As the purpose of the statute is to require a formality of proof in order to make a contract enforceable, not to impose a wholly independent of everything but the will of the contracting parties, leaves the amount of the expression much less determinate; and, although an intention must fail of effect which has no corresponding expression of any land in the document, yet tin interpreter must resort very much to the inferred will of the parties themselves for a criterion of sufficiency of expression, which thus becomes almost wholly merged in the general inquiry after the probably intention,- meaning as I do, by intention, wherever it occurs in this paper, not a mere inchoate act of the mind, that which a person intended to do, but took no step toward doing, but something which as a mental act was complete, and which the writer endeavored to express by the words he made use of, although those words in fact express his meaning more or less imperfectly. In the interpretation of writings where the latitude allowed to the interpreter is considerable, and particularly where direct evidence of intention not contained in the writing is admitted, the question of what is a sufficient written expression becomes evidently of great practical importance. If a perfectly definite intent can be collected by the aid only of collateral evidence of it, coupled with the meaning of the words, it is probable that the latter element, that of the meaning of the words, bears a sufficiently great proportion to the former, to assure the interpreter that the words will bear the meaning and express it sufficiently. But this security does not exist where parol declarations of intention, for example, are admissible. The undoubted fact that no general definition of what is in such cases a sufficient expression can be fixed upon beforehand is made use of by Sir James Wigram as a constant argument against admitting evidence of intention generally. 'Once admit,' says he (p. 128), 'that the person or thing intended by the testator need not be adequately described in the will, and it is impossible to stop short of the conclusion that a mere mark will in every case supply the place of a proper description.' Surely then is no impossibility such as here contended. It is reasonable to say that if a testator, for instance, describee a person by his surname and Christain name, that is a sufficient description to satisfy the letter of the law, though it may in fact be insufficient completely to identify the person intended. If, on the other hand, a testator should say, 'I give so and so to my son,' when he has nine sons, it would probably be right to decide that such a description was not a sufficient one, since it was one which the writer must have known or ought to have known, would prove ambiguous, and to allow of an addition to which by parol testimony would be to offer a great temptation to perjury. It is evident that a line must be drawn somewhere, and when necessary it will doubtless be drawn in practice; but as yet the boundary of testamentary interpretation on this side is somewhat imperfect, and there is no rule forbidding the introduction of parol testimony of intention to fill up even such a manifestly inadequate description as that I have last supposed. Many questions on the sufficiency of expression arise upon the interpretation of informal writings, as, for instance, contracts; what part of a contract re-quired by law to be in writing need bo expressed in the writing; how far usages and customs of trade may be imported, and the like. In fact all the most difnew rule of law as to what constitutes a valid contract, it is immaterial with what purpose the requirement of the statute is fulfilled. In this connection, however, it is especially imficult problems of interpretation arise upon the limits of it, upon the extent to which the meaning of words may be modified by other signs of the intent; upon the contest in short, as it is often termed, between the letter and the spirit. Into the principles which questions of this nature involve, I will not at present enter more minutely; they will suggest themselves in relation to the different classes of legal writings to any one who clearly appreciates the real nature of the process of what I have called inferential interpretation, a process in reality simple, and which, like reasoning, is practiced correctly every day by persons who have never considered what it is they do, when they perform it, but which can never be understood so long as it is confounded with the mere grammar and dictionary operation of ascertaining the meaning of words. One consideration, however, I will not pass over: I mean the great differences which exist in the measure of interpretation as applied under different judicial systems and by different judicial minds, and the consequent necessity for accumulating a certain mass of decisions, in order to supply a uniform standard, and to fix the nearest approach to absolute correctness by striking an average of opinions through a long series of years. It is sometimes said, in relation particularly to testamentary interpretation, that authorities can be of no service, that to quote cases is to construe one man's nonsense by another man's nonsense, and that all a judge has to do is to read the writing and endeavor to make out from it the meaning of the testator. Now, if interpretation were, like the determination of the meaning of words whoso signification is fixed, something that can be done with absolute certainty, in which one man would coma to the same conclusion as another, and which is, so to speak, the same all the world over, the study of previous authorities might indeed be unnecessary. But, in truth, it would be as reasonable to say that no authorities were to be consulted on a question of equity; that a judge ought to act upon his own notions of what was equitable; and that as circumstances are infinitely various, one case could never show what it was right to do in another. Experience shows that the limits of interpretation will be fixed at very different points by different persons; and there is perhaps no legal subject which brings out peculiarities of individual bias and disposition more strongly than difficult problems of construction. By the combined result of the decisions of a succession of judges, each bringing his mind to bear on the views of those who preceded him, a system of interpretation is built up, which is likely to secure a much nearer approach to perfect justice than if each interpreter were left to set up his own standard of how far it was right to go in supplying the defective expression, or of what amounted to a conviction of the intent as distinguished from mere speculative conjecture. Rides of construction are matters, the expediency of which may be more doubtful; but that principles of construction there must be in every system of rational interpretation, and that these are only to be gathered by a comparison of a large number of important cases, and by striking the average of a large number of individual minds, will not, I think, be denied by any one who considers interpretation to be, as I have described it, a process of reasoning from probabilities, a procportant to distinguish decisions under statutes which require the "contract" to be in writing.8 Such statutes can hardly be satisfied unless the writing was made by the parties as the expression of the contract, but the requirement of a "note or memorandum " is satisfied by a letter in which, the writer after stating the bargain, repudiates it,9 or refuses to enter into a written contract.10 So a letter written by the party to be charged to his own agent, or any other third person, is enough if it contains the terms of the bargain.11 It should follow that a docuces of remedying, by a sort of equitable jurisdiction, the imperfections of human language and powers of using language, a process whose limits are necessarily indefinite and yet continually requiring to be practically determined,-and not, as it is not, a mere operation requiring the use of grammars and dictionaries, a mere inquiry into the meaning of words."