Same - Implied Ratification

Unless a statute so requires, an express promise in terms is not necessary in order to constitute ratification of an obligation incurred during infancy. "Where the declarations or acts of the individual after becoming of age," said the Vermont court, "fairly and justly lead to the inference that he intended to and did recognize and adopt as binding an agreement executory on his part, made during infancy, and intended to pay the debt then incurred, we think it is sufficient to constitute ratification, provided the declarations were freely and understandingly made, or the acts in like manner performed, and with knowledge that he was not legally liable." 46

The courts go much further than this, and hold substantially that any intelligent conduct by a person, after attaining his majority, inconsistent with the nonexistence of a contract, executory or executed, will, as a rule, amount to an affirmance of the contract.47 If, for instance, an infant takes a lease, and after becoming of age recognizes it by occupying under it, or if, having given a lease, he accepts rent after becoming of age, his conduct amounts to a ratification.48 So, also, a purchase of land or chattels by an infant is ratified if he retains and uses the property for an unreasonable time after attaining his majority, or if he sells it to a third person, or otherwise disposes of it.49 The receipt of, or a suit to recover, the purchase money of property sold by him, or suit to enforce any other kind of contract, would amount to a ratification of the contract.60 Generally speaking, the act relied upon as a ratification must show an intention to affirm the contract; but the decisions are not in accord as to what acts are sufficient to show such an intention. Disposing of the property received under the contract, and the other acts above mentioned, would clearly show such intention; but where an infant has executed a conveyance, a mere offer, after attaining his majority, to execute a confirmatory deed if the other party will pay the balance of the purchase money, which offer is refused, clearly could not be regarded as a ratification of the sale and conveyance.51

45 Ante, p. 174.

46 Hatch v. Hatch's Estate. GO Vt. 1G0, 13 Atl. 791. And see Kendrick v. Neisz, 17 Colo. 506, 30 Pac. 24.-.; Baker v. Kennett, 54 Mo. 88; Wheaton v. East, 5 Yerg. (Tenn.) 41, 26 Am. Dec. 251; Emmons v. Murray, 16 N. H. 385; Drake v. Wise, 36 Iowa, 476; Hale v. Gerrish, 8 N. H. 374; Middleton v. Hoge, 5 Bush (Ky.) 478 (collecting cases); Harlow v. Robinson, 174 I11. 317, 51 N. E. 1045. See Ewell, Lead. Cas. 173-180. See "Infants," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) § 57; Cent. Dig. §§ 136-148.

47 Henry v. Root, 33 N. Y. 526 (collecting cases). Where an infant buys land, and gives a mortgage to secure the purchase money, a sale and conveyance of the land after he becomes of age is a ratification of the mortgage. Uecker v. Koehn, 21 Neb. 559, 32 N. W. 583, 59 Am. Rep. 849. And see Callis v. Day, 38 Wis. 643. Acceptance of part of the proceeds of a sale under a deed of trust given while an infant. Darraugh v. Blackford, 84 Va. 509, 5 S. E. 542. Taking releases of part of premises mortgaged during infancy, and acquiescence for two years. Wilson v. Darragh, 55 Hun, 605, 7 N. Y. Supp. 810. See "Infants," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) §§ SO, 57; Cent. Dig. §§ 41-55, 136-148.

48 Ashfield v. Ashfield, W. Jones, 157; Paramour v. Yardley, Plowd. 546. See "Infanta;' Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) §§ SO, 57; Cent. Dig. §§ 41-55. 136-148.

49 Henry v. Root, 33 X. Y. 526; Lawson v. Lovejoy, 8 Greenl. (Me.) 405, 23

Clark Cont.(3d Ed.) - 14

Mere silence or acquiescence after becoming of age, without more, does not, as a rule, amount to a ratification.52 It is otherwise where the contract is one which requires disaffirmance, and there is a failure to disaffirm for an unreasonable time, under such circumstances as to lead others to act to their prejudice.53

Am. Dec. 526; Boyden v. Boyden, 9 Metc. (Mass.) 519; Bobbins v. Eaton, 10 N. H. 561; Hubbard v. Cummings, 1 Greenl. (Me.) 11; Boody v. McKenney, 23 Me. 517; Ellis v. Alford, 64 Miss. 8, 1 South. 155; Buchanan v. Hubbard, 119 Ind. 187, 21 N. E. 538; Cheshire v. Barrett, 4 McCord (S. 0.) 241, 17 Am. Dec. 735; Deason v. Boyd, 1 Dana (Ky.) 45; Shropshire v. Burns, 46 Ala. 108; Aldrich v. Grimes, 10 N. H. 194; Dana v. Coombs, 6 Greenl. (Me.) 89, 19 Am. Dec. 194; Armfield v. Tate, 29 N. C. 258; Callis v. Day, 38 Wis. 643; Hilton v. Shepherd, 92 Me. 160, 42 Atl. 387. This is expressly declared by statute in some states. See McKamy v. Cooper, 81 Ga. 679, 8 S. E. 312. Retaining property after tendering it on disaffirmance, and on the other's refusal to receive it, is not a ratification. House v. Alexander, 105 Ind. 109, 4 N. E. 891, 55 Am. Rep. 1S9. And see Scott v. Scott, 29 S. C. 414, 7 S. E. 811. The retention by a person, after becoming of age, of material furnished him during his minority in the construction of his house, is not a ratification of his purchase of the material, for he cannot return it. Bloomer v. Nolan, 36 Neb. 51, 53 N. W. 1039, 38 Am. St. Rep. 690. See "Infants," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) §§ SO, 57; Cent. Dig. §§ 41-55, 136-148.

50 Morrill v. Aden, 19 Vt. 505; Ferguson v. Bell's Adm'r, 17 Mo. 347; Purs-ley v. Hays, 17 Iowa, 310. Where an infant takes a deed and gives back a purchase-money mortgage, and the property is sold under the mortgage, the infant after his majority, by bringing ejectment against the purchaser, not only affirms the deed, but the mortgage. Kennedy v. Baker, 159 Pa. 146, 28 Atl. 252. See "Infants," Deo. Dig. (Key-No.) §§ SO, 57; Cent. Dig. §§ 41-55, 136-148.

51 Craig v. Van Bebber, 100 Mo. 584, 13 S. W. 906, 18 Am. St. Rep. 569. When a note by an infant remains in part unpaid, mere acknowledgment of the debt, or payment of interest or part of principal, after becoming of age. is not a binding affirmance. Kendrick v. Neisz, 17 Colo. 506, 30 Pac. 245. Contra, American Mortgage Co. of Scotland v. Wright, 101 Ala. 658, 14 South. 399. So, where land has been purchased, and installment notes given by an infant, payment of some after becoming of age is not of itself a ratification. Rapid Transit Land Co. v. Sanford (Tex. Civ. App.) 24 S. W. 587. The recital in a mortgage executed after attaining majority, that it is subject to a mortgage executed during infancy, is a ratification of the prior mortgage. Ward v. Anderson, I11 N. C. 115, 15 S. E. 933. See "Infants," Dec. Dig. (Key-No.) §§ 30, 57; Cent. Dig. §§ 41-55, 136-148.