The first entry made by a merchant, tradesman, or other person in his account books, charging another with merchandise, materials, work, or labor, or cash, on a contract made between them.
2. This subject will be divided into three sections. 1. The form of the original entry. 2. The proof of such entry. 3. The effect.
3. - §1. To make a valid original entry it must possess the following requisites, namely: 1. It must. be made in a proper book. 2. It must be made in proper time. 3. It must be intelligible and according to law. 4. It must be made by a person having authority to make it.
4. - 1. In general the books in which the first entries are made, belonging to a merchant, tradesman, or mechanic, in which are charged goods sold and delivered
, or work and labor done, are received in evidence
. There are many books which are not evidence, a few of which will he here enumerated. A book made up by transcribing entries made on a slate by a journeyman, the transcript being made on the same evening, or sometimes not until nearly two weeks after the work was done, was considered as not being a book of original entries. 1 Rawle, R. 435; 2 Watts, R. 451; 4 Watts, R. 258; 1 Browne's R. 147; 6 Whart. R. 189; 5 Watts, 432; 4 Rawle, 408; 2 Miles, 268. A book purporting to be a book of original entries, containing an entry of the sale of goods when they were ordered but before they were delivered, is not a book of ori-ginal entries. 4 Rawle, 404. And unconnected scraps of paper, containing, as alleged, original entries of sales by an agent, on account
of his principal, and appearing on their face to be irregularly kept, are not to be considered as a book of original entries. 13 S. & R. 126. See 2 Whart. R. 33; 4 M'Cord, R. 76; 20 Wend. 72; 2 Miles, R. 268; 1 Yeates, R. 198; 4 Yeates, R. 341.
5. - 2. The entry must be made in the course of business
, and with the intention of making a charge for goods sold or work done; they ought not to be made after the lapse of one day. 8 Watts, 545; 1 Nott, & M'Cord, 130; 4 Nott & M'Cord, 77; 4 S. & R. 5; 2 Dall. 217; 9 S. & R. 285. A book in which the charges are made when the goods are ordered is not admissible. 4 Rawle, 404; 3 Dev. 449.
6. - 3. The entry must be made in an intelligible manner, and not in figures or hieroglyphics which are understood by the seller only. 4 Rawle, 404. A charge made in the gross as "190 days work," 1 Nott & M'Cord, 130, or "for medicine and attendance," or "thirteen dollars for medicine and attendance on one of the general's daughters in curing the hooping cough," 2 Const. Rep. 476, were rejected. An entry of goods
without carrying out any prices, proves, at most, only a sale, and the jury cannot, without other evidence, fix any price. 1 South. 370. The charges should be specific and denote the particular work or service charged, as it arises daily, and the quantity, number, weight, or other distinct designation of the materials, or articles sold or furnished, and attach the price and value to each item. 2 Const. Rep. 745; 2 Bail. R. 449; 1 Nott & M'Cord, 130.
7. - 4. The entry must of course
have been made by a person having authority to make it, 4 Rawle, 404, and with a view to charge the party. 8 Watts, 545.
8. - §2. The proof of the entry must be made by the person who made it. If made by the seller, he is competent to prove it from the necessity of the case, although he has an interest in the matter in dispute
. 5 Conn. 496; 12 John. R. 461; 1 Dall. 239. When made, by a clerk, it must be proved by him. But, in either case, when the person who made the entry is out of the reach of the process of the court, as in the case of death, or absence out of the state
, the handwriting may be proved by a person acquainted with the handwriting of the person who made the entry. 2 Watts & Serg. 137. But the plaintiff is not competent to prove the handwriting of a deceased clerk who made the entries. 1 Browne's R. App. liii.
9.- §3. The books and original entries, when proved by the supplementary oath of the party, is prima facie evidence
of the sale and delivery of goods, or of work and labor done. 1 Yeates, 347; Swift's Ev. 84; 3 Verm. 463; 1 M'Cord, 481; 1 Aik. 355; 2 Root, 59; Cooke's R. 38. But they are not evidence of money lent
, or cash paid. Id.; 1 Day, 104; 1 Aik. 73, 74; Kirby, 289. Nor of the time a vessel laid at the plaintiff's wharf; 1 Browne's Rep. 257; nor of the delivery of goods to be sold on commission. 2 Wharton, 33.