When a debtor owes money on several accounts and makes a payment of less than the total amount due from him, it becomes important to determine to which debt or to which item the payment is to be credited. This determination is called the application or the appropriation or sometimes the imputation of payments.
If the debtor specifies the application which is to be made of his payment, this direction must be followed.1 The credite assent is immaterial; if he takes the payment he must apply as directed.2 The debtor may direct the application to the principal of a debt, though interest is overdue;3 and to a part ticular debt though the application is in violation of a contrat previously made by him that the money should be otherwise applied.4 He may even direct the application of the payment to an illegal and unenforceable claim.5 It is not essential the the debtor's intent shall be manifested in express wore Here, as elsewhere in the law of contracts, a manifestation intent deduced from acts or from the circumstances of the case is as effective as if expressed in words;6 and the fact that or lBois v. Cranfield, Styles, 239; Anonymous, Cro. Eliz. 68; Manning v. Weeterne, 1 Vernon, 606, 607; Buchanan v. Findlay, 9 B. & C. 738; Waugh v. Wren, 9 Jur. (N. S.) 366; United States v. Kirkpatrick, 9 Wheat. 720, 6 L. Ed. 199; Lynn v. Bean, 141 Ala. 236, 37 So. 515; Atkinson v. Cox, 54 Ark. 444, 16 S. W. 124; Augusta Cooperage Co. v. Parham (Ark.), 213 S. W. 737; Petroutsa v. H. C. Schrader Co. (Fla.), 80 So. 486; Massengale v. Founds, 108 Ga. 762, 33 S. £. 72; Graff v. Fox, 204 111. App. 598; Robson v. McKoin, 18 La. Ann. 544; Treadwell v. Moore, 34 Me. 112; Hussey v. Manufacturers' Ac. Bank, 10 Pick. 415; Spinney v. Freeman, 230 Mass. 356, 119 N. E. 798; Lincoln v. Lincoln St. R. Co., 67 Neb. 469, 93 N. W. 766; Bean v. Brown, 54 N. H. 395; Herold v. Hill (N. Dak.), 169 N. W. 592; Patteraon v. Van Loon, 186 Pa. 367, 40 Atl. 495; Kann v. Kann, 259 Pa. 583, 103 Atl. 369; Pindall v. Bank of Marietta, 10 Leigh, 481; Simpson v. Combes (Wash.), 182 Pac. 566; Farr v. Weaver (W. Va.), 99 S. E. 395; Miles v. Ogden. 54 Wis. 573, 12 N. W. 81; Hassard v. Tomkins, 108 Wis. 186, 84 N. W. 174, The rule is applicable only to voluntary payments. The effect of payments made in judicial proceedings is not governed by the debtor's wishes.
Wetmore & Morse Granite Co. Ryle (Vt.), 107 Atl. 109.
2 The Memnon, 62 Fed. 482, 10 C. A. 502; Lynn v. Bean, 141 Alt 236, 37 So. 515; Hanson v. Cordano, 9. Cal. 441, 31 Pac. 457; Massengale Pounds, 108 Ga. 762, 33 S. E. 71 Mitchell v. Dall, 4 Gill & J. 36] Wetherell v. Joy, 40 Me. 325; Reed Boardman, 20 Pick. 441; Rosenbaui v. Meridian Nat. Bank, 73 Miss. 261 18 So. 549; Goodman v. Snow, 81 Hun 225, 30 N. Y. S. 672; Reid v. Wells 56 S. Car. 435, 34 S. E. 401, 939 Rugeley v. Smalley, 12 Tex. 238 Eylar v. Read, 60 Tex. 387. Thesitua tion is the same as that arising when debtor sends a check as full payment for an unliquidated or disputed account. The creditor if he accepts the check is bound by the terms of the debtor's offer. See infra, Sec.Sec. 1854 el seq.
3 Kann v. Kann, 259 Pa. 583, 163 Atl. 369; Pindall v. Bank of Marietta, 10 Leigh, 481.
4 Stewart v. Hopkins, 30 Ohio St. 502.
5 Rohan v. Hanson, 11 Cush. 44; Williamson v. New Jersey Southern R. Co., 28 N. J. Eq. 277.
6 Peters v. Anderson, 1 Marshall, 238; Newmarch v. Clay, 14 East, 239; Shaw v. Picton, 4 B. A C. 715; Nash application is obviously more advantageous to the debtor than another, may itself be some evidence (but not of itself sufficient) that the former was intended. If the debtor always directed the application of his payments there would be no occasion for rules of law peculiar to the subject - elementary principles of contractual law would suffice; but debtors frequently do not define their purpose in making a payment and as some disposition must be made of the credit, the law has devised rules which are more or less artificial that are applicable in the absence of an expression of intention by the debtor.