This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
If the statute requires the new promise or acknowledgment to be in writing and signed by the party to be charged therewith, a signature is sufficient if made by the debtor himself or by his authorized agent.1 Thus where the debtor dictated a letter to his stenographer, and it was typewritten by the latter, and signed by the latter with the name of the debtor by means of a rubber stamp, such acknowledgment was held to comply with the statute.2 A promise need not indicate the official character of the promisee. Thus a letter sent by the debtor to one of the two administrators of the estate of the creditor, not describing him by his official capacity, is sufficient.3 Letters signed by the debtor may be a sufficient acknowledgment or new promise.4 The assumption of a mortgage, and the agreement to pay the same made by the grantee of realty, is a sufficient new promise in writing to start the statute of limitations from running afresh.5 The acquiescence of a debtor in an account presented to him by his creditor is not a sufficient compliance with the statute requiring an acknowledgment to be in writing and signed by the party to be charged.6 Writing the acknowledgment upon a statement of the account furnished to the debtor,7 or acknowledging the liability in some form in a pleading filed in court,8 or acknowledging it by corporate action thereon, recognizing its validity, as where county commissioners,9 or a board of arbitration authorized by the constitution of a benefit society,10 recognize the liability as subsisting, has in each case been held sufficient. If the acknowledgment is made by a public corporation, however, the corporation is not bound unless the acknowledgment was made by its authorized agent. Thus where the secretary of a city published an annual statement of the official affairs of the city, and included therein certain bonds as valid obligations, such statement does not amount to an acknowledgment if the secretary was authorized not to bind the city by a new promise.11 Levying taxes to create a sinking fund to meet interest which is due is not an acknowledgment of the validity of the bond.12 If a town has no authority to vote money for bounties other than the original authority to the town to grant bounties, the vote of the town to pay a bounty claim to a drafted man which has been barred by limitations does not amount to an acknowledgment so as to waive the bar of the statute.13 So a default judgment in a foreclosure suit is not a compliance with the statute requiring the new promise to be in writing.14
13 Fayetteville, etc., Association v. Bowlin, 63 Ark. 573; 39 S. W. 1046.
14 Graham v. Stanton, 177 Mass. 321; 58 N. E. 1023; Devine v. Murphy, 168 Mass. 249; 46 N. E. 1066.
1 Liherman v. Gurensky, 27 Wash. 410; 67 Pac. 998.
2 In re Deep River National Bank, 73 Conn. 341; 47 Atl. 675.
3 Hill v. Hill. 51 S. C. 134; 28 S. E. 309.
4 Coneannon v. Smith, 134 Cal.
14; 66 Pac. 40; Miller v. Beardsley, 81 la. 720; 45 N. W. 756; Howard v. Windom, 86 Tex. 560; 26 S. W. 483.
5 Daniels v. Johnson, 129 Cal. 415; 79 Am. St. Rep. 123; 61 Pac. 1107.
6 Magarity v. Shipman, 93 Va. 64; 24 S. E. 466: Stiles v. Laurel Fork. etc.. Coal Co., 47 W. Va. 838; 35 S. E. 986; Moore v. Blackman, 109 Wis. 528; 85 N. W. 429.