1 The King v. Stevens, 5 East, 254-260; the King v. Skiplam, 1 T. R. 490; Wright v. Cartwright, 1 Burr. 285; 3 Leon. 211; 1 Evans's Pothier on Oblig. 92, and note b; Story on Agency, § 152.
2 Pugh v. Duke of Leeds, 2 Cowp. 725. In this case, Lord Mansfield said: "The ground of the opinion and judgment which I now deliver is, that 'from' may, in the vulgar use, and even in the strict propriety of language, mean either inclusive or exclusive; that the parties necessarily understood and used it in that sense which made their deed effectual; that courts of justice are to construe the words of parties so as to effectuate their deeds, and not to destroy them, - more especially where the words themselves abstractedly may admit of either meaning."
3 Long v. Colburn, 11 Mass. 97. See also Emerson v. Prov. Hat Manuf. Co., 12 Mass. 237; Ballou v. Talbot, 16 Mass. 461; Hills v. Bannister, 8 Cow. 31; Story on Agency, § 154.
4 Co. Litt. 42; Archibald v. Thomas, 3 Cow. 284; Mills v. Wright, 1 Freem. 247; Vernon v. Alsop, T. Raym. 68; s. c. 1 Sid. 105; Finch's Law, 52; Parkhurst v. Smith, Willes, 332; Pugh v. Duke of Leeds, 2 Cowp. 714; Wright v. Cartwright, 1 Burr. 285; Ackland v. Lutley, 1 Perry & D. 636; The Queen v. Ruscoe, 8 Ad. & El. 386. Lord Lyndhurst, in Shore v. Wilson, 9 CI. & Finn. 397, says: " The rule is this, and it is a fair and popular rule, that where a construction consistent with lawful conduct and lawful intention, can be placed upon the words and acts of parties, you are to do so, and not unnecessarily to put upon these words and acts a construction directly a-t variance with what the law prohibits or enjoins." See also Many v. Beek-man Iron Co., 9 Paige, 188.
§ 783. A liberal interpretation is specially to be given to all commercial contracts. They are not to be construed strictly and technically, like bonds, which are generally technical in their form and drawn with caution, but all the facts and circumstances in the transaction which may be indicative of the intention of the parties are to be considered.3 And this rule stands upon the manifest ground that as these contracts are almost invariably drawn up loosely and informally, leaving much to inference, and often requiring a consideration of extrinsic circumstances to render them intelligible, a strict construction would frequently defeat the objects and intentions of the parties, and render them an unsafe basis for those extensive credits, by which the commerce of the world is carried on. Contracts of guaranty, for instance, are always to be construed in this mode.4 Thus, a contract by a manufacturer of goods to fill an order for them "as soon as possible," means within a reasonable time, considering the manufacturer's ability to make them, and the orders then on hand; it does not require him to lay aside all other work and devote all his means to this order.5
§ 784. When the terms of a contract are doubtful and indefinite, they will be limited to the subject-matter of the contract, and to its obvious nature and object. Or, as elsewhere stated, words are not to be taken in their broadest import, when they are equally appropriate in a sense limited to the object the parties had in view, and their apparent intent as deduced from the whole instrument.1 Verba generalia re-stringuntur ad habilitatem rei vel aptitudinem personal? Where, therefore, the contract is defective in its terms, or ambiguous, it will not be literally construed, but the law will supply whatever is necessary to effect the evident objects of the parties.3 Thus, where a policy of an insurance contained a stipulation that a ship should "sail or depart with convoy," and the ship departed with convoy, and afterwards proceeded alone; it was held, that the stipulation was broken, and that convoy meant "convoy for the voyage;" upon the ground that the very object to be attained by such stipulation would be frustrated, unless she remained under convoy during the whole voyage.4 So, also, the common covenant in a lease, for " uninterrupted and quiet enjoyment, without the hinderance and interruption of any persons whatsoever," is restricted to the evictions and disturbances of persons having lawful title, and does not extend to the trespasses of wrong-doers or to the public acts of government.5
1 Barney v. Newcomb, 9 Cush. 47.
2 Loraine v. Cartwright, 3 Wash. C. C. 151; Courcier v. Ritter, 4 Wash. C. C. 551; 1 Liv. on Agency, 403, 404; De Tastett v. Crousillat, 2 Wash. C. C. 132; Story on Agency, § 74.
3 Bell v. Bruen, 1 How. 169; s. c. 17 Peters, 161; Lawrence v. McCal-mont, 2 How. 426.
4 Ibid. See also Mason v. Pritchard, 12 East, 227; Haigh v. Brooks, 10 Ad. & El. 309; Mayer v. Isaac, 6 M. & W. 605.
5 Attwood v. Emery, 1 C. B. (n. s.) 110 (1856).
§ 785. Again, general expressions used in a contract are controlled by the special provisions therein.6 And where, by a written agreement, the defendant undertook to do certain work for the defendant in houses "in South and Southampton Streets;" and it appeared that, at the date of the agreement, the defendant had houses in South Street, but not in Southampton Street, it was held, that as the parties had in contemplation work to be done on the houses then owned by plaintiff, the agreement should be restricted thereto.1 The same rule applies to the construction of a mercantile guaranty. Wherever it is preceded by a recital definite in its terms, and to which the general words obviously refer, the liability will be limited by the recital.2
1 Hoffman v. -Etna Fire Ins. Co., 82 N". Y. 405 (1865).
2 1 Pow. on Cont. 377; Doe v. Burt, 1 T. R. 703.
3 To do a thing "as soon as practicable" does not require the use of every human means. It implies that there may be some delay. Reedy v. Smith, 42Cal. 245 (1871).
The term "merchant" held not to include a manufacturer. Josslyn v. Parson, Law R. 7 Ex. 127 (1872).
The term "article" in a carrier's receipt construed. Wetzell v. Dinsmore, 4 Daly, 193 (1871); Earle v. Cadmus, lb. 237.