contracts. A release is the giving or discharging of a
right of action which a man has or may claim against another, or that which is
his. Touch. 320 Bac. Ab. h. t.; Co. Litt. 264 a.
2. This kind of a release is different from that which is used for the
purpose of convoying real estate. Here a mere right is surrendered; in the
other case not only a right is given up, but an interest in the estate is
conveyed, and becomes vested in the release.
3. Releases may be considered, as to their form, their different kinds,
and their effect. §1. The operative words of a release are remise,
release, quitclaim, discharge and acquit; but other words will answer the
purpose. Sid. 265; Cro. Jac. 696; 9 Co. 52; Show. 331.
4. - §2. Releases are either express, or releases in deed; or those
arising by operation of law. An express release is one which is distinctly made
in the deed; a release by operation of law, is one which, though not expressly
made, the law presumes in consequence of some act of, the releasor; for
instance, when, one of several joint obligors is expressly released, the others
are also released by operation of law . 3 Salk. 298. Hob. 10; Id. 66; Noy, 62;
4 Mod. 380; 7 Johns. Rep. 207.
5. A release may also be implied; as, if a creditor voluntarily deliver
to his debtor the bond, note, or other evidence of his claim. And when the
debtor is in possession of such security, it will be presumed that it has been
delivered to him. Poth. Obl. n. 608, 609.
6. - §3. As to their effect, releases 1st, acquit the releasee: and
2dly, enable him to be examined as a witness.
7. - 1st. Littleton says a release of all demands is the best and
strongest release. Sect. 508. Lord Coke, on the contrary, says claims is a
stronger word. Co. Litt. 291 b.
8. In general the words of a release will he restrained by the
particular occasion of giving it. 3 Lev. 273; 1 Show. 151: 2 Mod. 108, n.; 2
Show. 47; T. Raym. 399 3 Mod. 277; Palm. 218; 1 Lev. 235.
9. The reader is referred to the following cases where a construction
has been given to the expressions mentioned. A release of "all actions, suits
and demands," 3 Mod. 277: " all actions, debts, duties, and demands," Ibid. 1
and 64; 3 Mod. 185; 8 Co. 150 b; 2 Saund. 6 a; all demands," 5 Co. 70, b; 2
Mod. 281; 3 Mod 278; 1 Lev. 99; Salk. 578; 2 Rolle s Rep. 12 Mod. 465; 2 Conn.
Rep. 120; "all actions, quarrels, trespasses " Dy. 2171 pl. 2; Cro. Jac. 487; "
all errors, and all actions, suits, and writs of error whatsoever," T. Ray. 3
99 all suits," 8 Co. 150 of covenants," 5 Co. 70 b.
10. - 2d. A release by a witness where he has an interest in the matter
which is the subject of the suit or release by the party on whose side he is
interested, renders him competent. 1 Phil. Ev. 102, and the cases cited in n.
a. Vide 2 Chitt. It. 329; 1 D. & R. 361; Harr. Dig. h. t.; Bouv. Inst.
Index, h. t.
Source: Bouviers Law Dictionary 1856 Edition