A mistake as to the person with whom the contract is made may avoid it; as, for instance, where a contract is made with one person under a belief that it is being made with another. Where a man intends to contract with one person, another cannot make himself a party to the contract by substituting himself; for, in the first place, a man, in entering into a contract, looks to the credit and character of the person with whom he supposes he is contracting,17 and, in the second place, the person who thus substitutes himself is never present in the mind of the other party, and the latter, therefore, does not consent to a contract with him. Where a man imitated another's signature, and thereby induced persons to supply him with goods under the belief that they were supplying the person whose signature was imitated, it was held that there was no contract with the person so procuring the goods. "Of him," says Lord Cairns, "they knew nothing, and of him they never thought. With him they never intended to deal. Their minds never even for an instant of time rested upon him, and as between him and them there was no consensus of mind which could lead to any agreement or contract whatever. As between him and them there was merely the one side' to a contract, where, in order to produce a contract, two sides would be required." 18
15 Chapman v. Rose, 56 N. T. 138, 15 Am. Rep. 401; Abbott v. Rose, 62 Me. 194, 16 Am. Rep. 427; Taylor v. Atchison, 54 I11. 196, 5 Am. Rep. 118; Mack-ey v. Peterson, 29 Minn. 298, 13 N. W. 132, 43 Am. Rep. 211; Upton v. Tribil-cock, 91 U. S. 50, 23 L. Ed. 203; Gavagan v. Bryant, 83 I11. 376; Leach v. Nichols, 55 I11. 273; Ross v. Doland, 29 Ohio St. 473; Douglass v. Matting, 29 Iowa, 498, 4 Am. Rep. 238; Fayette Co. Sav. Bank v. Steffes, 54 Iowa, 214, 6 N. W. 267; Millard v. Barton, 13 R. I. 601, 43 Am. Rep. 51; Baldwin v. Barrows, 86 Ind. 351; Putnam v. Sullivan, 4 Mass. 45, 3 Am. Dec. 206; Ort v. Fowler, 31 Kan. 478, 2 Pac. 580, 47 Am. Rep. 501; Weller's Appeal, 103 Pa. 594; Johnston v. Patterson, 114 Pa. 398, 6 Atl. 746; Shirts v. Over-john, 60 Mo. 305; Citizens' Nat. Bank v. Smith, 55 N. H. 593. And see cases cited supra, note 13. See "Bills and Notes," Dec. Dig. (Key-No) § 373; Cent. Dig. §§ 966-970.
16 First Nat. Bank v. Johns, 22 W. Va. 520, 46 Am. Rep. 506 (collecting cases). See "Bills and Notes," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 873; Cent. Dig. §§ 966 -970; "Contracts," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 93; Cent. Dig. §§ 415-.', V.).'
17 Humble v. Hunter, 12 Q. B. 311; BOSTON ICE CO. v. POTTER, 123 Mass. 28, 25 Am. Rep. 9, Throckmorton, Cas. Contracts, 305. See "Contracts," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 93; Cent. Dig. §§ 415-419.
In this case the mistake was induced by fraud, but an innocent mistake may produce the same result. Thus, where an order for goods was sent to a particular person, and a man who had succeeded to his business filled the order without giving notice of the change, it was held that he could not recover the price of the goods. "In order to entitle the plaintiff to recover," it was said, "he must show that there was a contract with himself." 18 And on the same principle, if a man sells goods to another, representing that he is the owner, and the other party intends to buy from him, there is no contract with the real owner, who was the undisclosed .principal of the seller, for "every man has a right to elect what parties he will deal with." 20 So, also, if a man obtains goods from another by falsely representing that he is the agent of another person, to whom the owner of the goods thinks he is selling them, the sale is void.21 To render the sale void, however, there must be a false representation that the agency exists, and not merely belief in its existence on the part of the seller, and intent to sell to the supposed principal.22
18 CUNDY v. LINDSAY, L. R. 3 App. Cas. 465, 47 L. J. Q. B. 481, 38 L. T. Rep. N. S. 573, 26 Wkly. Rep. 406, Throckmorton, Cas. Contracts, 169; post, p. 296. See "Contracts," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 93; Cent. Dig. §§ 415-419.
19 Boulton v. Jones, 2 Hurl. & N. 564. And see BOSTON ICE CO. v. POTTER, 123 Mass. 28, 25 Am. Rep. 9, Throckmorton, Cas. Contracts, 305; Randolph Iron Co. v. Elliott, 34 N. J. Law, 184; Gregory v. Wendell, 40 Mich. 443; Barnes v. Shoemaker, 112 Ind. 512, 14 N. E. 367; Winchester v. Howard, 97 Mass. 30.3, 93 Am. Dec. 93; Fox v. Tabel, 66 Conn. 397, 34 Atl. 101. See "Contracts," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 93; Cent. Dig. §§ 415-419.
20 Winchester v. Howard, 97 Mass. 303, 93 Am.. Dec. 93; Mitchell v. Rail-ton, 45 Mo. App. 273. It is not meant that an agent must always disclose his agency. An agent may sell the property of his principal without disclosing that he acts as agent, or that the property is not his own; and the principal may maintain an action in his own name to recover the price. If the purchaser says nothing on the subject, he is liable to the unknown principal. Huntington v. Knox, 7 Cush. (Mass.) 371. See Tiffany, Ag. 304-307. See "Contracts," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 93; Cent. Dig. §§ 415-419.
21 Hardman v. Booth, 1 Hurl. & C. 803; Hollins v. Fowler, L. R. 7 H. L. 757; Hamet v. Letcher, 37 Ohio St. 356, 41 Am. Rep. 519; Hentz v. Miller, 94 N. Y. 67; Barker v. Dinsmore, 72 Pa. 427, 13 Am. Rep. 697; Edmunds v. Transportation Co., 135 Mass. 283; McCrillis v. Allen, 57 Vt 505; Peters Box & Lumber Co. v. Lesh, 119 Ind. 98, 20 N. E. 291, 12 Am. St. Rep. 367; Fifer v. Clearfield & Cambria Coal & Coke Co., 103 Md. 1, 62 Atl. 1122 (purchase by individual in name of fictitious corporation supposed by the seller to have a legal existence). So, also, where a person obtains goods by falsely representing that he is member of a firm, and gives in payment a forged check of the firm. Alexander v. Swackhamer, 105 Ind. 81, 4 N. E. 433, 5 N. E. 90S, 55 Am. Rep. 180; Moody v. Blake, 117 Mass. 23, 19 Am. Rep. 394. So, also, where a person obtains goods by falsely representing that he is agent of an undisclosed principal. Rodliff v. Dollinger, 141 Mass. 1, 4 N. 1