NEGOTIABLE PAPER, contracts. This term is applied to bills of exchange and promissory notes, which are assignable by indorsement or delivery.
2. The statute of 3 & 4 Anne (the principles of which have been generally adopted in this country, either formally, or in effect,) made promissory notes payable to a person, or to his order, or bearer, negotiable like inland bills, according to the custom of merchants.
3. This negotiable quality transfers the debt from the party to whom it was originally owing, to the holder, when the instrument is properly indorsed, so as to enable the latter to sue in his own name, both the maker of a promissory note, or the acceptor of a bill of exchange, and the other parties to such instruments, such as the drawer of a bill, and the indorser of a bill or note, unless the holder has been guilty of laches in giving the required notice of non-acceptance or non-payment. But in order to make paper negotiable, it is essential that it be payable in money only, at all events, and not out of a particular fund. 1 Cowen, 691; 6 Cowen, 108; 2 Whart. 233; 1 Bibb, 490, 503; 1 Ham. 272; 3 J. J. Marsh, 174, 542; 3 Halst. 262; 4 Blackf. 47; 6 J. J. Marsh, 170; 4 Mont. 124. See 1 W. C. C. R. 512; 1 Miles, 294; 6 Munf. 3; 10 S. & R. 94; 4 Watts, 400; 4 Whart. R. 252; 9 John. 120; 19 John. 144; 11 Verm. 268; 21 Pick. 140. Vide Promissory note. Vide 3 Kent. Com. Lecture 44; Com. Dig. Merchant, F 15, 16; 2 Hill, R. 59; 13 East, 509; 3 B. & C. 47; 7 Bing. 284; 5 T. R. 683; 7 Taunt. 265, 278; 3 Burr. 1516 6 Cowen, 151.
4. To render a bill or note negotiable, it must be payable to order, or to bearer. When it is payable " to A B only," it cannot be negotiated so as to give the indorsee a claim against any one but his indorser. Dougl. 615. An indorsement to A B, without adding " or order," is not restrictive to A B alone, he may, therefore, assign it to another; Str. 557; or he may indorse it in blank, when any attempt, afterwards, to restrain its negotiability will be unavailing. Esp. N. P. Cas. 180; 1 Bl. Rep. 295. Vide Blank Indorsement; Indorsment.