Voluntary subscriptions by a number of persons to promote some object in which they have a common interest - as, for instance, where a number of persons voluntarily promise to pay a certain sum each to found a college - have been said to furnish an illustration of mutual promises. Some courts have sustained them on the ground that the promise of each subscriber is the consideration for the promises of the others.62 This ground, however, appears to be untenable, for the reason that as a matter of fact the subscribers, in most cases at least, do not give their promises in consideration of each other.63 An additional objection to a recovery by the beneficiary in such cases is that the beneficiary, not being a party to the contract, cannot maintain an action upon it,64 except in states which have established the broad rule that a person for whose benefit a promise is made can sue upon it.65 The liability of the subscriber upon his subscription in such cases is generally enforced, but different courts advance different views in support of their holdings.66 By some courts it is held that the subscription is an offer which becomes binding by acceptance when the beneficiary lum, 40 N. J. Eq. 422, 2 Atl. 265. See "Contracts," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) §§ 56-58; Cent. Dig. §§ 344-353.
60 Holt v. Ward Clemencieux, 2 Strange, 937; post, p. 185. See "Contracts," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) §§ 56-58; Cent. Dig. §§ 344-358.
61 Ante, pp. 110, 131.
62 Higert v. Asbury University, 53 Ind. 326 (collecting cases); Lathrop v. Knapp, 27 Wis. 214; Trustees of Troy Conference Academy v. Nelson, 24 Vt. 180; Christian College v. Hendley, 49 Cal. 347; Allen v. Duffie, 43 Mich. 1, 4 X. W. 427, 3S Am. Rep. 159; First Universalist Church v. Pungs, 126 Mich. 670, 86 N. W. 235; Irwin v. Lombard University, 56 Ohio St. 9, 40 N. E. 63, 36 L. R. A. 239, 60 Am. St. Rep. 727; Waters v. Union Trust Co., 129 Mich. 640, 89 N. W. 687. See "Subscriptions," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 15; Cent. Dig.
63 Cottage Street Church v. Kendall, 121 Mass. 528, 23 Am. Rep. 286; Culver v. Banning, 19 Minn. 303 (Gil. 200); Presbyterian Church of Albany v. Cooper, 112 N. Y. 517, 20 N. E. 352, 3 L. R. A. 468, 8 Am. St Rep. 767. See "Subscriptions;' Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 15; Cent. Dig. §§ 14-17.
64 Presbyterian Church of Albany v. Cooper, supra. Cf. Keuka College v. Ray, 167 N. Y. 96, 60 N. E. 325. See post, p. 442. See "Subscriptions," Dec Dig. (Key-No.) § 15; Cent. Dig. §§ 14-17.
65 Irwin v. Lombard University, supra. 66 See 15 Harv. L. R. 312.
in reliance upon it incurs expense or liability.67 Other courts sustain the liability of the subscriber on the ground of equitable estoppel arising from the expenditure of money or incurring of liability by the beneficiary in reliance upon the subscription.68 By still other courts it is held that when the subscription is accepted there is an implied counter promise on the part of the beneficiary, which is the consideration.69 In accordance with this latter view, it is said in a recent Pennsylvania case: 70 "The general trend of judicial decision may therefore be said to be in the direction of sustaining contracts for subscriptions or donations to churches or charitable or kindred institutions, where the same have been duly accepted; their acceptance constituting a good consideration, for the reason that obligations are thereby assumed."