§ 1198. A check is a written order or request, addressed to a bank, or to persons carrying on the business of bankers, by a party having money in their hands, and requesting them to pay, on presentment, to another person, or to him or bearer, or to him or order, a certain sum of money specified in the instrument.6
1 Bosanquet v. Dudman, 1 Stark. 1; Ex parte Bloxham, 8 Ves. 531; Spering's Appeal, 10 Barr, 235.
2 Story on Promissory Notes, § 195.
3 Farmers' National Bank v. Noxon, 45 N. Y. 762 (1871).
4 Paton v. Coit, 5 Mich. 505; Arbouin v. Anderson, 1 Q. B. 498, 504; Judson v. Holmes, 9 La. An. 20; Pettee v. Prout, 3 Gray, 502; Way v. Richardson, Ib. 412; Story on Promissory Notes, § 196.
5 Whittaker v. Edmunds, 1 Mood. & R. 366; Mills v. Barber, 1M.& W. 425; Low v. Chifney, 1 Bing. N. C. 267; Smith v. Braine, 16 Q. B. 244, 253; Fletcher v. Gushee, 32 Me. 587; Knight v. Pugh, 4 W. & S. 445; Ellicott v. Martin, 6 Md. 509; Wilson v. Lazier, 11 Gratt. 477.
6 Story on Promissory Notes, § 487.
§ 1199. Like bills of exchange and promissory notes, checks, when drawn payable to order or to bearer, are negotiable, and may be indorsed so as to make the party liable as indorser;1 though the same degree of diligence seems not to be required to charge the indorser of a check as the indorser of a bill or note, unless he has been prejudiced by the delay of the holder.2
§ 1200. The circumstances in which checks differ principally from bills of exchange are, first, that they are drawn on a bank or banker, and are payable immediately on presentment, without grace; secondly, that they require no acceptance as distinct from prompt payment; and, thirdly, that they are always supposed to be drawn upon a previous deposit of funds, and are an absolute appropriation of so much money in the hands of the bank or bankers to the holder of the check, to remain there until called for, which cannot therefore be afterwards withdrawn by the drawer.3
§1201. Another difference is that the drawer of a check is treated in some sort as the principal debtor, and he is not discharged by any laches of the holder in not making due presentment, or in giving notice of dishonor, unless he has suffered loss thereby, and then only pro tanto.4 The holder is simply bound to make presentment and give notice within a reasonable time;5 and if the checks be drawn without funds provided to meet it, no presentment or notice is necessary.6
§ 1202. The "reasonable time " of the rule requires the holder, when he resides in the same place with the drawer from whom he receives the check, to present it for payment on the same or the next secular day, before the close of business hours.1 Where the holder receives the cheek from the drawer in a place distant from the place of payment, it will be sufficient for him to forward it by the post to some person at the latter place on the next secular day after he received it; and the person to whom it is sent will not be bound to present it for payment until the day after it has reached him by the course of the post.2 But even in this case, if no injury be done to the drawer by delay beyond the time mentioned, he will still be liable.8
1 Keene v. Beard, 8 C. B. (n. s.) 372. 2 Ibid.
3 Story on Promissory Notes, § 489; Morrison v. Bailey, 5 Ohio St. 13. Whether the holder of a check drawn upon funds can sue in his own name for a refusal by the drawee to honor it is not settled. See National Bank v. Eliot Bank, 20 Law R. 138; New York, etc. Bank v. Gibson, 5 Duer, 574; Morse on Banking, 459, et seq; 3 Kent's Comm. 88, note 1 (12th ed.).
4 Story on Promissory Notes, § 492. 5 Ib. § 493.
6 True v. Thomas, 16 Me. 36; Pack v. Thomas, 13 S. & M. 11; Coyle v. Smith, 1 E. D. Smith, 400.
§ 1203. Checks are sometimes certified to be good by the teller or cashier of the bank upon which they are drawn. And it has been held that a check certified by the teller to be good will bind the bank, though the drawer had no funds on deposit, and though the teller's authority to certify was restricted to cases where the drawers had funds in the bank.4 In Massachusetts it has been held to be no part of the duty of a teller to certify checks unless duly authorized.5 But it has been more recently held in the Supreme Court of the United States that the cashier of a national bank can bind the bank as acceptor by certifying checks drawn upon it.6
1 Veazie Bank v. Winn, 40 Me. 60; Taylor v. Wilson, 11 Met. 44; Story on Promissory Notes, § 493; 3 Kent's Comm. 88, note 1 (12th ed.).
2 Ibid.; Moule v. Brown, 4 Bing. N. C. 266.
3 Robinson v. Hawksford, 9 Q. B. 52; Mullick v. Radakissen, 28 Eng. Law & Eq. 86.
4 Farmers' & M. Bank p. Butchers' & D. Bank, 16 N. Y. 125.
5 Mussey v. Eagle Bank, 9 Met. 306.
6 Merchants' Bank v. State Bank, 10 Wall. 604, 650. See, also, Irving Bank v. Wetherald, 36 N. Y. 335; Smith v. Miller, 43 N. Y. 171, 177; 3 Kent's Comm. 88, note 1 (12th ed.).