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Seal

impression, paper, wax, seals, am and person

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SEAL. An impression upon wax, wafer, or some other tenacious substance capable of being impressed. Warren v. Lynch, 5 Johns. (N. Y.) 239 ; 4 Kent 452. It does not seem necessary that an impression be made ; 6 C. P. 411.

Lord Coke defines a seal to be wax, with an impression. 3 Inst. 169. "Sigillum," says he, "cst cera impressa, quia cera sine int pressione non est sigillum." The definition given' above is the common-law definition of a seal ; Perkins 129, 134 ; Brooke, Abr. Faits 17, 30; 2 Leon. 21; Warren v. Lynch, 5 Johns. (N. Y.) 239 ; Mill Dam Foundery v. Hovey, 21 Pick. (Mass.) 417; but any other material besides wax may be used ; Tasker v. Bartlett, 5 Cush. (Mass.) 359.

Merlin defines a seal to be a plate of met al with a flat surface, on which is engraved the arms of a prince or nation, or private individual, or other device with which an im pression may be made on wax or other sub stance, on paper or parchment, in order to authenticate them ; the impression thus made is also called a seal ; Repert. mot Sceau; Kershaw's Ex'rs v. Whitaker, 3 Mc Cord (S. C.) 583 ; Biery v. Haines, 5 Whart. (Pa.) 563.

Where the seal of a public officer does not contain the name of the state, but it is writ ten in a blank left for that name, a verifica tion authenticated by such a seal is insuffi cient ; Oelbermann v. Ide, 93 Wis. 669, 68 N. W. 393, 57 Am. St. Rep. 947.

The seal came from the Frankish kings ; its use was confined to founts and bishops; a man of lower degree could execute his bond by carrying it before his lord and having him affix his seal. Before the end of the 13th century the free and lawful man usually had a seal. 2 Poll. & Maitl. 223. See, also, Add. Contr. 6.

A person may adopt any seal as his own, or anything in place of a seal ; In re Thomas, 35 Fed. 337; it is not necessarily of any par ticular form or figure, and may consist of an outline without an enclosure, or of a single dash or flourish of the pen ; and its precise form in each case depends wholly upon the taste or fancy of the person who makes it; Appeal of Hacker, 121 Pa. 192, 15 Atl. 500,

1 L. R. A. 861.

In many states, a scroll or similar device may constitute a valid seal; California, Con necticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexi co, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Vir ginia, and Wisconsin. In several states the distinction between sealed and unsealed in struments is abolished ; Arkansas, Califor nia, North Dakota, South Dakota, Mississippi, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. The use of seals by private persons is unnecessary in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Mis sissippi, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Tennessee, Utab, and Washington. In some states offi cial or corporate seals may be impressed on the paper itself ; California, Connecticut, Dakota, Kansas, New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia. By U. S. R. S. § 6, an impres sion on the paper of any common process or instrument is sufficient.

When a seal is affixed to an instrument it makes it a specialty, and consideration is presumed; 2 Bla. Com. 446 ; Storm v. U. S., 94 U. S. 76, 24 L. Ed. 42; but the presump tion does not extend to contracts in restraint of trade where actual consideration is want ing ; 3 Bing. 327 ; or where the real consid eration was illegal; Whart. Contr. § 495; but where the distinction between sealed and Unsealed instruments is abolished by statute, any failure of consideration may be shown ; Williams v. Haines, 27 Ia. 251, 1 Am. Rep. 268; Carter v. Doe, 21 Ala. 88. One seal may serve for a number of signers ; 36 Am. Dec. 511; although the contrary was held in Cres well's Lessee v. LaWson, 7 Gill & J. (Md.) 248 ; State v. Humbird, 54 Md. 327.

When an instrument concludes with the words, "witness our hands and seals," and is signed by two persons, with only one seal, the jury may infer from the face of the paper that the person who signed last adopted the seal of the first; Bowman v. Robb, 6 Pa. 302.

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