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.
A rule sometimes laid down, though rarely observed, is that in case of conflict between two clauses that first in place is to control,1 at least if the first clause is in harmony with the rest of the contract.2 This rule has little to recommend, as a contract is entered into as an entirety and not word by word. It is used to justify meanings reached by the application of other principles of construction, and its practical value is slight. It is said that the rule that the first of two irreconcilable clauses shall prevail is "a rule of last resort to be applied only 'when all reasonable modes of reconciling the apparent repugnancy have failed."'3 This rule is also subordinate to the rule that the intention of the parties deduced from the entire instrument is to prevail over the apparent intention of the separate parts of the instrument.4 This rule will yield to a statutory provision to the effect that the written part of an instrument shall prevail over the printed part.5
23 Ireland v. Livingston , L. R. 5 R L. 395; Very v. Levy, 54 U. S. (13 How.) 345, 14 L. ed. 173; Winne v. Niagara Fire Ins. Co., 91 X. Y. 185; Maidment v. Frazier, 90 Vt. 520. OS Atl. 987.
24 See Sec. 2137 et seq.
25 See Sec. 2211 et seq.
26 See Sec. 223 et seq.
27 See Sec. 2065.
28 Dobbins v. Cragin, 50 N. J. Eq. 640, 23 Atl. 172; Newcomb v. Kloeblen, 77
X. J. L. 701, 39 L. R. A. (N.S.) 724, 74 Atl. 511.
29 Dobbins v. Cragin, 50 N. J. Eq. 640, 23 Atl. 172.
30 Crass v. Scruggs, 115 Ala. 258, 22 So. 81; Rouss v. Creglow, 103 la. 60, 72 N. W. 429; Peterson v. Modern Brotherhood, 125 Ia. 562, 67 L. R. A. 631, 101 X. \V. 289; Comptograph Co. v. Burroughs Adding Machine Co., 179 Ia. 83, 159 X. W. 465.
31 Crass v. Scruggs, 115 Ala. 258, 22 So. 81.