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BILLINGTON—BILL OF EXCHANGE

have the same score the High ball wins before the Low, &c., as in the card game of the same title.

Pin Pool is played with two white balls, one red and five small pins set up in diamond form in the centre of the table with the pin counting 5 (the king-pin) in the middle, the pins being 3 in. apart. Each player is given a small ball from the bottle and this he keeps secret until he is able to announce that his points, added to the number on his small ball, amount to exactly 31. If he “bursts” he must begin again. Points are made only by knocking down pins, which are numbered 1 to 5. Should a player knock down with one stroke all four outside pins, leaving the 5-pin-standing, it is a “natural” and he wins the game.

Besides these common varieties of pool there are many others which are played in different parts of America, many of them local in character.

Bibliography.—The scientific features of billiards have been discussed at more or less length in several of the following older works:—E. White, Practical Treatise on the Game of Billiards (1807), this was partly a translation of a French treatise, published in 1805, and partly a compilation from the article in the Académie universelle des jeux, issued in the same year, and since frequently re-edited and reprinted; Le Musée des jeux (Paris, 1820); Monsieur Mingaud, The Noble Game of Billiards (Paris, 1834); a translation of the same, by John Thurston (London, 1835); Kentfield, On Billiards (London, 1839), founded principally on the foregoing works: Edward Russell Mardon, Billiards, Game 500 up (London, 1849); Turner, On Billiards, a series of diagrams with instructions (Nottingham, 1849); Captain Crawley, The Billiard Book (London, 1866-1875); Roberts, On Billiards (1868); Fred. Hardy, Practical Billiards, edited by W. Dufton (1867); Joseph Bennett (ex-champion), Billiards (1873). These older books, however, are largely superseded by such modern authorities as the following:—J. Roberts, The Game of Billiards (London, 1898); W. Cook, Billiards (Burroughes & Watts); J. P. Buchanan, Hints on Billiards (Bell & Sons); Modern Billiards (The Brunswick—Balke—Collender Co., New York); Broadfoot, Billiards, Badminton Library (Longmans); Locock, Side and Screw (Longmans); M. Vignaux, Le Billiard (Paris, 1889); A. Howard Cady, Billiards and Pool (Spalding’s Home Library, New York); Thatcher, Championship Billiards, Old and New (Chicago, 1898). For those interested in the purely mathematical aspect of the game, Hemming, Billiards Mathematically Treated, (Macmillan).

BILLINGTON, ELIZABETH (1768?-1818), British opera-singer, was born in London, her father being a German musician named Weichsel, and her mother a popular vocalist. She was trained in music, and at fourteen sang at a concert in Oxford. In 1783 she married James Billington, a double-bass player. She had a voice of unusual compass, and as Rosetta in Love in a Village she had a great success at Covent Garden in 1786, being engaged for the season at a salary of £1000, a large sum for those days. Her position as a singer in London was now assured. In 1794 she and her husband went to Italy, and Mrs Billington appeared at Naples (where she was the heroine of a new opera, Inez di Castro, written for her by F. Bianchi), at Florence, at Venice and at Milan. Her husband died suddenly during the tour, and in 1799 she married a Frenchman named Felissent, whom, however, she left in 1801. Returning to England she appeared alternately at Covent Garden and Drury Lane, her professional income during 1801 amounting to between £10,000 and £15,000. Henceforward she sang in Italian opera till the end of 1810, when ill-health forced her to abandon her profession. In 1817 she was reconciled to her husband, and went with him to live near Venice, where she died on the 25th of August 1818.

BILLITON (Dutch Blitoeng), an island of the Dutch East Indies, between Banka and Borneo, from which it is separated respectively by Caspar and Karimata straits. Politically it is under an assistant resident. It is roughly circular in form, its extreme measurements being 55 m. by 43, and its area 1773 sq. m. In physical structure and in products it resembles Banka; its coasts are sandy or marshy; in the interior an extreme elevation of 1670 ft. is found. The geological formation is Devonian and granitic, with laterites. The mean annual rainfall is heavy, 102 to 126 in. The day temperature varies from 80° to 87° Fahr. The nights are very cool. Like Banka, Billiton is chiefly noted for its production of tin, the island forming the southern limit of the occurrence of this metal in this locality. There are upwards of 80 mines, which employ some 7500 workmen, and have produced more than 6500 tons of tin in a year. Iron is also worked. On the rocks along the coast are found tortoises, trepang and edible birds’ nests, which are articles of export. The forests supply wood of different kinds for boat-building, in which the inhabitants are expert; and also provide trade in cocoa-nuts, sago, gum and other produce. The population is about 42,000, of whom some 12,000 are Chinese. The natives belong to two classes, the Orang Darat, the aborigines, thought to be akin to the Battas and other branches of the pre-Malayan or Indonesian race; and the Orang Sekah, people of Malayan stock who live in boats. The coast is as a rule difficult of access, being beset with rocks and coral banks, and the best harbour is that at the chief town of Tanjong Pandan on the west coast. The island was formerly under the sultan of Palembang, by whom it was ceded to the British in 1812. As no mention was made of it in the treaty between the British and Dutch in 1814, the former at first refused to renounce their possession, and only recognized the Dutch claim in 1824. Till 1852 Billiton was dependent on Banka.

BILL OF EXCHANGE, a form of negotiable instrument, defined below, the history of which, though somewhat obscure, was ably summed up by Lord Chief Justice Cockburn in his judgment in Goodwinn v. Robarts (1875), 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 modern English law were laid by Lord Mansfield with the aid of juries of London merchants. No 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 a statute of Anne (1704). Cheques are the creation of the modern system of banking.

Before 1882 the English law was to be found in 17 statutes dealing with isolated points, and about 2600 cases scattered over some 300 volumes of reports. The Bills of Exchange 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.

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

  1. This is also the definition given in the United States, by § 126 of the general act relating to negotiable instruments, prepared by the conference of state commissioners on uniform legislation, and it has been adopted in the leading states.