NOTARY or NOTARY PUBLIC. An officer appointed by the executive, or other appointing power, under the laws of different states.

2. Their duties are generally prescribed by such laws. The most usual of which are, l. To attest deeds, agreements and other instruments, in order to give them authenticity. 2. To protest notes, bills of exchange, and the like. 3. To certify copies of agreements and other instruments.

3. By act of congress, Sept. 16, 1850, Minot's Statutes at Large. U. S. 458, it is enacted, That, in all cases in which, under the laws of the United States, oaths, or affirmations, or acknowledgments may now be taken or made before any justice or justices of the peace of any state or territory, such oaths, affirmations, or acknowledgments may be hereafter also taken or made by or before any notary public duly appointed in any state or territory, aud, when certified under, the hand and official seal of such notary, shall have the name force and effect as if taken or made by or before such justice or justices of the peace. And all laws and parts of laws for punishing perjury, or subornation of perjury, committed in any such oaths or affirmations, when taken or made before any such justice of the peace, shall apply to any such offence committed in any oaths or affirmations which may be taken under this act before a notary public, or commissioner, as hereinafter named: Provided always, That on any trial for either of these offences, the seal and signature of the notary shall not be deemed sufficient in themselves to establish the official character of such notary, but the same shall be shown by other and proper evidence.

4. Notaries, are of very ancient origin they were well known among the Romans, and exist in every state of Europe, and particularly on the continent.

5. Their acts have long been respected by the custom of merchants and by the courts of all nations. 6 Toull. n. 211, note. Vide, generally, Chit. Bills, Index, h. t.; Chit. Pr. Index,, h. t.; Burn's Eccl. Law, h. t.; Bro. Off. of a Not. passim; 2 Har. & John. 396; 7 Verm. 22; 8 Wheat. 326; 6 S. & R. 484; 1 Mis. R. 434.