This section is from the "How To Pay Church Debts And How To Keep Churches Out Of Debt" book, by Rev. Sylvanus Stall. Amazon: How To Pay Church Debts And How To Keep Churches Out Of Debt.
For some years past the note subscription plan has largely superseded the old form of general subscrip-tion. In some respects it is much to be preferred.
1. It suffers but a very small percentage of loss, resulting from unpaid pledges. While in the eyes of the law it is no more binding than a subscription, yet in the minds of the people it has greater weight.
2. The note system easily provides for the interest, and when the amounts equivalent to the entire debt are once pledged, the debt becomes virtually removed from the church, and is distributed among the various subscribers, for if they are not able to pay at once, the interest of the one will meet the interest of the other. This feature is a very excellent one, for the providing for the interest of a debt is a very troublesome matter.
3. It more readily allows of payments in regular installments. The whole amount of the donation may be divided equally, or unequally, into separate notes, all drawn at the same time, and then, as each is paid, it is torn off, and returned to the drawer, in place of a receipt. Or, the various installments may be endorsed on the back of the note until the last payment is made, when it is returned to the drawer.
4. The "stub," which remains after the note is torn off, serves an excellent purpose in preserving a complete and convinient record of the entire subscription, giving the date of the note, face of note, interest, total amount, drawer of the note, to whom it was paid, and when paid.
5. The notes may be drawn up in regular bank form, and be discounted in event of needing money to meet accruing obligations, or they may simply be left at the bank for payment or collection.
They may also have, in some instances, a couple of difficulties, or objections.
1. The note subscription allows of no conditions. If the payments are to be made upon certain conditions, these conditions may be in verbal or written contract (not under seal), but must not be expressed either in the body of the note, or upon the back. A promissory note must be clogged by no conditions or contingencies. To be a legal note "It must be for the payment of money at all events, and hence if there be any contingency as to its payment, it is no bill or note. But if made payable on the happening of an event, however remote, yet if it be of certain occurrence, the bill or note is good, as if made payable two months after the death of the maker's father.
"Conditions to destroy the character of a bill or note need not be on its face. An endorsement on the back of it, rendering it payable upon certain conditions, and done at the time of the making of it, will have the same effect. But a contemporaneous parol* agreement can have no such effect, because, resting in parol, it is not admissible in evidence, nor would an endorsement which simply referred to an agreement by way of identification."+
2. Some persons will object to placing their names to a note. These may usually be met by showing them that the nature of the regular subscription is such as to render it equally as binding as a note; or that it is the form upon which the congregation have agreed for the mere sake of uniformity; or, if no other alternative presents itself, such persons may be allowed to pledge their amounts upon a regular subscription, in which it is also agreed to pay the interest upon the amount subscribed. Generally, though not always, this excuse is a mere pretext, to escape the payment of any subscription at all.
*Parol contract - "Any contract not of record or under seal, whether oral or written; a simple contract." - Story.
+Bryant & Stratton's "Commercial Law," & 285 and & 286.