BILL, a paper, written or printed, giving a statement of the particulars of an account or action. A printed proclamation, an advertise ment, an act of Congress or Parliament, or a tradesman's account is a bill.
In Legislation.— A term used to signify a special act passed by the legislature in the exercise of a quasi-judicial power. Thus, bills of attainder, bills of pains and penalties are spoken of. The draft of a law submitted to the consideration of a legislative body for its adop tion or rejection. The Constitution of the United States provides that all bills for raising revenue must originate in the House of Repre sentatives, but the Senate may propose or con cur with amendments as on other bills. Every bill before it becomes a law must be approved by the President of the United States, or within 10 days returned, with his objections, to the House in which it originated. Two-thirds of each House may then enact it into a law. These provisions are copied in the Constitutions of a majority of the States.
Bill of Adventure.— A writing signed by a merchant, in which he states that certain goods shipped in his name really belong to another person, at whose risk the adventure is made.
Bill of Attainder.—A bill declaring that the person named in it is attainted and his property confiscated. The Constitution of the United States declares that no State shall pass any bill of attainder. During the Revolutionary War, bills of attainder and ex post facto acts of confiscation were passed to a wide extent. The evils resulting from them, in times of cooler reflection, were discovered have far out weighed any imaginary good.
Bill of Costs.—A statement of the items which form the total amount of the costs of a suit or action. This is demandable as a matter of right before the payment of the costs.
Bill of Credit. —A letter sent by an agent or other person to a merchant, desiring him to give the bearer credit for goods or money. It is frequently given to one about to travel and empowers him to take up money from the foreign correspondents of the person from whom the bill or letter of credit was received.
Bill of Entry.—A written account of goods entered at the custom-house, whether imported or designed for exportation.
Bill of Exceptions.—A bill of the nature of an appeal from a judge who is held to have misstated the law, whether by ignorance, by in advertence or by design. This the judge is bound to seal if he be requested by the counsel on either side so to do. The exceptions noted are reviewed by the court to which appeal is taken, and if the objections made to the rulings of the trial judge are well founded, the finding in the case is reversed, and usually the cause is remanded for a new trial.
Bill of Exchange.—A bill or security origi nally introduced for enabling a merchant in one country to remit money to a correspondent in the other. It is an open letter of request from one man to another, desiring him to pay to a third party a specified sum and put it to the account of the first.
Bill of Health.—A certificate given to the master of a ship clearing out of a port in which contagious disease is epidemic, or is sus pected to be so, certifying to the state of health of the crew and passengers on board.
Bill of Indictment.—A written accusation made against one or more persons having com mitted a specified crime or misdemeanor. It is preferred to and presented on oath by a grand jury. If the grand jury find the allegations unproved, they ignore the bill, giving as their verdict, "Not a true bill)); if, on the contrary, they consider the indictment proved, their ver dict is a bill.)) Bill of Lading.—A document by which the master of a ship acknowledges to have received on board his vessel, in good order and condition (or the reverse), certain specified goods con signed to him by some particular shipper, and binds himself to deliver them in similar condi tion,— unless the dangers of the sea, fire or enemies prevent him,— to the assignees of the shipper at the point of destination, on their paying him the stipulated freight.