One who represents, acts for, or in behalf of, another, who is called his "principal."
In brief, they are divided into two classes - "special" and "general." The latter is "one who is appointed to do acts of a class, and a special agent . . . appointed to do individual acts."¹ An illustration would be that a "general agent" might be employed to buy pig iron, no restriction being placed upon him as to where or of whom he should buy. He would become a " special agent " if his principal had restricted him to the purchase of a certain lot of iron and his authority ended with the success or failure to purchase the especially described article.
1 In the remarks by the Governor of the Bank of England following the Panic of 1866, loans made to assist the business community in tiding over the strained condition of affairs were referred to as " advances."
The relationship between agents, their principals and third parties, and the rights and liabilities of the same, are matters worthy of serious consideration, and should be thoroughly understood before one becomes involved as any of the above parties. (The reader wishing to pursue this subject further is referred to the subject of " Agency " very clearly set forth in " Essentials of Business Law " by Francis M. Bur-dick.)
One very important point, however, it may be well to mention here, namely: the signing by an agent of any negotiable instrument or contract under seal. It is a safe rule for him to pursue to sign the name of his principal, by himself as agent; as, for instance, "James Jackson, by Thomas Jones, Agent;" not "Thomas Jones, Agent, for James Jackson." This is to avoid personal liability on the part of the agent.