Suppose that the person performing the service does not know of the offer, or does not realize all its terms, does he thereby accept the offer and acquire a right to the reward? In a leading English case a reward had been offered by the defendant for information which was supplied by the plaintiff, but not with a view to the reward. The report of the case does not show that the plaintiff was unaware of the offer; the only point which seems to have been raised being that the reward was not the motive which induced the plaintiff to supply the information. The court held that the motive was immaterial, and that "there was a contract with the person who performed the condition mentioned in the advertisement." 23
In this country, some courts, influenced in large measure by a misconception of the point decided in Williams v. Carwardine, have held that ignorance of the offer does not prevent a recovery of the reward by the person performing the services.24 The better rule, however, and that supported by the weight of authority, is that the reward may not be recovered by one who performs the services in ignorance of the offer.25 "To the existence of a contract," it was said in the leading American case,26 "there must be mutual assent, or, in another form, offer and consent to the offer. The motive inducing consent may be immaterial, but the consent is vital. Without that, there is no contract. How, then, can there be consent or assent to that of which the party has never heard?" It has a reasonable time); Shaub v. Lancaster, 156 Pa. 362, 26 Atl. 1067, 21 L. R. A. 691 (holding 17 years from the first offer and 10 years from the last publication more than a reasonable time). In In re Kelly, 39 Conn. 159, it was held that the offer of a reward for the arrest of a person guilty of a particular crime would not lapse until prosecution was barred by the statute of limitations. See "Contracts," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 20; Cent. Dig. §§ 67-70.
23 Williams v. Carwardine, 4 Barn. & Adol. 621, 6 Eng. Rul. Cas. 133. See "Contracts," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 22; Cent. Dig. §§ 82-92; "Rewards," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) §§ S-7; Cent. Dig. §§ 3-7.
24 Dawkins v. Sappington, 26 Ind. 199; Russell v. Stewart, 44 Vt 170; Auditor v. Ballard, 9 Bush (Ky.) 572, 15 Am. Rep. 72S; Eagle v. Smith, 4 Houst. (Del.) 293; Crawshaw v. City of Roxbury, 7 Gray (Mass.) 377; Ever-man v. Hyman, 26 Ind. App. 165, 28 N. E. 1022, 84 Am. St. Rep. 284. See "Rewards," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 7; Cent. Dig. § 7.
25 Fitch v. Snedaker, 38 N. Y. 248, 97 Am. Dec. 791; Howland v. Lounds, 51 N. Y. 604, 10 Am. Rep. 651; Marvin v. Treat, 37 Conn. 96, 9 Am. Rep. 307; Stamper v. Temple, 6 Humph. (Tenn.) 113, 44 Am. Dec. 296; Williams v. Railway Co., 191 111. 610, 61 N. E. 456, 85 Am. St. Rep. 278. BROADNAX v. LEDBETTER, 100 Tex. 375, 99 S. W. 1111, 9 L. R. A. (N. S.) 1057, Throckmorton Cas. Contracts, 27. See "Rewards" Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 7; Cent. Dig. § 7.
26 Fitch v. Snedaker, 38 N. Y. 248, 97 Am. Dec. 791. See "Rewards" Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 7; Cent. Dig. § 7. Clark Cont.(3d Ed.) - 4
even been held, contrary to the point actually decided in Williams v. Carwardine, that the motive in performing the services is material, and that there must at the time be an intent to claim the reward, as well as knowledge that it is offered.27
26. The offer must be intended to create, and be capable of creating, legal relations.