Date of Maturity.

Question 423.— A customer deposits with the bank a note for collection, on which there is a good endorser. The note is payable at a distant point, and when deposited for collection has still two months to run. The bank forwards it at once to its agents for collection, but on inquiry ten days after maturity of the note they find that their letter had never been received. The makers of the note are worthless. Was not the endorser discharged for want of notice, and would not the bank be responsible for neglect in not looking for an acknowledgment of the letter?

Answer.—Unless there were some exceptional circumstances connected with the case, any responsibility for the loss of the bill in the mails must fall on the bank. The liability of the endorser, however, would be preserved, if when the cause of delay ceases to operate, even although the note were ten days overdue, presentment be made with reasonable diligence and notice of dishonour sent. Section 46 of the Bills of Exchange Act excuses delay in presentation when "caused by circumstances beyond the control of the holder, and not imputable to his default, misconduct or negligence." We think that the bank's neglect to see that the letter was acknowledged was not negligence within this section, and that the delay was beyond its control. There appear to be no English cases covering the point, but there are some American cases in which it was held that delay in the post office, when a bill is mailed in good time, is a valid excuse for delay in presentation.