Since, as has been seen, the mere fact that several persons binding themselves without words of severance creates a joint liability, it follows that in order to create in addition a several liability there must also be words by which each obligor binds himself separately as "we and each of us promise,"42 or at least an intention manifested in some way that the obligation shall be joint and several.43 In one instance, by a special rule of construction, words have been held to amount to a joint and several promise, though not so in express terms. This is where a promise is expressed in the singular but is signed by several persons, as "I promise to pay," signed by A. B. and C.44 By Statute in California,45 it is provided that where all the parties who unite in a promise receive some benefit from the consideration, their promise is presumed to be joint and several.46 And in many other States all obligations, which at common law would be joint, by Statute create joint and several liabilities,47 or create liabilities presumptively joint and several in the absence of something to show a contrary intention.48 By the Uniform Negotiable Instruments Law 49 the obligations of joint payees or joint indorsees who indorse, are joint and several. If a number of persons are bound jointly and severally, the obligee must either sue them all jointly, according to the rules governing joint liabilities, or sue any one or more of them separately; he cannot join any number less than the whole.50

40 Virginia Coal Co. c. Virginia-Life Co., 113 Va. 395, 74 S. E. 177.

41Buster v. Fletcher, 22 Ida. 172, 126 Pac. 226; Gibbons v. Rente, 51 Minn. 499, 53 N. W. 756, 22 L. R. A. 80; Krbel v. Krbel, 84 Neb. 60, 120 N. W. 935. See also People v. Hartley, 21 Cal 685, 82 Am. Dec. 768, and supra, Sec.320.

42 "It two, three, or more bind themselves in an obligation thus, obligamus nos, and say no more, the obligation is and shall be taken to be joint only, and not several." Shep. Touch. 376. See also Reee v. Abbott, Cowp. 832; People v. Love, 26 Cal. 520; Jernigan v. Wimberly, 1 Ga. 220; Savannah etc. Trust Co. v. Purvis, 6 Ga. App. 275, 65 S. E. 35; Pogue v. Clark, 26 111. 333; Harvey v. Irvine, 11 Ia. 82; Bank of Louisiana v. Sterling, 2 La. 60, 62; Mayor of New Orleans v. Ripley, 5 La. 120, 122, 25 Am. Dec. 175; Meyer v. Estes, 164 Mass, 457, 41 N. E. 683, 32 L. R. A. 283; Morrison v. American

Surety Co., 224 Pa. 41, 73 Atl. 10. But see contra, Morange v. Mudge, 9 Abb. Prac. 243.

43 Virginia Coal Co. v. Virginia-Lee Co., 113 Va. 395, 74 S. E. 177.

44March v. Ward, Peake's Cases 130; Scheied v. Leibshults, 51 Ind. 38; Bank of Louisiana v. Sterling, 2 La. 60, 62; Mayor of New Orleans v. Ripley, 5 La. 120, 122, 25 Am. Dec. 175; Hemmenway v. Stone, 7 Mass. 58, 5 Am. Deo. 28; Van Alyatync v. Van Slyck, 10 Barb. 383; Dill v White, 62 Wis. 456, 9 N. W. 404. This is so provided as to bills and notes by the Negotiable Instruments Law, Sec. 17 (7), infra, { 1143, which has been passed in nearly all of the United States. Cf. Brown v. Fitch, 4 Vroom, 418.

45Civ. Code, Sec. 1659- See also Smith v. Woodward, 51 Colo. 311, 117 Pac. 140; Rutherford v. Holbert, 42 Okl. 736, 142 Pac, 1099, L. R. A. 1915 B221.

Sec. 325. When obligees are entitled jointly and when severally. As has been seen 51 obligees, as a matter of law, cannot be entitled jointly and severally. It is necessary, therefore, to determine where there are several obligees whether their rights are joint or whether they are several. An important matter to observe here is whether the interests of the obligees are separate or whether they have between them but a single interest. It was at one time supposed that this test was so absolute that no words however express could justify construing the rights of obligees as separate if their interests were single or vice versa. But it is now well established that the rule is one of construction and creates merely a presumption, and that it is impossible to say that parties may not, if they please, use joint words so as to express a joint covenant, though their interests are several, but, "if there be words capable of two constructions, we must look to the interest of the parties which they intend to protect, and construe the words according to that interest. "52

46Gummer v. Mairs, 140 Cal. 535, 74 Pac. 26; Bell v. Adams, 150 Cal. 772, 90 Pac 118.

47 Cole v. Harvey, 142 Ia. 574, 120 N. W. 97; Knapp v. Hanley, 153 Mo. App. 169, 132 S. W. 747.

48McMaster v. City Nat. Bank, 23 Old. 550, 101 Pac. 1103.

49Sec. 68, infra, Sec. 1163.

50Roll. Abr. 148; Streatfield v. Hatti-day, 3 T. R. 779, 782; Chicago & A. Ry. Co. v. New York etc R. Co., 24

Fed. 516, 517; Stevens v. Catlin, 152 111. 56, 58, 37 N. E. 1023.

51 Infra, Sec. 321.

52Keightley v. Watson, 3 Exch. 716, per Parke, B. See also James v. Emery, 5 Price, 529, 533; Sorsbie v. Park, 12 M. & W. 146, 156; Bradburne v. Bot-field, 14 M. & W. 559; Farni v. Tes-son, 1 Black, 309; Beckwith v. Talbot, 95 U. S. 289, 24 L. Ed. 496; Atlanta etc. Ry. Co. v. Thomas, 60 Fla. 412, 53 So. 510; International Hotel Co. v.

This rule is not always very easy to apply, though its validity must be regarded as established. As a further aid to construction, it has also been said that where the consideration furnished by obligees is several, their interests may prima facie be regarded as several and not joint, if other features of the contract do not clearly conflict with this construction.53

A covenant by several continuing directors to indemnify several retiring directors was held to give a several right to each of the latter.54 So a covenant to carry stock for several persons "pro rata according to their respective interests" in a corporation, was held to create several rights.55 So a covenant in a deed, reciting the grant by another of two annuities to A and B respectively, and covenanting with A and B that the annuities should be paid by the covenantor, in case of the grantor's failure to pay them, was held to create several rights in A and B against the covenantor.56 So a covenant guaranteeing two creditors payment of their claims against one who owed each of them, though there were no words of severance in the covenant, was held to give each covenantee a several right.17 On the other hand, a covenant to coowners of property in regard to the property, is a covenant to them jointly, whether they are joint tenants,58 or tenants in common.59