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DATE. The designation or indication in an instrument of writing, of the
time, and usually of the time and place, when and where it was made. When
the place is mentioned in the date of a deed, the law intends, unless the
contrary appears, that it was executed at the place of the date. Plowd. 7
b., 31 H. VI. This word is derived from the Latin datum, because when deeds
and agreements were written in that language, immediately before the day,
month and year in which they were made, was set down, it was usual to put
the word datum, given.
2. All writings ought to bear a date, and in some it is indispensable in order to make them valid, as in policies of insurance; but the date in these instruments is not inserted in the body of the writing because as each subscription makes a separate contract, each underwriter sets down the day, month and year he makes his subscription. Marsh. Ins. 336.
3. Deeds, and other writings, when the date is an impossible one, take effect from the time of deliver; the presumption of law is, that the deed was dated on the day it bears date, unless, as just mentioned, the time is impossible; for example, the 32d day of January.
4. The proper way of dating, is to put the day, month, and year of our Lord; the hour need not be mentioned, unless specially required; an instance of which may be taken from the Pennsylvania Act of the 16th June, 1836, sect. 40, which requires the sheriff, on receiving a writ of fieri facias, or other writ of execution, to endorse thereon the day of the month, the year, and the hour of the day whereon he received the same.
5. In public documents, it is usual to give not only the day, the month, and the year of our Lord, but also the year of the United States, when issued by authority of the general government; or of the commonwealth, when issued under its authority. Vide, generally, Bac. Ab. Obligations, C; Com. Dig, Fait, B 3; Cruise, Dig. tit, 32, c. 20, s. 1-6; 1 Burr. 60; 2 Rol. Ab. 27, 1. 22; 13 Vin. Ab. 34; Dane's Ab. Index, h.t. See Almanac.