In order that an offer or proposal may be turned into a binding contract by acceptance, it must be made in contemplation of legal consequences. A mere statement of intention, for instance, made in the course of conversation, will not result in a binding promise, though acted upon by the party to whom it was made.28 Thus, where a father said to a man that he would give a certain sum to him who married his daughter with his consent, and the man married her, and sued for the money, it was held that he could not recover, as it was not reasonable that a man "should be bound by general words spoken to excite suitors."29 Nor will services rendered for another and accepted by him place him under a contractual obligation to pay for them, where payment therefor was not expected nor intended.30
27Hewitt v. Anderson, 56 Cal. 476, 38 Am. Rep. 65. See "Rewards," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 7; Cent. Dig. § 7.
28 Week v. Tibold, Rolle, Abr. 6; Randall v. Morgan, 12 Ves. 67; Stamper v. Temple, 6 Humph. (Tenn.) 113, 44 Am. Dec. 296; Stagg v. Compton, 81 Ind. 171; Erwin v. Erwin, 25 Ala. 236; Carson v. Lucas, 13 B. Mon. (Ky.) 213; Henderson Bridge Co. v. McGrath, 134 U. S. 260, 10 Sup. Ct. 730, 33 L. Ed. 934; Kirksey v. Kirksey, 8 Ala. 131; Lakeside Land Co. v. Dromgoole, 89 Ala. 505, 7 South. 444; Thruston v. Thornton, 1 Cush. (Mass.) 89; Higgins v. Lessig, 49 111. App. 459. Statements by a married child that she intends to pay her parents for support, made to third persons, result in no contract on her part. Perkins v. Westcoat, 3 Colo. App. 338, 33 Pac. 139. The rule above stated applies to offers of reward made to the public generally. Stamper v. Temple, 6 Humph. (Tenn.) 113, 44 Am. Dec. 296; Higgins v. Lessig, 49 111. App. 459. See, also, Ulrich v. Arnold, 120 Pa. 170, 13 Atl. 831. See "Contracts;' Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) §§ 14, 16; Cent. Dig. § 50.
29Week v. Tibold, supra. And see Randall v. Morgan, supra. See "Contracts," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 16; Cent. Dig. §§ 49-56.
30 The fact that services are rendered does not create a liability on the part of the person for whom they are rendered, even though done at his request, where the circumstances are such as to repel the inference that compensation was intended; and, when performed merely from kindly or charitable motives, the law will not imply a promise to pay for them. Cicotte v.
Transactions intended as a joke or jest cannot result in a contract, for the reason that there is no intention to contract; there is no contemplation of legal consequences.32
Offers which, by acceptance, may be turned into binding promises, must be distinguished from offers which merely amount to invitations to deal. Illustrations of this arise where merchants send out circulars offering goods for sale on certain terms, not intending the circular as an offer to become binding on acceptance, but merely as an invitation to persons to enter into negotiations;38 or where a person, wishing to have work done, or to buy goods, advertises for proposals;34 or where a person advertises that he will sell goods at auction.35 The circulars of the merchant, the advertisement for proposals, and the advertisement of the auction sale, are mere declarations of intention. Legal consequences are not directly contemplated, and no contract relation arises with persons who may send an order for goods, or make bids, or attend the auction. The rule applies whenever it is clear that a proposition was intended merely as an invitation to deal, and not as an offer to become binding on acceptance.38
Church of St. Anne, 60 Mich. 552, 27 N. W. 682. And see Covel v. Turner, 74 Mich. 408, 41 N. W. 1091;' Gross v. Cadwell, 4 Wash. 670, 30 Pae. 1052; Sullivan v. Latimer. 38 S. C. 158, 17 S. E. 701; Everitt v. Walker, 109 N. C. 129. 13 S. E. 860; Collyer v. Collyer, 113 N. Y. 442, 21 N. E. 114. See, also, aute, p. 20, and cases cited. See "Contracts," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 16; Cent. Dig. §§ 49-56.
31 Anson, Cont. (4th Ed.) 19; ante, p. 5.
32McClurg v. Terry, 21 N. J. Eq. 225; Armstrong v. McGhee, Add. (Pa.) 261; Keller v. Holderman, 11 Mich. 248, S3 Am. Dec. 737; Bruce v. Bishop, 43 Vt. 161. Marriage ceremony performed in jest, but by a person duly authorized. McClurg v. Terry, supra. See "Contracts" Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 16; Cent. Dig. §§ 49-56.
33 CHEROKEE TANNING EXTRACT CO. v. WESTERN UNION TELEGRAPH CO., 143 N. C. 376, 55 S. E. 777, 118 Am. St. Rep. 806, Throckmorton Cas. Contracts, 31; Spencer v. Harding, L. R. 5 C. P. 561; Moulton v. Kershaw, 59 Wis. 316, 18 N. W. 172, 48 Am. Rep. 516; Lincoln v. Preserving Co., 132 Mass. 129; Knight v. Cooley, 34 Iowa, 218; Topliff v. McKendree, 88 Mich. 148, 50 N. W. 109; Allen v. Kirwan, 159 Pa. 612, 28 Atl. 495; Smith v. Weaver, 90 111. 392; Zeltner v. Irwin, 25 App. Div. 228, 49 N. Y. Supp. 337. See "Sales," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) §§ 22, 23; Cent. Dig. §§ S9-4S.
34 Howard v. Industrial School, 78 Me. 230, 3 Atl. 657; Leskie v. Ilasel-stine, 155 Pa. 98, 25 Atl. 886; Topping v. Swords, 1 E. D. Smith (N. Y.) 609. See "Contracts," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 11; Cent. Dig. §§ 112-118.
35 Harris v. Nickerson, L. R. 8 Q. B. 286. See "Sales," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) §§ 22, 23; Cent. Dig. §§ 39-48.