one seal on an instrument, and many parties, all of whom should seal it, this seal will be taken generally for the seal of each one; although, properly, each signer should put a seal against his own name.

The deed should be delivered. If a man makes a deed, and acknowledges it, and keeps it in his possession, and dies, the deed has no effect whatever ; no more than is the grantor had put it in the fire. Even where it was recorded, and then taken back by the grantir and kept by him, with words going to show

that the grantor did not wish the grantee to know of it, it was held not to have been delivered. But there are no especial words or form necessary for delivery. If the deed, in any way whatever, gets into the possession of the grantee, with the knowledge and consent of the grantor, it is a delivery.

The grantor may deliver it by his agent, and it may be delivered to the agent of the grantee, authorized by him to receive it. Moreover, the law permits a kind of conditional delivery. Thus, the grantor may deliver the deed to a third person, to be delivered by him to the grantee on a certain condition, or when a certain thing is done ; and when that condition is performed, or the thing is done, the deed belongs to the grantee, and takes effect in the same way as if it had been delivered to him personally. In legal language, the deed is said to be delivered to the third person, as an escrow.

So the grantor may put the deed in the hands of the third person, with directions to give it to the grantee after the death of the grantor, provided the grantor does not reclaim it in the mean time. Then the grantor can reclaim it whenever he will, which he cannot do after he has delivered it to the grantee, but if he does not reclaim it during his life, at his death it becomes the property of the grantee, and the law now considers that it was delivered to him when first delivered to that third party. So that deed is good even against creditors, provided that the grantor was perfectly solvent when he put the deed in tha hands of the third party, and acted altogether in good faith.

If a deed to a married woman be delivered either to her vi to her husband, it is sufficient.

As there must be delivery to the grantee, or to some one for him, so there must be assent and acceptance on his part. The law will help any evidence tending to show such assent, by presuming in favor of the grantee's assent if the deed be wholly and only favorable to him. But not if there is money to be paid by him, or anything important to be done if he accept the deed.

It is usual and proper that the execution of the deed should be attested by witnesses. In many of our States, two witnesses are required by statute. In New York, one is enough. In the

greater number, witnesses are not absolutely required by statutes, nor by strict law of any kind; but even there it is usual and safer to have them.

The witness should see the party sign; but if the deed is signed near him, and is immediately brought to him by the grantor, who tells him that is his signature, and asks him to witness, this would be sufficient in law.

It is desirable that witnesses, when called on to testify, should remember the signature, sealing, etc. ; but it is sufficient in law that they are certain of their handwriting, and can declare under oath that they should not have attested the execution and delivery if they had not seen it. If witnesses are dead, proof of their handwriting is sufficient; and if this cannot be offered, then proof of the handwriting of the grantor is enough. If witnesses attest the signing, sealing, and delivery, in the common form, proof of their handwriting, in case of their death or absence, is proof of the execution and delivery of the deed.

The witness should, properly, be of sufficient age and under standing, but may be a minor. He should have no interest in the deed.

Hence a wife is not a proper witness of a deed to her husband. But the courts, and especially a court of equity, would seldom permit a deed to be avoided through the incompeence of a witness, if there were no suspicion of wrong.

Generally a deed is valid as between the parties, although not acknowledged; but, to entitle it to be recorded, it must be acknowledged. For this purpose the grantor must go before a person qualified by law to receive acknowledgments, and exhibit the deed to him, and acknowledge it as his free act and deed; and the person receiving the acknowledgment then certifies that he has received this acknowledgment, under the proper date.

In general an acknowledgment may be made before anv justice of the peace, or notary public, or a commissioner appointed for the State in which the land to be conveyed is situated, if the deed is executed in another State, or any consul of the United States if the deed is executed in a foreign country. This acknowledgment must be made, or the deed cannot be recorded. And the deed is invalid, as notice, if the acknowledgment is defective, although it is actually recorded.

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