Damages in an action .for breach of contract are by way of compensation for the loss sustained by the breach, and never by way of punishment; and the plaintiff, therefore, cannot recover more than his pecuniary loss. This is the general rule, but it is subject to an exception in case of a breach of promise of marriage. In such a case, if the promise was broken abruptly, and under humiliating circumstances, or if the defendant acted maliciously and in a way to injure the plaintiff's character, exemplary damages may be recovered.46
The parties to a contract frequently assess the damages at which they rate a breach of the contract by one or both of them, and introduce their assessment into the terms of the contract. They have the right to do this, but, as we have already seen, they cannot provide for a penalty to be paid by the one who shall break the contract.46
enough unless given under such circumstances as reasonably to imply that it formed the basis of the agreement; that is, unless the circumstances were such that it might be supposed that a reasonable man would have had them in contemplation as a probable result of a breach. British Columbia & Vancouver's Island Spar, Lumber & Saw-Mill Co. v. Nettleship, L. R. 3 C. P. 499; Home v. Railway, 7 C. P. 5S3, 591; Booth v. Mill Co., 60 N. T. at page 496; Bridges v. Stickney, 38 Me. 361; McKinnon v. McEwan, 48 Mich. 100, 11 N. W. 828, 42 Am. Rep. 458; Snell v. Cottingham, 72 I11. 161; Friend & T. Lumber Co. v. Miller, 67 Cal. 464, 8 Pac. 40. See "Damages," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 23; Cent. Dig. §§ 58, 62.
44 Cory v. Ship Bldg. Co., L. R. 3 Q. B. 181; British Columbia & Vancouver's Island Spar, Lumber & Saw-Mill Co. v. Nettleship, L. R. 3 C. P. 499; Bartlett v. Blanchard, 13 Gray (Mass.) 429; Billmeyer v. Wagner, 91 Pa. 92; Paine v. Sherwood, 19 Minn. 315 (Gil. 270); Mihills Mfg. Co. v. Day, 50 Iowa, 250; Peace River Phosphate Co. v. Grafflin (C. C.) 58 Fed. 550; Rochester Lantern Co. v. Press Co., 135 N. Y. 209, 31 N. E. 1018; Thomas, B. & W. Mfg. Co. v. Railway Co., 62 Wis. 642, 22 N. W. 827, 51 Am. Rep. 725; Buffalo Barb-Wire Co. v. Phillips, 64 Wis. 338, 25 N. W. 208 See "Damages," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) §§ 22, 23; Cent. Dig. §§ 58-62.
45 Southard v. Resford, 6 Cow. (N. Y.) 254; Thorn v. Knapp, 42 N. Y. 474, 1 Am. Rep. 561; Johnson v. Travis, 33 Minn. 231, 22 N. W. 624; McPherson v. Ryan, 59 Mich. 33, 26 N. W. 321; Hughes v. Nolte, 7 Ind. App. 526, 34 N. E. 745. Cf. Clement v. Brown, 57 Minn. 314, 59 N. W. 198. But mere proof of breach of contract of marriage without aggravating circumstances is not sufficient to authorize exemplary damages. Baumle v. Verde, 33 Okl. 243, 124 Pac. 1083, 41 L. R. A. (N. S.) 840 and note. See "Damages," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) §§ 57, 87; Cent. Dig. .§§ 188-192.
46 Ante, p. 515.