Page:1902 Encyclopædia Britannica - Volume 26 - AUS-CHI.pdf/279

This page needs to be proofread.

BILLITON — BILL S Billiton (Dutch, Blitoeng), an island E. of Banca and W. of Borneo. Its area is 1847 square miles. The coasts are sandy or marshy; the geological formation Devonian and granitic, with laterites; the surface rises to an altitude of from 325 to 1670 feet. The rainfall is heavy, 102 to 126 inches. The products resemble those of Banca. In 1898-99, 82 mines (7553 workmen) produced 93,603 piculs (a picul =159 lb). The imports and exports, exclusive of tin, have been valued together for recent years at £85,000. The population of 41,558 includes 96 Europeans and about 12,000 Chinese. The natives belong to two classes, the Orang Darat, the aborigines (probably Malayan colonists), and the Orang Sekah, who live in boats. The capital, Tanjong Padang, on the west coast, has a population of 12,000.




Act, 1882, codifies for the United Kingdom the law relating to bills of exchange, promissory notes, and cheques. One peculiar Scottish rule is preserved, but in other respects uniform rules are laid down for England, Scotland, and Ireland. After glancing briefly at the history of these instruments, it will probably be convenient to discuss the subject in the order followed by the Act, namely, first, to treat of a bill of exchange, which is the original and typical negotiable instrument, and then to refer to the special provisions which apply to promissory notes and cheques. Two salient characteristics distinguish negotiable instruments from other engagements to pay money. In the first place, the assignee of a negotiable instrument, to whom it is transferred by indorsement or delivery according to its tenor, can sue thereon in his own name; and, secondly, he holds it by an independent title. If he takes it in good faith and for value, he takes it free from “ all equities,” that is to say, all defects of title or grounds of defence which may have attached to it in the hands of any previous party. These characteristic privileges were conferred by the Law Merchant, which is part of the Common Law, and are now confirmed by statute. From a legal point of view the history of bills of exchange is short, though somewhat obscure. It is ably summed up by Lord Chief Justice Cockburn in his judgment in Goodwin v. Robarts, L.R. 10 Ex. pp. 346-358. Bills of exchange were probably invented by Florentine Jews. They were well known in England in the Middle Ages, though there is no reported decision on a bill of exchange before the year 1603. At first their use seems to have been confined to foreign bills between English and foreign merchants. It was afterwards extended to domestic bills between traders, and finally to bills of all persons, whether traders or not. But for some time after they had come into general employment, bills were always alleged in legal proceedings to be drawn secundum usum et consuetudinem mercatorum. The foundations of our modern law were laid by Lord Mansfield with the aid of juries of London merchants. Ho better tribunal of commerce could have been devised. Subsequent judicial decisions have developed and systematized the principles thus laid down. Promissory notes are of more modern origin than bills of exchange, and their validity as negotiable instruments was doubtful until it was confirmed by 3 and 4 Anne, c. 8. Cheques are the creation of the modern system of banking. The codifying Act of 1882 amends the law in a few minor details, and fills up a few gaps which were uncovered by authority, but in the main it is an exact reproduction of the then existing law. The change effected is a change of form, not of substance. Before the Act, the law was to be found in 17 statutes dealing with isolated points, and about 2600 cases scattered over some 300 volumes of reports. Definition.—By § 3 of the Act a bill of exchange is defined to be “an unconditional order in writing, addressed by one person to another, signed by the person giving it, requiring the person to whom it is addressed to pay on demand or at a fixed or determinable future time a sum certain in money to or to the order of a specified person, or to bearer.”1 The person who gives the order is called the drawer. The person thereby required to pay is called the drawee. If he assents to the order, he is then called the acceptor. An acceptance must be in writing and must be signed by the drawee. The mere signature of the drawee is sufficient (§ 17). The person to whom the money is payable is called the payee. The

Billroth, Albert Christian Theodor (1829-1894), Viennese surgeon, was born on 26th April 1829, at Bergen, on the island of Kiigen, his family being of Swedish origin. He studied at the Universities of Greifswald, Gottingen, and Berlin, and after taking his doctor’s degree at the last in 1852, started on an educational tour, in the course of which he visited the medical schools of Vienna, Prague, Paris, Edinburgh, and London. On his return to Berlin he acted for a time as assistant to Professor Langenbeck, and then in 1859 accepted the professorship of surgery at Zurich. Eight years later he was invited to fill the same position at Vienna, and in that city the remainder of his professional life was spent. In 1887 he received the distinction, rarely bestowed on members of his profession, of a seat in the Austrian Herrnhaus. He died at Abbazia, a winter resort on the Adriatic, where he had a beautiful villa, on 6th February 1894. Billroth was one of the most distinguished surgeons of his day. His boldness as an operator was only equalled by his skill and resourcefulness no accident or emergency could disturb his coolness and presence of mind, and his ability to invent or carry out any new procedure that might be demanded in the particular case with which he was dealing, gained for him the appellation of “ surgeon of great initiatives.” At the same time he was full of consideration for the comfort and well-being of his patient, and never forgot that he had before him a human being to be relieved, not a mere “case” for the display of technical dexterity. He was especially interested in military surgery, and during the Franco-German war volunteered to serve in the hospitals of Mannheim and Weissenburg. His efforts did much to improve the arrangements for the transport and treatment of the wounded in war, and in a famous speech on the War Budget in 1891, he eloquently urged the necessity for an improved ambulance system, pointing out that the use of smokeless powder and the greater precision of the arms of modern warfare must tend to increase the number of men wounded, and that therefore more efficient means must be provided for removing them from the battlefield. Possessing a clear and graceful style, he was the author of numerous papers and books on medical subjects; his Lectures on General Surgical Pathology and Therapeutics ran through many editions, and were translated into many languages, and the same is true of his Handbook of Sick Nursing at Home and in Hospitals. He was of an exceedingly artistic disposition, and in particular was devoted to music. A good performer on the pianoforte and violin, he was an intimate friend and admirer of Brahms, many of whose compositions were privately performed at his house before they were published. At the time of his death he was engaged on a book on the Physiology of 1 This is also the definition given in the United States, by § 126 of Music. (h. m. e.) the general Act relating to negotiable instruments, prepared by the of State Commissioners on uniform legislation, and it has Bills Of Exchange.—The Bills of Exchange Conference been adopted in the leading States.